Friday, October 8, 2010

Passing through the Paper Aisle in the Store

I keep asking myself what people did before we had all these modern convenience things that we take for granted.   I also ask myself what I would do if this was the very last time I would ever have ____.  How would I use it?

The first product in this aisle that I stopped buying was paper towel.  Actually, it was pretty easy and painless.  Most of my 'rags' weren't even decent enough to keep around as rags.  So, into the trash they went and out came the scissors to make new rags of varying sizes out of Bill's old T shirts (shhhhhh) and some ratty old towels.  I keep them in a kitchen drawer, handy to grab whenever I need to clean up a mess.  Give it a rinse, and into the laundry room, no problem.

Napkins?  Well, I don't use many, and I can live without them.  I have some designated washcloths in the kitchen drawer that I'm comfortable using as napkins.  Bill?  Not so comfortable with that system.  Most of our friends and family?  Really not okay with that system.  What's the big deal here, people?  Granted, I don't expect you to carry washcloths or cloth napkins so you can wipe special sauce off your chin at the local burger place during your lunch hour, but is it so bad to use cloth instead of paper at my house or (gasp) at your own house?

Plastic wrap - I have a roll that has lasted several years.  Most of the leftovers go into refrigerator dishes that have lids.  If it's staying in the serving bowl, often times a plate will fit as a lid.  I haven't decided if I'm going to buy those reusable plastic things with the elastic yet.  For some reason, they remind me of my mother's shower cap.  I remember her using them when I was a kid, though...and I hated washing them.

Aluminum foil - I now buy the recycled foil, and I recycle it, too.  I use it as many times as I can before it heads to the recycle bin.  I still try not to use it though.

Freezer bags - When I have to buy them, I usually buy freezer bags. They are thicker, and I can use them many times before they spring a leak.  I had some that were almost three years old before they ended up in the trash.  I wash them and put them in the empty dishwasher to air dry (with the door cracked), or hang them on the Indian clothesline.  If they have had raw meat in them, they go into the trash.  But I try not to use them for that.  I usually keep a few plastic bread wrappers around here for when I bake bread, so sometimes other things can go in them, too.

Paper plates, cups, bowls, plastic spoons, etc. - I don't buy them, won't buy them.

Toilet paper - Ehhhhhhh, this is one thing that I won't ration or go without.  If I had to, I could do something else, but you know?  As long as I don't have to use rags, or leaves and grass, I'll probably keep buying this.  Ditto with personal products.

Tissues - I don't have a stash of hankies.  Bill does have a stack of hankerchiefs, but we both use tissues.  Funny, now that I think about it, it's been a while since I saw a hankerchief in the laundry.  I had to ask him  about it just now.  He said that he still carries one in his pocket for emergencies when he's working.  Like when he feels a sneeze coming on or thinks he has a booger hanging.  Ahhh, that's my Bill, he's very tidy.

Trash bags - I almost forgot about those.  I use plastic grocery sacks in the bathrooms and laundry waste baskets.  We take our cloth bags when we get groceries, but still end up with some plastic bags.  We also have friends that refuse to recycle, so I can get a mountain of plastic bags from them if I need to.  I do buy cheap kitchen trash bags, but since I recycle and compost everything, it takes a while before it's full.  Often times, I can just empty the trash and use the bag again.  I'd like to use a waste basket in the kitchen, (and of course, the 'free' plastic bag) but Bill thought he was taking out the trash way too often.

Did I miss anything?

The Quest for the Perfect Oatmeal

Bill has high cholesterol.  Period.  He was on the usual run of statin drugs, but had side effects so badly that he was miserable.  So now, we're doing the herbal thing.  I spent days researching on the internet, looking for proven OTC (over the counter) supplements and a better diet.

Most of us know that a high fiber diet is important, right?   We always had oatmeal around here, but Bill seemed to pick up the packets of flavored oatmeal when he made the grocery store run.  In my never ending journey to lower my consumerism, I kept thinking that I could make them for him, cheaper and they would always be on hand, right? 

It seems that he has a higher standard for what is acceptable oatmeal than what I do.  I'm perfectly content throwing a handful or two of old fashioned oats into a bowl, guessing at some water, nuking it, then adding whatever suits me at the moment - cinnamon and sugar, maple syrup or brown sugar, nuts, pour on some milk if it's too thick.  I guess I never really paid any attention to how he made his oatmeal.

So, I did my usual looking at recipes and then mixed up a single serving of oatmeal the way that I would eat it.  He said it was too much oatmeal.  The next batch had less oatmeal, but everything else was the same.  Not sweet enough.  Another batch - he likes the quick oats better than the old fashioned.. and on.. and on.  He's so polite about it, too. I guess he doesn't want to hit me with too much at one time.

This morning was the best so far.  He just had to add a little more brown sugar and it was fine.  So I'll make another serving in a little snack baggie for tomorrow and see how it goes.

What scares me is that this was just for ONE flavor - cinnamon bun. 

The final recipe:
1/2 cup oatmeal (quick oats)
1 Tblsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. powdered coffee creamer
pinch of salt
a few pecan pieces

Makes one serving in a little snack baggie. Your taste may vary.
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10-12 - I got the appoval for this one, also:

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal

In a quart bag, I gooshed up 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. Mapleine (maple flavoring) until it was well mixed.
For single serving bags:
1 Tbsp of this brown sugar/Mapleine mix
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 tsp. powdered coffee creamer
pinch of salt
a few walnut pieces
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The only reason why I use the powdered coffee creamer is so it seems to have a little 'milk' for when he's out of town and only has water.  You certainly could leave it out.