2020 Coronavirus and Covid-19

Good grief. Things were going fine this year. We went to Chicago in January to see Hamilton one more time before it closed, and went to the Garfield Park Conservatory. It was so fun. We visited some bookstores, too.

Then the rest of January was fine. On February 14, I started working in the lunchroom at Pigeon River School. I mostly worked with kindergartners. They were adorable. A few weeks later, everyone started losing their insanity over Coronavirus which was traveling all over the globe. We started having to wear masks at school. Then March 16 was our last day of school. We all had to stay home and only go out for necessities. This eventually led to us wearing masks at the store or when we are around people. I haven’t done so much cooking as I have done since March. For a while the restaurants were closed except for drive-thru and curbside pickup. Then they though it was getting better, so the Republicans in Madison and the WI Supreme court thought things should open up again. So, they did that in May. Now the numbers keep going up and up and up. Crazy. We are all still healthy and Sarah hasn’t been home since the weekend before March 23rd. We went into lockdown on March 24th. That’s the day she went home. So, this is oure new normal.

This is a Vera Bradley mask and I also have a Hamilton mask!

Then they told us about murder hornets, which like to kill bees and are 2 inches long. I don’t think they are in WI, thank goodness. It’s just been one thing after another.

We don’t get together with friends. We watch church at home and get communion delivered to our homes periodically. Occasionally we have book discussion with videochat software. Edie and I did an escape froom thing one day with our phones on a video chat, while we both sat at our computers. That was fun. We can also watch Hamilton now, on Disney Plus with the originial Broadway cast. So, there has been entertainment. But not movies, sadly. In the Heights will have to wait until next year.

http://budgetbytes.com has been a great site to get meal ideas from. There are so many different recipes. http://iowagirleats.com also has yummy recipes. We sometimes use http://twopeasandtheirpod.com too.

Blustery May Day

It only got up to 43 today, and it was crazy windy in the morning. Also pretty cloudy all day. Since it was Mother’s Day, we had a zoom with my sisters and parents. It was nice to see them for a half-hour. I was wearing a cowl that I made last year. It’s not much of a thing, but it keeps me so warm. It’s the Caracol Cowl pattern. Yarn is from Malabrigo and the colorway is Solis 809. My mom noticed me wearing it. I realized I didn’t remember the yarn or the pattern. I looked on Ravelry. Argh, I had never added it as a project. Emily remembered the yarn. Then I found the pattern. It’s up on Ravelry now.

Caracol Cowl
Caracol Cowl
Caracol Cowl

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts (Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon) PBS

An elegant Brussels Sprouts with bacon recipe.

Ingredients

4T maple syrup
1T cider vinegar
2t dijon mustard
2t soy sauce
1/4t cayenne pepper
6 slices thick bacon
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, stems cut and cut in half
salt
pepper

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Cut raw bacon in small bits. Fry the bacon in a large skillet on medium high heat until done. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Soak up all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease with a paper towel using tongs and discard.

Cook the Brussels sprouts in the bacon grease on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add the maple vinaigrette and toss the vegetables in the sauce for 2-3 minutes until the Brussels sprouts are cooked through. Turn off the heat and drizzle one tablespoon of maple syrup and add the bacon. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir the dish for a few seconds before transferring to serving bowl.

http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/2011/11/17/brussel-sprouts-with-bacon-maple-vinaigrette/

This is so delicious! Maybe we need to buy some Brussels sprouts.

Finally, blue skies!

January was so gray and dreary. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever see the sun again! The weather every day was in the 30s, cloudy and gray. No snow. No rain. No changes in temps. No changes in the skies. So dull and boring! I was so happy to see the sun again!

