WIAW in early March - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

We’re inching our way toward Spring… It is actually getting warm out, and the rain is washing snow away, instead of covering it with ice. Spring training has started (Go, Mets! This year, right? With all those brilliant young pitchers? Hope springs eternal…) Daylight Savings Time has started, and we’re all groggy in the morning, but enjoying the light in the evening. It’s not just the change of time, though – the light is different, as the sun arcs higher. I’m starting to get good light in my kitchen for the pictures. Instead of switching between none at all and a harsh direct light from a sun low in the sky, there is a bright but indirect light most of the day.

And I am – astonishingly – getting a bit tired of soup. That doesn’t mean we’ll stop eating it, by any means – but not every day…

Protein shake with kefir, and corn muffins - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I’m starting a new project, too – I got kefir grains. Kefir is a cultured milk product, not unlike a more liquid yogurt. You need the “grains” to culture it, can’t just do it from a previous batch the way you can yogurt – but it is much less temperature sensitive than yogurt or buttermilk, which I have had trouble with in my kitchen. I used to get bottles of kefir (some plain, some flavored and sweetened – I preferred the plain) in a Russian store in my old neighborhood, and liked it, so I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while. I’ll use it in protein shakes and fruit smoothies, as well as drinking it plain – and also will experiment with using it in recipes like the buckwheat pancakes that call for buttermilk. (I’ll use buttermilk in any recipes I test for the blog, though – I want to be sure ingredients are easy to get. If I develop a recipe with the kefir specifically I’ll be clear about that – and I’ll try to give an alternative. That’s not really what this blog is about, though…)

So, anyhow, breakfast was, in fact, a protein shake with kefir… and orange juice, and protein powder. I drank that with corn muffins, and coffee.

Lunch - chick peas, tomatoes, cheese and pesto - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I had cooked a big batch of chick peas (which I don’t think lend themselves that well to soup… at least, not as the main ingredient.) Chick peas, ceci, garbanzos – they are staples in several cultures, and one of the only foods I know, at least, for which we routinely use any or all of those names! I decided this was a ceci day – I’d go with an Italian inspiration. So, ceci heated with a can of tomatoes, poured over rice with cheese sprinkled throughout and on top, and a spoonful of pesto. Very fast – all I did was heat things up – and quite good.

Pork shoulder has been on a very good sale, so, even though I still had some in the freezer from the last time I cooked it, I bought another one. Cooked it in the slow cooker the other day, too, though with less seasoning – I’ll use this in recipes that have their own seasoning. (And now I have a couple of zip bags in the freezer with shredded pork, and a container with big chunks. A little pork will enrich a pot of beans, or go into a stir fry, or simmer with sauce for pulled pork sandwiches, or… I have the makings of many meals, there.)

Dinner - pork, corn, broccoli, quinoa - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

This time, I chopped some onion, and sauteed it with the peeled and sliced stems from a head of broccoli, and a little garlic chili paste. Then I added cooked pork, broth from the pork, and a can of corn, and heated it. Added a dash of Spike seasoned salt, stirred in leftover quinoa, heated that through, and called it done – dinner in 10-15 minutes. Not too bad… In fact, all of the meals today were based on food that was already prepared. (I do use canned tomatoes and corn in winter. They bear no resemblance to fresh, but are worthy vegetables in their own right, if you find good quality. And in March… there aren’t many choices around here.)

I am joining the Oldest Established Permanent Floating linkup (points if you recognize the reference… and if you don’t, we need to talk!)  OK, poor Jenn has found that many people were abusing the linkup, and it needed to be moderated – and that was just too much work, on a weekly basis, for a woman with a toddler! (And too depressing…) So her friends are helping and hosting – this week, Arman at The Big Man’s World. Go over and take a look – fewer posts but they’re all really about the meals – not just a recipe, or a giveaway, or – I saw some that had nothing at all to do with food… which was discouraging. And I do like seeing what a variety of people really are eating. So go have fun!

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