monie + kevin

I’m a lucky gal. I get to perform with Kevin Kling. We used to perform together a lot, but then I had a baby and moved to the country and had a baby. Thank goodness he still asks me to join him every-once-and-a-while and that my spot in the country is not to far from his spot in the city. If you have never seen him / heard him tell his stories, you really should. Put it on your to-do list, friends. He’s funny and wise, wickedly smart and oh so very down to this earth we all walk on. I’m biased. He’s one of my best friends…. but I know there are more people than I could count that would agree with me.

Kev+Monie-1aThis photo was taken about 4 (what, 4?!… ok) years ago by the amazing Ann Marsden.

Kevin and I have a pair of shows coming up, March 20th + 21st. I wrote a little bit about it on my ‘singing schedule’. Come spend an evening with us!

From the recipe box [black bean ragout]

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

Sometime last year, I remember seeing a recipe for fudge written on an index card in my grandmother Kay McLoone’s cursive script. My mom was giddy when she showed it to me. It was yellowed and a bit crusty and its words read like a story, “make sure you… allow it to… wait until…” It was nostalgia at its best. A small piece of paper connecting my mom to her mom who had left us long ago AND the words on that paper, if followed result in tasty fudge (spoiler alert, we are not making fudge today…sorry).

Upon returning home, I retrieved the sweet recipe box my friend Elise gave me, collecting dust on a chachki shelf. She found it at a Minnesotan flea market and stamped my name on the front before gifting. I started making a practice of writing down recipes on the index cards that were already in the box, inspired by the thought that my little men might some day have one or two of them in their homes and maybe delight in their mom’s messy handwriting or the paper’s inevitable crustiness. Yesterday, I took out a recent addition to the box, “bean ragout” -a (vegetarian) recipe for the slow cooker. The recipe was given to me by my friend Kate, by way of a text message with a photo taken of a recipe in a magazine, so I’m not sure of the original source (I’ve since learned it is from ‘Smitten Kitchen‘). I’ve made it a few times with much success and tastiness. Yesterday was a great lesson in recipe following. The time for cooking was never delineated, so I’ve been winging it. Turns out a short but hotter cooking time (6hrs) results in tasty cooked beans, but not much ragout action. The longest cooking time (10hrs) will give you thick black bean soupy deliciousness.

Here’s the recipe:

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

HZ helped me with sweetiepie bean rinsing and stirring.

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

The ragout wasn’t ready at dinner time, but the beans were, so they got mixed in with the rice for burritos goodness.

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

I let the rest cook a while longer and jarred up a more ragout-esque situation in the morning.

See, jars. Good for freezing if they aren’t too full.

from the recipe box [black bean ragout]

Footnotes:
:: Millie and Willie are the penguins on the recipe box. They live there most of the time. They were a gift from Emily, low many years ago.
:: The sweet blue pottery vase is by Abigail Smith [AbigailLeighArts], given in a cutting board trade at a recent craft show.
:: The cutting board is a simple beauty made of elm wood, salvaged from a wooden creation made before the time of the blight.
:: The rustic table under the recipe card was made by my hubs from reclaimed lumber found on this farm.
:: A ragout is a “main dish stew” , or so says Wikipedia.

a start

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It’s an interesting thing, starting a blog. I’m aware that’s it’s nothing novel. I know that there are hundreds of women like me, new(ish) moms who are intrigued by this door called the internet and the free platforms that inhabit it, which open a space to share that part of ourselves that gets lost beneath motherhood. With the sharing comes a hope of starting a conversation, getting a like, a follower, a community. It’s interested me for some time, but I’ve hesitated to jump in, not knowing what I wanted to say and all the while wanting to say something. Before I had a baby and moved to the country and had another baby, I was a full time professional song singing actress. I said and sang lots of things in front of lots of people. There was an abundance of things to say and an accordion to accompany me. The accordion is still around and I do perform occasionally, but not nearly as much. My focus has shifted.

I am pretty sure that as my head becomes less foggy and the babies gain more independence, I will do something like record another album or make a play. Or not. Who’s to say what will happen. I know that singing makes me happy and I’ll never stop doing it. I know that I want to soak in as much of this baby-kid-mama time as possible. I know that I want to become a more knowledgeable steward of this land, learning how to best grow food with it and preserve it for my family to eat in the cold months. I know I will continue to help my husband build his woodworking business, something I am loving a lot these days. But mostly, I know that every morning, after a long night of parenting, I will get up and look out at the rising sun from the vantage point of my front door and start the day with season. I will try to let the outer landscape inform the inner landscape, and if the days allow… I hope to share what happens here.