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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thawing Out, But Not Idle & A Comfort Food



Beautiful isn't it? Even at my age it is still hard to believe that something so delicate and seemingly harmless can also be so deadly. It is also so unimaginable that each and every one of the tiny flakes that make up this winter wonderland are as uniquely different as you and I. So, I move on and say, yes, I know it has been way too long since I posted. I am also finding it near impossible to catch up with all of you busy friends. If you watch the news then you know what most of us in the colder climates have been dealing with. I know that we are not insensitive to the rest of you. Our friends in California and other states are needing rain. The good folks down south suffering through winter weather that they are just not accustom to, putting them virtually at a stand still and stranding them under terrible conditions, miles from home. Then I watch the news and see our friends across the pond suffering with flooding. As for the rest of the world, I believe they have all gone mad with war.


We have had a terrible winter. The snow started around Christmas time and has not relented. Combine that with sub-zero temps going down into the 20 to 40 degree below zero (wind chill factor) and it makes for a long hard time for all. Cabin fever, sure have a dose, there has been plenty to go around. You say you want some snow, wait a minute, let me find a box, I will send you some.


I started out with the snow shovel way back when this craziness started and haven't turned loose of it since. Yes, there is a snow blower, but I used it 2 times last winter and forgot how to start it by this winter. Several friends have helped with snow removal mainly the last 3rd of the driveway out toward the road. I got to the point that I didn't even attempt shoveling that part because the snow plow would just come by a bit later (usually right after I got it shoveled out) and plow it closed again.


There is almost 2 feet of snow all over the back decks. It comes all the way up to the doors. There is no place to put the snow and the back sliding patio door froze shut in its track. There is another door off the laundry room I can use to get out and also the man door in the back of the garage in an emergency, but the dogs are use to going out the patio door to do their business. Now we have to use 4 potty pads (taped together, they slide around otherwise) by the door and if that hasn't been fun. The snow is way higher than my little Yorkies. I thank God they are not big dogs and their messes are easy to clean up. They are like Play Dough machines, ugh! It takes a lot to turn my stomach, and I owe that all to being a nurse for so many years.


About the only things stirring out there has been the beautiful winter birds. I have 3 feeders and one suet holder. I do believe the entire bird population in this county has found them and I have been having to fill them up every 2-3 days.


Sorry, but I took these pics through the French door blinds. It is a whole ordeal just to go outside, putting on all that clothing just to shovel snow, get the mail and feed the birds is a pain in the butt. My friend in Florida called me the other day and told me she was sitting in her shorts and sunning herself. I told her to "HUSH, don't make me come down there and smack you!" She just started laughing and reminded me that she has a guest room. I did fine through most of these weeks but one day, while filling the bird feeders, I was attempting to push snow off of the deck steps with one booted foot and the next thing I knew I was smacking the steps with my butt, landed on my back and I heard a crack. Okay, was it my back, the steps or the ice? I paid for that one for a good week, sore butt and side. How I came out of that without any bruises is beyond me. Had I broken my back I would not be here right now. No doubt I would have been a casualty, all this happened inside of the privacy fence, no one to see me, I would have laid there and froze to death. Guess it just wasn't my time to go. I have started to carry my cell phone in my coat pocket when I go outside to do anything now. Problem solved, lesson learned.


See all that snow, well, that is part of the driveway, the turn around part where we always back out of the garage so we can pull out on the road. It will accommodate 3 parked cars so that kinda gives you an idea how big it is. I finally got so tired of cleaning it off I just started piling the snow on it.


That was all good and well, piling the snow there until I remembered that the propane delivery guy would have to get to the tank to fill it sooner or later, so I started shoveling a path through that heap of snow, all the way over to the yard........

 
down to the chain link fence.......shovel enough Sue to get that gate open......

 
through the gate to the tank. I have been keeping my eye on the fill gauge, a bit worried with all that dreadful cold, making sure it would not run out. I closed off 2 of the bedrooms way back in December to save on fuel, there has been shortages of propane. That is another reason I have not been blogging. My pc is in one of the rooms I closed off. The kids got me an Apple iPad for Christmas, I do have wifi and I have enjoyed that, but to do my postings I prefer to come use the pc. My fuel guy came 4 days ago. My tank was 60% full yet and he filled it the rest of the way. I am pretty proud of myself for being frugal with the fuel. It has been the coldest winter on record for us here.


