Sunday, February 21, 2010

Enjoying Winter

I grew up in a very snowy area. Just north of Syracuse, NY. Living here you can pretty much expect snow beginning in November (sometimes as early as October) and lasting through the end of March (sometimes as late as May - we've had snow on Mothers Day before). In fact, we may be THE snowiest city (most years)

During the winter you can expect to hear terms like white-out, lake effect, blizzard, below zero, record breaking on a pretty regular (daily) basis.

I loved the snow growing up. Snow days. Hours outside building igloos and snowmen and sledding. Ice skating. Somehow as I got older, the snow lost it's magic. Winter was time for grumbling inside and wishing away the months till Spring.

This year we decided we might as well embrace the snow. This is where we live. We're not going anywhere and neither is the snow.

Except then we did. And the snow did. We moved South of Syracuse - and guess what? No lake effect. While our old town still got a couple of storms with a few feet of snow - we usually just got a dusting. But even our old town seemed to avoid it's normal wintry fate. Seems the snow decided to go South this winter. Huh. (I try - really I do - to be sympathetic to areas that are unaccustomed to snow getting storms, but it's hard).

So, since Christmas break, we've been trying to go (and learn) cross country skiing. When we had snow, it was too cold. When it was warm enough, we had no snow.

Finally this past week our schedules and the snow and the weather lined up.

It was fun. It was hard. We were uncoordinated. There was a lot of falling going on - and getting back up in skis is not easy! My oldest loved it. My youngest enjoyed it mostly except for a few minutes on a semi-steep hill where he had a case of the "I can'ts" but he could, and he did.

I don't know how many more chances we'll get this year - but we've already talked about going again - and also trying snow-shoeing sometime.


At home, it was Evans evening to cook. He used Grandmas Stuffed Pepper recipe (the recipe he went by is a little more precise than the one I share below - I'm going on memory since I'm not at home right now but it's so easy it's almost impossible to mess up)


No, the wine isn't for him! The kids cooking has been working pretty well. There have been a few nights it hasn't worked out and the kids didn't cook on their night but overall it's been going good. They are starting to experiment a little bit more instead of the standard spaghetti's and things. And, it's a nice change from the cooking ruts I fall into. 

Grandmas Stuffed Peppers

4-6 large green peppers
couple cups of rice (cooked)
corn (frozen, thawed)
sauce, jarred or homemade about a cup and half (more or less depending on tastes)
mozzarella cheese (we use a lot, 16 oz)
ground beef

Cook ground beef and onion together. Mix with cooked rice, thawed corn, sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Put aside.

Place peppers, tops cut and insides scooped in pot of boiling water for 5 minutes

In casserole or baking dish cover bottom with sauce - add peppers, fill with beef and rice mix top with sauce and cheese. Fill in around peppers with extra beef and rice mix (we also make a smaller dish with just filling and cheese - not stuffed in peppers)

Cover, cook at 400 for 1/2 hour. 



Jodi said...

T & I used to go cross country skiing together in college (we grew up in Northern Maine - on the Canadian border - there's ALWAYS snow. lol).
We even brought our skis with us when we moved. I think we've gone twice in the past 8 years.

We started snow shoeing together a couple of years ago. I LOVE it. I feel out of control on skis. Not so with snow shoes. And it's easier to get out and go with them. We can strap them on and head out behind our house (terrain is too rough for the skis back there). We're getting Monkey her first pair next year so she can walk with us instead of riding in the back pack. It's a great family activity.

And having the kids cook? BRILLIANT! I wonder what is too young to start that? lol Ok.. Maybe barely 3 is a little too young, huh? I'll wait a couple years I guess. ;-)

gardenofsimple said...

Jodi - that was the hardest part for us - the control on the skiis. I think that snowshoeing would be a good alternative, especially with my youngest. We have quite a bit of woods behind us too, so that would be fun in winter. And snowshoeing is cheaper!

The kids just started cooking this year (with help) but they are responsible for finding the recipe, writing down what we need and executing it. They're 6 and 11. I bet you could kind of start at 3 though - seriously! A lot more help, but they could still help pick out what to have and help in the preparation!

Jodi said...

She helps me every night right now. Maybe we'll start having a "Monkey" night for dinner. She can pick what she wants when I'm making our menu/shopping list for the week. :-)