Every morning for the past several weeks I have started my car with the remote but still, when I get to the parking lot there is still frost to scrape before I dare get out to the street. Sometimes it comes off easily and other times it takes a bit of effort and wishing the fans would clear the windows quicker. I could think of a lot of other things that I would rather do than scrape frost off the windows. I suppose we have always had some very cold temperatures but this year seems colder than usual. Perhaps it is because we have newer instruments and predictions that weren’t always available in the past. Not much we can do about it anyway but grin and bear it. I’m certain there were some very cold days that we put the kids on the bus for school and, of course, there were chores to do regardless of the cold. It was a good day to make soup or bread as they warmed the body and the oven made the house even warmer.   

Growing up it was a cookstove and we had to be sure to have enough cobs or wood to burn. It was my brothers’ job to be sure to have the fuel available and one night they had to go out after dark to replenish the stack because they put it off too long. The cob box was a favorite place to sit as it was near the stove and had a shelf on top. That was a favorite place to sit to get dressed or just to visit with anyone who ventured out. The box we had when first married had a lid that was heavy and not as handy to retrieve the cobs or woods. I still have that box and it was later used as a toy chest. 

The snow piles are getting bigger especially with the two latest snowstorms. In town, it is necessary to take extra precautions when approaching intersections to be certain there are no oncoming vehicles. Hopefully, the big snowstorms are over although March sometimes has to let us know that winter is not over yet. It’s a good thing we don’t control the weather as it would be very difficult to satisfy everyone. At least the days are getting longer and it won’t be long before spring and until then I will find more books to read and other projects to do. The last book “Resilience” was by Elizabeth Edwards and her struggles of losing a son who was 16 years old in a car accident and her diagnosis of cancer. Lots to think about. 

Shepherd’s Pie

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 pounds ground beef

2 large onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) whole kernel corn, drained

1-1/2 cups barbecue sauce

2 packages, (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups (8 oz. each) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350º.  Place potatoes in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook 10-15  minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook beef, onions, and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in corn and barbecue sauce.

Drain potatoes, mash with cream cheese, butter, salt, and pepper. Spoon meat mixture into two greased 13×9 inch baking dishes. Spread mashed potatoes over top; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 2 casseroles, 8 servings each.

To freeze: Cool unbaked casseroles; cover and freeze up to 3 months. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350º and bake 1-1/4 hours or until bubbly. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and a thermometer reinserted in center reads 165º.

Pistachio Lettuce Salad

10 cups torn Bibb or Boston lettuce

1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 cup raisins


1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, oranges, pistachios, and raisins. In a blender, combine the dressing ingredients; cover and process until blended. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Yield: 16 servings

Herb Bread

1/2 cup warm water

1 tablespoon canola oil

1-1/3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). Yield: 1 loaf

Print Friendly, PDF & Email