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Quote of the Day: Charlotte Brontë

March 29th, 2015

“It had been a mild, serene spring day–one of those days which, towards the end of March or the beginning of April, rise shining over the dark as heralds of summer. It was drawing to an end now, but the evening was warm.”

Charlotte Brontë (in Jane Eyre)

spring_thaw (1)
The days are noticeably warmer, particularly when the sun shines. The days are much louder now, there are noises that have been silent for many months. Going outside brings the sound of water running, dripping, moving; snow changing back to liquid and soaking deep into the earth. I’m beginning to spend more and more time outdoors, lingering when I do chores, finding excuses to go outside. Though spring isn’t here quite yet, we’re on the cusp, waiting with bated breath!

What’s your favorite sound of spring?

Friday Favorite: Rice

March 27th, 2015

I love rice, really, really LOVE it. Since I grew up in South America, rice was a staple. As a result it’s kind of like a comfort food for me, rice and beans. I could eat a big bowl of plain rice for dinner. Delicious fragrant rice cooked with sweet browned onions and coconut oil. Cilantro lime rice is another one of my favorites.
rice
I find my enameled cast iron pan to be the perfect pot to cook rice in. Many years ago I had a rice cooker and it worked well, but it quit working and I started using this pot. It cooks rice to perfection every time.

What are some of your comfort foods?

To Fix or Not To Fix

March 26th, 2015

I love my stove, absolutely love it! It’s not a spring chicken, it’s been cooking our food for many years, probably 13 or more. Unfortunately the control panel is starting to go. First the number 5 quick working, no problem, I can bake things at 249, close enough, right?
my stove 1
Then the timer started to work intermittently – ACK. I use the timer on the stove constantly, no really, it use it 10-20 times a day and not just for cooking. Whenever I’m doing something that needs timed, or whenever I want to remind myself to do something, I set the timer. If I put wood in the wood stove, I set the timer to remind myself to check the fire and close the damper. Life without the stove timer will be interesting. Luckily, I can use the timer on my iPad, though not as convenient as the stove timer.
timer
Now I have to decide if it’s worth getting a new control panel for the stove to the tune of $400 and maybe $150 more if the touchpad needs replacing too – YIKES. We love using RepairClinic.com to buy parts to repair our own appliances. Over the years we’ve saved loads of money fixing them ourselves. Sometimes however, it’s not necessarily worth what it will cost to fix an old appliance. I’ve been saving money for a new stove for quite a while, I sure hate to lose this beauty though. She’s been a wonderful kitchen companion for many years. It’s only a matter of time before the oven won’t turn on, so I have to decide soon.

Do you ever repair your appliances yourself?

I Spy….

March 25th, 2015

I spy a spot of bare ground in my back yard! Of course this is a high spot in the yard and the snow blows off of it, there are still 20 or more inches of snowpack in the other areas of the garden. This is a start, the spot gets a little bigger each day. Bring on the spring thaw!
bare ground
One thing that I love to do in the spring is to watch the areas that lose snow first. These are perfect places to plant hellebores, hyacinths, crocuses, snowdrops, tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs. They can take any cold weather that is still to come and will add beautiful early spring color to the garden. In a few years I’ll be adding these plants to this area, perhaps this spot will become hellebore garden. If you’ve ever read The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage, you will want to start a collection of snowdrops and hellebores.

Any snow left in your garden?

Make it a Double, or a Triple

March 24th, 2015

Whenever I make something that freezes well I double or triple the recipe. Then I freeze single portions in wide mouth pint jars. I find this really helps when I don’t have time to come up with a healthy meal or when I’m just too tired to cook. They also come in quite handy when my pantry gets a little bare.
curried broccoli soup
Last week I tried this recipe for Curried Broccoli Soup and we LOVED it. I got more broccoli at the co-op this week and made up a double batch to throw in the freezer. This soup is good for any meal, even breakfast. This weekend I have had it every single morning. I’m happy to have a few meals worth tucked away in the freezer. (for tips on freezing in glass jars check out my post on that topic).

Do you double or triple recipes so you have extra to freeze for later?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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