BLD Kale

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Kale

Cold weather like we’re having here begs for soup. I always have a freezer full of stock on hand. Never throw out bones. Freeze them and, when I have enough, make stock. I even save the tomato juice from canning and freeze it in small batches to add at the end of split pea soup. I sometimes have so much the freezer can’t hold anymore and it has to be given away to others. Ingredients on hand make a big difference on days like today…really, on any day.

So with this spell, I defrosted a big container of chicken stock. Went out yesterday and bought some boneless chicken breasts to poach and dice for chicken soup and some to marinate and smoke in my stovetop smoker for salads and sandwiches. While I was there, I also picked up some baby kale, forgetting I already had some.

With so much in the house, kale was part of my breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Think ‘kale florentine’ for breakfast. I sautéed some kale in a bit of butter and olive oil in a small pan and, when it wilted, broke an egg on top. Even added a bit of lemon zest on top. Lemon zest is a winter secret, which adds just a hint of fresh and bright flavor. Good way to start the day.

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The big soup pot came out for lunch and meals to follow. I diced some potatoes and carrots and added them to the stock when it came to a boil. Then some frozen peas, diced yellow pepper, a half carton of garbanzo beans, some frozen tortellini, and some diced chicken that I  poached beforehand. After all was almost cooked, added a handful of egg noodles and when they had almost cooked through, several big handfuls of the baby kale. Done in less than half an hour and will last for many meals and snacks.

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Dinner prep started with two non-sticks pans. In one, a bit of melted butter and olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. A piece of salmon gently placed on top. Cover and cook for a bit, then uncover and spoon some of the butter/oil/lemon liquid on top. Cover and cook a bit more until done, just a few more minutes, depending on how thick the salmon is.  While that was cooking, I sautéed some baby kale in the other pan with some olive oil with a bit of garlic and cooked until wilted, just a few minutes.  Another quick and easy meal on an ‘inside day’. Just wish I had a piece of chocolate cake for dessert.

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Fighting Cabin Fever

The blizzard has stopped, the sky is so bright and blue, bouncing extra light off the piles of snow. The temperature has finally made it into the double digits but the wind chill still hovers below zero. The wind will die down, but the temps are expected to stay about this low for the next 10 days, breaking around Super Bowl Sunday.  I’ll probably not go out today. No need, the pantry is full, I don’t need anything and the gym can wait one more day. If I don’t leave the house tomorrow, though, I will go bonkers, but today is okay.

Still, for us in the New York area and other places expected to be below freezing for a bit, we’re likely to spend more time indoors than we usually do. I’ve already started a list of things I can do for when I start getting bored or just need to move around more.

  • Mini Camp for skin treatment — a moisturizing mask this time, both for my face and my hands!
  • A long moisturizing bath for the rest of me.
  • Start sorting through the 180 cookbooks I own and try to make some keep/donate decisions.
  • Need to finish last season’s House of Cards before season 2 starts next month.
  • Might make some pastry and/or pizza dough to tuck in the freezer for meals later on.
  • A few small batches of wine jellies could be made.

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  • Might schedule a few “Face-Time” dinners with friends.
  • I love to knit but hate to sew things together. Know there are sweaters in the upstairs drawers that need to be attached.
  • Upload more pictures to Flickr

Those of you with children to occupy indoors might find it a bit more challenging, but Face-Time with friends and grandparents can work well with them too. Or,

  • This can be a good time to get them involved in cooking, or at least helping in the prep. Pizza is easy and they get to pick the toppings. (No dear, we don’t have a can of pineapple in the pantry.)
  • Read-aloud chapter books where everyone takes a turn reading a few pages. I still miss reading to my kids.
  • For some families I know, board games can be a novelty.

If you’re making a list of things to come up with to occupy you and/or others, make sure to include something that’s just about you. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy or well planned….but it can be.

Please feel free to share your cabin fever tips with the rest of us…..

An Important Day You Might Not Know About

We’re in the midst of the city’s second big ‘snow and chill’ event of the season. A lot of gray skies lately, which always seem worse when the sun sets before five o’clock. And now the snow is coming down hard. Big snowflakes. It is pretty to look at, at least from inside.

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Even with this big storm and the one we had before, we have to admit to having a spattering of nicer days, so there really isn’t a good reason to complain. Sounds lofty, but the snow is coming down hard and the single-digit temps are expected to stay around for a couple of weeks. Not apologizing, I’ve had enough and need to put on my ‘optimist hat’ and look for some ‘happy’.

After-Christmas sales are over, but the Super Bowl is coming to New York next month! Though the game itself is in New Jersey, the City is gearing up big time, with a football playground being put together in Times Square and lots of other big events being planned. February 2nd is going to be a very big day here. Big-time party day. Huge celebrations. Daytime television already full of Super Bowl party menus and entertaining tips…the theme of most, from my chair, is how to stuff in as many calories and fat as you can during the fourth quarter. Just make sure your beer is cold.

