Sunday, September 16, 2012

new horizons, new toothpaste

I abandoned you this summer, dear blog, didn't I?

Rather than being too busy to think, I've had plenty on my mind and plenty to say. Plenty of moments, lost in thoughts, lost in concerns, lost and looking for an outlet. Alas, it hasn't really been fit for public consumption. Rightly so.

Anyway, it is time for some items of note to be published...
I have moved. I, alone. Without Able-Bodied Boy, my friend, my roommate, my love for many years. I will not go into any of that personal stuff here, but we remain good friends.
I have moved. Out of the middle of nowhere and into the Land Near Work. A Land where I can bike to work and walk Bella through neighborhoods.

A Land where chickens do not roam. Able-Bodied Boy will retain care and consumption of eggs. And even has plans to add to the flock! I'm so excited to see that project flourish and continue on :)
What an adventure, eh? Will I try a garden on my little porch (would it even survive a shady north face -- it's south-facing but I'm still not sure I can make anything grow)? How will Bella react to the new surroundings, poor stressed creature?  What frugal and healthy foods will I cook for myself? How will I handle this new 3-mile biking commute? Will I finally lose that weight, through long walks with Bella? How will I adjust to life on my own?

In other excitement (ok, only I find this exciting...), I have switched to baking soda for toothpaste! A simple mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and peppermint oil. It took a bit of getting used to, but I'm diggin' it! Next up, deodorant :) I'll post more on all that later!

Ok, back to serious matters... Thank to all of you who have been so supportive during this transition. (to the apartment, not to baking soda toothpaste. i doubt anyone really noticed that....)  Some things just can't be done without friends and family and well-connected coworkers. Phone calls. Emails. Muscles lifting boxes. Knowing a guy. Shoulders to cry on. Encouragement as life transitions to new things. Toaster ovens. (it's important to have toast!) These are the things that futures are made of....

Will you tell me about the little things in your life? I've seem to run out.

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, July 30, 2012

and here we go again...

What is it about summer that makes it impossible for me to post regularly?

I visited Barnhenge Mama (and her adorable new Boob Monster) yesterday, taking a moment to breathe and enjoy. Florence and the Machine were the soundtrack of my day, pulling at the depths of my soul to rip the music lover out of hiding, watching a spontaneous dance by a whimsical pre-schooler. A beautiful day to just try to BE.

Of course, there was DOing too. The wonderful world of Pennsic begins for me at the end of the week. And, as much as I enjoy sewing, there is only one time of year in which significant sewing happens... the week before Pennsic. (am.i.right?)  So all spare moments have been dedicated to coating the carpet in thread and trying not to burn or stab myself. Bella has been forced to go retrieve her own food and manage door knobs. Luckily, the Olympic games have been good company and inspiration as I try to at least try to place in the time-trials of the yards-to-garbs competition.

In summer, there is this irreparable swing between BE and DO. Days when gardening and cooking up CSA fare and cleaning and sewing and berry-picking and sweating leave you breathless. Days when sun and water and blue skies and good company and fresh food wash away everything else. There is no in-between. There is no moment to think "yes, I shall post about this later". There is only a to-do list or leaving it all behind.

Of course, life has been happening, and things worth sharing. Friday escapes into Philly with a kindred-spirit. Spontaneously-stuffed zucchini (1/2 cup dry bulger, cooked; 5oz goat cheese; 2oz sun dried tomato, diced; toaster oven for 20min on 350). Foxes at weddings. Broody chickens that return to the flock, lay wierd eggs, then go back to being broody. Awe-inspired light displays at Longwood Gardens (GO DO!). Gluts of zucchini turned into gluts of muffins. Having a full back-up generator installed two weeks before losing power for 3.5 days. A Bella whose wounds (and those that she inflicts) have healed, leading to a calmness around semi-strangers and friendliness with those who show her interest. The best of parties being thrown in the worst of heat waves. Quarts and quarts of blackberries. Magical trips to New England, complete with beautiful weather and playing wiffle ball on the beach.

