Being Happy with What I Have

In my period 3 class, a group of four students decided they really liked my fountain pens and wanted to be an official fountain pen club. I had some donated Pilot Varsities that I used as loaners, and I gave them each one. They were thrilled and used them constantly. The problem with the Varisites is that they are disposable, so I knew their fun would run out if I didn’t do something, and I also knew they didn’t have the money for the upfront cost of a good fountain pen.

So I dug around my desk and found four beautiful, refillable fountain pens to give them along with free refill service from my nearly bottomless supply of Pelican black ink. Once again, they were ecstatic, and now other students are eyeing the pens as well.

The result on me was twofold: on the one hand, I was overjoyed to be able to give my students something they could love and care for for a lifetime just by looking through things I already had. On the other hand, I realized that if I had four fountain pens that I could just give away, my consumption had gotten a bit out of control.

The next day, I brought a bag full of school supplies for students to select from. Among them were rulers, books, pencils, pencil led, word cards, (normal) pens, index cards, and stationery items. I also went through my closet and culled one box of clothes and one large trashcan of clothes to donate.

It appeared that despite my big decluttering project of two years ago, I still had a surplus of unused stuff. I’ve given myself a challenge in December to enjoy what I own while getting rid of what I no longer need/enjoy in the most environmentally friendly fashion possible. Here are the results so far:

December 1st:

I donated a Rode directional microphone to the film department at my school. The lead teacher was thrilled. If I end up needing it, I can borrow it.

December 2nd:

I shredded two notebooks of bad creative writing.

I gave away a shoe polish kit that I bought from a former student of mine working on commission to pay for college. I never used it, but a lot of my students keep their shoes nice, and it was high quality stuff. The student who got it was very happy.

December 3rd:

I trashed one pair of shoes that was beyond repair and boxed two pairs that are in good condition for later donation. I can no longer wear those shoes because they cause too much pain with my disability.

December 4th:

I went through four boxes from the garage. Some things I trashed, some I boxed for a future garage sale or donation, and some things were actually things I had been looking for and was on the verge of replacing. I put those in more logical places in my house. Among them was a mini greenhouse that my husband got as a gift from Ikea about four years ago. I’ve been getting into gardening lately, so now I can sprout things despite the cold weather.

December 5th:

I took one backpack in excellent condition to school to donate to the next student who needs one and gave away at least fifty stationery items to students. I still have plenty of stationery at home. It’s a sickness.

I also put three duffel bags (how did I get so many?), a bracelet, and a purse into the donate or sell box.

December 6th:

I donated two books to students, then put some trinkets, an unused Dr. Who poster, two tops, and geode bookends into the donate or sell box.

December 7th:

I recycled four books that were designed to prep students for a test that no longer exists, gave away four spiral notebooks to students, and gave one of the fountain club members who recently had a birthday a nearly full bottle of fountain pen ink.

December 8th:

I gave away a black Lamy Safari fountain pen to a fountain club member whose Pilot fell nib-first and was beyond my repair (though I told her to keep it and learn about repair online). The Lamy is nearly indestructable.

I recycled my notes to study for the linguistics and social science CSETs.

I set aside fifteen ASL DVDs, two ASL dictionaries, and three ASL textbooks for donation or sale.

December 9th:

I gave away two government books, an essay college book, a copy of Candide, and two cookbooks. I set aside three workout books that my body can no longer use for sale or donation. I threw away some junk I’d been hanging onto (like my temporary parking placards. I’ve got a permanent one now).

December 10th:

I went through ten boxes in the garage and found a ton of stuff to donate to students (mostly three-ring binders which I will hang onto for students in need), a lot of trash that once had emotional significance but no longer does, lots of financial records that needed shredding, and about a box full of things to donate. All told, out of ten boxes, I am keeping one box worth of stuff.

December 11th:

I cleaned out the shed, finding one more box worth of things to give to students in need, some posters that I’d been looking for for my classroom, and my party dishes that I’d stashed in there after providing my students breakfast before the AP exam. Those are now washed and put away. I have another box to go through, but my body needed a break from the work (I also filled two trash bins full of weeds and out-of-control ivy from gardening this morning), so I’ll have to deal with that one later. All told, I emptied about six boxes of stuff.

