Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Catching Up

After a couple weeks with lots of visits from out of town friends and a variety of things keeping me busy, I’m trying to settle into a week of catching up with myself and getting all the basic tasks of my life sorted out- this includes doing some more garden planning, laundry, catching up on sewing and mending, doing my taxes, and getting back into the rhythm of cooking. Luckily most general cleaning is not on the to do list right now, as I finished two straight days of deep cleaning/spring cleaning a few hours before my close friend Lydia arrived from Nebraska last week with her daughter, Maya. I had wanted to make sure I had a spotless, safe apartment for my favorite toddler to run around in, so I went all out, and I feel much better for it. Just knowing that there was dust hanging out on all the trim and the ceiling fan was making me feel gross, and now I know that it’s all been cleaned, and that deep, clean feeling will last for some time.
Yesterday I found daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths all blooming in my backyard, with more on the way! (Click on photos to enlarge)
Daffodils and hyacinths amid drifting petals from the cherry trees...

With a few days of sun, all the flowers have come out, and all my sugar snap peas are up along the back fence.
A tulip and some tiny new pea sprouts right at the bottom of the fence!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Yesterday I did some small garden tasks, giving my garlic and the pea sprouts a light dose of fish fertilizer, and a very diluted dose to my cabbage and onion starts, which I’m hardening off this week (placing them outside on my back steps during the day to make them stronger and acclimate them to outdoor conditions) in anticipation of planting them into the garden this weekend!
Onion and cabbage starts growing along heartily under the lights!

I’ve also been trying to get back into the groove of cooking- all the circumstances of the last couple busy (but very fun) weeks have meant little cooking time at home. That also means some food in the fridge really needed to be used, so I did some late night cooking last night, and steamed a bunch of carrots that were going soft, cooked up a bunch of wild rice in some chicken stock, and sautéed a somewhat soft green pepper and some leftover onion to add to some black beans for lunches this week. I’ve also started (inspired by a vegetarian friend) keeping vegetable scraps in a gallon-sized ziploc bag in the freezer to use for making vegetable stock. Any ends of celery sticks, veggie scraps, and some appropriate vegetable peels go in, and when the bag is full, it’s time to cook it into stock. I think it’s another good way to get the most value out of the produce I buy.

Another new pursuit is changing my diet a little, as I recently bought Nourishing Traditions, after checking it out from the library to preview it. It is a very good read, a cookbook loaded with research that challenges mainstream diet and promotes returning to the diets of our ancestors, which were heavy in animal fats and whole grains and made use of natural fermenting processes to make certain foods more digestible. I do think it all needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but it is a very hard-hitting piece of work, and is inspiring me to do more soaking of grains before cooking, eating meat a little more often (I’m going to try to remember to eat meat once a week and fish once a week). It also jives with my interests in public health, and provides a huge number of sources of research showing the ill effects of modern American food habits.

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