what we will be eating this winter…

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Yeah, baby – homemade grape jelly made from wild scuppernongs and organic sugar. It’s the kind of stash that almost makes winter worthwhile. Almost.

robots with a strings section

Some of the work I do is very detailed and requires a level of focus that can only come with strong coffee and a sweeping orchestral score drowning out the rest of the world. If that score evokes thoughts of robots and space battles, all the better.

Even if you don’t like sci fi (Really? You don’t like sci fi?), I implore you to listen to some of Bear McCreary’s work. It will make your heart sing.

So say we all.

Just beautiful.
As lovely as any series of notes ever put together. Really.

And one with the haunting vocals of Alessandro Juliani that will make you weep, even if you don’t know the context of the song:

for baby

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Our family welcomed a beautiful baby girl last week – the daughter of my nephew. New babies mean quilts around these parts, so before baby A arrived, I ordered some decidedly girl-friendly fabric from the Sunny Happy Skies line by Riley Blake Designs. The large prints were screaming to remain large squares, so I listened. My seams don’t match perfectly, but I hope it will be nice and toasty for baby A and maybe give her some fun designs to puzzle over.

I used cotton batting and vintage pink fabric for the backing. I know some people achieve a Zen-like state while binding quilts, but I truly hate that part. Oh my. I hate it, so this quilt is simply turned and top-stitched. It does the job and I still have my sanity. I did not pre-wash the quilt fabric so that it could shrink a little and pucker, along with the binding backing.

homemade sushi

And it’s pretty good.

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I have long thought sushi-making to be some mystical process that I couldn’t possibly recreate in my kitchen. What I made won’t win any awards for neatness and presentation but it’s, as AB says, good eats.

Start by making short-grain sushi rice (I bought mine at Publix) according to package directions, preferably in a rice cooker, if you have one. (In my rice cooker: two cups of sushi rice and 2 1/2 cups of water.) While the rice is doing its thing, toast some nori sheets.

Ah, yes. What? That’s OK, I didn’t know how to do it either. Observe:

I have a glass cooktop, so I did these on the $12 hot plate I use when I need to fire up my canning pot indoors. Classy. It goes very, very quickly. The color change is the indication that all is right in your nori world.

Once the rice is done, add a little rice wine vinegar and sugar to taste OR break with all tradition, as I did, and add mirin. I stirred about 3 T. of mirin into the rice, allowed it to cool down a bit and added another 2 –3 T. The rice should cool enough to be handled easily .

Now, the next part takes a little practice, hence the stray rice grains on my sushi. I actually already had a bamboo mat ($3 on Amazon) and it is a great help. I placed plastic wrap over my bamboo mat, topped that with a sheet of toasted nori, and then spread a thin layer of seasoned rice on top. Leave about an inch at the top of the nori uncovered by rice.

Then, add your middle ingredients. I don’t eat anything that had a face, so we did simple cucumber strips in ours.

Wet your finger and run it along the uncovered nori edge.

Roll the nori (beginning with the side closest to you), using the mat to squeeze and roll the nori/rice/middle stack as you go. (Search Youtube if you need a visual.)

Open the mat and be amazed that you made sushi.

Traditionally, I know the rice should be on the outside. That involves flipping the rice-coated nori and I haven’t been courageous enough to try that yet. Soon…

sandy kids

Mine:

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Not mine:

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shore

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My heart almost bursts when my senses take in all that the coast has to offer. We spent a few sandy, lethargic days at the beach this summer, starting with Charleston and working our way north to Litchfield Beach and Pawleys Island. I am not a slow-paced, unitasking person at home, but something about the sound of the waves and the salt spray in my hair has a narcotic effect on me. I figure each day spent on the beach adds a year to my life expectancy. I am shooting to be 832.

simple food

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We are trying to clean up our act around here, buying organic as much as possible and eating more vegan meals. Everyone is on board, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I would eat this meal every day: black beans, rainbow quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, lettuce with salsa and avocado. Yum!

some, some, summer

It has been hot (still better than cold) and it’s gone much too fast – just a week left.

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(It was touch and go for a while, since our spring weather was weird, but our local organic strawberry patch ended up with a late bumper crop. Several gallons ended up in my freezer and more ended up as strawberry jam and balsamic strawberry jam. Good eats.)

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six months

I promised myself that my blog break wouldn’t be longer than six months. I made it just under the wire. Sometimes there’s too much on the plate and this site didn’t need to be educated or fed or have stories turned in on time, so it was an easy choice.

We’ve been busy bees around here. Random, odd highlights are below… Good stuff to come…

Scouts…

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Weirdo animal facts…

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Shark… (told you these were random)

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fresh food

We watched “Fresh” today. It’s a terrific indy documentary about food – real food. It is reminiscent of Food, Inc., but it really focuses positively on the organic farmer. Vote with your wallets, people. I know this film convinced me that a few “cheat” items are going to be banished from my house. We do pretty well around here, I think, but there is much, much room for improvement.

The movie’s trailer is below, but I warn you: it is not for little eyes. There are some scenes of animal factory farming that I simply could not watch. My son watched, however, and told me when it was safe to look. (I am not kidding.) I know where bacon comes from and as a confirmed vegetarian, I don’t need to see that part again.

On that note, this film in no way condemns meat eaters. In fact, juicy burgers from a grass-fed, humanely raised, pastured cow are featured and indeed, celebrated. What the film does condemn is the unnatural factory farming that results in sick, diseased animals who live and die in horrible conditions before ending up on someone’s plate. (The monoculture farming that is resulting in more and more herbicide and pesticide use on plant crops is prominently included, too. This covers it all.)

All in all, Fresh is a celebration of good stewardship – an appreciation for the gifts and bounty we have been given – and a call to return to real food.

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