Reflection:

I think I mentioned before that I grew up in a hoarding environment. Getting rid of stuff has never been particularly easy for me, which is why I was so proud of myself when I did my big decluttering project before. This time I am even more proud because it was easy to get rid of what I no longer used.

Here’s something distressing: much of what I went through was stuff I brought into my marriage — some of it had been in the same boxes from when my husband and I first moved in together ten years ago. Getting rid of those things has felt incredibly freeing. I could go on, but I think I’ll keep some ideas for another post.

It’s clear for now that I do not need to buy anything but food and entertainment for quite some time.

 

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Posted in Decluttering, Environmentalism, Finances, Fountain Pens and Refillable Pens, Personal, Plastic-Free Living, Politics | Leave a comment

I Love My Wheelchair

Last Tuesday, my husband and I went out for an adventure day in L.A. After breakfast at a delicious restaurant where I was served my food by a former student, we went to the Natural History Museum, to see a movie at the El Capitan (yes, I know “the El” is redundant, but that’s how we butcher things in Los Angeles, thank you very much), and ended with dinner at a restaurant near Melrose that can make every single thing on their menu gluten free.

It was a great day, but it was only possible because of my wheelchair. I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the front door of the museum (Natural History is the furthest away from the parking area of the museums in Exposition Park), let alone up the stairs. Since my shoulder is bothering me, my husband pushed 95% of the time, and I really can’t overvalue a good wheelchair pusher. He was considerate of what I wanted to do/see without asking too often, he pushed at a comfortable pace, and he navigated crowds expertly. 

I stayed in the chair for the entirety of the museum visit (by the way, the rock and gem exhibit is worth the trip. The dinosaurs are cool, but the rocks were the real draw for me), but I did use my chair as a walker through the unpaved rose garden. It was good for me to take a break from sitting, and it was just short enough that it didn’t cause much pain.

When we went into Hollywood, I left the wheelchair in the car because it was a short walk to the El Capitan and we would be sitting shortly… I thought. Unfortunately, the El Capitan ushers told us they’d open the doors in 30 minutes. We looked at the handprints in front of the (no longer Grauman’s) Chinese Theater for a few minutes, but after ten minutes on my feet, I couldn’t take another step and I had to find a place to sit. We sat until the 30 minutes were up, then went back to the theater only to be told to stand in a line for 15 more minutes. I tried leaning on the wall, shifting weight, but nothing I did relieved the pain. I regretted not having brought out my wheelchair. 

Finally, at dinner my placard came in handy. If not for that, we would have had to park far enough away that I would have needed my wheelchair, and though the restaurant would have had to accomodate me, the tables were so close together, it would have had trouble doing so. Instead, because we got parking only a few feet away, I was able to only worry about my gluten-free accomodations. 

This morning (I’m writing this the day after — this will post later) I’m paying for the time on my feet in Hollywood. My whole body is stiff (a common morning occurence), but my ankles and the sides of my feet are especially stiff and throbbing with pain. I could have avoided that, so I’m a little upset with myself, but mostly I’m happy that my wheelchair allowed me to have such a fun day out and about with my husband.

Posted in Chronic Illness, Disability, Joint Pain, Personal, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What I’m Using to Study German

Pimsleur German

German Level 1 Speech

The Good

My core resource for now is Pimsleur. Since letters in German don’t sound like they do in English, I think it’s important to hear the language quite a bit, so an all-audio resource is beneficial in that way. I also like that it forces you to think and talk in the language — not as much as a live conversation would by any stretch, but more than drill-and-kill does. Also, it only asks of you what you can do and provides immediate possible correct responses so if you make a mistake, you can fix it immediately. The speakers are clear without sounding overly stodgy.

The Not-So-Good

On the down side, it teaches very formal German from the start. I understand the intent that being too formal is safer than being too familiar in some situations, but for my purposes — going to casual meetups, maybe visiting friends in Germany — it is entirely too formal. At the meetup, everyone used “du”, and I hadn’t even heard the word yet! Reviews do promise that familiar forms are coming. I am eagerly awaiting that.

Even though I consider the lack of reading material one of the positives, I also consider it one of the negatives in the long run. Even if it would be good for my pronunciation to do all five levels without ever cracking open a book, I’m just too impatient for that. I love reading. One of the reasons American Sign Language and I don’t get along so well is because I have to watch videos, and I’m just not a fan.

Finally, it’s not cheap. Most good things aren’t.

