The Seasons, They Go Round and Round

The other night I dreamed I was on vacation with my family, on a lake somewhere, and the main feeling of the dream was I am not prepared. We all went out on a boat, and I freaked out because no one had a life jacket on. Then we were suddenly at the Shore, running into the waves, and I realized no one had a lick of sunblock on.

Pretty unsubtle way for my brain to remind me that I have zero plans made for this summer. I just can’t think about it yet. Maybe over spring break (next week).

I did try to get prepared for Easter today, since it’s four days away. Went to Goodwill and spent $21 on Easter and spring clothes. On Monday at Wegmans I picked up some candy for their baskets. Tomorrow if I get a few more basket items, a few pieces of clothing, and ingredients for dishes I am bringing to dinner at my sister’s, I’ll be set. I ordered my daughter a cute used Maggie and Zoe dress from eBay ($20 with shipping). Not totally necessary, but hey, she’s my only girl and she won’t be little forever… She can use her flower girl shoes and purse.

It was so gorgeous out today. I’d call it the first official day of spring. I had a full load of wash on the line for the first time since last year. The arugula sprouts are coming up. The potatoes still seem to be alive. (Make that potato; one got eaten before I had time to cover them with mesh.) After the spaghetti dinner fundraiser at school tonight, the parents hung around talking while all the kids played on the playground. Nobody wanted to go home. The black mulch of the playground was etched with a long bright yellow trail of forsythia petals, a yellow brick road constructed by some child with a lengthy attention span. The buds were out on the trees, and in the middle of everything a hawk attacked a pigeon and its headless body landed with a soft thud two feet away from me. Nature! It’s back in action.

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When we did go home, the kids stayed out in our yard and I let myself forget to call the younger two in to do their homework.

***

Food “wins” of late include an all-leftovers dinner on Monday. Like tunafish on crackers + leftover spaghetti + leftover Belgian waffle. Last night was eggs, one more waffle, and local sausage (which was really tasty).

The waffles were from Sunday morning when I finally tried out the Pioneer Woman’s waffles recipe on my iron. It gave me a new appreciation for the scene in These Happy Golden Years where Laura has to beat egg whites stiff for her wedding cake. She complains about it hurting her arm and Ma is all “your wedding cake has to be PERFECT.” It took me quite a while to get the egg whites stiff with an electric mixer. I cannot imagine doing it by hand.

The kids really liked these waffles. Certainly a big improvement over the Bisquick ones.

(Speaking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the other night, my oldest announced that he wanted us to start reading Farmer Boy again. We read Little House on the Prairie and about half of Farmer Boy last year. Joy! I said “absolutely” and we read it that night and tonight. We’re up to the summer: fishing, berry-picking, churning butter. Tonight we had a good convo about what you could buy in stores back then, and what you couldn’t.)

Sunday night, since waffles weren’t enough carbs, I made brownies. This recipe from King Arthur Flour might be my new go-to recipe for brownies. They were just good, classic brownies, not too rich for the kids, and one-bowl to boot.

Friday night, I made a Martha Stewart chicken and spinach casserole, which turned into a “little wine for the casserole, little wine for me” scenario. The wine was great; the casserole was pretty good. It improved as leftovers. Like many Martha Stewart recipes I’ve tried, it seemed a little bland. I left out a lot of the onion it called for, but I don’t think more onion would have improved it for me. Maybe more garlic. The kids wouldn’t touch it but they ate up a bunch of leftovers (pizza, broccoli, rice).

In the first picture you can see the parchment paper I used to bake the chicken breast. I don’t remember how I came across it, but I’ve been using the parchment paper method for a few years now, whenever I need plain cooked chicken for a recipe. Works great. This link is not the exact method I’ve been following — I make an envelope out of the paper — but you get the idea.

Food “fail”: stopping at Chick Fil A for lunch yesterday while out running errands.

The food gathering is going well. I’m still doing Wegmans on Mondays and then I try to fit in Whole Foods at the end of the week. I broke down and bought some grapes (from Chile) on Monday as well as organic diced peaches in bowls. Needed something new on the fruit front. I can tell the kids appreciated them after not having them for a while, and food appreciation is certainly one of the points of the locavore life. I’m trying to get a separate post together on Big Organics, whether food from other countries can be classified organic, and what’s next for me and my food sourcing.

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