I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that Garmin makes it easy to earn badges in January- given that it’s New Years Resolution Season… Here’s my latest haul. I always think of ALICIA363 when a new one of these pops up! 😁
My combined Xmas / Birthday / New Year’s present to myself is a Garmin Venu 2s. I like all the bells and whistles; I have only ever worn glorified pedometers until now, so it has been a big jump from just steps, to monitoring my heart rate and O2. So far I find it interesting that the “body battery” pretty well reflects my recent exhaustion. Too much stress, not enough rest, slowly running down the reserves. Time for a break, to recharge.
I have also been racking up badges, left and right, lately. I always think of ALICIA363, when I earn these, LOL. Between the seasonal ones and working on a stressful project that involves physical activity, I’ve earned four in short order:
WATERMELLEN mentioned Yalda in our Google Group, which reminded me of a fun quiz I once constructed for a holiday party at work. Here it is, if anyone would like to play. I will post the official answer in a week, 🙂
The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane as the observer. Often since the event is observed as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings. Also reversal is another usual theme as in slave and master reversals.The word solstice derives from Latin “sol” (Sun) and “sistere” (stand still), Winter Solstice meaning “Sun stand still in winter.”
Use whatever means you like, to match up the culture with each celebration. There is one best match for each pair.
List of Celebrations:
1 “Festival of lights” (Dec 16–23)
2 “First Fruits” (Dec 26 – Jan 1)
4 “The Extreme of Winter” (Dec 22)
5 Alban Arthuan (Dec 22)
6 Cristes mæsse (Dec 25)
7 Eid-al-Adha (Dec 30/31)
8 Festivus (Dec 23)
9 Inti Raymi – the Festival of the Sun (Dec 22)
10 Korochun (Dec 21-23)
11 Lenaea – the Festival of the Wild Women
12 Natalis Solis Invicti (Dec 25)
13 New Year’s Eve (Dec 31)
14 Rohatsu – Bodhi Day (Dec 8)
15 Saturnalia (Dec 17–23)
16 Shabe-Yalda (Dec 21)
17 The death of Osiris (Dec 21)
List of Cultures
A 20th Century Western Culture (NBC)
B Ancient Egypt
C Ancient Greece
D Ancient Incas
E Ancient Rome
L Pagan Scandanavia
M Pagan Slavs
Q Post-Gregorian Western Culture
R Roman Empire, 274 ~ 400 AD
Ready, set, GO!
Update: A friend objected that Pastafarians were not represented and provided this appropriate greeting:
…so I added the appropriate holiday to the quiz. 😉
Today looks like this:
So it’s time for another fire and to use the heat for cooking something. This time it is butternut squash that we grew and are going to turn into a curry soup. To start with, I need my matching pairs of sheet pans. Into each pan goes:
- Olive oil drizzled in the bottom of the pan
- Seeded, peeled, chopped winter squash
- A chopped onion
- A bulb of garlic, each clove crushed under the side of a knife, peeled, and the end cut off
The onion and garlic go in between the chunks of squash, toward the center of the pan, so they are less likely to burn. I make sure every piece is in contact with the bottom of the pan (a single layer of veggies). Next I sprinkle seasonings on them:
- Some kosher salt
- Dried red pepper
- Curry powder
I cover with a matching sheet pan (makes a convenient lid and is reusable forever, unlike foil)
Then I slide it into the oven for roasting. This is when it is handy to have sheet pans which can hang directly on the oven brackets (no need to deal with racks). Every few hours I will rotate the pans, since the uppermost one is exposed to heat directly from the firebox above.
This takes a long time. It requires planning ahead, but is otherwise very easy because I can do all kinds of other things in the meantime. This takes so long that the pets may also end up roasted and melted into untidy puddles around the front of the stove.
Epilogue: Once the juices started caramelizing, I put the veggies in a pot, deglazed the pans with a little hot water, added some more liquids (broths left over from other projects, plus some more hot water), and pureed everything with an immersion blender. Done!
I served it with a dollop of Greek yogurt, to offset the heat from the peppers that sort of sneaks up on you. 🌶
Today it’s overcast and rainy and it seems like a good idea to add a little heat into the house, since the sun isn’t doing it for us.
So that means it’s a good time to cook something really slowly in the wood stove. One thing that comes out really nicely is baked beans.
I arrived at this method after browsing the internet for old recipes and consulting The Fireless Cookbook (which was developed for early thermal cookers). Some of the recipes in there came from Miss Farmer’s “Boston Cooking School Cook Book,” Yes, Fannie Farmer back before we all knew her by that name.
