Cooking

Country style chicken soup with sorrel

I’ve been quite busy gathering herbs, making tinctures, teas and salves. Gardening and preparing the first vegetables for winter also eats up a lot of my time. I wanted to go up in the mountains again this weekend, but it’s pouring outside! I wanted to see what herbs I can gather, so far I’m all stocked up on sorrel, wild garlic, dandelion and nettles.

And since I have so much sorrel, making one of my grandma’s favorite chicken soups was mandatory!

This soup is perfect for rainy, gloomy days.

So first thing’s first – a chicken was sacrificed for this soup. Other ingredients from the garden: carrots (2), onion (1 ), garlic (2-3 cloves), parsnip (1), root celery (half from a small one). And of course the star of this dish : a hand full of fresh picked sorrel.

For those who don’t know this magnificent herb , sorrel is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals and it is a strong antioxidant . It helps with blood pressure, bad cholesterol and detoxification of the entire body.

Cooking

Lamb stew with chanterelles mushrooms

Today I made lamb stew with chanterelles mushrooms that I’ve picked up from the forest last autumn. The lamb was bought from a local farmer, everything else is from the garden. I also made lamb broth/soup but that’s for another post, maybe.

I’m not good when it comes to write down recipes. When I cook I usually add ingredients…by eye. I only measure the exact quantities when it comes to baking. But then again this is not a cooking blog. I just wanted to share this with everyone out there.

Roughly I used 1 yellow onion, 4 green onions, 4 medium carrots, 2 medium potatoes, root celery (about half of it from a medium sized one), one big parsnip, 4 garlic cloves. Chop everything in chunky pieces. You will also need about 300gr lamb meat, cut in cubes. About 100-150g chanterelles mushrooms. You will also need 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, one bay leaf, rosemary, dill, 1 cup of wine, 2-3 cups of water and 70g tomato sauce.

The good

A new addition to the family?

Arielle is not pleased with this new company !

This homeless kitten is visiting my parents for the last two months or so. She comes every morning and meows in the garden, she knows that my mom arrives with food when she calls.

Our Siamese doesn’t like it one bit! 😹

We believe that the cat is already pregnant, so this means more kittens! My dad made a special place for her into the barn, from hay and wool , a place for her to sleep and just in case she will give birth. My mom named her Matilda and my folks are willing to adopt her, but the cat is pretty wild and still doesn’t trust nobody.

Arielle seems to be very jealous, still they made contact today and rubbed noses for the first time, without Arielle clawing Matilda’s eyes out!

Arielle’s face says it all!

I can’t wait to see how she’ll react when she’ll meet our ginger boy for the first time tomorrow!

Cooking · The good

Home made bread

I did it!! Last night I tried to make and bake my very first loafs of bread! I have plenty of flour and 1 kg of fresh yeast , so I had to build up the courage and give it a try.

The bread was baked in the oven and the dough came out perfectly. Do excuse the dark photos. It was the best I could do at 2 am.

Basic bread recipe, nothing fancy. 1 kg all purpose flour, 4 spoonful olive oil, 2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 20g fresh yeast, about 400-450 ml lukewarm water. This is the recipe that my grandma used to make. Wait until the bread is cooled and store it into plastic bags. This way the bread will remain soft and fresh. Sometimes my grandma woupd add 500g white flour and 500g rye flour.

I was so happy with the dough that I forgot all about the egg yolk for the surface of the bread. I had it ready on the table.

One thing is for sure – I am never gonna buy bread from the supermarket ever again! And I’m so eager to experiment with different recipes and flavors! At least I know that my oven can bake bread! My mom’s oven wasn’t suitable for this kind of task. Reason why back when I was at my parents we used to make bread with our bread machine. My mom doesn’t use it anymore so I decided to ask nicely if she is willing to give it to me. And she did , bless her heart!

This machine is at least 15 years old but in perfect condition. I’m missing the recipe book, so I’ll have to experiment a bit until I get it right.

I want to keep this machine as an option for when I don’t have time to hand make the dough and wait until it’s baked.

So far this experiment was a success.

In between

Thankful for my dad

Today I’m more thankful than ever. Yesterday morning a terrible accident happened at my dad’s working place. He was working with 2 other people, regreening a formal coal mine. They were preparing to demolish a 164 feet pillar, pillar that was supposed to be taken down with dynamite today…sadly the pillar unexpectedly collapsed. From the 3 workers only one managed to run into the right direction, the other two were caught under the remains.

The drivers who were working on the dump truck and excavator jumped off their machines but weren’t so lucky…they would had had better chances to survive if they remained inside the cars. Their cabins were almost intact. The one who managed to run into the right direction was my father. I cannot even begin to tell how many thanks I give to God !

