March Madness


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It has certainly been a long gray freezing snowy icy cold slog of a winter. In my 67 years on this bog blue marble the 2013-2014 winter season is certainly the longest, coldest, iciest, frigid, freezing, and snowiest winter I have ever experienced.

I think almost everyone is yearning for spring this year.

And just as it has done for millenniums spring will come only on the March Equinox “when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. ”    [ Source: ]

That day and that time in Columbus, Ohio where I l live will be on this coming Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 12:57 p.m.

You can find the exact time the spring equinox arrives where you live by clicking the link above.

I can hardly wait!

Unfortunately, the arrival of the Equinox does not assure warm or what we mean by spring like weather. The temperatures may still be cold and snow can still fall.

Alas, that date and time does not mean that weather will get any warmer or that colorful flowers will bloom with abandon erasing all memories of gray and white vistas. 1 daffodils 2

It takes several weeks for spring to warm up the land, as last year proved in spades. Here in Columbus last year the trees did not get significant leaves until June, as I wrote about in The Never Ending Winter .

Mother Nature does not seem to care whether we yearn for warm temperatures.  She does not care that we seek sun light. She does not care if we are warm or cold. She does not care if we long for delicate colorful flowers dancing on a warm gentle wind. It is like earth is her doll house and we are her toy dolls and she moves us and the weather around on a gigantic Chess Board at her whim.

Just remember the year with no summer at all. That’s right – NO SUMMER AT ALL.

But of course we humans believe that we have dominion over this globe and the universe as well.

Seasonal weather patterns are what we humans would call a crazy and unorganized system. Humans like to order things ~ 1 to 100; A to Z; top to bottom. For instance, we took time and divided it up into seconds, minutes, hours days, weeks, months, and years.  And we expect the Universe to abide by our orders and patterns.

Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way!

Mother Nature proves us wrong time and again, year in and year out. She outsmarts just for laughs. She teases us unmercifully. She plays us like fools.

And there is nothing we can do about it!

So I guess we just have to accept what she dishes out to us.

And quite frankly, I d rather be alive and cold here on earth than six feet under not seeing or hearing any of the glorious changes of the seasons and all the other beauty of this Big Blue Marble no matter when they arrive.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, hope, wish, and day dream.

With that in mind I share with you some springs of the past with glorious music with spectacular flowers blooming.


André Rieu – Spring Flowers




And more spring with:

Spring Flowers – blooming marvelous






Featured Recipe    Beef with Bok Choy and Rice



Today I am using Flat Iron Steak in the recipe I am sharing with you.  Some of you may not have heard about this cut of beef.

Flat Iron Steak is cut of beef from behind the shoulder of the cow.

You can get the best information on this cut of meat from Wise Geek:

The flat iron steak is a cut of beef which was discovered by researchers at the University of Nebraska. The researchers were trying to figure out how to use traditionally less desirable cuts of beef, and in the process, they found this extremely tender cut of meat…….


Like many steaks, flat iron steak certainly benefits from being marinated. It does extremely well on the grill, and can also be prepared like other steaks would be. Just as with high quality steak, overcooking tends to turn the meat stringy and dry, rather than tender and moist.

If you want to read the entire very short article, click the link above.

Flat Iron is a tasty and inexpensive cut of beef. That is why I like it

This is what you will need for 4 people:

2 cups cooked rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound flat iron steak*

1 medium onion

3- 4 heads baby bok choy

¼ cup  warm water

1 teaspoon beef granules

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Dash of ginger

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Sesame seeds for garnish


* If you cannot find flat iron steak, flank  steak works just as well but is double the cost. A top blade or sirloin steak works as well, but adjust cooking times accordingly.

Here is what you do:

Bring the steak to room temperature. Salt and pepper the steak very lightly.


Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Rinse the bok choy.  Cut off the bottom tough ends. Discard. Discard the very teeniest leaves too.  Also cut off the tough whitest parts of some of the longer leaves too.



Cut the onion in half and then thinly slice.


