Winter Week

In winter, I typically take the way of the bear and hibernate. My form of hibernation equals socking in, staying home, working. And on weekends starting in January, doing my annual full-house purge.
Last week wasn’t at all typical for this bear.
Monday I played hooky. Not much can pull me out of hibernation and into the world. Star Wars is an exception. The prospect of hitting a matinee–IMax, 3D–of the new installment of one of my all time favorite franchises? No-brainer. So BW and I headed out into the cold, met up with Jason–Kat, who’d set this all up, had to work (but she’s already seen it twice)–Laura and Laura’s husband, snagged some popcorn and settled down.
No spoilers, so I’ll just say I loved every minute, right from the first note of the iconic opening theme to the roll of credits. I will ask why, does anyone know why, a group of people would choose to sit directly behind another group of people in a HUGE theater that’s nearly empty? And then regularly push or kick the back of my chair? I have no answer for this.  (Laura’s note:  loved, loved, loved the movie.  I was further down from the kicker so the annoyance for me was the eating/crackling of paper in the quiet moments.  Eat during galactic explosions!!! NR and I are a pair.)
In any case, I enjoyed my playing-hooky day tremendously.
Mid-week, I had a routine annual screening–the medical sort–all good there. But another venture into the cold rather than being attached to my keyboard. And that evening yet another trip out to watch my grandson’s first chorus concert. Absolutely adorable.
As it happened, our Logan proved to be quite a trooper, as it turned out he was running hot. So the next day, with a 101 temp, he snuggled into Nana’s bed. I know how to work around a sick boy, got plenty done while keeping him fed and entertained. Plus I had a spanking new DVD of The Martian, which made him very happy. Because it was a short school day, his sister came up mid-afternoon. So a short work day for me. Kayla agreed to help me with dinner–her little brother was coming up later, and we’d send food home to their mom, who had whatever bug Logan had.
I decided rather than letting her help me, I’d play sous chef and instructor. We both really enjoyed me walking her through making scalloped ham and potatoes, with a side of roasted carrots. Both dishes the gang enjoys.
And she did a terrific job of it.
It’s incredibly satisfying to pass recipes down the generations, tutor a grandchild in basic cooking skills. She has good instincts on top of it–more satisfaction. And asked if I’d make her a cookbook with my recipes. That’s a big pleasure, and something I’ll spend some Saturday putting together for her. I have many of my mother’s, and my father’s recipes in my book. Whenever I cook one of their dishes, they’re right there in the kitchen with me. I like to think when Kayla uses mine, the same holds true.
I freely admit, that I ended the day by conking out by ten p.m.
But Saturday, after my workout, the purge began. And began in earnest in my office byclearing out dozens of old research books I’ve held onto for far too long. Many were ridiculously out of date, and while I still have more dozens, I lean heavy on the internet anyway.
Office shelves
My office and my one-more-room are purged and organized. And my embarrassment of a hall closet is an embarrassment no more. I confess, without shame, to being a scarf slut. I still can’t figure out how I still have three tubs full of them on my closet shelf when I filled an entire bag with what I’ll pass on.
A good Saturday start. BW hauled out boxes and bags of donations, and I have more bags for the annual clothes swap. And Laura and Kayla can have a grudge match over the scarves. (Laura’s note:  I can take her!)


Vegetable soup
Rosemary sourdough bread
Sunday, cold with snow flurries, means making soup and baking bread. (Note from Laura:  I know Nora cooks soup the way I do — with what’s on hand and to suit my taste — so there’s not going to be a recipe. ) A hearty vegetable soup in this case, with beans and pasta, and a couple rounds of rosemary sour dough bread. And since I was hooked to the kitchen, it was a good time to purge and organize that area. I can now open doors and drawers in the areas addressed this weekend without shuddering. That’s a good deal.
The better one is knowing I can now begin my hibernation. I have a clear week, intend to fully hunker down. And I’m hoping nothing and no one tries to poke the bear.

38 thoughts on “Winter Week”

  1. Oh that soup looks wonderful! Would you share the receipt with us please!

    1. When I do Kayla’s recipe book (as I did years ago for Kat) there will be a lot of: some of this, some of that. You can use some of this, to taste or to eye, and sometimes I add this other thing. Instructions that initially baffled Kat.

      But how much mustard in the deviled eggs? she’d ask, and I’d answer: I don’t know, until it looks, smells and tastes right.

      Which is why I’m happy to work with Kayla in the kitchen, so she gets the casual rhythm of my cooking philosophy.

      There really is no recipe for this particular soup. I used what I had handy, played with it, and made it so.

      1. My mother and I made a cookbook for my 4 children. Each page had the recipe or as best I could tell them (you know soup, meatloaf etc.) but at the bottom of the page was a section labeled mom’s notes where I could write anything I did different from the actual recipes. They love them.

