There are times that show us that we are not in control. We had one of those these past few days with a weather inspired staycation. Regardless of what we had planned for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, many of us were iced in, and all plans that involved driving were put on hold for many people. We knew for days that snow and ice were coming, and that due to the plunging temperatures, it would be with us for a few days. We did not receive as much snow as predicted, but the ice was treacherous. There were some people who did navigate the snow and ice and went about their normal routines due to their jobs requiring such. I am thankful for the nurses, firefighters, and others who leave their families and forge on to their places of work while others of us are granted the gift of an unplanned few days at home. They make it possible for others to get the help and assistance needed by risking their own safety and comfort.
Since we knew in advance that the weather would likely keep many inside for a few days, the grocery stores had the expected run on milk and bread, which were the main items I purchased. With a freezer full of food, there was plenty to cook, although I did not plan what I would cook, nor inventory needed ingredients. The turkey and turkey carcasses from Thanksgiving were just waiting to be made into a soup and pot pie. I found myself getting creative a few times, and enjoyed the results. The pot pie recipe called for leeks and turnips, and I had neither, but I did have spinach and peas, and they provided the color, and for me, a better taste than turnips. The pie crust I wanted to make required lard, which I did not have, so I googled pastry made with butter, and found an easy recipe for that, with a cooking tip I will use in other recipes. The tip is to freeze the butter, then grate it, which made it much easier to cut into the flour than chopped butter. What did we ever do before google?!
I was surprised that I lost two pounds while eating such good food, and attribute that to not eating fast food, as well as being mindful of what I did eat. My New Year’s commitment to lose weight is proceeding well, thankfully. From previous experience, I know that one of the hardest aspects of losing weight is just getting started, and I have started. I am not being aggressive with this weight loss plan, being happy with a one to two-pound loss per week.
When I wasn’t cooking, I was cleaning out closets that sorely needed the attention. Had I not had this weather interruption, the closets would have waited for the attention, for who knows how long. It was therapeutic to be able to spend the time on that task.
Cooking and cleaning were possible and even enjoyable because we did not lose power. We also kept fires burning with the firewood provided by our son-in-law from their large tree downed in the recent weather disruption of Hurricane Matthew.
In addition to being able to slow down and spend time cooking and cleaning due to our weather challenges, there were lessons learned that I hope will stay with me now that our schedules have returned to normal.
The first lesson is to go with the flow. When life interrupts us, if we can just move with it and not fight it, it often provides some needed benefits. The gift of time to cook nurturing and healthy food and to clean out closets provided an opportunity to do needed chores in a leisurely manner. It was indeed a gift.
The second lesson is to be resourceful and creative when you realize that you do not have what you need. This involved substituting similar items for missing ingredients when cooking. I found that olive oil can be substituted for other oil in making Nana Bread (our grandchildren’s name for my friendship bread) and there were no negative results. The bread rose the same and tasted the same.
The third lesson is to find the blessings when things happen that can’t be controlled. Regardless of our plans and planning, life gives us detours and interruptions. This is like going with the flow mentioned previously. Finding the blessings sometimes requires that we dig deep. Our weather interruption was a minor event, so finding the blessings was easy to do. We had very little scheduled that had to be rescheduled. Time to slow down and sit by a warm fire is rare, and being able to do so provided some needed respite from a busy holiday season. Had this weather interruption happened when we had a wedding planned, such as many experienced in the Southeast with Hurricane Matthew in October, I would have had to dig deep to find the blessings in that. But I am sure some did. We are resilient.
Our schedules have now returned to normal. Most of the snow and ice has melted, most people are back at work, and mail delivery has resumed. While cooking for hours and sitting by a warm fire are now memories, I hope the lessons provided by our weather disruption remain front row center in my mind.