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a knitted sontag and gingerale

Hello friends,  I hope your year is off to a great start.  We celebrated Epiphany on Sunday and the kids got their last gift.  On that day we also said “see ya later” to our oldest sons best friend who is an honorary Gaitan and has left to join the Navy.  It was hard to know he is leaving and won’t be sleeping over anymore or just hanging around our house but we are praying for him and we can’t wait to go to his graduation.

As I type this I am mixing up some homemade gingerale (recipe below) for one of the boys whose stomach doesn’t feel the best.  We have been oiling everyone up, staying on our wellness routine and hoping for the best during this time where everyone seems to have the flu.

It has been quite cold, even frigid here.   Movies, blankets and hot tea are the norm of our days lately.  So cold yet no snow and the little ones are growing restless for a day of sledding.  I do love this time of the year though, I love this season of bundling up, fires going in the woodstove and time to knit or read.  I am almost done with Olivia’s Sontag shawl and if I can just get it off of her body then I can get all the ends woven in and move onto making myself one.  So exciting.

For me a new year means me trying to keep new and good habits.  I am finding that I am getting better at keeping habits going as time goes by, does this mean I’m getting old?    This year I am working on blogging more, sleeping more by getting to bed at a decent hour,  making more time to do the things that make me feel happy and fulfilled and keeping a list of what those things are so I’m not trying to remember what I wanted to do,  working on completing projects (more lists) and writing in my daily journal.  Really its just a few quick lines in this little book I bought two years ago and finally dusted off.  I got it at Anthropology and each page holds notes for that particular day for 5 years.  Its going to be fun to look back and see what happened the year before.  One thing I never miss is my bedtime prayers so I put my journal on my bedside table with a pen and I just do it right before my prayers.  I also intend on getting better organized but I think I will start that in February once I am used to all my other goals.

I’m off to go and give this glass of gingerale to its owner and as promised, here is my very easy way to make gingerale with actual ginger in it (you do know that most store bought gingerale is just sugary soda yes?).  This version isn’t healthy but its easier than making a fermented gingerale and when you need it right now, you can get this done in less than 30 minutes and it will settle tummies.

Easy DIY Gingerale

a big nub of ginger, peeled or not

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 c water

Sparkling water or club soda

lime optional

First we are going to make a ginger syrup.   In a saucepan, add the sugar and water and cook until the sugar is dissolved.   Slice or chop the ginger into small pieces and add it to the water and sugar.  Let it boil gently until thickened.  Strain out the ginger pieces, we save them and eat them since we peel the ginger first, so yummy) and keep the ginger syrup in a jar.  Whenever you need gingerale, just add 2 or 3 tbsp of your syrup to about 12 oz cup of club soda or sparkling water.   Serve on ice or chilled.  So yummy and you won’t believe you were drinking that stuff from the soda aisle.  If you like you can squeeze some lime juice into your ale and see how you like it.

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hello 2018 plus our pie recipe

Farmish Momma apple pie

Waking up to a new year.  New Years are my favorite.  A new beginning and I do so love new beginnings.  In reality I suppose its just another day but to me it’s so much more.  It is one more year that God had given us to have life and live it.  To love each other and to do our best.   Truly if I am honest, waking up is always a gift to me.  I don’t take tomorrow for granted but waking up today is a big gift.  Another year, 2018, so amazing.  Poppa and I have seen so many new years together now and I can’t wait to see what this one brings.

It is said (or at least I think it is) that as you bring in the new year so shall the rest of the year go.  So, I am hereby declaring 2018 to be the year of the pie.  The pies must be full of love and eaten by friends and family for that is how we brought in the new year.

So much food, friends, music and of course wine (a riesling which I received from Charlei for Christmas to be exact) and a very late night ending in Nick, Erica, Veronica and I watching a movie until 3 AM.    We had all the usual accompaniments to honor my Dominican and Cuban heritage.  Poppa did a great job of locating a leg of pork so big that I had a hard time getting it into and out of the oven and I believe we will be eating pork all week.  Yuca fries with aioli, black beans and rice, tostones and so much music to wash it down with.  Though I am not home in Florida to celebrate with my family who dances until no one can dance anymore, I cranked the tunes and danced with anyone and everyone who cared to join me and sometimes by myself because that is who I am and where I come from and it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t.  As the 12 o’clock hour neared, a wonton making party ensued in the kitchen and there were so good.

Of course there was pie.  Apple pie because its Poppas favorite and as mentioned in the title of this post, I will share the recipe.  If you don’t make pie crust because it sounds scary, I will include the easiest pie dough recipe you will ever love and there is no cutting of butter or lard involved (though I love that part but I remember thinking it was quite hard when I first learned to cook).

We had our customary (for us at least) 12 grapes at midnight, silly string fight, Olivia banged pots and pans together because Father Buckley told her that his family does this every year so I guess our family will now be doing it also and lots of celebrating.  If we are friends on Instagram you can see all of it in my stories from yesterday (if you don’t follow me at Instagram you can find me at and you can see all the daily happenings that don’t make it to this space.

So how did you ring in the New Year friend?  I sincerely hope that this year is full of love, beauty and goodness for you and thank you for being here with me in this space.

Farmish Pie Crust

Makes 2 crusts (one for the bottom and one for the top)

2 c all purpose, unbleached flour

1/3 c butter

1/3 c palm shortening

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

5 to 6 tbsp cold water

In a bowl, stir flour, sugar and salt.  Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly.  With a fork mix in the very cold water tablespoon by tablespoon (you may not need the 6th tbsp) until flour is moistened.  Squeeze into a ball and divide in half.  Shape into 2 balls, wrap 1 ball ( we use our beeswax wraps but you can use plastic wrap) and put in the refrigerator to chill.

Roll out other ball on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out 3 inches larger than your pie pan and gently fold and pat into the pie plate.  Chill for 2 hours or longer before filling.


Farmish but easy pie crust dough

1/2 c palm shortening or lard

1 1/2 all purpose unbleached flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

Put shortening in a bowl, add 1/3 cup boiling water and stir until the shortening is melted.  Add flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix with a fork until blended.  Form dough into a ball.

Split into 2 balls, wrap 1 ball ( we use our beeswax wraps but you can use plastic wrap) and put in the refrigerator to chill.

Roll out other ball on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out 3 inches larger than your pie pan and gently fold and pat into the pie plate.  Chill for 2 hours or longer before filling.

Farmish Momma’s apple pie filling (this is just a basic apple pie filling, nothing fancy but very yummy as good simple food should be)

6 cups apple slices, peeled and cored

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c all purpose unbleached flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp sugar

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the apples, butter and sugar.  Add the apples and stir to mix.

Spoon into pie crust.  Put on crust top.  Brush crust with 1 tbsp melted butter.  Cover the edge with a pie protector or aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 f for 35 minutes.  Remove crust protector and bake another 10 or 15 minutes or until the crust is beautifully browned.


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