Tag Archives: Weather

Obligatory Snow Post

Polar vortex. Arctic blast. COLD COLD COLD. I’m sure many of you have seen and heard about the ridiculous amount of snow and cold the Midwest and Northeast has received, but I am still in shock over all of it.

Snowmageddon, as we refer to it here in the Mitten State, happened two years ago in February and it was pretty bad (or so we thought). We got roughly 8-9 inches, and it was cold, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Then this year. This was the real Snowmageddon. Ever since early December, we’ve received snowfall with a fair amount of accumulations every weekend or so. Christmas we received a lot of snow (ice storm up by my parents), same goes for New Years, and now this past weekend.

Saturday I took full advantage of the sun and somewhat warm temperatures and took the dog on a much needed walk around the neighborhood. It’s a good thing I did, because the snow came later that night.

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As you can see, the snow was still pretty deep for him even then. So then that afternoon into that evening, the whole winter storm advisories came through, the warning of cold temps headed our way during the week came in, and we just kind of shrugged and said “bring it.” …and oh, was it brought’n! I woke up on Sunday and couldn’t believe the amount of snow we had received and how much was still falling.

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I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it was pretty awful. REB and I shoveled three times together on Sunday. Since we have a corner lot, we’re also responsible for the sidewalk/easement that runs alongside our house and in front, so by the time we were done with all of that, we had to re-shovel the driveway because it had accumulated again. He even shoveled late that night around 11 once he was done working out!

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We had already received emails about working from home on Monday, or having a snow day, so it was at least nice that we had another day at home.

Not when you have to shovel though. Again.

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We have some wonderful neighbors with heavy duty snow blowers and they actually came through and cleared all the driveways in our cul de sac, and the sidewalks that run in front of and alongside the houses. Note to self: make cookies for said neighbors as a HUGE thank you. However, that didn’t stop REB and I from shoveling. Because of the wind and the temps dropping, we had a fair amount of drift, which blocked our garage door leading out to the backyard, so we had to shovel all that away and also shovel a path for the dog so he could actually get into the backyard to TCB. We appropriately named him Sir Stumpinton since watching him hop around in our yard with snow up to his neck, was pretty derp and cute.

So the final tally for Ann Arbor was 10-11 inches, but in some areas of our yard we had accumulations of up to 17 inches. My parents (1 hour north) got roughly 17 inches, which tops out the most in the Lower Peninsula for Michigan.

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View from our driveway

And finally I had to take the obligatory picture of me next to one of those snowbanks.

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The last time I took a picture with a snowbank as tall as me, was when my family and I lived in Houghton, MI in the UP. I was about 7 or 8 years old then. And believe me, being a kid in a blizzard/snowstorm situation is way more fun than having to deal with it as an adult. I think we’re supposed to get more snow this week, but because the temps are in the negatives (with wind chills at -42 or something ridiculous), we may not have as much accumulation. Here’s hoping!

So, I hope everyone stays safe and stays warm! And for those of you in warmer climates and states…send us some of that sunshine, will ya? :)

 

Easy Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho

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If any of you follow the weather or look at your smartphones at the weather map, you already know that it has been ridiculously cold throughout the country this week. With wind chills in the negatives and the highs in the single digits, this January weather has not made my morning commutes all that pleasant.

My coworker Rob and I ride the same bus in the morning, and our mean bus driver refuses to drop us off closer to work like other buses do. She has no pity for us and she isn’t a morning person. With our transit center in town being rebuilt, the buses are lined up across the street from it. Not a huge deal, except it adds about 2 minutes of walking to our normal walk to the office. Also not a big deal, except when it’s -6 degrees with a windchill of -20, so by the time you do get to the office, your legs are nonexistent, as is your face.

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And hey, I dress for cold weather. I live in Michigan, I’m not an idiot. But no matter how warm you dress, or how many layers you wear, or how tight you have your scarf, nothing can prepare you for that cold that hits your face gets when you step off the warm bus. Then when you get home your dog, who has a double coat and is made for weather like this, wants to play outside. And since the light is staying out longer each day, you feel guilt if you don’t play fetch with him in the backyard before you feed him.

Routine, people. I’m getting used to it. Cold weather. Also getting used to it. I have to come to terms with the fact that we most likely will not have an unusually warm winter like we did last year. Sad truth. But there are things you can do to help.

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And that’s to make soup. Not just any soup. Vietnamese soup or Pho. So that’s exactly what I did. I’ve never made pho before but I have had it and if I didn’t live in Ann Arbor – the city where hippies and yuppies coexist harmoniously – I might not be able to find decent vegetarian pho that isn’t made with meat broth. There are several places that make some decent pho around here, but I decided to try making it myself.

And you know what? It was PHOnomenal. See what I did there?

Try it. It’s delicious and while I did use a shortcut to make this version, it turned out great, reheated great (for REB after class), and kept me warm while watching Full House reruns. Don’t judge me. I’ll never tire of Uncle Jesse and the whole gang.

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Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho
 
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Easy Vietnamese noodle soup to warm you up this winter.
Author:
Recipe type: soup, noodle soup, vegetarian
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian, Soups
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 carton (4 cups) Vegetarian Pho soup base (Pacific natural foods brand or similar)
  • 1 small ginger root, peeled and cut into discs
  • 2 Serrano peppers (jalalpeno is fine), sliced into discs
  • 2 tablespoons Lite soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and sliced
  • 8 oz. (half a block) extra firm tofu, sliced thin into strips or squares
  • 8 oz. Stir fry rice noodles
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • Garnishes: cilantro, basil, Serrano peppers and lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Start by bringing a large pot of water to boil – about 20 minutes
  2. While the water comes to a boil, pour the entire carton of soup base into a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the soy sauce, ginger discs and sliced Serrano pepper and heat through stirring occasionally.
  3. In a separate pan or skillet heat the olive oil.
  4. When it is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until browned and tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove the mushrooms, transfer to small bowl and set side.
  6. In the same pan, add the tofu slices and cook until browned on all side, another 8-10 minutes.
  7. When cooked, add the tofu to the simmering broth
  8. When the water is boiling, remove from heat and add the rice noodles. Let them sit/soak in the hot water for 8 minutes until softened.
  9. When done, drain and rinse noodles under cold water.
  10. TO ASSEMBLE:
  11. Divide noodles among all bowls.
  12. Ladle some of of the broth over noodles, enough to slightly submerge them.
  13. Top bowls with tofu slices and mushrooms (about 2-3 pieces of tofu per bowl, a few mushrooms)
  14. Add your garnishes and squeeze lime wedge before serving
  15. Enjoy!

 

What foods are keeping you warm this winter?