Baby It’s Cold Outside!

acttemp_600x405For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere we’ve had a rather chilly winter. Oh, alright. It’s dang cold out there!!

Temperatures have plummeted below freezing all over North America. In Minnesota, the reports from Bandita Susan is snow, ice and temperatures below zero, forcing school closings! (I thought they went to school up there no matter what, but I guess blizzard conditions prevent that!)

My mom, (HEY MOM!) who reads the blog daily, reported yesterday that she had over 6 inches of snow Saturday, more was falling on Sunday…and she was “just plain sick of winter.” Hate to tell her but we have February still to go, which historically worse than January.

Even down here in Texas it’s gotten into the single digits more than a few days and today we started in the teens and only getting to 38degrees Farenheit. I think the cows are looking for warm blankets, too!

In the winter of 1978 I was in nursing school when a blizzard with 70 mile an hour winds hit the Midwest on a Friday. blizzard-of-1978My nursing school was attached to the hospital that sponsored it and I lived in the dorms there. The weather was so bad, that not only did they cancel our classes and clinicals, (yea!), they asked us to help staff the hospital as nurse’s aides, since most of the staff couldn’t come in to take care of patients. Since I worked in the hospital on weekends as a unit secretary/aide, I got paid for my hours! (Yea!!!) So, for three solid days, I worked 14 hour shifts, then went back to the dorm for basically a giant slumber party. Any food in the fridge was free game and we cooked up some wild concoctions, ate popcorn and chocolate while watching movies together! By Monday, Columbus had thawed out, roads had cleared to passable, staff showed up for work, and we got to go back to being just students.

MV5BMTU1NTA3NzMwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzEzMTEzMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_The new term in weatherology is POLAR VORTEX. I think the term came about in popular vernacular with the movie THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. Have you seen it? Yeah, something we did caused a super storm of 3 Polar Vortex’s to converge and a new ice-age was started. Dennis Quaid plays the Dad meteorologist/expert who has to save his son and his friends trapped in NYC. I liked the movie a lot! But that was the first time the term Polar Vortex was used, I think. Now we’re hearing about them daily. Geesh that’s cold!

So what to do to stay warm?

Let’s explore a few ideas that DON’T have to do with cuddling with your sweetie. (Please people, take pity on the L&D nurses who already are busy in the summers and early fall!!)

1. Mom, (HEY MOM!), always says, “Make soup.” And the woman can make some goooooood soups! So, I make soups. Here’s the recipe for: 


 ½ pound dried navy beans       2 boxes Kitchen Basics® Original Beef Stock (red box)

4 cups water                                 1 & ½ onions, chopped (Yes, it’s a lot of onion, but onion makes the broth taste so good!)

3- 4 celery stocks with leaves, chopped              3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic sliced thin       ¼ cup of butter

Salt             Pepper             Oregano             Basil

12-24 miniature meatballs (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat oven
  2. Prepare meatballs and bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes, turning once.Pasta_fagioli_use
  3. Clean beans per package directions.
  4. In large soup pot, heat beef stock and water, adding beans. Salt and pepper Bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. In skillet, melt butter then add onions, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Heat until onions turn opaque. Add garlic and cook another minute or so.
  6. Add vegetables and meatballs to bean/broth mixture. Add oregano and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for another hour.
  7. Add pasta and cook until al dente. (15 minutes)
  8. Taste to be sure beans are cooked soft. Add more salt or pepper to taste.


1 pound ground beef         1 egg      2 TBS. ketchup  

1 TBS. prepared mustard          1-2 cups bread crumbs

Mix beef, egg, ketchup and mustard. Add breadcrumbs until meat mixture is no longer “wet”. Pull off portions to make meatballs, 1 inch in diameter.



 2. Don’t feel like cooking? Drink something warm. I like hot chocolate made with Gihardelli chocolate and whipped
cream on top. OR a nice mug of spiced tea. OR for the wine drinkers among us…how about a hot mug of mulled wine? Warm and relaxing…. Just avoid the cuddling you suddenly feel like indulging in!


3. Warm socks! mmmm, nothing like getting out of a hot shower, padding across frozen tiles as you get dressed, then sticking your cold feet into some thick, warm socks. Ahhh…doesn’t it make you feel good with me just mentioning it?