Warning: It is all audio, which may make it tempting to use while driving, but especially in the early stages, some of the mental requirements are quite taxing and can make you a danger on the road. Do yourself and the world a favor: study at home or take public transit (and get used to people staring at you while you say words and phrases over and over again in German).

Cafe in Berlin Audiobook and Ebook

Learn German With Stories: Café in Berlin ? 10 Short Stories for Beginners Audiobook

Can I just say that the author, Andre Klein, must have read my mind? I love learning with stories, and I often start with children’s stories. Since I don’t know the first thing about German pronunciation, I was looking for children’s books on audible that were also available on the Kindle so I could read with audio, and I stumbled across these. I have only read and listened to the first story so far, but what an absolute treasure! Listening and reading through the first time gave me a decent idea of how vowel sounds are written in German. I understood some of the story, but I definitely missed quite a few of the details. Then I listened to it with the vocabulary page open at the end of the chapter, paying attention to the words the author had bolded in order to teach the story. Then I read and listened again, reinforcing the meanings of the new words (I’ll be honest; nearly all of them were bolded in the first story). Finally, I listened and read a fourth time. Had I not been in a waiting room while my car was being worked on, I would have paused at the end of each sentence and repeated to practice pronunciation and the feel of properly constructed sentences.

The Good

It’s cheap! I got all four ebooks and the audio to go along with the first ebook (just over an hour of audio) for under $15. It is a short book, but it’s meant to be practiced, so that hour or so will provide several hours of practice (especially if I keep doing each story four times!).

The author speaks very slowly. If I were not an absolute beginner, I would probably complain that it is too slow, but I am an absolute beginner, so it’s perfect. It’s nice to be able to hear every sound; on other resources I’ve listened to, I’ve had trouble distinguishing sounds (Pimsleur breaks the words down, but usually only the first time you hear a complicated word or when two words sound very similar). This was not the case with this book.

The author also has a series of mysteries and fantasy books that I think are aimed at upper beginner and intermediate learners. Some of them appear to be choose-your-own-adventure type. I’m looking forward to that.

The Not-So-Good

So far, I have nothing to complain about. The story itself was no great piece of literature, but it reminded me of exactly what happens to me when I travel (everyone speaks English and I don’t get to practice the language I’m studying!), so it still gave me a chuckle. I’m sure as the language gets more complex, the stories will get more interesting. Even if they don’t, they’re serving their purpose.

Duolingo

Screenshot (58)

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve decided to give Duolingo a try. I made an account yesterday, and I used it quite a bit this morning in the waiting room. I still have most of the same reservations I had before. The order of the example sentences seems a little less random now, but that doesn’t mean I like the order. For example, right now I’d like to learn numbers, but I have to unlock something like 29 levels before I can get there. My next lesson is on food. I have no need to learn anything about food right now; I’d much rather be able to count. Other topics look interesting on the tree, but I can’t just jump to them. On the one hand, I can see that the level-up mentality leads to addiction, which isn’t a bad thing when studying, but I’d prefer to be unlock lessons within a certain level in my own order.

It doesn’t overtly teach any grammar that I’ve found, but it does reinforce conjugations, and it does force me to type, which I do like. The speaking check could be improved if after recording my speaking it would allow me to listen to it. I get the feeling that it will accept anything anywhere near the target words.

I used my first credits to double down; if I study for seven days straight, then I’ll get my 5 credits bet +5. By then, I’ll have enough to buy Duo a snazzy outfit. I do have to give it to them — Duo is cute. In the last lesson, they even made most of the introduction sentences about Duo (“His name is Duo.” “He is called Duo.” etc.). I can see why it’s popular.

But… for speaking? I honestly don’t know how the woman at my meetup got so good with Duolingo as her main resource. Maybe she, not the program, is the impressive one. Either way, I’ll stick with it for a bit and see how it goes. At the very least, I’ll learn how to spell, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

FluentU

Screenshot (59)

I haven’t set up an account for this yet, but I would like to. This promises to be a lot like Learn Thai Podcast, but more interactive. I think it would be a great addition to what I’ve got so far, but at $30/month, it’s going to have to wait. Pimsleur wasn’t cheap, so I’ve got to get my money’s worth on that before splurging on something else. Once I do get around to this, I’ll write a thorough review.

