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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dive Meet

Last Friday night there was another meeting for my dive meetup group and two members from a neighboring city  came to join me. It was great to meet two women who were really excited to get out and do some diving despite the rainy weather. We parked near our first place and rode around together from there. The first grocery store was somewhat of a disappointment, without much for us to salvage; however, our second stop at a pharmacy yielded us a jackpot! We ended up with so much that we had to stop back by their car to unload before going to get some food form another grocery store. As we got to our last spot it began to sprinkle so we quickly sorted through the lovely new dumpsters to recover a bunch of good food. Right as we were wrapping things up, the rain began to pick up and suddenly it was pouring, so we threw our stuff in the car and took off. It was still raining when we got back to their car so we got a little wet dividing our loot, but we had such a good time it didn't really matter.
We loaded the car at our second stop.
Sorting our loot under the back door in the rain.

After dividing our findings, this is what I ended up bringing home:
9 bottles Dawn dish soap
unscented roll on antiperspirant/deodorant
3 bottles 30spf sunscreen
vanilla scented epsom salts
holiday stickers
red bows
florist's foam rings
laxative powder
3 boxes nasal rinse
LED magnifying glass
large red sign letters
cat litter
toothbrush replacement heads

3packs twizzlers
7 tubes Rolo
4 mint three muskateers
4 dark chocolate bars
pkg fig bars
2 cartons vanilla yogurt
3 mystery cans
2 jars pickles
4 jars banana peppers
2 cheesecakes
tomato soup at hand
2 boxes baby spinach and romaine
green onions
2 loaves bread

I had so much fun going out with my meetup group members and look forward to doing it another time!

Friday, March 19, 2010

So Ive been thinking a lot about seeing someone else last night and I feel more excited than anything else. I guess Ill never know who it was; it could have been some one I know but I guess its a sign that everything Ive been doing over the last year is starting to get out to people around me. I know Im not the only one who goes to the dumps around here, but considering that Ive seen others on three occasions in the last month after never having such an encounter in over a year, it seems like my message is starting to get out there. Earlier in the day, my brother made a comment about how I wouldn't find anything if everyone started diving, but I feel pretty safe about there being so much wasted that there is plenty for anyone who wants it. It was strange to be confronted with that very situation just a little while later..
Im glad I ran in to them, my fellow dumpster divers. Id like to meet them next time and share some other spots with them. Maybe Ill be seeing more of them now that the weather is starting to get nice. Im gonna keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Tonight there was a new guy at work. I turned the subject to my diving, like always, and he got really interested, so we made plans to go out after we got off. We found some good stuff at the first two places, but upon arrival at our third stop I saw another car pull around, leaving the deserted parking lot from behind the building. I saw it full of two or three people and immediately knew that they had just been picking through everything in my dumpsters minutes before. As I pulled in the driveway and drove past they slowed and our eyes met for only a brief moment where I felt like we both knew what each other was thinking. They slowly pulled up to the intersection and stopped before pulling out, watching to see if we were going to drive behind the building, behind from which they had just appeared. I drove behind the building, perplexed and curious as to what the dumpster would hold. As I thought, everything had already been carefully picked through, bags torn open and good items taken.
This is the first time I have ever had this kind of experience. Im not really sure how I feel about it.. I feel lot of things, but I cant easily describe it. My initial feelings were excitement that I might meet some cool new people but I also had some bitterness about them having taken from my spot.. I know its not mine, but I have never had to share it with anyone, or at least seen other people helping themselves.. Its a strange feeling, like someone came in my home or something. Ive never had a problem with bringing my friends and telling everyone I know about what I do, but it felt strange to see someone else there, who I didn't invite to my spot; although by telling everyone I know, I'm inviting them and encourage them to do it on their own.. Its weird to encounter this situation after seeming to be alone for so long. I don't really understand my feelings about it yet..

