Pandemic Pantry – 08.02.20

So besides protecting yourself, you should be prepared for more lock downs, supply chain disruptions, economic woes, travel restrictions, social distancing, civil unrest, and other challenges. That means keeping your supplies of critical preps — water, food, medications — topped up, and not letting them get too low.

Always keep on-hand enough supplies for a sudden two-week quarantine in your home. Really you should try for three months of supplies, but two weeks is the minimum. This stash will also insulate you against surprise supply chain disruptions.

Jon Stokes at theprepared.com

Victoria Australia has declared a State of Disaster. Some schools opened in Melbourne on July 14. In-person classroom school lasted less than one week. The school has been cleaned but remains closed. Contact tracing is still in process. Last week Victoria reported over 2,500 new coronavirus cases up from 2,200 the week prior. While I maintain pretty strong personal measures to avoid possible exposures I admit I’ve gotten complacent with shopping for the pantry. It’s a false sense of security because the majority of my recent shopping trips have been fruitful with minimal shortages noted on the store shelves. Reading about the situation in Australia and seeing pictures online of people standing in a long line on the sidewalk waiting for entry to a grocery store was a wake up call.

Like Jon Stokes says, be prepared for a sudden two week quarantine. Depending upon local conditions it could be longer. Make sure your pantry has back ups for truly essential items (coffee and single malt scotch are good examples). When you’re shopping don’t think about immediate needs. Think about being cooped up in the house again for weeks and pick up a few extras. Last week I bought four pounds of penne pasta (on sale!) and am now well stocked on dried pastas. I also have ample supplies of frequently used herbs and spices.  Bay leaves anyone?

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I also have enough oregano to last for months because I bought a back up when I already had a back up.  There’s plenty of chicken and ground meats in the freezer.  Plus there’s the turkey…

Like I’ve mentioned in the past, we seem to be in pretty good shape in Oklahoma with shortages and supply chain issues.  Disinfectant wipes though have been in very short supply and are hard to find.  But true friendship shines in the pandemic.  Our friends dropped this off a few days ago.

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True friendship is sharing your supply of disinfecting wipes.

Rocky Top Coleslaw – 2020 Update

I can’t remember the last time we finished a large jar of mayonnaise prior to its expiration date.  We don’t use a lot of mayo and most of the time half of the jar gets tossed.

Then Covid-19 happened.  We started eating more mayo.  Tuna salad the way Grandpa Jack made tuna.  Egg salad.  Chicken salad.  And coleslaw.  But many recipes change over time.  This coleslaw is updated for 2020.  Here’s my original Rocky Top Coleslaw which also contains a link to the original inspiration recipe from Bobby Flay.

It’s coleslaw so keep it simple.  Use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw from the market.  The quantities for the dressing in 2020 have been reduced.  I find the slaw tastes just as good with less dressing (and less calories).

We’ll be grilling some Pandemic Burgers tonight with a little Rocky Top on the side.

Cole Slaw Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
garlic powder (to taste, about a tsp)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon celery salt
Pepper to taste.

  1. Everybody in the pool (large mixing bowl) except for the cabbage.
  2. Whisk until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Add your slaw and mix well.
  4. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Can you visualize a huge scoop of this coleslaw on top of a cold turkey meatloaf sandwich?  Me too but I don’t have any leftover meatloaf.  Guess I’ll have to make Italian Meatloaf or Turkey Meatloaf this week.

 

 

Sloppy Turkey Joes

It’s been four months since Covid-19 changed our lives. For most of us fortunate enough to stay healthy we have adjusted to spending more time at home. More time at home for me has meant more cooking. Breakfast is typically a simple no cook meal. Sometimes I’ll cook lunch. Most nights we’ll sit down to a home cooked meal. But after four months you try not to repeat too many dishes and vow to find/make something different. I’ve bought more cookbooks than I care to admit. I’ve spent a lot of time on food blogs looking for something tasty to try. But despite the plethora of recipes on the planet sometimes you just can’t decide what to make.

“Why don’t you make Sloppy Joes?”

Why do I make life so hard on myself sometimes?