My dad had a few scratches but had serious breakdown from the shock. Even so he refused to go home and helped the rescue team. A rescue team made out of 40 people dug for the rest of the day, the entire night and until today around noon. They found the two corpses…

My heart breaks for the two men…one was 41 years old, the other one was 31 years old. You know why this tragedy brings shivers on my spine? Because the 31 year old was my husband’s good friend and it was his first day at work. A week ago my father suggested to my husband if he wants to work on the dump truck and he refused. I could have lost my father too. I could have lost both my father and husband!

I pray that their souls rest peacefully .

The good

Birthday ,Super Pink Moon and Easter

Wanted to write a few quick notes because today it is a special day. It is my mom’s birthday and we just arrived back from her place . We had a lovely small family reunion. The weather was perfect, a sunny and warm spring day, so we had lunch out in the garden. I’m sorry that I didn’t got the time to home bake a cake for her birthday as I usually do . Instead I ordered her favorite chocolate cake!

I also bought a pot with pink roses, they are among her favorite flowers. I always buy my mom flowers in a pot, like me, she prefers flowerpots over fresh cut flowers. She prefers planting them in the garden rather than throwing them away afterwards .

Magnolia.

And speaking of her garden ; God, how I missed staying under the sunshine!! Being locked down surely isn’t doing any good for a human being! I sunbathed for hours!

Mirabelle plum.

The mirabelle plum and magnolia tree are in full bloom, as well as all the seasonal flowers!

Husband installing the telescope and checking the star maps.

And speaking of being locked down with all this virus madness; 3 days ago we snuck out and went to my parents and installed our telescope into the garden to watch the Super Pink full moon!

The Super Pink Full Moon of 2020

And what a magical scene it was!

That’s about it for now. I’d like to wish everyone a blessed and Happy Eater to those who celebrates. May your house and life be filled with light and many blessings!! I only get to celebrate Easter next weekend, as I belong on the Christian Orthodox part , but I know that many people celebrate this weekend.

Happy Easter!!
In between

Inside the workshop

Still finding some joy in these dark days. My hobbies help me get my mind of the many questions that runs through my mind. A good portion of my energy goes into my creations and creativity is what keeps me going.

I am not so much worried about the virus, what it is written to happen will happen with or without our approval. This does not mean that I do not follow the protocol or the safety rules. All people should do so for their safety and their loved ones! Worrying is pointless as long as you don’t have the power to fix the things that worry you.

There is , however, something that is bothering and making me feel stressed. Somehow the handmade platform that was hosting my shop decided to suspend my store for whatever reason and without a warning. I’m selling on this platform for 7 years now. The plan was to launch my own store on a paid domain this year , because I find the taxes and fees too high on this platform, they et higher by the year. Dare I say quite abusive! Their new policies and rules are not to die for either.

My new store and branding are in work, so I obviously made some payments upfront here and there . But I am not able to officialy launch it until I meet up with my accountant to do some paperwork . I can’t meet up with my accountant because there is a military order to stay indoors.

Because of the payments that I made upfront I am not able to pay the fees and re-activate my account . I need to transfer from one bank account to the other one that has my PayPal attached to. For that I have to personally go to the bank, but I can’t because of the same reason mentioned above -the banks are temporary closed!

I don’t even know from where do I have to pay almost 200$ fees for the month of February , I didn’t made any sales or new listings or re-listing in February-March. I’m still working on the tons of orders that I got in November, December and January. Probably most of the customers that will notice my ,now invalid, shop will think that I’m a scammer and most definitely I will end up with a few open disputes via PayPal.

To top it , I can’t contact my customers and they can’t contact me through the platform. I tried emailing them but received no reply for almost two weeks now. I tried to contact the help center from the platform but received nothing back. Not the first time when questions remain without an answers and shop owners without a guidance.

Still counting my blessings despite the stones that are being thrown in my way. The troubles might be many , but I often think how lucky I am for having my husband with me! He was able to return back home just in time before the virus situation got worse. I can’t even imagine us being apart in such uncertain times! And I am so glad that his mind is so sharp and managed to learn fast about the craft! Now he is able to help me , and I can take some time to clean the house and cook!

I’m so glad that we decided to get back to our homeland and be next to our parents! Our concern was that they are old and prone to this virus. We are trying to protect them and us as much as we can. We are paying their bills and shop for them for whatever they need.

The rest of the days we are locked in the workshop , designing new items.

In between

Nettle picking and self isolating

It seems like we are living in some dark days lately. Everyone is panicking and hoarding stuff that they will eventually end up throwing away, at least some of the stuff. For the past 15 days or so the circumstances forced us to slow down a bit and take one day at a time. We are so lucky that we are able to still work from home and that for now this virus isn’t affecting our business and life too much.

Sure, we are trying as much as possible to limit our contact with other people and respect all the other norms that the government asks us to do in order to stay safe . Most of the days we are indoors, locked up in our workplace.

It is pretty difficult to maintain your sanity lately but I know that it will end soon and things will turn for the better. Humanity has seen and been through worse.

