Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Setting up Home

A bit of normalcy and something new as we continue to make the transition from our old home to our new home:

I hate to admit it, but the following are normal:

1) Too tired and distracted with so much to do that we had a simple supper last night of nachos, which we do with fat-free organic black beans as a base.
2) 9:30 pm on a Saturday night - The Dyers are not out doing the town but nodding off .........

Something new!

1) All our phone/cable/internet service got transferred without any problems on Friday so now we have internet service at the farm, including a wireless signal that actually can be picked up at the barn (boy, is my husband excited about that!).

2) We are using one of the bedrooms on the main floor to combine my office and my husband's. Right now it looks like a mini-tornado touched down, but I don't think it will take too long to sort this all out. It will be so much fun to finally be in the same vicinity when we need to be doing desk-work.

3) I can't remember or explain why we were never able to figure out how to have our printer work wirelessly in the past, but it was pretty easy to get it set up this time. It will be great to be working on my laptop in one part of the house (like in my favorite corner chair where I can also see my birdfeeders) and then send off something to print, like......

4) Shipping labels for the first book order to come in while living at the farm! I'll have to get all of that stuff moved over to the farm now.

Back to normalcy, I don't mind collapsing and enjoying nachos once a week, but I like variety with what I eat, so I rummaged around this morning to see what I could find in the freezer, root cellar, pantry, and refrigerator to whip up some soup for supper tonight. It was actually pretty easy to come up with something delicious.

Early Spring-time Fish Soup


~ 1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium yellow onions (peel then dice)
8 cups water
1 head of garlic (a hard-neck variety that is long past its optimal storage time but not molding)
1 # frozen halibut
3 small/medium size sweet potatoes (peel then dice)
3 small/medium size white potatoes (I did not peel, scrubbed well, then diced)
3 cups cooked white beans
1 bunch fresh Swiss chard (about 8 stalks with leaves)
1 Tbsp. Fish seasonings (make sure salt is not the first ingredient or even included at all)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground pepper to taste (I used about 4-5 grinds)


1) Peel and dice the onions (I put the peelings into the bag I keep in the freezer for future soup stock)
2) Sauté the onions quickly (do not let them burn) in a large soup pan
3) Add water to soup pan
4) Peel garlic and add to water (I put the cloves into a small organic cotton bag tied shut so I could retrieve them when the soup was done, however if using fresher garlic, peel, dice and sauté along with onions.)
5) Add frozen fish, warm with stock and then use a fork to separate into smaller pieces
6) Once fish has started to thaw in stock and water is warm, add diced potatoes and sweet potatoes
7) Bring up the heat and cook all together (this did not take very long - maybe 10-15 minutes)
8) I found the frozen pre-cooked beans late and added them after the potatoes were cooked but I think they could be added along with the frozen fish to thaw together in the heated water
9) Add seasonings
10) Add Swiss chard a few minutes prior to eating, so it does not overcook (chard is far more delicate than kale or other sturdy greens, so I always cook it less to keep both color and crispness).
11) Recheck seasonings.

Serve with any whole grain bread, frozen, canned, or dried fruit, a bit of cheese, a salad, and you have a delicious, beautiful, easy meal using early spring greens and using up ingredients stored in your cold storage that are maybe a little past their prime, but are still fine to eat.

The simple grace we said before eating our soup that night:

Let us give thanks for this food
And thy blessing and benediction be upon it
May our hands so energize this food
That it supplies the needs of our bodies
And may we be moved to share with others
What they are in need of.

~~ This blessing is from the Sakya Monastery in Seattle, WA

(Photo: Fish soup showing off a hunk of halibut)

(Photo: Fish Soup showing off the swiss chard and piece of sweet potato)

(Photo: Garlic field on 4/18/2011 - look closely - it is all up through the mulch and through the snow)

(Photo: Our Hoosier cabinet, moved, and ready for use. I took out many of our decorative pieces and put in more functional pieces, so once we get our large table moved to the farm, we are ready for feeding large crowds with all of our everyday dishes! The blue soup tureen on top belonged to my husband's mother; it is where she kept her 'spare change' that she would share with her sons when needed.)
Now, I have to leave our farm and go back to our old home to help with all the painting, sorting, etc, needed to get that house ready to list for sale. My husband is already there this morning, so it is time for me to catch up. For my next post, I'll show you an exciting bird sighting (at least it was exciting to me and it might not have happened if we had not had our snow yesterday).

Enjoy the soup anytime of the year, not just springtime! However, the bounty of the growing season is right around the corner, thus it is time to get your freezer and pantry ready to receive the 2011 crops of delicious foods (fresh rhubarb and strawberries are coming up soon - oh yum, yum!)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Ali said...

Glad to hear you're starting to settle in at the farm. Thanks for the soup recipe, and also for the blessing from Sakya!

Kateri said...

Thanks for posting the fish soup recipe. I have been wanting to try making a fish soup--this sounds good and I have all the ingredients.It sounds like things are coming along well with your move. Wishing you energy and peace as you finish the move. When we moved I think we ate subway every day for two weeks during the move. Love the photo of the hoosier cabinet. It looks so practical and home-like.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I envy you being able to move to a farm :o( That's what I'd love to do so I could raise chickens but hubby isn't willing so I'm stuck!..We do have one thing in common the same Hoosier cabinet :o)...The bottles that seem to come from one shelf I don't have, but I did find two of the bottles in the drawer when I bought it. I have the flour mill, but don't use it. I Love it.