This pic was taken the week before the previous ones were taken. A couple of good souls came and pushed the snow from the end of my drive to across the road. The sun comes out and it hits the asphalt and the snow melts right fast. I stand about 5'1" and the snow piles on the side of the drive are up to my chest. What follows are just some more of this wintery blast of snow and the efforts to keep a clear path from the house and garage. This is for all of you folks basking in sunshine and wishing it would snow where you are. Personally, I think I can safely say we are very tired, very tired indeed of it all.








The good news it is warming up. It actually got up to 37 degrees here today and the snow is starting to melt. The bad news is we are to get rain showers tomorrow and that means flooding. Lake Erie is over 80% frozen. The ice is 18 inches in some places. The rivers have plenty of ice and that will lead to ice jams and cause flooding. The ground is frozen and covered with snow. They have even suggested to prevent basement flooding to go all around your house and remove the snow about 3-4 feet back away from it. That makes me just want to sit down and drool like a mad woman. There is no way I can do that and I don't see anyone else out there doing it. For those of you who are seeing your spring bulbs popping up I do envy you. It will be June before we will be rid of all this snow. Heck, it will almost be about the time to grab the snow shovel again. It has been a long winter in more ways than one. With my husband gone it has been lonelier. On Valentine's Day my youngest came and we did homemade pizzas and watched Downton Abbey. She sent me a card and brought me a carnation :)  I will be sure to get a pic of those for the next post even though Valentine's Day will be long over. I should have got the plastic container out and set up all the Valentine cards I saved over the years from my husband, maybe next year if I'm still living?

Well, this post needs to have something to cheer it up. I am sure you are all brought to tears with all these snow pictures I have thrown at you, so how about something yummy and definitely NOT good for you....some "save the last bite for me" comfort food.


If this doesn't make your mouth water and your arteries clog up I don't know what will, oh be still my heart! The recipe can be found on the inside of the Velveeta box lid, but I will save you time cause I tweaked it a bit, as usual.

Mac & Cheese

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted (I used 6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs (I used Kellogg Cornflake Crumbs, about 6-8 tablespoons)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fat free milk
1/4 pound (4 ounces) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 package (8 ounce) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked, drained (I used an entire small box, 1 pound box I believe)

Heat oven to 350 degrees, spray baking pan with Pam.
Melt butter in a large saucepan on low heat. Remove half of butter and mix with bread crumbs. Set aside. Stir flour and salt into remaining butter in saucepan, cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk until well blended, cook and stir (I use a whisk) until thickened, add Velveeta and cheddar cheese, cook until melted stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni, coat well. Pour into a 1-1/2 quart casserole. Top with remaining  buttered bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through and top is golden). 


Now the recipe makes enough for 4-6 people but I made a smaller separate serving for myself and then I put the rest in a glass baking pan (smaller than a 9x13). I did not put any bread crumbs on it yet. I covered it and put it in the freezer for a later time when I have some company to help me eat it. When that time comes I will butter up the corn flake crumbs and add them to the dish for the last 20 minutes of baking. I can not tell you how good this was during all this cold weather and how good it made the house smell while it was baking. Like I said, I did tweak the recipe a bit to suit myself. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.


