Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My father's mother is one of the most influential people in my life.  A few weeks ago, we got some news that would shake the foundation of everything we know.  She was in the hospital and the doctors didn't think she would pull through.  All of us, my dad and my mom, my sister, me and Alex, we all dropped everything to go there and be with her.  She miraculous has gotten much better, but she turned 90 years old in December and unfortunately, will never be completely back to her old self.  I've been struggling with this.  I am so thankful that she is so stubborn and hung on, but it has really made me reflect on my own life, and if what I'm doing will be that important to someone.  But this isn't about me, this is about her.

My grandmother remains the most beautiful woman I have ever seen up close. She has an effortless beauty, that seemed otherworldly, and a grace that would have made Jackie Kennedy envious.  Every photo of her looks like a photo of an old Hollywood movie star.  Both my sister and I have her High School Senior portrait framed in our homes.

She is also the kindest soul everyone who has met her has ever known.  She is gentle and understanding, and speaks with a soft Southern voice that always comforted you no matter what was happening around you. I remember always feeling like she was on my side, which is something I can rarely say about anyone.  She is also superbly witty, hilarious, stubborn as hell, and her yearbook quote was "A Good Time, All the Time."

My earliest memories involve her.  I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz as a child, and she took me to the mall to buy me red glitter Mary-Jane shoes.  I was three-years-old, but I can remember walking through the mall with those shoes on, holding her hand, and thinking even then that only someone really special who loved me so much would do a thing for me like that. It was so small, but so big.  

She watched me while my mom was at work when I was a toddler.  She let me choose where we ate for lunch when we went out, even though I always ordered a cheeseburger. She would give me orange tic-tacs when I was cranky and called them "Sweet Pills." They always worked.  Once, I was in a plastic kiddie pool in her backyard and complained that the water was too cold.  She brought a giant soup pot full of hot water from the kitchen to warm it up.

I remember when she moved back to Georgia, and she told me they were going.  I asked her when she was coming back, and it must have been hard for her to explain that they wouldn't be.  I remember the first time my family went to visit and I was four-years-old, and I was always so excited to see her.

She always planned little trips for us when we went to visit.  We went to the beach at Savannah, we went to northern Georgia to the mountains and stayed in a cabin, and even when we just stayed at her house it seemed like there was always a party.  I have never felt more special.  She always cooked elaborate meals and cared so much about the presentation.  She would put everything in a beautiful serving dish and set it on the sideboard in the dining room.  She was a born entertainer and hostess.

When she was a small child, she had a newspaper with her best friend that they wrote in the basement.  The paper would document gossip from the neighborhood, like who got in a bicycle crash and who won hopscotch.  She was on the basketball team in high school, and earned a graduate degree in social work.

My head is filled with memories of her, but right now all I can do is think about how much I love her and how I always know she loves me back.

Back to Basics: Vegetable Storage

Monday, February 12, 2018

One thing I'm trying to be better about this year is managing waste.  If you examine your life, you'll realize how much plastic you use, how much food you waste, and how many of those damn plastic bags from the grocery store that you use.  If you learn to properly store your vegetables, they will last a lot longer reducing the amount of food you waste. I'm making a conscious effort to reduce my waste, but I am not zero waste yet.  It's spreading to all aspects of my life too! I'm looking into reusable feminine care products, makeup pads, and I have already stocked up on reusable grocery and vegetable bags.

When I started living on my own at 18, I would buy the occasional vegetable (yeah, my eating habits were less than stellar) and stick it in the fridge with the plastic bag still wrapped around it.  More often than not, it would sit there and rot before I got around to using it.  But now, 15 years later (damn, I'm old) I'm learning to properly store vegetables so I'm not making broth every other week, even though it is delicious and handy to have.

I'm not going to write about every vegetable in the world, only the ones I use regularly.  I'm also trying to use vegetables only when in season, but more about that later.


Most vegetables that you keep in your crisper remain loose.  Store your kale and other leafy greens washed, wrapped in a loose cloth towel.  Celery and peppers can also be stored in a crisper, but wrap the celery in a loose damp towel, and the peppers can remain loose. Broccoli and cauliflower should remain loose, but can the florets can be wrapped to prevent crumbs and crumbling.

In a jar with water

This is something that was completely new to me, but I LOVE IT. I had no idea that certain veggies needed to be left in an uncovered jar with water in the bottom. Aside from it keeping my veggies fresh for SO MUCH LONGER, it looks great.  I've started invested in a lot of mason jars of all sizes.  They are really good for everything, from veggie storage to morning coffee transport.
Asparagus, carrots, and leeks should all be left open in a jar with water. I reserve the lowest drawer in my fridge for these, as it has the most headroom.  The bottoms of the asparagus should be trimmed before storage, but nothing needs to be washed. Basil should be stored this way as well.

Unwashed and loose

Apples, cherries, eggplant and Brussels sprouts can all be store loose in the fridge.

Room temp, out of the fridge

Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, persimmons, zucchini and pomegranates should not be refrigerated.  Potatoes and onions should be kept in a dry place, and can be stored together. Something I don't have at home now, but am looking into is drawers to keep these things. My Pinterest is filled with kitchen storage ideas.


When you first start learning and and breaking old habits, it may seem daunting and confusing.  How will I ever remember this stuff?! Well, here is a list of my fav resources for managing waste and vegetable storage.

Paris To Go 
Zero Waste Home
Zero-Waste Chef