So what better refuge do we have than the mountains? Far away from the packed city and the people that are about to lose their little bit of mind that they have left.

We were lucky enough to find a bag full of nettle. I had gloves with me but these nettle are young and quite strong so the gloves were pretty useless. It was a price that I gladly paid and I can’t wait to cook part of them and freeze the rest!

The good

Whatever the future might bring

In the short winter holiday we were able to put together our modest studio! It’s a small room, barely fitting two people and the equipment, but it’s perfect for the beginning. If this will grow we will consider to find a bigger place .

One week already passed, five more to go until we will seriously launch our small family business. All of our energy , love,time and hard work will go into it! In the mean time I’m continuing to work and try to finish as many orders as humanly possible with just two hands.

January is almost at the end and we still have frosty mornings out here. Although winter went much more easier on us compared to last year.

I’m so glad that I’m still able to enjoy snow, even if it snowed for a couple of days only! Four showy days were enough, the snow was maintained by the cold.

Some fresh pine needles that I got from up the mountains. I love drinking tea during the winter! And one of my favorites is the tea made out of pine needles ! I like to add fir needles into the mix too and sometimes I add chaga mushroom powder to my tea.

I cannot forsee what this year is going to bring us. I can only continue to work as hard as ever , but this time do it together, and pray that it will be as good as the old year.

I’m living with the hope that all the hard work is going to pay off and no matter how many or how tough the changes and challenges are going to be we will be able to face them , together, with a smile on our faces .

The good

The beginning of 2020

I hope everyone is having a great start of the year! Make the best of it and may if be filled with health, peace and love ! Material things come and go! As long as you are both physically and mentally stable there is nothing that can stop you from achieving the material part .Be at peace with your inner self and it will be easier to accomplish your goals for the new year!

For me 2019 was a full year of hard work and some achievements. All this hard work will, hopefully, fully pay off starting this year. I can’t really complain about 2019, I can’t really say that I’ve learned anything new either. It was a good year for me personally.

Some big plans for this upcoming year. It will be the year when we will spread our wings and … we’ll see if we manage to fly. I will not lie, the future kind of scares me but I’m very optimistic too. I’m really looking with excitement for 2020!

Unlike last year, this year I enjoyed the winter holidays to the fullest! Nothing fancy, nothing out if the ordinary, quite the contrary – most might find it boring. The New Year found us talking about future plans in each other’s arms, laughing, dreaming, telling stories, remembering, drinking champagne and wine in bed, next to the fire place and Christmas tree. The cozy atmosphere was just too perfect and cherished by the both of us. It felt so warm and peaceful after such a long time!

We didn’t got the chance to go skiing or go to a mini trip as planned, however we did went up in the mountains for an entire day. We did it for the snow and it helped us reconnect and recharge our batteries even more. I wished so much for snow ! And the next morning we had a first snow fall in our little town to!

We continued to look after the stray dog for two more days. Meanwhile we named him Tanase and we managed to find a temporary place for him ,at least until the cold days are over.

In the second day of Christmas I had to take my mom to the emergency room, as she got intoxicated with food . My parents went to a Christmas dinner party and seems like my mom ate something worth of throwing away.

I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason! I do not believe in coincidence! At the hospital, while we were waiting for my mom to take her home, a feral orange kitten approached us.

He was so friendly and so cuddly!

He jumped on my husband’s shoulder and wouldn’t go down, intensely purring!

There is one detail that you are not able to clearly see in these pictures; the cat is missing the tail. That following night husband and I could stop thinking about the stray kitten. My heart was heavy and I regretted that we didn’t took the kitten home! We talked, talked and talked for hours! Until we finally agreed to adopt him and maybe even take him with us.

Our biggest fear was that if someone was cruel enough to cut off his tail ,then who knows what might happen on the New Year’s eve with all the drunken people, firecrackers and fireworks.?! So yesterday we went searching at the hospital, asked the guard, the staff but no one knew anything about any orange cat that’s missing a tail.

Last night we couldn’t stop talking about him , hoping that he is somewhere hiding , staying safe! Our hearts were so heavy but we didn’t had in plan to give up! This morning we went again to search for him and it was a success!

He immediately came when he saw us! So we officially have a new addition to the family. My mom agreed to foster him whenever we are not able to take him with us (traveling, vacations).

A few years back I adopted a siamese kitten .She was found in a box, along with her brothers and sisters, by an old couple. So they put an add in the newspaper. My parents got very attached to her , especially my dad. When we moved 3 years ago we didn’t had the heart to break them apart, so we decided to let Arielle stay with my parents.

Dirty paws on the couch and I’m not even mad!

Meanwhile, he is named J.J, James Junior. We took him home, fed him as he was starving, and while we were preparing for the bath he felt asleep on the couch. A new journey awaits for all 3 of us!