Realistic Cooking Ideas

for Busy People! And sharing our life adventures along the way!

November 2014 two cars one road

Every winter storm has its own story. This one is called “SnoVember” – a winter storm in November and officially it is still Fall! Our official snowfall is 78 inches, which 6 ½ feet! The snow has finally stopped and many of the travel bans have been lifted or reduced to advisories. More than 20 towns and villages had driving bans for at least 4-days and most streets did not see a plow until late in the week. But even if driving bans are lifted – that does not mean the roadways are clear of snow. Many roads have reduced lanes since the plows only cleared one lane in each direction. Drivers need to be careful navigating their vehicles down these snow covered, rutted roads. The cover picture is a road that handles two lanes of traffic – but with the snow only one lane. Many people are still snowed in or their vehicles were outside and must be dug out. A lot of vehicles were abandoned and then towed. If you were towed by the county there are designated places to go find your vehicle. But expect some damage from the towing and bring a shovel to dig it out! If a private contractor towed you – good luck finding where they left your vehicle. Those people are having a problem finding their vehicle. Unfortunately these storms can be deadly and 12-people did die. One was a young man from Pennsylvania who came with his father to assist and he was killed in an accident. Several died from cardiac arrest from shoveling their driveways and a few died in their trapped vehicles. Very sad, indeed.

We did get out today and took a few pictures and videos of the conditions. I am still uploading the videos and will share them tomorrow. The below vehicle may have been damaged by a plow – especially if it was buried under 6 feet of snow.
November 2014 car damaged by plow

Over the next couple days, the temperatures are going to increase and we have emergency teams ready for the pending flooding. With over 6 feet in our neighborhoods, if the town does not truck it out we will be concerned about flooding. The payloader can shovel the snow into a truck but there needs to be a location to dump that snow, which becomes a problem. We will get temperatures into the 60’s F and right now we are at about 40F and it has been raining off and on today. It is cold and damp. Yesterday it was about 20F with some sun so it was easier to be outside. In Buffalo we are resourceful – we can use snow to keep our beverages cold!

November 2014 snow as a beverage cooler

Emergencies are always a concern during these snowstorms. Volunteer firemen were out digging out fire hydrants and they dug a path through our streets to get a neighbor to the hospital. Greg talked to him last night – he is home and is doing well. Other times they might send in a payloader to quickly dig a path to get the person to the hospital. This was the case for a young woman who went into labor. Mercy flight can come in to air lift someone as long as a spot can be cleared for them to land. This was used when a young man fell off the roof of a mobile home trying to clear off the snow.

November 19 2014 Winter Storm 4

Buffalo New York is known as “The City of Good Neighbors”. We are willing to help each other out whether it is to unbury a vehicle, check on a neighbor to see if they need anything, or bring over a hot meal. Below are candid shots of neighbors helping each other. Our one neighbor hired a front loader to plow out our neighborhood – very generous! Another neighbor brought over his vehicle to help people get on their roofs to remove the heavy snow. Notice that even with the snow everyone is smiling and laughing.

November 2014 clearing off a roof

November 2014 Winter Storm Neighbors helping each other
November 2014 whatever it takes to help

This could be your view backing out of your driveway.
November 2014 your view backing out of your driveway

And there is always alternate transportation!
November 2014 another mode of transportation

Yep the snow banks are high! To give you a perspective, I am 5 feet 2 inches.
November 2014 me in front of snow

I wonder if we will ever get mail again!
November 2014 our mailbox

Greg and I got out a bit since the driving ban is lifted. Below are a few pictures from the car. The first is our local gas station!

November 2014 gas station

This is Kone King – an outdoor ice cream business. Closed for winter and nobody could get close to it!
November 2014 kone king

The 6+ feet of snow is fun when you need to turn onto roadways – basically this is your visibility in a car – basically creep out and hope there is no one when you pull out or that they can stop!
November 2014 car visibility

November 20 Winter Storm 20

This is a term my husband coined “A Driveway Going Nowhere”. He has spent numerous hours clearing the driveway and then it ends at our cul de ‘sac that is filled with 4 – 5 feet of snow. We are going nowhere quick!! We woke up Tuesday morning snow bound and so far that has not changed!! We just went through Phase 2 of this storm! The towns cannot keep up with the snow fall with many of the plows being undersized to handle the deep, heavy snow. Some of the plows are actually stuck in snow banks / drifts or are broken. Many people like us have not seen a town plow nor the national guard. There was a lot of discussion today on whether the Buffalo Bills would play their home football game this Sunday. Our football stadium is outdoors with more than 4 feet of snow! They asked if emergency personnel could be at the stadium on Sunday and of course the request was denied. We still have people stranded in their homes, streets not plowed, and ten people have died in this storm. After much time the NFL decided to postpone it and move the game to another city.

