It’s been three months since we moved into our new house and we are still settling in, doing small repairs and now I’ve decided to embark on a kitchen and garden remodel. Living smaller has made me realize how much time I wasted before cleaning spaces we never used and moving around all the junk we had accumulated over the years. It was a huge undertaking and quite emotional but I have to say that I don’t miss much of anything that I gave up. Except for my books. For the longest time our biggest hesitation to going smaller was what were we going to do with our library? My husband and I actually met working in a bookstore. We both had large collections and when we moved in together it got even larger. Twenty years later we were faced with a collection that was into the thousands. Paring down our library was by far the hardest part of the move. There is something so satisfying about a physical book, the way it feels in your hand, the rustle of the paper, the smell. You just can’t replicate that on an e-reader and I resisted making the transition for a long time. Now we purchase most of our new books for our Kindle and only buy physical copies of books that we want to keep for sentimental reasons.
One of the great things about our new house is the wall to wall windows running the full length of the house. The drawback is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room to add any bookcases. We had to get creative and I had a few custom cases designed to take advantage of the space we had and that would allow us to get the most storage. The first one went into our bedroom this week and I have to say I really like it but I’m not too sure how I’m going to style it. Excuse the mess, it is a glorified dog bed. I can’t ever get her out of it to make it up. Should I stack the books on top of each other or go more traditional and arrange them upright? How many accessories do I add while still managing to get as many books as possible on them? I’m hoping that it will come together easily and really give the bedroom the character I’m looking for. Check in next week for the big reveal!
Spring may be just around the corner but in my kitchen it’s still winter. Finding inspiration can be a challenge some days but that’s when I turn to my favorite local markets to seek out what’s fresh. I found some lovely little kumquats yesterday and built the rest of my dish around them. Kale and Brussels sprouts seemed hearty enough to stand up to them and to balance out the tart citrus flavor I added a few dates. I wanted to keep it Vegan so I added some hazelnuts for substance and some mint to bring it all together. I added some shredded chicken breast that I threw in the slow cooker with some caramelized shallots for my son and dinner was served.
- 2 tablespoons extra-vigin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 bunch lacinto kale, ribs and stems removed and thinly sliced into ribbons
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, shredded
- 4 dates, pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cups roasted hazelnuts, chopped
- 10 kumquats, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and olive oil in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the kale and Brussels sprouts and using your fingers massage the kale for a minute to soften it slightly.
- Add the dates, mint, hazelnuts and kumquats and toss to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.