On any given day you are most likely to find us communing with the gnomes and the fairies Under The Old Oak Tree

Monday, February 1, 2010

Simple Pleasures In The Midst of All This Cold Weather

This morning over our breakfast, I was reflecting on some of the lovely simple pleasures we have enjoyed during this cold snowy weekend. We try to keep the temperature of our thermostat set somewhere in the mid to upper 60's. At night we also usually turn it down further before bed, since we use lots of blankets and the upstairs bedrooms tend to be warmer than the first floor. This, combined with windows that are not particularly energy efficient, means that, in this weather, it can be a bit chilly, especially in the morning. Still, it makes both economic and environmental sense.

We try to wear warm layers on these really cold days, and I will even consent to wearing slippers (I'm usually a barefoot kind of gal). I also look for things I can do in the kitchen to help to create a warmer home. I bake bread, I've re-seasoned our cast-iron, we've made homemade pizza. In cold weather, stews are also a favorite here, made in a Dutch oven, slow cooked in the oven over time. Since I was a little girl, my favorite breakfast on these cold types of mornings has been steaming hot rice pudding.

Rice Pudding
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (I usually cook this in the rice cooker the night before)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or other sweetener- I use 1/4 cup brown sugar and a heaping tablespoon of stevia)
  • 1/2-1 cup raisins
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Place rice, milk, sweetener, raisins and cinnamon sticks in pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently till thickened. Stir in vanilla.

This can be served immediately as a hot porridge or serve chilled for dessert.

Another of my favorite simple warming pleasures on these cold days is to place a large pot of hot water and one or two cinnamon sticks on the stove to simmer throughout the day. The hot water steams releasing heat and moisture into the air along with the wonderful scent of the cinnamon. I also throughout the day will ladle some of this strong and fragrant hot tea into a mug as my drink of choice.

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