In case you missed this post, click here to read it on red feather smooth stone.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
~From “Spirits of the Dead” by Edgar Allan Poe
Hello Dear Readers!
It has been a while since I have been able to post regularly and I thank you for your patience with me. If you have just discovered this blog recently, Brian and I had a son 15 months ago and Chayton has been keeping us very busy. However, at this stage I am finally (finally!!!) starting to get some free time (“me time”) here and there and I am really looking forward to catching up with you all here at cabinorganic.
I have some exciting projects to share with you, including the setting up our chicken coop and the creation of a rock garden. I have also continued to cook and experiment in the kitchen and look forward to sharing many new and tasty recipes with you. Also, we picked baskets of baskets of berries this summer and fall and made our favorite jams, jellies and syrups.
As I write this, Chayton naps nearby, birds are visiting the feeder just outside the window, pumpkins are roasting in the oven and Brian is outside hanging the Christmas lights. Later, we will rake the leaves in the front yard and take Lucy for a long walk in the woods.
Autumn is always a busy time around here as we prepare for the cold and snow. With Halloween come and gone we can now focus on enjoying the arrival of winter from the comfort of the cabin. Take care, everyone!
Our son, Chayton, is just going on nine months and so I didn’t feel the need to decorate fancy eggs or prepare many Easter treats. In fact, at his play group Easter party last Tuesday, Chayton was more interested in the paper bag holding his treats than the actual treats (and yes, he ate a few pieces of the bag!) However, I still needed something special for us to enjoy Easter morning. After all, it is Chayton’s first Easter. So I decided to make soy sauce eggs.
These are simple to make and taste wonderful. Usually, you make the soy sauce chicken marinade and cook your chicken in it first. Then you throw in a few hard boiled eggs (shelled) to soak up the sauce. At that point the sauce is diluted with juices from the chicken and so you have to marinate the eggs for a few hours to get dark, salty eggs. I found that I didn’t have to soak these eggs very long at all before the eggs got real dark- almost chocolate brown. To get solid dark eggs, peel all of the shell. For the marble look, crack the shell all over and soak them in the marinade with the shell still on. Marinate for half an hour or until your desired color. If you’ve cooked chicken in the marinade first, marinate for an hour or two.
Soy Sauce Chicken & Eggs
I recommend using one-quarter of this marinade if you’re only making soy sauce eggs.
4 cups mushroom soy sauce
3 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup sugar
5 thin slices fresh ginger
4 star anise
3-pound whole broiler-fryer chicken
Heat soy sauce, water, wine, sugar, ginger root and star anise to boiling in Dutch oven. Add the chicken; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low.; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until done, turning the chicken and stirring the mixture 2 or 3 times.
Remove chicken from soy sauce mixture; let chicken stand for 20 minutes. Chop chicken with cleaver into 2 -1 inch pieces. Arrange pieces on serving platter in the shape of a chicken and garnish with spring onions and/or parsley.
Once sauce has cooled a bit, place hard boiled eggs (shelled) in the mixture and allow to marinade until desired intensity. Enjoy!
Tlusty, L. (1981). Betty Crocker’s New Chinese Cookbook. New York,NY: Prentice Hall General Reference.
Sending out best wishes and happiest New Year to everyone! May 2014 be your best, brightest and most enjoyable year ever! I have a feeling that with a new baby in our lives that this will be ours! There has certainly been many changes as Chayton has enhanced our lives in many ways. As he grows and gives his mommy just a little more hands-free time I will be able to catch up on these blog posts as there is so much to share! I am looking forward to sharing our projects and adventures with you all!
Also, I want to thank you for your patience with me these past few months. I have not been able to blog these past two months as I was recovering from a fractured rib after slipping on some ice and falling down my back deck stairs. Yes, I was holding baby and thankfully he didn’t have a scratch on him! Thank goodness we are both doing just fine!
A few days ago, Brian carved two large pumpkins in preparation for Chayton’s first Halloween. Of course we couldn’t resist roasting the seeds and having a crispy, salty treat afterward to enjoy as a reward for our labors.
