Germaphobes BEWARE: I reuse my eating and drinking utensils

eating and drinking utensils

There. I said it. Are you grossed out and refuse to read on?

I used to (and still am to a certain extent, especially when cooking) be one of those people who would use a dish, cup or fork for one little bite or sip and then toss it into the sink. When we first moved into our house, I did this even more because we now had a dishwasher.

Neither my partner nor I had a dishwasher in the household growing up. I didn’t have one in my apartment either. Let me just say, along with the microwave and washing machine, the dishwasher is up there in terms of best inventions ever to save time and money.  I HATED washing dishes growing up and dreaded having to wash them in my apartment kitchen sink when I got home from work.  They always took up so much of my time. I never seemed to wash them right away. I always had this (and still do a bit from time to time) tendency to just let them pile up like a tower of Jenga blocks just before it topples over.

My significant other, on the other hand, would use his plate, glass or bowl more than once (maybe even three times) before deciding that it would need a wash.  At first I was appalled and grossed out by this because I grew up with the notion that dishes and cups were used only once before washing. Things would get left on the counter and get automatically washed before I could even think about using them again. They were automatically assumed to be dirty.  Once they were put in the sink, it was a sign that you couldn’t use it again. My dad was a bit of a clean/organized freak, so maybe that was why.  That got passed on to my sister, but unfortunately not me.

She even offered to organize my house for me and that offer still stands.

When I brought this habit into the household, my partner claimed I went through way too many dishes, cups and cutlery at one time.  He’d ask why our dishwasher got full so quickly and so frequently. We’re only two people. Being the practical guy he is, he would point out that rather than letting those cereal crumbs solidify on the bowl, I could have easily given the bowl a quick rinse and use it the next morning.

Common sense, right?

It makes common sense and financial sense too. I wear my clothes (with the exception of undergarments, workout gear and socks) more than once if they don’t stink and have been barely worn, then why can’t I do that with the plates I eat on? Less stuff used to be eaten with, hence less things going in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is used less frequently, thus saving us money on our electricity/water bill.

It took a while like it does to change any habit, but I now often rinse my stuff a few times before throwing it into the dishwasher (although not as much as my partner). Sometimes if someone eats dinner before the other person comes home, due to after work activities, the other person will just use that same plate. No muss, no fuss.

 

 

Just Say No to Certain One Purpose Wonders

Cake pop makerDo you have one of these? It’s ok I won’t judge you too harshly. Or maybe I will.

Cake Pops are the latest baking gadget to hit the market, The machine saves you time and with minimal effort as it creates perfectly rounded cake pops, tasty treats for any occasion! You can bake up to 12 cake pops in under five minutes and the pop them onto sticks.  The fun comes when you  cover them with your choice of flavored icing and decorations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Party and You’re Invited (And Bring You Wallet)

tupperware partyI thought Tupperware parties were a thing of the past, something our grandmothers would go to for a social event. Although they are not as prolific now as they were in the 50s and 60s, they still exist. I just happened to peruse the Tupperware site to find that there are even different themes for the parties. Who knew?

I Heart Tupperware

I like Tupperware. Who doesn’t? It makes food storage, meal prep and lunch packing a breeze. They’re good for the environment because they’re reusable. (Note: while I do use Tupperware containers for storage, I don’t heat up my food in the microwave in these containers). You can buy it anywhere in so many colours, shapes and sizes. You can’t store food with just one, so of course most Tupperware is sold in multiples.

Would I go to a “party” that is selling them? No because I don’t want to feel obligated to buy something at what is supposed to be a social gathering. I see it as more of a social shopping environment. Yes, it gives you something to do at the party, but even my anti-social self would prefer just to eat, drink and be merry. I know there is no pressure, but I would feel bad if someone went through all this effort to host a “selling party” and barely got any sales.  I know the feeling all too well of what it’s like to try to sell something. If the hostess was a relative or a close friend, then I would feel even MORE obligated to buy something.

The Appeal of Tupperware Parties to Women

Back in the day, Tupperware parties were a big deal.  During the 1950s and 1960s, the man was at work and makin’ the bacon. The majority of women were staying at home doing the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids.  Women could really relate to the Tupperware parties because they were the ones in the kitchen and were experts at hosting dinner parties. Tupperware was something they used in their everyday lives.

I think these parties appealed to women because not only was it entrepreneurial, at the same time it was friendly and social. The host would be someone you knew or your friend knew, someone who appeared to be trustworthy and knowledgeable about the product.