Vanished final for Barnes and Noble Bestselling with quote

4. Read. Now it’s important you do this in the right way. Grab the afghan, snuggle on the couch, but only with a four-legged friend to sit on your sock-covered feet,  and pull out a good book. A good romance is best, IMHO. If you want some extra heat, you could pull out an erotica or a romantic suspense. But make sure it’s a book that holds your interest so you can stay under the afghan on the couch nice and toasty!
If you’re looking for a good RS and the weather is still cold in February, you might try VANISHED, book #4 coming out the end of the month. Hey if nothing else, the PURPLE cover should warm you up some!
So, what do you do to stay warm? Do you have a favorite recipe for soup? Got some favorite socks? Mulled wine or hot chocolate or hot tea? What do you plan to read through the Polar Vortex? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what do you do to cool off this time of year?

Posted in , , , , , , ,



  • Jane says:

    Hello Suzanne,
    It’s been freezing here, too. We’re in the single digits tonight. There were worries that a storm might postpone the Super Bowl, but now it looks like we won’t be getting snow here. I always go for the hot chocolate and hot tea. At home I wear slipper socks.

    • Jane, the rooster has a request in for some hot chocolate with a dash of Frangelico. Don’t shoot the messenger! 😉

    • Hey Jane!

      With football loving people in this house, we have been keeping up with the weather reports from NY for the superbowl. It’s not going to snow, but geesh it’s still going to be cold. We keep wondering WHY the teams aren’t practicing out side some to get used to it??

      Keep that rooster under control up there. Although he’ll probably stay hunkered in under a blanket today…Doesn’t really like the cold much!

  • flchen1 says:

    We’re in the tiny portion of the US where we actually aren’t currently freezing, so we’re counting our lucky stars! As for favorite soups, yours sounds yummy–we’ll definitely have to give it a try. A couple of our favorites are split pea and minestrone… And yes, I got wool socks for the cooler weather and gloves… even sometimes, inside!

    • Hey Fedora!

      Yeah, don’t rub that we’re-not-freezing-here stuff in. I remember a few times it got down to freezing in Central Florida when I lived there!

      Speaking of gloves, my hubby got me some that have these rough little spots on the outer fingertips and thumbs…so I can use them on my phone if I’m out in the cold!! How cool!

  • YUM! That soup looks positively scrumptious! Can’t wait to try it.

    Keep warm,

    • Hey Kat!!

      The key is to make the meatballs ahead of time. And don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand with the onions. I met a school lunch lady once who made the most delicious vegetable soup. She said the key to the flavor was lots of onions!!

  • ki pha says:

    Talk about being in Texas I’m up here in Minnesota with the negatives!! Really, I’m having in this freezer because well, all I do is stay inside. I actually enjoy eating ice cream in this weather; they don’t melt. LOL
    But I do drink a lot of hot chocolate and eat a lot of warm noodles with soup. Haven’t been wearing socks but do have some comfy warm slippers.

    • Hey Ki!

      I’m from Ohio and grew up in the cold winters, (not quite as bad as Minnesotta, but colder than Texas), so I’m trying not to complain about the cold down here. But my new puppy doesn’t want to stay out in it too long and runs like a demon for the door to come back in!

      I’m just glad we aren’t having ice this time. That tends to shut all of North Texas down!

      Stay warm up there!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ki! I didn’t know you were in MN, too! I’m up here in St. Paul. Are you anywhere nearby, or are you up north where it’s…(shudder)…colder? Or are you west/south where you’re socked in by howling winds screaming across the prairie? Hope you’re warm & cozy–supposed to be in the twenties tomorrow! Woot!

  • Helen says:


    Stay warm and I love those recipes yes it is hot here at the moment I have just come home from work and the air con is on and a nice salad for dinner is good 🙂 to keep cool I stay inside with the air con on and read even if the book is hot the air con keeps me cool LOL. We never have really cold winters not snow here although we often have a frost in the mornings during winter and I am over summere I want autumn and winter 🙂

    Stay warm over there and I can’t wait to read Vansihed I must see if I can pre order 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Hey Helen!

