Category Archives: Weather

Spiralize – A Verb Whether We Like It Or Not

I often feel like I own every kitchen toy possible. Then I get another catalog in the mail or see an ad on the internet.  My latest acquisition is a spiralizer.  Dreadful if completely accurate name.

It has 3 different blades so you get 3 different widths of spirals and you can use it on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (zucchini, onion, potato, pears, apples, carrots, beets). Pretty much if you can stick it onto the machine, you can probably makes spirals.  Before I bought it I checked out several books from the library to see what kinds of dishes could be prepared – ended up purchasing two cookbooks as well (and yes, I did get rid of two old cookbooks when the new ones arrived).

Of course, the day I had time to mess with it, I didn’t want to go shopping so I just made up a recipe using ingredients I already had in the house.

Sherrilee’s First Spiralized Chilied Potatoes
1 large yellow onion, spiralized
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and spiralized
2 T. butter
1 can of Chili Beans
1 can of tomatoes w/ chiles
1 pouch of Taco sauce
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
2 c. shredded pepper jack cheese

Saute onions in butter until translucent in oven-proof skillet. Add potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until they get soft.  Add beans, tomatoes, taco sauce and spicing to taste.  Top w/ cheese and heat in 350° F oven for about 15 minutes until cheese gets nice and melty.

YA loved it. Good recipe for a cold, rainy weekend even if I feel badly for participating in “verbing”!

What new verb do you detest?


Fall Back

It’s that time of year again; Daylight Savings Time ends tomorrow and we all (well most of us anyway) in the U.S. get to fall back an hour.

Apparently in all the years that we’ve had DST (starting during World War I and then reinstituted during World War II), no one has been able to do a definite study that proves one way or the other that DST saves energy. It’s a bit of a pain; way too many clocks if you count all the electronics and the clock on the stove is very finicky. Last spring it took me almost 5 minutes to get it changed.

There is one big benefit of DST at our house; we use it as a reminder to change the batteries in our smoke detectors and our carbon monoxide detector. Because of this we know that the batteries are always in good shape.

What are you going to do with your extra hour?  (apologies to Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, USVI, Guam and Samoa)

Winter Attitude

When people ask me which season is my favorite, I don’t have to think – winter. I love all the seasons and I love the change from one season to the next, but winter is my hands-down favorite. Brisk temperatures, snow, fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate, ugly sweaters – the works.

Even though I adore it, I’m not ready for winter yet. My cold weather clothes are still in the attic, I haven’t adjusted the automatic thermostat in the house and this morning I realized I’m not quite ready to give up my Birkenstock sandals for the next six months yet. I just don’t have my winter attitude yet.

Hopefully I’ll get my winter attitude soon; my feet were really cold today, especially coming home from work today in the cold, cold rain.

What do you need to do to get ready for winter?

Trick or Treaters?

I love Halloween. Not the original All Hallow’s Eve, but what it has morphed into: the costumes, the candy, the jack-o-lanterns. Even as an adult, I love to dress up (today I dressed as the Crocodile Hunter, complete with a large upholstery foam crocodile that draped over my shoulders).  I have a lovely decorative flag of a full moon with bats, a wonderful huge ceramic jack-o-lantern with the letters of our last name as the mouth and a whole bunch of Halloween luminaries that YA and I made when she was younger. (I’m not crazy about all the gory horror films that get trotted out at this time of year, but that’s another story.)

Unfortunately the reality of the trick-or-treat experience these days is not as much fun as I would have it be. I live on a busy street with a lot of folks who don’t leave their lights on; this keeps the foot traffic down. This year has a couple more strikes against it: it’s a school night and it’s REALLY REALLY cold.  I normally only get about 25 trick or treaters.  This year I only got 15 before I finally closed up shop.  The last 5 kids got a huge handful of candy each!

When has a holiday disappointed you?

A Hill of Beans

Husband and I returned home from Minneapolis last Sunday to find that it was time to harvest our pole beans.  We had covered the four bean towers with a tarp before we left, and hoped we could forestall the effects of a killing freeze until we returned.  The very hot weather we had in July pushed the entire garden behind schedule, and the beans needed as much time as they could get to mature. We grew Good Mother Stallard and  Petaluma Gold beans.

We first encountered shell beans when we lived in southern Indiana.  Shell beans are like dried beans  (think cannellini and pinto beans) before you dry them.  They are fat and sweet and buttery. The pods are long and bulging. Our favorite is Vermont Speckled Cranberry Beans, but there seemed to be a shortage of seed last Spring, so we grew the two other varieties.  Good Mother Stallard is the quintessential New England  heirloom bean.  Petaluma Gold was a good variety that we grew several  years ago.  People sometimes let them dry on the vine and store them in bags, but  we like to harvest them before they dry and store them in the freezer. They are terrific in soups and stews.  They are also so pretty before you cook them. The header photo is some of the Good Mother Stallard we harvested.

It got so cold here while we were gone that the bean vines died despite the huge tarp we covered them with. The pods did not freeze, however, so we spent Monday night shelling the beans and blanching and freezing them.  My thumbs hurt from shelling them.

I realize that our obsession with pole beans is sort of odd, but they are such good beans. Husband gets gout from beans, but he insists we have them in the garden every year.

What are you obsessed with? Who have you known who had obsessions?


My New Love

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

I am smitten. I met my new true love in July at a near by nursery.  Her name is Rosy Jane Indian Feather.

Every few years I find a new plant that entrances and seduces me. I plant it, baby it, admire it, and then buy more of them for years to come.  This year it was Rosy Jane.   It is not just an infatuation.  It is a romance, but so much more. I think it will become a commitment.

Past loves have been Indigo salvia, an annual; another annual–licorice plant, both sage color and mint green; the wave petunia. Several years ago it was the small petunias that I cannot remember the name of.  They all still show up in my pots.

And now I have added Rosy Jane. Tiny pink flowers appear at the end of a long stem that shoots out from a relatively small plant at the base.  The flowers look like they are just floating from the pot.  It is categorized as a perennial, zone 5.  I am going to attempt to winter mine over, even though we are zone 4 because winters are warmer now.  I think if I plant it close to the house it might make it.  And if it does we will live happily ever after in a state of romance, me with stars in my eyes.

What romances you?

Too Darn Hot

I am not a hot-weather fan. Most of you have probably heard me say that after growing up in the heat and humidity of St. Louis, I  announced that I would only go to college in either Wisconsin or Minnesota.  I headed north and never looked back.

You’d think that for such a weather wimp that I would have invested in central air at some point.  Nope.  Or that at the first sign of summer I would install my bedroom window unit to get some cooler air.  Nope.  Normally it takes three or four days of over 90 degrees in a row to get me to deal with the air conditioner and this summer all our 90+ days were spread out.

So it seems particularly unfair to me to have such a hot weekend towards the end of September. Right now it’s getting dark and I’m sitting in my bedroom with three fans going: ceiling fan, oscillating fan on the floor and a box fan pointed right at me.  I will admit that if my window unit were installed, I would have turned it on tonight, but I can’t bring myself to get it out of the closet and install it for one night.

I do realize that there are quite a few spots in the world whose weather has been undeniably worse than ours the last month but thinking of it hasn’t made my mood any better or my room any cooler. Guess I’ll just sit here and pout some more.

What about you? Hot or cold?