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Nothing to show for a week of cold and snow

Today’s Special

The sun is shining through the windows (highlighting the dust), temps are pleasant and the snow is almost gone after the great ’21 winter event.

Here on the eastern side of West Tennessee we had single digit temps with about 6 inches of snow with a little ice layered in, though we never lost power or water nor had frozen pipes.

DW and I didn’t leave home from Sunday until Saturday, even though we could see the trucks on I-40 cruising right along. Getting to the highway was the problem, so we stayed put doing what we knew to do to keep everything working and us warm.

But I’m not sure what I did last week. I heard about industrious people working on their “core,” painting rooms, making curtains, writing their memoirs, even spring cleaning during the down time.

Not me. No, I stood by the fire, looked out the breakfast room window and watched the birds, then I’d walk to the dining room and look out across the front yard, then to the kitchen to refill my coffee and start my route over again.

I thought a lot. I didn’t watch television or even read very much, snow falling was much more entertaining. I watched the dogs out romping in the snow and DW refilling the bird feeders.

We talked to our children and enjoyed the pictures they sent of grandchildren having fun in the snow and then I’d put more water on the stove for another cup of something warm to drink.  Once I swept snow off the front porch, quickly…. very quickly.

The weather didn’t stop me from cooking nor us from eating.

My pantry and freezer were well stocked for winter, a lesson learned from 1994, and because I’ve been trying not to go to the grocery store very often due to COVID.

So, DW and I ate well, actually too well, we don’t normally eat three meals a day, but food tastes extra good when it’s snowing. (I don’t understand the physiology of that phenomenon, but I know it’s true.)  And, all those cups of hot tea, chai tea, hot chocolate and apple cider between meals added up, too. I do understand that, but seems I forgot or ignored the fact that liquid calories count too, even when it’s snowing and only eight degrees just on the other side of the door.

So today I’m back to drinking water, walking and being glad I don’t have to spend 20 minutes getting suited up to go outside. I’ve never worn so many socks or layers of leggings at one time. And I’ve finally put away all the gloves, hats, boots, vests and coats and even the hot tea mix, though I’m having withdrawal. And the driveway is no longer dangerously slick. My excuses have run out.

DW and I did enjoy walking around our “back 4” in the snow finding animal tracks and seeing interesting patterns of snow on the tree limbs. Our dogs loved it when we joined them for an excursion.

Even though the cold temps never seemed to bother them, they were happy to bed down in the garage each night in their hay filled crate…actually they loved getting bacon jerky treats for which they’d do anything.  I’ll need to get another bag. Winter may not be over….

Well maybe I do have something to show for the past week:  an addiction to chai tea, 3 extra pounds, piles of laundry, a house that needs dusting, lots of snow pictures, a garage full of hay, and finally, a decision on what color to paint the living room.

Recipe of the Week

The Real Crab & Corn Chowder

From a New Orleans cooking school….

1 quart heavy cream

1 quart whole milk

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup butter

1 pound crab claw meat

24 ounces whole white corn with liquid

2 cups chopped green onion

2 – 3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish

The In-a-Pinch Crab & Corn Chowder

This forgiving recipe takes substitutions and turns out good every time!

1 quart heavy cream or half & half or combination

1 quart whole, 2%, or fat free or combination

1 cup chicken stock: canned, boxed or made from bouillon or 1 cup white wine instead*

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup butter

4 cans crab meat, drained (not imitation)

24 ounces white or yellow whole kernel corn with liquid

2 – 3 tablespoons dried chives

Old Bay or any Creole or Cajun seasoning to taste, about 2 – 3 tablespoons

Sea salt to taste: ½ to ¾ teaspoon

Dried parsley flakes for garnish

Combine milks and stock, bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer for about 10 – 12 minutes. (If using white wine for the stock, add it after the simmer time is completed.) Cook flour and butter to make a medium brown roux; add to simmering milks. Stir in corn with liquid and crabmeat; simmer for another 5 minutes.  Gradually add in 1 cup chopped green onion (or the dried chives), salt and seasonings. Garnish each serving with remaining chopped green onion (or sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of dried parsley and a few more dried chives.)  Makes 8 – 10 servings. *I prefer this chowder made with the white wine instead of the chicken stock.