the coop girls are enjoying the moderate temps

Our Christmas week was low key and relaxing.  Last Sunday, as soon as the farmer's market was over, we celebrated the beginning of our time off.  It felt strange to not get up Monday and go right to work.  Instead, we were able to change our daily rhythm and take time to putter around the house, read, get caught up on projects and such.  It's actually perfect in winter because the cold weather makes me want to slow down and take my time working on projects or sit with a hot cup of tea and read.

We are still on somewhat "time off" mode in that we have now entered our slower time of the year so making and packaging products every single day of the week won't start up again until spring.  It allows us to look forward to the change that is inevitable and welcomed at that time.

last month when the shed was being delivered

Jay was pretty happy to see it finally on the property!
Outside projects - Jay was able to get most of the needed shelving built in the new shed.  We'll be rearranging the outbuildings in the spring to give him more space in his workshop which he definitely needs.  He's been hand-turning beautiful razors and shave brushes and they've been quite popular, so the guy needs more room to work.  We currently have one of our freezers in his workshop and that will join the other freezer in the barn.  Some of the larger equipment that is currently housed in the barn will move to the new shed along with my gardening tools and the chickens extras.  That's why we sold my garden shed and purchased a replacement that was twice the size.  We'll now have more space to move around in all outbuildings.

Working on - our 2020 calendar - craft shows, markets, our soapmaking and product making calendar, etc.  We take the opportunity to review the shows we attended during the current year, look at the numbers, and decide what shows we want to keep, drop, and if there's any we'd like to try to add.  Applications for the 2020 shows have already either come out or will come in out the next 2 months so we've got to make decisions now because applications will need to be filled out and spots will need to be paid for.  It also helps us to determine our product making calendar.

homemade salsa for tacos tonight

sourdough starter
Cooking - Last night it was oven-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes & gravy for Jay and baked falafel (I premade them) with salad for me.  Tonight it's tacos.  Jay gets ground beef with chilies, peppers, onions, fresh salsa & guacamole and I like refried beans with the same veggies/salsa/guacamole.

Here's how I make this even easier:  The burger is pre-cooked and frozen.  Anytime I fry burger for a dish for Jay, I make extra and freeze it in single-use portions.  Then, when I want to use it in tacos, burritos, on pizza, etc. I don't have to cook it.  For the refried beans, I either use some I've made up and stored in the freezer or, if I don't have any pre-made, I use canned (no salt or oil added).

I designate Sundays to an easy dinner night because of the farmer's market.  By the time we get home and unloaded it's 3:30 (and 4 ish in the summer) and the last thing I want to do is go right to the kitchen and spend the next few hours cooking.  So, I've implemented "easy dish" night on Sundays.  It's either something in the slow cooker or instant pot, or a super easy dish like tacos/taco bowls, burgers, or soup & sandwich (for me, not Jay - he doesn't like soup for dinner.  at all.).  I will also put last nights chicken carcass in the instant pot with some veggies and water to make homemade chicken stock while I prepare dinner and get my sourdough starter ready to start a loaf of sandwich bread tomorrow.

Do you make cold brew?  I used to drink it year-round before giving up coffee a couple months ago but Jay still drinks it year-round.  Last year he ordered this Ball jar with strainer.  Initially I thought (and probably even said) "you've got to be kidding me.  Why do we need to order a special jar to make cold brew????"  Well, I fully admitted that I was wrong and it was a smart purchase, once I used it.  You fill the infuser with ground coffee, place it in the jar and then fill the jar (and infuser) with water.  Screw a lid on the top and let it sit for 24 hours.  Strain the coffee (we also strain it a second time by pouring it through a coffee filter or paper towel to get the super fine stuff out) and voila!  You have perfect cold brew.  If you are interested, it can be found here (affiliate link).  To purchase the infuser only, it's here (also affiliate link).  It can also be used to make iced tea.

non-dairy, no oil and egg free delicious banana bread

Also, I'll be baking banana bread (with non-dairy chocolate chips!).  I've made this once before and it's DELICIOUS!!  It is made with white whole wheat flour, no eggs and no dairy or oil.  It's in parchment paper because that's what I use instead of oiling the baking pan.  I used this recipe from the Cookie & Kate blog and adjusted it by using flaxseed for the eggs and applesauce for the oil.  Because of the adjustments it is quite dense but boy is it good!  (she offers adjustments to make it gluten free as well)

Cleaning - Although some people prefer to do their thorough cleaning in spring, because of our work schedule, I like to do mine in winter.  So that officially starts this week.  I like to do a thorough cleaning of one room per week where I not only clean but re-evaluate everything in that room.  Is there clutter?  Are there things to purge?  Does it need to be painted?  Does anything need to be repaired or replaced?  My husband does not look forward to this season because he would prefer everything stay as it is and braces himself waiting for the "I think we need to paint" or "I think we need to make/re-do/replace _____".  He says change doesn't do anyone any good (only partially joking when he says this) to which I reply that change is nice.  He grunts and then we make the changes.

Enjoying - this is my new favorite tea from Harney & Sons and this is my new favorite tea from Celestial Seasonings (although these are Amazon affiliate links, you can sometimes find the Harney & Sons at Target and usually find the Celestial Seasonings in the grocery store).  You can tell that I love cinnamon and spices.  The Harney and Sons tea reminds me of red hot candies and the Celestial Seasoning tea is just a lovely fall-ish spice blend.

We are settling in and waiting for the big ice storm expected to hit tomorrow through the next couple of days.  We're, of course, hoping that it isn't as bad as they predict but are preparing in case it is.

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend!


daisy g said...

That banana bread looks amazing! I may have to try that with the gf option.

Winter is the one time of year when I really allow myself to slow down and do less. It's a great time for indoor projects, or just some extra reading time. Mother Nature has a way of providing just what we need.

Praying that you are cozy and warm through the storm.

Cockeyed Jo said...

No snow here just rain and more rain. My girls hate it. They miss their daily preening and chatting sessions on our deck rail.