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Cold weather is finally here

Tina Specht

Finally, the cold weather has hit! I love cold weather but not with the rain. I don’t mind if it snows for a minute and then goes away in a week. I could handle that! I know most of the people in the south do not like cold weather! What is winter without a bit of cold? I don’t enjoy 70 and 80 degrees in the winter. Yes, we are in the south but we don’t live in Florida or Hawaii! I say three seasons, summer, winter, and spring for a minute. 

I want to enjoy the winter without snow. I have had my share of winters and snow. A lot of times it would start snowing in October and not leave until May. We got married at the end of May and it snowed two days before our wedding. 

Yes, winter is fun for a while but after a month of it, you are done. When you have to shovel your “dooryard” to just get out of the driveway. When you have to climb out of your window just to shovel the walkway just to get out the door. I am being serious! This has truly happened to me.  It is not fun.  

Or you are at work all day only to come home and not get in your driveway because it had snowed and the plows came by and blocked your driveway with all that heavy snow and ice that was on the road.

Since moving south 29 years ago we really haven’t had too bad of winters. I do remember the winter of 1994. It was the first of February and my son was just about a month old. We had one of the biggest ice storms ever. The whole town shut down for about a week. Then power was out for a lot for about three weeks. It was crazy.  

I have decided that I was not going to travel north in the wintertime. The past couple of weeks have not been great for my family. My mom comes from a family of 12. Her brother died suddenly and a lot went up to Canada. My first thought was that I need to do whatever it takes and get up there. He was very special to me.  

Then, I stopped and thought things through. I can work from anywhere, but up there I can’t. I tried this past summer and the service is bad for me. I also thought, I can’t wear what I have here up there. I have what I consider winter clothes for the south but I would freeze to death up there. I don’t have the proper boots.  I also could get stuck up there for days or weeks. The weather is unpredictable. So I decided to stay put. I can help from here where I can and pray for the family. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do but I had to put me and my family first. All was understood and everything is getting taken care of.

What is more important is to love your family now while you can. I’ve made great memories with my uncle and I will cherish them forever. I got to spend time with him this past summer. Sweet memories. Don’t wait until a funeral happens and have regrets. Love now, forgive often and give much grace.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, drained, divided

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Sliced jalapeno pepper, optional

Directions

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook chicken and onion in oil until lightly browned. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low. With a potato masher, mash one can of beans until smooth. Add to saucepan. Add remaining beans to saucepan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and onion is tender.

Top each serving with cheese and, if desired, jalapeno pepper.

Freeze option: Freeze cooled chili in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add broth or water if necessary.