Cooking: Getting organized

I prefer staying at home and eating a homemade meal than going out and spending money for a meal I might not even enjoy that much. This attitude might have to do that I’m an introvert, but I also prefer knowing what’s in the food I’m eating (therefore, I’m not the biggest fan of ordering in either). Especially since I have my little sweetheart, I’m way more concerned about healthy nutrition than I was before.

Currently, I fall back to quick and boring suppers way too often due to a few reasons:

  1. There are days, were I just simply don’t feel like cooking.
  2. My little one tends to be very clingy later in the afternoon and as soon as I step into the kitchen, he wants me to pick him up (also because he wants to watch me cooking).
  3. Although cooking is generally cheaper than going out, it can get quite expensive if you choose organic ingredients. Therefore, it’s best to look weekly at the local flyers, buy groceries that are on a good sale and then plan recipes that use those ingredients. Also, stocking up on items while they are on sale is a good idea (as long as they have a due date far in the future of course).

I’ve struggled with the above-mentioned hurdles for quite a while now. It’s time I tackle them finally.

Overcome ‘I’m too tired/lazy’

  • Plan meals ahead (at least a week in advance).
  • Write down recipes (it’s ingredients and maybe just a link to a site) that I like and some that I would like to try in the future.
  • Plan for 5 to 6 quick meals and only one or two more labor intense suppers.
  • Create the list of recipes via org-mode in emacs. Save the files in my gdrive so that I can access it on my phone.
  • Write an elisp script that copies ingredient lists into the ‘grocery shopping’ list via a key-press.
  • Write a script that organizes the weekly grocery shopping list by combining groceries and sorting them by store aisles.
  • Have a few quick meals (such as fish and chips) in the freezer for days where I’m truly lacking time for cooking or just really badly lazy.
  • Manage cooking with my little one

  • Find recipes that don’t require a lot of cutting.
  • Ask my hubby more often for help.
  • Prepare food already on the weekend while my husband and the little one are busy playing.
  • Keep the pantry full and organized

  • Create a list with all pantry items (name and amount) and it’s due date.
  • Create an emacs extension which will automatically search for recipes that use soon to be due pantry items.
  • Keep it cheap

  • Start searching every week for groceries that are on sale and create the meal plan accordingly.
  • Write an elisp script that takes as input groceries (that are on sale that week) and as output all kind of recipes that use those groceries.
  • Elisp code

    So far I have only one little function implemented which helps me copy an ingredients list in org-mode into my file.
    An example ingredient list looks like:

    |   2 | small | shallots                 | minced      |
    |   1 |       | garlic clove             | minced      |
    |   2 | tsp   | Dijon mustard            |             |
    | 1/4 | cup   | balsamic vinegar         |             |
    |     |       | salt and pepper to taste |             |
    | 1/2 | cup   | olive oil                |             |

    If I have the pointer at the start of the table and call my elisp function, then it automatically puts the first three columns of my table in the kill ring. Afterwards, I just need to yank it into my grocery file and create a macro so that moving ingredient lists into my grocery list goes even faster. Below is my short unspectacular code.

    (defun custom/save-till-end-of-table()
      (setq cont t)
      (setq startpoint (point))
      (while cont
        (if (not(char-equal ?| (char-after)))
    	  (setq cont nil))))
      (backward-char 2)
      (kill-ring-save startpoint (point))
      (message (string (char-after))))

    My goal is to improve this code still so that it automatically yanks the table into a user-specified file.

    Do. Or do not. There is no try.

    I love this statement from Yoda. If we just try, we don’t really put our heart into it. We demonstrate that we don’t have enough passion for the subject and are likely to give up before finishing. If you really want something, you just have to do it, no matter how hard. Unfortunately, goals are generally always hard to reach. A consequence of reaching a goal might be a change of a daily routine, of a favorite activity, and so on.

