Outside my window: Gray skies and chilly days. Sunday, though, the weather after church was so warm and sunny that we packed up the kids, stopped to pick up a sack of BBQ and hushpuppies, and headed to a nearby state park for a riverside picnic and hiking. Getting out the door with two babies is just a bit more work, but always worth it.
I am listening to artillery. It’s been a noisy “war zone” week with helicopters barreling back and forth just above the treetops all day and the Marines in town for training. Artillery is normal here, with occasional loud days and disrupted nights. However, the Marines living over by the coast don’t have ranges long enough for their biggest guns and rockets, so they haul them inland every Spring and then cram a year’s worth of training into two weeks, firing all day and all night and shaking our house like a baby’s rattle. Imagine a bus careening off the road and ramming your house every two minutes; it’s a close approximate.
In the kitchen we’ve been experimenting with vegetable soups for Lent. I’m working alphabetically through the single-vegetable soups section of James Peterson’s wonderful Splendid Soups. Artichoke, asparagus, and avocado all made delicious soups. We’re skipping beets (not a favorite) and cardoons (car-what? car-where? no specialty Italian veggies in rural nowheresville) and moving on to carrots.
I am reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. A fantastic read if you’re looking for motivation in the kitchen. It is delightful and inspiring. It is neither a cookbook nor a series of essays, but something in between, full of ideas on how to use every part of everything, and use it well. It’s an invitation to play in the kitchen, starting from the ground up rather than from a recipe down. The tone is sometimes a bit annoying (affected casual, if that’s possible?), and every so often there’s something that sounds good but doesn’t really bear up scientifically. This book assumes some basic cooking knowledge and is not really for beginners even though it’s presented that way. Those small caveats aside, I’m reading and re-reading, making mental lists, playing in the kitchen, and planning on buying it for keeps after returning the library copy.
I am creating something out of nothing. Or at least, meals out of scraps I normally overlook or throw away, thanks to An Everlasting Meal. Last night I brewed up a savory vegetable broth with the greens from leeks, tough broccoli steams, onion skins and ends, celery leaves, a couple of carrots, and other odds and ends. It will be the base for carrot soup on Friday. Meanwhile, parmesan risotto for dinner with bacon-wrapped asparagus.
I am thankful for my husband. The twins received another round of immunizations on Friday. Fussy fevers x 2 are much more manageable when Dad is home to baby juggle.
I am wearing jeans, a sage green t-shirt, and a charcoal gray Old Navy cardigan.
Around the house Taxes, plus advance preparations for many things: Easter (the neighbors are coming for Easter dinner), a road trip (our first nights away from home with the babies. Tips for traveling with babies, anyone?), and house guests, in addition to the usual chores and cooking. We started into Spring yard work over the weekend as well.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Walking with a friend and her young baby, hosting dinner for a house-hunting Army doctor moving to our post this summer, and a Palm Sunday potluck at church.
A peek into my day…
Our daughter is always done at bedtime, no matter how early we start her feeding. At the start of her evening bottle she is wide awake, squealing and smiling. By halfway through, she’s rubbing her eyes and burrowing into our shoulders. At the end, it’s always a race to coax a burp out of her before she flops over into a warm limp puddle of sleeping baby. Her brother is exactly the opposite. With eight delicious ounces in his belly he thinks it’s party time and always flails, chats, and coos as we put him down and give him a goodnight kiss. He’s always asleep within a few minutes, though.