For this story, I turned to the pages of my journal as well as some newspaper articles I had saved.
March 16, 2012: Another day is ending; it's after 10 p.m. Couldn't believe the beautiful weather. The temp. was around 80 degrees. This is March!!
After washing a load of clothes, I hung some of them outside on the line to dry. Can't recall ever having done that in March. Usually, we're scooping snow. I even went for a walk; no jacket needed. My only regret was that I hadn't traded my jeans for a pair of shorts. Need to get my summer clothes out of storage.
The weekend of April 14 produced tornadoes in southern Iowa and also in southern Minnesota, including one north of Ghent. Parts of northern Minnesota saw about 12 inches of fresh snow.
Less than a week later (April 21) another system in our region produced at least two confirmed twisters.
A glance at the outdoor thermometer on the 25th of April showed 78 degrees. And then on the 27th, the temperature dropped ... it was 43 degrees at 9 a.m. The high for the day was about 50 degrees.
April 30th: much warmer than previous days. I neglected the ironing (it can wait) and spent some time outdoors ... cleaned the flower beds and then just sat in a chair on the patio and watched the birds for awhile.
May 2nd: a perfect day, high temp of around 80 degrees, gentle breezes. The grass looks especially green today - a shade prompted by the rain we received last night. Moisture leads to growth. Plan to mow the lawn tomorrow.
May 3rd: the day began with dark clouds in the sky. At 11 a.m. it was 66 deg. By 2 p.m. it was sunny and 75 deg. I set out to mow the lawn. Afterwards, I enjoyed a cold drink on the patio.
May 4th: What began as a warm sunny day gradually turned cooler. Rain showers appeared. Storm warnings were issued. Funnel clouds were spotted. At 7 p.m., the sun was shinning and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue. All this activity... in just one day.
I think you get the idea. No need to give you any more weather reports. I don't think anybody would disagree with me if I were to refer to Minnesota as a "state of change."
From my good friends in England
POIREAUX AU GRATIN
4 to 6 leeks (med. size)
Bechamel or white sauce
8 oz. or more of grated cheddar cheese
Prepare the leeks by trimming off the root end and the tough dark green leaves. Cut each leek in half (crosswise). Soak in cold water and rinse well. Place leeks in boiling water and cook for 10 to 15 min. or until partially tender. Gently remove leeks from saucepan and allow them to drain for about 2 hours. I placed the leeks upright in a colander to drain.
Grease an 8x8-in. glass baking dish. Wrap a slice of ham around the outside of each leek and place in baking dish. Prepare white sauce and pour over leeks. Top with enough cheese to completely cover.
Cover dish with foil, pressing to form a tight seal. Bake at 325 on center oven rack for about 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 min. more. Test to be sure leeks are tender; bake longer if necessary.
White Sauce... (1 cup)
Combine 2 T. flour, 1/4 tsp salt, pinch of ground white pepper and pinch of nutmeg. Melt 2 T. butter in a saucepan over med. heat. Whisk flour mixture into butter and mix until smooth. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and cook for about 3 min, stirring constantly; until sauce is thickened and creamy.
Notes: Leftovers (if any) reheat well in microwave. Many thanks to John and Henry for sharing this recipe. You guys can really cook! We enjoyed the dish very much.
Popular in the '70s
GOOD MEAT LOAF
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. ground beef
1 med. onion, diced
1 beaten egg
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
scant 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Combine ingredients. Pat into a loaf pan (8-in. x 4-in.]) Spread Sauce over top of loaf.
Sauce: Combine 1/4 cup tomato sauce or ketchup, 3 T. brown sugar, 1 tsp. dry mustard and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. A meat thermometer should read 160.
Serve well chilled
MACARONI SALAD (1980)
4 cups cooked drained elbow macaroni
1/4 cup finely minced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped stuffed green olives
1 T. dry minced onion
1-1/2 cups Miracle Whip salad dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Yolks only of 2 hard-cooked eggs (sieved)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. onion salt
Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate before serving.
Variation: Add about 1/4 cup grated carrot.
Tame your sweet tooth
ROCKY ROAD BARS (1980)
1/2 cup margarine (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
2 T. baking cocoa
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups min. marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
In a mixing bowl cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Stir in flour, cocoa, pecans, baking powder and salt. Spread in lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350, 15 to 20 min. Sprinkle marshmallows on top and return to oven for 3 min. Cool completely.
In a saucepan combine chocolate chips and peanut butter. Stir over low heat until melted. Add the cereal. Stir gently. Spread over cooled bars. Chill until set.
Food for Thought: Home is a place where our feet may leave but not our hearts.