Anyway, I had conveniently pre-cooked a pound of dry pinto beans in the thermal cooker a few days ago, so they were ready to go. Here’s the full list of ingredients for the batch I’m making today:
- 453.6 g dry beans, cooked (1 lb bag)
- 213 g thick cut bacon (cut into thirds)
- 118 g molasses
- 424 g onions, chopped
- 8 g dry mustard (1 T)
I mix everything except the bacon in a big bowl. Next I put a layer of bacon in the bottom of the bean pot (this helps the contents avoid sticking). Then I spoon in the bean mixture. About halfway I stop and put in another layer of bacon. Then I put the rest of the bean mixture in, smooth the surface, and lay the last of the bacon on top. Finally I add water up to the top of the beans.
Next the pot goes into the oven of the wood stove, and sits there for 8-12 hours while the fire heats the house and boils water for tea. Since it’s already early afternoon, this batch won’t be ready to eat tonight. We will probably have some tomorrow.
The fire also heats the pets.
Among our little anti-scurvy orchard we have two calamondin trees. Between them, we end up with a surprising number of golf ball sized tart little oranges with sweet, kumquat-like rinds (calamondin / calamansi is supposedly descended from a cross between a Mandarin and a kumquat)
H likes to make orange liqueur by infusing them into ever-clear. But there is only so much of that we can make; anyway, I don’t really like alcohol, and although I eat the occasional little vitamin C pill right off the tree, I ADORE marmalade, and you can supposedly make it with these. You can ALSO add them to homemade cranberry relish, and with a convenient natural bog on our property, we happened to have some berries we recently picked. So…
After hunting around online, I finally found a useful ratio by weight for this relish:
- 100g fresh cranberries
- 60g calamansi (sliced into about 6 longitudinal wedges each, seeds removed)
- 45g sugar
I added a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness and 5 cloves, because it seemed like a good idea.
Put everything in a pan with a splash of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min. Then can in a hot water bath as per any preserve.
For the marmalade / preserves, I found this ratio:
- 100g calamansi (seeds removed, each sliced into about 12 very thin longitudinal wedges; I left the pulp in, and didn’t bother removing much of the pith)
- 67g sugar
- Water up to the top of the oranges
Because I like fiddling with recipes, I cut a Thai hot pepper we grew into tiny pieces and grated about 2T ginger root into the pan with a microplane, and added a pinch of salt. I brought it to a boil, then covered the pan and put it aside for a day.
The next day I brought it back up to a slow boil, uncovered, to thicken, and checked it every 15 minutes to see how it dripped from a spoon. Every 15 min I stirred and also removed any seeds I’d missed (both calamansi and pepper). After about an hour it seemed thick enough to put into jars.
We should be good to go, until the next batch ripen…
This is the third month we’ve had maintenance anniversaries to announce, and no SP to announce it on… It’s sad to think that many of the people on the Hall of Fame won’t see us celebrating their anniversary anymore when it comes around, since so few have provided a URL or place to find them. So, besides announcing it on the Maintenance group, I’ll be posting an announcement here, and at MFP.
If you happen to see this and are in touch with former Sparkers elsewhere*, such as on FB, or MFP, your blog, or any other place online, please feel free to copy and re-post, to spread the word! (It helps to include a link to the Hall of Fame so that people will know where to go, if they would like to update their information 🙂)
*And if those folks have a visible online profile anywhere, please encourage them to update their maintenance info to include a URL, so the rest of us can congratulate them! ❤️
Congratulations to our November maintainers!
- Nov 1: NANHBH, 1 years!
- Nov 1: UPTOIT59, 15 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/uptoit59
- Nov 8: ANNIEONLI, 12 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/annieonli
- Nov 10: DIROB57, 4 years!
- Nov 10: WALKINTOFIT, 2 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/walkintofit
- Nov 11: ARRO-YO, 8 years!
- Nov 14: JHADZHIA, 12 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/Jhadzhia
- Nov 15: GOOZLEBEAR, 1 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/semsmith5408
- Nov 24: PERRYBABE, 5 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/perrylady
- Nov 25: BROOKLYN_BORN, 12 years! brooklyn-born.blogspot.com
- Nov 25: KELLIEBEAN, 9 years! www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/Kellsinmotion
Maintenance Hall of Fame: tinyurl.com/Hall-of-Maintainers
To get onto this list or update your information, go here: tinyurl.com/My-Maintenance-Anniversary
These are important milestones!
