Cooking a favorite dish tonight…Impulse buying..

We always enjoyed seeing female kudus stop by with their youngsters.

Tom is seated at the kitchen island, eating his morning toast with strawberry jam and coffee. Over the past several months, he’s preferred toast to bacon and eggs, and I’ve kept my mouth shut about this unhealthy breakfast. The remainder of the meals I make are healthy, low carb, and without grains, sugar, and starches.

A few days ago, I mentioned how time-consuming making meals can be, but I didn’t say so, meaning I am unwilling to take the time for special meals we enjoy. Today is such a day, and I am making Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie, a favorite recipe I usually make once or twice a year.

Unable to get the ingredients in Ecuador and not cooking for a few months while we traveled, I included all the ingredients in yesterday’s Smith’s Marketplace order, delivered to us by Instacart through the Boost service we joined to reduce and avoid weekly delivery fees. Boost charges $7.95 per month and especially pays for itself when ordering weekly. The minimum order for free shipping is $35, which is helpful when needing to fill in a few items here and there.

Many markets throughout the US offer this or a similar service….pay a small monthly fee for “free” delivery for as many orders one prefers in any given month. A small tip is included, which may be increased, reduced, or eliminated as desired. We stick with the included tip.

The person who selects our chosen items, a “picker,” contacts me by text if a replacement is needed. I make a point of keeping my phone nearby once I receive the message that the picker is in the process of gathering our items. This works perfectly for me. Yes, one or two items aren’t available each time, but the picker suggests alternatives, or I can choose an alternative.

Yes, we’re paying for the  delivery service, $7.95 a month, and the tips, around $20 a month, may seem like a significant extra expense. But, the store’s coupons are online, offered for each item, and we easily save more than these costs using the coupons. For example, yesterday’s $160 order provided me with $8.98 using online coupons. I indeed wouldn’t have clipped walking into the store.

But, the most significant savings are ordering online and not purchasing a single impulse item, which most of us have trouble avoiding when shopping. This is particularly useful for us when we don’t want food left over when we depart a location. As that annoying insurance commercial on TV always says, “Buy only what you need.” I imagine we save more than $20 monthly, avoiding impulse buying.

Also, we avoid tossing unused food, mainly produce, which is expensive, and shoppers often over-buy. We use all the vegetables we buy. I don’t recall when we’ve had to throw away unused food.

What’s surprising me here in Nevada, is that once we stocked up on basic laundry and cleaning supplies, spices, and paper products, we’ve only been spending about $160 a week for groceries, way lower than we’ve paid while in the US in the past. Of course, based on the way we eat, we don’t buy snacks, chips, cereal, milk, or fruit other than the frozen berries I’ve been adding to my Fage yogurt as a dessert at night.

The only snack Tom’s been enjoying lately after he finished his three huge Costco pies when we first arrived, is microwave popcorn, which he enjoys at night when we’re streaming something. We don’t eat much during the day. Plus, we love leftovers, and I usually make sufficient quantities of any dish, enough to last for three nights’ dinner. Yes, it takes time to prepare three night’s dinner, but it’s worth it when the following two nights, all I have to do is make a salad.

Since I am feeling better today, I don’t mind heading to the kitchen soon to finish making the pot pies. I make them in individual tin foil pans for each night. I am cooking them fresh each evening. This time, I am making enough for an extra batch to freeze for future dinners.

Tom is feeling better, too. This morning, we slept until almost 9:00 am. When my cough is mostly gone, I will start working out again, which I look forward to.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 6, 2014:

Named Clive by Facebook friend Peggy (feel free to ‘friend me” on Facebook using my email address:, we considered that he may be the same ostrich we’d seen on December 7, 2013 (click here to see that post) only a week after our arrival. For more photos, please click here.

Five days and counting…A food favorite once again…What?…Ironing clothes?…

Making the layers of the bread-free subway sandwich while in Italy in 2013. More details are below in other photos

Note: Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2013. Please click here.

Yes, I know. We’ve written about these bread-free sandwiches, over and over again, which we call an “unwhich,” as they do at Jimmy John’s restaurants in the US. But here we are, bringing it up again today with preparation instructions in photos with captions. We frequently have new readers and thought they might enjoy seeing the photos. Sorry about that to our long-term readers.

Slice fresh tomatoes, purple (or yellow) onions, and washed and dried romaine lettuce as you prepare the sandwich.

It came up again when I researched the “ten-year-ago photo” at the end of today’s post. Lacking any new photos, I decided to post the details of how to make these bread-free sandwiches based on our positive feedback over the years. Most countries have bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, mayo, and deli meat of one sort or another.