The Evolution and Benefit of Having a Product Party

The Tupperware party has now evolved into parties that sell other items such as beauty products, jewelry and kitchen gadgets. There are even parties that promote sex toys. These are known as passion parties.

While I personally would never host one, (because I suck at sales and I already get exhausted from hosting regular parties) product parties are a great way to develop entrepreneurial skills and make some extra cash. Most companies will offer discounts on the products for the hostess. They offer flexible hours and you can make your own schedule. Best of all, you can work from home, if this is one of your ultimate goals.

Have you ever hosted or ever been to a Tupperware party or something of that nature?

Not Eating it All at “All You Can Eat Restaurants”

All You Can Eat RestaurantsA few weeks ago, I went out with some family for all you can eat sushi.  I don’t really like sushi to begin with. I have eaten sushi and sashimi on several occasions and each time I was left full, but unsatisfied. I don’t think I will ever understand why people crave it and why people get so excited about it. I appreciate the fact that it is beautifully made, it is healthier for you and the ingredients are quite fresh, but I really like my salt, grease and sugar to hit the spot. I grumble to myself and grudgingly get the teriyaki dishes and/ or tempura options. I don’t want to seem like the picky eater, but out of all my friends and family, with the exception of my parents, I seem to be the odd person out for not liking sushi.

I was never good and will never master the skill at using chopsticks. I’ve tried and failed miserably. I often ask right off the bat for a spoon and fork. Yes, I am Asian and I prefer to use a spoon and fork, or knife and fork, depending on what it is I eat. (To be more accurate, I am of mixed Asian background- Filipino and Chinese, with a little more Spanish blood than most Filipinos. At least that’s what my mom claims.  Unlike most other Asian cultures, Filipinos actually use spoons and forks for eating utensils).

I rarely go out to restaurants and the odd times I do, I prefer to go somewhere where 1. It’s reasonably priced 2. It has the type of food I will enjoy 3.  The menu has dishes that I wouldn’t normally make myself. Back in the day when I could eat a ton of food in one sitting, I used to love going to Mandarin. I would barely eat during the day just so I could get the bang for my buck at the buffet. Nowadays, my eating habits have drastically changed.  I am a more of a grazer, eating more frequently and in smaller portions, which is better for you anyway. There will be the odd time I can overdo it on the eating, and that usually seems to be when I go out for breakfast.

I often try to avoid going to buffets because now I don’t feel I get my money’s worth. I can’t justify spending$25-$30 if I eat a salad plate and one full plate. Don’t get me wrong, I love the food they have there and I wish I could eat more, but I can’t. I try my best not to waste food at home (although I do throw a few things here and there), so it really pisses me off how much food is wasted at restaurants, including buffets. Sometimes I’ll eat only half of my meal and make sure I have enough to take home for lunch the following day. I really try my best to finish my meal though.  I’ll see people eat only half or 3/4 of their meal and refuse to take it home. Even that 1/4 of a meal could be used for a snack! What pisses me off even more is when people go to Dim Sum or Sushi restaurants, order 100 things, just because it is all you can eat or they want to try almost  everything on the menu. Sure it’s great to order lots of things and you have a variety, but don’t go overboard with it. Are you trying to feed yourself and a group of friends or a small village?

Why you shouldn’t go overboard and over order things:

Several reasons: Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and wallet. You’ll quickly realize that you’ve ordered way too much and that you can’t finish it. What’s more is that they often will charge you for all the uneaten food you’ve wasted.  I believe you can’t take it home either, but don’t quote me on that.

The most obvious one of all (but you already knew this): WASTED FOOD = WASTED $$$!

I will gladly finish my friend’s meal if I can or take it home with me. Several reasons: Free food. It’s not being wasted and one less meal I have to cook. :)

 

Organic isn’t necessarily better for you, neither is it better for your wallet

Organic foodOrganic food may appear to be fresher and of better quality, but does that necessarily mean organic food is healthier for you? It almost seems as if the idea itself is psychosomatic. You just think it’s healthier because it has the term organic attached to it. The way the animals are raised and slaughtered, the fact that the farmer is local, no pesticides are used-These aspects seem to put a more personal touch to it. This may cause us to think that oh wow, I feel so much better and healthier eating an organic tomato vs. a tomato grown with pesticides on it. Although I had mentioned in my first post about organic food supposedly tasting better, there is virtually no evidence that organic food is safer or more nutritious than the other kind (Wente, 2013). Furthermore, the American Cancer Society states that there is no evidence that residues of pesticides and herbicides at low dosages present in foods increase the risk of cancer” (Wente, 2013). Many detailed studies conducted around the globe have come up with the same results: organic food isn’t any healthier than food grown conventionally.

