Photo: Dinner preparations tonight!

 

The birthday marathon is over! My house is recovered! My child is happy! I am really excited about some sleep but… that’s gonna have to wait. Craft night with the girls tonight, another school visit tomorrow night… your humble blogger mama isn’t going to get an early bedtime until Wednesday! And that’s if I decide not to catch up on American Crime (which you should totally be watching if you’re not)!

But I’m not really trying to write about television today. I’ve got more important things to write about. Let’s start with what’s just outside of my window. Seems that the animals decided to dance under the full moon last night:

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Anyone know what makes these tracks? I think it might be a bunny? My neighbor says squirrel… but the feet are too big, right?

My neighbor also said he thought it was a pack of deer who came through. I’m not so certain. There wasn’t any scatt anywhere in the snow.

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I’m taking the time to post these pictures (new readers are probably like “what in the world?”) because this is my first evidence this season the Fox has returned to her winter residence. We hadn’t seen any prints after the previous snow and I hadn’t heard her (or her mate) in a while. I wondered if she’d moved on. It’s exciting to have her back! Hopefully she’ll reward us with kits in the Spring again. I’ll also note that there was no blood in the snow, either–so the rabbit got away or it was a really clean kill…

The other thing I’m excited about is that I’ve cooked my second Meatless Monday meal of the month! One month down, eleven more to go!

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Tonight’s dinner: Ribollita soup and portobello mushrooms topped with tomato and cheese!

My friend posted that New York Times recipe for the soup and the picture looked heavenly. The ingredients looked accessible and the instructions were easy! It was too easy to pass up. I embellished with some sage and mushrooms. Commenters suggested fennel instead of the celery and I now understand why. I didn’t put the soup in the oven for the toasting of the bread and instead opted to toast the bread with some infused olive oil and cheese. The result was a fantastic bowl of soup that really did only take an hour. I’d do it again in a heart beat! I’d do it again next week! The Husband ate it, even the boys ate it! Minor took a little time to warm up to it, but once he did, he was golden.

The mushroom… I dunno, Dear Reader. My feelings are mixed. I didn’t love the texture as much as I thought I would. I’m not sure which element bothered me, the tomato or the mushroom itself. I prepped the mushroom by removing the stem and the gills, and that’s it. Is there a better way of preparing it? If I can’t figure out how to properly prep portobellos or tofu, this Meatless Monday is going to go down in flames pretty quickly. Can’t make soup in the summer. Haven’t found a substantial “meat alternative” yet. I suppose practice will make perfect.

Perfect practice.

I know that it looks perfect in the photo, but that’s because of the magic of purposeful selection. Here is how the other ones turned out:

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Soggy mess. 😦 I don’t even… it’s the tomato? I know that mushrooms eventually let down their water… did I cook them too long? Tomato and mushroom just not a good mix?

I have a lot of learning to do, Dear Reader. Good thing there is a lot more opportunity to do so!

Finally, this made me laugh today. I told you The Modern Idiot has me reading poetry and I found a stanza that almost perfectly summarizes my life:

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I’ve been giggling about that all day. “We should get together for coffee!” Me, always, in my head: “why?”

I’m terrible.

In all seriousness, saying “yes” to reading poetry and learning to love it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t love everything I read, but what I do love, I get a lot out of. I’m continually surprised and always come away seeings the world a little differently. It’s been deep, yet light and airy, if that makes any sense. I highly recommend it.

Dear Mid-Atlantic Readers, are you ok? All of my family in Maryland kept their power (I heard Pepco did a good job for once?) and everyone is ok. Nobody went to work today and I hear nobody is going to work tomorrow! Don’t get cabin fever, ya’ll. Go out and get some fresh air!

School visit post on Wednesday, probably. I have no idea what I’m going to find. Hopefully it will be a better experience this time around. No matter what, it will be an eye-opening experience for you and me both!

Until then, stay warm, stay safe and take care.

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15 thoughts on “A Surprising Start to the Week

  1. Yes! I had time to read your post today! I had to laugh out loud because I have ingredients in my fridge and pantry to cook ribolitta soup this week , one of my favorite soup recipes! My recipe is a little different. Instead of all that kale, I also add swiss chard and cabbage. I spoon the soup over stale crusty italian bread. The recipe is from Tuscany. I have been making this recipe since I returned from my trip to Italy 5 years ago. I’m glad the recipe was a winner with your family. Not all my kids like it. 🙂
    That’s terrific that you are attempting some meatless Mondays in the year. Another winter favorite soup is acorn squash soup. Have you ever tried quiche? We make a zucchini quiche during the summer.
    We got about 28 inches of snow here in Central Jersey! No school today and no school tomorrow. Somehow, I think there will be no school on Wednesday either. There is no place to put all that snow so the roads are narrow. I am sure they don’t want to add school buses to the mix.
    But I love snow days so I am enjoying being home with the kids.
    And yes, I think those are bunny prints. 🙂

    • I’m curious: Which cabbage do you use for the soup? Does it add a sour taste to it? I do like the swiss chard idea… this is absolutely a winner.
      I’m growing to like squash. I didn’t before, but we got some in our CSA and I roasted some. Will have to experiment with the soup… that might be my next MM recipe! Thanks for the suggestion!

      So? Was there school today? Do you have cabin fever yet!?

      • I just use regular head cabbage.
        How about home made mac and cheese? You can add broccoli to it if you want veggies in it.
        Yes, there was school today and the roads aren’t too bad. 🙂

  2. Soup is weird. Grill the mushrooms: olive oil rub and sea salt. 3-4 mins each side depending.

    Dice the tomatoes and saute with flavor things to draw off dome water and add some taste. And put them on top of the cheese. Mushrooms done right taste better than a ribeye.

    Learning veggies myself. Had to change diet post crash: no carbs, less meat. I buy a new veggie to try each week. This week, a leek!

    Get some rest dude

    • Can I grill over my stove, like with a grill pan? Is that the only way to do this? Gonna follow your recommendation re: tomatoes… maybe they are the water culprits.

      Leek is wonderful! Don’t forget to soak whatever you cut so you can get the sand out!

      No rest for the wicked, girl. You know that. 😉

      • I think a stove grill is good enuf. Do sone Googling to be sure. Not only way, just mine. I like grilled food cuz hate cooking. Mushrooms can hold a lot of h2o so cook well, def suspect maters. Deseed before cooking unless saucing is what I do.
        Why the eff is there sand in my leek? Dirt sure, but sand? How long soak?
        If lack of sleep were an accurate indicator, youd be oh holy satan himself lol

  3. My family don’t eat a lot of meat, so a meatless Monday is pretty standard for is! Vegetable lasagne is a good one, as is spinach & ricotta cannelloni (though a bit fiddly). And never underestimate a jacket potato with cheese (or beans or whatever, I’m a cheese person myself). 🙂

      • In my experience, it’s not necessary to have a meat substitute at all times. It’s possible to make vegetarian lasagne with quorn, but it works just as well with just vegetables and no mince or mince substitute. My sister’s veggie, so we eat a lot of multipurpose foods like that. Pasta-based meals are particularly good because you can add meat (e.g. leftovers from a roast chicken) if you want, or change which vegetables you put in… They’re just super versatile. 🙂

        • I’m going to have to get with more cheese, which will make the boys and The Husband happy. I try to watch it because of the salt content, but it is what it is. The thing about veggies is that I’m looking for something that’s gonna feel “meaty” and sit heavy on the stomach and give that satisfied feeling the way that meat does, you know? I figured the mushrooms might give that right texture and heft. Had never heard of Quorn until your comment. Googled it and am figuring out if I can get it here in the States. It LOOKS like I can, but I’ve never seen it before. Will look for it!

          • Never occurred to me that it might be a UK-only thing! I can see what you mean. I’m big on carbs, which isn’t the healthiest of diets. Eggs are good though. A cheese omelette with fried potatoes and veg on the side — filling and relatively nutritious. 🙂 I’m not a very good cook, which is another reason I eat a mostly vegetarian diet. Every time I cook meat I’m flirting with food poisoning…

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