Hello and welcome to the blog! What a cold spell! This week we were in the heart of the frigid “polar vortex” system. On Thursday morning the temperature reached -29 degrees in Jones County. Many daily records were shattered around Iowa. The van started but she groaned a little at the arctic temps. This old body felt the same way! Jenny took a few steps outside and immediately ran back in the door.
Work was canceled on all of last Wednesday and the first half of Thursday due to extreme cold and more snow. In light of things, I didn’t mind a break. The work climate was more frigid than the commute. 🙂
Well, a few weeks ago I’d intended to pass along good news about work but it didn’t materialize. Recently I was that told no decision was made to hire me and there was concern if I would be a good fit. It came as no surprise. The only people in our training group who got jobs were in their 20s and 30s. Two guys (57 and 61 years old) had already been dismissed — “the contract-to-fire” program as I call it.
Recently it was very gently suggested I could give a two week notice but I declined to do that, stating it was preferable to remain there as a temp. It seemed to catch them off-guard a bit. In the meantime, I’m saving $3 out of every hour’s pay. Why quit now? 🙂 🙂
With the cold weather, I decided to come up with a crock pot meal that would satisfy the belly and comfort the soul. The dish used pheasant parts but one could substitute some chicken.
Creamy Chicken Broccoli Mac ‘n’ Cheese
1 + 1/2 cups boneless poultry, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
8 ounces Velveeta
1 cup chicken broth
1.5 cups broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup half ‘n’ half or as needed
2-3 cloves pressed garlic
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
Combine chicken, soups, broth, broccoli, Velveeta, and garlic in the crock pot. Cook for about 3 hours on low. Add in the macaroni and cook about another 45 minutes, checking for desired doneness of pasta (I like to overcook it so the noodles are soft like dumplings). Reserve the half ‘n’ half and use to thin down the mixture if it becomes too thick. I like it thick but one could thin it further to be more of a soup texture.
The temperature soared to 44 on Sunday. On Thursday the high was just -15! Talk about crazy bipolar Iowa weather. Today Jenny sat on the railing of the deck while I cleaned up the last of the ice and snow in the driveway. No jacket was needed all day. Unfortunately, more rain, snow, and single digit weather is coming this next week. Old Man Winter is not being too nice to us these days.
That’s about it for now. Once we get a little warmer it will be back to work camping… if I still have a job. No worries. In the meantime, there are more cooking ideas to try. There will definitely be some outdoor fun before too long.
Safe and happy traveling and camping.
Brad, Jenny, and Duke
Jones County, Iowa