Friday, October 29, 2010

Spinach, Honey, and Stevie Nicks.

Work ended a bit early, today, in honor of Halloween. I think this is somewhat silly, truth be told, because I was never all that into Halloween. True enough, I enjoyed getting candy as much as the next kid, but it didn't keep me up nights dreaming and wishing the way, say, Christmas might have.


I got home and realized all I really wanted to do was...brace yourselves...go buy my weight in secondhand books and LPs.

So by golly, I did.

Currently, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" (50 cents!!) is crooning from the phonograph in the corner and I'm a happy, spoiled little gal. Four LPs and at least five or six new books. Plus I stopped at Jo-Ann's and got myself a new stitch counter (to replace the one the fairies stole) and a new circular knitting needle. Rawr, life is good!

But I got home at 8:30 and realized I hadn't eaten a thing. My, my...what to do? Experiment? Forsooth!

Sautee three diced cloves of garlic in some olive oil, add a box of Trader Joe's chicken stock (how I love it so), season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper, then once it's boiling nicely add in a lot of frozen spinach, mixed tricolor kidney beans, and a beaten egg.

Dinner of champions. Especially with a glass of sweet Riesling and some whole wheat crackers slathered with sunflower seed butter. Gosh, I'm still experiencing the joy.

For the record (ha, get it?), I'm a bit in awe of the fact that I've recognized every song so far on Rumours' A-side. This doesn't usually happen to me. I follow a pretty strict "Do not buy the record unless you know and love at least two songs on said record", and I've toed the line quite a bit on a few purchases. But this one is in no danger, on that front.

Have a great weekend, y'all. I fully intend to.

-The GLS
(NaNoWriMo starts in a few days!! AHHHHHH!!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Impatience Is My Virtue.

I'm not tired.

I'm what you might call weary. I feel weary. Which is different than tired. Tired can be a good, satisfying feeling. Weariness just feels like a weighty version of tired.

But before I sign off to assuage my weariness with the balm of sleep, a list entitled "I Want":

1) I want to simplify.
2) I want to grow things.
3) I want to feel the seasons change at their fullest depth and know they're changing NOT because the calendar told me so but because I experience it.
4) I want to be off the grid.
5) I want to remember what it feels like to be excited by snow, but also respect it for the power it can be.
6) I want to nestle deep into the earth.
7) I want to put down roots.
8) I want to begin, continue, and complete, then begin again.
9) I want to set a feast before friends and family.
10) I want it all right now.


That #10 is a kicker. It really is.

-The GLS

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Lotto Man Cometh.

My, my. What a world, what a life.

This has been a crazy, crazy weekend. Between the storm front outside and the hurricane INSIDE, I haven't quite known what to do with myself.

I said in my last blog post something about cleaning my room. And I made all sorts of quips about how it would be a bloody fight, and blah blah blah.

Let me make this clear: I was kidding. Joking. Making jest.

But it has been no joke, this room cleaning business.

For serious, I took almost everything out of my room, moved furniture around, pitched stuff I didn't want anymore, vacuumed the heck out of whatever was left, threw dust in the air, organized my bookshelf, found space for my great-great-grandma's rocking chair, took my desk apart, cocked my bed perpendicular to the window, took everything off of my walls, gave my record player its own surface, gave myself a nightstand for the first time ever, and finally removed every trace of my color-scheme from eight years ago (including a dark green area rug and a dark green bedskirt that had been clinging to this room for FAR too long).

And, today.

I bought stuff. Two new lamps, a new rug, a wicker hamper (for the end of my bed), a new bedskirt, and a new doormat. Holy cow, I'm on a roll, and my room looks brand new! Very exciting. Especially if you're me.

So I'm sitting in the newly-feng-shui'd-wreckage and surveying my castle and thinking lovely thoughts.

It's funny how a new space can give you a new feeling about, well, everything. Like I'm starting over, in some way. Feels almost like a new me. But it's not. It's the old me with a cooler room.

Oh, and did I mention I'm full of Guinness stew? Shoot, what a great way to end the weekend.

Hope everyone else is as contented as I am at this moment. Please say that you are. I care about you. All of you, whoever you are. :)

Love to you and yours,
-The GLS

Friday, October 22, 2010

Miss Clean Jeans.

Funny, isn't it? We have these ideas for how we want life to look, and it doesn't pan out the way you planned.

Actually I'm not being sweeping and profound, here. I'm talking very specifically about the appalling state my bedroom/bathroom is in.

Really, it's awful.

And I ought to know better. How old am I...22, now? Yes, 22. I really ought to have more gratitude for what I've been given, and be more inclined toward organization, and blah blah blah...

