Thursday, December 5, 2013

I'm (Not) Walking in a Winter Wonderland - and frugal cold weather stuff

When I woke up this morning it was minus nine degrees. That's right folks, you heard correctly!  Of course, this is not a Denver phenomenon.  Actually, it was eighty five in Dallas on Tuesday, but a high of less than forty yesterday and thirty today. Many programs have been cancelled and the Dallas city mayor plans to use storm warning sirens to remind folks of the freezing roads.







This is the first time since late March that it has been this cold.  The truth is, I don't mind it so much. I have been out on the patio (with a jacket on) and my home seems to be able to keep a stable temperature of seventy three-good windows and doors all around.  One of the many things to love about my new home is the constant sunshine-in the Denver area there are less than thirty completely overcast days per year.  I am also appreciating sweaters-especially the long tunic style that can be worn over leggings and jeans. I need to add a couple more to my closet.



What I have NOT done, however, is actually leave the house grounds in two full days. I have spent much of my life in seriously snowy climes-from college in Connecticut to previous years in Denver, to Washington DC to Germany. I can, and have driven in literally every type of weather. Two years ago, I drove in white out conditions from Denver to Dallas. It was not by choice and I would not do it again-the weather man told me I had twenty four hours to beat the storm.  But I can do it, and do so regularly.

 What I can no longer do is walk on icy walks, or walks that have that uneven level of now and ice and clear spots that makes your car bump all over the place.  At least fifty percent of my serious knee pain is not arthritis, but rather nerve and other damage caused by tripping down a serious of steps to cobblestones.  A another fall (especially on ice or pavement) could put me into old lady with a walker territory and I cannot risk that. So here I sit, enjoying the view, the sunshine, and the patio-but waiting until tomorrow to venture out on foot (since we have still not completely unpacked, cars remain outside). Meanwhile, I'm happy I am that gal who keeps stocks on hand and has what she needs where she is.






This past weekend, I got a half spiral ham. We had it the first night, then a leftover night and it has made many lunches. Today I decided to make some soup out of what was left. With no recipe, I threw said ham bone into my large slow cooker. I added some vegetable stock, some v-8 juice (try it, I only use it to cook with), some wine and a little water. Since I wasn't venturing out to the store, I relied on pantry items.  In my freezer I had some recipe mix type frozen veggies-cut carrots and celery, and minced tomatoes onions and garlic. To that I added white beans, tomatoes, a little brown sugar (trust me on this, it cuts the salt and all you need is a teaspoon or less) and some dry mustard). I still need to do a final tasting and take the ham off the bone. I may or may not blend some of the soup to make it thicker.

 This is a perfect example of both what Barbara calls seat of the pants cooking, creative substitution and frugal buying. Had I planned ahead, I would have gotten fresh carrots and celery, and vegetables and browned them first. I also would have gotten a bean soup mix and maybe soaked the beans. All of the canned and frozen goods were bought at loss leader prices with coupons (there are coupons for real food), making this a frugal dish when adding whole wheat dinner rolls and a salad. With the exception of the cans I have no idea how much of what I put in-meaning the next time I do this, it will probably have a different taste. That's the best part.



Meanwhile I've having some of the generally low energy days I love. I made the non traditional runner above with matching coasters and napkins (to put in my shop), and today I aim to pin a couple quilts for some clients. We made this cute seasonal "fairly garden" with Lord Of The Rings figurines and little Christmas plants and cacti.  Add that to a few more Christmas quilts and we are decorated except for a few wreaths-our walls are bare as we won't paint until after the holidays


I've been drinking lots of eggnog (yes already) and have read two books on my kindle-one the newest Michael Connelly book the Gods of Guilt and the other a knitting book. Last night I even broke down and streamed a Netflix B movie, Olympus Has Fallen.

Add some chair yoga and some list making and goal planning for Christmas and the new year, and you have a full but low energy couple of indoor days-just perfect!

13 comments:

  1. It's cold here in Idaho as well. The soup looks lovely and egg nog sounds delicious. It's too cold to go to the store to get some though! I have spent me day reading a wonderful book called, "Rich in Years" by author Johann Christoph Arnold. http://www.richinyears.com I have found many answers to questions I have been worrying about such as... How can we restore the vital bonds between generations, so that wisdom and experience is shared and passed on to children and grandchildren? This book is full of wonderful information. I have enjoyed my snowed in day!

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  2. Believe me, I'm grateful I have everything here. I will probably trip out tomorrow briefly in preparation for the weekend. thanks for the book recommendation, I am always looking for things to read.

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  3. I ventured out into the cold and snow today to pick up a few groceries just so I wouldn't have to go out in the worse cold that is coming. Glad I went early because the wind picked up and it is bitterly cold out now.

    Enjoy your low energy days, I need a couple of those very soon.

    God bless.

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  4. I can only imagine how cold it is where you are, my dear

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  5. It all looks very cozy from where I sit Barb. We here in California have a very different winter, of course, and I relish the days its chilly enough to justify putting a log in the fireplace. Nothing is cozier than that!

    Your pictures actually make me think of the years we'd take the whole family up to the mountains for a skiing Christmas. Such wonderful memories.

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    1. In general I enjoy some snow through the holidays and into march. With this particular cold spell though it is so cold that the deicers are freezing. I'd be happy if it got back to say ten degrees.

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  6. We are moving to the mountains of Arizona.I am getting settled in our new house this week and today it is 10 degrees!! I plan to take a good long walk in the woods..I have to learn how to be active in cold weather once again, after living int he desert for 30 years!

    Your table by the fireplace looks so cozy..

    Happy Holidays Barb!

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    1. I enjoy being a bit active when its ten or twenty. Activity at this temperature though can be dangerous, so I expect my walk will be at the mall. Enjoy the mountains....I remember a trek through Globe in the middle of blizzard o my way to Phoenix.

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  7. I know this isn't a competition but it's -20F this morning in NE Alberta. And I'm glad for it in a way. I have the wood box filled and the fire going. It's a perfect day for holiday baking. Barb, your "low energy" days are so productive and creative with sewing and cooking. I love the idea of a well-stocked pantry/freezer for just these days. I've been "retired" now for 8 months and have had one day that I can recall that there wasn't a list of things to do. I've been frequenting the library and have stocked up on books for these cold days by the fire. Snow means slow. And I keep thinking about the phrase I heard once - the difference between a good and bad winter days are the right clothes! There's something invigorating about a walk in the winter with nothing but your eyes not covered.

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    1. O good lord, you have my sympathies. Another of my blogging friends lives in Alberta and I know that she has been experiencing low temps as well.

      I certainly could use some more winter clothing in my closet and after the holdiays I will certainly have to buy some boots during the sales.

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  8. Glad you are staying safe and warm--you couldnt pay me enough to drive around all of the crazy people on newly snow covered roads!

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  9. It's really cold here in Seattle too. I am actually wanting it to snow. When I was working and had to get my "not-good-in-the-snow" Mustang to work during a snow storm (perilous journey), I fantasized about being retired when it wouldn't matter if it snowed or not. So here I am, retired. So bring it on! Rosy

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  10. Your welcome Barb. I'd love to know what you think of the book. I hope you are warming up. I have only stepped out of the house once in the last week!

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