Quarantine Cooking ( and other tidbits )

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My repurposed TV armoire ( now pantry) is stocked and ready!

Dear Sisters,

I hope you and your families are well and are weathering these times with some tried and true farmgirl grit. If you’re a ” front-lines ” farmgirl our hats are off to you! If you’ve been ill and have recovered, my prayers were answered. And if you lost someone dear to you from Covid19 please accept my deepest sympathies. I’m still grappling with the current state of affairs we find ourselves in and some days it’s just too overwhelming to try and make sense of. So I cook and cook AND cook to relax and keep my handsome Yankee, mom and daughter well fed. I DO enjoy cooking and the #stayhome mandate has allowed me the extra time to try a bunch of new recipes ( some good, some not so good). Here in New England we’re used to being somewhat prepared for emergencies. Weather related power outages and Nor’ Easters are the norm. One mention of an impending storm and the grocery stores are packed with shoppers buying up all the basics for fear they’ll run out before the snow clears. I understand that. It’s instinctive to want to stock up ” just in case “. Once the storm passes empty shelves fill right back up and life returns to normal. Our comfort level rises and we go back to our day to day life taking it for granted that there will always be enough food and sundries to go around.

Times sure are different right now! We’ve all but stopped going to the grocery store in person to lessen our chances of exposure to the Corona Virus so we’re relying on erratic home delivery schedules and getting by with what we have. Flour,TP, paper goods, eggs, and cleaning supplies are still ” out of stock”. I’m a much better shopper in person. I tend to get ideas for meals while I shop. Food shopping online is not the same, but I do like the delivery aspect of it. I DON’T like the extra cost associated with the convenience but I understand it’s necessary. My grocery bill this month is horrendous.

I’ve joked several times that I feel like a short order cook offering up delicious daily specials and satisfying sides. I’m beginning to sound like an auctioneer! It usually goes something like this.

Daughter: Mom, what are we going to eat today?

Me: Well…let’s see? We’ve got pork shops, pulled pork, pork roast, pork n’ beans, pork ribs, hotdogs, hoagies, roast beef, hamburgers, meatballs, tacos, spaghetti, lasagna, pasta, fried rice, steamed rice, rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, ham, home fries, baked potatoes, hash browns, roasted veggies, soup, salad, stew and stir fry, turkey, tortellini, ravioli, pinto beans, baked beans, ham, mac n cheese ( homemade) macaroni salad, 3 bean salad, potato salad, green salad, pizza, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, egg salad, deviled eggs, omelets, quiche, pancakes, pie, waffles, toast, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, brownies, cakes, choc chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, crackers, cheese, chips, tea, coffee, juice, coke, water, citrus water, root-beer, apples, oranges, bananas, peanut butter, jelly, ice-cream, sherbet, popcicles, power bars, protein powder, frozen fruit, almond milk…….all in one breath!

Phew! I’m tired just typing all those meals, never mind standing at the stove a few hours every day, then add the clean up time. I’ve learned something in all of this. I could never be a cook or chef. I’m just a family cook and that’s fine with me! Cooking some of our favorite comfort food recipes has indeed been a comfort. It’s given us something to center our days around and look forward to. My husband is working from home and our daughter is on leave so I’m grateful to have us all together.

One of the dishes we made for the first time was Shepherds Pie. Shepherds Pie is a classic Irish dish made with lamb or mutton. We Americans call it Cottage Pie as it’s more commonly prepared with ground beef stateside.

It takes about an hour of prep time. ( Turn on some tunes, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the process)

Ingredients you’ll need to have on hand include: Ground beef, yellow onion, carrots, celery, peas, potatoes, garlic, rosemary, thyme, beef stock, tomato paste, worcestershier sauce, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Get as creative as you like with the veggies.

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SIDE NOTE: We were having a storm the day I was cooking this and the power kept going on and off while it was in the oven. It went out for good just as the timer went off so we ate our hot Cottage Pie ( and canned biscuits) by the light of a kerosene lamp.

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The recipe ( from Dowshiftology blog ) makes enough to fill a large dutch oven, 13 x 9 baking dish or two deep dish pie plates. I made two pies and we ate the second one for lunch the following day. We all gave it a 5 ***** rating. We will definitely make it again!

By now you get the idea that we are well fed. So much for the shrinking waistline this spring. :)

One thing I haven’t made yet, is bread from MaryJanes’ Bread Book. It’s on the list!

In other news, we’re using this time to get a head start on some of our spring chores and planting.

 

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I planted a variety of sweet peas in late February and am looking forward to seeing green sprouts in early June! I love their sweet scent in the garden and the vase. New dahlia tubers have started to arrive and I’m keeping them semi-cool in the basement until planting time in mid-May.

