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What Is Your Prediction?

 

The headlines are blaring at us:

 

Summer 2014 is the coldest in a decade
2014 on pace to be the 3rd coldest year on record in Toledo
Coldest Dutch August in 30 years
Brisbane – Coldest in 103 years
July 2014 becomes the top tenth coldest on record
Coldest summer ever? 2014 keeps setting record low temps

Even Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with how cold this summer has been.

What does it mean? Who knows?

Some say it proves global warming theories.

Others say the globe is moving into another ice age.

The only thing I really know is that the leaves on the trees are turning red much earlier than “usual” again this year.

I first noted this phenomenon here on More Thyme on August 29, 2012 in a post titled, Fall Already?

At that time I noted:

……..the ONLY time I have seen red leaves in August was in the fall of 1977. This was the fall that preceded the Great Blizzard of 1978.

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Then last year in 2013 I noted the same thing although I did not do a post on early red leaves specifically, although I did see some. The leaves last fall dried up quickly and it was a poor fall color show as evidenced here: Fall and Halloween Delights.

Now comes 2014 and again the leaves on the trees are turning red very early – VERY EARLY. Even earlier than in 2012 and 2013.

This year I first saw leaves turning red on July 31st in Pataskala, Ohio on my candy rounds. The following week on August 7th the same tree I had seen the week before was almost half red. And there were more areas of the county that had red leaves.

The following week, on August 14th I had my camera with me and as you can see, almost the entire tree was red as were many trees in the same area.

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A tree in Gahanna, Ohio August 14th.

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Two miles down the road from this tree and almost into the city of Gahanna I saw movement in the woods on my right. It was a deer – a young buck. I slowed and stopped and it crossed the road right in front of me and went into the woods on the other side of the road. It was magnificent!

 

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Trees in Upper Arlington, Ohio on August 17th .

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Trees in Columbus near where I live on August 17th.

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What does it all portend, if anything at all?

One explanation I have read several times the last few weeks is that the cooler than usual summer this year has caused the leaves to turn red early.

I disagree with that explanation. Scientifically leaves do not turn red from cold. They turn read because as we near the fall equinox the number of hours of day light is less than in spring and summer – the days get shorter and shorter. Thus there is not enough light for photosynthesis to take place. When photosynthesis shuts down the leaves turn red and other colors.

Is Early Leaf Color a Predictor of Winter Weather?

As I said in the 2012 post, “Fall Already” the only time I had seen early red leaves the following winter the Blizzard of 1978 occurred.

Although 2012 was not a super bad winter for Ohioans the east Coast/New York got slammed with a terrific blizzard.

Then last year in 2013 the entire North American Continent had one of the worst, coldest, and snowiest winters in recent memory.

Old Farmer’s Almanac Predictions

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a, “super cold” winter in two thirds of the United States for this coming winter.

You can read this prediction here: Winter 2015.

You can get a Long Range Forecast for your area of the USA or Canada by clicking this link: Regional Predictions,

The prediction for where I live in Ohio is predicted to be, “colder than normal….with lots of snow.” *SIGH*

What is the prediction for where you live?

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Featured Recipe    Sausage Stuffed Shells

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I don’t remember any more where the original for this recipe came from.

All I know is I hate cottage cheese with a passion. I hate the way it looks, the way it smells, and tastes!

So I dropped that ingredient like a hot tamale. After trying more mozzarella and a few other cheeses I hit on and now make this recipe with cream cheese. That was the first and biggest change I made in this recipe. I added Italian Seasonings and brown sugar too.

And now that there are all these whipped crème cheeses this recipe has become better and better as I use whipped crème these days. Makes the dish much easier to make too.

The original recipe also used ground beef which you can still use. You can also use Italian sausage, or spicy hot sausage.

This is one of those recipes that is quick and easy to make but looks so fancy that people will think you cooked all afternoon. It makes a great ‘Company’s Coming ‘ recipe. And the cost is relatively low. It really looks impressive on a plate.

Here is what you will need for 3 people:

12 – 15 jumbo pasta shells

1 pound sausage

2 – 8 ounce cans tomato sauce

½ cup tomato paste

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

For the Filling

5 ounces cream cheese softened *

1½ cup shredded mozzarella, divided

1 egg lightly beaten

1 teaspoon fresh parsley

Grated Parmesan cheese – optional

* I use whipped cream cheese because it is softer and mixes easier.