Here are what some researchers and key leaders in the industry had to say in regards to the comparison:

In our view the current scientific evidence does not show that organic food is any safer or more nutritious that conventionally produced food.”- Sir John Krebs, former head of the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (Luik, 2003)

Hundreds or rigorous tests have failed to reveal better-tasting properties or improved nutritional value, but have consistently shown that organic produce has lower nitrate and protein content.” – Anthony Trewavas from the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Edinburgh (Luik, 2003)

Katrin Woese from Germany’s Institute for Health Protection of Consumers examined 150 studies comparing organic and conventional food. No evidence was present to support claims that organic food is “nutritionally superior” because better quality plants are produced through the manure decomposition that is vital to organic farming” (Luik, 2003). With the exception of nitrate and protein content and in regard to all other desirable nutrition values, no major differences were observed between organic and conventional foods or contradictory discoveries did not allow any clear statements (Luik 2003).

As someone having a scientific background, and reading about lack of scientific evidence to the “organic is healthier claim”, it seems as if people who pay for organic food are really only paying for the luxury of the label. The same reason why people buy Lululemon, but with the difference being that their clothing is superior in terms of functionality, breathability and quality. (I can say this because I have worn workout clothing of different brands and go through rigorous workouts. My Lululemon clothes are the only ones that provided the most durability, comfort during movement and performed the best). I have purchased organic bananas and conventionally grown bananas. Needless to say, I didn’t feel any better or worse when I ate the organic bananas. My health hasn’t improved due to eating organic food, but rather exercising intensely and regularly and eating everything in moderation.

When dealing with issues of world hunger and the cost of providing food to the masses, organic food seems only attainable to people living in developed countries or people of an affluent nature who are willing to shell out the extra dollars. The reason why it costs more because the growing process is more labour-intensive. It may be considered better for the environment, but shouldn’t good quality food be available to people from all walks of life, not just those who can afford it?  According to a consumer poll, “More than half of Americans think an  organic label is just an excuse to charge higher prices even though more people are concerned about the environment.” (Huffington Post, 2013)

 

 

The bottom line how I see it: Save yourself and your wallet by skipping the organic food. It just doesn’t seem worth it. I am NOT against organic food, I’m just against the prices they charge and the claims made, but lack of substantial evidence to back up the claim.

Do you consider organic food trendy?

I have never set foot in Whole Foods even though there is one that I could easily bike to from my house.

 

Sources:

 

Huffington Post. “Organic Prices: Food Label Just An Excuse to Charge More, Majority of Consumers Say in New Poll.” Accessed: June 7, 2013 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/organic-prices-food-label_n_3133043.html/)

 

Luik, John. “Organic Orthodoxy: The idea that organic food is tastier or healthier is no more than an article of faith.” (Final Edition) Western Standard (1710-1026): 2007. Pg.: 49.

 

Wente, Margaret. “Organic tastes good, but better for us? No.” The Globe and Mail Accessed June 7, 2013

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/organic-tastes-good-but-better-for-us-no/article1344742/)

I’d Rather “Make the Bacon” and Bring it Home,than cook it

Make the Bacon

Source: Cover of I Love Bacon! recipe book by Jane Rockmill

Oh Sundays. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love how you can wake up with no alarm, just laze around in bed. Enjoy a greasy breakfast (with bacon, of course) and sip your morning coffee while reading the paper or catching up on your favourite blogs (Or you can go out for breakfast, but I sometimes cringe at the thought of an overpriced breakfast. $12??!!? Are you kidding me?).  The morning seems to last forever in my opinion.  Come mid-afternoon, time seems to speed up and go by a lot faster. Then that sinking disappointing feeling sets in. Tomorrow is Monday. Tomorrow it is back to the grind. Back to the work week that seems to drag on like that teacher in Charlie Brown where I never understood what she was saying.