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New corner posts and replacement of a few stone tiles and the raised beds are good as new!

My handsome Yankee repaired 11 of our 13 raised beds frames. The corner posts had rotted away over the years so he made some new ones out of pressure treated wood. Hopefully they’ll hold up much better.

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Max has been loving having his papa home! Unfortunately, he had to go in for an emergency surgery to have bladder stones removed over the weekend. He’s home now and recovering. Poor fella. Apparently they are quite common in dogs and cats. I had no idea! Max is 11 now so he’s getting up there but still very peppy and with it as you would expect from a Corgi!

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I saved this little tidbit for last. You may recall me mentioning in my previous post that we were shed shopping for my future floral studio. My hubby and I drove down to Connecticut in late February to check out some buildings at The Barn Yard. 

I thought I was going for a black and red theme but when we pulled into the lot this Victorian Cottage all gussied up in a modern farmhouse black and white vibe stole my heart. We ordered a 12 x 18 building which will be perfect for all of our floral work for weddings and events and small personalized workshops and gatherings. If everything goes on schedule she will be delivered by mid-May and we can get working on the inside finishes.

Even though some of our weddings have been pushed into 2021 we decided to just go for it in the name of keeping the faith that we will resume our lives working and playing together in the near future.

Our thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you as we continue down this path of uncertainty. I’d love to hear how you’re all holding up. Leave me a note in the comments!

One thing we can all be certain of is our love of family and friends and good old-fashioned comfort food to get us through until we can all be together again.

Until our next shoreline visit~ Here are a few things to do each day to stay connected to your loved ones and lift your spirits.

  • Call a ” farmgirl ” friend or relative. Make a list and pick one or two a day.
  • Go to/start a zoom meeting with your work buddies.
  • Share your chicken eggs with friends and neighbors.
  • Take a walk, stretch, nap and drink plenty of water. Add lemon, lime and orange for a citrus treat.
  • If you’re having a sad day share your feelings. You’re not alone.
  • Call elderly relatives who may be alone.
  • Plant a veggie garden/flower garden.
  • Shop for those who are not able to get out.
  • Make a funny you tube video.
  • Binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows.
  • Listen to music.
  • Dance in your kitchen!
  • Send flowers. While many floral shops are closed to the public some are still doing  delivery’s following safe distancing guidelines.

Beach blessings, much love and tight hugs all around!

Deb ( and family )

The Beach Farmgirl # 1199

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Leave a comment 22 Comments

  1. Cheryl says:

    My husband just finished building two storage buildings in our back yard and storing all his tools and hobby items in them! Which means a lot of things are leaving one of our guest bedrooms and closets! So that gave me some place to store everything that was in my sewing closet that did not belong into the cleaned out closet ! So now I have my sewing closet all organized just with my ‘toys’ ! I even had room to put up a table in the closet to work on! It is like my little office!
    We are doing good! Enjoying not having a schedule!!
    Your floral building is really cute!!
    Hope you stay healthy!!
    I hope the above makes sense! Ha

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Cheryl! How nice you have your own creative space now. Just imagine what you’ll create. Even daydreaming will be more fun! Glad you are safe and healthy! Continued blessings to you and your family.
      Deb

  2. Carol says:

    So enjoyed this post. I cook three meals a day everyday, before quarantine , so I guess the rest of the world may finally be joining me. LOL!

  3. Elaine hemann-Felton says:

    Love you blogs. Photos, ideas. Helps getting through this stay at home time frame. It helps to know your not alone. BLESSINGS TO ALL OF YOU.

  4. Teri Stevens says:

    Hey Cuz!
    It’s so great to read about what you are up to and I’m so glad you are all safe and sound in your cozy home. :)

    We are doing “distance learning” from home with the three tweenagers. Lots of walks, masked visits to the farmer’s market and weekly, early trips to the grocery store. Lots of movie nights for the kids, but I’m beat so I go to bed early and read. Zooming with friends and trying to get the kids to ride their bikes more, who would think it’s a challenge to get them to go outside!

    Can’t wait to see your cottage when it arrives! I know you will do wonderful, creative things in it! Hugs to you all from Napa! We are blessed to live in this beautiful part of the country. Much love, Teri

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Cuz! So great to hear from you here, today! You’ve got your hands full for sure! We’ve been Zooming here as well. Always lifts the spirits to see familiar faces! You hang in there!
      Much love to you all!
      Deb

  5. Karen says:

    You made my day reading this post. I am blessed to have a job and be able to work from home during these times. Your menu rant sounds EXACTLY like the food we’ve been eating at our house too. I have school-age children at home and all I am going to say is GOD BLESS teachers, school staff and lunch-room staff. Thank you for keeping us farm-girls grounded to doing what we do best. Praying for the world. Blessings to you, your readers and your family.