Other

Did I mention I spent a long time in that waiting room this morning? Well, I did, and that meant I found more resources that I’m excited to use, the most promising among them Deutsche Welle. One of the women at the meetup mentioned this, and I’m so glad she did! I’m a bit overwhelmed with material right now, but I’ll give this a good look through soon. The other one I’m very excited about is The Goethe Institute, and not just because it has one of my favorite author’s names (By the way, why is it we don’t have a Shakespeare Institute for teaching English? There’s a Cervantes Institute for Spanish. Silliness. The only Shakespeare Institute I can find just teaches the works of Shakespeare). It looks full of useful information, and like Deutsche Welle, it’s 100% free.

I looked into GermanPod101, but the reviews complained about the same thing I complained about with ThaiPod101: one of the speakers is not native and sounds pretty awful. I eventually got over that with ThaiPod101, but part of that was because there’s a relative dearth of Thai language learning support out there. There’s so much German language support to choose from, much of it free, that GermanPod101 choosing to go with a non-native speaker for 50% of its dialogues is simply bad marketing.

Motivation Update

I still have no idea why I’m learning German, but it’s pretty fun so far. 🙂

 

 

 

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Why I May Have to Eat My Words

The meetup on Sunday was sparsely populated because it was Easter, but that worked for me as it was a bit less intimidating. There were seven people there, including me. One of them was also a beginner, but she conversed pretty well for someone who had only been studying three or four months; the others had been speaking German anywhere from three years to their entire lives. I asked her what she was using to study, and she said she pretty much exclusively uses Duolingo and the Meetups.

Well… it’s clearly working for her, so maybe I shouldn’t dismiss it so quickly.

I didn’t get a chance to find out how everyone else learned (I was trying to keep my speaking to a minimum since I couldn’t really say anything in German), but there were two friends who said they’d been studying the same amount of time, about three years. One of them goes out of his way to practice his conversation skills regularly; the other is more of a book learner. The difference in their speech was pretty incredible. The former could carry on a conversation with little hesitation. He probably made mistakes (I know he made at least a few as a native speaker corrected him), but he spoke fluidly and without much hesitation. The other clearly had deep knowledge of the language; he could talk about it quite well and even knew some grammatical terms the native speakers didn’t know, but he couldn’t follow or carry on a conversation well.

I have no idea how long each of them practices, but it was an interesting contrast based on their different approaches. I’d like to be somewhere in between. Considering outside of this meetup group I don’t have any reason for conversational German, I think my goal is going to be a bit more literary if I stick with this, but I don’t want to be completely hesitant when in a situation where I do have the opportunity to speak.

Anyway… it was a fun day. I have a month before the next meetup, and I’m hoping to be able to say some pleasantries and maybe even a few sentences of substance.

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Why I Am Not Impressed with Duolingo

A couple weeks ago I woke up with a strong desire to learn German. There is no reason for me to learn German; the few people I know who speak it do not speak it as a first language and are fluent in at least one language that I already speak. There aren’t German TV shows, radio, or movies readily available here, and I can’t imagine it being a practical skill unless I go to Germany (which I certainly wouldn’t mind doing). But… I feel like learning at least a little German, so I’ve followed my usual pattern by starting off with Pimsleur.

Everyone I mentioned this odd desire to said I should check out Duolingo. I’d checked it out before, and my impression was that it was kind of like a user-created Rosetta Stone. I have strong negative feelings towards Rosetta Stone (another post, perhaps), so I’d never been particularly tempted to give it a fair trial, but after so many people said the same thing, I thought I’d see if it had improved since the first time I’d seen it.

It hasn’t.

Here’s why I didn’t stay on the page long:

1. The audio is horrible: I don’t know how German should sound, so I’ll admit that the computer voice speaking German didn’t sound particularly off to me, but I could tell it sounded very different from the Pimsleur and authentic German recordings I had access to, particularly with regards to inflection. I’m no expert on the German, but I’m pretty dang comfortable with Spanish, so I checked out their Spanish audio. Emphasis was on the wrong syllables, some vowels were omitted, and some consonants had the wrong quality. If the German is as bad as the Spanish, and I assume it is, then this is not where I want to practice my listening and speaking skills.