I often spend my Sundays grocery shopping, because it is just  a complete ZOO on Saturdays.  I’ll do a few loads of laundry and cook food for the week.  In the post: The Joy of Cooking…For One, I complain about cooking for one. Now I am the head chef and meal planner and am cooking for two. Oh joy. We don’t grocery shop together because  he’s not a big fan of grocery shopping. As I have mentioned before, the bf is quite handy and thus assumes the responsibility of being Mr. Fix-It.  (With an older house, there seems to be a lot of fixing things.) I once hammered a screw in my bathroom wall, so thus I assume the responsibility of trying to be a domestic goddess.  He does do some cleaning, but I usually have to ask.

I have come to the realization that I like the idea of having my own house and eventually owning it, but I absolutely hate cooking and cleaning. But I do it because we all know that eating out  all the time is a waste of money and I’m not willing to pay someone to do the cooking and cleaning for me. I know people work crazy hours and it takes a load off, but you know when they say “leave it to the professionals” for some things? You can argue with me all you want, but cooking and cleaning are not some of them. If you can read, you can cook. Dirt and dust doesn’t disappear like magic in the movie Fantasia, so clean up your mess already.

If I lived in the 50s or 60s and was the housewife,  staying at home, and only did the cooking and cleaning, I think I would have gone bonkers. Sure all that stuff passes the time, but I wouldn’t want that to be my livelihood ( I am definitely the Peggy Olson in Mad Men). Even if the bf was making a ton of money and we could live off one income easily, I still wouldn’t want to be a stay at home housewife. He, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind staying at home and cooking the bacon I brought home.  Nowadays, I know you can work from home, which does seem awesome in a lot of ways, but I like actually going to a workplace and making my money. I don’t have enough discipline to work at home. There are too many distractions and since my current  job isn’t a typical office job, I couldn’t work at home anyway if I wanted to.

Would you rather “make the bacon” and bring it home or just cook it? Anybody else had bacon for breakfast today?

 

 

The Joy of Cooking….For One

 Cooking For OneWe all try to grocery shop and cook meals at home because we know how eating out can be so expensive if you do it often enough. It takes a bit of time and effort to plan your meals, make the list and cook the meals. I try to base my meals on what already exists in my fridge and pantry  and whatever is on sale at the grocery store. I’m not a big fan of those meals that require a lot of prep work and have 20 ingredients, some ingredients which I most likely will never use again unless I make that particular dish. Once in a while I’ll do that type of meal, but that’s usually reserved for the weekend.

As of now, my bf and I do not live together. Whenever I make a big batch of something, I make my bf come over and eat some of it during his lunch (His work is a 5 min drive from my place. Why don’t we live together you ask? We have completely different schedules. I start work at 6:30 am and he starts at 8:30 am. I live in a one bedroom apartment. Would YOU want to wake up mon-fri at 5:15 am, knowing that you actually don’t have to get up until 7:45 am? Exactly).

I try to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner for several days, but I can only do that so many times. I need a little bit of variety. I could cook more than one type of meal to have that variety though…just never got around to doing it. I don’t really like cooking, I prefer baking. It’s probably due to the smell of it and the fact you can decorate them. Now you ask, “MTB, why don’t you just cook every night or every other night?”  Between my full-time job and teaching group fitness classes several times a week, there isn’t enough time to make a meal. Once I get home from class, I’m pretty exhausted (My full-time job is physical as well) and the last thing I want to do is cook. I have just enough energy to take the food out of the fridge, pop it into the microwave and shove it down my throat.

So I spend either a chunk or my saturday or sunday grocery shopping and cooking for myself. Grocery shopping for yourself is a bit of a pain.  Not to mention lugging those groceries from your car to the elevator and then to your apartment. Its my extra workout. My produce sometimes rots faster than I can eat it.  I was so excited yesterday when I managed to get through an entire container of strawberries and not one was close to rotting. But now I am sick of strawberries and will not buy them for a while. Maybe I should look into buying frozen fruits and veggies. Or just freezing the fresh ones. I know its cheaper to buy in bulk , but bulk doesn’t really work out in your favour when you are just one person.  I know smaller servings aren’t cost-effective,  but its more definite that I will eat it and it won’t go to waste.

The joys of cooking for two: you can make meals, go grocery shopping and eat together. Or you can alternate making meals or going grocery shopping but still eat TOGETHER. The biggest thing of all: you’re not the only one always cleaning up. I hate doing dishes and I don’t have a dishwasher. :(  It seems I use a lot of cookware and dishes when I cook….and I make somewhat of a mess. :)