Super Bowl notwithstanding, my eye is on February 3rd. Not a holiday, not my birthday, nothing on the calendar. There will be no big celebrations, no speeches, no parade, unless the winning team gets one when they return home. Still, February 3rd is an important day.

February 3rd is smack in the middle of winter. Forty-five days of winter on either side of it. Halfway through. Only six more weeks of winter. February 3rd will give us 10 hours and 13 minutes of sunlight, which will end at 5:16pm.

Fast forward six weeks from February 3rd, to the first day of Spring on March 20th, and we will have almost two more hours of sunlight — 12 hours and 10 minutes and the sun won’t set until 7:08! Two more hours..it almost doesn’t matter what the temperature will be. It’ll be warm soon enough. Spring and sunlight and Oh Happy Days.

Big Storm Now. Super Bowl Soon. Mid-Winter Right After.

Then Spring – it’s closer than you think.

Now, I have to go out and shovel again. Stay warm. Dream Big.

Post-Christmas Bed Camp

There’s always a Holiday Bed Camp for me, either after Thanksgiving to refresh and prepare for what’s to come, or just after Christmas well, because most people need it by then. This year it was really needed — the heating system went two weeks before Christmas during a cold spell and heated only the bottom floor. It was finally repaired the day before Xmas Eve, during which water poured down from the radiator above my bedroom, coming through the ceiling I painted just last summer and onto my bed, soaking my comforter and linens…then the butcher messed up my ham order…. you get the idea….that kind of week.

It took all I had to keep my eye on the prize — Christmas here with my family — yearly regulars and new additions this year.  A house full, just like I love it. And other family gatherings planned here for the days after….and a Bed Camp just for me at the end of it all. Keep.Your.Eye.On.The. Prize.

Things to do

I went to bed late the night before Camp, planning on getting up late. Food was ready for the next day, my activity table was set with electronics, yarn, a loaded Kindle, a Netflix list of options, pad and pen, the best parts of the Sunday paper and coffee for morning and wine for the evening. It was a rainy day, which was good and, oddly or maybe not, helped keep me calm. It was 55 degrees and sunny the day before and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a good long walk on the River.

My Day Eyes opened at 10:34. I made the bed, showered and got fresh bed clothes on and went downstairs. Breakfast was coffee and Katie’s Christmas ginger cake toasted and buttered and brought back up on bed tray. My idea of leftovers. Yum.

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Television, on my iPad and on the big screen, seemed to be on most of the day, and needles and yarn in my hands. One scarf finished. It all kept my mind from straying to lists of things to do.

Two episodes of the Pioneer Woman Cooks started it all. She has a well-followed blog and now a cable series on the Food Network. Her cooking style isn’t mine but I see the attraction for the masses. I did yell at the screen when she dumped a can of tomato paste into a meat sauce without letting it cook by itself alongside the vegetables at the beginning….but to each her own. Move on. Keep calm.

A Ted Topic (LOVE Ted Topics and recommend highly – something smart for everyone) with Jamie Oliver talking about obesity and good eating habits. Love his stuff!

Two episodes of the PBS Series ‘Mind of a Chef’ with David Chang. I’m a big fan, and his episode on Spain was fabulous.

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Somewhere in there I had a light lunch of St. Andre cheese, crackers and walnuts.

On to Netflix, where I watched, engrossed, the first five episodes of House of Cards. My boys were right that I would love this. (I love talk of this ‘new’ trend of binge watching television series in a single sitting/day. I’ve been doing this for years, with CD’s of the Pallisers, The West Wing, Joseph Campbell’s Mythology Series and, a favorite I take out every few years, the full 21 hours – takes two days – of Brideshead Revisited with a very young and very hot Jeremy Irons.)

The last episode of ‘Cards’ ran a half hour into this season’s first Midwives…

Loving House of Cards

…followed by last season’s final episode of Downton Abbey, the channel changed right before Mathew’s car crashes….couldn’t bear to see that again. Can’t wait for the new season to begin next Sunday.

Dinner of spinach lasagna was ‘served’ during House of Cards and Midwives and Christmas photos were organized into an album to share with the family.

Television finally off, I was ready to open the Gluten Girl Cookbook I got for Christmas and finish Amy Tan’s latest book before turning out the lights on a very good day.

Mission Was Accomplished. I use the word ‘mission’ because for me, Bed Camp is a mission, with the goal of getting myself refreshed, relaxed and ready to be back on track.

Every  Bed Camp is different, depending on my moods and needs. This Camp, I needed my mind to wander away from all the lists of things to do in the next few weeks and just roam into other spheres.

My mind is clear, my body relaxed and I’m feeling content. A Good and, yes, Productive Bed Camp Day. Well done!