        1. That’s exactly what I did for my nieces. I do know that one of them still uses the cookbook and calls me occasionally for my opinion on changing something. Usually when she’s in the grocery store buying for it and forgot to make a list thinking she’d remember what she needed.

      2. My daughter calls that soup “Moms scrap soup” as I put a little scrap of whatever is handy in it.

  2. Your granddaughter will love making your recipes as she gets older and someday when she has a family of her own. It is a wonderful legacy to pass down. A few years ago, I put together a binder of all my favourite family recipes for my two daughters-in-law, complete with our family crest on the cover. These recipes were passed down from my grandmother, to my mother, to me. Everything from meals to desserts. It was a wonderful labour of love.
    As for Star Wars, I think I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it yet. Waiting to get over this two week cold, and then we’re taking the grandkids, who have seen it twice already. And yes, I have warned them about spoilers…and, so far so good, but it’s been hard for them LOL!

  3. A cookbook is awesome but I have to say my most treasured recipes from my grands and my mom are hand written and in glass front/back frames hung on the walls in my kitchen.

  4. When my younger daughter was getting married and moving to England where her new hubby would be stationed with the USAF, she lamented the fact that she would miss all her favorite recipes that I make. And that I wouldn’t be right around the corner for advice since she would be 5 hours ahead of me and working on dinner before I ever thought about lunch, not mention a long distance phone call away if I happened to be away from the computer. For one of her shower gifts, I put together a cookbook of all her favorites which included some of my own creation vs. from a cookbook. I spent hours typing up recipes, trying to fine tune my own “a little of this or more,” organizing, and such. Found a recipe keeper to contain it all, and voila! A personalized family cookbook. Needless to say, she was thrilled to be able to create a touch of home when she missed family.

    We, too, saw Star Wars. Very reminiscent of the original. However, I am not above giving the stink eye or even a strong suggestion to the offenders who kick my seat, pay more attention to their cell phone with their texting, or who insist on yakking during the movie. If you plan to sit near me, you had better behave!

  5. Your comments about handed down recipes hit home. My father made vegetable soup at our house on rare occasions when I was growing up. It was a real treat. All of our kids, now adults, and older than I am, make the soup on snow days, or rainy days. A favorite recipe from my Mother is Scotch Tarts. That’s what she called them. They are similar to pecan tarts but have currants in them. They are a holiday treat. My husband’s mother handed down the recipe for what she called sauerkraut and nips (knoepfla, I now believe). She learned it from her mother in law, her mother in law learned it from her mother in law, and I learned it from my mother in law.

    I did put a cookbook together for the offspring. It includes the special handed down recipes and our Christmas dinner recipes.
    I’m now 80 years old…I can’t believe it!!! It’s nice knowing when my husband and I are gone the generations we brought forth will sit at a table and remember our times together. As time goes on, perhaps those who didn’t get to know us will tell some stories about our time. Thanks for the memory, Nora.

  6. My mom made two editions of our favorites recipes before she passed. I have since passed the second edition on to my two girls. It’s a sweet memory of my mother to share.

  7. I just watched Star Wars too – and LOVED it from the first frame and swell of music…

    I cook with an outline of ingredients…a little of this, a little of that – except with baking or if I’m cooking something that I know is going out the door for others. It’s a lot more fun if it’s just for us at home and experimenting.

    Have fun with purging. My goal this month is to uncover a table in the kitchen that is a ‘catch all’ and put it to use as a desk. We’ll see how that goes. 🙂

  8. My youngest daughter was here for a month while they redid her kitchen. I just wish her dog was potty trained better. Afraid mine will get the wrong idea.
    Now she’s staying to take care of me while I have my cataracts taken care of.
    I have to cook more when she’s here. Sometimes I let her cook.
    Hope I can read more while she’s here.

  9. Nora (and Laura),
    I have to share that we got engaged in the monastery on Skellig Michael just a couple of weeks after the crew from Star Wars shot. I teared up a bit when that scene came on, we had been trying to get out there for 10 years and when I stepped onto the ground on the island, I just cried tears of joy (and then cried again when he proposed).

    1. Congratulations Marlina!!!

      I Googled where they shot that final scene as soon as the movie ended. Then I told Nora that I’m going there someday.


  10. LOVED the Star Wars movie! Also had words with the woman having a running commentary just behind us. Do they forget there are other humans around? My most cherished recipes are hand-written by my mom and grandmothers. I’m trying to figure a way to replicate them for all my grand-nieces who never met any of those three wonderful women. One of the grandmothers wrote “a walnut of butter”, to which my mom asked if it was a big walnut or a little walnut? Agreed on the mustard in the deviled eggs, like all my cooking now, it’s by sight and smell. Thanks for all these good memories!

