Getting Out of a Cooking Rut

I’m in a food rut again.

Making the same 5 or 6 meals over and over. When it comes time for lunch or supper (yes, we eat supper in the evening, not dinner, but that is a topic for another post), I struggle to come up with something new.

Remember the movie Julie and Julia? It is one of my favorites.

A woman named Julie is stuck as a low-level bureaucrat and in a rut. She is in more than just food rut, more like a life rut. Anyway, she determines that she will cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about her experience. She gains attention and fame, then ultimately a book and movie deal. The movie explores both her experience and Julia Child’s life while writing the book.

I am not going to do all that. Plus, it has already been done. However, over the next week, I intend to explore some of the recipes from both Volume 1 and 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There will be old favorites and some that I have not tried before.

Adopting a “theme” of Julia Child for the week will surely get me out of this rut.

The first dish from Julia Child week was Supremes de Volaille Archiduc which translated from the French is Chicken Breasts with Paprika, Onions, and Cream. The sauce is the highlight of this dish…warm, creamy and rich. It was easy and relatively quick to make. The main thing that slowed me down was reading and re-reading the recipe to make sure I had everything right.

I can also report the leftover chicken made an excellent chicken salad; finely chopped, mixed with celery, a bit of leftover Caprese salad and mayo.

As I continue through this theme, I anticipate making croissants at some point. Those take 11 – 12 hours from start to finish, so definitely a “plan-in-advance” kind of item.

In the meantime, I think I’ll make a trip to the butcher to get rump roast for Boeuf Bourguignon. Oh yum!

To follow all things Five Feline Farm and my menu adventures check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media.

The January Declutter Challenge

Something about January feels like starting over. It is a new year and in this instance a new decade. Out with the old and in with the new. It is time for the January Declutter Challenge!

One way to start over and begin anew is to declutter.  This is not necessarily “in with the new” although some new shelving and cabinets may be required. Ours is more of an effort to clean up, reuse or repurpose as appropriate or find a new home for things that are just not needed any longer.

If you have been listening to Farm Chatter, you are aware of our challenge  to listeners (and now readers) to join in this declutter effort.

It can be daunting, but we have created a system.

Whole House Plan

It has been over 10 years since anything in this house had a real makeover. Throughout the coming weeks we will go through each and every room, sort out what occupies the room, donate what is not needed and re-organize what is left. This may eventually include refreshing paint or adding new color in other ways, but it starts with a thorough deep clean.

One Room At A Time

It is too overwhelming to think about cleaning three levels and 10+ years of accumulation of stuff all at once. That will lead to immobilization.

The antidote to this paralysis is to tackle one room at a time. Some days we have broken it down to even smaller areas: one closet or one kitchen cabinet. Think of the old saying about how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time.

20 Minutes a Day

Often what it takes is to just get started. Some times even looking at a jumbled up closet is too much to tackle. But committing to just 20 minutes a day is doable. Usually I end up spending more than that amount of time, but I know that if I can do at least 20 minutes, I have been successful for the day. Setting this small goal helps.

It may not be a fast pace, but every step is progress.  Each cabinet, closet, and drawer is one step closer to the ultimate goal of having a clean organized house.

Won’t you join the January Declutter Challenge?

While you are decluttering, don’t forget to save on shipping in our online Mercantile. During the month of January use the code SHIP25 for free shipping on orders over $25.00.


Goal Setting for 2020

It is that time of year when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions. There is something about the start of a brand new year that encourages people to begin anew.

At Five Feline Farm we look forward to the coming year, but are not making resolutions. We are setting goals.

The Farm Fresh Mercantile, our on site store will be closed January and February. We will use this time to rest, refresh, restock and finalize concrete goals for the upcoming year.

We may advance a new look to our farmer’s market presence; refining the variety of products we offer or changing up displays.

There may be new products available in our on line Mercantile, plus we are in the development stage of on line courses to teach how to live the Five Feline Farm way.


Some things, like our signature podcast Farm Chatter and the catalog of books from Five Feline Farm Press, will continue to grow and expand.

Watch for on Farm events. Look for topics we will present at various conferences and educational forums. (Our next one will be To Market, To Market To Buy a Fat Fig at the Coles County Master Gardener Spring conference on February 15, 2020.)

The year 2020 holds exciting prospects for Five Feline Farm. Keep coming back….it’s going to get interesting!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information.


2019 in Review

This has been a momentous year for Five Feline Farm. Much has changed, but our core desire to serve our customers has not.

First the changes:

—We both retired from our “day jobs”.

—Donna was awarded the Paul Overton award at EIU for outstanding service to off campus adult students.

—She was also recognized as an Outstanding Master Gardener.

—Honey Bee published her first book “Honey Bee Comes to the Farm.”

—In July we started attending a second farmer’s market each week. In addition to our regular attendance at the 18th St. Farmer’s Market in Charleston every Saturday morning, we also are at the Casey Market Thyme on Friday mornings. Both, of course are only during the market season.

—The Mercantile has expanded days of operation from October through December.

—The inside of the Mercantile continues to expand and have finish work completed.

—We have expanded and refined our product line; adding soaps, shampoo bars, re-naming balms, new scone flavors, and mini-pies.

What has not changed:

—Our dedication to high quality, hand crafted products.

—The desire to grow and expand Five Feline Farm.

—Our commitment to value our customers and enhance your lives through fun, quality products and education.

As always, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For a real treat, listen to our weekly podcast: Farm Chatter.