Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Snowy Saturday

As they predicted, it was COLD on Saturday morning (21 degrees F.) but the wind took the “feels like” temp down into the teens.

It took two cups of coffee before I finished the Blog entry and was ready to start my day. I went downstairs to brush my teeth after my shower and thought, “Wow, its dark as pitch down here!” Then it dawned on me: the security light for Jake’s patio (which normally shines through the window and helps light my way) was out!

Now, if you remember, this was the fixture that took the weird bulb that attached with two tabs, rather than screwed in. It is also the bulb that was almost impossible to find! Add to that fact that the damn light was on constantly, even though it had a dusk to dawn sensor. Since it was tucked under the house eaves, it always thought it was dark. All in all, I have had it with that damn light.

So, before I went to my 9:00 a.m. haircut, I stopped at Home Depot. All I wanted was a fixture like I have next to the garage man door: a bulb inside of a glass jar (I think they are the most weather-proof for the bulb). Of course, they only had one that used a special LED bulb for $29.00. No thanks!

So, I got my hair cut. Then I went to Kroger’s. I didn’t have that much stuff, but I did have too much to use one of their many, many new self-checkouts. So, I got in line. Of course, it was the wrong line. The guy being checked out kept getting his credit card declined. They called the manager, the guy was ticked, and the little old lady in front of me had piled all her stuff (a whole cart full) and then got out a handful of coupons. I gave up and went into another line…

I finally got out of there, swearing to never grocery shop on a Saturday again. I stopped at the Aco hardware at Five Mile and Middle Belt and found the fixture I wanted for $6.00. As I stood in that line, I looked outside and it was snowing. And snowing HARD! With the wind, it was literally a whiteout! I decided to wait it out at Leda’s Coney Island.

I had two eggs over easy with their famous corned beef hash and rye toast. I know I’ve bragged about this corned beef hash before, but seriously, it’s fantastic. They make their own corned beef and fry it with potatoes, onions and green peppers. You can opt out of the onions and green peppers if you want, but why? I had a cup of coffee for dessert. I don’t normally get restaurant coffee (it’s too expensive and doesn’t taste all that good) but I was waiting out the snow squall. When the storm left, so did I.

But the snow that covered the road had been packed down by cars and was slick as ice. If it wasn’t for the ABS brakes, I would have slid through the intersection at Five Mile and Inkster!

When I got home, I found two things in the mail I had been waiting for: My new vehicle registration and license tab and my first Medicare card. Yes, when you are about to turn 65, you have to apply for Medicare (whether you are going to use it right then or not). I think it’s a government plot to track us old farts…

So, I laminated my registration (I always do) and the Medicare card. I went to put the registration in the car and found I hadn’t put in the new insurance care I got in October. So, I dug that out of the closet and laminated that, too. I put that in the glove box and washed off the old license plate tab. When it was dry, I put on the new one. 

I checked the weather outside through the kitchen window. Oddly enough, the sun had come out and melted all the snow!

So, I got everything I needed, (tools, wire nuts, electrical tape, gloves and hat), turned off the power to the patio light and went outside. I took off the old light and installed the new one (not that easy wearing thick, warm gloves, BTW). I tested the new one and it was fine. I still needed to caulk around the fixture, but I went inside to warm up for a while! It was DAMN COLD OUT THERE!!!

Old light

New light

It was after 2:00 p.m., so I warmed up with a cup of hot chocolate while filling in the Blog entry to date. Then I processed the two pictures I took. I looked outside and it was snowing again… Not the whiteout we had earlier, but still... I tried to take a picture from the front porch, but I don’t think it was clear enough. You'll have to click on it to see the snow.

The next time I looked, it was sunny! Michigan!?

Then I went back outside (Brrr) and put white silicone caulk around the fixture. As I said, it’s under the eaves so I am not that worried about water. But I don’t want an entryway for insects or the cold. Before I went back inside, I filled up the bird feeder, the squirrel feeder and the suet cage (for the little woodpecker).

I took a break and watched a couple of taped shows. Then I got started on the Friday night’s dinner I couldn’t make: Tex-Mex Lasagna.

Let me explain and apologize. As I mentioned, my daughter Melissa gave me a jar of home-made canned salsa. She pointed out it was a little too “juicy.” So, I had some with tortilla chips and she was right. It was delicious, but too wet. So, I started looking around for what I could use it for.

I found this recipe for a vegetarian Tex-Mex lasagna. Please do not repeat this or I will lose my status as a carnivore!

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, I was missing an ingredient: lasagna noodles. So, I bought them today at Kroger’s. I put six of them in boiling, salted water, cooked them and let them cool.

Meanwhile, I took my 8-inch square casserole dish and sprayed it with canola oil. I took 3/4 cup of Melissa’s salsa and mixed it with 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin, one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and one can of 8-ounce can of tomato sauce. That was my sauce.

I thawed out a cup of frozen sweet corn in my small sieve and then went to drain a cup of black beans.  Here’s where my pantry let me down again. I had NO black beans! I know! I searched!! So, rather than go out in the cold, I decided to substitute drained pinto beans (Hey, it’s Mexican lasagna, right?)

Note to Self: Do a freakin’ inventory of your pantry, okay?

Anyway, when the noodles were done, I drained them and let them cool. Meanwhile, I spread 2/3 cup of my “sauce” on the bottom of the oiled 8-inch baking dish. I tried to follow instructions and put two lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, but I had an overlap on length and a gap on width. I used my kitchen shears and cut off the remains. So the two noodles turned into three with full coverage.

I sprinkled half of the beans and corn mixture on top the noodles and then topped that with 2/3 cup of the sauce and 1/2 cup of four-cheese Mexican grated cheese. I added another layer of noodles (two cut into three) and repeated the process. Finally, I added the last layer of noodles, the last of the sauce and the rest of the cheese.

I stuck that into a preheated 450 degrees F. oven for 30 minutes. I read my book in the living room while I waited. Finally, it was done. It looked great!

I cut a piece and plated it. It was excellent! And, it was very filling! But, I don’t think a little ground chuck would have hurt it.

I had a second piece (just to verify my findings) but couldn’t finish it. When it cooled, I put the baking dish in the fridge, covered with aluminum foil. I cleaned up the mess and found I had just enough dirty dishes to justify running the dishwasher, so I did that as well.

I wandered in and checked out tonight’s TV offerings. Nothing really jumped out at me. So, I watched a couple more taped shows (one cooking and one DIY). I got tired of lying in bed, so I went out and read in the living room until I got drowsy. Then I went back to bed for the night.

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