  11. Had fun teaching Faith family recipes, and now that she’s almost ready to head out on her own, learning from both grandma’s.

    DH and I have the next three days off. Exploring Philly and doing much needed stuff around the house, including some purging.

    He knows after two years, what hasn’t been hung up will be scrapbooked 😀

  12. My mother-in-law loved to cook, and she collected recipes from everyone when she enjoyed something they made. After she passed away, her daughter and granddaughter scanned all of her recipe-card collection and compiled a bound cookbook that was gifted to all of the family members. It’s so fun to look through and see the original handwritten recipes that she amassed over the years, including some of mine from many years ago. It also reminds me of the many hours spent around her table enjoying wonderful food and even better company.

  13. Have you ever thought about putting your recipes in a book to sale

  14. One of the things I miss about being a Grandma is passing the torch, being it cooking, sewing, needlework, or just shopping. My girls are out on the west coast so our together time is limited. I cram as much in as I can when we are together though. I treasure the memories I have with my Gram and maybe someday the tides will change.

  15. Sadly I had the same experience in the theater – the guy behind me insisted on pushing his feet or knees forward – all the way almost tipping me out of my chair. I wanted to accidently spill my drink( on him) …but aside from one frantic turn around with : “do you mind? ” I sat quietly thru the movie – it was packed or we would have moved! The “comfort” chairs do have a downside!

    Wish I could join the exchange! Especially: scarves shoes & purses…soon to be donated! 🙂 Have fun!

  16. I have a hand written cookbook that my mon made for my sister and I it’s a precious and cherish treasure

  17. I loved the movie, as well. So true to the franchise. My problem was the big-haired lady who felt the need to make a running commentary on the film . I moved.

  18. Such wonderful times happen in the kitchen while you cook and talk. I created a blog with family recipes from my mother, grandmother and now my recipes for my kids. I was never a cook but when I married I knew I had to start teaching myself and creating family favorites. I love when my kids text me from college and ask, What’s the blog url again?

  19. Do you handwrite your recipes or is there a good computer program out there to help create your own cookbook? I’ve been wanting to make one! 😉

  20. What an impressive display of your many awards. Looks like this was a good purge. Wish my book shelves looked that clean. Hibernation time can be productive or lazy restful.

  21. My 17 year old granddaughter & I spent many weekends cooking together as she grew up and we loved scrap booking. At 6 years old , Sara Kate asked me if I would make her a recipe scrapbook for her ” own” house .
    Over the years we have taken pictures of us cooking together and the finished product which will be included in her recipe scrapbook I plan on presenting to her at gradation June 2017.

  22. The soup looks so yummy!!! But the bread? Yowza!! I could live on that bread!!!

  23. Help please, I received a notification that Amazon France are releasing one of Nora’s books in February l’auberge du mystere, roughly translated the inn of the mystery. I cannot find any reference in any form to this in English. Is it a new release? From the English titles to be released this year none come close to that translation. Any insights would be appreciated.

    1. That’s a very old Silhouette book — from 1984 — titled Storm Warning. I went to Amazon France and it looks like a new Kindle edition is slated for March.


  24. Just wondering.. Are the recipes in the back of my Angel’s Fall book, Nora’s recipes or just ones she came up on?

    1. Ha! Nevermind. It says right there in the book, from Nora’s kitchen. 🙂

  25. Ha! “scarf slut”, and here I thought I was the reigning champion! I’m moving from our ginormous family home to an apartment, and I am up to two boxes and three bags of clothes for donations. Egads! Happy hibernation!


  26. Funny, I used the snow storm to Purge as well, but the office is last. I am trying to shore up the energy to get in there today. Right now I’m cuddled with my dog.

  27. Many years ago a relative and I [at yet another funeral] were lamenting on how we were losing the older cooks in the family. We decided to do a family cookbook. It was a short run printing wise, but was so much fun and everyone loved it. It meant so much to see great-Aunt’s recipe, Grandma’s biscuits.
    You preparing cookbooks for your family is such a wonderful legacy that will not be realized until years in the future. Include pictures, where the recipe came from, who gave it to you, family stories related to the recipe, humorous anecdotes, and family fueds over who can fix the best of whatever it is. We had so much fun and to this day, twenty plus years later, family members still talk about our cookbook.

  28. Cooking with the grandkids is the BEST!!! My little granddaughter started making bread with me as soon as she could stand on the chair next to me, it is one of our greatest pleasures! She is nearly 9 now, and lives far away, but the time together is what keeps me going. I love the idea of a book of Grammy’s best recipes. I’ll have to do that soon.

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