Week 22: Second coldest

Way below zero

Hello from the second coldest day in Chicago history!

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard already: it’s colder than Siberia, Antarctica, and Mount Everest here today. But it’s true. I could hear the very foundation of our home protesting overnight, bangs inside the walls I’ve never heard before. (Turns out this is normal.) People texted today to check in; I chirped back, “we are layered like onions!”

From my spot indoors, scrolling the internet, I have the luxury of spying beauty in it: the photo above (Lauren Wisbrock/Twitter); this amazing one-minute video from WGN weather forecaster Tom Skilling (he also has a message for climate change deniers, all on FB); these three photos of the fern-shaped frost on the windows at Garfield Conservatory this morning (via their Instagram feed).

But mostly, I feel restless dread for folks without somewhere warm to go.

Ideas from across social media: if you’ll be outside, carry gift cards for the CTA, Jewel, Dunkin Donuts, or McDonald’s. Give them away so people can find shelter on the trains or buses and/or get soup and coffee. Have lists of Chicago’s warming centers handy (here are more, from Catholic Charities, via Inner City Muslim Action Network, which had a center open today) to offer folks, along with hand warmers. Join the 800+ folks who have contributed to this rapid response fundraiser for The Night Ministry (Kelly Hayes/FB). (Fun fact: this is the organization I have connected to my Amazon Smile account.)


Cook the cold away

Recipes! It’s Greek(ish) week* in my house.

  • Slow cooker avgolemono (Flavor the Moments) — Simple and satisfying enough for these frigid, housebound days. You can skimp on the salt (I could not bring myself to use a full tablespoon) but don’t skimp on the pepper. I slow cooked mine on low for 4 hours, added the dry orzo, slow cooked on medium for 30 more minutes. If I made this again I’d add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of orzo or try it with rice, and I’d probably also add that third egg she mentions.

  • Lentil greek salad with dill sauce (Pinch of Yum) — I packed myself a container of this last night, keeping the sauce and feta separate. This made it much easier to shovel food in my face today while simultaneously chasing a toddler away from a fireplace.

  • Lazy spanakopita (Wednesday Chef) - haven’t tried this yet but got all the supplies. First time phyllo user! Will report back if it’s great.

*Lest I contribute to some Pinterest/Instagram machine of “look how together and healthy-ish and home-cooked my life is,” I’d like to be clear that 1) this is also leftover cheap Chinese takeout week, and 2) what I really want is for someone to just make me this (Fancy Pasta Bitch) and let me drown my sorrows in saucy carbs.

That’s all for tonight.

Until next week, here’s to steaming mugs and Frozen impressions (michaeldoesdisney/Instagram).

Thanks for reading! This is installment #22 of my 35-week experiment in getting un-stuck. If someone forwarded this edition on to you and you’d like to subscribe, you can do so here.