The ND State Library scheduled its spring workshops for this week, and Susan signed up for the sessions to be presented in Bismarck today and tomorrow. Unfortunately Mother Nature scheduled an unusually severe multi-state blizzard that got to SW ND this afternoon and is forecast to be very unpleasant through Wednesday. Susan left for Bismarck yesterday while the gettin' was good, and she stayed with her brother, Jerrett, who lives in Mandan. She wasn't supposed to return until tomorrow night, but the workshop organizers sent her home today, shutting things down before the full force of the weather could do it for them. The last half-hour stretch of the drive home took her an hour, but she did make it home just in time to join us for supper, its preparation already in progress.
Yes, I was Mr. Kitchen three nights in a row! After Scandinavian Saturday, we had leftovers that Suzanna helped me transform for supper last night. We created a savory pork gravy and let the meatballs simmer in it and soak up the flavor. We made pork stuffing to go along with it, and we took the vanilla-infused rutabaga and "savoried it up" with onion soup mix and bacon and fried it into a hash. The girls gobbled it all up! For dessert, we took the remainder of the fresh blueberries, heated them up in the juice of an orange and some vanilla extract, and used it as a topping for vanilla ice cream. Delicious.
After I picked the girls up from school today, we bought a few groceries for supper, and I got to work in the kitchen as they worked on homework and practiced their piano lessons. I fried some Italian sausage, chopped onions, red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, mushrooms, celery, and pressed garlic in olive oil and then added tomato sauce, brown sugar, pepper, and Merlot to simmer into a rich sauce. I made whole-wheat rotini pasta, tossed it in the tomato sauce, and topped it with shredded cheese and grated Parmesan.
I made a tossed salad of mixed greens (including radicchio and spinach) and crunchy vegetables: the three colors of bell pepper (above), cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, green onions, and carrots, all served with croutons, bacon topping, and a variety of dressings. We also had focaccia breadsticks covered in the roasted seed combination used for "everything" bagels. Susan returned home by suppertime and poured some white Zinfandel for her and me, and the meal was complete. Oh, except for dessert: vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, just delivered to me today by a coworker from whose daughter we bought them.
Our bellies are full, the kitchen is clean, Susan is home, the girls are tucked into bed, and now I'm watching the weather. It's getting worse and supposed to worsen further still, and I'm wondering how early I will have to get up to get the driveway cleaned in order to get everyone off to school tomorrow . . . if there even is school tomorrow. I don't like snow days; it's annoying for me to reschedule missed appointments and rework course schedules to cover missed topics in fewer class days. Unfortunately, the forecasters are making it sound as though that's very likely. All the snow has melted away from most of the yards and streets around here, so it's bizarre to consider a full-fledged blizzard again!
Around the state, many communities have it even worse: the spring melts have flooded some towns and threatened to do so to others, and the snow that we're getting is predicted to melt in the return to high temperatures at the end of the week, serving as a hassle now in terms of shutting down travel with snowy, icy roads and as a hassle later in terms of adding more water to already bursting-at-the-seams rivers and lakes. Having survived The Flood of '97, I can say that I'd much rather deal with snowblowing than with pre-flood sandbagging and post-flood mucking out of basements.