Endless Cloudy Days

We have had so many cloudy days lately. They just all blend in together. Yesterday, Jan 26th, Gary and I were going on a Starbuck’s run and as we walked to the car, I noticed the sun was peeking out more than it had all day! It was so nice to see it, even if the sun was just about to go down. I’m not sure when we are going to see the sun again all day. It wasn’t today, though.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Dawn’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sauce:
3/4 C chopped onion
3 T. oil
2 1-lb cans tomatoes (4 cups)
2 6-oz cans (1-1/3 cups) tomato paste
1 T. sugar
1-1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 t. oregano
1 cup water

Cooked chopped onion in hot oil until tender. Add next 7 ingredients, along with 1 cup water. Simmer 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. After mixing and baking meatballs, add them to sauce and simmer another 30 minutes.

Meatballs:
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 lb. ground beef
2 eggs
2 T. chopped parsley (or 2 t. dried parsley)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. crushed oregano
1 t. salt
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ingredients together thoroughly. Form into 1-inch balls. Bake in broiler pan for 20 minutes. Add to sauce.

Spaghetti at supper tonight.

Blueberry French Toast

The 1830 Admiral’s Quarter Famous Recipe For
“Blueberry French Toast With Blueberry Sauce”

Ingredients:
16 slices of day old Bread. (white with crusts removed)
1 1/2 cup – Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
12 – Eggs
1 cup – Half & Half (or White Milk)
1/3 cup – Maple Syrup
1 pint – Hazelnut Coffee Creamer
1 teaspoon – Cinnamon
1 – 8 oz. pkg of Cream Cheese

Method:
Cube Bread, place half in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Cut Cream Cheese into cubes, place over Bread. Top with Blueberries and remaining bread. Beat Eggs, add Half & Half, Hazelnut Coffee Creamer, and Maple Syrup. Beat together. Pour over Bread mixture. Sprinkle with Cinnamon. Cover and chill over night. Remove from refrigerator 1/2 hour before baking. Bake at 350° covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Till center is set.) Serve with Blueberry Sauce

“Blueberry Sauce”

Ingredients:
1 cup – Sugar
2 cups – Blueberries
2 tablespoons – Corn Starch
1 tablespoon – Butter
1 cup – Water
1 tablespoon – Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon – Cinnamon

Method:
Combine Sugar and Corn Starch, add Water, Butter, Lemon Juice. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Stir constantly. Stir in Blueberries. You may add 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon.

We have this every Christmas morning. When my older daughter was in 5th grade, she had to do a report on the state of Maine. We found out that blueberries are a big crop in Maine. We found this recipe on a bed and breakfast website and have been having it for Christmas morning since then. She was 10 in 5th grade and now she’s 30! We’ve been making just a half recipe for the 4 of us, in a square cake pan, but now we end up bringing it to Christmas Eve morning brunch, so now we make a 13 by 9 pan, so we have enough for our Christmas morning the next day.

Our temps lately have been in the 40s, so we currently have no snow. The header image is from a different year, but it is what the flower garden would look like if there was snow. It gets cold, the river freezes, but then it warms up again and the ice melts.

The dog picture is from 2013. That February, we got a lot of snow and it took Gary forever to blow the snow on the driveway. I was glad no one had to go anywhere that day, because our cars weren’t going anywhere.

Spring is springing!

The grass is greening up and the chives are growing in the garden. The trees have buds, but are a long ways from leaves, though. It always takes so long here next to the lake. The tulips on the south side of the house have buds, but they haven’t started changing color yet. I get so impatient! The temperatures are trying to warm up, but it seems the warmest days have coincided with days that I have to work, so I don’t get to enjoy it outside or by having windows open at home! I’m sure one of these days it will work out!

Too much winter!

After 15 inches of snow on January 28th, then we had the polar vortex and we hibernated in our homes and at work followed by 2 days of freezing rain and snow. Now everything is icy and wet. What gets thrown at us now – cold air and enough wind to warrant a wind chill advisory. So, the ice is going to be with us for a while!

On February 3rd, we went to Chicago to see Hamilton for the 2nd time and we had such a great audience, and Tamar Greene was such a GREAT George Washington, that the 2nd was a wonderful experience. This audience clapped and cheered more, as the play unfolded.