The sheer beauty of a dish like Sloppy Joes is its simplicity. This was one of the first recipes our sons learned how to cook when they were kids. Ground meat, ketchup, mustard, done. The kid recipe came from a cookbook for kids that has long since disappeared from my collection. Any Sloppy Joe recipe is simple, easy to fix, and tasty. It’s the perfect recipe to get your kids on a cooking path.

I haven’t written much on the Pandemic Pantry lately. The stores around me are well stocked and my pantry is well stocked. The trick is to pick up a few things at the store every time you shop as potential pantry items. If you use them during the week great but if not,  just toss them in the pantry or freezer for later use. I always pick up a package of ground turkey when shopping. There was an entire package of onion buns in the freezer (if you don’t freeze your bread you should). I like to have bell peppers in the vegetable drawer and I always have onions.

And there you have it. Turkey Joes. Psychologists say it’s important for people to recall and share memories. Recalling and sharing helps us find meaning and connect with others. I believe I’ve found true meaning and can connect with others by remembering and sharing my Sloppy Joe story. If you’re interested in making the original kid version use ground beef, ketchup, and mustard. Leave the rest of the ingredients out. I’m not kidding.

Inspiration: The Chunky Chef (because her SEO consultant is doing a great job).

Turkey Joes

  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, small dice
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
    several dashes of hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper, reduce heat to medium and saute for a few minutes until the vegetables have sweated.
  3. Turn the heat back up to high and add turkey. Break apart into crumbles and saute until the meat is no longer pink. Do not drain the meat/veggie mixture.
  4. Everything else in the pool. Mix well and simmer over low heat for around 15 minutes.
  5. I hope you remembered to defrost some buns.

Makes enough for 4 large or 6 smaller sandwiches if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Update 07.29.20

During a recent conversation with my favorite nephew in the United States I happened to mention the kid cookbook that went missing.  The Boss picked up on my error and was rather quick to correct me.

“Is this the book we don’t have anymore?”

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As a matter of fact yes it is.  Naturally I had to find the Joe recipe.

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So there you have it.  Proof of the original Joe recipe that I used to start the kids on their own lifelong love of cooking.  Next Gen up will make recipes from this cookbook too.

And yet another reason why my wife of way too many years is The Boss.

 

The Pandemic Pantry – Shopping Day 07.02.20

The original Household Executive order from an earlier Pandemic Pantry post has now been amended twice.  The following is the Amended Household Executive Order for grocery shopping:

You are now allowed to go to more than one store per week so long as I need or want something that you cannot find at a single store.  You no longer have to shop with the old people and are permitted to go at times when store traffic isn’t busy. You will always wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You may wander up and down the aisles like you usually do (but do it quickly).  You no longer have to abide by the original “do not shower before going and decontaminate immediately upon return” section of the original decree.  The decontamination protocol is suspended for the time being but may be reinstated at any time in the future without advance notice.

When you return from the store you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away.  Place the bags of grocery items on top of the newspaper on top of the kitchen island.  Any and all paper and plastic bags will not be recycled.  They will go into the garbage along with the newspaper that covered the island surface.  Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting.  If you choose not to disinfect an item I must be informed of these items and agree not to touch them for 72 hours.

Don’t buy any more tuna.

The grocery store was not busy at 3:00 pm but busier than I expected.  I managed to find everything on my list.

  • Toilet paper and paper towels were well stocked.
  • Cleaners and disinfectants aisle was not.
  • Meat was plentiful.
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, bagged salads all in ample supply.
  • Dairy, cheeses, eggs were well stocked.

But the best part of my shopping trip had nothing to do with food.  I estimated around 90% of the customers were wearing masks.  I only wish more of us would care more about the health of others and wear masks.  The number of grocery stores I shop at now is a short list.  The behavior of both store management and the customers pretty much determine where I shop.  As an example at the liquor store I’ve been shopping at for over 16 years  all of the employees wear masks.  If you decide to shop indoors you must wear a mask.  Despite the fact this store offers curbside minimal contact purchasing I like shopping in store.  Plus the times I’ve entered the store I’m typically the only customer there.  Apparently most of the other customers prefer curbside or delivery.

Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  Don’t go to these places or events:

Serious7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The States That Drink the Most Alcohol in America [Map] — VinePair

America loves to drink. According to an April 2020 report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Americans’ alcohol consumption reached 7.8 billion gallons in 2018. U.S. residents reportedly drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer, 900 million gallons of wine, and 570 million gallons of spirits. As a country, we drink an average…

via The States That Drink the Most Alcohol in America [Map] — VinePair

Oklahoma!  What happened???

Happy Father’s Day 2020 – Pandemic Version

Father’s Day 2020 – Pandemic Version

Dad died nearly 24 years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long. When I started writing this I honestly believed the words would come pouring out, the memories would be sharp and events that happened so long ago would feel as if they happened yesterday. Well, guess what? I’ve been stumbling over my words, all of my memories are somewhat foggy at this point, and few events stand out as worthwhile things to write about. When you write as much as I do not having anything to write about (especially on Father’s Day) is odd. But the more I think about this I remember the thing I want to write about. I want to tell you about Dad’s Old Car.

“I had this habit for a long time, I used to get in my car and I would drive back through my old neighborhood, a little town I grew up in. And I would always drive past the little houses I used to live in…and I got so I would do it really regularly, for years. And I eventually got to wonderin’, what the hell am I doin? And so, I went to see a psychiatrist (laughter), this is true!…and, I sat down and I said, ‘you know, doc, for years I’ve been getting in my car, and I drive back to my town and I pass my houses late at night and, you know, what am I doing?’ And he said, ‘I want YOU to tell me what you think you’re doing.’ So I go ‘that’s what I’m paying YOU for.’ So he says, ‘well, what you’re doing’ he says ‘is that something bad happened, and, you know, you’re going back, you know, thinkin’ that you can make it right again. Something went wrong and you keep going back to see if you can fix it, and somehow make it right.’ and I sat there and I said, ‘that IS what I’m doing.’ And he said, ‘well you can’t’.”

Bruce Springsteen

Dad’s Old Car was a Chevy Bel Air. It was a turquoise and brown Chevrolet Bel Air, the brown being the various rusted out spots scattered where rust happens to an older car. The car was bought used. Dad never bought new cars probably because he couldn’t afford new cars. As much as I think fondly of that car now, as a kid I could hardly hide my embarrassment for the fact our family had to drive a beater. I was angry too. When I got my driver’s license the car insurance premium soared to an unaffordable level for a family of six having trouble making ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck. Dad asked me to surrender my license which I agreed to. When the insurance company got proof from the motor vehicle agency I no longer had a license, they lowered the premium back down.

One day when I wasn’t being lectured or yelled at or yelling back I asked Dad why he never bought new cars.

“A car gets you from point A to point B. That’s it. You can spend as much as you want or as little as you want. They all do the same thing.”

“Now the neighbors come from near and far
As we pull up in our brand new used car
I wish he’d just hit the gas and let out a cry
and tell ’em all they can kiss our asses goodbye”

Used Cars – Springsteen

It’s funny the things you think about, the memories that come alive on certain days. And while we’re on the topic of Dad’s Old Car here’s an update on TOMC (The Old Man Car). TOMC hit 70,000 miles last year. On Father’s Day 2020 this is where the odometer sits:

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Thanks for the life advice Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

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The Pandemic Pantry – Forgotten Items and Disappearing Social Skills – 06.07.20

The shortages at the grocery stores have abated.  And to be honest I’ve gotten lazy at stocking the pantry since I’ve been able to find and buy pretty much most of the items on my list on shopping days.  But with more supply chain disruptions to come in the future,  shortages from sporadic bouts of hoarding behavior and more stress baking I continue to stock my pantry.  And I’ve come to realize I haven’t updated my pantry list in nearly two months.  The tipping point?  I ran out of coffee, a monumental threat to my continued existence.  So I started an add on list of forgotten items.  Added together this comprises the first update to my Pandemic Pantry list in weeks.