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This is what you do:

Pre heat the oven to 350 F

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain.

NOTE: Cook the pasta till al dente. That is, do not over cook the shells as they will be come limp and will be very difficult to fill.

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Drain and let dry on a plate or a baking pan.

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I also cook a few extra shells because inevitably one or more will break in the boiling and you will not be able to fill them.

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Chop the parsley.

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In a large skillet cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; breaking it up as you cook it. Drain grease from the pan if any.

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Set aside half of the sausage for the shell filling.

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To the remaining sausage add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, brown sugar, and Italian seasoning to the sausage.

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Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

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To make the shell filling:

In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, egg,  about 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and the reserved sausage.

NOTE: I save some of the parsley to sprinkle on the finished dish.

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Use a teaspoon to stuff the filling into the shells.

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Now spread ½ cup of the meat sauce into an ungreased 2 quart baking dish.

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Arrange the stuffed shells on top of the meat sauce.

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Spoon the remaining sauce on top of the shells.

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Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

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Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until heated through.

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Done.

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Sprinkle the reserved parsley on top.

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Serve with a salad and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese if so desired.

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Bon appétit!!!

Cost

12 jumbo pasta shells                        $2.00

1 pound sausage                               $1.10

1 – 16 ounce can tomato sauce          $1.00

½ cup tomato paste                          $0.67

¼ cup water                                      ——

2 teaspoons brown sugar                   $0.12

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning              $0.32

For the Filling

5 ounces cream cheese                     $1.56

1½ cup shredded mozzarella             $3.39

1 egg lightly beaten                           $0.12

1 teaspoon fresh parsley                   $0.11

Grated Parmesan cheese                   $0.15

Total cost = $10.54
Cost per person (3) = $3.51

Quote of the Day

October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came – The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.

George Cooper

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The Psychology of Vegetables

 

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I don’t like it!!!

How many times do parents hear that refrain from their children when it comes to eating vegetables?

And how tiring is it for you to tell your kids they have to eat their vegetables? We use every trick in the book: “They are healthy for you.” “They will make you smart.” “They will make you strong.”

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What if I told you there was an easy – if slightly under handed – way to get your children to try vegetables?

New research out of the University of Chicago tells us that children won’t eat vegetables simply because they know they are healthy.

Young children automatically make the assumption that if a food is healthy it will not taste good.

1 ex 3Young children assume that if a food is good or healthy for them it automatically in their minds must taste horrible! In their young minds a healthy or good for you food cannot be delicious too. So they won’t eat it.

So according to this study the best way to get young children to eat vegetables is to say they are tasty, or, even better yet, say absolutely, positively nothing at all.

How did the researchers figure all of this out?

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The researchers completed five experiments with 270 preschoolers in which an experimenter read picture stories about a girl who had some food for a snack. In some stories, she was interested in the food because it was good for her, in others she was interested because the food was tasty and in some stories, there was no reason mentioned in the story for why she was interested in the food. In each case, children ate more of a food when no reason for eating it was mentioned or when it was presented yummy, than they did when they thought the food were good for them. [Emphasis mine.]

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How do you get your children to eat vegetables?
Do you think the idea expressed in today’s post is a good idea? Do you think it would work?
Featured Recipe    State Fair Subs

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While Ohio’s 2014 State Fair is over many state’s fair are either this week or soon to come. Some State fairs are in October. One is as early as February.

The recipe below is the original recipe from Taste of Home.

I have been making this recipe for years. It is very delicious.

The first time I made it I followed the directions to a “T.”

It was a colossal flop.

The main problem was the recipe calls for sprinkling cheese on top of the sub, then wrap in aluminum foil and bake.

The foil stuck to the cheese making the subs difficult to remove from the foil when done. I tried different ways to keep that from happening, but nothing worked.

If you see the picture with this recipe on line it looks like the cheese was just sprinkled on the sub when it got out of the oven. Their picture did not look like mine.

I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS!!!!

After trying several ways to avoid that problem I now I cover the bottom sub with the top sub.

I also use Italian bread now for two reasons. One, the French Bread I find in stores is so small I have too much filing left over. I do not have that problem with the Italian Bread.

Despite these issues I still love the taste of these subs.

Plus who does not like State Fair foods?  Right?

However, for me this recipe is still a work in progress.

I use the best Italian Sausage you can get in the states – Bob Evans. Some times I can find it in a roll of its own. Some times I can only find the sausage links. If all I can find is the links I take the skin off the sausages.