Many business roof have collapsed and a senior citizen home was evacuated because of a fear the roof would collapsed. People are walking to the store in bitter cold temperatures and through deep snow. Many of us are working remotely from home trying to be business as normal for our customers who are not impacted by the storm. Today I am sharing more pictures from outside and late tonight a front loader plow came into our neighbor. But it was not from the town or the national guard. A neighbor who had hired the plow driver to clear her business drive way asked him to come to our neighborhood – on her dime. She is very generous because he was in our cul de ‘sac for about 90-minutes and she paid him to clear the other cul de ‘sacs. We have no idea on when we might see anyone from the town or state. Someone needs to truck out this snow because the temperatures are going to get warmer and we will have major flooding. They are already putting in place teams for the pending floods!! Some of my pictures are a taken at night so please excuse the quality. The video is taken at night of the front loader plowing our cul de ‘sac. If you never seen this type of snow removal, you might find it interesting. Tomorrow I will take some photos of the huge snow pile in our cul de ‘sac!

We are hopeful to be dug out properly and the driving ban lifted by Sunday so we can go to Denny’s for breakfast! Yes, that is our goal – to be able to get out of the house by Sunday! The downstream problems include grocery stores not getting any deliveries to restock their shelves, no mail, no packages, and hopefully none of our bills will be late.

November 20 Winter Storm 21

Below is a picture of our back garden in the summer. One of my favorite pictures with my Doctor Who mug! Now take a look at it!
Our Gardens
November 20 Winter Storm 3

Both sides of our patio have a different type of juniper than our back garden. They are 6 – 7 feet and fairly mature. Take a look at the ones that are on the left side of the patio and the poor ones on the right hand side. It is crushed under the weight of the snow. Hopefully they will bounce back – they usually do. But this is an extreme storm!
November 20 Winter Storm 1
November 20 Winter Storm 2

Below is a picture of our garden shed and the big white blob are our junipers – same as the above picture. Look at how high the snow is in front of our garden shed. No way we can get into it! The picture below show you how high the snow is.
November 20 Winter Storm 4
November 20 Winter Storm 5

The below pictures are not the best. They are taken at night and through a window but hopefully you will get an idea of the size of the front loader and the massive amount of snow. Take a look at the left hand side and you will see several adults – compare them to the size of the snow piles!

November 20 Winter Storm 6

November 20 Winter Storm 7

November 20 Winter Storm 9

November 20 Winter Storm 10

November 20 Winter Storm 12

November 19 2014 Winter Storm 2

Today I am continuing to share pictures and stories about our winter storm. We are still under a State of Emergency by Governor Cuomo and he is in town. The Thruway is still a mess with people stranded for more than 24-hours. I can’t even imagine! Governor Cuomo took a tour of our closed highways and talked to some of the stranded travelers. The storm moved in heavier and a bit earlier than anticipated but honestly the Thruway department should have closed it earlier especially since we could see it coming. When the Thruway closed, many people were not stuck but now snow has built up around their vehicles and they are now stuck. I would be fairly angry if that was me and I had a chance to get home but they closed the toll booths and would not let me off the Thruway. Seriously, close the Thruway but get those people off the Thruway. Plus they need to clear off their vehicle’s exhaust since you do not want carbon monoxide build up. Same as with your house. It is important to clear the snow off the furnace, dryer, and hot water tank outside vents to avoid carbon monoxide building up in your house, which is deadly. Greg has already cleared ours three times! The National Guard is being called in to help us. There is so much snow and it is a heavy, wet snow that they will need to truck it out. The National Guard and the snow plow drivers have their work cut out for them. The snow is like plowing a brick wall. At this point, our typical plows will not work – we need payloaders (also called front loaders) that basically have large buckets that scoop up the snow and then load it into a truck. Some areas got a year’s worth of snow in three days. Often we use snowmobiles as emergency vehicles and even they are getting stuck and the snow is too deep for them. I did hear that our local snow plows were out but most of them are stuck!

I feel like this storm has skipped Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday and it is now February!! And it has started to snow again and we have not seen a plow yet! Any bets when our road might be plowed? Within 12-hours; 24-hours; 36-hours. Any guesses?

Ok, now to the pictures. The cover picture is our mailboxes – buried a bit deeper than yesterday.

I did not take the below three pictures – the first one was taken by photojournalist Terry Belke from WGRZ. The first picture is taken at the Buffalo airport. You can see the storm headed our way! Unfortunately, I do not know who took the other two pictures – but they tell our storm story.

Winter Storm 3
November 19 2014 Winter Storm 7

November 19 2014 Winter Storm 6

I like the below pictures that was posted on WGRZ photo library. We are creative and resourceful!
Winter Storm

Winter Storm 2

Greg cleared our driveway and you can see our cul de sac that has about 4 to 5 feet of snow.
November 19 2014 Winter Storm 5

When you look at this picture you might think the bottom half is missing – that would be snow. We had a medical emergency in our neighborhood. Since we have not seen any plows, the volunteer firemen came to literally shovel their way to his house. This was my view from our driveway.
November 19 2014 Winter Storm 4

That is me in on our sidewalk leading to the front of our house.
November 19 2014 Winter Storm 3

Another picture of where our drive way ends and the road begins!
November 19 2014 Winter Storm 1

November 2014 Winter Storm 2

It is official! Governor Cuomo has Declared our area as a State of Emergency! Click here for more details. Today I had planned on sharing a new recipe; however the weathermen were calling for a winter storm warning last night into Wednesday. Sometimes the winds shift being that we are close to Lake Erie but this time it did not. Since last night until this morning we got 3 feet and it never stopped snowing today! We got another 6-inches during the day. The eye of the storm settled over our house and a few miles away there is not any snow and the sun is shining! We have not seen a plow in the past 24-hours which is unusual for us. Last night we experienced lightening and thunder – which is Mother Nature’s warning that a bad storm is coming! Another storm is coming in Wednesday night / Thursday morning – we could get total of 6 feet of snow! There were at least 20 towns with driving bans including the Thruway. They closed the Thruway last night and a lot of people got stranded and got stranded on the road ways. Many just abandon their vehicles which makes it more difficult for the plows. This weekend it will start to warm up a bit and early next week it will be in the 50′s, which means flooding! When we left work last night we brought home our laptops just in case. So at least I can work from home since I am off most of Thanksgiving week and need to get a lot of work done! So today I am sharing some winter storm pictures. Last Tuesday we had temperatures in the 60′s. Weather around here changes quickly! But they are still calling for a mild winter….. All pictures and the video are taken through the window – I did not venture outside! But Greg went out several times to snowblow and I have a short video especially for my friends who are not use to our winter storms. He spent several hours trying to clear the drive way and it took three attempts. And yes, it is still snowing. He wore his snowmobile clothes to stay warm!

My working view this afternoon!
November 2014 Winter Storm 5

Yes, that is our mailbox.
November 2014 Winter Storm 4

When we opened the garage for Greg to start the driveway – this was our view!
November 2014 Winter Storm 3

Yes, it was a heavy snow meaning you snowblow differently.
November 2014 Winter Storm 1

Reinstein Woods 2

Over the summer during our hikes and walks I started to notice different types of benches and decided to start taking pictures of them! Some were comfortable – others hard as a rock! And some provided a wonderful view! Others were just meant for a quick rest stop. I hope you enjoy the pictures and perhaps they will bring back some summer memories for you! I love the flowers that were in bloom and the warm summer days as compared to this cold weather that has settled in on us! This week you can expect another new recipe to be posted and a few suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner! I hope everyone has a great weekend and week!

Gardens

Sub Rosa Garden

Sonnenberg Gardens 9

Reinstein Woods 3

Reinstein Woods

Letchworth park benches 2

letchworth park bench

chestnut ridge

Niagara Falls 3

Niagara Falls

Sonnenberg Gardens 12

Sonnenberg Gardens 10

Sonnenberg gardens benches

Beef Tenderloin Cover

Today I am sharing a new recipe for a Beef Tenderloin that is marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, then add Three Little Pigs BBQ rub, sear the meat for a few minutes, bake in the oven and finish with a Madeira Rosemary Shallot Sauce! Add a side of Twice-Baked Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole with Goat Cheese, and a nice glass of red wine and you are set for a gourmet dinner! It is delicious! How do you like to serve Beef Tenderloin?

Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

Two Beef Tenderloin about 5 – 6 ounces each

Marinade
¼ cup Olive Oil
¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ tsp dried Rosemary or a fresh sprig
⅛ tsp Dried Sage
Salt – not a lot
Pepper

The above measurements are approximate and will depend upon how much meat you are marinating. Also you can use different herbs such as basil, oregano, curry plus add garlic, chopped onions and other ingredients depending upon what you like. For the vinegar you could also use soy sauce or citrus juice – just keep the ratio with the olive oil equal. Too much vinegar or salt can make the meat tough or dry.

Rinse and dry the Beef Tenderloin. Mix together the marinade ingredients. Place Beef Tenderloin in a plastic, sealable bag and add marinade. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 8-hours turning periodically.

Madeira Shallot Sauce
Olive Oil
1 tbsp Arrowroot or Flour
2 Shallots, sliced
¾ cup Beef Stock
¾ cup Madeira wine or Port Wine
Fresh Mushrooms
Fresh Rosemary Sprig or your choice of fresh herbs
1 – 2 tbsp Cold Butter

You can make the sauce ahead of time just exclude the cold butter and do not cook until desired thickness. When you reheat the sauce you can allow it to thicken more and add the cold butter. You have two options for making the sauce. You can make a pan sauce by using the drippings from the meat after you sear it. Just be careful because adding wine to a very hot pan will cause it to flare up! The other option is to make the sauce in a separate pan to avoid the flare up. But regardless of your selection below are the basic steps for preparing the sauce.

Heat olive oil and add the shallots to cook slightly. Add arrowroot or flour and whisk in. Add the Rosemary Swig (consider placing in cheese cloth to avoid having the rosemary needles in your sauce). Add equal amounts of beef stock and Madeira. Cook down to desired thickness. Just before serving add cold butter for that gourmet touch. The mushrooms can be added to the sauce or cooked in a separate pan with some of the sauce.

Cooking the Beef Tenderloin
Olive Oil
Three Little Pigs BBQ Rub, optional
Oven preheated at 425 degrees

Take the Beef Tenderloin out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for an hour leaving it in the marinade. I like to add a rub to the meat – in that case remove the meat from the marinade and dry it slightly. Then use Three Little Pigs BBQ rub – adding it generously all over the meat.

Heat a pan with olive oil and sear all the sides of the Beef Tenderloin. Place it in an uncovered casserole pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Bake for about 20- to 30-minutes until desired temperature. With beef a minute or two can be the difference from perfectly done to being over done. So watch the temperature carefully. Take the beef tenderloin out of the oven and let sit for 10-minutes before slicing and serving.

Below are guidelines to temperatures and doneness of the meat. If you are not sure how you like your meat, I would recommend undercooking it a bit then overcooking because it could become tough and dry. You could always place it back into the oven or on the stove top for another minute or two if it is too red. But once it is overcooked there is not anything you can do.

Rare: 120 to 125 degrees F
Medium Rare: 130 to 135 degrees F
Medium: 140 to 145 degrees F
Medium Well: 150 to 155 degrees F
Well Done: 160 degrees F and above

green-bean-casserole-with-goat-cheese

red wine

twice-baked-potato-casserole

Cabelas 15

This summer a Cabela’s opened in our area that is an early Christmas gift for all the hunters and outdoors people! Cabela’s is considered a destination for people and there is a new hotel being built across the street to accommodate all the tourists! We went to visit this summer and I must admit is it a great destination and was a lot of fun! I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Upon arriving at Cabela’s!
Cabelas 1

Cabelas 20

Cabelas 19

Greg found a comfortable chair that is similar to our furniture but a bit larger!
Cabelas 3
Of course I found the food and cooking area!
Cabelas 9

Cabelas 8

Upon arriving you come upon this amazing display of mounted game! I am glad some of them were not alive being we were so close to them!
Cabelas 4
Cabelas 5

Cabelas 15

Cabelas 16

Cabelas 17

I have been wanting to see a beaver all summer! This is the closest I am going to get to one – at least for now.
Cabelas 6

Some beautiful wood work and every where you go is mounted game. I appreciate turkey except when they fly over your vehicle. They are a large, heavy bird that you do not want flying into your vehicle! But it is interesting to watch them walk around and fly in and out of trees – from a safe distance of course.
Cabelas 7

Cabelas 10

Cabelas 13

Cabelas 11

Cabelas 14

And of course some heavy vehicles that I am clueless about!
Cabelas 2

Cabelas 12

Cabelas 18

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