Slouching Into the New Year

Wow, it’s been a year since we posted here.  So much for good intentions.  Actually it was one of those years where I didn’t have much interest in anything.  I did a lot of writing and that’s about it.  I even pretty much blew off Christmas, though I expected that on the 26th, I’d finally feel like putting up my tree, but that didn’t happen.  I’d hoped to do a cookbook again this year, and had started making a list of recipes I wanted to include, but by the middle of December I knew that wasn’t going to happen either.

So now we’re in the throes of actual winter weather and it’s startling because December was relatively warm.  It’s about three degrees out right now.  Thank goodness the wind has died down a little because the living room is just frigid in spite of the plastic I put up over the west window.  A night like tonight wanted something comforting and warm for dinner, and since we’d just finished the last of the Beef Stroganoff (I froze the leftovers after Christmas.) and had recently had some leftover Havana Moon Chili, it was time to put on my chef’s hat and make something fresh.

I had a package of potato leek soup I got from King Arthur Flour, and I threw it in my slow cooker with half a head of cauliflower instead of the little red potatoes they call for (we’re trying to eat a little better) and some vegetable broth, and cooked it all afternoon.  When I pureed it, I added some half and half, shredded Italian cheese, and Sriracha.  It was a peculiar color — kind of baby poop green — but boy was it good.  I froze two portions and left a third, smaller one in the fridge.  I’m trying to get into the habit of freezing leftovers and labeling them so I don’t find myself looking at a storage container six months later and thinking, “Buh?”

I’m also rearranging my kitchen.  This is partly avoidance and partly the result of me being tired of the clutter.  I have a brand new blender that I was sent for review  (About which, more when I write the review.) and I wanted that on the counter, but needed more prep space, so out went the knife block, along with a bunch of knives, the food processor is being stored, and the toaster oven and stand mixer swapped places.  An unlooked-for advantage of the moves is that I put the water filter pitcher on the window sill behind the sink, and the water is as cold as if it had been refrigerated.  If life hands you a house with bad windows, let them work for you.
I replaced my microwave in December and am  really happy with the new one.  It’s another GE.  I figured the one I replaced was 23 years old and still worked, though little things had been failing for a couple of years now.  If I get half that out of the new oven, I’ll feel it was money well spent.  Glinda and I also admitted defeat and bought an electric coffee grinder.  Our hands can’t take the manual grinder anymore.  We’re getting old and arthritic.  I even replaced my beloved water boiler.  My thinking was this:  It still works.  Why not sell it at our garage sale, and make a bit off of it?  The electric kettle I got to replace it takes up a fraction of the electricity the boiler did, much less counter space, and is new.  While I hate having to wait even a few minutes for boiling water, it makes much more sense.
Been sorting spices today.  Yesterday it was sorting storage containers.  I girded my loins and tossed a bunch of jars and bottles I’d been saving.  It hurt me, but I did it, and now things look much nicer.
I know Glinda isn’t happy with the way her kitchen is arranged, and I’m sorry to hear that.  I thought we’d done a good job a few years ago, but our needs do change, and the way we think about our work spaces change as well.  I’ve been rearranging things a lot in the last few years.  I hope I’m coming closer to what I want.  Part of this process is getting rid of things.  I’m through with the clutter.

More about the garage sale and the blender later.

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