    I believe we all frequently tend to try things instead of just doing them. For example, I tried to study Spanish already a few times in the past, but after just a few weeks my motivation vanished every single time. Why is that? First of all, there is no actual need for me to speak Spanish. I don’t live in a Spanish country and I don’t actually know anyone from Spain, Mexico, etc.. My main motivation was just always that I like the language and that I would like to be able to speak more than two languages. I still would like to speak more languages (Spanish and Russian in particular), but I’m just facing the facts: I don’t have time right now. There are things that are more important and also more urgent. Also, the goal: ‘Learn a new language’ is quite big. It’s not an easy task that can be done within a few weeks or even months. Since I’m not particularly good in learning languages, it would take me a few years to learn a new one. Instead, ‘I’ll master Aurebesh and will read articles in Aurebesh effortlessly’ is a way easier task and quicker to reach. I won’t try learning Aurebesh. I’m simply doing it. I’ll continue studying till I’m fluent. As soon as learning a new language becomes truly important to me, I’ll have to split this goal in smaller more manageable tasks (e.g. I’ll master numbers and the alphabet; I’ll be able to go grocery shopping in Spain without having to look up the dictionary for any of the food items on my list; …)

    To be honest, I frequently have goals that I don’t fully commit to. I start something but don’t finish it. I think that’s just part of being human and I also believe that there’s nothing wrong about it as long as ‘not finishing what started’ doesn’t become a way of living. I guess that means I don’t completely agree with Yoda after all. For me the sentence is more along the lines ‘Do. Or do not. But there is always also try.’. For the most part, I don’t consider it a big fail when I don’t finish something as long as I figure out the reason and the consequences. Was I unrealistic with respect to the time-frame? Have my interests changed? Have I set my priorities incorrectly? Did I spend too much time gaming, relaxing, etc.? No matter what the reason, it’s good to know why I failed since that helps me to correct my goals and fix issues. I try not to make myself down just because I didn’t reach a goal (and yes, I know I just used the word ‘try’). For example, maybe I played too many games on the PC because I just needed relax time. I might have been over-disciplined for weeks and I then got the pay back. My lesson would then be to plan for more breaks and ‘lazy times’.

    At the end, there are things I’m trying to do (like learning Spanish), but there are also things I’m just doing (like studying Aurebesh). There will be a time, when I’ll just simply stop trying and actually do study a new language, but that time has not come yet. If you tried something and failed, find out why. As soon as you’re convinced that something is very important to you, you’ll stop trying and actually do it.

    Parenthood joys and poop

    Today, I did some tummy exercises on the floor and my sweetheart was playing with his blocks. While fully in my element, my little one decided to come closer and closer and suddenly I find my face buried in his bum. That by itself wouldn’t be such a big thing, but as it turned out, Wallace pooped shortly before and so I got to fully enjoy that delicate aroma. I guess he didn’t wanna be selfish. He must have figured that I was not feeling well, since after all, I was doing weird movements and my breathing didn’t sound too relaxed either, and therefore shared it with me. I guess poop is just one of many parenthood joys. If you smell it, you feel like running but you can’t, since the baby won’t change itself. If you don’t smell it for a few days, you start worrying. Either way, as parent of a little one, you’re doomed to the joys of poop!


    That made me think of a discussion my husband I had just recently. Let’s face it, when you are a parent of a baby, you frequently smell its bum. You don’t want to, but you still do it. After all, you wanna make sure before changing the diaper again. If you think a bit about it, as soon as you become a mom/dad you turn into a dog (at least when it comes to sniffing butts).

    Our little one can also be quite sneaky when he wants to. Sometimes, we can already smell it from a far distance and therefore hold our breathes as long as possible, pick him up, rush to the change room, undress him, and find … an empty diaper. Grrr. He farted again! But how can we be mad, since he smiles like crazy at us. As if to say, ‘Ha, ha, fooled you two again!’.

    Morse code typing test Version 2

    Here comes my second version for the morse code typing test. This version fixes a few things, but also unfortunately introduces new bigger issues.