And best of all, a best friend. Don't get me wrong, I have a blessed life full of wonderful friends and family, who are amazingly supportive and always around for a shoulder or a laugh. But we all need that Person, the one that gets us, sees our place in the world, has been through what we're going through or is going through it too. The Person whose beauty and soul you see, who hasn't yet seen what you see. Now I have my Person and I am content :) Considering she does not want to be a Canadienne, I believe she shall just be My Person. I hope that word holds the same gravitas with you as it does me. I am truly blessed.

Other than that, I look forward to the end of the summer. When life and schedules come back to some sort of sanity. When there is less DO and BE and more share and create. When sushi-days can come back. When I actually get on the bike, or go do yoga. When we can enjoy the (frozen) fruits (and veggies and meats and other prepared foods) of our labor. When sewing projects will be done at leisure and with more thought (and less seam-ripping!).

In the meantime, how is your summer going?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Friday, June 29, 2012

i let you slip away

Bob Wheeler passed away suddenly on Thursday. I never met him, but he was one of those people you just knew was making a difference out in the world. Smart and strong and inspirational. A community is in mourning.

I've been thinking a lot, even before this, about those in my life. Friends. Family. Old and new.

But mainly, those I've lost touch with. The once-besties, now facebook friends. Those I used to share every aspect of my daily life. Then slowly it was weekly re-caps. Then a phone call every now and then. When there is too much time between, when everything is blurred into boring consistency and there is nothing to say. You "like" a post. Maybe reference an old memory. But otherwise, they are gone.

I do this. I make this happen. I am responsible. I fail to keep up. I fail to reach out. I let you slip away.

Even now, my friends know this. They text or call now and then to make sure I'm alive. Because unless I have a reason... plans or parties or questions about something... I don't keep up. I don't ask.

And I do the same with family. Particularly extended family. I intend to be better. I want to call. To make those connections stronger. But I don't. Life gets in the way. Work stress. To-do lists. Relaxation. None of them include just a simple phone call to someone I care about.

I am not proud of this. I know how to fix it. (Pick up the phone, stupid.) I even see how I do it.

For the most part, I guage friendship on the Daily. The Daily is the sense we have of each other's daily life. At any given moment, where would you be? What would you be thinking about? What are your concerns for the day? Where do you work, live, shop? Who do you interact with?

I had a friend in college. I would have considered him my best friend, had I had any sort of Daily for him. But he was a free spirit. No sleep cycle. No specific circle of friends. I never had any sense of him, beyond my own interactions with him.

For some reason, having a Daily for a friend is important to me. Makes me feel connected and close. But I think it also destroys my friendships when the Daily deteriorates. Maybe there is little else to stand on - either because there just isn't, or because I haven't made the effort to push beyond.

Some of my friendships were never that way. They were casual and close, or deep connections without the need for daily maintenance. Never intending to become intense friendships, never being built up to have me disappoint them. But there were all too many that crashed and burned, that went by the wayside because I didn't know how to carry them into another part of my life.

So, to Kris and Brigette and Michael and Jennifer and Jeannette and David and Sarah and Erin and Nancy and Callie and Larry and Alicia and Jen and Moriah and Beth and Johnny and Jacqui and Annette and Stacie and the countless others... I am sorry. I am sorry for my failures. I am sorry to have left you. I am sorry if I ever do in the future. You are kind souls, spirited women, brave men, intelligent creatures, and wonderfully flawed human beings that deserve the devotion of a good friend, through thick and thin, boring and dramatic.

I don't feel worthy. And yet I can imagine that the joys of friendship could be more than I expect if I only made the effort. I may get there yet.

This blog is about choices. The choices we make. For too long I've made the choice to watch good people walk away. I'm not saying that it stops now. I'm not saying I will change overnight, spend 3 hours a week calling friends and family to catch up. I have no specific goal to achieve.

