For all those who come over, even when they are shivering.
Our house is from 1969. Everything about it is from 1969. The only room that has even been slightly upgraded is actually the master bath and that is it. The rest of the house is pretty much in semi-pristine 1969 condition.
Our house, despite our best efforts, stays cold. The first year we lived in the house, I tried to warm it up because I had just had Son, and then got slammed with a gas and electric bill that topped $650. Even then, the house wasn't super warm. I made a vow, right then and there, that since the sweaters were already paid for, people would be wearing more layers in lieu of a warmer house.
People know that when they are coming to my house, they need to put on the long johns, the extra warm wool socks, and anything else that they can comfortably move around in -because the house WILL be cold. I've heard mothers say to their unsuspecting children, "Layer up! We're going to Auntie Joanne's house!" and "Don't take off your socks! Your toes will freeze!" I've heard it all - and I'm not budging. Even if I DID blast the heat - it wouldn't be enough to take off more of the chill - so our house stays a comfortable 66 degrees in the winter. This is with the heat running.
Our electric company offers annually a "credit" if you use less energy than the year before. The first year I did it, I easily qualified because I just heated the house less. It was simple to meet the target. We just went from 69 degrees to 68 degrees and the gas bill dropped. The year after that dropped it another degree and made it 67 degrees. This year however, after my diligent check-in to see my usage, I've discovered that I am NOT on track to receive my credit. The gas is still lower than what I used last year, but my electricity usage is up. And this makes me nuts. And so, I've become obsessed with reducing the energy usage in order to get the gas credit.
The other evening, Husband called me from the office and asked me, "What are you doing?"
"I'm sitting in the dark to save electricity."
"Honey. Turn on the lights."
"No. I want my energy credit."
"TURN ON THE LIGHTS!! You're going to ruin your eyes!!"
Reluctantly I turned on the lights, thinking of all the wasted electricity. I could have easily operated by candlelight or flashlight.
Upon doing an obsessive analysis of my daily energy use, I discovered that the days I did LAUNDRY, my energy use was significantly higher. Since laundry is done only Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, it was easy to see the usage spike on those days. I began to think, in order to get my energy credit, I'm going to have to resort to something drastic. And I did. I bought a clothes drying rack. My logic is this - the warmest, DRIEST room in the house, when the heat is running, is actually our guest bathroom. If I could manage to get two or more loads on the rack and dried during the week - I'd make a dent.
So here I am, waiting for my laundry so that I can hang dry it all so I can receive a 20% energy credit. Is it worth it? I think so. But in the back of my mind, I'm really waiting for spring, when I no longer have to really heat the house, and our gas bill drops dramatically. And then I'll feel free to use the dryer, relax a bit, and think about new things.
Despite my brain's obsession with the redistribution of energy use in the house, I managed to think up these pretty spring treats. The are easy to make and just look so pretty with their pastel purple and pink. They also have the flavor of strawberry and blueberry so it's not just a pretty color -but a delicate yummy flavor. They'd be really lovely for a Valentine's day treat if you were so inclined, or just a fun treat at any birthday party. They are familiar to make (who hasn't made a rice krispy) but with the addition with the freeze dried fruits take on a whole new personality. They also remind me that spring is really, just around the corner.
Strawberry and Blueberry Rice Krispies Pops
adapted from the “Original Rice Krispies” recipe
Makes about 20 golf ball sized pops or 20 squares
3 tablespoons butter
40 regular marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows
1 bag (1.2 oz) freeze dried strawberries or blueberries, pulverized in a mini food processor (Trader Joe's, Target, or Whole Foods) - WARNING!!! There is a silica gel packet in there which CANNOT be pulverized. Pull out the tiny packet before you pulverize!!
6 cups rice krispies (I actually prefer the Trader Joe’s Rice Crispies - but the Kellogg’s original are good as well)
20 lollipop sticks
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add pulverized strawberries or blueberries. Mix quickly. Remove from heat.
Add rice crispies. Stir until well coated.
Working quickly, wearing disposable gloves, shape mixture into balls. Press lollipop sticks into creating a pop.
Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.
Freeze dried fruits I used
Really just can't wait until spring.
A pretty little spring bouquet