- Among people who have just reached goal, the likelihood of regain is 80%+ to 95% (various sources).
- Among people who have maintained for 2 years the likelihood of regain in the group drops to 50%.*
- Among people who have maintained for 5 years the likelihood of regain in the group drops to 27%!*
And don’t forget, we have lots of maintenance information and advice collected in our Big Page of (maintenance) Links. Our most valuable maintenance resource, however, is our dedicated group* of real, live, Maintainers and Aspiring Maintainers! 😀
*This group is agnostic with regard to tracker and/or fitness platform. Our members are using: LoseIt, MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, FatSecret, MyNetDiary, 1st Phorm, etc. We encourage folks to use whatever works best for them, personally. The main thing is having the support of other people who get what it’s like, to be in this for the long haul. 💖
In preparation for winter, we have been making some improvements on the premises. H is working on putting in a second set of shelves in the pantry.
He also rigged up a way for me to hang the fuchsias upstairs and see if I can get them through the winter.
So I baked a batch of cookies to encourage him 😁
I also used less butter, half the total sugar (plus 6g molasses because I don’t have brown sugar), whole wheat flour, and home-rolled oats (from steel cut ones). Even with the reduction in sugar they are awfully sweet. If I make these again I will probably cut the sugar in half again, and only put in 50g total.
I put home-rolled oats in this week’s batch of whole wheat sourdough yesterday also and H says he likes how crunchy the crust is. So maybe that will become a regular thing…
I wonder if ROSESAREBLUE would like a post about making sourdough, starting from grinding the flour from the wheat grains? 😉
I’m new to knitting (since 2019), but I don’t think that’s an excuse for not measuring my gauge on the first aborted pair of these socks. If I had measured the gauge, I would have known that I’m getting 35.5 sts per 10 cm, and that the second sock attempt did not require 84 sts around 😳.
So I’m trying again, again. This time I added black reinforcement thread on the toes because the top of my big toenail is what tends to go through my socks. I guess I tap my toes against the top of my shoes a lot, or something 🤷♀️
I’m also doing a subtle slip stitch pattern on the tops of the feet – a slip every 6 sts, plain stitching alternate rows, and offsetting the slip stitch rows in a diamond pattern. This would probably be more effective if I were using two colors in a helical fashion. But it does break up the self-striping a little. I’m not sure I like it with this yarn, but it is keeping me from getting bored. (I have a short little attention span that I need to indulge or I will find myself wandering off and doing something else)
The flake mill attachment for my mixer arrived, and now I have a way to make rolled oats from steel cut ones. It helps to rehydrate them first. When the steel cut oats run out I will start buying whole oat groats. They will keep longer, the way wheat berries do. If I want something like steel cut oats, I can always grind the groats with my flour mill set to the largest gap (which is how I do cracked wheat).
Yesterday I made “Not Cowboy Cookies, Either.”
These are probably closer to what was intended, but I couldn’t resist messing with the recipe, and ended up thinking that I should have only included two of these three things: walnuts (subbed for pecans), cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate (subbed for semisweet). Also, it made too much. I don’t need that many cookies sitting around the house. H doesn’t eat them up fast enough.
I also discovered after knitting one of the heels, that the sox are too small. This is one of the disadvantages of knitting sox TAAT, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. 😳 Maybe it would be helpful to read the instructions a little better, before charging blithely ahead. 🤷♀️
So, frogged ‘em and restarted.
One thing that we did do right was a batch of applesauce. H scored some free apples from a tree he knows (they have a close relationship, apparently), and brought them home.
We pared and baked them according to this recipe which improved the flavor, further. We didn’t have time to grind and can them that day so they went into the fridge. Today I pulled them out to finish the process.
We decided we wanted the pieces on the larger side and to keep the skins so we ground the apples instead of straining them.
Although I otherwise love my Ankarsrum, I have yet to get its strainer attachment* to work without backing up and juice coming out of places it shouldn’t. Maybe if I had put the ground apples through it, I might have had better luck than in the past. I will save that experiment for another day.
*I didn’t actually order the strainer – the place I ordered the meat grinder from accidentally included it, and didn’t want me to bother sending it back. Maybe there is a reason for that?🤷♀️
It’s pretty cold and drippy and dreary today. Threatening to go down to 37 tonight, so I picked the peppers. We didn’t get very many this year.