Sunday, April 12, 2020

Spring is in Full Bloom-Our Week in Review


The sun is out and we are very busy in the yard and our garden. Today is Easter for many families around the world. Our celebration is a bit different. I haven't been able to go out and shop for basket surprises for our kids, I didn't plan a big dinner, we didn't dye eggs, and there are no Sunday dresses mostly because of the pandemic, but mainly because we are celebrating the season of Spring and not the rising of a Savior. We send warm wishes of a beautiful Easter celebration to all those who do celebrate the Christian holiday and Passover for our Jewish friends. 



Our Easter looks different most years because when we left the Mormon church we never established another organized religion. We chose to celebrate our own Pagan roots from our Celtic ancestry. I am Irish and Cory is Scottish. In this way, we are able to honor the Earth, the moon, the sun, and the richness we find in the universal love and giving of nature. Today we recognize the importance of the sun and her power. Today we honor our hands and how we are able to give to others and create beauty around us. Today we see the beautiful trees, the warm air, the fresh waves of the ocean, and hear the birds sing their morning lullabies.

Our morning will be spent together laughing, playing games in the yard, and working in the garden. We will thank the soil, the grass, the trees, the fire Sprites, and the spirituality of our own inner spirits and the hand the universe plays in our lives. Ostara has past and Beltane is around the corner, so we are in the middle of two of our own celebrations which is exciting. I have a Pagan board on Pinterest if you are interested in learning or following the old ways. You can find it here: https://www.pinterest.com/SimplyGourmet/pagan/  As we celebrate our version of this time of year, we have made handmade bath bombs, chocolate candies, planted our flower garden, and created a beautiful fence made from the cut laurels in our yard. We have cleaned our fire pit, spread the ashes on our garden and made an ash bath for our chickens. We are celebrating in our hearts, with our hands, and our voices.

Happy Easter, Passover, and Pagan Celebrations to all who follow our family on this journey.

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I have tried to attach links, pictures, or videos (when available) to share with you our process, our recipes, and our inspirations. I don't work with any brands and none of the links will direct you to a site to purchase anything. I will always tell you if and when this happens.

1.  We planted the first part of our garden, which included potatoes, onions, peas, beans, and peppers. Our family is spending our days planting and working in our yard. I have been saving all of our plastic containers. I use them as small greenhouses for the new baby plants in the garden. The bottles collect moisture and water the plants too. I put shaved cedar shavings around the new plants to help deter bugs. We spread an organic slug control in the garden too. We hate to do it, but our garden feeds our family and the slugs cannot destroy it this year. The brand we bought is Sluggo and it seems to be working. This is not an ad.


2.  I made Teriyaki Turkey Rice Bowls by Yellow Bliss Road.  Recipe found here: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/teriyaki-turkey-rice-bowl/  We will definitely make these again.

3.  Rye perfected her version of the Dalgona Coffee.  The recipe was posted to the blog this week. We called our version Cinnamon Whipped Coffee. The recipe can be found here: https://www.simply-gourmet.com/2020/04/cinnamon-whipped-coffee.html

4.  We played a ton of games. Our favorites from this week are Settlers, Rage (card game), Scrabble, UNO, and dominos. What are your favorite games to play as a family?

5. I gave 5 haircuts this week. A great way to save money. I have been cutting my family's hair for 40 years. It started when I was a teenager and my grandma needed her hair cut. I just kept cutting. When I got married it saved us money. When we had kids it saved us a lot more money. And now, I do it because I have too. Because it saves, those in my family who are not working, them money. It keeps us home. It is a way I can help my family in these uncertain times.

6. Nothing goes to waste in our kitchen if I can help it. Last week I made Fish Tacos and we had some fish left over, so I made a gourmet version of my Tuna Casserole. I added the rockfish and locally sourced thick-cut bacon.  I used a small amount of bacon grease and added it to Panko Crumbs as a topping. I used extra sharp cheddar cheese. I turned a simple (family favorite dish) into a gourmet burst of flavor entree. And...it was amazing!

7. I saved the bacon grease and made Bacon Grease Biscuits for the second time this year Click on the link to use the recipe I used. I thought they turned out flaky and moist. Our kids enjoyed them too.

8. The girls are obsessed with making bath bombs. We tried a new kit from Blick art store. We ordered them online. THIS IS NOT AN AD. The quality of the product is great. After they sit for a day, they are rock hard and dissolve and bubble in the bath every time.

9. I made my first video. It was a bit scary and new and scary, but it turned out okay. Go watch it at the Cinnamon Whipped Coffee post.



10. I made a Homemade Marinara Sauce to use for pizza toast and lasagna for the week. I made two batches this week because it is one of our easiest meals on busy nights. We eat 3 full meals in our home and the cooking duties are extensive so having a few easy meals is a benefit to my schedule.

