Grand Opening Ceremony September 21, 2009

Simple Living with Kate

Many years ago, when we were in the midst of a huge building project, some friends visited us from Peoria.  Jim, the patriarch of the group, started digging through the scrap woodpile and took some of the pieces back to the resort where they were staying.  The next day he presented me with a plaque he had carved in beautiful script with his exacto knife:

                           Use it up
                           Wear it out
                           Make it do
                           Or do without.

It's been gracing my house ever since and is a daily reminder of how to live simply.  There is almost always a way to devise a solution to life's daily problems with a little duct tape, glue, or human ingenuity.  No ice scraper in the car?  Use a credit card. No toothpaste?  Use baking soda.  

Many people today place a huge value on items which are chipped or dented because they show the wear and tear of previous owners.  They have character.  Don't throw away something simply because it isn't perfect.  It may still find a use in your life and become one of your treasured possessions.

Haven't shopped for groceries in a while? Be creative and use the leftovers in the fridge to make a fine dinner.  Some of the most famous french recipes were originally peasant food, using what was on hand.

Which brings me to,  ta dah, (drum roll please) bread pudding! When I was visiting in Portland, my mother and I had the pleasure of visiting my friend, Jane, to admire her gorgeous inner-city garden and then to have this wonderful dessert.  My mother and I agreed that it was one of the most fabulous desserts ever:

                          Jane's Bread Pudding
4-5 cups stale bread, cubed (Jane used stale bagels) spread evenly in buttered baking dish.
Scatter over the top: 3/4 cup raisins, craisins, sliced almonds, or whatever dried fruit and nuts you have on hand.
Whisk together: 4 large eggs
                             3/4 cup sugar
                             1 tsp. vanilla
                             1 tsp. cinnamon
                             1/2 tsp. nutmeg
                             1/2 tsp. salt
                              3 cups milk
Pour mixture over bread and let stand for thirty minutes (or more) periodically pressing the bread dowsn with a spatula to help it absorb the liquid.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place pudding pan in a pan of hot water and bake until puffed in center, about one hour.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Kate Swanson is a long time advocate of Simple Living and a member of the board of directors of the MJ Berner Foundation for Peace and Justice Inc. Her tips on Simple Living will appear periodically on this page.



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