January 29 – Go sledding with Jude and Truman

There is no snow. My husband took the dog to the beach to run around a bit, and I went to the gym. Then we cleaned the house. Not exactly a day of celebrating the wintry outdoors, is it. A funny thing about cleaning, sometimes it only makes other things look worse. For instance, the windows this time of year. No leaves on the trees for a gentler, dappled sunlight, so the sun comes blasting through the dirt stained glass and highlights the dust that gathers in areas normally otherwise not noticed. If I were Martha I would probably make plans to tackle those windows right away.

January 30 – Roast parsnips from root cellar

I love roasted parsnips so I was happy to oblige, despite the lack of a root cellar.

January 31 – Make and freeze stock for soups

I bought the ingredients needed to make a bolognese sauce and a bechamel sauce so I could make lasagna later this week. Made the bolognese sauce this eve because it tastes better after it rests for a few days. This felt like a very Martha-like activity and I’m proud of the work I put in thinking ahead about our meals. Plus there is no way the three of us will eat all the lasagna, so I’m planning to freeze it for additional dinners. Very Martha-like indeed. I think I’ll give myself an A+.

February 1 – Start onion seeds

For this one I decided to turn to the Jan/Feb issue for inspiration. I discovered a small note suggesting I scatter poppy seeds directly on the bare winter ground so they can germinate. I will make a note to do this by mid-March, I think now is a little early. Usually I don’t remember til late April or even May. I was also reminded that there is an entire kitchen cleaning guide in this issue, which made me think of the dirty windows (see January 29). The windows are not addressed in this issue but I imagine instructions will be forthcoming.

February 2 – Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day was celebrated with a game of Mah Jong with my friends. I made a batch of coconut macaroons from Martha Stewart’s Cookies, the ones with the chocolate added. They were delicious, and are one of the easiest cookies to make – just egg whites, vanilla, unsweetened raw coconut, sugar and chocolate. I was able to whip them up after dinner and had them on the cooling rack before my friends arrived. This was also very Martha-like, my Martha skills are improving.

February 3 – Harvest herbs

No herbs to harvest but I did buy ingredients for Super Bowl snacking. No herbs in anything unless we count the Ranch Dip mix, which in theory has lots of herbs in it.

We went to Boston for the night, to an Extreme Beer Festival. There were lots of herbs in the beers, so perhaps that counts too. One of my favorites of the night was Cambridge Brewing Company’s Atom Heart Mother, which is described as “Unhopped herbal ale with hawthorne & schizandra berries, sweet gale, cornelian cherries, japanese quince, and rose hips” – so that definitely counts.

February 4 – Travel to Houston

In the morning in Boston (Cambridge actually) we traveled to Union Square Donuts (brown butter hazelnut crunch; vanilla bean; cardamom poppy, oh my) and then to Eataly to check that out. At Eataly we bought some smoked French garlic, prosciutto, cheese, salami with orange zest and oregano and honeysuckle honey. All delicious treats and we didn’t have to deal with any flight delays and made it home by late afternoon.

This week’s tip from Martha: Coconut macaroons

I made the chocolate chunk version.