But I am calling attention to this. Calling myself out, publicly. Bringing this to mindfulness. And maybe turn this Able-Hearted Girl into one worthy of being your loved one.

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, June 10, 2012

gardens done-ish!

As you may recall, this is the Before of the "Corner Garden"

And this is the After!!

Imagine it with these flowers (cuz the roots have been planted in there!): Cote d'Azur Pinks

Also, the blackberries are starting to turn!

Whatcha got growin'?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Friday, June 1, 2012

legends of the fall

A legendary fail.

You may recall that back on New Years Eve, the Great Appendix Escape occurred. While I wasn't out of commission for too long, I did have to take it easy on my body for a month or more.

A month or more. Of not working out. Of getting out of the routine.

I went eased back with Gentle Yoga classes for a while, then graduated back into my regular Yoga Renew.

I started cycling in February, with a goal of cycling 1000 miles this year.
But really, it was nothing like my 4-5x weekly workouts. A mix of early-morning Dance Dance Revolution and Wednesday night Yoga and cycling evenings or weekends or mornings or whenever the weather allowed. My yoga multi-class card ran out before our vacation in Mid-April, and I haven't bought a new one yet. When Able-Bodied Boy is out of town, yoga is more difficult to get to. My work schedule changed and I have less time in the mornings to workout.

The only bright spot is that I have started jogging again, with Bella. It's a quick workout in the morning, and Bella could sure use the exercise too. I am up to about 1.5 miles, without walking breaks, and hope to get that up to 3.5 miles by the end of the year. But I can't get too serious about it, due to a minor case of pigment dispersion syndrome. But I'm going to do as much as I feel is reasonable this year and check back with the eye doctor to see if things are looking any worse.

Able-Bodied Boy's schedule changes soon, and he'll be up quite early in the mornings. I'm hoping I can start rolling out of bed when he does (5a!), to beat the summer heat and get out on the road (foot or pedal) before work. (But 5a? Really? Should I be more realistic about this?)

I have a lot of plans for cycling events this year. The Get Ready Metric tomorrow, I hope; The DoubleCross; the Shorefire Century; the Jersey Devil Century; Bike to the Bay; and the Savage Century. But I have not really been training all that hard and still only have a hundred or so miles on my bike for the year. Even all these put together (doing anywhere from 30-75 miles per ride, at a major stretch of my abilities, based on their offerings) is only 400 miles.

How do you get your butt in gear when you're a girl with very little willpower, who'd rather come home to a gin & tonic and a relaxing evening than change into workout clothes? Whose self-bribing is undermined as often as possible?

(And don't even asked if I've hopped on the scale in the last six months... I'm sure it's not a pretty number and I'm too scared to look.)
Any suggestions?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

outside my comfort zone

First things first. Thank you to all my readers, friends and random folk alike. Able-Bodied Boy (aka Manuel) has passed along all your encouragement and love, and I was shocked to hear so many random acquaintances and friends of friends of friends have been following along. Glad to see the blog has reached outside it's own "comfort zone"... certainly not a bad thing :) Thank you. Your kind words mean so much, and hearing how it's inspired you to try new things and act a little more sustainably makes me that much more eager to share my own journey.

And that leads to a couple of weekends ago. You know, that very weekend when you may have been talking about me around a fire with Able-Bodied Boy? Well, I was way outside my comfort zone.

I was getting sweaty out in the heat, growing things.

I may have mentioned my loathing of all things hot and humid.  And my lack of a green thumb. So yeah, combine those two and it made for an interesting weekend.

April is a great month for pruning and mulching and planting. Which is why I did it in mid-May. Yeah, procrastination abounds in my world. But at least I bought a mess of bulbs and tubers, planned a new garden or two, ordered a ton of mulch, and promptly watch Able-Bodied Boy drive away leaving me to do it all. HA! That's what I get... :)

So, in true Able-Bodied fashion, I forgot some of the BEFORE pictures. So you'll just have to imagine a jungle with trees. Literally. A jungle. With TREES. For any garden lacking a before shot.

