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Monday, January 19, 2015

Channeling the Mediterranean and a GC Update.

Gloom.  That about sums up the winter so far.  The up side (there is ALWAYS an upside, albeit a tiny one) is that the frigid temperatures are not as long-lasting as last year's.  They are punctuated by a spike in temps with rain.  Joy. 

Finding myself the recipient of five days in a row where I was not at my office, I decided to de-stress by going on a purge.  Of my crafting closet.  It turned out to be a half-purge, as I ran out of steam after just going through the fabric half of the closet.  In my defense, I already had a sort-of organized system, using the word "organized" very loosely.  I crammed all the fabric, wrapping paper and that sort of thing on the left, and crammed all the yarn, various crafting trends I lost focus in, painting stuff and all things fiber on the right.  It was a frightful mess.  The last straw was when I had a small gift bag that I wanted to keep (along with the other 505 gift bags I knew I would need...someday) and opened the door quickly, shoved it in, and slammed the door so nothing would tumble around my ears.  Sad, sad, sad. 

Taking a deep breath, pulling on my BGPs (the same sorry ones I've been pulling on for years - haven't had the gumption to enter a store since the holidays), I made a pot of tea and charged in.  Four hours later, I had two of my favorite pop-up bags (from Sylvie, who tries even from afar to whip me into shape) spilling over with oddments and bodkins.  There were two pillow forms (new in the bag), yards of fabric, sewing notions, craft supplies, gift bags...., wrapping paper, gift tags, all kinds of stuff.  I managed to shove everything into a 30+ gallon trash bag and put it on Freecycle.  I know, I know.  I am a glutton for punishment.  I had six requests within 5 minutes of listing it.  They ranged from:  I WANT IT!  to "I want it and am in North Adams if you can deliver it today".  North Adams is a 45 min drive.  I got downright snarky - in my heading, I had dutifully listed the location.  Very clearly.  One woman wanted to know if I was in another town.  In another state.  I informed her I was with the bag in the town listed.  The first normal sounding person was due to pick it up Saturday night.  She never showed.  Apparently, something came up and she forgot.  Sigh.  I declined to hold it for her until next weekend.  No. 2 showed up and lugged it off.  Besides the aggravation of having to deal with the knuckleheads, it was such a great feeling - getting all that stuff out of the house.  I was going to continue with my yarn side, but I have too much emotional attachment to my yarn, so am waiting until my backbone regenerates.

I bet you are wondering what the heck the Mediterranean has to do with all that.  Well, nothing.  As usual, I went rambling on and on.  The Mediterranean has to do with my Meyers lemons.  I had a nice crop this year, even with my shameless neglect of my adored tree.  But what to do with all those lemons coming ripe at the same moment?  For once, I did not go online.  I moseyed over to my cookbook shelves and pulled out my favorite wintertime reading - Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts, by Aglaia Kremezi.  Lawsymersy, if this book doesn't make you feel all warm and balmy, nothing will!  It is one of my favorites.  I had spied a recipe for preserved lemons in there, so leafed through to see if I had what was needed.  Close enough (my motto). 

Voila! (or Eureka! since we are referring to Greece...)


The whole process made the kitchen smell all lemony (in that distinct Meyers' way) and sunny.  I left a few lemons for fresh use, but I cannot wait to try these out.  I have my eye on about seventeen recipes in the book...

Which leads me to (more quickly than usual...) the GC update.  I realized this weekend, that I need to quit cooking for a while.  I am not using up the prepared things in my freezer as fast as I need to.  I think I have "Must Cook" hardwired into my brain on weekends.  I made a deal with myself that I would only make soup.  I always take something up to my parents (at 91, my mother is tired of cooking - go figure), so soup is what they get.  I did roast a half-chicken from my stash, then made chicken stock and tidbits for the dogs, along with a nice chicken pot pie with a GF biscuit crust.  Meh on the crust.  I need to make my own baking mixes.  I am now set for the week.

Now that the warm snap is gone - down to single digits again tomorrow night - I may just live on soup.

