Snow Days

We are enjoying our second of two snow days here. Both school and college are closed after we received about seven inches overnight on Sunday. Even Spouse is telecommuting because the roads are icy.

I have to say that, at least at this moment, Mother Nature has a funny way of giving us exactly what we need. When we have no need to leave home, life slows immediately, and you can feel the layers of stress slip away from all of us. We can focus on the little things, like the wild birds and the light.

This fellow and a friend showed up at our feeders yesterday. Thanks to the Merlin Bird App, I’m pretty confident that he’s a varied thrush.

Nikon D5000, 200mm, f/5.6, no flash

The light has also been amazing of late as well. I got this shot at sunset when I was feeding the horse and goats.

Samsung S9

And this shot this morning, when the sun broke through for a bit.

Nikon D5000, 30mm, f/11, no flash

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I hear a cup of hot green tea, my book and crochet are calling me,

Project Check-in: Blueberry Bliss Afghan

(If you have been getting an obnoxious number of alerts for posts entitled “testing,” I’m working behind the scenes on Curious to improve the design and one widget in particular. I think I’m done.)

I also thought it was time to show my afghan progress. In a way, it comes as a surprise for me, too, because I usually work with it balled up on my lap, so I don’t see its actual size.

Not too bad!

This afghan makes me chuckle. I bought this kit sometime during the first half of last year and unpacked it at the beginning of the summer. Since I need my knitting and crochet projects to be portable, I always carry two or three balls of yarn and leave the rest at home. School let out, and I made an initial stab at the pattern, then put it aside because other things took precedence. I returned to it this past winter break with a vengeance and flew through the three balls of yarn in my bag pretty quickly. Because I don’t check the size too often and I often make small lap or baby blankets, I thought I was pretty much done. That is, until I opened my stash for something else and found nine more balls of yarn awaiting me. So, maybe not as close to done as I originally thought. Good thing I am genuinely enjoying this pattern!

Soup Weather

Right now, the weather seems to be alternating between very, very wet and very, very cold here in my part of the Pacific Northwest, making the perfect time for homemade soup. My middle son picked the New York Times’ Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens. Given that my oldest son could exist almost solely on lentil soup, I figure this one might be a hit.

This was incredibly easy to prepare because I took the simpler option of only browning the sausage, and not the garlic, onions and spices. In making a double batch, because, well, teenagers, I used an entire bag of Costco’s organic power greens, rather than the five cups of greens per batch as stated in the recipe. To avoid added fat, I used Italian turkey sausage, instead of pork. Finally, I used red lentils instead of black beluga because that was what was available, and I had to half the chicken stock and add water because I ran short of stock.

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens

I think it turned out well. However, in the future, I will add potatoes to the recipe to add more substance to the soup for the growing, therefore consistently ravenous, younger members of my family.

In Search of Olive Hummus

For years, my mom has eaten hummus. Not any hummus, mind you, but Whole Foods’ 365 brand olive hummus. She tried others, many others in fact, but that is the only one she likes. Unfortunately, shortly after Amazon bought Whole Foods, the olive hummus disappeared. Since then, I’ve been searching for a substitute without luck.

Until last week, that is, when the New York Times posted this 5-Minute Hummus Recipe.

Olive Hummus

With the addition of approximately 20 Kalamata olives, I got a Mom-approved version of olive hummus with very little effort. That said, I will up the garlic and lemon juice and cut the tahini significantly on my next on my next attempt.

Not a huge victory, but my mom is happy, and that makes it a victory, nonetheless.