Bob Evans sausage is THAT good.*

* I get no remuneration in any form from anyone to say that. This is just my belief. My taste buds tell me so!

This is what you will need to feed 6 people:

1 loaf (1 pound unsliced) French bread **

2 eggs

¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

1½ cups chopped onion

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese *

* None of this low fat stuff for me. I use real mozzarella.

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Here is what you do:

Cut bread in half lengthwise;

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carefully hollow out top and bottom of loaf, leaving a 1-inch shell.

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Cube removed bread.

NOTE: I do not cube. The bread comes out in big chunks when I remove it, so I just tear it up and place in a bowl.

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In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, pepper and salt.

Add bread cubes and toss to coat; set aside.

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In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage and onion until the meat is no longer pink; drain if needed.

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Add to the bread mixture.

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Place the bread on aluminum foil large enough to wrap the sandwich in. Spoon filling into bread shells………

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………sprinkle with cheese.

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Put the top half of the sub on top of the bottom half.

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Wrap each in foil. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Remove from oven and unwrap.

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Cut into serving-size slices. Serve with fruit or a salad.

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Bon appétit!!!
Cost

2 loaves Italian Loaves                       $2.99

2 eggs                                              $0.36

¼ cup milk                                        $0.48

½ teaspoon pepper                            ——

¼ teaspoon salt                                 ——

1 pound bulk Italian sausage               $2.99

1½ cups chopped onion                      $0.68

2 cups mozzarella cheese                   $2.99

Total cost = $10.49
Cost per serving (6) = $1.75

Quote of the Day

Most vegetables are something God invented to let women get even with their children. A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels Sprouts never do.

P. J. O’ Rourke

The Bachelor Home Companion

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The Road Not Taken

 

Earlier this week I was out taking pictures for my annual fall picture essay when I came across this scene.

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Immediately it reminded me of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken.

I don’t know why, but I have always loved this poem from the first time I read it to today. It resonates with me for some reason.

So for no particular reason I decided to share it with you today.

Is there a road you have not taken? Has that decision, “made all the difference? Did it change your life? For good or ill?

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The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

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Featured Recipe        Nutty Pork Chops     

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I call this recipe nutty cause well, because I am really more than a bit nutty.

This is a very tasty dish as well as being quick and easy. This is a great recipe for busy nights. And busy nights are almost every night. Right?

This is what you will need for 3 – 4 people:

3-4 medium thick pork chops

3-4 tablespoons flour

1 egg

5 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons nuts of your choice – walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts

Zest of 1 lemon

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

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Here is what you do:

Lightly salt and pepper the chops.

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Beat the egg , crush the nuts, zest the lemon.

I use the rolling pin to crush the nuts because 3 Tablespoons is just not enough nuts to bring out – and clean up – the processor! I am so lazy!

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Place the bread crumbs in a bowl or container large enough to hold a pork chop. Mix the chopped nuts and the zested lemon into the breadcrumbs.

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Place the flour in a separate bowl as well. Then set up an assembly line by placing the bowls in this order: flour, egg, crumbs. Place the chops to the left and a plate to hold the coated pork chops

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Here is how you coat the chips:

Dredge the chops first in the flour, then the egg, and last in the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess. Then place ion a plate till all chops are coated.

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Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.

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Add the chops and fry for 6-8 minutes on each side depending on thickness of your chops.  (To 145 degrees F on instant read thermometer, to be safe.)

NOTE: I forgot to put the oil in the picture of the Ingredient List above. Here it is.

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NOTE:  However, do not over cook as overcooked pork is tasteless and tough. You don’t want that!

Add the butter to the pan right before you remove the chops. Turn the chops over to coat both sides with the butter.

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Serve with a salad.

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Bon appétit!!!
Cost

3 medium thick pork chops               $4.80

4 tablespoons flour                          $0.32

1 egg                                             $0.14

5 tablespoons breadcrumbs              $0.55

3 tablespoons hazelnuts                   $1.17

1 lemon                                          $1.09 ***

3-4 tablespoons olive oil                   $0.46

2 tablespoon butter                          $0.16

Salt and pepper to taste

*** Can you believe the cost of lemons these days? Crazy!!!

Total cost = $8.69
Cost per chop = $2.90

Quote of the Day

Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself.

William Hazlitt

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