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Organic Produce

My sister called me the other morning to give me a tip about where to get some organic produce. I got up and went to the secret pick up location and was very pleased to receive three large boxes of assorted organic fruits, veggies and pumpkin pie filling. I made a big batch of tomato sauce with all the beautiful tomatoes and sealed it in  mason jars to keep for another day when Im feelin like pasta. I made another apple pie(my second one ever!) with some of the apples and decided to try a lattice top. It turned out beautifully and the crust was actually some of the best Ive ever made! I was very happy with the results, but still found some things to improve on for the next time..
Some beautiful tomatoes ready to make sauce.
I added some key lime and orange juice to the pie.
I grated the apples this time to see how it would turn out.
It was a lovely day, so I left it in the kitchen window to cool.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Soup and Salad

The other day my friend came over for lunch and I took it as an opportunity to get creative with the random stuff I had left over. I was trying to get the fridge cleared out in anticipation for an upcoming dive so I heated up some leftover peanut soup and made a yummy salad with some romaine lettuce and honey mustard dressing.
The salad was made using the last of some honey mustard dressing mixed with some mustard sauce. I made some croutons with some old bread and toasted some sunflower seeds while the soup heated up. I added some salt, pepper, dried dill and other herbs to the salad before mixing it all up. It was very tasty with the crisp romaine lettuce and herbed croutons.

Peanut Soup
2-3 cups stock or just water
1 small onion
1 small sweet pepper
1 hot chili
1 clove garlic
1 carrot and/or
sweet potato
1 tomato
1cup peanut butter

Combine everything in a big pot and cookr til veggies are tender. Reduce heat and add peanut butter, stir and simmer till thick and smooth. You can add or omit just about anything you want to this recipe. This soup is best served over fufu but fine on its own. This is an important model for making up other soup recipes whenever I have odd leftover in the cabinet and can be used in many variations. In the one I ate with lunch, I added coconut milk, ginger, corn, cinnamon and a few coffee beans for good measure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Post Pie Dive

After a successful day giving away free pie downtown, I was in a great mood and decided to check out the dumps on my way home at the end of the evening. With the day's activities on my mind, I set out with the intention of replacing all the pie supplies I had used earlier. Here are the results:
several gelatin dessert cups
3 turnips
3 lemons
2 avocados
5 peaches
1 onion
fresh garlic bulb
3 8oz pkgs blueberries
5lb bag sugar
2 mangoes
3 apples
macaroni salad
submarine sandwich

I was really happy about the garlic because I haven't had any for a while. I was also pretty happy with the sugar; pies require a lot of sugar. The macaroni salad is something of a guilty pleasure and I brought it home to enjoy just a few bites.. I ate half of the sandwich with some extra romaine lettuce and hone mustard dip when I got home. It was pretty tasty.. I have already used most of the fruit in various which will let their own posts soon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free Pie Day!

I have said before that I love pie. In Finally, Pies! I mentioned, a kind of loose organization or movement based on spreading joy and community through simple acts like giving away free pie. Well, on a beautiful Monday morning after the previous evening's potluck club meeting, I got up and baked five pies to give away downtown for Greensboro's first Free Pie Day. I had been planning it for a while with my free pie meetup group and was itching to finally get some pies baked! My sister came over to help me get everything together and once the pies were ready, we loaded my car with all our supplies and went downtown to set up. I borrowed a 6 foot table and linens from work to set up and serve the pies from. I have also been gathering metal forks and china dessert dishes from thrift stores to serve the pie on. We also brought a bunch of dish towels, pie servers, a knife, paper napkins and some signs that we had whipped up while the pies were in the oven.
When we arrived downtown we were greeted with a waiting group of people hungry for pie! My dear friend Laura had brought her friends from the office with her to get some pie and another member of the meetup group brought a pie and a friend. We quickly set up and and started dishing out delicious warm slices of pie to whoever wanted one. First, our friends who were eagerly waiting, and then curious passers by who stopped to see what the commotion was about. Some people were surprisingly reluctant to accept the free pie, trying to seem too busy or too full from lunch to indulge in the savory delight; however, many people were thrilled to enjoy a slice of pie with other intrigued strangers who had wandered by,  delighted with the idea of something free, without any catch. We attracted all sorts of people and served all of our pies, around 50 slices, within an hour of setting up shop.
Next time we will need more...

I should mention that I went to the grocery specifically to buy the frozen rhubarb in the bowl. I decided that making the small purchase was for the grater good this time..
The remains of our pies. From back to front: Cookies n' Cream, Strawberry-Rhubarb, Apple, Blueberry

This one went really, really well! I am already planning for the next one and have some big ideas for it.. but more on that later..

