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Dinner Party

21 Jul

Listening to Simon and Garfunkle as I clean this evening.

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We had two friends and their toddler over for dinner. Andy made lasagna and I made oregano knots, cabbage salad, and tart cherry pie.

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We ate, and I showed my friend a secret project I’m working on for my hubby, and we smiled and laughed at their little one and the way he is developing language–following directions, pointing to ‘Mommy,’ ‘Daddy,’ saying ‘no’ quietly to himself as he plays.

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There was a time in my life that I forgot about the greatness of the small moments, the tiniest part of my life–two hours of an evening–and I longed to do great things. To save the world.

But I am pleased to have the life I live. To have this summer to bake bread and pie and to sit with friends for an hour. And to have an hour to myself when the three members of my family have gone to bed to right things, to put everything in order.

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I used to listen to these songs alone on my mom’s old record player. The needle was a little scratchy and the speakers decrepit, but i still absorbed them into my skin. And with all that I imagined what kind of future I would have, I never imagined this one.

But it’s… perfect.

Time it was, and what a time it was…
Preserve your memories, for they’re all that’s left you.

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Herb Pots: The Beginning

24 Mar

I am not a plant-lover. (Except in the eating department, in which I love plants. A lot.) Plants and I have some difficulty communicating. Plants do not speak loud enough when they need to be fertilized. Or brought in out of the cold. Or brought in out of the heat. Or watered.

I have one plant that I’ve kept alive for a couple of years. This is because she is an ivy that lives in a mason jar by the kitchen sink. So I can really see when she needs water. And she doesn’t seem to mind when her water levels get very low before I notice…

So, it’s been a complete shock to myself that I have been wanting a garden. I want to grow something and eat it. I had a similar feeling a few years ago when I started knitting and quilting–I wanted to make something that people could use. There’s just something deeply satisfying about seeing something that you’ve created keeping someone warm and comforted. I think it would be similarly satisfying to see something you’ve grown being consumed by someone.

I grew up on a farm, in fact. We spent most of the summer and a lot of the winter eating things that my stepfather had grown. An amazing gift. I should know more about plants because of this. Unfortunately, I spent most of my home time in a tree, reading. Or painting a mural on the garden shed. Or sitting on the back of the tractor, dropping in okra seeds (wait! look! I did do something for the garden!). My stepfather had all the knowledge and did all the work.

Fortunately for the plants I admired, there is no full sun on our balcony. No full sun anywhere outside our little apartment. Except on a teensy windowsill.

So I’ve invested in an herb garden kit.

Here they are!

Wish them, and me, luck. I did everything I could to give them a good little start!

Sprout, little seeds! I want to eat you!

Vegetable Pot Pie

23 Mar

We’re not big meat eaters ’round here, as you may have noticed. Sometimes, husband eats chicken. Even rarer, he eats a hamburger. I restrict my meat intake to fish exclusively. Husband doesn’t like fish.

So, mostly, we’re vegetarian, with eggs and milk. But we haven’t forgotten our home-cooked roots, and remember comfort foods. One of my favorite things as a kid was chicken pot pie. It is everything I love: creamy, crusty, warm and filling.

I crave these kinds of “comfort foods” sometimes, and I know it’s not the meat that I’m craving. It’s the warmth, the smell, the memory. And so, I’ve found a way to indulge. Years ago, I found a vegetable pot pie recipe somewhere and wrote it down. If I find it again, I’ll link to it here. Over time, I’ve modified it a bit, so I feel secure posting my recipe here. It’s really yummy.

Just for fun, I made us a special Heart Pie a couple of nights ago:

We heart each other pot pie.

And here’s the recipe:

Vegetable Pot Pie

  • 1 can condensed cream of potato soup
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables (can be any–to get the “traditional” taste I use a bag of peas, green beans, corn, and etc.)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (or more, because I love rosemary)
  • dash of salt
  • a little more than a dash of pepper
  • 2 9″ refrigerated pre-prepared pie crusts, at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients (except pie crusts, duh).
  3. Place bottom pie crust in pie dish. Fill with filling. Cover with top crust.
  4. Make slits in top crust. Decorate with extra crust if you want. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes or so, until top crust is golden brown.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Vegetable Lentil Stew

10 Mar

I make this at least once a week. It’s soooo good, and feels hearty and healthy. My first original recipe–which isn’t that impressive, but we take what achievements we can get.

Vegetable Lentil Stew by Shannah Marie

  • 6-8 cups chopped vegetables (can be any depending on availability, here are my suggestions: ½ purple or yellow onion, 1 clove garlic, ear corn, ½ head of cabbage, 4-6 fingering potatoes, 3-4 stalks celery, 4-5 carrots, 1 squash or zucchini—make sure you at least use onion, potato, celery, and carrots), parsley if desired
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 32-oz box or two cans vegetable broth
  • 1 cup lentils

Sautee onion, garlic, and carrots in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for 4-5 minutes, until onions begin to cook. Add broth, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil (sometimes I add a little rosemary, thyme, basil, or sage). When boiling, add lentils, chopped vegetables and reduce heat to simmer. Make sure liquid covers vegetables—may need to add 1 can water. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables and lentils are tender. If desired, add parsley in the last 5-10 minutes.

This stew can make as much or as little as you want, depending on how much vegetable broth and how many vegetables you chop. I spend the time chopping, fill up my big pot, and we eat for a week. Sometimes I freeze individual servings for future meals. You know what to do.