In My Kitchen, January 2014 – finally

Does anyone else find themselves exhausted after the holidays?  Maybe it’s that we have not only John’s dad living with us but his mother is in a nursing home nearby.  After New Year’s day I just wanted to crawl in a box and sleep but of course I couldn’t.  Time marches on and work needs to be done.

Of course I cooked (or we’d starve) but I didn’t feel like being creative in the kitchen.  I’ll be honest and admit that if the kitchen had been removed I wouldn’t have missed it.

Flavor of New England Cookbook

The good news is that my kitchen mojo has returned and I’ve begun researching recipe ideas, making lists and testing recipes.  I found this book at an op shop recently and almost every recipe brought me back to my childhood.

Shopping Bag

My darling friend Claire from ClaireKCreations gave me this wonderful silk shopping bag that squooshes to almost nothing in my handbag but it’s HUGE.  It does look a lot like a ladies shell top with the hem sewn together but it works like a dream.  Thank you, Claire!

Cinnamon Honey

This cinnamon honey from smells so good I couldn’t resist sticking a spoon in the jar to taste it.  It is creamy, sweet and cinnamony and was perfect on a slice of toast.

strawberry jam

I got up this morning and when I went to the fridge to get the strawberry jam for Rob’s toast there was less than a spoonful in the jar.  Does that drive you nuts?  Why did someone (John) put it away if there’s nothing in the jar?  Then I noticed a large box of strawberries we bought from the fruit shop and in less than 15 minutes, I made half a jar of jam.

I reminded Rob that not everyone was getting homemade jam made before breakfast.   I had some too and it was really good.  I just put the strawberries in a pan with a squeeze of lemon juice and half a cup of sugar.  Ten minutes later we were eating jam.  No skimming, no pectin – just jam.


When I was in the fridge looking for jam, I found the lychees we bought (and promptly forgot).  We had most of them for breakfast with mango and they were brilliant.  They do look a bit tired but the inny bits were delicious.  I had every intention of making lychee sorbet but that’s not going to happen since most of them are gone.

pea and ham soup

If you’re wondering why I bothered doing an in my kitchen post since I have nothing fancy in my kitchen – I thought the same thing.  I’m even way late doing it because I thought I’d have time to buy something snappy for the post.  It didn’t happen.  So here’s what we had for lunch – leftover pea and ham soup made with the Christmas ham bone I’d frozen.


Finally, I was puttering around in the kitchen and looked outside to find Charlie waiting outside the door for me to come to toss the ball.  I stand behind that chair and he hops up and hands me the ball and then he races across the patio to wait for the ball to arrive.  One of these months I’ll find a smile.

As I said, I’m late this month so I won’t be included on the In My Kitchen roundup but I didn’t want to miss a month.  I like being part of some amazing bloggers.  To see all the ‘In My Kitchen’ posts, visit Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

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  1. says

    Lovely post, Maureen…made me smile. Yeah…I don’t know why some people around my house leave a jar with a teaspoon of jam in it, or a teaspoon of risotto on the bottom of the pot. Glad your mojo is back…I have to let it go from time to time too…so it can come back a little different to surprise me. xoxo :) ela

  2. says

    The stuff going on in your kitchen looks pretty darned good to me – i love those quick inspirations, like the jam! Sorry you are dealing with parent issues – we are having the same here – we lost my husband’s dad in early Dec. and since we live next door to his Mom, we are trying to help her get used to it all. It’s tough though. I look forward to you getting your mojo back!
    Donalyn@The Creekside Cook recently posted..Chicken Pot Pie with Buttermilk Biscuit Crust

  3. says

    Yeah, you’re making jam and saying hadn’t really been cooking. Right. 😉 I don’t make jam (though I’m getting close to trying it) and didn’t actually know you could make jam in only 15 minutes. I love the things I learn reading blogs! Fun post – glad you took time to write it.
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..Moroccan Carrot Soup

    • says

      Oh, what’s worse is I didn’t look up a jam recipe or anything. I just put the strawberries in a pot with lemon juice and sugar and crossed my fingers. He had some more today and it’s still good.

  4. says

    This was the holiday that wasn’t for me. Without my own home to decorate or bake in I didn’t bother. No big Christmas celebration either, heck, NO tree or ornaments. I was in a fog though after this year and I really didn’t care. BUT things picked up FINALLY with a move and though I’m exhausted beyond belief; it’s the good kind from the hard physical labor of moving and unpacking and not the kind that comes from more stress than you think you can handle. FINALLY huh? :) I had to avoid a lot of the pics of homes decorated for the holidays; it did make me sad since I love to do it but now that stragglers are struggling to take down those decorations I’m glad I don’t have THAT to do at least!

    I’ll take each and everyone of these goodies, thank you very much…they ALL look good to me!

    Happy New Year Maureen…Barb

    • says

      We didn’t do Christmas in any big way at all because we’d just put John’s mum in the nursing home and they wouldn’t let us see her until she’d settled in. I just didn’t feel like celebrating much. No outside lights, no nothing.

  5. says

    For someone who didn’t have a lot of time /energy to invest in the post, you did wonderfully I love all the treats, gadgets and Charlie pictures but, since I had a cooking burnout at the New Year as well, I can sympathize with the demands on your time that seem to take the joy out of doing anything other than what is absolutely necessary.

    It may have been the recent snow dump which trapped me at home for 3 days and made me not want to go anywhere on Thurs and today as well. I posted the snow pics to my LJ to remind me just how miserable it was so during summer’s heat I can laugh and be nostalgic.

