New beginnings

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Hello Ladies! I’m so happy that this blog is becoming a reality. What a wonderful chance to reflect on and share our diverse lives and be mindful of the things that bring us joy.

Here’s a snippet from my life, the most exciting thing I have to note – springtime is finally arriving to the island in Maine that we all call home!

This time of year is so full of promise. Every step outside brings a sighting of new life. This week it’s been the red maple flowers that have captivated me. I see them everywhere, their reddish flush brightening the bare trees, such a welcome aura of color after so long a winter. Soon those trees will be bursting with green, but for now their whimsical, delicate flowers are the star. Over the past few weeks the earth has exploded with life. The plants that grace my springtime table have arrived! I’m especially excited about dandelions, rhubarb and the various alliums poking up their spicy little heads.

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From my first exciting glimpse of the rosy red rhubarb stalks down by the vegetable garden this week I began dreaming of all the wonderful things I would do with it ā€“ syrup, tarts, jam, panna cotta… The list goes on. But for now I settled with something new; a rhubarb marmalade sweetened with honey and laced with rosewater. So far I’ve just been enjoying it by the (small) spoonful, but I can’t wait to have it for breakfast on my favorite Ezekiel english muffins. Talk about an invigorating jam, sweet and sour with a hint of bitterness and that whisper of rose. This one’s good for the heart. In the world of plant medicine, rose is a gentle healer; it lifts the spirits, instilling self-love and lessening heartache. Ayurvedically speaking, it’s cooling in nature, a beneficial quality to incorporate into our diets this time of year as the summer heat approaches. With this talk of heat, I can’t help but think about the weather in Thailand Em, how you get on in that heat is amazing to me.

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~ Rhubarb Rosewater Marmalade ~

I made a small batch this time since I was working with baby rhubarb, but this recipe should probably be doubled, or even tripled if you’re planning on having it on hand for a while. I like it bitter, and since I’m currently trying to stay away from sugar I left this lightly sweetened, if you prefer a less bitter marmalade use more honey and less orange rind!

You will need:

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 small orange

3 tbs honey

1 tsp rosewater

Grate the orange peel and combine with chopped rhubarb and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for around 30 minutes, longer for a thicker marmalade. The first part of this process, cooking down rhubarb, always amazes me; I stare incredulously at the chunks of vegetable in the bottom of the pan, barely believing that they’ll do anything other than burn. But sure enough, before long they release their liquids and begin happily bubbling away.

Once the marmalade has cooked down to your desired consistency remove it from the heat and let cool until just warm to the touch. At this point add the rosewater (rose absolute essential oil also works), it’s important not to add the rose while the jam is still hot as the heat can cause the delicate flavor to dissipate.

Store in your prettiest jars and enjoy!

 

A secret – My finished jam was a little more orangy in color than I was looking for (likely due to the young rhubarb stalks), so to brighten it up a bit I added in a few teaspoons of some beet powder I had on hand. Instant pink! And the most beautiful hue… I’m already dreaming of all the beautiful pink tinted frostings and baked goods I can make!

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One last bit to share ā€“ If I didn’t already tell you, I’ve been experimenting over the past month and a half with fermenting my own water kefir. This requires feeding little living cultures, grains of yeasts and bacteria (yum!), a mixture of sugar and water, and then waiting for them to digest the sugar and create a pro-biotic rich liquid. The finished product is light, tangy and effervescent. Delicious. But for some reason my kefir grains take forever to actually ferment the water, probably due to the coldness of my house, and as such I’ve only enjoyed two batches in my month and a half with them. For reference, it’s only supposed to take a day or two. The first batch I enjoyed plain, but this time I wanted something a little special so I juiced the orange left over from the marmalade and made a tea of dandelion flowers. Added to the kefir they mellowed the flavor and added a slight richness. Yum. So springy. Wish I could have you both over for tea. But in lieu of that I’ll just think of you as I sip, and imagine a day in the future when we can all sit down together again and share food, drink and laughter. So much love your way,

ā™„ Lilly

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