Friday, April 15, 2016

Times Such as These

 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. 

That's strange. 

 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
Seasoned salt
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.

Once again...


  1. Yum, those potatoes look and sound delicious! And who can resist an easy side dish like this, even if it does mean the weight loss goal will just take a tad longer. :) And I am intrigued by the potato bag. I've never heard of such a thing but it sounds like a handy sort of thing, for sure!

  2. Oh boy, (or should I say, Oh LITTLE boy!). When I saw the pictures of your 'Little Duckling' in this post, Monica, I had to laugh out loud! He has a gift for expressing what we are all feeling from time to time! In fact, I have to confess, I have felt like doing that quite often here recently, only I think my neighbors would not so much feel sympathy for me, as they would pity, with me being a grown woman in my forties, haha! I'll bet he keeps you in stitches! We have a little boy who attends our church, and he always amuses us with his exuberance and how easily flabbergasted he is with things. He just turned two a few months ago and is still working on his vocabulary. But, what he lacks in spoken words is vehemently acted out with gestures, facial expressions and little boy outbursts. We were just at a church supper last evening and there he was in his highchair, watching his mother making a selection at the dessert table. He leaned over the side of his seat, eyes trained on her with the silliest expression on his little face as he babbled something unintelligible, yet every bit emphatic. We might not have known what he was saying, but he sure did! That age group is so precious. I hope you are able to get those plans together for the summer. We love camping and going away in the summer. Every little taste of warm weather just teases us. I just realized today that we are little more than halfway through April already, but it has felt very much like March for most of the month - insert a picture of Little Duckling lying on the ground here - I am savoring the warm days we have had as of late and finally got out to rake the plethora of twigs and branches the winter winds and storms knocked down out of our trees. I am looking forward to trying your potato recipe; it just might go well with the grilled chicken I am planning for tomorrow. I did want to let you know that I tried your sweet potato black bean enchiladas, and I really enjoyed them. I have been planning on making your peanut butter temptations, but my poor teenage daughter has had so much homework the past two weekends, we haven't had time to make them - now, insert a picture of my 14-year-old lying on the ground in utter disgust.....yup, she's headed there. Summer and the end of the school year can't come soon enough for her! Have a warm, sunny, blessed week!

    1. As a fellow grown woman in my forties, I think we all need to band together and start collapsing on the ground frequently so it will become more acceptable in common society. :) By the way, that picture of Little Mister was taken after some deer out in the field who he wanted to have a meet and greet with ran away. He was so disappointed! You sure painted a vivid picture of that little boy at your church! I could picture every moment. It makes me wonder if these kids will have careers in the dramatic arts some day? Anyway, we're finally enjoying some warmer weather this week. I love fixing meals on the grill and putting my tomato seedlings outside during the day to thrive in the sun. Any other year I'd say we're out of the woods when it comes to frost but this year has been so cold and unpredictable.
      I feel sorry for your your daughter and all that homework! She needs some cookies to cheer her up and keep her going. Also, I'm glad you liked the enchiladas, they are one of my favorite meals and I like that they are healthy, too.
      Enjoy every ounce of sun, and thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  3. I love your picture! Hope you have a good time on your trip!

    1. Thanks! Our trip isn't until late summer but if we don't book things now, everything will be filled up by May. It's nice to have something to look forward to, though.

  4. Oh, my! I'm thinking we may get alerted to "suspicious activity," when we venture to go visit a loved one next month. That'll be our first real trip, since we moved two years ago.

  5. Oh, my! I'm thinking we may get alerted to "suspicious activity," when we venture to go visit a loved one next month. That'll be our first real trip, since we moved two years ago.


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