Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to more normal fare

and off the politics, at least for now.

Yesterday I made a big pot of minestrone and another of chili in preparation for our brief return to cool, wet weather this week -- although the forecast indicated that the rain would begin yesterday afternoon and become heavy this morning.

Guess what. As of 9:30 a.m. local time, we have had barely a drop. Lots of wind going on now but no rain yet.

We'd planned to RoundUp the driveway and street frontage, but hated to see the expensive stuff literally washed away, so postponed it yet another week. Turns out we probably would have been fine -- but you go on forecasts. So we busied ourselves inside instead, with laundry, more paper pitching in the office, and finally putting together my new jewelry workbench.

But back to minestrone.

A few weeks ago the USA magazine that is in Sunday newspapers had a recipe for minestrone, and it sounded good and easy so I tried it. And it is both. Nearly any veggie will work; it is practically no fat (a little olive oil), and chock full of healthy stuff. Yesterday I used some frozen veggies including some of my frozen zucchini, the remainder of a head of cabbage, and the usual onion-celery-garlic trio. I used some chicken bouillion too since I didn't have two full quarts of vegetable broth. Served with a sprinkle of parmesan, it is a satisfying meal. And I love that it is so healthy.

Everyone makes chili differently. R uses canned spaghetti sauce in hers, so I tried it this week with a can of garlic/herb sauce, also adding a large can of diced tomatoes. It's thick and tomato-y, not very authentic, of course, but with plenty of garlic and onion and chili powder, plus kidney beans (from dried) and ground beef. Like the soup, it will get even better as the flavors blend. But with some fat-free saltines, carrots and celery sticks, it made a nice Sunday evening meal.

The trees are sporting vividly green leaves, daffodils are blooming, and spring has definitely come -- but I am not yet ready to let go completely of winter and really look forward to the cool and rainy weather that is supposed to be coming. We head into April this week, and we've already seen temperatures of 80+. I'm just not looking forward to those blazing blast-furnace days of 110 degrees that our summers always include. If we can ease into it over the next two months with cool temps at night, a bit of rain here and there, and nothing too far over 80, I'd love it.

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