AFTER: The Front Bushes. These two bushes were man-high and making the front walk nearly impassable. The bushes lost 60% of their weight, and all the weeds and trees in the rest of the bed were replaced by mulch.

The goodies from Van Bourgondien. I love they include a Garden Guide that tells you how/when to plant and care for all of the plants they sell.

BEFORE: The Mini Garden. Now housing weeds and the panels from an old fire pit.

MIDPOINT: The Mini Garden. Weeded! Pretty soon we will build a raised bed for some Cote d'Azur Pinks.

BEFORE: The Back Garden. All weeds and vines and wretchedness.

MID-POINT: The Back Garden. I tilled the clay-bound soil for an hour. Yay no more weeds!

AFTER: The Back Garden. I planted Windflowers and mulched the bed. Later, gas lines were being installed and they dug up half the bed :(

Random hanging basket and my spider plants recovering from a winter of abuse.

AFTER: The Lily Garden. Weeded and mulched!

AFTER: The Bulb Garden. Weeded, mulched and Periwinkle roots planted

And the best for last.... the blackberries are berrying!!! We should have a FABULOUS crop of them starting in July.

Some of the thousands of blackberries :)
What do you have growing?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Saturday, May 12, 2012

how do you solve a problem like spring greens?

Especially when Able-Bodied Boy is out of town that week....

So the 10 heads of Pak Choi was really about 8 small heads of Pak Choi and another 6-8 small heads of Bok Choi. We got two turnips, but no additional bunch of "Asian Green".


I turned the bunches of kale from last week and this week into a yummy veggie lasagna. Sort of a combination of my BLE and the Canadienne's squash/kale idea. The red sauce was sauteed onions & red peppers, then canned tomatoes, chopped mushrooms, roasted squash (diced, oiled, and oven-roasted at 400 for about 90min), tomato paste and spices. The noodles were smeared with a few tablespoons of part-skim ricotta each (with curly-edge noodles, I can't do the spatula smear over an entire layer, so I go noodle by noodle :)). The kale was pan roasted. Completely dry chopped kale tossed with oil in a very hot pan. It wilts slightly, but gets that roasty, almost-burnt wonderful kale smell. Then I added a few tablespoons of water to help it wilt. I did that in a couple of batches. Layer it all together and top with some mozzarella!

After it chilled in the fridge, I removed a third of it (perfect for a bread pan and feeds two!) and the other two thirds will be separated and frozen for future meals. Damn tasty if I say so myself! Next time, I might try adding shredded carrot and zucchini, too.

The Pak Choi and Bok Choi got stir-fried with some chicken, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and soy sauce.  That yielded about 5 servings (1 for Batman to taste-test for me, and the rest to be divided in two packs for freezing). To serve, cook and fry (with a little oil and soy sauce) either brown rice or rice noodles, add 2 beaten eggs until cooked/scrambled, then add the thawed stir-fry mix until all is heated through. Should make for some simple meals!

I'm starting to learn that greens aren't so scary.

But the three heads of lettuce, and the bags of mizuna and arugula are starting to eyeball me for some attention. Salads, here we come!

What's in your fridge/freezer these days?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

first CSA of the year (don't be jealous!)

Saturday night we got an email... our first CSA pickup would be ready for Tuesday May 1st! WHHHAAAAT? So sooooon?!?! Yay!!

As I mentioned before, we have opted to change over to Adi Farms this year, which is 30 mins from home (or a 90min bike ride - one way). A little out of the way for us, but we're hoping that good produce and convenient hours are worth the trip. If you check out their website, their list of veggies is asian-green heavy, and we've been making the effort to find more recipes using greens lately (like the minestrone soup, our frequent frittatas, and even saag).

