As the lower and central Midwest non-winter continues, we’re seeing daffodils and robins; people are jumping the gun and planting peas, 2 weeks early. It’s hard to remember that it’s still “dark days”–you have to put on your pioneer cap and remember that even during a warm winter you would have been relying on what you were able to preserve at home or trade locally. The larder is thinning as the sun climbs the sky. Just a month left before the new harvest starts with the early mushrooms and asparagus. Are we ready for the home stretch?
For me, (Xan), it’s been a strange month. Work schedules for Bill and me have been at odds, so that we’ve rarely been home for dinner together. It’s been a month of cooking once a week and then eating that meal as leftovers for days, of big meals at noon and a few handfuls of peanuts for dinner (no, not local–I’ve yet to find a local source for any nuts except chestnuts). The Mahlzeit blog has languished. My daughter challenged herself to eat vegetarian for the month of March; it’s been eggs and pizza all the way for her as she struggles with the difficulties of altering a diet. And yes, we ate probably 60% to 70% vegetarian meals her whole life, which she didn’t eat–that one’s a carnivore through and through. So, ironically, I made meatloaf. It’s bona fide Dark Days– all local. Quick recipe: 1 pound ground beef, 1 Italian sausage, 2 cups roasted eggplant, 2 roasted and peeled bell peppers, 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (soaked in 2 cups water for 1 hour). Bake for 50 minutes at 350.
It’s been gorgeous the last few days up here in Philomath, Oregon as well. Daffies and croci are coming up in droves and the trees are showing buds already! That didn’t stop a random snow squall from presenting itself, or one of those lovely Oregon days of snow-sun-hail-sun-cloudy-pouring-sunny-hailing weather. I’ve been enjoying the weather from inside or out, and i’m most happy that the local organic farm, Gathering Together, has reopened their farm stand. I finally have access to plenty of fresh veggies! And there’s news on my eating: I went on a diet starting last weekend.
As far as i know, i’ve never actually ‘been on a diet.’ When i was younger, i disallowed most breads after lunch, any sugars ever, and had more self control than i have had since marriage. That honeymoon complete with dinner rolls seems to have messed with my eating habits. For the past 3 years. In Austin, i was an avid gym-aholic, going 6 plus days a week, sometimes several times a day to the point that i considered becoming a BodyStep instructor. Here in Oregon, i get some great 5 mile walks, but that’s about it. So, i’ve gone on a diet. Nothing fad. Nothing extreme: just a re-thinking of portion sizes and carb intake/time of day. That and significantly reducing our wine intake. So far so good! I’m feeling better and think i already lost a bit of weight. I’m not doing this for vanity, but rather health. I’m sure my body index is a bit high, and i have a bit more belly fat than i’d like: as most of us now is the ‘bad’ fat… anyway. A diet for health, and this week we’ve been eating tons of fresh salad and homemade soups. I didn’t snap a picture of last night’s dinner, but it was delicious and definitely SOLE. My version of The Splendid Table’s “Green Soup” it was light, fresh, and chock full of vitamins and minerals:
Green Soup from Pocket Pause
- 1 leek (Gathering Together Farm – GTF)
- 1 bunch kale (GTF)
- 3 cloves garlic (Denison Farms – local/organic)
- 1 pint condensed homemade chicken stock
- salt/pepper/basil/rosemary (basil and rosemary grown in my garden)
- 1 rutabega or turnip (GTF)
- 1/2 a head of cauliflower (not local, but in season)
- 3 hot peppers of your choice (not local or in season)
Coursely chop the veg and cover with the stock plus about 1 1/2 quarts water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until cauli and turnip are soft. Blend well with immersion blender and serve with some homemade or live cultured yogurt. Warm and light: perfect for a chilly early Spring evening!