Realistic Cooking Ideas

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

Pork Tenderloin with Marsala Shallot Sauce Close up

We are trying to get back to normal after the early winter storm and are getting ready for Thanksgiving. Though it feels like we missed Thanksgiving with our winter blast as the whole experience was surreal. A lot of the snow has melted with some local roads flooding at the lower points and creeks close to or are flooding. This storm came with a lot of damage from roofs collapsing, basements flooding, windows imploding, and businesses closed with some workers not being paid. The Buffalo Bills home game was postponed and played on Monday night at Detroit. The worst though is the lost of lives. We can always replace personal belongings, go to future Buffalo Bills games, but we cannot replace human life. No matter how much we dislike this storm, we cannot complain since we got through it safely and so did our family and friends. I also want to thank everyone who sent well wishes and warm thoughts during this storm – they were all much appreciated!

Now on to the cooking:
This recipe for Molasses Pork Tenderloin with Marsala Shallot Sauce is a nice Thanksgiving substitute for those who do not care for turkey. Another options is Beef Tenderloin with a Madeira Rosemary Shallot Sauce. Marsala is a light wine as compared to Port Wine and some Madeira wines. I prefer a Port wine over Marsala since it is richer in flavor and depth. (I made the Beef Tenderloin sauce with Port Wine instead of Madeira.) The shallots are a wonderful compliment to this dish as they provide a slight sweetness and more depth to a sauce than an onion – so I would not substitute – but that is personal preference. Shallots also provide an elegant addition to the sauce.

Pork Tenderloin with Marsala Shallot Sauce

2 pounds Pork Tenderloin

1/8 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup molasses
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 large garlic cloves, minced

Marsala Sauce
1 large Shallot sliced
2 tbsp cold butter
1 cup Marsala (Port Wine or Madeira Wine)
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp cornstarch

Dry Rub
Three Little Pigs BBQ Rub

Marinade the pork tenderloin up to 24-hours in a plastic, sealable bag turning periodically. If you are concerned about marinating for 24-hours, then try 8-hours to see how that works. Preheat oven to 375. Take the pork out of the marinade and if desired, add Three Little Pigs BBQ Rub. Heat a little olive oil in a pan then sear the pork. Place in a baking dish and bake until desired temperature. Let rest for about 10-minutes before slicing.

Pork Tenderloin

While it is baking, cook shallots in a pan with a little olive oil until tender. Add Marsala and beef both. In a small bowl, add arrowroot or cornstarch plus the water, stirring to dissolve. Then add to the sauce and cook until desired thickness. Add cold butter just before serving.

November 23, 2014 McKinnley

Finally all the driving bans have been lifted. Today I have two videos to share of the actual roads once the ban was lifted. If you never saw snow or experienced a winter storm take a few minutes to watch them. The temperatures went from 20F to 50F and eventually it should hit 60F. We definitely lost a few feet of snow but there is still a lot left. Hopefully we will not experience the flooding that they predicted. I also hope to get back to posting recipes since I have been side tracked by this winter storm that resulted from very cold air coming over Lake Erie that was too warm and that produces heavy snow. Unfortunately that lake is still too warm and we could still be in danger for more lake effect snow until it gets much colder. We are going back to work tomorrow. Last week I worked remotely but tomorrow I will actually work at the office. Then I am off for Thanksgiving! Now take a drive with us around West Seneca and let me know your thoughts!

A drive around West Seneca after the driving ban was lifted! It was great to be out of the house for awhile.

A drive from the Post Office in an attempt to pick up our mail.

November 23 2014 plows 4

November 23 2014 plows 3

November 23 2014 plows 2

November 23 2014 plows

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!


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

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