Thankfully, our usual Tuesday night plan was cancelled, so that we could both go to the pick-up. Usually, Able-Bodied Boy would be responsible for doing the pick-up after work and before our usual guests, with me as back up as necessary. The pick-up hours are 4p to 8p, which is very convenient to our schedules.

We pulled up to the farm and.... the gate was closed... ?

Luckily, another woman pulled in behind us, parked and walked us through the gate to show us how it's done. Yay! Looks like they have reusable bags that you pick-up and drop-off each week, and a small sheet to write your name to indicate you've picked up. They also have a list of what's in the bag, which I failed to memorize, photograph, or show Able-Bodied Boy. So there was a bit of chaos when we couldn't figure out one of the items, but thanks to google we figured it out :)

So what was in the bag you ask?

5 lbs Oriental Spinach (that's 8 heads) 
6 lbs Pak Choi (that's 10 heads)
1 bag lettuce/spring greens
1 bunch kale

1 bag Mizuna

When I said "don't be jealous", I meant it. This is a LOT of produce for us to figure out. Especially since we have out-of-town guests this week. But they might be recruited to help cook it up :)

The plan? Tentatively, we'll use the Oriental Spinach and the stems of some of the Pak Choi to make soup. The Pak Choi leaves will be blanched and frozen. The mizuna and greens will make a lovely salad. The kale... we'll figure that out later!

When does your CSA start this year? Or if you haven't joined one, why not or are you growing your own goodies this year?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, April 30, 2012

food coma: vacation to home

We were on a cruise a couple of weeks ago. You know... unlimited food at all hours? Well, we did not too too bad with the eating, and we managed to make 95% of our cruise only using the stairs (we were on deck 11, the buffets and sundecks were 12+, and most of the food and bars and fun stuff were on decks 5/6). I also jogged three mornings (got up to 2 miles, and forgot how much I loved jogging!!), spent 3 hours kayaking, an hour in a pilates class, an hour doing guided yoga on the beach (my lord was that intense and sweaty and BEAUTIFUL) and an hour snorkeling. So I probably only gained 5 lbs instead of the 15 you usually hear about.

One really special evening on the ship, we got a private seating at the Chef's Table, with 7 others, enjoying 9 courses of dishes specially prepared by the executive chef and his staff, as well as a selection of fabulous wines. This meal is only offered once per cruise for an extra fee, and we were shocked it wasn't booked solid (up to 12 can attend). We met some really awesome people and it was one of our favorite parts of the trip. The lighting was dim and I loathe flash photos (aka these will be crappy photos), but here's a sampling of what we enjoyed...

Tomato, Basil, Curry & Lavender Lavosh
Insert Amuse Bouche 'Molecular Gastronome' Spherical Mango, Vodka & Jalapeno Ravioli
It was tasty, I just didn't get a photo!

Ahi Tuna Tartar, Orange Wasabi Glaze, Sesame Crisp

Asparagus Cream, Cauliflower Flan, Crispy Beetroot & Saffron Angel Hair

Short Crust Tartlet, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato Chutney, Basil Oil, Kalamata Olive Tapenade
Insert Granite: Grapefruit and Moscato (frozen slushy thing in a champagne glass)

Pan Seared Sea Bass, Plantain Crusted, Mango-Papaya-Avocado Salsa, Lobster Veloute

Milk-Fed Veal Chop, Anna Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach, Truffle Veal Jus

Cheese: St Andre Triple Creme & Stilton, Honey Comb, Port Wine Infused Figs, Bagel Chips, Pickled Watermelon

Chocolate Log, Spiced Dark Fum Infused Banana, Cocoa Mousse

Dome: Yogurt Mousse, Lychee Raspberry Creme, Hazel Sablee, Lime Vanilla Reduction

Best. Meal. Ever.

Anyway, we got home Sunday morning and I immediately sent Able Bodied Boy out for a massive amount of veggies. I was tired of fish, tired of meat, and tired of not cooking my own food! Some of what I made (sans photos) in the last week...

