It is an interesting time of year. It is winter, and it mostly feels like winter. But there are hints that spring is coming. There have been croci and snowdrops blooming. The other evening I heard the frogs croaking. There are some buds on the orchard’s trees. And today I noticed that the rhubarb are starting to sprout leaves.
I did the chores this morning. Everything is quite wet with all of the rain we have had recently. The animals are mostly hanging out in the barn. But I noticed that Billy was looking out the incredibly dirty barn window at me. You can see me, part of the tractor and the trailer reflected in the glass but also the interior of the barn. I thought it was interesting. I should probably clean the barn’s windows, but that is pretty low on the priority list right now. We still do not have all of the pruning done, and I still have to do my annual blackberry battle. (As I typed this in the afternoon, I realized that the puppy was sleeping so I snuck out and macheted blackberries vines for 1/2 hour, making some progress.)
We are continuing our puppy routines. I did the chores in the morning while Tom puppy sat, we had lunch together, and then Tom ran errands and did some orchard pruning while I puppy sat.
One thing I worked on was replacing the spent candles with my homemade suet ones. It is a learning curve. The suet doesn’t solidify as quickly as wax so I have to prop the candles up with the base in warmed suet and wait for it to cool. Sometimes the wicks take a while to stay lit. I am not sure why. Today one candle’s wick burned no problem, and the other I still aren’t been able to get it to stay lit. But I like the candles. They do burn quick quickly, but I love the melting pattern on them.
I decided to make Swedish vanilla hearts (Vaniljhärtan). I am trying to keep homemade cookies in the jar for Tom. When he gets bored of one type, I freeze them and make some fresh ones that are different. It is working so far. I wanted to make these cookies for Valentines but didn’t have the heart shaped tin. I couldn’t find one locally so bought one from Amazon. Here it is already greased and ready to go.
I made the dough and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours. I then made the cream filling. Here it is.
After two hours I tried to roll the dough out, but it was too dry. I added some milk to it and then had to knead it to form a ball for rolling. I then cut pieces off and press it into the hearts. I put the filling inside the hearts. I was trying to figure out how to do the lids but remember that I have a heart shaped cookie cutter. I found it, and it is the perfect size. How cool is that? So I cut out hearts and laid them on top. I couldn’t figure out how to secure the lids so just pressed the edges a little and hoped for the best.
I ended up cooking them at 350 degrees (there is no temperature mentioned in the recipe) for 20 minutes. Here they are tipped out of the “tin”. I haven’t put powdered sugar on top yet.
The first one Tom ate didn’t have much filling, but his second one did and the likes them. I had to try one too, and it is good. Not strongly flavored but just lovely. I wrote my recipe modifications down for future reference.
Then, interspersed with puppy potty walks, I started my dinner. I made Winter Vegetable Soup With Turnips, Carrots, Potatoes and Leeks. I was literally peeling potatoes for this recipe when I noticed the sunset out of the kitchen window (above). Here is the soup already ready to be cooked. I used our rutabagas instead of turnips. Our thyme is in it as well but otherwise it is store bought ingredients (unfortunately).
After cooking for 45 minutes, I used the immersion blender my mom got for me many years ago to purée the soup.
Then the crème fraîche was whisked in.
And it became my dinner with some more crème fraîche and parsley. It was really good and a lovely wintertime meal.
So now the obligatory Ryeleigh images. This is her sleeping this afternoon in her crate.
Here she is in the living room being mighty cute.
Here she is sleeping on the couch next to me.
Today I dropped a piece of lettuce on the floor and she snagged it Here is her response to it.
And here she is with a new Mr. Bill I bought for her. Her other one is largely defaced at this point She did play with this one for a while but clearly prefers her old one. So we will stow away the new one until the old one is no longer usable.