February 12, 2011

Same Story, Different Year

While reviewing this blog recently I came across a post from February 2010. It seems that the month of February, excluding that glorious date of the 10th, is my least favorite month. The weather is always nasty and I am either stuck at home due to road conditions or bumming a ride to work from my neighbors. 

Two weeks ago we had a nasty winter storm that included freezing rain, sleet and snow. Then we had sub-zero temperatures and some of my bathroom pipes had frozen. Having frozen pipes is no fun and the threat of bursting pipes had me in a panic. I had done everything right, or so I thought,  by keeping the water flowing in the faucet and keeping the room warm.

Last year my pipes burst in the bathroom and it took a week to get them repaired. The incident happened when there was snow on the ground and finding the meter outside to shut off the water was a major pain. This year the snow was much deeper and trying to find that meter would put me over the edge. As you will see I didn't need to find the meter thanks to my ex.

Much to my chagrin both pipes that had frozen burst within a week of each other. Fortunately, I was able to staunch the gushing water not once, but twice (thanks to something my ex actually did right in plumbing this house by having several shut off valves which I stupidly just discovered). It seems that the toilet pipe (cold water) was the first to burst last week and then the hot water line let loose on my 53rd birthday. Even though I would be spending my birthday alone I had planned a wonderful meal and a night of movie viewing. After the second pipe let loose I proceeded to have a birthday pity party all by myself replete with bouts of sobbing and staring into space. I was actually too depressed to eat (mark that down as a red letter day) and slept on the couch just waiting for another river to start flowing in my piece-of-shit bathroom. 

As Scarlett O'Hara was fond of saying "after all, tomorrow is another day", Saturday February 12th has brought warming, melting sunshine and the ability for me to get in my car and drive to a dinner party in my old neighborhood. I will have to trudge through the snow to acquaint myself with my car again but that is a small price to pay to be with friends who will lift my spirits. 

I am of the belief that nothing else will happen to my plumbing and that my good friends Matt and Sheila will love having me come to their house to bathe until the pipes are repaired. I know that imposing on their lives will have the effect of getting the repairs done sooner rather than later. I sincerely hope that I will not be writing a similar post again next year.

February 2, 2011

Vegetable Stew

Yummy, yum yum. I just love a good stew and this one hit the spot on a cold Sunday evening. 
My mother made the best stew in the world (yes, it was better than your mom's) but it was beef stew and since becoming a vegetarian I have searched in vain for a recipe that filled the bill.
Then, one Sunday, it all came together for me. I had all of the right ingredients and all the right mojo to make a stew that is worthy and as close to mom's as I'll ever get.

What you'll need:
One small onion, diced
Two cloves garlic, minced
One cup of sliced carrots
One cup of sliced celery
Three bay leaves
One russet potato, peeled and diced
A half pound of green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
A half head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
One 32 ounce carton low sodium vegetable broth
One can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
One teaspoon dried basil
A half teaspoon of salt, or to taste
Nine grinds of black pepper

What you'll need to do:
Sauté the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil until translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for about five minutes. Add the potato, green beans, cauliflower, bay leaves and broth and cook until done to your liking. You might need to add a cup of water if it is too thick. Add the cannellini beans and basil and cook until heated. Season with the salt and the pepper.

Spoon it into a bowl and eat.