Wednesday, March 4, 2015

apples and chaos

Good morning. How has your week been going? Here it is beautifully sunny (but COLD). Returning from our frigid morning walk I wanted something warm for breakfast instead of the plain yogurt I was going to have. I've been meaning to share this "recipe" with you for a while and I figured today would be the perfect time.

Last fall I got a lot of windfall apples from my parents from their big old apple tree at the farm. Many were nearly perfect, except for a bruise or two. I spent quite a while peeling, coring and cutting up those apples to freeze and use later in baking (and they have been delicious, worth every minute of the prep work). The frozen apples end up a lot softer in recipes than fresh ones, but I like that about them (like in this cake which I make with less sugar and oil, more apples and more vanilla). They have a very strong apple flavor which you don't always get with fresh apples. Truth be told I haven't always liked apples very much. Maybe it's because the apples you buy at the store are so often bland and mealy. Real, freshly picked apples are another thing altogether. Frozen, too, they are delicious. Sometime this winter I started making warm apples with yogurt for breakfast or for dessert. So simple. So good.

First, fill a bowl with as many apple chunks as you would like and then microwave on high for a minute or two (or longer if you have a wimpy microwave like mine). You may want to test them part-way through and stir them up a bit to help them heat evenly. They will smell amazing. Sometimes I sprinkle a little cinnamon or apple pie spice on top. (If you're using fresh apples it might be better to cook them on the stove in a pot with a little water, though I haven't tried either method). Next, spoon on Greek Yogurt (despite living in dairy country, my current favorite is not a local brand but Cabot -- very rich and creamy and reasonably priced). I prefer the plain, but use whatever you like or have on hand. Top with a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup (this was local from my parents' Amish friends).

apples with yogurt and walnuts and maple syrup

And that's that. Very quick. Very easy. And it tastes like you're having dessert for breakfast. Of course, you can modify this "recipe" to suit your taste and what you have on hand. Switching out different nuts (or omitting them altogether) adding granola or other cereal. Mixing in some berries. What I find most delicious is the combination of the melty, strongly flavored apples with the creamy yogurt and the sweet maple syrup. Definitely adds a bit of joy to my morning.

On another note, I'm happy to report that I'm writing up this blog post from my newly organized desk. It was the first thing I tackled in my month of reorganization. I had been putting off reorganizing for so long because it takes a lot of time. And makes a big mess. The end result is really worth it, though.

after photo of desk organization

It may not look like much (because I still have a lot of "stuff"), but it's a huge improvement. (As for the "stuff"... some of what's in my desk: some of my collection of poetry books, Cicely Barker's Flower Fairy books, my few Beatrix Potter books, the Griffin and Sabine books, various notebooks filled with notes, my joy journals, blank books ready and waiting, all of my journals and diaries from over the years, address books and various objects and photographs that inspire me or make me happy. Everything else either got filed or discarded).

It's only a few days into March and I had to have a pep talk with myself in my journal this morning to remind myself that there's still plenty of time to finish organizing. I'll just keep going bit by bit and it will be wonderful by the end of the month. It's just that the chaos of the process is so hard for me. It gets worse before it gets better. Yesterday afternoon I was sorting through my paper crafting supplies, jewelry making supplies and all of my paintings, prints and watercolor papers.

it gets worse before it gets better

I was overwhelmed by the desire to either chuck it all (except for my paintings and prints and watercolor paper, of course) or to jam everything back in drawers and forget about it. Patience. Perseverance. I'll get there. And you will, too, if you're tackling a project like this. I'd love to hear about it if you are.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week!

6 comments:

  1. Oh dear Anne, I know exactly what you are going through! I have been trying to "tackle" my creative mess for a while now. It's like I have so much I don't even know what I have...terrible. I, like you, will keep persevering and get it more organized. Meanwhile, I have been better about not buying anymore yarn, paints, fabric, etc until I use what I have! You space looks lovely. I love the window...dormer window? Also, the crocheted doily your coffee mug is on...I do the same in my craft room. Have a great day!

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    1. One thing that cleaning out and organizing does is it reminds me of what I have. It's easy to forget if it's out of sight (and out of minds). Not buying more is helpful (sometimes it's so tempting when you see something on sale... or have a brilliant idea or are inspired by someone else's project...).

      I love that dormer window (and so do my plants, especially the ones that like it a little cooler as it's pretty cold there).

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Hello,
    What a fun treat you shared with us. Thank You!
    I also have had the thought of taking a drawer and just dumping it...do not even sort, just dump. But I do not end up doing it. And I usually find a few treasures to keep. I agree it can be overwhelming.

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    1. It's funny how I swing back and forth between the two extremes of wanting to keep everything and wanting to get rid of everything. It's hard to be realistic, sometimes, about what I will and won't want to work on. I just went through my fabric yesterday and now I want to do some sewing.

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  3. I'm happy to know that other people struggle with organizing too! I make a mess with every project and often just tuck the whole thing into a bin until I'm forced to deal with multiple piles in order to find something I need. I'm approaching hoarder stage now with fabric bits and its time to cull the collection! Spring is a great time to get organized and it looks like you're well on your way. Your studio looks bright and beautiful with that lovely window filled with plants.

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    1. Fabric and bits... I am terrible about keeping every tiny little scrap of fabric thinking that I may use it some day (I was doing the same with bits of paper for collage). It's hard to be realistic about what I will and won't accomplish, but looking at things with the thought of what goals/plans I have does help.

      I'm glad to know you struggle with this, too!

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