Next time I will share with you all the things my hook has been doing. I have been busy making cupcakes purses with their babies. I had 4 orders and that made me happy. My mother called me and wants me to make her another afghan/blanket, she added she will pay me to make it. Thank goodness it is not another flower one, lol. So, until next time, I hope all of you have been well, and doing what you love. I will try to catch up more on your blogs and will try and promise that I won't be so long in coming back again. So sorry it has taken me awhile to return, but life happens when you planned something else. Love you all. Be good ♥

9 comments:

  1. Living in the south I cannot imagine having that much snow...in the early 90's we had a blizzard that dropped five foot of snow in 24 hrs....it was horrible, we went two weeks with no power...that only happens here every 60 to 100 years for us....and I am so glad...hope you are staying warm....I love the ear warmer that you sent out in the prize package....keeping my ears warm during this unusually cold weather here....maybe sunshine and warmth will not only come to the south soon, but to you as well...take care and stay warm

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  2. Well, what goes better with a nasty winter than comfort food? We are all going to be feeling so much joy this spring. Stay warm and safe until then.

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  3. Oh my dear Susanne.. you poor thing. I must say you're having a pretty good attitude about being snowed in so long. I would be going insane. Thanks for catching up on all my blog posts and leaving all those sweet and thoughtful comments. You're a great friend! How far are you from Washington Township? I hope your weather warms up super fast and Spring comes so you can thaw out. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  4. Oh wow! So much snow indeed. I do hope there won't be any flooding for you to contend with come the Spring. We've had some power outages here due to wind and rain storms and some highway closures through the mountains between my city and my mom's but we are doing okay. I think it is a great idea that you will now take your cell phone with you whenever you step out. It is best to be prepared when you live alone. Keep well. xx

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  5. Ohhhhh, dear! All that snow! And I whine and moan when we get four or five inches! You poor thing! Susanne, I'd lose my mind! I relate to the sliding door and the dogs. I have the exact same predicament and worried with a couple of the storms that we wouldn't be able to open the door. But thankfully, that didn't come to pass. After a lot of blowing snow one night, we had a dickens of a time getting it open, bit did manage to do so. I don't think my two would use a pee pad! And one is very large...so that would be a lot of moisture!

    Spring will indeed be a sweet vision for you when it finally comes around!

    I can't help bit remember your trips to the E.R. in last year's wintry months. Thank goodness the snows of this year weren't occurring then! I know you had some white knuckle drives, but I can't imagine you having to deal with this kind of horrible winter last year!

    And your fall! Ohhhhhh, scary! So glad you're ok and didn't injure yourself terribly seriously! Yes, cell phone...always with you. Just NOT in the pocket where you might land!

    Hugs to you! Annette

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  6. Hello Susanne
    ....and I am whining about the nasty gale winds here ....I'm going to shut my mouth right NOW! I totally agree with you snow is decidedly beautiful but looking at it from behind glass as far as I'm concerned. In the UK in Somerset where I grew up we have white winters and heavy snow falls and we had great time as kids;my sisters and I. However nothing so heavy as what I can see in these very descriptive photos of yours. Huddle up cosy by the fire!

    keep safe

    Amanda :-)

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  7. What else can you do when the weather is so against you other than bake something wonderful to eat. We have been fortunate this year no snow or floods in my part of the UK but we have had some bad storms and lost a few bits and pieces in the garden due to the high winds. Good idea to always keep your mobile with you especially when you're on your own. My 3 4 paws don't like the cold weather and they certainly didn't like the snow when we had it last.

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  8. Yes - I'm pretty sick of the snow myself. We didn't get as much as you though. I'm hoping for Spring to get here fast. I'm so glad to hear that you didn't hurt yourself bad when you fell - it's a good idea to carry your phone with you from now on. The macaroni and cheese looks delicious - I'll have to keep this recipe in mind. Have a good day Susanne - stay warm. :)

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  9. Hi Susanne! I love all your beautiful snowy pictures! It looks like we live in the same neighborhood because the view is the same from my windows also. I love the winter...and the snow. I know, I can't say that too loud anymore for fear of getting clobbered, but for me, the more snow the happier I am! I'm so sorry you fell though. Thank goodness you didn't break anything! Your mac and cheese looks so, sooo delicious. It's the perfect food for a snowy day!
    Thanks so much for sharing your version of the recipe. I'm certainly going to try it. Stay nice and cozy, and be careful when you go outside!!! xo Paulette

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