Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Lloydminster is changing it's blue box program. Mainly in that we will no longer have boxes but bags. I'm all for this change as sorting curbside always seemed like a massive waste of time, and with the new bag system we can put all recyclable items in the bag (and not have to chase wind-blown pop boxes down the street).
What's not cool-- they are no longer accepting glass. Apparently glass has to be sorted by color and logistically it is too difficult to do that. An article in the local paper suggests discarding glass with your regular garbage.
Now, I have been known to throw away recyclables from time to time--cottage cheese containers discovered in the back of the fridge eons past their best before date; cans from salmon (as a way of containing the skin/fat I removed, and limiting the scent to the garbage in the garage vs my kitchen); random scraps of mail/cardboard; the occasional shampoo bottle (because I always forget I can recycle those); and until recently, plastic containers used for strawberries etc because I wasn't aware we could recycle those! Even amongst those many (but infrequent) discretions, I never NEVER never throw away glass. Ever.
Glass seems to me to be the most nostalgic, the most beautiful, the most reusable of the recyclable items. I remember my Baba using old pickle jars for jams and her own pickled items (like carrots!) or jarred raspberries in syrup. My Mom uses all kind of old jars to store her bulk items like dried fruits, raisins, currants, coconut, beans, seeds and grains. I've always liked how Chef Micheal Smith has an illuminated pantry full of glass jars.
So, I am going to start saving my jars rather than tossing them. I just wish I could find an attractive way to cover the old jar lids so my jars of poppy seeds don't have pickle brands on them.... suggestions? I even noticed that a jar of pizza sauce Jeff likes has little tomatoes made into the sides of it--so cute! I've also been buying Starbucks bottled frappucinos purely for their vessel--removing the labels and printing on the bottle to use them as faux milk bottles, for all those party ideas I find on Pinterest. Again, because I am nostalgic and something about this seems so comforting and special. This is cheaper and easier than trying to track down actual milk bottles and I've been using the frappucinos for a coffee creamer alternative--works well, although makes the coffee a bit stronger!
I've seen many a page on tips for removing labels, some more effective than others.
My tips for removing old labels--fill the jar or bottle with very hot water and let it sit a few minutes. This softens up the adhesive enough for it to be removed. If you have sticker residue, rub with some vegetable oil to loosen the bond, then with soap to clean it up. If you have residual glue, scrape the softened glue off with a paint scraper (or the similar tool used for scraping your ceramic stove top). Any really stubborn glue can be removed with Goo Gone.
To remove printing off the outside of the glass (usually expiry dates/lot numbers) some come off just with your fingernail or soap and water, for all others use the scraper again. I have found great success with this! This method takes about 5 minutes versus various other methods involving soaking and/or hair dryers.
I also found this neat article about jars--recommending them as the superior method for prep and storage of salad dressings (also Jamie Oliver's favorite tool for these purposes.)
What do you use your jars for?
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Lots of things claim to be the best ever. But, I am telling you, these ARE the best ever measuring spoons. Ever.
I used to be of the mindset that, what the heck, it's all the same measurements so who cares if you have an inexpensive plastic set or a fancy-schmancy stainless steel set?
Well, it makes a lot of difference.
Meet the Cusipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons.
One, the shape of these babies is wonderful-- long and narrow, they can squeeze inside your spice jars. The heavy-duty design that withstands the pressure when digging into canisters of brown sugar and flour. The gently curved handles allow the spoons to sit securely on the counter without tipping over. The tops of the spoons are flat (unlike the rounded edges of some plastic types) so I can scoop up the baking powder and then use the lid to level it out. And, unlike every single plastic set I own, the storage clip actually stays closed and keeps them together.
Some things in life are worth the extra investment, especially if it improves the experience.
Every time I use these spoons I am so pleased that I don't have to use another utensil to get my spices out of the jar. And I love the weight of them; it makes me feel like a serious professional chef.
This weekend is Inventory at the store. Imagine counting every.single.nut.and.bolt in the store. And every.single.board.in.the.yard. And it's been miserable cold here, with windchills in the -51 range.
But... it is almost the end of January. And you know what that means?
The official beginning of the Dreaming of Spring season. And with that comes the arrival of seeds, peat pots, indoor greenhouses, potting mix...ahhh, can you smell the potting mix? Feel that moist, loose soil in your hands? Envision the rows and rows and ROWS of new seeds, new little pockets of potential just waiting to shoot up and scream BRING ON SPRING!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
This post is for Haley, who has been bugging (harassing, hounding, threatening, guilting, et. al.) me to blog. (And also to my Dad, who every few weeks will say "you should get something up on that damn blog").
What can I say? 11 months ago the number of children I had doubled. Granted, I only have two, and not 8 (ahem, Kate) or 14 (ahem, Octomom) or 19 and counting (Michele Duggar) but it did kind of force me to re-prioritize my time (much of which was monopolized by feeding Leo every 2 hours) and the blog fell in the rankings of what I do with my free time. It is also harder to blog as I spend less time at the store and don't personally purchase as much, excluding for the baby department (and I don't want this blog to be all baby all the time) and so I need to go search and discover all the new and interesting things I want to share with you, dear reader (don't you like when writers call you that?)
Even when I see beautiful new bracelets that are sooo adorable (and cheap!) that I want to blog about, I realize I forgot to grab a picture of them on my phone the last time I was in. (Darn). Or I mean to write that Blaine has made fresh, homemade pretzels in Gingersnaps, and then I forget, and then they are gone (however, there are probably currently some still left because he just made them today!)
And while I love personal blogs (and even have a few that have also gone to the land of the neglected) I don't want this blog to be TOO personal because it isn't really about me, it's about the store.
(But if I wanted to throw in some personal details, since I last posted, my brother got engaged, my sister (his twin) had her first baby (my first nephew, Cooper!) and Leo started walking!)
As I write this, it is bedtime for my kids, and Leo is at my feet as I desperately try to entertain him by popping up the 5 animals on the playschool popper thing for him to close, and (now) every few seconds I have (now) to re-open them all for him (now) to re-close.
BUT, we have lots of great things planned for 2012 at the store that you will have to hear about somewhere, so it might as well be here. I will do my best to keep up with the blog, and inform you of all the interesting goings-on with our life at the store.
Up next, inventory (everyone's favorite time! not really) but with that a reallllly awesome sale so wait for the details (probably announced on facebook ) and then Sarah and Mom are off to Toronto for the giftshow and to buy all the great new things for the store this year (including, yes, Christmas items already!)
And, I will try to entertain you when I can with interesting takes on life--sometimes life at the store, sometimes life in general.
For instance, I saw on Nightline last night that French schools (who serve wedges of Brie in the cafeteria at lunch! Can you imagine?!?! What a dream!) have banned ketchup in an attempt to aid in their childhood obesity crisis (I guess they have one too, and only French Women Don't Get Fat). Granted, some people are ketchup obsessed but can you imagine not having access for the ketchup necessary items? Eeek.
So there you have it. Haley, you can fill the hole you dug to bury my blog with a beautiful potted plant this spring. And then everytime it blooms you will think of me. Awww....
Till we meet again....