Winter weather has arrived, after an extremely mild start. We have had some snow as well, but not a lot compared to what we were used to at the country house!
I decided to leave the Christmas tree up until Candlemas, which is also Imbolc, or in some circles known as the dead of winter. The tree adds so much colour and cheer to the room when all around us is white, and black, and grey.
Owning a home presents quite different issues than renting a home. I’ve done both, lived in rental accommodations, and this is the sixth home I’ve owned. I feel fortunate to own a home, even though a mortgage hangs over us still.
Our most recent home ownership challenge is that the hot water tank is leaking. So far it is a slow leak, and does not fill the pan we put under it, so that we still use it and have hot water. We have ordered a new one, and hope it will arrive before the leak becomes larger. Attila will install it himself.
I am feeling somewhat disgruntled these days, as I am in the process of adapting to further physical restrictions due to this aneurysm. Even with a bad back, I’ve always been fairly robust, and been able to lift, push, carry, and generally accomplish just about anything. Now I have to rein myself in, constantly remind myself not to lift anything over 20 pounds. This restriction changes my flow. It is an adjustment which is not welcome. This discontent manifests as sleeplessness, further facilitating my grumpy mood. I will adjust though, it will take time, and the adjustment process will go more smoothly once Attila has retired, as he will be available to lift or carry things that I cannot.
We continue to work on our retirement strategy, it is slow going, but step-by-step we will get there.
Surprisingly, I am still doing a bit of food preservation.
Months ago we purchased ten pounds of sweet potatoes, on sale. I just got around to processing them on Monday. It was a big job, they were “less than perfect” or seconds, when purchased, and the iffy spots on them had spread a bit. After peeling and trimming, I cooked them in the Instant Pot, then pureed them. Four bags were frozen, containing one cup each. The rest were frozen in 1/4 cup containers, saved from commercial fruit cups we purchased about five years ago. These little plastic cups are perfect for single serving pureed vegetables.
I kept once cup of pureed sweet potato in the refrigerator, to try out a new recipe. Yesterday I baked Sweet Potato Biscuits. The recipe didn’t work as described, as the dough was too wet to knead. The dough worked for drop biscuits though. I love them, they are very sweet despite very little added sugar, I did not make the honey butter from the recipe, as they were plenty sweet enough without it.
We buy our grains in bulk, and keep them in the freezer until needed. Yesterday we opened a bag of rolled oats purchased in 2021. To our surprise the bag, labelled rolled oats, was in fact steel cut oats. I’ve decided to bake with them without altering them, in each of my recipes, to see how we like them. If necessary, I can always give them a whirl in the food processor before using for baking, but I would like to experiment and see if that is necessary. Yesterday I baked strawberry rhubarb squares using the steel cut oats, Attila gave it a thumbs up.
This week I ran out of whole wheat flour, so time to mill more. I sort the wheat berries before milling them, removing any weed seeds, staying vigilant for stones. I mill two one gallon jars of flour each time I use the mill. Some people swear by milling flour as they need it, keeping the mill on the countertop, rather than stored away when not in use. In our small kitchen there is no room to do this, so I prefer to mill enough flour to last a few weeks.
Cooking from scratch, to the degree that we do, is extremely time consuming. If we don’t cook, we don’t eat, because all we have in the house are raw ingredients. Luckily we enjoy cooking, and baking, so that there is always something delicious to enjoy. We love leftovers, so several evenings a week a delicious meal of leftovers is waiting for us in the refrigerator. Leftovers are healthier than packaged ready-to-eat foods, restaurants, or take out.
The Instant Pot has been a great boon in the kitchen. I use it extensively to make soups, and casseroles. Today, for instance, I am making chicken noodle soup, which will provide me with lunches for a week or so. Served with Attila’s homemade croutons, I look forward to my lunch!
Updated on Wed, Jan 17 at 6:07 AM
FEELS LIKE -19
Wind 8 W km/h
Humidity 89 %
Visibility 15 km
Sunrise 7:39 AM
Wind gust 12 km/h
Pressure 100.9 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 4:55 PM
“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”
1881 – 1973
The more I think about this, the better I understand young people.