Our bellies are thankful.

In efforts to put our money into the pockets of local business people rather than support large companies, Josh and I have been exploring our options for local winter vegetables.  Recently, we took a trip to Jordan’s Farm Market.

Jordan Farm is located on Wells Road in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  I had noticed, with some degree of dismay, that their farm market would be closing for the season on November 23rd.  This information came as a heavy blow so close to the seasonal closing of Red’s Dairy Freeze, and I wanted to obtain information about where I could find a winter CSA that could replace the produce and dairy that I buy at farm markets during Maine’s warm months.

Luckily, while checking out, I noticed a sign-up sheet for information on a winter farm market.  I received my first informative e-mail about the program and discovered that it’s an online farmer’s market!  So smart and easy.  Once every two weeks I will be able to put in an order for local, farm fresh produce, cheese, sweets, etc.  Then I can pick my items up right at the farm.  It’s called the Cape Farms’ Market, and several area farms and local baking companies participate.  This has completely changed my outlook for winter food purchasing.  I hope I can spread the word about the Cape Farms’ Market – hooray for year-round local food!

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Where they wander.

I love to explore the less-frequented sections of Greater Portland.  I’ve lived in the area for my entire life, so there aren’t many local attractions that I’m not privy to.  Thus, I like to challenge myself to find places nearby that I’ve overlooked or ignored.  One of those places is the Fore River Sanctuary.

I have an aunt who brought my brother and I to this spot when we were kids.  Other than that, I’d given the place little thought.  It’s directly off of a substantially busy route that connects Portland to the Portland Jetport and the Maine Mall in South Portland.  I don’t think many people slow down enough when traversing that part of town to even realize the 2 mile trail exists.

Luckily, having a dog pushed me to branch out and discover new, picturesque places to take walks.

This is my favorite time of year for taking walks.  Every step is different – in one stride I’m crunching dead leaves and in another I’m sliding into a thick patch of mud.  It’s chilly enough that I never work up a sweat on our wanderings, and I love the pre-walk ritual of bundling myself in sweaters and scarves to stay warm.  After our travels there is always hot cider or tea.  November in Maine is the most cozy and comforting of times.  I hope we don’t get much more snow this month – I’m hoping to take full advantage of the perfect weather as often as possible.

If these garage walls could talk…

I just realized that the cement walls of my parking garage make a fantastic backdrop for snapping photos.  I’m not much for self portraits, but have been having fun experimenting with the self timer on my camera and killing time taking these shots during the slow times of my shift.  (Admittedly, nearly the entirety of my time spent at work is during a “slow time”.  That’s because I work third shift on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays.)

So, here are the results of my recent picture taking adventure:

(Parka: Goodwill;  Tank: Target;  Cardigan: the annals of my closet;  Skirt: Goodwill;  Tights: Kohls;  Boots: pascalvintage on Etsy).

Obviously I’m looking a bit low-key because if I were to dress any flashier than this in my booth, I would probably solicit a whole lot of unwanted attention from the barflies who leave the garage to head home around 1:00am.

I spend the remainder of my down time at work avoiding homework and consuming delicious snacks like these:

Josh and Andrea’s Chili Extravaganza!

(aka: We made chili.  Yum!)

It’s the cozy time of year when my apartment is constantly drafty, forcing me into sweaters and under blankets.  During winter, I love chunky stews and chilis.  Josh and I made this one on a recent Sunday and then enjoyed it in bed while watching a movie.  (Yeah, I said it.  We ate chili in bed.  We eat lots of things in bed because we live in an old building with poor insulation and a lousy heating system.  Our bed is the warmest spot in the whole place!).

We put little thought into our ingredients – we put a different combination of beans and veggies in every time we make chili.  This batch turned out quite delicious.

30oz kidney beans

30oz black beans

24oz refried beans

15oz pinto beans

16oz faux ground beef

1 – 2C corn

30oz tomato sauce

terrifying amounts of taco seasoning

one or two squirts of ketchup

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

a bit of maple syrup

As with all good chilis, throw all of these ingredients into a giant vat, mix, and stir occasionally while heating on low to medium.  When heated through, enjoy!

To accompany my chili, I was lured into purchasing a bottle of ginger-ale.  An odd choice to accompany chili, I admit.  However, I am terribly susceptible to animal-based advertising.

The photo is terrible, sure.  But have you ever seen such fierce creatures on any food product before!?  You must understand why I had to try this soda!

…but to my dismay, this ginger-ale was like all the others, and didn’t taste very good with chili.  Luckily, I have a ridiculous amount of the stuff filling Tupperware containers in my refrigerator that I will continue to devour for the next week.  I’m so glad I’ll have something warm and simple to eat this week – Portland’s temperatures continue to drop and our hours of daylight are getting to be few.  But chili will help me make it through the first leg of evil winter…

Know anyone able to foster or adopt this super cute dog?

Chance is in Maine now but will have to be transported back to Alabama if he can’t find a place to go soon.  Transport, especially of that length, is exceedingly stressful for dogs.  If you know anyone who could provide this adorable dog a home, please tell them to send an e-mail to the address listed above!

Wishing for a Wood Stove

Josh and I ended up having the most relaxing Halloween night.  I had originally possessed quite high hopes about hitting the town and engaging in debauchery on my favorite holiday, but am very glad we had a low-key evening instead.

We had pizza, candy, and my favorite scary movie.  It was a bit of a strange Halloween, given the unlikely snowstorm.  This is what campus looked like on the 31st:

Today, Josh and I took a break from our courses to as a reward for making it through our midterms.  I’m not adept at handling stress, and with so many courses, extracurriculars, and work, I find myself needing to take a mental health day every so often.  We spent our morning off driving to Freeport – but not for shopping.  Sure, Josh took a peek at what Cole Haan had in stock.  But the real reason for the short trip was to see adorable baby cows and have some breakfast.   Continue reading