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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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