One byproduct of sheltering in place I’ve noticed on my shopping trip was the literal disappearance of social skills in some individuals.  Some people have forgotten how to behave in group social settings.  Here’s a short list of my encounters today:

  • Woman in the produce section stopping right in front of me in the middle of the aisle blocking passage while responding to something on her phone.
  • Another woman stopping in the middle of an aisle leaving her cart on one side while she blocked passage standing on the other side of the aisle.
  • Husband and wife having a discussion at the beginning of an aisle blocking access or passage to the aisle completely and…(wait for it)
  • The jackass who squeezed right in front of me as I was reaching for an item to pick something off the shelf for himself.

None of these rude, selfish and inconsiderate people were wearing masks.  None of these shoppers respected social (physical) distancing.  I’m now considering buying a set of scrubs to wear along with my mask when food shopping.  (I’ve heard stories that others will avoid you completely if you’re wearing scrubs.)  It looks like I’ll probably be resorting to shopping during the Old People Hour because I know the oldies will be mask wearers and keep their distance.

 

Sorry for the mini-rant.  But when you have a family member on the healthcare front line all of this matters a lot to me.  Some people understand the pandemic isn’t over.  The good news for the folks I tried not to get too close to today is we have plenty of ICU bed space available in our state.

Anyway, back to food and preparing the pantry for the next lock down.  By now y’all have probably figured out that I’m using this blog to maintain my personal pandemic pantry list and is not intended to be The List to follow.  At least I won’t forget where I put my pantry list.

Pandemic Pantry Items – Last Updated 04.18.20

  • Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans.  Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Dried oregano, basil, and parsley
  • Onion and garlic powders
  • Bay leaves
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried pastas
  • Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry
  • Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy
  • Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken
  • Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio  and plain long grain white
  • Flour and corn tortillas

The Forgotten Ones

  • COFFEE !!! (consider a small jar of freeze dried also in case of emergency)
  • Tea
  • Nuts
  • All purpose and whole wheat flours (or alternative flours if you’re into that sort of thing)
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned green chiles
  • Oats
  • Cornmeal
  • Dried fruits
  • Whole grain and fruit/nut bars
  • Dry cereals and granola
  • Vinegar (red wine, white wine,Balsamic, white Balsamic, apple cider, etc.)
  • Oil (besides EVO, vegetable, avocado, corn, etc.)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly and/or fruit spread

 

Americans may wish the virus to be gone, but it is not. While the outbreak has eased in the Northeast, driving down the overall national numbers, cases have only plateaued in the rest of the country, and they appear to be on the rise in recent days in COVID Tracking Project data. Twenty-two states reported 400 or more new cases Friday, and 14 other states and Puerto Rico reported cases in the triple digits. Several states—including Arizona, North Carolina, and California—are now seeing their highest numbers of known cases.

America Is Giving Up on the Pandemic

 

 

 

 

Chef’s Nectar, “ Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata” — Chefs Nectar

Mouth watering delicious, Chicken is dredged in finely grated parmesan cheese, then served in a lemon and parmesan cream sauce with fragrant garlic, which make this dish more palatable and delicious. Ingredients for making the Chicken For The Chicken: 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts halved horizontally to make 4 2 tablespoons flour (all purpose or plain) 2 tablespoons finely grated […]

via Chef’s Nectar, “ Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata” — Chefs Nectar

I’m re-blogging this recipe for future reference.  The recipe is a tad bit different than my version which is probably still in my head.

Strawberry – Update 05.24.20

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It looked big when I bought the carton.

It was big.  I’ve noticed the strawberries at the grocery store are bigger and sweeter.

Funny and interesting things happen when suppliers can’t sell their produce to the restaurant supply chain.

Update 05.24.20

Big boy #2.

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Big boy #3.

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Social Distance and Dine With Mannequins at This Michelin-Starred Restaurant — VinePair

Walking backstage at a theater, in a toy store, or even in a hair salon, it’s not uncommon to come across costumed mannequins. Now, it won’t be uncommon to see the lifelike dolls in some restaurants either. In an effort to get creative amidst cautious restaurant reopenings, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Virginia is adding mannequin…

via Social Distance and Dine With Mannequins at This Michelin-Starred Restaurant — VinePair

Uh… no thanks.