2. Nouns were introduced without articles. Again, I’m no master of German, but I know enough about it to know that it has male, female, and neuter gender. I made some major mistakes my first time around learning Spanish by making flashcards without the articles. The last thing I want to do with a new language is make the same mistake — especially if I have a less than 50% chance to get the article/gender correct. Some of the activities used articles, and some did not. I think it’s inexcusable to ever not use them in any program, but especially one designed for learners whose first language does not have gender and who may not realize how important it is to learn the gender of the word from the start.

3. The sentences were nonsensical. There was no apparent thought put into the order or usefulness of sentences introduced. I’m not sure that I need to know how to say, “I have seven ducks” ever (I got that example from the Spanish, but the examples from the German were equally useless).

4. The grammar support was lacking. There are grammar “tips,” but they appear to be rules without any opportunity to practice them meaningfully. I much prefer to get a feel for the structure and sound of the language for a month or two (this is the way Pimsleur works) and then start learning the why. In just three Pimsleur lessons, I can already conjugate verbs for first person or formal second person (which I suspect is the same as third, but I could be wrong… I’m not going to jump to any conclusions) and I can restructure a statement to become a question and vice versa. Being able to do that comfortably and being able to hear the difference is going to help me immensely when/if I start studying the rules of grammar (I most certainly will if I stick with it, but as I have no idea where this motivation come from, I anticipate it may disappear as suddenly as it appeared).

5. It’s translation based. In a perfect world, I’d be thrown into a room with teachers that only speak my target language, who understand both how to make input comprehensible and how to make me create new constructions with the words and rules I’ve absorbed. I’m a Krashen fan. Alas, my life does not allow for such an experience, and so translation is always going to be a part of my learning process. It doesn’t have to be direct translation, though. Again, I’m going to make a comparison to Pimsleur: With Pimsleur, there is some repeat-after-me practice, especially at the beginning when the learner knows absolutely nothing and when a new word is introduced, but it always then forces you to use the new language in context. For example, I may have to respond to someone asking me if I understand German, and I have a few different options: I can simply say “no”, I can say, “I don’t understand German” or I can say, “a little bit.” It’s up to me to make that decision. The narrator will sometimes tell me, “Say you only understand a little German”, but just as often he will say, “Respond to what the woman says”, and I will have to understand what the German speaker says and respond with what little is in my language arsenal at that point.Having done Pimsleur Thai and Japanese before, I know it will get more complicated and require me to be a more and more active participant as the lessons continue.

In Duolingo, it says a word in English, and I choose a picture that matches it that happens to have the German word below it (sans article). It says a sentence in German, and I write the sentence in English. It says a sentence in English, and I write the sentence in German. It says the sentence in German, and I write the sentence in German, etc. There is no thinking on your feet. I checked out more advanced Spanish lessons and found just more of the same.

Conclusion

I’m not saying no one can learn from Duolingo; it’s probably a decent place for supplemental vocabulary practice, but I think it’s not a good start for people interested in speaking with at least somewhat comprehensible pronunciation and sentence structure. I do like the game format; I think that’s probably pretty motivating, and I wish someone would design something similar with better audio and conversations instead of context-less vocabulary and random sentences.

I did read the research article that Duolingo links to show how much students learn from it, and… I had some issues. The biggest problem I have is that it used the WebCAPE to test progress, and, as far as I know, that is a 100% multiple choice test. A multiple choice test may test comprehension, but it doesn’t test production well, and it certainly doesn’t test the skills I find lacking in Duolingo: pronunciation and spontaneous language production in context.

On the plus side, Duolingo is free, and it’s better than nothing, especially since my favorite options are not cheap. I just don’t think it’s the best choice for building a foundation.

I’m going to end this here so I can go to a local German conversation Meetup. I won’t be able to participate much, but I will get some necessary listening practice in.

 

 

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Black Lives Matter

I just read this article from the New York Times, and I feel like I have to get something off my chest. In the article about how some police groups are calling for a Beyonce boycott, there is mention of a pro-police group called “Blue Lives Matter.” My entire body tensed as I read that, just as it did when shortly after the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement there was a rush by certain people, mostly if not entirely white, to insist that all lives matter.

They are missing the point.

I am white. I think in a post like this, that’s important to state. I live in a diverse, densely populated urban area. I watched Los Angeles burst into violence and flame after the police that beat Rodney King were found not guilty. I didn’t like the form that expression of anger took, but I understood the anger. Because the frustration and anger took a violent, unorganized form, no sustained movement came out of it. But now we have Black Lives Matter, and it is organized, it is sustainable, and I believe it has an incredibly important name that should not be compromised by imitators and retractors.

