Life’s great pleasures

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, we picked up 1/2 of our plant starts at the farm yesterday. Gardening is one of my pleasures.

Lots of fun stuff, tomatoes, herbs, sunflowers, hot peppers.

Our farm share this week was filled with goodies. Fresh grown veggies and our farm family make me happy.

A bouquet of spring blooms, eggs, shallots, walnuts, rainbow chard, cilantro, bok choy, beet greens, lettuces, spinach, kale.

Last week’s farm share included mustard greens and a link to a NYT Cooking article for Umami Noodles with Mustard Greens. We don’t subscribe to the NY Times, and I couldn’t figure out a way to access the recipe without it, so I just made up my own recipe. It turned out great! Cooking and making up my own recipes feels good.

Pretty sure the NYT recipe was meat free, but mine was not. I started with lardons, cooked them well, then removed them from the wok. To the rendered pork fat I added sesame oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, coconut aminos, homemade chicken stock, and fresh minced garlic. I added the sliced mustard greens, a big head of chopped spinach, and some Chinese broccoli and sautéed it all for a couple minutes. I then added back in the lardons, some pulled chicken breast from this week’s Instant Pot chicken (every week we cook a whole chicken in the instant pot, plus make stock for the week with the bones), and 1/2 box cooked spaghetti pasta. It was really really good! Good food makes me happy!

I’m not exactly an “eat to live” person, but not “live to eat” obsessed either. I like a nice balance and chocolate is definitely a food category in my life.

The Peacemaker and I set about Saturday night making dough for chocolate babka, which we LOVE! We let the dough rise overnight. We use the David Lebovitz Chocolate Babka 13-step recipe.

Step 7-spread chocolate & pecans

Step 10-a two hour rise

Step 13-drizzle baked babka with honey sugar syrup

Finished product. Delicious! Cooking and baking bring me joy. Eating chocolaty and rich desserts is bliss!

I love May in Oregon. Mother’s Day and my birthday, warm weather, but not too warm, it’s all good!

Yesterday’s reading corner in the shade garden outside the tea house. I’ve read nine books since shelter in place. Just started a new one yesterday.

Pink Camellia near the tea house.
Dogwood from below.
Purple Lilacs in the shade.
80 year old pink rhododendron.

I’m feeling good, my health is good. With the tweaks the doc made, everything is regulated. Oh, and I realized the Sudafed I take for my allergies jacks up my blood sugars. Who knew? No more over the counter meds without checking first.

This is the Hojicha (specially made green tea we brought back from Kyoto) Latte Blue Eyes made for me for our afternoon break. His office is downstairs, mine is upstairs, so we met in the kitchen! Sweet! He makes a mean hojicha latte!

What are your great pleasures during this time of shelter in place? ❤️

11 thoughts on “Life’s great pleasures

  1. What have I been enjoying? The outdoors, even though it’s unseasonably cold here. No hurry, so we can drive to different parks with Baxter and hike. Today, we discovered a GREAT trail in our village along the mighty Niagara River! We’ve hiked a lot around there, but not that trail. Wow! Amazing rock formations. The Niagara escarpment. We walked under the bridge from our town going into Canada. Gazing at the water. It flows in both directions in this part of the river. It mesmerizes me.

    Riding my bike. Trying to build up some stamina since last fall’s surgery and the healing process (sedentary) winter. I loved riding my bike when I was a kid. It was freedom for me away from loud voices.

    Learning about local farms and how we can do more of “shopping local” — and supporting our local farmers. Also, planted some seeds for lettuce greens.

    Hoping to bake more bread if/when I acquire some yeast. It’s nowhere to be found here, so a friend from CA is sending me a pound! I worry that the postal service is going to be suspicious and open the package? It hasn’t arrived … yet.

    Not sure if this is a “great pleasure” but we are doing quite a bit of necessary work on our coupleship regarding betrayal trauma and empathy. It feels good that we can move this work forward w/o a therapist in the room. Going through a workbook together.

    More time for snuggling. Great pleasure for us both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All sounds like fun, beleeme! Trail sounds great! A pound of yeast! Wow, that will last a while! I hope it gets there soon. Fresh baked bread is so comforting. Snuggling is fun too! Glad you are healing well. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, quite the cook! Way to go on the reading. I love to read. Other pleasures during lockdown are writing, exercise, watching a good show on Netflix or another streaming service, learning something new on Curiosity Stream or Master Class, and getting in some coding. I also like to play video games, particularly first-person shooters. I’m playing a game called Sniper Elite, and it’s actually a pretty decent game. Those veggies look terrific, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love cooking and baking. I’ll have to check out Curiosity Stream. I don’t do a lot on the computer outside of work and blogging, but I would like to do an online class. We really enjoy our farm fresh veggies. The farm is about 20 minutes from our house. This is our 14th season. Have a great week, Dave!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome!! Yeah, we have some local farms that sell through a vendor about a mile from our house. We go there during the summer to get things that we don’t grow. I live on my computer and do most of my work there. You should check out Udemy, Coursera, and Masterclass. Of the three, Udemy is by far my favorite. The courses are reasonably priced and you can find literally anything there. Coursera is more college-type based classes and they are hit and miss. Masterclass is entertaining, but don’t have as much substance. You have a great week too!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll check out Udemy. I just heard of Coursera yesterday. One of our employees is taking online classes through UPenn. Our business is in a very specific sector and this kid wants to move up in the company. It’s amazing how much time the younger set has now, being holed up in their apartments all day. I’ve seen a lot of ads for Masterclass… lots of celebrities. Right now I’m eyeing the beautiful day outside and longing to be planting my veggie starts. Do you grow a lot in your own yard?

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          • My Mom is the green thumb. I enjoy the benefits! The big battle is keeping the pests and animals out of it! We just put up some netting to protect the blueberries. Most years, the critters eat all of them.

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            • Yes, I had to give up on blueberries. Our yard is big, but not big enough for blueberries and hungry birds. We tried everything. Birds are very smart. Also, a couple birds died in the netting, so I gave up on that. We now also have squirrels and chipmunks in our yard. Also very industrious. We switched to raspberries. We used to have strawberries, but our Australian Shepherd loves strawberries and he would get them before we did. He’s very sneaky. We currently have apples, figs, persimmon, raspberries, and now some annual veggies. We used to have a beautiful dwarf Japanese golden plum, but it went away when we built the tea house. I want to get another one. Every year I made spiced golden plum jam for the neighborhood. I also love peaches. Maybe I’ll plant a dwarf peach this fall. Our climate is great for apples, peaches, and pears. As you can see, I love my garden.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yep. That seems to be the go-to. Something you can do that is enjoyable for you. When time disappears. I found that one characteristic to be critical in choosing my passion. When I write, the world disappears.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I have learned how to make creme brûlée. So I am eating a lot of creme brûlée. I’m trying to watch a few movies and documentaries I missed not really having watched much in the last five or six years. I also am in love with the power washer I bought. There is just something cathartic about spraying highly pressured water at stuff and watching it either get clean or have the paint stripped off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, yes, I know the pleasures of the pressure washer… and having to repaint the house after “cleaning” it! Yum on the creme brûlée. It’s tricky. Did you get one of those fancy torch things? I love the memes that say “I finished Netflix.” There’s so much to watch. I had been binge watching British crime dramas, but switched to reading. I’ll probably switch back soon. I’m looking forward to traveling again.

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