All things new

I haven’t written in a while. A lot of things have been going on these last 2 months. A lot of new things. I can’t believe I skipped 2 months. Facepalm. I said I was going to blog once a week. At first, after missing one Saturday, I beat myself up. I tend to be a bit hard on myself if we are being honest. But then COVID 19, we sold our house, we bought a new house, we moved in and we tackled a long list of projects, and we got another furry friend. I mean, just a couple of major life changes all at once? Go big or go home. I didn’t bake much initially and I got in a holding pattern with my starter and my scoby. I was just feeding them, limping them along. I kinda felt like that was what I was doing too… raise your hand… anyone else? Feeding, watching, waiting. No yoga, no socializing. Lots of hiking, lots of reading, lot of puppy snuggling. Some cooking, lots of ordering out and trying to support local businesses.

COVID 19 has changed a lot of things for me. As nurse Im an “essential” employee, but what does that even mean? I know a lot of people whose jobs were not deemed “essential”. I know that hurt some people, financially and mentally. There are so many people who are essential for me to even be able to do my job. Food service, public service, first responders, waste management, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, central supply, clerical and secretarial staff, physicians, pharmacy… Everyone is essential, maybe its just that not everyone plays an essential role in fighting a new and aggressive virus strain. Perspective I guess. I still go to work everyday. I wear a mask. I take care of my patients. I wait for the next directive. Its always changing. Its the new normal. PS I hate that phrase.

I live in a place where COVID hasn’t hit hard. I hear about how other larger metropolitan areas are coping. My older brother lives in New York. I think about him, call him, lecture him, try to tell him what I think he should do. My parents and younger brother live in Seattle. I think about them, I call them, lecture them, try to tell them what I think they should do. I worry. I wait. I wonder. I wonder what its like and thank my lucky stars that I live where I do. We are reopening… slowly. We have reached phase 2. Its interesting. There are so many contradictory moving parts and pieces of “reopening”.

We sold our house in a roundabout way. You know when things are just meant to be they seem to fall into place. I told you about the farm in another post. It was a lovely place, but it didn’t work out. It wasn’t right. This winter we were contacted a few times about interest on our house after we took it off the market. Initially it was frustrating. We weren’t looking, we had resolved to wait until late spring early summer. But then a couple asked to come look one weekend and we finally said yes (but I didn’t clean the shower ;), just the toilet). They loved it and sent us an offer before we even got back home. It was a whirlwind. They were kind enough to offer us a long closing period so we could look for a place. It sortof fell in our laps. Our fabulous realtor knew someone who was preparing to sell in the area I was most interested in. Its even by some of our friends house! We looked at a couple places but them we came home. The minute I walked into the house I knew. It was ours. Our new home. It had everything we wanted and more. Funny how things workout. Right after we went under contract one of my husbands old friends from home asked if we were interested in a lab puppy from his dog’s litter. We were getting a house with a big enough yard to have two dogs, why not. So we got a puppy. He is 12 weeks now, his name is Winston, he has grey-blue-green eyes, he is a handsome devil, and also a very good boy.

We tackled projects, mostly outside: fencing, putting in a garden and raised beds, redoing the chicken coop (we are getting chickens!), bringing a neglected flower garden and yard back to life. (Oh also moving in… with a puppy…. not recommended).

Another new thing is my kitchen. My oven. My warming drawer. I have a bigger kitchen. I have counters. I don’t have to bake in a pantry. I have an electric/gas oven. I have a warning/proving drawer. My mixer lives on my counter. I started baking few weeks ago. So far I have made whole wheat bread, sourdough, gluten free sourdough, banana bread, key lime pie, brownies, granola, lemon bars, rhubarb custard pie bars, and morning muffins.

I took the rhubarb bars to work today. Have I told you about my intense love of rhubarb and everything that could be made with rhubarb? I love rhubarb. I am going to get a rhubarb plant. For now, I rely on my friends and the farmers market. Two people asked me for the recipe. I guess that means they turned out okay? Im still getting used to my oven. The first thing I baked, I burned. Of course I had a meltdown, because that’s what I do. Its a hot oven? Shoulder shrug? I will get used to it. When I wrote out the recipe for the bars at work and wrote it out again this evening they were different. I need to get back to writing this stuff down I tell ya. Otherwise I cant remember and I can’t recreate it. I’ll do better. That means more recipes on here. Recipe to follow.

Rhubarb Custard Pie Bars (origins from my mom’s pie recipe, adapted to feed lots of hungry nurses… you see mathematically you get more pieces out of a 9×14 pan than a 9 inch pie plate)

Ingredients: Crust

  • 2 C Flour
  • 1 c butter, room temp
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla

Pulse in a food processor. This dough will be crumbly, but you should be able to easily press it into a pan. You know, you could also buy some sugar cookie dough and skip the making step and press it into a pan, if you want, I have done that before in a pinch. If time is on your side you will get a better crust making it yourself. Go ahead and grease a 9×14 pan. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Press shortbread/cookie dough into the pan, be sure to go up the sides. Puncture with a fork, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove to cool, turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Make the filling while the crust bakes.

Ingredients: filling

  • 4 C diced Rhubarb
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t salt

Dice rhubarb into small pieces. Set aside. Combine all other ingredients and stir well to combine. You can get fancy and use a whisk, I use a good old fashioned fork. This will create a thick liquid. You are looking for the consistency thick enough to coat the spoon and not run completely off but still drip off the spoon. Fold in the rhubarb and pour over the hot crust when it is done baking. Back into the oven, bake at 325 for 1 hour. Depending on your oven you may need to bake it longer. It should be just set, but might still have a wobble. If you tilt the pan a little you should not see liquid run to the side but you may see the filling move a little or settle. Cool on a wire rack and then chill. Best to chill several hours before eating.

You should make this new thing. You try new things. Try not to eat it all at once. Be kind, be smart, stay safe, wash you hands, don’t touch your face.

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