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Thank you, Karen! I wish you luck with the distance learning. I understand it’s been very challenging for parents and children! But, you are right… the teachers, staff and schools have their hands full with rolling out that program so quickly. Glad to hear you’re getting in some comfort cooking in your neck of the woods as well. Stay safe and healthy! Deb

  6. Donna P says:

    Great suggestions for things to do during the quarantine! Dancing in the kitchen sounds like fun, since I’m spending a lot more time in the kitchen than I have in years. I am working on a flower garden and just planted milkweed and carpet flowers. I’m trying to plant things native to the east coast of Florida. Fortunately I’m still working part time in a doctors’ office, and am happy about that. . Our beaches are closed but we still have hiking trails available here in Vero Beach. My husband is finishing up a making a knife (his new hobby) and it looks quite good. I’m working on two Hawaiian baby quilts. We have two daughters and they are both expecting their third baby in September. I got a copy of Wild Bread and I’m starting my sourdough starter. Hopefully I won’t kill it like I do many of the plants I put in my yard!!

    So being quarantined is OK for us! I’m using up hurricane supplies that will expire before the new hurricane season starts on June 1st, and I have TP!

    Sending my thoughts and prayers to everyone who reads this blog. Praying for safety and good health for all of you. To those of you in cold places – I wish I could figure out how to post pictures of the orchids in my mango tree. They’re gorgeous!

  7. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for this post. We also do not go to the stores. We order everything online. It is not easy to get a delivery but eventually we can schedule one. Stay safe and well.
    Marilyn

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Marilyn!
      Great to hear from you… Indeed the grocery delivery is challenging. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m looking forward to when I can pick out my own food again! lol
      Stay safe!
      Deb

  8. Joan Brown says:

    Although a little stressful, this has been a great time to get the kitchen painted, all the trim painted, lots of power washing done, a new stone paver sidewalk put in by my husband, and lots of grass cutting and tree trimming. Never bored, even in a quarantine. Hope you’re having productive and healthy days also.

  9. Junebug says:

    I’ve never been more thankful being raise by a Mom from the depression era. She always keep a well stocked pantry. Friends say they will come shop my pantry and it’s just the dog and I. As for entertainment so blessed with great spring weather so been busy in the yard and garden. Just need you to send that gorgeous right over! Stay safe!

  10. Sandy Davis says:

    My dog had bladder stones recently and had to have surgery. It was awful! I’m glad your little guy is ok.

  11. Janice says:

    Wow, what a difference in the weather – There and in SE Texas! I already have a big garden planted and growing: tomatoes, cucumbers, 3 kinds of squash, potatoes, 2 kinds of peppers, green beans, lettuce, Swiss chard, and sweet peas. I have green onions that grow all year! Yes, I’ve been staying busy to stave off the boredom.

  12. Pamela Frey says:

    Enjoyed reading your uplifting post. I make a much simpler version of Shepherd’s Pie but it is such a great comfort food. Yours looked yummy. Got into making bread every week and really enjoy Irish Soda Bread after making it for St. Patrick’s Day. I live on the original farmstead in a small rural Kansas town. Definitely grateful these days for the isolation. It does get lonely since I have to be super cautious with asthma/bronchial problems. My small town does curbside and loads the cargo end of my SUV – very much appreciated. Free range eggs are picked up in the mailbox of my neighbor. Daily communication is kept up with a ZOOM Science lesson (one grandchild Mon-Thursday). First week of NO SCHOOL sent them National Geographic and Smithsonian age appro-
    priate kits, and we work on a different theme every week. Think I am having more fun
    than the kids!! Stay safe everyone. Sending love and virtual hugs from Kansas.
    Pamela

  13. Brenda Towsley says:

    We have been talking about building a garden shed this year and moving my potting bench out of the corner of the garage. I am hoping it works out. Our Ladybug is 12 this year and although she has slowed down a lot every once and a while she takes off like her young self. I was trying to think of something to make with ground beef the other day and now I know. Have not made a Shepherds pie in year. Thanks for the idea, I pinned the recipe! Stay well!

  14. LOVE YOUR BLOG!
    But I had to say that usually pressure treated wood is made with ARSENIC, please check with the place you purchased it from to be safe.

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Thank you for reading, Lisa! Yes, we are aware that pressure treated wood is not recommended for structures where food is being grown. We are only growing flowers in our raised beds, but thanks for the alert!

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