Hello and Happy New Year to everyone! I don't know if any of you are relieved that all of the 'excitement' is over but I am. Then again, I'm not looking forward to the Dog Days of Winter either. I've spent over a week nursing my poor back (and a big, sincere thank you to all of you who wished me the best and said a prayer or two). I gave up on the meds, except for the muscle relaxants once in awhile, and alternated bed rest, getting up for short intervals, and doing some of the stretching exercises the doctor gave me. The worst part, being so bored lying in bed and then being limited in what I could do when I was up. I'm fanatical about a clean, tidy home and yet I had to bite my lip, Abby and The Husband were functioning without my guidance, i.e. nagging. They brought home meals for me in white paper bags or clear plastic containers and I was grateful. A continuous supply of Diet Pepsi and Swiss Miss hot chocolate was also appreciated. My needs are minimal.
Tonight we have a cozy fire burning. The temps are going below zero within the next few days and tonight we are expected to have wind gusts of 40 miles an hour which is big time even for the Windy City. Lets all hang on, especially you East Coast people. I feel like we spread the 'germ' and now we have even more snow coming tomorrow. Ugh. Be safe.
New Years Eve day, my amaryllis looked like this and I group texted this picture to all of my family. I was just positive it was a symbol for the coming year. That glorious first flower spent itself, and then I was not only graced with one, but two more shoots and for the first time, side shoots separate from the bulb...if you look closely or enlarge this picture, you can see those on the lower left. Maybe cliche... When one door closes, another opens. The circle of life. Jane kept her plant watered for once. Take it any way you want. :)
New Years Eve was snowy and icy. (taken from my porch). I was so grateful that my kids stayed in the immediate area. 3 went to parties blocks away, and Abby and her friends met here for a few drinks and then The Husband drove them to a nearby street with a string of Irish bars (I've mentioned before that we live in a very Irish neighborhood). Somehow that just sounds better than she went to a street full of bars!! These are all so friendly and not just for young kids, we've been to a few of them. And the street is lined with cabs after 11:00 p.m. and many patrol cars making sure there are designated drivers. I love the CPD in this area.
Annnnnyway...this is a snap of my street that night, a winter wonderland. The Husband and I stayed in, made a fire, and I made a few appetizers as I always do and then we ate in front of the TV and watch the festivities.
This year I planned to make a Meatball and Dill Dip posted by none other than Lynn of Happier Than A Pig In Mud. Alas, the shopping list I gave The Husband didn't include the sour cream (major ingredient, so I totally substituted it with a small bowl of BBQ sauce for him to dip). In the mean time, I have bought the sour cream as Lynn suggested, for making the dill sauce and using it over meatballs and egg noodles as an entree and that's exactly what I'm going to try. Thanks my friend!
Now, this is an onion tart that I made that I found on Pinterest and you can find it here. I would totally recommend making it with these exceptions...reduce the number of onions by half...you just don't need as many as the recipe calls for. When dealing with puff pastry...let it thaw for 40 minutes as instructed, and no more, it's best worked with when cold. And personally, I think she ran it under the broiler for a minute or two. Anyway, if you love caramelized onions, this is out of sight. Double the recipe for 8 or more servings. We loved it.
On to the present, as in today. My first venture outside since Christmas day. Emily was driving Miss Daisy again! My back is still bad...forget medication...I need to heal at my own pace. And I developed a head cold, but seriously, let's get over all this crummy stuff at once, shall we? Well, I thought she was just taking me to the grocery store as believe me, my cupboards were bare! Instead, "First stop: Home Depot. Storage bins are on sale big time." This is a girl who must read the sale papers as religiously as The Husband does. I protested but given she was toting me around on her day off, I relented. Within a minute or less of walking in the doors, we came upon their Christmas clearance and there were two (serendipity) Martha Stewart pre~lit 30 inch wreaths for $8.69! Oh, my! We grabbed them faster than you can say Holy Cow. And then the bins, as pictured above. She, and then me, thought they were perfect for Christmas decorations...I still have some of my things in cardboard boxes. At $5.48, she grabbed six and I grabbed two. I love Home Depot. I could marry it. And if you have a HD in your area and happen to need bins, these are fantastic.
Once home, we found that Abigail had actually cleaned up the kitchen and we were free to unload the groceries. Then Emily made a wonderful dinner for us that she had told me about and I had bought the ingredients for. As always, my pictures of food look revolting. This is true comfort food. Just like the stuffed cabbage your mom and grandma made without the frustration of getting that cabbage to roll neat and pretty and come out of the pot in one piece.
In Blondie's abbreviated instructions:
Brown 1 pound of ground beef in dutch oven pot. Drain and set aside. In same pot add 1 T. of vegetable oil and saute 1 medium onion and 3 cloves of garlic until soft and tender. Add beef back to pot. Add 1 large can of crushed tomatoes and one 15 oz. can of tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and add 1 medium head of cabbage, chopped loosely. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low 45 minutes. Serve over cooked rice. Very, very good!!
Now you know I spent a lot of time in bed this past week. Magazines, books and my Nook were my saving grace. Somehow we screwed up the closed caption on the TV and even if I had it, I broke my glasses a few weeks ago and am wearing a pair I saved (I save everything) from at least ten years ago. Every time I move my head from side to side or look down, they fall off. And since the prescription is old, I can't see a darn thing anyway. So I read and read and read and I started the above book which I told you I had been gifted with at Christmas. I was already in the middle of a mystery by another favorite author but this book kept beckoning to me. So Tuesday I gave into my hard and fast rule to never have two books going at once, and dived into this compilation of the works of Nora Ephron. It's not my intention to try to get you to read this book, I just want to show you what a crazed woman I become when I get involved with a book that resonates with me. I started it on Tuesday and last night, Thursday, I finished all 577 pages. This is not to brag, I was confined to bed and I read non~stop. Emily called me during the last chapter and I said, "I can't talk, I'm preparing for a big crying jag." Instead of crying, I spent two hours looking up every crucial and close person in her life on Wikepedia. I am clearly clearly mad. Somewhere along the way, whether it be in this book or in something I read on the web, it was mentioned that she tried to inject humor into every aspect of her life. Hello, Nora. I'm not as gifted as you were, but this is how I have also tried to deal with life. Maybe the crying jag will come later.
I tried to write a Year End Post and for the first time in all of the years I've been blogging, I deleted a big portion of writing. I worked up to the first 6 months of 2013 and it was consumed with Emily's wedding and then those incidentals of life that I enjoy sharing but certainly aren't "highlight" material. I never got past May, It just wasn't interesting enough to repeat, writing or picture~wise. So you are spared!!
Now, the wind is gusting (a little scarily) and I am so grateful our trees were trimmed last summer (in spite of the fuss I made). I plan to post and visit more often as I think getting up and around is good for me. It may just be cabbage stew and crying jags over authors who meant a lot to me and left way before their time, but I'll be here, either making you laugh and smile or boring you to tears.