To roast the seeds, first clean the seeds very well, removing all pulp. I put the seeds in a bowl of water and rubbed them together both with my hands and with a clean dish cloth. Then, put the seeds between two clean tea towels and pat to dry. Transfer the clean, dry seeds to a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper) and sprinkle generously with fine sea salt. Roast in a 325*F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until just turning golden. Enjoy immediately! A seasonal treat- crispy, freshly roasted pumpkin seeds fresh out of the oven.
During the autumn when the leaves are changing color and filling the fields and forests with vibrant yellow, orange and reds one cannot help but be overwhelmed with the expansive beauty that surrounds us everywhere we look.
Once the leaves have fallen, there is another kind of beauty that now becomes the center of our attention, and that is the beauty of decay. This is what the Japanese culture might describe as wabi-sabi: wabi as transient and stark beauty, and sabi as the beauty of natural patina and aging. To appreciate this beauty one must stop and be still and look very long and closely at what is really there and nothing more than that.
Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. ~ Tadao Ando
Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent. ~ Tadao Ando
I find rich beauty in each of the four seasons that we experience here in central Alberta. The turning of the wheel reminds me of the great cyclical processes of transformation that sustain life. I find myself in awe of each.
It’s been six weeks since Chayton was born and although I have been ready to get back to my regular blog posts- with no shortage of recipes, projects and stories to share, I have been finding the challenge of the newborn two-to-three hour feeding/sleeping schedule a bit of a challenge. Also, my family was here to visit all last week so things were even busier for a while!
I have no complaints though, as I know that this time with a newborn passes very quickly. Already Chayton is staying awake for longer periods of time, he has gained weight and grown in length, he can roll over on a blanket on his own and is even finally starting to fit some of the smallest newborn clothes. Even his strawberry-blonde hair is longer and thicker and I am starting to notice that his eyelashes are darkening a little.
As I hold him and marvel at all of these small changes, my imagination starts to run away on me as I picture him waiting for the school bus on the curb and leaving for his first day of school.. starting junior high… or even leaving for university or college… I have to stop myself at this point as I start getting misty-eyed at the thought of this tiny little boy, all grown up and independent some day and ready to leave his mom! I know that there is no need to jump ahead here as I snuggle him in a little closer and kiss his fragrant head for the hundredth time today… “Baby steps”, as they say!
One thing that I have noticed about myself since recently becoming a mom is a stronger commitment to living simply, naturally and holistically. With a child, I am fully aware that I am helping to create the world that my child will inherit and I have even more reason now to live a life that is aligned with my core values.
Another thing that I have noticed are the countless ideas that I now have daily on ways to diaper, clothe, feed, raise, play and interact with my child. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you (and learning from your comments and advice) on my upcoming blog: cabinorganic~bellybabechild.
Already Chayton has enriched my life in so many ways and has allowed me to grow in ways that would not be possible without my becoming a parent. I welcome and embrace these changes and strive each day to live fully in the present moment. After all, it’s all we really have.
I had a few personal items to send and wanted to make a simple card to tuck into the letters. Erin stopped by last weekend and as usual, while our minds were engaged with catching up on each other’s lives, our hands were busy crafting. Unfortunately, Erin had to leave in a hurry -finishing her project just in time, and I did not get a final shot of the sweet little barnyard card that she had made! So sadly, it isn’t included in this post.
My card, as usual, was super simple. I really love bees and spring makes me think of the earliest wildflowers and the busy bees that play such a vital role in pollenating them. With all of the time I spend outdoors all spring, summer and fall, I always seem to be within a few feet of a bee or two; their industrious buzzing adding to the vibrant soundscape of gentle wind, playful squirrels and birdsong. All of the stamps and paper I used for this project are from Stampin’ Up.
I started with the yellow card, and stamped it with this huge sunflower stamp using an ink that was just slightly darker than the card for a ‘barely there’ effect.
Next, I stamped small squares of white paper (I just eye-balled the size) with Stampin’ Up’s huge French Script stamp in a pale green dye ink. Then stamped the bee over this in black pigment ink. I embossed this with black embossing powder to make it shiny and stand out. Then I backed the white square with green card stock to provide a border and adhered this to the card using thick mounting tape.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 29,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals