Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who invited winter?

Two weeks ago (April 10th) it was 84* here in my corner of the mitten state. Last week (8 days later), we got 3 inches of snow. How is that fair?! The H took this picture out our upstairs bathroom window in the morning:
My poor blooming daffodils and hyacinths.

It melted by mid-afternoon, but this non-winter-lover wasn't very excited to see everything covered in white again.

Last Tuesday, the day after the snow picture above, was gray, blustery, and drizzly--even a little sleety--so the planned quinoa and black bean salad, which is quite summery tasting, got shuffled to later in the week in favor of a hearty, warm bowl of bean-and-potato soup. That's one of the (many) nice things about having a meal plan--you have everything you need to make your chosen recipes, so your plan can be adjusted as the day dictates.

This is one of those "no real recipe" meals. I started (around 1:30pm) by putting three pieces of bacon in a skillet to brown while I set to chopping whatever else struck my fancy: two medium red potatoes, two fat carrots, a handful of organic celery, three green onions, a medium sweet onion, a handful of baby portobello mushrooms, and two cloves of garlic. Once the bacon was crisp, I drained it, trimmed the fatty edges for the dog, and finely chopped the rest. I tossed it into a 4-quart slow cooker crock with the veggies, added four cups of organic chicken stock and a small jar of bean-cooking liquid from last week, and set it on high.

Before we left for running group (5:00pm) I tasted it, seasoned a bit using sea salt, pepper, and an herb blend from Penzey's, added the home-cooked equivalent of one can drained, rinsed navy beans, and switched it to low. When we got home (7:45pm), I tossed in a handful of German Tilsit cubes I had left from a party last week. It provided a nice extra bit of full flavor and creaminess. Of course, it would have been just fine--and a bit more clean-friendly--without. Either way, coming home to this in the CrockPot after a *super* windy, rainy run made me happy!
The leftovers made a great lunch, along with some gorgeous green grapes and veggie crackers. That book on the left is one of the many I'm currently reading, Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money, and one that I so far highly recommend. I won it in a Goodreads giveaway and have really been enjoying the author's insights. A good book + a good lunch = rainy day perfection!

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