But really, I don't think my awfully messy room has anything really to do with a lack of gratitude for what I have. I think I just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

So tomorrow? Oh, tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday. A Saturday with nothing but family plans to look forward to, later in the day. Which means...what?

It means, the battle begins tomorrow. The war, if you will. The crusade against the terrible state my room is in.

If I don't return by Monday...this means the room has won, and you will find me buried under a pile of shoes, tinwhistles, and miscellaneous papers including bank statements and artwork from four-year-old Picassos.

Gird yourself.

-The GLS

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go Do.

Oh, dear. I appear to be deep in thought, preparing for this year's NaNoWriMo novel. My notes are open, my character sketches are getting filled in, and names are tripping across my brain and out through my tongue.


I'll leave you with this loveliness.

...and I made homemade ginger cookies. But you can't have any.


-The GLS

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anachronistic Love of Iron.

Oh, shoot.

Did you know...when you mix rolled oats, sugar, melted butter, honey, and vanilla all together, stick it in a jellyroll pan and bake it at 350 for 30 mins, it will become caramelized, oaty goodness?

I didn't either. But it's true. You should try it sometime.

Got back from camp a few hours ago and needed to bake something. Desperately. I've been on this kick about not using pre-packaged foods wherever possible, and instead of popping open cans of pre-made high-sodium soup for a quick dinner, I try actually MAKING a quick dinner from scratch. Tonight I made (and ate) the creamiest scrambled eggs you ever tasted (farmer's market eggs, no less) with a side of Irish cornmeal griddle bread and an apple. Not fancy, but MAN it tasted good. Especially because the griddle bread was made with my cast iron skillet. Love me some cast iron. I also made some more butter with the heavy cream left in the fridge and used the buttermilk from the butter-making process in my griddle bread. I feel like I need to sew my own dresses, hitch up the wagon so I can head into town, and marry someone who will bring me some freshly killed game to cook. This is getting outlandish.

(I may or may not have been born in the wrong century. But I digress.)

I made popcorn
My breath was visible
You told me you were tired.
Tired of helping.
Tired of being.
Tired of it.
Just tired.

I wanted to tell you
In my visible voice
That we all get tired.
Please don't stop.
Kids need someone like you.
They need you.

But I handed him a bag of popcorn instead,
And replied in a poem.

Camp is a very, VERY important thing. Kids need camp. But they need the attention and love of adults they know and trust even more. If you work with kids, consider yourself deeply blessed. We all need mentors to look up to. Childhood ain't as easy as it ought to be.

I know it's a weird way to end this post. But it's on my heart tonight. So there.

-The GLS

(My poem is addressed to a youth worker whose name I don't know. So it's a mostly true story.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I weather-proofed my suede boots today.

It's actually a very simple process. You spray on the stuff, let it sit for an hour, then wear the boots all the time, even while you're sleeping. least that's what I do.

Funny thing is, I tend to think of weather-proofing for shoes as if there will never be any more weather, ever. Like as soon as my boots are weather-proof, their little boot-lives are suddenly going to be weather-free. No more rain! No more snow! Just happy, sunny days forever!

Gosh. That doesn't make sense.

Doesn't make sense in my life, either.

And just because I've "weather-proofed" my life with the love of Jesus and the grace of God, doesn't mean my life is never, ever going to get rained, snowed, and thundered on. Doesn't mean it's sunny days until I die.

So why do I expect that?

The rain is going to fall just the same, and I have to live with it. But being weather-proofed means just this: I don't have to get sopping wet anymore. It rolls right off, eventually.

And that's alright.

Writing from a rainy season,
-The GLS

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bless the Bread.

It's been a uniquely culinary weekend, but I think the fairies are after me.

This morning, before church, I wanted to try a rumor I had heard about shaking heavy cream in a glass jar to make butter. It worked like a charm. It seems I have butter luck.

So when I got BACK from church I decided to do some major butter-making, only this time by using the closest thing I have to a butter churn: my dear Ada, the Kitchenaid Mixer. I ended up with a nice-size lump of pale, creamy butter. I added a pinch of salt and decided that my butter luck was absolute.

With some of the leftover pasty filling from last night, I made a pot of soup and two small loaves of brown bread. I dutifully blessed the bread (by cutting the traditional slices in it before baking), but I completely forgot to let the fairies out (by pricking the middle of each loaf).

Too bad, too. Because despite the fact that the bread, butter, and soup were all delicious, the fairies must have been a bit miffed at my culinary success and at having not been referenced in my making of the loaves.

As a result, they pinched one of my favorite earrings. Can't find it anywhere. I don't blame them for taking it, it's quite a pretty thing. But I would like it back.

If you have any suggestions on how to appease fairies once they've been offended, please feel free to share your expertise.

-The GLS

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Teddy Oggin.

