Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: preparation

Happiness is a Well-Stocked Kitchen

I should be writing cover letters right now, but I just came back from running errands, which is so much more fun.  I feel so accomplished after getting items ticked off my mental checklist.

My refrigerator and pantry are now stocked with more fun things (mind you, both were already pretty well-stocked, but there’s always something more that I am looking to add.  The food world is a treasure trove of endless gems!):

  • fenugreek and thyme – dried spices that I don’t use a lot but have been wanting to use more, along with a bunch of other spices I have acquired.
  • carrots, onions, and potatoes – I always like to have a ready supply of those root veggies.  That way, I’m always ready to make a chicken or beef stock, some homefries on a lazy weekend morning, or the base of a stir-fry.
  • dried shiitake mushrooms – great as additions to various dishes – Korean noodles (jahpchae), Chinese stir fry…  I’m hoping to make a Chinese sticky rice thing with these mushrooms soon.
  • a cantaloupe – I think it’s peak time for cantaloupes and melons out here.  So I’m trying to eat as many as I can before it’s over.  I love eating seasonally– it’s kind of like a fun race against the produce, and sometimes I try to find new ways to work with that ingredient.  But it’s also great just eating it as is.  And of course it tastes soo much better to eat things when they’re in season and grown locally.
  • two kinds of Chinese egg noodles – I love noodles in all forms, and I like making simple noodle dishes for dinner–  stir fried, in a soup, just mixed with a good sauce.

fridgeAnd in addition to stocking my fridge and pantry, I’m also doing some prep work for future cooking.  That’s always fun, too.  My mom says she feels rich after she’s done a lot of food prep to offset future slaving in the kitchen.  I would agree.  Like making a big batch of kimchee or making and freezing a trayful of dumplings or pickling beets or making stock!

I bought some pork rib meat and put it in a Chinese char siu sauce (a reddish, sweet and tangy sauce used for roast pork, especially).  I’ll let it sit overnight and roast it tomorrow or the next day.  Yum!

charsiu pork

I’m also making a beef stock out of bones and stew beef that I got from the meat counter at Berkeley Bowl.  I tossed all that in my stainless steel Dutch oven with water, a few carrots, celery, and an onion to make the stock.  And every so often, I skim off any fat and gunky stuff.  I’ll use the stock in the future to make my favorite Korean soups– yookaejang (a spicy beef soup with lots of scallions), mandu gook (dumpling soup), and seaweed soup.  After I started making my own stock years ago, I couldn’t go back to store bought stock.  It just tastes so much better!

beef stock

And just like that, it’s already 4:30pm. Life is good.  I think I’ll make some egg noodles with oyster sauce and Chinese broccoli for dinner.   I set out some shrimp to thaw, and that can go on top!  Oh wait, that might have to wait till tomorrow– I forgot that in my prepping frenzy, I also put some rice in the rice cooker to be ready by 6:30pm.  Change in plans.  Rice with shrimp and Chinese broccoli!

This is the life of an unemployed food lover!

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Preparations

The days are getting closer until my departure for the other side of the world. I spent all morning and early afternoon calling places and going online to do things like changing my mailing address, making sure credit card companies knew I would be possibly using cards abroad, paying bills in advance. I can’t believe how much time that took!

And then I’m bracing myself for tomorrow when I’ll be culling through my huge music collection to determine what I will download on to my iPhone and iPad so I can be sure to have the music I want to listen to when I’m traveling and farming and feeling homesick. I have well over 3000 or so songs on my computer and an external hard drive. And since I’m bringing neither with me, I need to spend the time needed to organize that essential part of my life. 🙂 I think my music collection would be one of the top things on my list of what I would take if I were to be left on a deserted island. No joke. I could make it for a long time with just my music (and of course some way to eat).

Then the last big thing I need to do is pack all that I need for three or so months into two bags. Will that be possible? Here’s a bit of the progress I’m [not] making in that department:

Step 3 (a few steps happened before this) A scattered mass of stuff.