Add the beef granules to the ¼ cup of water and stir until granules are dissolved.


In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and sugar.


Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and cook the steak over medium high heat 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare.

NOTE: Make sure your hood fan is on high unless…..unless  you want the fire fighters to come to dinner, or you like the screeching sound of your smoke detector.



Tent the steak and let stand for 5 minutes.


Lower the heat to medium high and cook the onion until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.


Add the bok choy and the ¼ cup water with beef granules  and simmer, covered, until just tender about 2-3 minutes.


Now add the soy sauce and vinegar mixture to the bok choy and bring to a boil.


Lower the heat to low and cover1-2 minutes.


While the bok choy is simmering slice the steak on the diagonal……….


……….remove the lid from the bok choy………


………and add the sliced steak to  the skillet along with any accumulated juices and cook, tossing, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes or to desired doneness.


Serve with the rice and a Miso Soup. [Instant Miso Soup can be found in most grocery stores, or an Asian store.]


Bon appétit!!!

2 cups cooked rice                $0.36

1 tablespoon vegetable oil     $0.08

1 pound flat iron steak           $7.76

1 medium onion                    $0.53

3-4 heads baby bok choy        $2.31

¼ cup  warm water                ——

1 teaspoon beef granules       $0.43

¼ cup soy sauce                   $1.56

2 tablespoons rice vinegar      $0.29

Dash of ginger                       $0.16

1 tablespoon brown sugar      $0.20

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Sesame seeds        $0.27

Total Cost = $13.95
Cost per person = $3.49

Quote of the Day

NOTE: Leave it to Mark Twain to say it best:

In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

Mark Twain


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8 comments to March Madness

  • The recipe looks terrific! Very creative. Well, round here our daffodils have come and gone. I’m planting my garden (put a tomato plant in yesterday- don’t kill me) and it’s all spring all the time. We still need rain desperately.
    But no worries. Weather is weather is weather and we’ve been in a mini-ice age for a couple years. Maybe we’ll have 40 more years? I’m trying to figure out where the Canadians will go when their cities are covered by glaciers. Probably come to California.

    • Roberta

      Daffoldils……a daffodil, a daffodil, a daffodil for my kingdom. OH! I don’t have a kingdom, do I? Then any thing for a daffodil. You are so lucky.

      Rain? heard on radio at work today that mid-California had a pretty significant earth quake this morning. 4. something. But no damage.

      Yes. We have been or are moving toward a mini-ice age for several years now. If Canada has glaciers I think Northern California will too. We are all doomed, especially if the Wisconsin Glacier makes a return.

  • I am just a little worried that the Big Blue Marble has decided to teach us a more severe lesson this year and has banished Spring to the same black hole that seems to have swallowed the Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

    Like you, I would rather be here and whining about another (seemingly) never ending winter than 6 feet under.

    As a newcomer to the former temperate zones which are about to be re-named sub Arctic, I think when Canada does become covered by a thicker layer of glacial ice than our driveway is today, I will head further South than California.

    As close to the equator as possible, Brazil? Ecuador?

    • Roberta

      That is one gigantic black hole that has that airplane. The only bigger black hole is the brain of the Malaysian spokes people who think we believe them.

      Yes. Should there be another glacial age in my life time I am going to Tahiti.

  • I can’t wait for spring! Here in frozen Indiana, we hope that the snow will be all melted by mid July! My boyfriend and I both love asian food! It looks delicious. Maybe I will make it for him soon…Hugs to you!


    • Roberta

      Great to see you, Kate! Hope all is well. All of our snow is gone, but still below average temps. I too can’t wait for spring. 🙂

  • I really enjoy André Rieu and I’m quite fond of springtime. It will be winter soon and I’ll have to start wearing shoes. 🙂 I could make your steak dinner and I wouldn’t think about the weather for a minute.

    • Roberta

      I like André Rieu too. His music touches my soul. I like steak almost ant way it is fixed.

      Oh No! Shoe time again.