I guess I'm never really all that happy about my blog unless I blog about food. Plus, I watched Julie & Julia again tonight and it always puts me in a bloggy mood.

Luckily, I can offer you not only food...but PHOTOS of food, which is always exciting!

So, on we go...

This, for the uninitiated, is a pasty. Pronounced not as "pay-stee", but as "pah-stee" least in my family.

According to popular tradition, pasties come from the British Isles where miners would take them as lunches. They were filled with a stew-like mix of meat, veggies, potatoes, and a gravy, and packed into tough pastry that was rolled into turnovers. This made them easy to hold and transport, kept the hands warm, and kept the coal dust out of the food. Common tales insist that miners would discard the pastry after eating the stuff inside, mostly because it was dirty from their coal-covered hands but also as a sort of offering to the mean little sprites living underground that might lead an unsuspecting miner to danger. Apparently, mean little underground sprites like coal-dust-covered, second-hand pastry. Who knew?

My parents made a delicious pork roast the other night, swimming in onions and pepper and other such delights. With the leftover pork, my mom requested pasties. (And yes, for those playing along at home, it is NOT a REAL pasty if the ingredients are pre-cooked before going into the pastry. Thank you for pointing that out. Next time remind me not to link back to Wikipedia.)

I had never made pasties before. I made little venison pies a few weeks ago, which turned out alright but not perfect, so I was a little hesitant.

But digging in my Irish cookbooks I found a recipe for pastry dough that knocked my Connemara wool socks off (flour, butter, AND heavy cream.....what?!) and suddenly I had to try it.

Pork, peas, garlic (from the farmer's market), a gigantic fingerling potato (also farm-fresh), a carrot, some leek, canned mushrooms (we can't have everything we want, now can we?) and a whole lot of cooking sherry. My very first roux (!!) thickened it up nicely, and some dried thyme and black pepper gave it a little zip.

Granted, by the end it was not the desired consistency. I was hoping for more distinct pieces in a sort of gravy, but I added the pork meat WAY too early and it turned into carnita-like shreds by the time I was ready to stuff the pastry.

Boo and bother, it didn't matter one bit. Because they were DELICIOUS. Especially with some HP Sauce and some of my mom's famous salad.



Notice that the HP Sauce has not moved much...but the pasty, broccoli, and tomatoes (in the salad) have all mysteriously vanished. It's uncanny, really.

In the end, I am full of goodness. Happily sipping chamomile tea while I surf the Internet for things I will probably never buy but enjoy looking at anyway.

Incidentally, this is cute.

-The GLS

Friday, October 8, 2010

How To Slaughter a Chicken.

My life is now learning how to slaughter chickens and forage for mushrooms, hang game and categorize watercress. It's like this is what I've been building toward my whole life long.

(Dramatic much?)

Tonight was a great capper to a fascinating week of yelling and general stress. I kindled new friendships, ate cream of kale soup with black pepper biscuits (delish!), played a bit of old-timey music and generally had a grand old time. This is what life (and Fridays) ought to be about.

And slaughtering chickens. Gizzards. Indeed.

-The GLS

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Should I Sit In It, Or Eat It?

I am very full of cinnamon rolls.

Seriously, it's awful.

But also great.

I'm also thinking a lot of Jim Gaffigan-ish thoughts.

So here we go.


-The GLS

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Knit, Purl, Repeat.

Say you're knitting a scarf.

Say this scarf has a big fat cable running through it. Say this requires use of a stitch counter so you know when to cable. Say you're not entirely joyous about the product, but you're continuing just because it's something to do.

Now, say you lose your stitch counter. It mysteriously vanishes. You can't find it anywhere. Now you can no longer comfortably cable without marking your progress on a piece of paper or some other such bother.

Lesson: When your stitch counter vanishes and you can no longer easily cable, frog the darn thing (which was turning out fairly ugly anyway) and make stripes instead.

Somewhere a deep life lesson is buried in there. Something highly metaphorical. But I'm too cross-eyed from 1x1 ribbing to figure it out.

-The GLS

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don't Crowd the Pan.

Ahh, what a day. This is the sort of day that Saturdays were invented for, I think.

A quick sprucing-up of the room? Check.

A walk down to the final local farmer's market of the year? Check.

Using the ingredients from the farmer's market to make potato leek soup and beer bread? Check.

Taking said soup and bread to my sis-in-law's house for a visit? Check.

Squishing adorable baby niece? Check.

Coming home to sip wine and watch episodes of Julia Child's "The French Chef" with my mum? Check check.

Finding out that my Irish Fairy-Soupmother has three other cookbooks and feeling the overwhelming need to buy them? Check check check.

Lesson learned. Saturdays rule.

-The GLS