18 comments:

  1. Now that you have so much food ready for easy dinners when you get home after work, think of the time you will have for more sorting and cleaning! Now doesn't that bring a little sunshine into your life? OR . . . how 'bout more time for sitting with your feet up (and several furry creatures keeping you company, snuggled close) for knitting?? Sounds good to me!

    So tell us, please, what sort of a delectable concoction (gorgeous, yellow and lemony) does that canning jar contain?

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    1. Mama Pea - I think I will go with Plan B! Those are preserved (or soon to be, I hope, I hope) lemons - lemons, salt, cinnamon sticks and pepper corns.

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  2. I am currently waiting for my first batch of preserved lemons....There are some Tagine Recipes for Chicken with olives and lemons that I want to try. Yours look fabulous...mine have nothing in them but the cure and the lemons!

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    1. Fiona - That's exactly what I want to make! I am not sure how long it will take to preserve the lemons, but I am anxious to try them out. The recipe was very simple - 1/C coarse salt, 1 T. red peppercorns (mine are multi-colored, as that's what I had), and two cinnamon sticks. I had frozen some lemon juice from the last batch, so I made up the difference with that.

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  3. I second MamaPea's question about the lemony yellow'y jar of lemons. Exactly what does one do with canned lemons? Garnish? Suck on 'em? An adult "Lemon Drop" beverage?
    I said I'd focus on purging & decluttering this year. Haven't been able to focus much on it, although I DO have a grocery bag of stuff to go to Salvation Army....no way I'm using Freecycle or ANY place for "giveaways"....those people are the WORST!!

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    1. Carolyn - If I hadn't met two really wonderful people via Freecycle, I wouldn't touch it. I also rely heavily on Goodwill for recycling stuff, but I am not often up there when they are open. Preserved lemons are used in a lot of Mediterranean/Greek cooking. I have always wanted to use them, but never could find any. Let's hope this works!

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  4. Good for you cleaning out your craft area. I am with you on keeping the shopping bags. I just hate to throw them away. I do use the smaller ones for my lunch, until they completely give out. Can't wait to hear about your delicious lemony recipes.

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  5. i don't get it? i have trouble getting rid of stuff but then i feel wonderful when it is gone? why is this? i look at stuff and think..i am going to need this at some point. yet it has been sitting there for years. what's up with this? it makes me crazy! fortunately, i have been ignoring myself and just giving it all away!

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  6. Oh I LOVE your rambling:) and I LOVE how you take care of your Mom. Hug B

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  7. Good fro you purging! I got rid of a car full in Nov./Dec. since I had time off to deep clean. It's so much more restful and calm with less stuff, even in closets :)

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    1. Nancy - A car full!!!?!! Wow, now that's what I call purging! I can only aspire.... :) Yes, I so agree. It makes a great deal of difference to your well-being to have less clutter.

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  8. And those lemons look delish! Where did you buy a Meyer lemon tree???

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    1. Nancy - I've had this one for a few years. I believe I got it via Raintree Nursery. It was already 2-3 years when I bought it, as I thought it would be harder to kill... :)

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  9. My friend has two meyer lemon trees against her south wall. They are tricky here so I'm going to wait and see how it goes for her. I love the smell of lemon-it cheers me up instantly.

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    1. Susan - Mine is in a large pot and I bring it indoors for the winter. So far, so good, but I do need to give it a little TLC. The biggest problem I have indoors is/are aphids. I have a natural spray and, if I remember to mist it on a regular basis, the problem is easily solved.

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  10. Wow, that garbage bag full of goodies sounded awesome. I never see anything like that on my freecycle! It's usually curb-side alerts for sofas that the family dog has ripped to shreds, etc. Of course, an entirely creative and thrifty person could do something with a sofa like that, but not this gal. Bravo on doing well with your challenge so far.

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  11. I belong to a "garage sale" group on FB for my local city which I mostly have just scanned but yesterday someone posted that they were looking for cheap or free yarn so that she could make hats to give away and I just happened to have a big bag of yarn a friend gave me when she moved that I had been planning to take to Goodwill. I have heard so many horror stories about these types of transactions that I almost immediately regretted offering her the yarn and setting up a meet, however I am happy to say that the transaction went perfectly and I no longer have a bag of yarn in my kitchen :)

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