Sunday, December 28, 2014

Poor Pitiful Pearl

When I got out of bed this morning and had my morning conversation with Sophie, I thought I was unusually cold. Temperature in the house was mid-sixties and falling. Now, 64 makes a lovely fall day outdoors; indoors it makes for a darn cold house. Being a natural-born mechanic (not!) I fiddled with the thermostat. The furnace kicked on--for about two minutes and quit. It did that periodically during the morning. Lit the gas logs in the fireplace--they add a cheery sense of warmth but not much heat unless you stand right before the fire. Called my neighbor, Jay, and he brought over a small heater for the office, which was soon a comfortably warm space. When I had to venture out, I felt like a pioneer having to go to the barn to feed the animals in a blizzard. I was debating where to sleep and decided on the apartment. Jay advised me to go turn the heat on right away, and that triggered a belated thought--the apartment is heated with portable electric heaters that look sort of like old-fashioned radiators. Both are now inside, one in the bedroom and one  in the kitchen. Not perfect, but they do take the chill off. This afternoon I crawled into bed under three blankets and had a cozy nap--didn't want to get up. The furnace company called about noon, and I assure them I'd live, so they said they'd be over first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, the temperature inside and out is falling.
Spent most of the day holed up in the office, re-formatting a manuscript. At one point, the screen suddenly went blank, and I tried to remember when I'd last saved my work. Rebooted and discovered a good thing about Windows 8--it saves work even when you don't. So I didn't lose anything.
The final blow came about five when I was at my desk--leaned over to pick up a paper that had fallen on the floor and had a sharp pain in my left hip. Discovered it hurt to walk but gets a little better with movement. I'm still limping but it needs to go away by tomorrow--too much to do.
I limped around the kitchen, watching the news while I made comfort food: tuna/noodle casserole. I'm sure I've shared this before, but here's my secret method of making that dish that so many scorn with bad memories from childhood:

1 c. white wine
Assorted dried herbs—thyme, parsley, oregano, summer savory, tarragon, etc. (avoid Mexican spices like cumin); just throw the spices into the wine
1 small onion, chopped
½ c. celery, diced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 7½-oz. can water-packed tuna, drained
1 c. carb filler of choice, cooked—noodles or rice
½ c. green peas
1 small can French’s fried onion rings
Boil wine with herbs until the herbs turn black (about five minutes). Remove from heat.
Meanwhile sauté onion in butter. Add this to wine, along with soup. Add tuna, drained, or 1 cup diced chicken or turkey, the carb filler, and green peas for color. If there’s not enough liquid for your solid ingredients, add more wine. You can also vary the amount of meat and noodles or rice to suit your taste. Put into casserole dish and top with canned fried onion rings. The size casserole dish you use will depend on how big you make your casserole, but it’s best to have a shallow dish so that more of the casserole gets fried onion topping. Bake at 350° until bubbly and onions are brown.

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