    OK, first to the fixes and extensions. The character test can now be narrowed down to only a few letters/digits. When I started using the test functionality, I found it overwhelming having to know so many morse codes at once. Limiting the requested letters/digits makes it a whole lot easier for beginners. Furthermore, you can now hide the cheat sheet (which again is more useful for beginners since advanced users will be too fast for even glancing at it anyhow). With version 1, after 60 seconds where over, the input field was not cleared. This has now been fixed.

    Additionally, I started a new word test feature which requests full words and not just characters. Unfortunately, this test is faulty, since it does not consider the break between letters (three dits). I’m planning to fix this bug with the next version, since I’m afraid it’s easy to incorrectly learn morse code if this test doesn’t specifically require those breaks. Nevertheless, I put it in here already. You can ignore it and wait for the next version.

    Typing test:

    Test characters

    Test for digits
    Test for the characters to

    Seconds left:

    Correct/Wrong answers:

    Show Morse

    • – (a)    – • • • (b)    – • – • (c)    – • • (d)    • (e)
    • • – • (f)    – – • (g)    • • • • (h)    • • (i)   • – – – (j)
    – • – (k)    • – • • (l)    – – (m)    – • (n)    – – – (o)
    • – – • (p)    – – • – (q)    • – • (r)    • • • (s)    – (t)    • • – (u)
    • • • – (v)    • – – (w)    – • • – (x)    – • – – (y)    – – • • (z)
    – – – – – (0)    • – – – – (1)    • • – – – (2)    • • • – – (3)
    • • • • – (4)    • • • • • (5)    – • • • • (6)
    – – • • • (7)    – – – • • (8)    – – – – • (9)

    Test words

    Seconds left:

    Correct/Wrong answers:

    Being more active

    Just a few years ago, I was a whole lot more active than now. I used to ride my bike 16 km to and back work for about 2 years no matter how the weather was (though I did regret being on the bicycle a few times, especially when it was -25 degrees or so and my tube needed replacing – so much fun!). When I switched work, I only had a few kilometers to commute anymore, so I started walking to and back instead. After my work moved to a more distant location, I started using the car, since I was pregnant with my little one at that time, and I just didn’t want to risk falling with my bike (and no matter what, falls do happen). Unfortunately, since I can’t say I did much sport since then (apart of running after my little one, carrying him around while doing other tasks, etc., which by itself can be quite physically challenging).

    I like being active and I want to be a role model for my little sweetheart, therefore it’s time I started being more active again. Going jogging or cycling is currently no option though (it’s too cold outside for W and he also dislikes being in the stroller).

    My long time goal is to do an iron man one day. Therefore, apart from cycling and running, swimming exercise is obviously important. I was thinking of starting to go to a public swimming pool at least once a week with my little one. But first, I wouldn’t really get to swim at all, since who’d look after W in the meantime and furthermore, I just don’t have the money to spend for two memberships right now (and even babies need a membership over here).

    After contemplating a while what I could do, I started thinking what else I used to do when I was younger. Juggling balls came into mind. Doesn’t sound like a very strenuous exercise? Yeah, it doesn’t, but after juggling 3 or more balls for over half an hour or so, your arms definitely start getting majorly heavy. I do happen to still own some juggling balls and my little one thinks it’s hilarious when I play with them, so I’m definitely starting this activity again. Of course, lots of times it will end up to be just throwing balls with my sweetheart (or at my hubby 😉 ), but that’s just fine.

    Then I thought that I used to do stretches a lot while in junior high. I haven’t done stretches for a while (yes, I know, I should have done them while I was riding my bike a lot) and I can definitely do them while W is awake. All I risk is him laughing at me, but we laught at each other all the time anyhow. So that’s my second little activity I’m going to start doing frequently.

    I’m also starting a few tummy exercises again which I can easily do next to W. My tummy muscles have always been extremely week, so I’m not expecting to change that fact anytime soon, but doing a bit a few times a week is definitely better and healthier than not at all.