I wanted to embrace the miracles of winter.  I really did.  I had it all planned out.  I was going to savor every wintry moment– the early sunset, the snow and ice, even the wind.  (Well, I might be lying about the wind.  I don’t think I ever really planned to savor that, but you get what I mean.)  I was going to burrow down and get comfortable with winter. 

And I did.  For a while.  I’ve enjoyed my quilts and fireplace.  My fleece pants and wooly socks are nearly worn through.  I’ve eaten bowls of oatmeal and cinnamon.  I’ve had so much herbal tea and hot chocolate, I may pop.  I’ve enjoyed the lazy snow days and the opportunity to read and watch movies. 

And now I’m done.

This is what I want now.  This is what I’m dreaming of.

*This is my mother’s garden.

*And this is mine.  Oh, for a tomato warmed by the sun.  Holy cow, I have missed it.

*I’ve even begun daydreaming about what I’m planting this spring.  I’ve made lists in my journal and stood outside looking mournfully at the leaf covered and dead looking patch of ground that only a few months ago looked like this.

I am ready to till the ground and put in tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, onions, lettuce, and an assortment of herbs.  I’m ready to go to the backyard instead of the grocery store for my food.  I’m ready to let my skin breathe, to feel dirt between my toes, to call the freckles back out across the bridge of my nose.  (Yes, I know– sunscreen.)

And they’re calling for more snow on Tuesday.  *sigh*  OK.  I’m cool with that.  But it sure is nice to dream.

And while I’m dreaming of what vegetables to plant in two months, I’m also strategically planning which vegetables I need to buy this winter.

Harper Lee has fully embraced the vegetarian lifestyle though she has said she may eat the occasional fish.  This does not bother me in the least except for the fact that she is a really bad vegetarian.

She has been extremely tired lately, and I know that some of it has to do with changing and growing, which is quite natural, but I think it also has to do with the fact that she’s one of those “I’m going to be a vegetarian.  Mac-n-cheese is vegetarian, right?” kind of people.  We’ve told her that we will fully support her decision to go veg as long as she’s a good vegetarian and not a processed, pre-packaged food junkie. 

Going vegetarian is really not that much of a stretch for us.  I don’t cook a ton of meat anyway (though Isaac loves a good steak and crispy bacon).  And a few years ago, when my kids were still “awesome eaters,” it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but with age, she has grown pickier.  *Now, it should be noted that when I call my kids picky, it probably doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for others.  My kids have never been “only brown and yellow food groups, please” kids, but it’s getting harder, particularly in terms of greens, to get the really good stuff from the plate to their mouths.

So I’m getting a little more creative in my cooking.  I grew up eating what we had from the garden, almost exclusively.  I ate plenty of things right off the vine or the stalk.  I never had to have a ton of seasoning or prep, and I certainly didn’t eat things with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.  So I’m having to branch out in my culinary skills.

My general rule of thumb is that if my great-grandmother would not know recognize it, I probably should avoid it.  Like Cheese-Whiz.  What the crap is that stuff anyway?

Right now, she is loving grapefruit, but I’m still on the search for a miracle when it comes to green things.  She likes broccoli, but one can only eat so much broccoli and sweet peas.  Green beans, as long as their cooked within an inch of their life, are also acceptable.  What I’m mostly looking for are better sources of iron and protein and the super foods.  Any suggestions from my vegetarian and healthy-food eating friends???

Let me know if you have some great recipes that are kid-tested and approved.  In the meantime, I’m making some mean veggie frittatas and dreaming of eating fresh from the garden very soon.