Eggplant Curry (a nice infusion of spices in a coconut milk sauce, with fried eggplant cooked until not quite mushy) served with brown rice. Not the healthiest thing I made, but I was really craving indian food :)

Cauliflower Stew (a crock pot all day filled with: peppers, onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, Worcestershire sauce, and 33rd & Galena spice blend; i was going for the veggie version of sausage and peppers... we added pepper and red pepper flakes and it turned out well!) served with egg noodles

Paneer Saag. OH MY GOD. Let me 'splain.
I made Paneer. Indian Cheese. Honest to goodness fresh cheese. In my home. And it was GOOOOOOD. There will be another post later about fresh cheeses and dairy products. This was my first attempt and damn... not that it was a perfect process, but the ends justified the means and I have learned some things already.
Then I made the Saag (spinach sauce) which is one of my favorites from indian take-out. Again, WOW. I had made this recipe before, but let some of the recipe comments online guide my second attempt. Pretty damn healthy and very damn tasty. That recipe I will share at some point (if you beg me enough... tempted to just keep it all to myself!)
Between the paneer and the saag, I made enough to freeze half for a future meal. Served with brown rice and store-bought naan bread.
I also started my first batch of cordial, with peaches my dad brought me last year and had helped me freeze. We'll see how that goes....

And oat cakes.

And mega burgers for lunch (Black Bean burgers, cheese, avocado, home-roasted red peppers, tomato... it's a Dagwood stack in the end...)

And Able-Bodied Boy made THE BEST SOUP EVER. And I'm the soup lady... his soup was better. We had a ton of Swiss Chard still growing in the garden, so he wanted to use it up. So he found this recipe and we actually cooked. Together. Without fighting. Or blood. We substituted homemade loin bacon for the pancetta and a couple ounces of chunked parmesan for the rind (and I left the skins on the potato). But otherwise we cooked it as ordered and holy crap was it the best soup ever. Did I mention that already?

He also made homemade bread.

And I made pancakes and eggs and bacon so he could have pancake sizzlies (thank you Alannariva, for inspiring me to tell him that and thusly shooting myself in the foot :-P).

Salads. We've also eaten some salads somewhere in there too. But looking at the list, I'm starting to wonder if that was pretty pointless with all the other food we've eaten....

What have you shoved in your pie-hole lately?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl

Sunday, April 29, 2012

sewing and photos

Note the odometer? 122 and it's not even May!

After forgetting to take photos of the last sewing project, I figured I'd make a better effort with the latest one. This was the big-brother project, making 4T garb. With every project, I try to do something new and challenging to improve my skills. For the top, I decided to use bias tape as trim since I couldn't find a nice narrow trim to match the fabric. I've never worked with it, so I thought I'd give that a try. I don't think I did a terrible job, considering I was working on very narrow cuffs (tough enough for me as it is!). And I think I need to understand a little bit more about the point of bias tape. But anyway, here's the set!

And vacation photos for good measure...

 Any exciting adventures for you lately?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the most beautiful sewing you won't get to see

I made garb for a friend approaching her due date, who loves her some Renn Fairs :) Since her and her man got married in garb, and her son pretty much constantly wears some combination of dress up (pirate shirt and tu-tu? skeleton suit and cowboy hat? sure!), I thought they might appreciate a little garb for the wee girl.

I neatly layed out my latest sewing project for photography, right before wrapping them, then wrapping them before actually photographing them. DOH.

All I have to show you is one crappy photo taken of the first item: a black cotton underdress, red linen tabard, and gold/multicolored trim on the collar, hem and elastic belt. Size 6-12 month.

The second was actually my favorite, with blue-blue underdress and brown linen tabard, and blue/pale gold trim (collar, hem and belt). Again, 6-12 month.

