Life is much quieter now than it was even two weeks ago. Most of the American and Canadian crowd have gone home to their beautiful, blooming Springs. The two weeks of vacation time surrounding Easter that brought in Mexican tourists from all over has ended and the beaches are emptying. I can hear the waves pounding in, much like the waves we hear and that shake us all summer. The temperatures seem to slowly be creeping up and I keep reminding myself how much farther they will go before we get our first rain.
I am also in a quieting season. Lent, as hard as I tried to make it quiet down, never actually did. It was a bit raucous and exhausting with little glimpses of glory in the silence of a moment or the brevity of a prayer. If you have been following my last few posts you already know a bit of the journey I’ve been on: trying and learning to trust God with many different layered fears. Now I am at a place where I can slow the pace of life and recuperate a bit from the intensity of this learning curve and the pace of our high season. However, it has recently been made clear that I make plans but life doesn’t always follow them. So I am also trying to be flexible.
It’s funny how we get used to a certain pace of life. Ben and I have been looking at each other almost every afternoon and wondering what to do with our time. We don’t have roasting or baking or product orders or emails that need attention. But we haven’t been able to just settle right into the slow life that summer becomes. We look at each other and try to figure out how to fill our time. I am starting to remember the books on my shelf waiting to be read, the plants that need desperate attention, the painting I’ve been wanting to do. I could get my ginger bug going again, make some cheese, sit and color or play memory with the kids. We’ve started to take walks again and sit on our terrace with our coffee a little longer. It’s becoming a lovely pace of life. I feel like I am always becoming and not quite arriving; for the moment, becoming is a fine place to be.
Part of my slowing, unfortunately, has included meal planning which means at about 4 every afternoon I panic because we don’t have anything for dinner. I’ve heard that meals are proving difficult for many of you so for our families and our stress levels, here is a collection of simple meals and ideas.
Here is a crockpot soup that is so simple – I add a bit more flavor with garlic, salt and pepper, and greens or sauerkraut stirred in at the end. Ham and Bean Soup
The family favorite salad we eat almost every night is a simple tomato, cucumber, red onion, and feta salad – I let Ayden dice the cheese and veggies – sprinkle salt and pepper and it’s ready.
I’ve found that having salad dressings already made in the fridge is an easy way to stress less about dinner. Not that it really takes that much time to make a salad dressing but when the kids are hungry it’s hard to do anything, really. A popular one these days is a simple balsamic reduction with a little honey and fresh ground pepper – it doubles well as a dipping sauce for left over cold chicken.
Roast chicken is a staple at our house, not only for the meat but because the bone broth is so amazing and delicious! I usually just salt and pepper the chicken and throw it in the oven but sometimes I will stuff the cavity with used lemon rinds and sage leaves or garlic. I just made this Ricotta and Herb stuffed chicken which is not really a quick and easy process but it was delicious.
I am relying heavily on fermented veggies right now not only because we have been fighting colds but also because it’s just so easy to put a side dish on the table when all you have to do is pull a jar out of the fridge and open it. I made Nourished Kitchen’s Hot Pink Jalapeno Garlic Kraut and ginger carrots last week to go with our regular sauerkraut and lacto-fermented pickles.
I find that eggs and beans are the simplest go to meals. If I have beans or lentils cooked in the fridge it’s easy to make a pot of rice and put out some chopped carrots or jicama. Eggs I just can’t say enough about. They fit every category: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. Fried, scrambled, frittata, quiche, soft boiled, on salad, on stir fried vegetables… we go through about two and half dozen farm fresh eggs a week in our house.
And bacon, of course. Good quality bacon can be added to just about any dish, in my opinion. It provides flavor and excitement to eggs, salads, meatloaf, fried potatoes…
Another quick and easy recipe and I’ll stop, I promise. Can you tell I love food? Even if I do tend to forget about meals. Frequently. Lemony Greek Beef and Rice. Oh, and fish. Ben makes the best fish, fried in butter and coconut oil with tons of garlic and salt and pepper. Yum. Oh, and the easiest side dish: cut a cauliflower into four equal pieces, pour a little oil in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place cauliflower in dish, sprinkle more salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake 350 for about an hour. Delicious.