Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 97- Out Of Soda

I actually ran out the night before last, but couldn't be bothered to hunt down alternate liquids. That continued through most of the day until about 4pm. That's when I finally broke out the water filter/ pitcher and got it set up. Fired up the electric kettle, too.

For anyone who's never lived in a place where they drink tea instead of coffee, this is a magic device that boils water in like 2 minutes. I love the electric kettle. I bet people with huge old bathtubs and tiny water heaters would love the electric kettle, too- just maybe not now....

So anyway, water filter/ pitcher, electric kettle, and some of the tea I moved from Wyoming. I didn't bring my whole stash, and I've been storing what I do have in the freezer, which may or may not be good for it. I have about one and a quarter sandwich baggies full of tea bags.

Before I go any farther with this story, I have to confess to being a huge tea snob. If I had $85 million, I would buy out one of those fancy online tea emporia- you know, the ones with tea that opens in the pot like a flower? And drink nothing but super expensive, hand picked (and tied) teas forever.

Alas, I has no $85 million. So I drink what I've got. Right now I'm down to about 5 bags of lipton (blech), around 20 of Tazo chai (spicy), half a dozen or so of goodearth vanilla chai, and about 15 packets of what might or might not be roobios chai from gypsy... it has no caffeine, so I don't think I'll be drinking it any time soon. I had 5 cups of tea, though, with a tablespoon of sugar in each, re-using two of the teabags twice. Lesson I learned from this? Nice tea bags can be reused. Lipton needs to be doubled first. It was like drinking hot sweet water. Again, Blegh.

For breakfast (long before I got around to cleaning stuff out) I finished off the cupcakes. I don't think I've had this much straight sugar in months. My mouth feels all gross, and no matter how much I brush, my teeth still feel gross.

But up until "dinner" my only non-leftover food cost was sugar for tea- 5T at 3t/T, and about 500 t servings in the bag means... um... what, 5 or 10 cents for sugar? That sounds low, somehow.

For dinner, I decided to go somewhat healthier. Well, and I needed to cook more beans. I rinsed (a lot) 1.5C black beans and dumped them in the crock pot, filling it most of the way with water. Turned it on high and left it for about 5 hours. When that time was up I tested a couple beans, and they were just about done, so I diced up 2 large garlic cloves, tossed them in the pot, and stired it up before letting it go again.

The 1.5C dry is 6 servings of beans. there are 24 in a $2, 2lb bag So I cooked up about 50 cents worth of black beans. I scooped about a cup into my bowl (say 10 cents worth), added a bit of garlic powder, a dash of salt (ok, more than a dash), a drizzle of oil, and a (tiny) splash of vinegar. Mixed up, ZOMG it was good. Creamy and smooth and salty, and not too vinegary, but just enough to bring out the flavors and the salt. Probably 14 cents for the whole bowl, including everything. It was so good I went back for another.

Oh, and I was going to make cornbread, but a sudden lack of motivation killed that one. Maybe today? I even found one that only calls for 1 thing I don't have- and I'm sure I can work around the soy milk thing. Even if I have to make milk from rice.

In other news, near total destitution seems to have killed my junk food cravings. I guess that's what happens, though, when you spend your gas money on junk food, your food money on soda, and your absolute soda hold out money to buy gas.

Hey, I never claimed to have any kinda common sense.


  1. I adore GoodEarth tea. I've got pomegranate cherry right now, super yum.

    The gross on your teeth sugar thing is why I practically never eat sweet stuff. I hate it.

  2. I really like the Mighty Leaf brand as well, but the silk bags and super high price put them out of reach for now.

    Oddly enough, I live within about 50 miles of the only tea plantation in the US. If I ever try a "local food" challenge at least I'll have tea- they even package the loose stuff right there on the grounds.

  3. Well, I've completed my challenge, and just realized it was entirely vegan!

    It came out great - I used 50/50 flour for the first time (half wheat half white) and it was perfectly chewy. I baked a whole eggplant, one onion quartered, a bunch of garlic cloves, and some cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet at 300 in the oven, taking the smaller stuff out as they were finished. The eggplant took the longest, a little over an hour, and I finished it at 350. Then I pureed the whole mush, rolled out my dough, and pretty much made on giant calzone. It baked for 20 at 350 and was perfect.

    I just hope the rest of it reheats well, I'm planning on slicing it now and having it as lunch for the rest of the week.

  4. The tomatoes sound like they'd make it amazing. You might not have to re-haet it, either. I know hot food just tastes better, sometimes, but both bread and baba ghanouj are eaten room temp or cold.

  5. Room temp is a thought. I'm really sensitive to textures in my food, and I'm a little worried the mush not hot will gross me out, but I can give it a try.

  6. Oh my. Tea really shouldn't be stored in the freezer. Here's a link explaining:

    You can steep tea, generally, 3 times. Only the first infusion will have caffeine, though (it takes about 30 seconds of steeping to get rid of the caffeine). Interestingly (to me; maybe not so much to others), there are some tea tasting ceremonies where the tea is infused over and over and over, smelling/tasting it each time until nothing happens except hot water. At that time the leaves are discarded. I personally prefer the Yixing pots for drinking tea in this manner.

    Also, if you ever find it in your budget, Adagio sells pretty good bloom teas for ~$1/each (less on wholesale). About 50% of the tea I sell comes from Adagio and most of their stuff is quite good.

  7. Unfortunately, at this point, the freezer provides the most constant temperature, as well as being the only place I can guarantee bugs stay out of it. The house is very damp, with insufficient insulation and damp in the floors. If this were a high quality tea I would buy only what I could use in a week or two, leaving the rest at the (hopefully) better controlled tea store. But it's mostly grocery store tea, and most of it is well over a year in my possesion, so I'm pretty sure it's already lost any more delicate flavors or aromas it might once have claimed. Now I'm just trying to keep it from mouldering or hatching before i can use it.

    I imagine the taste changes in that re-steeping process are amazing, if subtle. I'm trying to open up some space for good tea- even if I can only have it once a month or so, there's something quite luxurious about sitting with a (real) pot of tea and just thinking.

  8. Gotcha. That makes a lot more sense. It's really humid here in Houston too, but I store my billion pounds of tea sealed in either containers (metal, typically) or baggies, then all of those inside a big Rubbermaid bin and that seems to work out well. But I don't think it'd work at all if my house was much damper than it is.

    I am terribly disrespectful to the grocery store tea I have in the house. Er, car. Mainly it stays in the car (though a random bag will be found sometimes in the house) so I can put bags in my school bag as needed (can't really conveniently steep whole leaf tea on campus) which is definitely not a good place for it.

    I'm totally with you on the issue of having a nice pot of tea. It's very luxurious and peaceful for me as well.