The last piece was a simple peasant shirt, my "tester" piece. Probably more of an 18mo size, but it was finished and nice looking, so I tossed it in too :)

Lesson learned. Next time, PHOTOGRAPH. If I see my friends and have a chance to photograph the other pieces, I will!

Other lessons learned: facings are your friend, trim isn't so bad to work with, sewing kids clothes is SO much easier with growth/sizing charts, I have far TOO many pieces of fabric that are too small for baby garb and yet I keep them for something anyway.

Other sewing projects on my list: tunic & pants (size 4T, for big brother to above), fancy yoga mat bag, work dress shirt (based on a favorite that got stained beyond wearable), skirt (from this awesome fabric I found!), a mound of mending, and countless more "garb" projects for myself.

Got any fun crafty things taking over your spare room too?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, April 8, 2012

canning planning

Sheesh, I guess time has gotten away from me...

Not much new on the home front. I've been working on a sewing project that is finally completed and should be posted soon (completely for showing off :) ), with a thousand more sewing projects planned.  Able-Bodied Boy has already been mowing the lawn and planting seedlings. Looks like beans, peppers, swiss chard, carrots, and beets this year.

We have a list on the fridge of things we'd like to make/preserve this year. Many of these involve dozens of pounds of tomatoes, and yet we are not growing any ourselves until at least next year. Looks like the CSA and neighborhood farm stands will suffice. In any case, our list this year includes hot sauce (although we are not growing hot peppers), ketchup, salsas, strawberry-rhubarb preserves, drying mint, pepper jelly (thanks to my SIL's sister), canned tomatoes (if there are any left in the county after we make salsa and ketchup), and salsa zucchina. A tall order, but Able-Bodied Boy has PROMISED to help with canning this year. Especially for those items he is begging me for (most of them).

Over at Two Frog Home, I read a neat little post about her grandmother's cookbook (The Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, 1953) and the Food Preserver's Creed she found therein. She posted it and I'm hoping she doesn't mind that I share it with you here.

How beautiful is this? How amazing that we have all forgotten these simple principles? To feed our family year-round from the bounty that surrounds us? To take joy in the process, learning and developing the skills necessary to provide safe, nutritious foods?

I would love to be able to can/freeze/dry all the foods we would need for the year during the times in which they are in season, but I know I'm not quite ready for that. I think it was an old post from Sharon over at The Chatelaine's Keys (who has a wealth of knowledge!) that prompted me to starting thinking of food preservation for beginners. The suggestion was to take your top few meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and start there...
Dinners... We already freeze homemade lasagnas, although the ingredients therein are not always seasonal. We buy and freeze lamb seasonally. We freeze batches of cilantro pesto, not seasonally. We freeze some veggies. We put together a tomato/zucchini sauce base. We could/should probably do more for seasonal preservation of dinners, like tomato-based sauces, stored/grown root cellar vegetables,

Lunches/snacks/condiments.... We have (or will have) pickles, salsa, fruit spreads, frozen fruits. We freeze soups (some seasonal, some not). We eat a lot of frozen "burgers" (mostly veggie, salmon, or turkey) and most of those are store bought, but could be seasonally put together and frozen. We can make our own bread/rolls, but don't always. We could make our own mayo as needed, but don't (yet).

Breakfast... We now have the option of freezing blended eggs and greens as fritatta ingredients. We are stocked with smoked breakfast meat for a year. We do breads on occasion, including a wonderful English Muffin recipe (and homemade Hollandaise which IMO tasted like heaven - mostly because I made it from scratch perfectly on my first try). I know how to make homemade butter, buttermilk, and fresh cheeses.
I'm sure I'm missing a few ideas and/or pantry items we already have, but you get the idea. Start with what you eat, and see what you can do to do it for yourself. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is a wonderful book if you're at all interested in learning what it takes to do it full force (she and her family resolved to only eat what they could produce/obtain locally for one year).

I would love to be there, but I'm not. But what is life if not the striving for better...?

What are you striving for these days?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl