NH Tip: Citrus On Hand

Since moving to the East Coast we have had a few issues with stocking fresh citrus.  A few of my favorite dishes call for one lime or lemon but they go bad ridiculously fast here. I usually have to use them within 48 hours of purchase or risk having an leathery textured fruit.  Since I only go to the store once or twice a week this can present a problem, but I have found a way to fix it…juicing.   Kudra told me about this years ago but it wasn’t until we got here that I did it regularly. She also likes to freeze her homemade pesto and use small cubes of lemon juice in her iced tea.

If you have a problem with keeping fresh citrus and want to save a few pennies do this:

Buy a bag of limes and or lemons (I get mine from Costco and its like $6 for over two dozen limes, much better than the $.69 ea I pay at the store)

Zest the citrus and seal it into a freezer bag-be sure to get as much air out as possible.

Juice the citrus and pour into ice cube trays.  Be sure to measure how much of your lime or lemon goes into a cube because a lot of recipes call for the juice of one lime or lemon, not a volume measurement.

Freeze the bag and the trays.

Once the juice cubes are frozen put them into a freezer safe zip lock baggy.  Please remember label the outside of the bag, it my be hard to tell them apart once they are in identical baggies.  You could also put them in different ice cube trays.  For example I use the large 1x1x1 tray for the lemons and my Tiki tray for the limes if I am juicing them around the same time.

Juicing limes

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The Books & Booze Room

Happy Friday All!

I told you how after Porter and Kudra’s visit I renamed the library “The Books and Booze Room”, because somehow in a fortuitous miscalculation in size and our lack of desire to have a formal living room, we ended up putting the two together.  I mentioned this name change  to one of our local friends Poppy last weekend and she said that sounded like a great idea for a real business.  I have to admit if there was a bar that was made up of comfy couches and chairs that you could just curl up with a book and sip on your spirit of choice without the bar atmosphere, I might be inclined to check it out.

Just think of it, there would a wide selection of books and you could reserve a chair with an adequate amount of reading light around it.  The place would be quiet, but not as invasively quite as a library.  Waiters/Waitresses would come by and quietly ask if you needed a refill on your bourbon as you read Elmore Leonard’s Fire in the Hole or get you another glass of Pinot Noir while you read My Life in France by Julia Child.  There would specialty drinks created to best suit the book you pick. There of course would be food offered, little nibbles to pad your chosen intoxicant.  Maybe there would be a room set up to the side (with sound proofing) that local writers or guest speakers could come and chat with others.  Oh, if only…

But until I find some investors 😉 here is our version of The Books and Booze Room, which as you can see currently has two kitties napping off a catnip hangover.

Book and Booze Room 1

 

Books and Booze Room 2

The Books and Booze 3

 

The Reformatted Beast

Lately the weather has had its fun of yo-yoing between Winter, Spring, Summer, and then back to Winter. It seems just as soon as you feel like Spring days are here to stay, a cold snap moves through and makes us worry about our freshly planted seedlings in the garden.  I am trying to roll with it and use the cold, dark days as an excellent excuse to shut myself into my office and finish (as I lovingly refer to it) “the damn book”, but sometimes sitting still when it’s cold does not sound appealing.  Nonetheless I have made more progress and I even let John read a few chapters.   That was nerve-wracking.  He is not really the audience for the book but I respect his opinion and I know he will gracefully give a critique (and chocolate or bourbon if needed).

A funny thing happened a few days after he read the first chapter, he quoted it back to me not realizing where he had gotten it from.  We quote random lines from movies and books all of the time, but it took me a moment to realize he was actually quoting me.  Sometimes we share a brain, but I know I had never said that to him before outside of the book.  I laughed and teased him about it, but I took as a sign that the writing wasn’t as bad as I feared if he had committed something to memory from it, but we shall see.

While John was researching various things (like he does) he discovered the writing program called Scrivener.   It is a program that will be helpful for both us.  Seriously, you need to check it out.  I had been writing my novel on LibreOffice and while it is pretty much like Word, it has some serious formatting issues when you try and send it anywhere.   It had always been in the back of mind that someday I will have to reformat it, but since I already had a chunk of the novel in Libre I figured I would keep it there and reformat it in one big swoop.  Then I found out from just from sending a few chapters to John that was going to be a larger task than I imagined, but yesterday I put the novel into Scrivener and it took care of a lot of things for me.  I even got to see a preview of it in E-book format.  It was so cool! *wipes tear from corner of eye*

Beyond the formatting benefits it also allows you to organize your chapters, scenes, characters, photos, or any other documents you reference right there on the binder next to the text you’re writing.  It has given me a completely new perspective on the book.  Instead of it being this large beast that I have to navigate by using the command F function, I have my chapters broken down by number and scene.

If I want to change the conversation my main character had with her mother, oh look here it’s in Chapter 16 under the a notecard with summary of the scene.  Awesome!  It also help me realize that a problem I thought I had for the last month with some character development was not a problem, though I found another-darn.

I am only scratching the surface of what this program can do, but give me some time and some more YouTube videos and I’ll have it mastered.   In the meantime it’s nice to only have only one “beast” on the desk.

Hitch is watching

Guest Room Revisited

Last weekend we had our friends Kudra and Porter stay over. We actually knew them back in San Diego, they had moved to North Carolina four months before we did.  In fact when they moved we had no idea that we were going to be living in the same state again so soon.  I would have taken better notes of Kudra’s moving methods if I had known.

And while we are in the same state, we are in different regions so we actually had not seen them since San Diego.  We had an excellent time with them last weekend; taking them to some of our favorite restaurants, one good brewery, one okay one, and lots of talks.  I didn’t get in the walk I wanted to take with Kudra (former Walking Buddy) but hopefully we will see them again soon (next time at their place!).  I found it telling that they gravitated to the front room downstairs, that we refer to as the library (though now I’m calling it the Books & Booze Room, since we ended up putting the bar in there too).  Most people like to be in the back room next to the kitchen that has the TV and stereo.  I liked getting to spend time with friends in the B&B room, no distractions from conversation except the occasional pouncing kitty.  Hitch made incredible strides in bravery the weekend by actually coming downstairs and visiting with “strangers” in the house.  In the past he just hides until they fall asleep and then sneaks into our room.  Hopefully his bravery will continue for future guests and visitors.   I swear if I didn’t have so much photographic evidence of him, our friends would think we’re making him up.

Of course this visit was a wonderful excuse to fix up the guest room, a project that had been bugging me for some time.   When Firefly stayed here last summer the room wasn’t actually ready for her, but she came three days after we moved in so there wasn’t much we could do before hand.  A few weeks back, in a random 48-hour period of warm days I finally painted over the dull, mute blue walls and dark blue molding with a light gray and white.   Then I said good-bye to our old mattress, that had been retired into the guest room,  so we got a new one that didn’t require a chiropractic appointment after use.  With a sale and membership enrollment we got a pretty good deal on it, as a bonus the delivery guys took away the old mattress for free. Which is good because the large pick up service here sucks and I didn’t want to be the neighbors with a bright pink mattress on the lawn for a week. We got a night stand and some mirrors for the wall  but all the rest we already had. 

I had painted the artwork above the bed last Spring when I discovered the show “House of Cards” and had to find something to do while I watched.

GuestRoom1

I am not a knickknack person, so when I have to decorate new spaces it is usually a challenge.  I don’t want to go out and get something just to fill an empty spot, I want it to be pretty or mean something; so I had to get creative to fill some of the blank spots in the bookcase.

GuestRoom2I got some California flowers for our California friends and knitted them each a scarf (that’s what the dark things are on the bottom shelf).  It was kind of like a belated Christmas gift, though as a joke I did consider telling them the scarves were there because the heater in their room was broken.  I got the yellow lantern and the white frame from Ikea when we got the night stand, all the other knickknacks were repurposed from other rooms.

GuestRoom4I put in magazines that I knew Kudra might want to browse through (they are settling into a new house as well).  But honestly I wanted to read them too, I just gave them first dibs.

GuestRoom3Since there was still room on the bookshelf and I was out of vases, I put a selection of books from our library that they might enjoy.  They garden but like us they have had to adapt to the new climate.  Then I put a light-hearted book by a Southern writer and a semi-haunting book by a known author that takes place in a North Carolina amusement park.  There was a theme I swear!

And then since I always seem to forget something when we travel I put out a basket with things they might need.

GuestRoom5

 

I think they enjoyed the trip and hopefully they will become frequent visitors.