      We’ve been hearing how dangerously hot is there in Australia this summer. Glad you’re staying cool! We have a pool in our backyard, so whenever it gets too hot and I’m tired of the air conditioner, a nice dip in the pool is great.

      Keep the soup recipe for when your winter hits. It’ll warm you right up!

  • Suz, what a fun post. Although I’ve got to say after record temperatures here this summer, I quite like the idea of some cold and snow.

    Do you know the best bit? Your mum reads our blog every day! How cool is that?

    Hello to Suz’s mum!!! xxx

    • Hey Anna!

      I’m not really complaining as I prefer colder weather to the extreme heat. Which begs to ask the question, what the hell am I doing in Texas? Sigh. Hubby HATES cold and snow, so here we are.

      Yep, Mom checks out the Bandit blog daily. When I go visit, she’ll say…time for me to check on your friends the Bandits. HI MOM!!!

  • Shannon says:

    Hot coffee is the only way to keep going through the morning. Hot cider added as needed.

    For work, I have to change to knee highs from socks to keep that professional look. The key is remembering to put them back on before leaving. Knee highs and athletic shoes are just normal but too chilly right now.

    You’ve convinced me to eat a hot lunch instead of taking cold chicken salad.

    I am going to try for my walk today. Thinking layers, lots of layers. The roly-poly look.

    • Hey Shannon!

      You’re a brave woman to pile on layers for a walk in this weather!! Mine are suspended until it’s at least 45 out side!

      Hot soup for lunch should help keep you warm all afternoon!!

  • Mozette says:

    So, what do you do to stay warm?

    Being part English/Scottish/Irish, I love staying warm in my cosy little townhouse. It’s second nature to keep myself all rugged up and away from the cold.

    Do you have a favorite recipe for soup?

    Soup? No… not really, soup doesn’t agree with me. Vegetarian stew, yep! Plenty of it… cooked in a slow cooker with garlic bread! 😀

    Got some favorite socks? Ohhh… warm socks on and then stuff my feets into my ugg boots. 😀

    Mulled wine or hot chocolate or hot tea? Hot chocolate with orange rind and sliced chili – trust me, if that doesn’t warm ya cockles, nothin’ will. 😛

    What do you plan to read through the Polar Vortex? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what do you do to cool off this time of year?

    As for our summer? Well, being an Aussie, we’re good at keeping cool too. I make the best ice green tea in my family – with lime slices in it. Then, I stay by my back door and paint pegs for the Creative Markets and leave the front door open and the screen door locked… and then play Santana on the stereo. When it gets to around 3pm, I pull the curtains and keep the place nice and cool. 🙂

    • Okay Mozette, you had me at “I play Santana on the radio.” Love, love, LOVE Carlos Santana’s smooth music, espeically in the summer.

      Staying snug in the winter must run in my blood too since I’m Scottish, Welsh and English descent. (Still wondering how hubby got so I-hate-cold).

      That hot chocolate sounds delicious!!

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I hunker down inside. Yes, I curl up on the couch under a blanket but I usually have cats all around me (I have 4) though not on my feet. Also have my water bottle, my phone and the latest book I am reading. I am not much of a soup person unless you count chili. I have my mom’s recipe which the kids call Man I chili. It has spaghetti in it and a sweet flavor rather than hot and spicy. My grandson picks out all the beans then dumps Parmesan cheese on it!

    • Hey Debi, love how you hunker down to stay warm…all except the cats part…(I’m allergic to them)…but the new puppy thinks lying on my feet is a great idea most evenings!

      Chili…LOVE hot, thick chili in winter! I made a pot a few weeks ago and had one of my daughters and her kids over. Discovered if we put cheese and fritos in the littlest guy’s bowl, he will eat it all gone with his fingers!! Too fun!

  • Deb says:

    Yep, cold is right. -14 with a windchill of -25 so far this morning. But, no cancellation of my school; 2-hour late start, though. We didn’t have school yesterday because we were in the blizzard warning and school was cancelled on Sunday night. However, that blizzard fooled everyone and swept across the northeast and far east of Iowa. Some of those schools are still cancelled today.
    I love my warm, fuzzy slipper-socks along with my flannel and fleece pajamas. I like hot chocolate, never have liked hot cider. I like to make chili on cold evenings, but a cup of hot pea soup and a ham sandwich is a nice meal, too.

    • Hey Deb!

      Shucks on school not being cancelled. I’d think a school bus start temp of under 0 would qualify for at least only half a day!

      I think I’m going to have to go make some hot chocolate here in a bit.

  • Diana Huffer says:

    1. Staying warm: cozy corner of the couch, dogs close, hot tea, and a good book.

    2. I have a fuzzy pair of slipper socks with doggies on them… tacky but oh-so-warm! (Started this morning at -22… 3.5 hrs later, it’s now up to 0 degrees! Woot Woot — heatwave! 🙂 )

    3. I’m finishing up Deidre Knight’s Parallel Desire.

    • Hey Diana!

      Love the slipper socks with doggies on them! And who cares if they’re tacky…it’s the warmth that counts.

      Have fun with Deidre Knight’s Parallel Desire! It should be hot!

      • Diana Huffer says:

        Oh heck yea, it is HOT!! I’ve been lucky to get the entire series so I was able to start with Parallel Attraction and read straight through! I really hate for it to end! I’ve invested a lot in these characters!

        Oh, and my puppies love my slippers – my little girl, Minnie (Shih Tzu), like to lay with her nose against them on the recliner — she drifts off to sleep that way… so cute!! 🙂

  • So, another way to get warm is to exercise. UGH! But since I have a few minutes, I thought I’d go do my aerobics and that will get me all warmed up! See y’all in a bit!

  • EC Spurlock says:

    Here in Atlanta everyone is freaking out because we are getting snow. I’m a New England girl and my new car has 4 wheel drive so I am not bothered by it but the other drivers who are NOT used to it are going to make the roads miserable today!

    My desk is right next to the front door so I have been getting that constant draft all day every time anyone goes in or out. Made sure to wear lots of layers today! I’ve also been pumping the hot tea all month (in fact I ran out of teabags at work and had to bring more in today.)

    Making chili when I get home tonight (unless hubby beats me to it! He makes it spicier than I do.) Your soup sounds fantastic, Sue, but a couple questions — we don’t get Kitchen Basics stock here; so what would the quantity be if we are using canned stock? And what temperature do you bake the meatballs at? Thanks!

    • Hey EC!

      The boxes of Kitchen Basic’s Stock that I use are 32 oz. So you’d have to see how big your cans of broth are.

      As for the meatballs, I cook them at 350 for about 30 minutes, turning them at least once. They’re small. Mine are about the size of a nickle in diameter, so they cook fast.

  • Hey Suz!

    My daughter has a soup in the slow cooker as we speak. I think it’s nine bean and sausage…guess we’ll be lighting a lot of scented candles tonights 🙂 Up here it’s warm sweaters, vests and sweatshirts. I move my computer near a sunny Southern facing window. If the temps dip inside the house, every room is well-stocked with quilts, afghans and furry throws to snuggle beneath with a good book. LOL last Sunday the temps got to near freezing and it felt balmy 🙂 I’ll be glad when we can leave this winter behind.

    • Hey Donna!

      Even though we’re in Texas, we have a lot of throws around here, too. The insulation isn’t as thick in the houses here as they are up north, and the winds are bad, so we often have an afghan or quilt to snuggle in during the winter!

  • catslady says:

    It’s 3 right now with the high of 5 and double negative digits at night (PA). I’ve heard we’re having a mini ice age!! Your soup sounds wonderful. I just made chili and ham,potato,cabbage soup. I never use recipes for soup – just throw in as much as I can fit in my crock pot lol. I usually add stewed tomatoes to all my soups and onions lol.

    • Hey Catslady,

      LOL, I rarely use a recipe for soups or pretty much anything else. And if I do start out with a recipe, I tweak it until it’s mine! This is one I sort of made up as I went along.

      I’ve got a ton of recipes in my computer, because I’m building a cookbook for my kids to have. 🙂 So I have to remember how I made something, then type it up for the cookbook.