Our country has proven time and time again that black lives don’t matter: when crimes more often committed in predominantly black neighborhoods carry longer sentences than comparable crimes committed in predominantly white neighborhoods (read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow for more details); when bank executives can commit fraud and steal billions from the American people without serving jail time, but a young black man can have the entire direction of his life changed by being caught with an amount of drugs only sufficient for personal use (read Matt Taibbi’s The Divide for more); when stop and frisk disproportionately targets black men; when black people are arrested for essentially nothing — loitering, possession of marijuana, etc. — and are coerced and threatened into a false plea, and then can’t find work because they have a criminal record; when officers use excessive force during routine stops where the black suspect is understandably frightened and therefore behaving “suspiciously.” They know what can happen to them even if they did not do anything wrong at all. Who wouldn’t be afraid? Though I’m nervous when pulled over, I can generally assume I actually committed some traffic violation, will be given a ticket, and will be sent on my way. In fact, that is exactly what has happened the three times I have been pulled over. A black driver — whether a teenager or a celebrated writer (read Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy and Ta’Nahesi Coates’ Between the World and Me) — does not have that same sense of security. Every traffic stop could lead to disaster. We’ve seen it. We can’t deny it.

I am sure there are wonderful police officers out there. I have met several. But there does not need to be a Blue Lives Matter movement. There needs to be a change in our system that screams “Black lives don’t matter!” in its institutionalized policies and practices — from disproportionately high suspension and expulsion rates for black students to criminal human rights violations in cities like Flint.

Black lives do matter, and we, as as a country do need to be reminded, frequently, loudly, abrasively until there is systemic change. The people trying to silence the movement through backlash against its supporters only serve to prove how desperately this movement is needed. I hope one day we can say all lives matter and it will be true, but we haven’t earned that phrase yet. Until we do, we must insist: Black Lives Matter.
Support the movement here.

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Gluten-Free Mediterranean Casserole

I decided to make an old comfort-food favorite for breakfast this morning to use the last of my homemade stock*. The result was more delicious than ever — my stock has definitely been increasing the flavor of the foods I’ve been using it in (I suspect because I didn’t skim off any of the fat). I got this recipe in its gluten-filled form from my old friend’s mother; I have no idea where she got it from. Here’s my version without the gluten (and decidedly less mediterranean):

Ingredients:

1 cup red quinoa

1 small onion

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup cooked lentils (drained)

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (drained)

1/4 cup minced parsley

2 cups unsalted stock (important: if you use salted broth, omit the salt below!)

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt (depends on your preference. I usually don’t use all the salt)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook quinoa and onion in oil in large skillet until onion is translucent. Add beans, garbanzos, and parsley. Add broth, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and por into a 1 and 1/2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes.

It’s a kind of monochrome dish (which is why I use red quinoa; at least there’s a hint of color that way), but it’s really delicious, especially with a side of sautéed chard. It also works well as a side to various meat dishes.

This is nearly a zero-waste dish, but we couldn’t find a whole chicken not wrapped in plastic. 

*I used this recipe for my chicken stock because it looked exactly like the stock my parents used to make with the exception of adding parsley and ACV, but I didn’t make nearly as much as in that recipe. Also, we’d butchered the chicken before cooking, so the carcass I used was raw and there were no pan drippings or skin other than what was on the neck (my husband fried the chicken skin for a snack). I used one chicken carcass, an onion, a head of garlic, a stalk of celery, more herbs than were called for (but still thyme, a bay leaf, and parsley), a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and enough water to cover. I cooked it in a crock pot on low for 24 hours, then strained it into mason jars which would have held one cup if I hadn’t had to leave space at the top for freezing. I followed the link’s advice not to add salt and am very glad I did so. I also chose not to add peppercorns for the same reason. So far, it’s been a base to the above, a butternut squash soup, and a sweet potato soup. I like the flavor and mouthfeel of a full-fat stock (I’ve never found one in the store), but if you prefer less fat, follow the instructions to skim off the fat.

Posted in Celiac/Gluten-Free, Plastic-Free Living, Recipes, Zero Waste | Tagged | Leave a comment