A Good Start to the New Year

Hello All,

I hope you all had a good New Year. We managed 2 glasses of lovely Italian red wine that my step-son gave me for Christmas and then actually stayed awake until 11pm, but gave up and went to bed! I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow – such is life in fast lane 🙂

We had a good start to 2014 – I woke up to see this in full bloom yesterday


I just love Narcissus – so pretty and delicate and it added some beauty and colour to our mid-winter drearyness.

The good news is, in my book, that the days are starting to get longer again, holding in them the promise of Spring.

Tori gave me a Kindle for Christmas and after indulging myself in the latest book by John Grisham – Sycamore Row – and reading it almost non-stop for 3 days, I bought Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth. After completing 365 exercises in Mark Nepo’s book The Book of Awakenings last year (which changed my life), I think I’m ready for this.

The first insight I got is that life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.

A few years ago, when I was going through some very, very difficult financial times, this would have been a very hard pill to swallow. But, looking back, it is exactly what I needed. I had become very materialistic, defining my identity by the “stuff” that I had. I lost almost all of it – my car, my fancy stereo and other expensive stuff that I just loved to show off. After about a month, I realized that I didn’t miss any of that stuff and, in fact, I didn’t really need it at all.  This knowledge brought me a feeling of joy and peace to know that “stuff” is not who we are. It’s what’s inside of us that is who we really are. 

Last week I completed a custom order for a table cloth with a snowflake design. This is the first time that I have painted something this big and I’m delighted as to how it turned out. It’s given me incentive to do more of this type of thing.




I’m thinking about Easter stuff already. I just love Easter. I’ll starting working on something this week.

With the leftover ham from Christmas, I decided to attempt a Ham and Pea soup. My grandmother used to make this and it was always delicious. I have attempted to make it myself over the years, but it’s never turned out the same. This time, however, it was so delicious, Mr. Cottage Heaven and I wanted more! 


I made little dumplings also, but you can leave them out if you wish. Here’s the recipe:

Cut 1 1/2 lbs of ham into chunks, discarding any fat and skin. Put the ham chunks into a very large, deep pot that will hold 12 cups of water. Finely chop 1 onion, slice 2 sticks of celery and 2 large carrots and add to the pan. Throw in 2 bay leaves. Cover with 12 cups of water, add a good pinch of pepper and place over a high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, put the lid on, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming any foam or froth from the top every now and then as it cooks.

When the cooking time is up, taste the broth. The ham should have seasoned the soup really nicely, but this is your opportunity to correct it, if not (I didn’t have to add anything). Use tongs to move the meat to a board, then shred and tear into irregular pieces and return them to the broth. I mashed up the vegetables and little, but if you like them a bit more chunky, then don’t do this. Bring it back to the boil, add a couple of handfuls of peas (as much or as little to your liking – I don’t like too many peas), add a teaspoon of dried Rosemary or 2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary and the juice of half a lemon. If you are making dumplings, this is the time to add them. Once boiling again, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the dumplings have plumped up.

We ate ours with sour dough – delicious! I had a lot left over, so I froze some for a lovely Sunday lunch or supper. Enjoy!


Cheers for now!

Jane

 


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