11. We took the VW bug out for a midnight top-down ride to see the Super Moon on and it was gorgeous and spectacular. We drove over the bridge and the stars were so bright. The heat was blowing, our heads were covered, and the littles had blankets. It was the perfect escape from our home for a few minutes that felt like old times. No one was around, the air was cold, the stars were bright, and we laughed and laughed. These are the moments I hope the girls remember many years down the road when they look back on COVID-19, 2020. To learn more about Pagan celebrations, like the moon cycle, this website is one of my favorites: Wayward Inspirations.  Gardening by the Moon is a great read.

12. I planted our flower garden seeds on Monday. It is our first year of having a flower garden. We converted our old sandbox into a wildflower oasis. My big kids built a fence out from the Laurel Bush limbs we cut. Most of my flower seed this year came from Botanical Interests LLCThis is not an ad.


13. I made Mashed Potatoes. My sister-in-law taught me her secret to creamy mashed potatoes and it works. My kids love the flavor and how smooth they are. I also still use a handheld potato masher. I feel an electric mixture can make them gummy.

14.  I tied to make Homemade Oat Milk again. It turned out slimy the next day. I don't know what I am doing wrong. Or, maybe, it is always slimy? Can anyone help me out and leave a comment as to why this might be happening? Thanks! I NEED HELP.

15. I made a Macadamia Coconut Oatmeal Cake. I collect old recipe books. My favorites are from NYC. Back in the day, they would print all of the recipes from the NY Times into one huge volume. I have several of these and they are filled with recipes from all over the country. These books have the best recipes. They are old recipes too. Family traditions and sacred recipes handed down from generation to generation. Melts my heart thinking about it. OH, this cake?  Absolutely delicious!

16. I am testing a Molasses Oatmeal Cake. Cooking is science. Once you know the ingredients you are working with and how to use them, you don't need a recipe (usually). I had a bit of molasses and some oatmeal leftover from the cake above. I tossed in a few ingredients and thought, "what the heck".  It turned out really good. I will be working on this recipe and sharing it at a later date.

17.  We made Deviled Eggs.  We eat a lot of eggs (obviously) with our chickens. Deviled Eggs make an appearance about twice a month. I made them once and used olives to make little spiders on top for a Halloween party. The recipe is found here: https://www.simply-gourmet.com/2011/10/77-spiders-eggs-and-halloweenoh-my.html  When dealing with fresh eggs, after you boil them, place them in a bowl with very icy cold water and let sit 10 minutes. This shocks the thin membrane and makes the peels come off easier.

18.  We baked a ham roast from Sitka Farms with my homemade fig jam. I used the recipe here: https://temeculablogs.com/dutch-oven-ham/ The fig jam recipe is coming soon!

19. I transplanted our sunflower seeds to a larger pot. They are starting to grow their second set of leaves. This is so exciting!

20. I planted a second set of seeds. We are trying to stagger our garden so that it is producing all summer/fall long. We are also trying to create a greenhouse in our yard to have vegetables all winter long. I will keep you posted as to what we decide. Some options are creating the "cover wagon" approach to our existing planting boxes. We might also invest in a free-standing greenhouse too.

21.  My sister is researching chicken coop plans. Another project this summer is building a larger chicken coop. We feel one that is large enough to have all the chickens in one coop.

22. We made Gyozas. Our family loves these dumplings. We have made hundreds through the years and they will always hold a special place in our heart with memories of many holidays spent assembling them together.

23. I made Homemade Chocolates. It was not my first time tempering chocolate. Just my first time using the molds. They are delicious. This is the chocolate I used: Guitard Chocolate Disc. More information can be found here: https://www.guittard.com/

24.  The flower garden fence is coming along quite nicely. The kids have it almost finished. Today (Saturday) I noticed our flower seeds have started to sprout. This is so exciting!

25.  We cleaned out our fireplace and fire pit outside. The ash can be used for so many things. We added it to our garden, to our compost, and to the dirt pile in the chicken yard. It is a natural debugger for the chickens and they love it. I've saved some information about using ash around your home on my Homesteading Pinterest board.



26. I made two new aprons. I used a stash of quilting fabric I have saved for years and this week it went to good use. I made two aprons, with no pattern, that criss-cross in the back. My neck has been hurting and I believe it is from wearing an apron all day that pulls down on my neck. This has happened once before and I remembered the pain. The new aprons are also longer and fuller. I like a longer apron. I cook so much that I get spills on my shoes, my legs, and my knees, The new aprons also have big bows in the back. WHY NOT? I love a big bow on a girly apron.

27. We started growing our own mushrooms for a homeschool project. The kids love this and it is a great way for them to learn a bit about fungus.


THAT was a busy week! 


I am always amazed at how much our little family accomplishes each week. We are a great team and share some amazing memories working together in the house and in the yard. School is going well. Our garden is growing. The kids are happy. The adults are hanging in there. We will make it.

Please let us know how you are doing. We are always curious as to how and what are friends from around the world are up to as the world has seemed to stop for a brief moment in time.

Sherron, Cory, and family



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