Step 4: Making a big pile of what I’m hoping to take (with some thought that I may still need to cut down…)

Where all that stuff needs to end up and still be carry-able on my back without killing me…

This is definitely the part of any trip that I hate. Questions like

  • What will the weather be like? What clothes will I need?
  • What kind of toiletries should I stock up on and what should I just buy when I’m there?
  • How many pairs of underwear and socks do I REALLY need?
  • How many pairs of jeans should I take? They’re so gosh darn heavy and hard to handwash (which I think is what I’m going to be doing for some parts of my trip).
  • What other little things do I need, or at least will help make my trip a little easier and more enjoyable (like nail clippers, a compass, nice smelling lotion…)

I guess when it comes down to it, I’ll be able to buy whatever I forget, so I shouldn’t worry too much. But I don’t want to “waste” money on things that are easy to take that I just forgot to pack.

So some unusual things that I’m definitely taking that might be helpful tips for you who will be traveling for an extended period of time, roughing it more than doing the touristy thing:

  • passport pictures– I’m told that these are needed for visas if I need to get them
  • gardening gloves for WWOOFing– thanks to my youth– I have four pairs ready to go!
  • a small bottle of dishwashing soap and laundry detergent
  • clothespins and string to hang clothes to dry
  • a sewing kit with a needle and thread to repair clothing
  • extra ziploc bags of varying sizes

Making progress…

L is for “Lists!”

lists

LISTS

lIsTS

LisTS

I LOVE LISTS!

Likes

  • jazz
  • sunny days
  • dusk
  • my iPhone
  • meals with friends
  • freshly baked goods
  • when something I cook without a recipe turns out delicious!
  • receiving emails from friends
  • photo and video texts of my niece and nephew
  • hearing my niece and nephew call my name
  • hugs from my niece and nephew
  • cool fonts
  • books, books, and more books
  • bookshelves filled with books
  • Pandora
  • lazy Sunday afternoons
  • tea or coffee on a cold day
  • iced coffee on a hot day
  • recycling
  • farm-fresh tomatoes, peaches, and corn
  • the Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • listening to live chamber music
  • playing chamber music
  • playing certain songs on repeat that I’m really into at that time
  • some programming on NPR

Dislikes

  • other people playing songs on repeat that they’re really into at that time
  • some programming on NPR
  • Fox News
  • selfish, self absorbed people
  • pointless, directionless, agenda-less meetings
  • wasted time
  • wasted space
  • messy houses
  • messy kitchens
  • unmade beds
  • throwing things away
  • wasted food from my fridge
  • aggressive drivers who have no disregard for others
  • people on the train who have no thought about others
  • humidity and stickiness
  • mosquitoes
  • rats
  • people who are too polite
  • people who are picky about their food
  • veal

To do’s

  • buy a credit card with no foreign transaction fee
  • unlock my iPhone
  • change my mailing address for everything that requires it
  • find out where I should change my mailing address to (since I won’t have a permanent home for awhile)
  • find where I’m going to stay first in New Zealand
  • pack up my apartment
  • eat and cook everything in my fridge

Pet Peeves from Taking the Subway/ Train

  • when people drape themselves on the pole so no one else can stand there and hold on
  • when people stand in the doorway and don’t budge even though there’s tons of room in the middle part of the train because they are waiting for their stop 10 stops away
  • when people stand in front of an empty chair making it impossible for someone to sit there
  • when people leave their bags and things on an empty chair and don’t move it when it’s crowded for others to sit
  • when people don’t move from the doorway for people to get on and off– they just move to the side and think their body is invisible
  • when people have loud conversations on their cell phones
  • when people get up from their chair to move toward the door on a crowded train even before the stop has been reached, making it more crowded for people who are standing in that area
  • rush hour!

A list of lists

  • People I need to see before I go
  • Things I want to do before I leave
  • Books and other things I want to take with me on my road trip
  • Places where I’m going to store all my stuff
  • All the things I need to wrap up at work
  • Gifts I need to get people
  • People I need to get gifts for

It’s never ending, and I love it!  I could make lists all day.  It’s the Virgo in me.

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