Winter has, as usual, felt long. I am always happy to get to winter. I look forward to it. But by late February I am pretty done with it.

We have been renovating our kitchen. Well, "we have been having someone renovate it for us" is more correct. After a few weeks of intermittent work (a day or two a week) we have a new countertop and a new tile backsplash. The backsplash has been sealed to prevent the grout/tile from discoloring and getting gross. We also got a new sink. We still have a significant portion of our kitchen stuff in boxes in the living room. The next step is to sand and paint the cabinets (which are nice, solid wood cabinets that have been there for many decades, but are badly oil stained and worn out). However, we keep having rain or snow and then a few days without and then rain or snow again. Our contractor advises waiting until the weather will be less wet for the painting.

So today I moved some things back into the kitchen and finally cooked a decent meal again. It felt so nice to cook and to eat real food (we've been eating frozen microwaveable items a lot lately, which are not good for the spirit). I made seitan in the morning. While it was cooking (it steams for 40+ minutes) I went outside. I have not spent much time out front lately since it had, until fairly recently, been covered in snow. Today, the sky was blue and it was in the low 50s (F). I swept up all the apples that had fallen of the tree in the previous storm and rotted on the ground. I swept up bramble and leaves. Then I sat. It was nice to sit outside in the sun.

When the seitan was done I pan fried some of it and used a ginger/soy bbq glaze on it. I then served it over rice topped with green onion and sesame seeds. I also made miso soup. I used an instant miso I found on the shelves and hadn't looked too carefully at... it had fish dust in it. It made us all really sad and feel a little yucky in our hearts. But my wife reminded me it was an accident and that these things happen. I, certainly, will not buy that miso again. I know how to make a konbu based "dashi" (I omit the fish) and use miso paste to make miso, so I will just do that next time.

In any case, the whole family went and sat outside after the meal and enjyoyed the sunlight. It is supposed to snow in two days. You wouldn't know it from the current state of affairs outside. For both the weather and the renovations it has been a nice break in the clouds.