From way up in the snow belt, Singing Owl wants to know:
1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning?
I think it was in the low forties this morning, and never got past 42. Hey, to us, that's pretty chilly!
2. Snow—love it or hate it?
Love to look at it, don't mind playing in it if I'm dressed appropriately, HATE to drive in it!
3. What is winter like where you are?
Winter in Houston is a series of three- to four-day cold snaps, followed by a return to temperatures in the 60's or 70's. It's been drizzly and chilly all week, but tomorrow's forecast is for temperatures back up into the 60s. We usually have at least one or two nights below freezing every year, when people scurry about covering tender plants before bedtime, but some years we have no freezes at all.
But there is always an exception to the rule: the great White Christmas of 2004! Snow began falling in big fat flakes as we were on our way to church that Christmas Eve. I still remember the extra excitement and joy in the air that night. We only got a light dusting here, but oddly, Victoria and Corpus Christi, which are much farther south, were covered in snow!
Here are a couple of scenes from my yard, that Christmas morning:
Go ahead and laugh, Snow Belters! But we thought it was great.
4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories?
I like to watch all of the winter Olympics. No stories; I'm a miserable skier, and would rather be in the lodge with some hot chocolate!
5. What is your favorite season, and why?
Spring and fall are beautiful here, and I enjoy the change. I especially appreciate our brief autumn, when temperatures finally drop into the 70s after five months of summer!
Bonus: Share a favorite winter pick-me-up. A recipe, an activity, or whatever.
Dreary, drizzly winter days are a pleasure when I don't have to go anywhere and can hang around the house making soup. Here's a recipe we've enjoyed this year, that makes good use of the lovely kale we've been getting from the co-op:
1/2 lb. smoked sausage (kielbasa or similar), sliced thin
2 to 4 cloves garlic (all 4 if you dare)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 cup lentils, picked over and washed
3 cups water
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch kale, stems and center ribs discarded, leaves chopped
2 T. balsamic or red wine vinegar
In a 6-qt. stockpot brown sausage in a little oil over medium heat, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Cook garlic and onion in the oil (add a little if necessary) until onion is softened. Add lentils, water, stock, and sausage and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Add kale and simmer, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Makes about six cups.
We think this would be a good basic lentil soup without the kale, but we haven't tried it that way yet.
Have a relaxing weekend, and stay warm!