It started with a drizzle, the drops weren't rain, but ice. The wind picked up and the ice droplets poured fast and faster, raining down on me in my heaviest coat as I crossed the empty lot next door with two of our dogs. Had it been a different year, we could have patronized the water ice stand. Now, all we had to do was open our mouths and look at the sky. It went on like that all night, and of course I forgot to cover the ornamental shrubs that hadn't even had a chance to grow yet.
Over the next few days there were whispers, rumors, and outright truths. Fruit farmers to the north were setting controlled fires in their orchards on twenty degree nights to keep the trees warm. Some crops were already in trouble, apples in some places, peaches in others. No one mentioned the rumor we all used to believe about an early spring. Whatever happened to that groundhog anyway?
Fresh out of my recovery from the winter blues (oh yes, I got them this year and it was awful) I am ready to inhabit my natural environment of t-shirts and flip flops. I'm thinking about summer, and have made discounted pre-season ticket purchases to Little Boy Fun Land, Mother Goose Land, and Milk-A-Fake-Cow Land. Then I commit to a bigger one: For the first time years we might be able to take a break away from home for just a little while. When I attempt to reserve a hotel online, my credit card rejects it.
I try again, and it goes through, but within minutes the bank is contacting me because someone is trying to use my card on a travel website, and surely, that can't be me. I assure them that the impostor is me, we, we' are actually trying to do something this year, and it's a little bit insulting when the bank tells you that it's unusual for you to have that much fun.
I was like...
In times such as these, we need a sense of humor. When the laughter dies down, and the wind picks up again, you can hear it whisper God is in control.
How about an easy and hearty side dish to stretch out any meal? While my favorite red-skinned mashed potato recipe of all time is this one here, some days I just need something tasty and exciting to happen with minimal fuss. I like that in this recipe the potatoes are a little crisp on the outside and creamy inside.
Loaded Red Potatoes
5-6 Red potatoes (about 2.5 pounds) cooked AND diced
6 Tablespoons of butter, melted
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Bacon pieces, cut up
Side note: I use a potato bag to make this dish even easier. In case you don't know what a potato bag is, it's a cloth bag that allows you to quickly cook potatoes in the microwave. You can find them sold for around $8-10 at most Amish markets or housewares stores. I always include one with wedding shower gifts and the thank you notes always mention how "it actually works!" Maybe sometime I'll do a potato bag giveaway.
Place potatoes on bottom of an 8x8 inch pan or 2 quart casserole dish. Pour butter over top and sprinkle with with seasoned salt. Top with cheese and bacon. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. (I added chives for garnish because we have some in the herb garden right now.)
This comes on the heels of being told by my doctor that if I want to reach my next weight loss goal quickly, I should give up potatoes.