This sliced Emmental cheese or sliced Provolone cheese seems to add more flavor to the sandwich. Try to avoid using overly processed American or cheddar cheese. Italy has no orange-colored cheddar cheese due to the dyes used to color it. That’s impressive!

However, during our most recent 2½ years in South Africa, we never found full-leaf romaine lettuce, only small pieces of the lettuce in ready-to-use bags. Instead, we used head lettuce, carefully removing, washing, and drying the large exterior leaves to make the sandwiches. That worked ok for us.

Place the meats on a plate in preparation for assembling the sandwich. This mayonnaise is the best mayo we’ve ever used, with no chemicals and few ingredients.

As for deli meats which may not be available in some countries, we used thinly sliced, cooked chicken breasts and sliced cooked roast beef without a bone. In some countries, the ingredients in deli meat may be less than desirable for the health conscience, so it was essential for us to read all the ingredients when buying deli meats, even in the US.

Italy has the best bacon we’ve had anywhere in the world.

Although there isn’t a nearby Costco store with excellent quality deli meat without fillers, wheat, or gluten, we could purchase quality deli meats from Kroger delivery. As a result, when we made these “unwiches” last week, we were pleased with the quality of the ingredients. But, we do not buy highly processed meats such as Oscar Meyer, etc., often sold at low prices with dozens of ingredients on the label.

Place the turkey or chicken slices atop the lettuce, and cover with tomatoes, onion, bacon, and mayo. Then add other preferred meats and cheeses.

It has been a busy day so far today. As I write here, it’s almost 2:00 pm, and I’ve been running around the house doing more laundry and ironing some of Tom’s shirts. Most of his short sleeve button-up shirts are wash and wear, but he has three Tommy Hilfiger shirts that require ironing, regardless of how I washed and dried them.

Tom set up the iron and ironing board from the laundry room, and I proceeded to iron and attempt to neatly fold the three shirts, placing each shirt in a large Ziplock bag. Hopefully, they’ll stay wrinkle-free after being packed for the cruises. As for the remainder of his shirts, which are pretty much wrinkle-free, I will neatly fold them without too much fuss, and then he’ll do the rest of his packing.

Place the cheese atop the tomatoes, adding the mayonnaise using a spatula or wide knife.

I hadn’t ironed anything in years and wasn’t as good at it as I once was. While I was at it, I ironed one of my shirts which I set aside for when we’re at the upcoming hotel in Edinburgh or on the cruise, and hopefully, they’ll have one of those little sewing kits.

One of my favorites; it has a hole in the side seam. I had one of those little sewing kits, but it didn’t have the right thread color to make the repair. I am not much of a seamstress and never have been. Occasionally, I’ve repaired a few of our clothing items. Last month, Tom lost a button on his favorite shorts. After finding it, he asked if I could sew it back on. I did, and it’s holding so far.

Ham slices in Italy are different than deli ham slices in other countries, fattier, have no nitrates, and are less flavorful than ham slices in the US. In our sandwiches, we don’t use Italian salami. It was too fatty for our taste buds and greasy on the tongue. One can add or delete any items in this sandwich. But the most important for maximum flavor is bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise. Sliced roast beef also works well when available. We would have purchased it yesterday, but it was US $42 a pound, so we were content with the ham and sliced chicken.

It sounds as if we have very distinct gender roles in our lives. But, we both decided long ago we’ll each perform tasks we find we have the most ability and experience. I cook. Tom does the dishes. Tom does all the heavy lifting, and I do the laundry. Neither of us feels the tasks aren’t divided equitably, nor do we hesitate to ask if we need help with one of our regular tasks.

Also, today, I cooked and diced a huge bag of frozen chicken breasts and diced onions and celery for tomorrow’s dinner of chicken salad, to which we’ll add a big mixed greens salad on the side. Soon the boiled eggs will be cooled enough, and Tom will peel all the eggs, which he always does to help. Tomorrow, I’ll make the dressings for both salads, tossing them right before dinner, and we’ll be good to go for the next few nights.

Cover everything with large romaine lettuce leaves and wrap tightly with parchment paper. We have been wrapping the sandwiches in heavy-duty tin foil, which seems easier to handle and stay together while eating.

Tomorrow, the packing begins, so we can ship the extra bag to Minnesota. We’ll have plenty of clothes and supplies for when we leave Minnesota and head to South America in October. All is good.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 23, 2013:

The final product is tightly wrapped, ready to chill and enjoy with a side salad and steamed vegetables. For more, please click here.