It's not popular to be a fan of winter. But if you stop and think about it, winter is the nurturing place of all that is cozy and warm and restful and even creative. It is this side of winter that I love. This week we have snow on the ground and it brightens up the winter days exponentially and gives that sort of magic that you find in Currier & Ives pictures.
This morning Laura and I watched a handful of bluebirds flitting around our backyard. There were quite a few females but only one, radiantly blue male (and he didn't want his picture). Such a treat!
Winter is the most perfect time for tea. I carry one of these (Sun's Tea(tm) 12oz 3-piece Strong Double Wall Glass Tea Tumbler (Travel Mug) with Strainer ) around with me all day it seems. I can't drink cold liquids in the winter so this is the way I stay hydrated.
A friend sent me her copy of the "Downton Times" this week! The New York Times included it in their paper a couple of weeks ago. It certainly called for a silver tea service. I thought the tarnished surface added to the sentiment.
These days I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen. With all our food sensitivities and health issues to cook around it means just about everything from scratch. Since we are a "large" family it also means we can go through 2 dozen muffins in a day (or whatever else is baked) so there is not much "getting ahead." I've seen the benefits of making everyone a cooked breakfast in the morning (mostly I'm the one who benefits). But, that means nearly as much time in the kitchen in the morning as in the evening for dinner. Often I get in a cooking rut and can hardly think what to cook or even enjoy what I do cook. Thankfully this month has been a lot better. I've been making recipe after recipe from this book: Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime. We can't go completely grain free around here but this book seems to match up to the other foods we need to avoid pretty well!
I love when we can incorporate cooking into the children's lives as well. Laura has been wanting to make the cake from this book "It's My Birthday" for some time. Last Saturday we took the time to make it and enjoy it with tea!
I recently discovered this book: My Paleo Patisserie: An Artisan Approach to Grain Free Baking. It's just amazing! Since I need to be gluten and dairy free, and aim to be as sugar free as possible, this book is perfect for me! I had to try out the chocolate cake on Sunday. It was amazing! The only thing that needs help is the coconut cream on top. I can't get past the strong coconut after taste. The texture is perfect and so is the look. I might try avocado mousse as an alternative. The filling was a mixed fruit, honey-sweetened jam from Costco. Very good. Next up will be cream puffs!
I love the heady scent of hyacinth at this time of year. It brings back a whole rush of emotion and memories that sort of dance just beyond my reach. I am so sensitive and allergic to perfumes and scents that it's funny to me how much I love the hyacinth and how it doesn't bother me one bit.
Looking in the small pantry door to the shelf of china at the back makes me so happy! It was worth all the effort of Michael's to paint the pantry and to paint the shelf. February is nearly here and it is the season for pink and white and gold china with lots of flowers!
I'm glad the boys enjoy baking. I don't like the mess it makes. In fact, yesterday one of them made a peanut butter recipe from our US geography study and the dishes are still sitting there. Rachel is allergic to peanut butter so she can't wash them with the other dishes and it doesn't seem to come off in our dishwasher anyway. I guess I'll need to find time to do those dishes and throw the sponge away afterward. At some point we will probably need to outlaw peanut butter from the house. I already have enough anxiety about it contaminating things. (I do have to say the gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies were awfully good!)
Well, it is time to get on to other chores. The sun is shining here today and there is still some snow left to make it pretty. Laura is looking forward to having a tea party later. Happy Weekend to all of you!
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