Daybook



Outside my window - The sun is rising earlier and earlier each day. 

Clothing myself in - stretch denim capris and a tank top. Ready for yard and garden work!

Writing - Our mastermind group assignment is to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book on Amazon. Several members have them written and are working on illustrations - which are fantastic by-the-way. I have ideas, but have not put pen to paper yet.

I am determined, yet again, to get back to this blog. While searching for information about vermicomposting, I came across a blog that is causing me serious blog envy. If you are a gardener, you will love it too!

Reading - The Becoming (by Nora Roberts) as often as I can find a quiet space and keep my eyes open at the same time. 

Watching - I heard some good reasons last night why I should return to the Wanda Vision and Loki series. I am a Marvel fan, and I plan to see the new Dr. Strange, but I hear that I won’t fully understand it if I have not watched Wanda Vision. I’ll either convince the rest of our viewing audience (aka - my mom, my husband, and my youngest daughter LOL) that we should watch it or I’ll put it on while I’m working on fabric in the basement. That’s my plan, we’ll see how it goes.

Daybook

Giving thanks - We did a thing last week. We surrendered one of my life insurance policies for the cash value, and it is the exact amount we need to pay the balance on our mortgage. John will be free to exercise some new options. No need to fret, this was a large policy we had in place when we were raising five young children and, if anything had happened to me, he would have had child care expenses. That is no longer the case, and we have taken care to make sure there is another policy in place sufficient for final arrangements. I am very thankful for all the ways God made sure that this was possible.

Granola




4 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cup sliced almonds or other nut of choice

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon (more if you're like me and love cinnamon)

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

1 egg white


Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 


Stir butter, honey, vanilla, and egg white together. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are well coated.


Line a large cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper. Spread mixture in single layers.


Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes, stirring and turning frequently.


Allow too cool. Store in airtight container.


*Granola will firm up during cooling. If you prefer more cluster-like pieces, push the mixture down with spoon before baking.


Yogurt like CFA

52 oz Fairlife Milk - whole is best for this recipe

2 TBS Oui Vanilla Yogurt

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tsp vanilla paste (try this one Rodelle)

1/3 cup confectioners sugar 


Pour half of the Fairlife in the instant pot and stir in the yogurt, sweetened condense milk, cream, vanilla, and confectioners sugar - whisk until well blended.

Whisk in the remaining milk until well blended.

Place the lid with vent setting open. Select the yogurt button and make sure the time is set for the default of 8 hours.

Remove the inner pot and DO NOT STIR. Cover loosely with towel and then a plate. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours - or overnight.

After this cooling period, stir until well mixed. The vanilla paste tends to settle in the bottom so make sure you stir around the edges, scrapping and folding the bottom layers well.

At this point, you can strain through a yogurt strainer if you like a more solid consistency. The longer you strain it the thicker it becomes. We like ours better when we don't strain it at all. No straining results in a creamy, luscious yogurt you can't resist.

Enjoy alone or top with granola (here's a recipe for one you can make at home) or fresh berries.


Adapted from this recipe 

Crusty Artisan Bread

 


3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water

Mix ingredients in a large bowl with wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap (loosely) and a hand towel, and let sit overnight to proof (rise). I say overnight - ideally. Allow it to rise to at least double before proceeding with the rest of the directions. That might mean overnight; it might mean a few hours. Depends on the heat and humidity of your home and climate.

Heat Dutch oven (including the lid) in the oven at 450 degrees.

This is an example of a dutch oven in case you're wondering...




While the Dutch oven is heating up, remove the dough and place on a surface prepared with additional flour. Work enough flour into the dough to form a firm but not dry ball. Cover with the same plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Carefully (the pan will be hot!) move the dough to the Dutch oven - no oil or spray necessary! Honestly you just have to gently plop it in there. Replace lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Don't worry if it loses a bit of its shape in the transfer, it will recover and rise and bake into this gorgeous, delectable loaf of moist, chewy bread on the inside and crunchy, crusty dough on the outside. Don't skip the 15 minutes without the lid because this is what results in the golden crispy crust.

Enjoy!!!




Beef Barley Soup




4 pounds beef short ribs6 cups water1 can Marzano tomatoes, undrained and diced1 medium onion, diced2 teaspoons salt1/2 teaspoon pepper2 cups carrots, sliced1 cups celery, sliced1 cup cabbage, chopped2/3 cup quick-cooking barley2 Tablespoons parsley, dried OR 1/4 cup fresh minced
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, combine ribs, water, tomatoes, onion, salt, pepper - bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Remove ribs and allow to cool. Remove meat from bones and cut into bite-size pieces; return to pan. Add carrots, celery, and cabbage - bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add barley and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until barley and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley.



This soup is delicious served with this crusty bread!
Adapted from this recipe in the 1997 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Daybook



Giving thanks - for today. I am alive. I have another chance to love people well. I have not given up.

Outside my window - I woke to snow flurries, but I think they have stopped now. I believe the forecast is for more snow today and the next couple of days. No bother, March is next week and Spring weather will inevitably arrive soon (ish).


Clothing myself in - blue comfy jog pants, maroon long-sleeve t-shirt, and fuzzy navy hooded-cardigan. White Crocs on my feet.

Just for Today

 



Caregiving is hard some days, but not all days.


Caregiving requires that you allow yourself to be emptied of yourself, and filled with something more.

Caregiving is worth the hard days and the emptying of oneself.

It's not hard because it's physical work always; sometimes it just means you don't know what's next. What's the next appointment, what's the next need, what's the next obstacle, what's the next mood? It's a very good exercise in putting the motto "Just do the next right thing" into practice.

I realized on my way home from an errand that, with the right perspective, a planner isn't for making my plans so much as reminding myself of the plans given to me. Too many "next right things" tend to be forgotten and the planner is a great place to keep that running list.

On a side note for the future me - I'm finally willing to do my part.