A fire in the hearth

It is really cold outside, in the thirties, something I don’t expect at this time of the year, at least not yet. I like to transition into it, not just be flung from the heat into the freezer.

It was not meant to be.

Our unseasonal fall transition has made us unprepared for what was coming.

I went to the gym early, after locating the snow shovels I had stored in the rafters of the garage, realizing that I want them handy if and when the snow really comes. Yesterday, I cut down some plants that I was waiting to do later, but the cold weather changed that.

I brought some wood to the back door, getting ready to make that fire in the hearth.

We had less snow than all the other areas. It was snowing so lightly and with such little consequence that we were not offering our son, the snow removal expert, with proper information about what he needed to do. As it turns out, he quickly realized that and went out to salt. Even when there isn’t enough snow, there are clients that still need to have properties salted.

We went to see a play last night and the amount of snow, although only a few miles from here, was heavier. Walking on the sidewalks that people were not expecting to have to clear, was not easy and I slipped more than once.

It makes one wonder. Will we have more? Will it be a heavy winter season or are we just being teased?

That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, I have my book and a roaring fire in the hearth.

Posted in Life in general, Snow and Ice, Snow Removal, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Dining ‘dentro la macchina.’

I am so confused.

As I quickly get out of my car in the parking lot, I noticed someone sitting in his car.

Okay, that is not all that unusual, but the funny thing about it is that he is eating breakfast.

I wonder what might possess someone to want to eat in the car. I understand drive-in restaurants and the nostalgia that it entails. I must admit that I only eat in my car if I am truly under some sort of time restraint.

I understand not having much time and needing to get a quick bite, but this looks just like someone ‘relishing’ his time in the car.

I do not understand why someone would feel the need to eat in his car, especially when one could easily go inside and find a pleasant place to eat. I also keep thinking that al fresco would be so nice, there are so many nice outdoor locations to eat. I see picnic tables everywhere.

But yet, this person is eating in his car. I have parked next to him, and it was clear that eye contact was not wanted, and I have seen him do it way more than once.

I only wish that I would have the opportunity to see him outside of car, the whole concept intrigues me. I would love to know why he does it.

One of these days, I am going to find out what is going on here!

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Eighteen degrees. The main level of the house was at fifty-six degrees. I actually don’t know if it was because of our temperature being set back during the night or because of the issue I noticed when I tried to set the temps higher to override the timer. I ended up going outside and our PVC exhaust pipe was full of water. I am guessing that the quick change from a normal November temperature to something way below normal levels might have caused that to happen. When I drained the pipe and put it back on, everything went back to normal and the heating system began working.

Rumor is that we are having snow sometime today and as I walked Stewie, I was decidedly cold. I moved quickly this morning, to say the least. Some of that speed might be because I needed to get back since the grandkids were coming, but the other part was that I was just cold.

Snowflakes were falling as we walked, but not in the quantity that anything would accumulate.

Time will tell.

I know that Wisconsin and Michigan have already seen snow; it is only a matter of time. I recall that last year we had snow around Thanksgiving and then the snow production settled down into a minor snow season. I wonder what the story will be this year.

Posted in Life in general, Meteorology, Snow and Ice, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Pudding and the microwave

The expanded silicone microwave popcorn maker.

My folded microwave popcorn maker

Butterscotch Pudding

Years ago when we got our first microwave, I remember even having to take a class to be able to use the large, cumbersome appliance. Our first microwave was a much thought out purchase, a GE, and it came with free lessons and a cookbook.

Cooking in a microwave, as most of us now know, is a mistake. Using it for what it is good is another issue. Most of the things that I do in the microwave now are from that cookbook that came with our first microwave.

What do I do? Morning cereal and pudding are a big part of my microwave routine. I also do popcorn, and I am not talking about the disgusting stuff that comes in a flat paper bag.

For whatever reason, MK and I are at odds for morning cereal as she likes to make cream of wheat and oatmeal on the stove. I really have no problem with that, but if I am to make it, I prefer ‘standing over it’ by the microwave. I have had great success there.

That brings me to my all-time favorite GE recipe, pudding. It is totally from scratch, uses egg, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, milk, and is easily put together and made in less than ten minutes.

Last night, my sweet tooth was aching and so when we came home from having a burger at Cooper’s Hawk, I pulled out the large Pyrex bowl and went to work. I threw together the dry ingredients and added some milk and mixed it up. I put it in the microwave and microwaved it for about five minutes. I then took the slightly beaten egg and added a tiny bit of the hot mixture (to keep from cooking the egg by itself) and then put it into the pudding and cooked for two more minutes. Then I added the butter and vanilla, made sure the butter was mixed in, and then put it into small containers. Mind you, I was stirring the pudding more than once as I watched it cook, usually every couple of minutes.

The pudding cooled quickly and I had a great response to my sweet tooth.

Here is the recipe:

Vanilla Pudding General Electric Cookbook

¾ cup sugar 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten, or 1 egg well beaten
2 tablespoons corn starch
¼ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For microwave: in 1 quart casserole, blend together sugar, corn starch, and salt. Gradually stir in milk, mixing well.

Microwave at high for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring every three minutes until mixture is smooth, thickened, and clear.*

Stir a small amount of hot pudding quickly into egg mixture and then return to hot pudding, mixing well. Microwave at high for 1 to 3 minutes, stirring after one minute, until smooth and thickened.

Add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted. Pour into serving dishes. Makes 4 servings.

*For Chocolate pudding…add two ounces of unsweetened chocolate here, and stir until totally melted, then continue process.

For butterscotch pudding, substitute brown sugar for white sugar. Increase butter to 3 tablespoons

For pistachio pudding, reduce sugar in pudding to 1/3 cup. Add pistachio paste. To make pistachio paste: 1/2 cup salted pistachio nuts, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons water. Place pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are in small bits. Add the sugar and water, and blend until relatively smooth.

For banana pudding, add 2 to 3 bananas

For coconut pudding, add 1 cup coconut to mixture

Posted in Cuisine and Food, Life in general, microwave, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival Gala Event 2017

My alerts all said that we had frost, that it had hit thirty-two degrees or less.

I still have not put away the pools for the little ones; they had small amounts of ice on them. The grass was frosted and the air was quite cool. I cleaned them off and put them in the garage.

We got home around ten Tuesday night, after a day that started downtown around 2:30 PM for us. We went into the city for the Gala yearly Event of the Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival. This is the main fundraising event our group has in order to help subsidize a scholarship for a worthy actor to the prestigious Birmingham Conservatory. We have a silent auction of items and theatre goings for Chicago and Stratford. We also have a raffle of a trip to Hawaii that even includes $1000 toward airfare.

For the past several years, we have had our event in November as opposed to what it used to be, in the spring. We find this to work better since there are many items for use at the Stratford Festival and since ticket sales start right around this time, it works better for all.

We used to be at the Chicago Arts Club but found that Kendall College is overall a better fit. The parking is way better and the people are easier to work with. It even has a fabulous view of the downtown area.

Our entertainment included Donna Feore, from Stratford, an extremely creative and innovative choreographer and director of musicals. She was paired with Chris Jones, film and theatre critic of the Chicago Tribune. They were an amazing pair and although MK and I were not overly interested in the Rocky Horror Show that Donna is doing in Stratford, she totally changed our minds, now it is on the list as a must see.

The food was wonderful, a buffet medley of Canadian food that included a dessert that included maple syrup.

I hope that we reached our financial goals, but no matter what, this was a great time.

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