Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Debi: Trudge

For all our east coast readers: yes, you got more snow than Chicago. Conceded. But we did just get a nice hearty snowfall here in the midwest, over a foot in 24 hours here by the lake, and for folks like our family who use footpower as our main mode of transportation, this adds several layers of work to our day -- pun intended!

Because it wasn't very cold here, this winter storm was easier to handle for us. While we had to be protected from getting wet, the temperatures in the twenties made it possible to stay outside for a while at a time -- quite necessary for shoveling. And shoveling. And shoveling again. Living in an urban area as we do, it's very easy to stand on a street and declare "good neighbor" and "bad neighbor" just by looking around. The good neighbors are the ones who shovel their sidewalks, maybe even adding a few handfuls of road salt to keep the remaining snow from becoming ice in our standard cycles of snow-light thaw-freeze. The bad neighbors don't shovel, leaving the good neighbors to pluck the elderly and infirm out of their knee-deep piles on the sidewalks.

Yesterday, we woke up to a pretty notable snowstorm happening outside our windows. That meant the winter gear we wore on the way to school had to keep us warm and dry on top and bottom -- not just snowboots and snowpants for the snow we'd trudge through, but something waterproof on top to keep our heads protected from the snow falling on us from above. Ronni, my oldest, remembered seeing a friend of ours in a ski mask and asked if we had one she could wear under her hood. Sammi, ever-stubborn, insisted her hat was plenty. I wore a ski hat and hood, and (dumbly) decided to just layer long-johns under my jeans instead of putting on snowpants. My reward for that was damp pant cuffs all day.

After I walked the kids from school, I had to run right home and get my car to meet a client in Chicago. That's a 30 minute drive in good weather, so I had no time to shovel before I left. I felt really guilty, but promised myself it would be the first thing I did when I got home. I parked my car outside our meeting place, and when I came out a few hours later, I had several inches of snow to brush off of it. When I arrived home, those inches covered our sidewalk and the path from our house to garage. Shoveling it took at least forty minutes.

I worked in the afternoon, made time for a quick run, and then raced to pick Ronni up from her after-school dance class and Sammi up from her extended-day at preschool. By the time I got home and realized that we had to be back at Ronni's school for parent-teacher conferences in an hour, AND that I'd offered to bring dinner for the teacher too, AND that I needed to shovel (again), it was clear that dinner had to be easy and fast. And portable! We brought Ronni's teacher the beans & corn in a little plastic container, with a separate container of salsa, a plastic bag with two tostados, and a package of tic-tacs once I realized how garlicky the beans had turned out.

Snowy-Day Hearty Fast Dinner!
1 can refried black beans
1 can whole black beans
2 cloves garlic
1 package hard tostados
shredded cheese
1 batch Sweet-n-Salty Corn, recipe below

Empty can of whole black beans into a pot and just cover with water. Cook until the beans are soft, then drain water and partially mash beans, leaving some whole pieces. Add can of refried black beans, and squeeze garlic cloves in your garlic press into the pot. Mix thoroughly and heat until hot.

Spread bean mixture on tostados, sprinkle cheese on top, and add a dollop of salsa. Serve with a side of Sweet & Salty Corn

Sweet & Salty Corn
1/2 bag of frozen corn
2 tbsp margarine
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Cook corn in microwave, melting margarine on top. Add cumin and salt and mix well.

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