    Then, I got a lovely package in Thursday’s mail which got me excited to do something fun … eventually. For right now, I’m continuing with my NY resolution of eating out of the freezer and clearing out my fridge/pantry.
    A_Boleyn recently posted..I’m a Winner!!

  6. says

    I felt the same way after the holidays, just kind of burned out. I told Scott that I think I’d lost my creativity. It was nowhere to be found.
    I think I just needed a bit of a break – cause it’s back! :)
    Love seeing what’s in your kitchen, how fun that you made jam for breakfast, you’re a rock star Maureen!

  7. says

    Your cinnamon honey reminded me of a time I bought some for a good friend and before I gave it to them, dipped my spoon in to give it a try. What a rube! I still to this day cannot believe I did that, but I just had to know what it tasted like. They chuckled when they opened it and saw a spoonful missing (it was cold so it was very thick). I explained to them it was my duty to make sure it was a worthy gift (and it was!) — we laughed, but I was still embarrassed.
    Thanks for sharing your kitchen with us, it is always fun to see what’s going on with everyone. Mine will have to wait until next month, it just wasn’t gonna happen this time. :)
    Judy @Savoring Today recently posted..A New Year to Savor

  8. says

    Who said you were late? Cut-off is the 10th, and you’ve made it! :) Better yet, you’re our 50th post this month, so I’m incredibly grateful that you went to the effort to post! I can only dream about what it was like growing up eating clam chowder and lobsters, and your soup looks delicious – I adore pea and ham. And strawberry jam in 15 minutes? You’re a star, M. :) xxx

  9. says

    Dear Maureen, I know. Some days you are just tired and yet life marches on with or without you, so you do what you have to do with the Grace of God.
    I very much enjoyed this post. I related.
    I simply love Charlie. He reminds me so of my Inka, who is a chocolate poodle about the same size as Charlie. He looks like Charlie. Inka does the same thing with the ball.
    It is much too cold and icy here though to play outside.
    I am glad you are finding you mojo. I am looking for mine.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    • says

      Actually it was snipping off the green bits, cut in half and half a cup of sugar and toss in the pot. Oh and lemon juice. It’s not like I looked up a recipe, cut the fruit into even sized pieces or added pectin. :) Thankfully it worked. LOL

  10. says

    Cinnamon honey sounds delicious Maureen, and nothing beats a good homemade soup. I adore lychees, but they’re still a little expensive here at the moment. I plan on some lychee and mint sorbet too!

  11. says

    I love Charlie…. what a face! And… hmmm…. really you never cease to amaze me. Where do you find all that cooking mojo? Whipping together jam before breakfast? I want whatever you are having, tell me what I need to eat so I have that energy! I love that soup and am going to check out the recipe. I adore pea soup and the weather is just perfect for it.

  12. says

    Oh Maureen, after reading this post, I don’t feel so bad after all (just now finding the time to replying to your comment — and others — from back in November!). So much has taken place in the last two months and I am hoping that I’ll get my ‘kitchen mojo’ (as you wonderfully stated) back on for the start of the year! You’ve truly inspired me and I cannot wait to read your upcoming recipes and posts for 2014! I love your blog, your recipes, your photos and your words . . . and will always wait for that ‘mojo’ to kick in! :-)

    Be well!
    Your blogging friend,

  13. says

    Oh, how I love, love your sweet Charlie!!! And I’m glad I’m not the only one wiped out from the holidays. I’ve finally gotten all my Christmas stuff back down to the basement, except for the mantle…if will make me feel better when the house is back in ship shape, too. Glad you’re raring to go again :)

  14. says

    Hi Maureen, This is a terrific post! Nothing like fresh jam on a toast…. !!!!
    It’s wonderful to see your each and every post. I simply adore your work ! And hope to see more of your creative endeavors soon ! Bookmarked this one and shall give it a shot :)) Wish you and your family a very Happy and Blessed New Year!!!
    Thanks & Regards, Sonia !!!

  15. says

    Yay for the return of that mojo. And yes, I’m exhausted after the holidays. I’ve been using things from the freezer to make some room, so things have been pretty simple for me. And I’m impressed you you made jam before breakfast. Goodness, that’s something I’d never think I could accomplish.

  16. says

    I’m glad to hear that I am not the only one that suffers from a loss of cooking mojo at this time of year. I am just starting to see the light though and get excited about cooking again. Love that bag. I find them so useful and so easy to scrunch into the handbag. Kudos on the strawberry jam. Homemade is the best kind.
    Tania @ The Cook’s Pyjamas recently posted..Watermelon & Mint Aguas Frescas

  17. says

    Hello there Maureen. I can’t wait for more recipes from you.
    Oh yes, I keep telling that I need a vacation from our couple weeks of vacation. It is taking a bit longer for me to get back to my routine.
    Give a hug to Charlie, adorable.

  18. says

    Sounds like Rob is spoiled…and you did a good job of spoiling him!! Now that’s how I make jam! Simply, quick, just a small amount as I’m just not a canning girl. My guests are always impressed when I quickly make some….I can’t really tell them it’s really that easy :) And..Your puppy is sooo cute! That’s a face that will melt my heart!

  19. says

    Look at Charlie! How adorable. I love lychees but often forget them in the fridge. I have therefore found out that no matter how dark they get on the outside, they are usually very sweet on the inside. A forgiving fruit. I do wish they were a little less expensive though, given they grow here in Qld. Thanks for the tour Maureen – always interesting. I look forward to reading throughout 2014

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