Potluck Club Meeting

The other night my potluck club met at my house for our March potluck. To get ready for the dinner, I went out the night before with my friend Maria to collect food. It seemed like ages since I had been to the dumps, so I was excited. Maria brought one of her other friends who went with us on her first dumpster dive. I think it was pretty good for her first time because we found quite a bit at each of our stops. I think the grocery stores I go to got brand new dumpsters at all their stores, or at least they did for now.. They were nice and clean and much easier to open up and get in!
Checking out the new dumpsters
At the potluck, my friend Maureen asked where I got my beautiful tomatoes from. From a pile of cabbage leaves, oranges, lemons, potatoes and grapes!
Crates are very useful to have around
After splitting our loot between the three of us, I ended up with:
2 bags apples
vanilla cream wafer sticks
bottle seltzer water
10 1lb milk chocolate rabbits
bag oranges
2 8oz blocks cheese
6 lemons
6 limes
10 tomatoes
2 pears
2 onions
3 jalapanoes
red pepper
can Pringles
2 6oz tubs grated parmesean
6pk Trix yogurt
3 blueberry greek yogurt

4 boxes Smart Start cereal
2 boxes granola
4 boxes other cereals
3 boxes gummy snacks
1 box Reece's snacksters
3 tubs chip dip
2 10lb bags potatoes
jar Prego sauce

Olay wrinkle cream
face cream
grape childrens Tylenol
Axe body spray and body wash
3 tote bags
ceramic dinner plate
plastic bus pan

As for the potluck on Sunday night, it was excellent! I had a great time meeting some new people, cooking lots of delicious food with all the great stuff I found and eating other wonderful dishes that people brought to share. I met someone who I hope to collaborate with on delivering extra stuff that I have to organizations in town that can prepare and distribute it to those who need it.  I always look forward to the next one! I LOVE POTLUCKS!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I seen em!

Last night I was on my way home from work and I saw someone sorting through stuff in a dumpster at an apartment complex down the street from my house. This is the first time Ive actually seen someone else out doing their own thing and I have to say, I was feeling a little territorial! I quickly got over it, though; I was excited to see someone else helping themselves to the bounty. Judging by the amount of furniture crammed in the bed of his pickup truck and that it was the night before trash pick up, he must have a weekly routine of his own. or a thrift store to keep stocked..

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010


This is in response to a question from one of my lovely readers who wanted to know what Tomat is. Tomat is one of my favorite dishes because its so simple and so tasty. My grandfather often ate versions of this growing up in French Algeria and taught my dad who taught my mom who made it for us when we were growing up. Tonight was the perfect night to make it; I just got hold of a delicious loaf of Holla bread from a local bakery and my sister gave me some organic free range eggs from her job last night. Both are important parts. Here is a step by step how-to guide to Tomat.

First, start by gathering your ingredients. I used:
2 large tomatoes
fresh parsley and rosemary
dried basil
garlic powder
two eggs
sea salt
black pepper
olive oil

Obviously fresh ingredients are always better and much more tasty, but Im working with what I've got. There wasn't much left alive in the herb garden..
Start by preheating the oven to 350-400°F. Slice the bread however thick or thin you like it and drizzle some olive oil on it, then sprinkle some herbs, pepper or whatever flavors you like on it.
Toast it in the oven while the tomat cooks, about 15-20 minutes.

Now add some oil to your pan and set the heat to medium low.If you have fresh garlic, add some minced to brown a bit. Let the oil heat up while you cut your tomatoes in half. You will hear the garlic sizzling when the tomatoes are ready to go in.

Put them in face down to simmer for a few minutes with the lid on.

While the tomatoes cook, chop up your other herbs.
After a few minutes the skins should easily slough off. Don't forget to check on the bread! 
Crack your eggs in the middle. Make sure the heat is not too high or the eggs will cook too quickly and get hard while the tomatoes remain undercooked. 
Now you can sprinkle your chopped herbs, spices, salt and pepper over it all.
Its not done yet! Put the lid back on for a few minutes on low heat to cook a bit longer. 
By now, the bread should be nice and toasty. I like it to be good and dry so it can soak up all the savory juices and oil. 
Simmer until the yolk has reached your desired firmness. I like it about half way through, so its still just a little bit runny.

Enjoy! It's best when you break up the tomato and egg so you can get a bit of everything on the crusty bread. This is what my brother and I had for dinner tonight. Yum!


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