Did I Take A Wrong Turn?
Arriving home after three weeks away brings with it many obstacles to getting settled and back into one’s routine. This time however, was unique, in that we were dealing with the aftermath of a major snowstorm to this area. We have, in the past year and half, returned from time away, to our island that has seen two hurricanes and now a South Carolina style blizzard. There are no snow plows here, no snow shovels even. Our golf course was completely covered by at least four to five inches of the white stuff. It doesn’t look like our home at all. This is much prettier than the mess after Hurricane Matthew but it still has paralyzed the island and the area. We are now day five after the storm and we still have considerable snow and ice on the grass, in the woods, on the roads and the sidewalks. Walking has been a challenge. The photos show the view to our house three days apart. Not a lot of melting for South Carolina. A big worry down here is black ice as things do melt during the day but we are down below freezing at night so that gives you black ice. I was supposed to go to a race on Saturday morning but on Friday night my walking partner sent me a message to say that her husband really felt strongly, well in fact he forbid her, to drive to the race at 6:30 the next morning. Well, he did us a favor. Not only would the driving have been hazardous to our health but the cold would have been too. It was brutal and despite having my winter walking suit and long underwear it would have been very unpleasant. Still, I miss the bragging rights.
What To Do When You Can’t Do What You Usually Do – Cook!
As I am sure you do too, the fridge was emptied of pretty much everything and what wasn’t used but could be saved was put in the freezer. Our extra fridge that resides in the garage managed to kick the bucket. It died during the summer then seemed to be resurrected but this time it’s a no go. Luckily we don’t keep much in there except for cold things to drink along with assorted items that we probably won’t ever need but couldn’t bear to throw out. Items that were then reassigned to the extra fridge. Now it has all been thrown out. What was left is beer and wine and since it is so cold outside those items are not spoiled. Once we unpacked we made a shopping list and finally were able to get to the store to get some basics. This replenishing of the larder was followed by a flurry of cooking. I think I should get the award for the messiest cook ever. The results, however, appear to be satisfactory. More than satisfactory. We are blessed with a wonderful Yoga teacher here and she gave us a hint a few weeks ago of what to do with all those cuttings and things from your vegetable preparations. Put the scraps in a bag in the freezer and when you have a full bag, put in a pot, cover with water and let it cook for a long slow time and voila you get vegetable broth. I put it through a fine strainer and believe me it is delicious. So much better than store bought. I am still surprised at how easy it was. What a great way to recycle vegetable scraps. I have already started another collection in the freezer. The other items I made are Big Batch Adventist Vegetable Soup from Blue Zones which I featured in this blog a couple of weeks ago and a new addition, My Turkey Chili. This one I made up myself but after years and years of making chili I should be able to figure it out by now. The difference this time was I made it in the slow cooker after browning the turkey and the onions and the garlic. Just delicious, we are having it for supper and we had the soup, with a spinach salad, for lunch.
Travels with Wyke and Frozen Lemons
We had a really wonderful trip home. The big storm was forecast to come up the East Coast and we were pretty sure we could get out of Canada and New England before it hit. As we drove down the highway we saw those electric signs on the roads warning of a pending storm and to take precautions. We were a day ahead of when it would hit the New England area and we were after it came through the south. We also went the Western Route. After a wonderful stop at our favorite spot in Connecticut, we drove west to Pennsylvania and Virginia. Well, you actually go through a bunch of states on that drive like Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and then Virginia. If nothing else you feel you accomplished something. We spent the night in Lexington, Virginia a favorite stop of ours along the way. One thing we did not leave behind was the cold, it followed us all the way down the highway. Our favorite Bistro was closed, I guess for a holiday, so we discovered a charming farm to table restaurant called The Red Hen. What a treat. Not too many folks there on a Wednesday night in January but we loved it. We were welcomed warmly by the host, led to our cozy table in the corner, given a perfect adult beverage and enjoyed a delicious dinner of salad and grouper. We shared a dessert. Our host said to make sure we came back in the warmer weather as they allowed people with dogs to bring them to their outside sitting area. Wyke was happy in the car but he would be even happier with us in the garden patio. What a find!!!
Recently I have read that it is better to freeze your lemons and then grate them into the foods you are cooking or into your glass of water or tea. Well, Mother Nature is helping me with that experiment. I picked some of my lemons before I left but it appears that I left four of them on the tree. They are beautifully frozen and they taste delicious when grated. I think I like the taste even better than the slices. The peel is full of wonderful goodness so go ahead and try it. There might be something to the health claims, it’s certainly worth trying.
Lulu’s Turkey Chili
1 lb ground best turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons best olive oil (I use one that is high in polyphenols)
1 or 2 green/red peppers, chopped
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cans red kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
salt & pepper
Brown the turkey, the onion and the garlic in the olive oil. Put in the slow cooker. Top with the chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, salt & pepper (these are all to taste, I like a lot of spice) the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans and then a good dollop of tomato paste (in a pinch you can use ketchup). Cover it and let it cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours or more. Enjoy!