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Friday, August 7, 2015

Sales top $1,000 After Just Under 2 Weeks, Large Queens are Done and Why Buying De-Boned Meat Makes Little Sense

It is official! I just tallied up my sales after processing this morning's orders and since I started selling on July 23, I have sold just over $1,000 worth of stamps which is very promising indeed. Nearly all of those sales have been material that I just listed during this time, with only one or two items coming from my existing store inventory. I found out in the process of listing that one of the reasons why my old material hasn't been selling is because my title descriptions start with the catalogue number and do not contain the word "Canada". When I started listing stamps 5 years ago, I assumed that I didn't need the word "Canada"since I was listing in a Canadian store, but I forgot to consider how people would find my stamps in a keyword Google search. Oops. Oh well. Now I am amending all the existing listings as I go to include appropriate keywords. So hopefully, I will see this material move soon.

I finished listing all the Large Queens yesterday on schedule, which pleased me to no end. The last value in the set, the 15 cent had some really beautiful and seldom seen stamps, some of which I illustrate below:

To see all the listings, click the folowing link:

In keeping with the culinary content of many of my posts, I wanted to talk a little about buying meat and poultry and why it makes little sense to buy de-boned meat and poultry.

It is a well known fact that most of us eat way too much salt in our diets. But we are in quandry because most food can leave a lot to be desired unless we add it. But I have discovered one ingredient that can be added to many recipes that will impart flavour, while limiting salt content. That ingredient is fresh beef or chicken stock. Of course you can buy stock at the grocery store, and it will contain about the same amount of salt as what I make at home, but it also contains all the preservatives that allow it to sit on the shelf for up to two years, which you don't want to be ingesting on a daily basis. And Oxo or Maggi is just out of the question if you are trying to limit salt intake.

The solution is to buy bone in beef or chicken in the largest quantity that you can that you will be using for the week. Then when you get home, use a sharp knife to de-bone the meat roughly. By that I mean don't try to get every scrap of meat by cutting too close to the bone. Instead leave some on. You will see why in a minute. Then take the largest pot you have, put the bones in, cut up a bunch of celery and two or three onions and add them to the pot. Then fill with water and add about 1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 litres of liquid. 2 Litres of liquid with all the bones and vegetables will likely occupy a 10 litre pot. 1 tablespoon of salt is 3 teaspoons, which is about 6000 mg of sodium. 2 litres is 8 cups. So each cup contains about 750 mg of sodium - comparable to the reduced sodium stocks sold in the supermarket. But your home made stock will be more flavourful because of the vegetables. Bring it to a boil over high heat, turn down to low and just leave it for 2 or three hours. When it is done, turn off the heat and let it cool for an hour or two. Then take out the bones and remove the meat from them with a fork. It should come off easily. If you taste it, you will see that while it is a bit on the bland side, it does have some flavour.

You take this meat and if it is chicken, cut some green onions into it, add some mayonnaise, salt and pepper and mash it up and you have some very tasty and nutritious chicken salad for sandwiches during the week. You can pop it into a container and it will keep in the fridge all week. I haven't tried beef yet, but I suspect that you can make a corned beef salad by adding mustard or horseraddish to the beef and mixing it in a similar fashion.

When you have removed the bones from the pot, place a large bowl in the sink and then place a colander inside it and pour the contents of the pot into the colander to remove the vegetables and small bones from the stock. Then you can transfer the stock into a large pitcher if you are using the stock that week, or a freeze container if you are not. If refrigerating you should try to use the stock within a week or so. After a week, I would check it to ensure that it is not off, but certainly, I would chuck what I haven't used in 2 weeks, as there are no preservatives in this stock and it does go bad quickly.

You can use stock in the following ways:

1. Any time you are making a sauce from pan drippings add some stock - 1/4 to 1/2 cup to deglaze the pan.

2. When making mashed potatoes - reduce the butter content, cut out the cream and use stock instead.

3. When making rice, instead of using water, substitute stock instead.

4. Any other time a savoury recipe instructs you to use water, consider using stock instead and cutting down on added salt.

So if you buy de-boned meat and chicken you will often find that you are paying almost double to have the butcher remove, what essentially allows you to make stock and sandwich filling for free. If you buy bone-in and de-bone it on the weekend in preparation for the foillowing week, you save money on the meat itself, on the stock and sandwich filling that you are not having to buy, and you are avoiding all those nasty nitrates found in sandwich meats and other preservatives.

Is it a hassle? Not at all. It will take you 5 minutes to de-bone the meat in the manner that I have described and another 2-3 minutes to cut up the vegetables and fill the pot. You don't have to watch it. You only have to drain it and make the meat filling before going to bed. You have everything you need for lunches for the following week. So it actually saves you a lot of time.

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