Thursday, March 21, 2013

Five Favorites, 3rd Edition

~ Number One

On Tuesday, both the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the Installation of Pope Francis, we celebrated with great fanfare. As a nod to our Argentinian pontiff, we feasted on dulce de leche cheesecake bars.

Do you see that drippy shiny sweet stuff on the bottom? Pure heaven.

I think these will have to make a repeat appearance on Easter. And Pentecost. And my birthday. And National Tap Dance Day.

~ Number Two

Remember my Easter dress last week? Not able to bear bare arms, I've been searching for a shrug.

Yay for this little number, on sale, at Target!

I'll sew some little pearl buttons on it and deem it "perfect."

~ Number Three ~

Total Language Plus. I really10,000 like this series. It is a comprehensive literature-based spelling, vocabulary, comprehension and writing program all in neat little copy-able books.

I've been using the program all year with my nieces and I am super impressed.  The "grammar" section is weak, at best, but that's easily replaced.

It's humiliating, but I'm learning vocabulary words from middle school books. Portmanteau, lanneret, lavabo, demesne... mind blown.

~ Number Four ~

Oh, how much I want our new house to have character, charm and beauty! Old five paneled doors will aid that goal. Now if only I could score 'em dirt cheap on Craigslist or the Habitat ReStore.

~ Number Five ~

There's some heroic virtue going on right now, as my husband and I are both saving the last piece of homemade beef jerky for each other.

Read others' favorites at Moxie Wife.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five More Favorites

 ~Number One
Lady Vintage London

Finding modest, lovely Easter dresses gets harder every year. Actually, I haven't gotten a new Easter dress since middle school... but I really really wanted one this year. Lady V to the rescue!

With a white shrug and some pearls, I can't wait to debut this dress. Be aware that their sizes run a little large (even after you've converted the European sizing to American sizes).

~Number Two
Lego Rosaries

I was going to buy one as a gift, but I kind of want one myself...

~Number Three
Handwritten Letters

What a boost to the spirit these thoughtful deliveries bring! It doesn't really take that long to write a handwritten letter, but what a gift they are, especially on beautiful stationery.

~Number Four
St. Patrick's Day Recipes

I can't wait to try my hand at corned beef this Sunday! I've never actually made one before, though I've eaten plenty of the boiled kind. Boiled is good for the meat (I'll make a boiled one just for the leftover Reubens and hash), but I've always thought the boiled cabbage and potatoes left something to be desired.

Since I have hardly any Irish blood in me, I don't mind straying from tradition and experimenting with either Whiskey Glazed Corned Beef or Guinness Glazed Slow Cooker Corned Beef.

I'm fairly decided upon Parslied Potatoes and Roasted Cabbage Wedges for the sides, and Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert.

~Number Five
The New Calf

Read more Five Favorites at Moxie Wife.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Five Favorites

I haven't participated in a link-up in a long time, but this one caught my attention because this morning I was thinking, "I want to blog but there's too much in my head right now; I can't narrow it down!" Well, what a lovely little linky to ask bloggers to list five of their current favorite things.

In no particular order, here we go:

~Number One~
Crispy Roasted Duck

Image from The Hungry Mouse

For Christmas, my sister-in-law gave us a duck! Having never cooked one before, I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to find the perfect recipe, and this one looked just right.

I was very surprised by how much the thing shrunk in the oven. It started out about the size of a regular roasting chicken, and each time I opened the oven to flip it, it'd shrunk another size. By the time it was finished, it was slightly larger than a cornish hen! However, it was so tasty! I thought it could feed 4 people, comfortably, but it fed 4 people just barely (even after giving half of my small portion to my husband).

This morning I rendered out the duck fat from skin I'd trimmed off the fowl, and use it in a paté out of the liver. What a treat.

Overall, what a happy new experience! Because of its excellent flavor, I want to raise a few quackers now.

~Number Two~

Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs

Even if we're years off from building a house on our five acres, I can still plan what we're going to do with it. I found the pig breed I want to raise!

The Gloucestershire Old Spot is a heritage breed pig, originally from England (if you didn't already surmise that from the name) that was nearly extinct but is slowly gaining popularity. It's got plenty of lard (not a lean pig) for rendering, makes excellent bacon, has a docile temperament, and does great on pasture and foraging. It's purported to have an exceptionally flavored meat.

As you'll readily find out if you do any research on it, they used to be raised in orchards where they'd fatten up on windfall apples (without damaging the trees) and also on leftover whey from cheesemaking.

Fortunately there are some breeders not terribly far away with a great selection of these rare porkers at very reasonable prices.

~Number Three~
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

How come everybody else in the world knows about this company except me?? Well, I guess I do now, too.

I've already bought all of the seed I need for this year from Territorial Seed, (which I wouldn't recommend; overpriced and mediocre germination) and St. Clare's Seeds (which I would highly recommend; decent pricing, pretty good selection, great service, and 100% germination). I sent away for one of Baker Seed's catalogs anyway, and have highlighted everything I want for next year! What a fun read! SO MANY VARIETIES!

If you haven't seen this exotic tomatoes or this outlandish melon, please click over.

~Number Four~
Waking Up Early

This has never, as long as I've been alive, been on of my "favorites." But this Lent my husband and I are trying to go to the early Mass every day, and I've got to say... it's amazing. There's a freshness, a stillness, and a beauty in those early hours that just doesn't exist at any other time of day.

And if you go to bed early, it's not actually that hard to get up early. Who knew??

~Number Five~
What Should Catholicism Call Me?

I couldn't breathe. I was crying. My sides were aching. I haven't laughed that hard in a long long time.

The first page was pretty good, but each successive page of the archives made me laugh harder and harder and harder until I had to walk away or risk brain damage from lack of oxygen.

Maybe I've hyped it up too much, but if you are Catholic (or understand Catholic culture) and want a... chuckle.... I recommend this great little Tumblr page.

Check out more Five Favorites at Moxie Wife.