      I’m like you, I throw things into the soup pot or crock pot and leave it be. Tasting and adding seasoning as I go!

  • Susan Sey says:

    Hey, Suz!

    You’re right–we’re having ourselves quite a winter up here in the upper midwest! That minus 8 on your weather map? That’s us. Although it was actually minus 22 this morning, with a wind chill in the minus forties.

    Evidently, it hasn’t been this cold up here in sixty years or so? I don’t know. I’m not sixty yet, so I can’t say. All I know is that my kids haven’t been in school since last Wednesday. That’s right. They’ve been off for an entire WEEK.

    Which means I haven’t gotten squat done in the last week. I’m desperately trying to get my new book launched by tomorrow, and I think I’m going to make it but my kids are NOT happy campers. They thought this extra week off was going to be a vacation. (Silly, darling, misguided children!)

    As to what I do to keep warm? I have this awesome not water bottle. That’s right–a NOT water bottle. Shaped like a hot water bottle, warm like a hot water bottle, not filled with water. It’s microwaveable. And it has this adorable sleeve it goes inside that looks like a cable-knit sweater. I heat it up to almost-can’t-even-touch-it & stick it in my bed. Oh, it’s delicious. Highly recommended.

    That & I’ve been eating my body weight in nuts & melted cheese. That helps. 🙂

    • Hey Susan!!

      So glad you’re tucked in warm up there! Love hot packs in the bed and your NOT water bottle sounds wonderful! I have some scented hot packs that pop in the microwave and do the same thing. Used them all the time when I worked nights. Something about coming in after being up all night on a cold night, driving home in a cold car that warms up only half way home and climbing into a toasty bed. Mmmmm!!

      CANNOT WAIT for your new book to come out tomorrow!!! Gonna snatch up my copy ASAP!

  • Becke Turner says:


    We moved to SC to avoid the Midwest winters and the stupid things must have followed us. Next time we’ll dust that trail a little better.

    I have cabin socks from Dick’s and long underwear that are PJ’s for cold nights in SC. For Midwest winters, I herded cattle in a snowmobile suit. However, there’s nothing you can do to warm fingers and toes!

    Love to cuddle in my bed with a good book. Just finished S. Sey’s book, Taste for Trouble. It was awesome. Loved the Texas soccer player and witty dialogue.

    Playtime is over so it’s back to work on my requested revisions.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Hi Suz!

    Our high was 24° today and the snow started around 4pm. Of course, here in Charlotte we have a lot of drivers who aren’t familiar with snow/ice driving so there are accidents and cars off the road all over the place. I’m home with the pooch and a warm blanket. Tonight’s dinner was scrambled eggs, English muffin and hot chocolate. Comfort food all the way. 🙂

    I grew up in western Michigan where we measured snow by feet – not inches – and considered winter temps above zero to be a heat wave. Winter staples in our house were chili, stew, soups and chicken with dumplings. I love all of them. I make a lot of soups. My favorites are beef veggie, potato, chicken noodle and lentil. I haven’t made Pasta Fagioli but I’m giving your recipe a try. Love that soup!

    • Hey PJ!

      You know the smartest people in bad weather are the ones that don’t get out in it!! I learned to drive on ice and snow in Ohio, but still would rather stay home and watch it while the snow is falling outside my window!

      It is a yummy soup!

  • Hi, Suz,

    And yes, it’s freaking cold in North Texas. Then again, our weather is seriously bi-polar. One day we’re in the 70s and the next we barely get above freezing. We’re supposed to be in the teens tonight. Am sitting at my desk, covered by a heated throw. Also, the soup recipe sounds fab. Just copied and pasted for future use. What a fun post!

    • Hey Barbara!

      I swear it’s even colder tonight than it was last night when I was writing this post. The puppy got an extra blanket in his cage for the night. I think he’d rather sleep in the bed with us, but hubby is having none of that. He might fit now, but when he’s full grown there won’t be any room for us!!

  • Alyn Y says:

    I blast the heat and snuggle up on my couch with a blanket and pillow. Kind of hard to stay that way all day though because I have three kids. That soup recipe you shared does look yummy! Thank you for sharing, I love seeing recipes even if I don’t try them because I love food!!