This Sunday at 2:00 a.m., daylight saving time will begin again. I think it is a misnomer to refer to it as “saving time” when we lose an hour every spring. Of course, it isn’t really lost; we’ll find it again next fall. Like most folks, I’ll set my clocks ahead one hour before I go to bed Saturday night. I don’t know anyone who waits up just to change their timepiece at two in the morning.
Obviously, I’m not a fan of this whole “spring forward, fall back” routine we’ve had foisted upon us for the sake of (supposedly) creating a better business environment. I realize that each new day dawns earlier in eastern areas than it does in those farther to the west. Time zones are necessary and not too complicated if left in their original structure. However, when states begin adjusting their time to fit with that of a neighboring state and add or subtract another hour to “save” daylight, it seems even more confusing to me.
Since the first farmer decided to light a lantern and carry it to his barn so he could get a head start on his daily chores, mankind has been trying to add more daylight to his work day. We now have electricity, LED lights, and mega spot lights that can illuminate work sights and ball fields 24 hours a day. We can work or play around the clock. Moving an extra hour of daylight to the end of the day just doesn’t seem as necessary (in my opinion) as it once was.
In addition, we now have a global economy. A company in China doing business in various U.S. cities has to be aware of the time in every area they need to contact. In many areas, they will also have to determine whether a company is also in a region that has adopted a neighboring time zone or daylight saving time.
I do appreciate the extra hour of daylight when I want to garden or just enjoy the out-of-doors. However, I could just get out of bed an hour earlier and accomplish the same thing. On the farm, daylight is still preferable to tractor light, but the same logic applies; most farmers start before dawn as it is. There is one benefit that I, personally, enjoy. I have never been a good night driver; the older I get, the less I like driving after dark. Since most of the people I visit are at least two hours away, that additional hour allows me to stay a little longer and still be safe going home.
The debate over daylight saving time will surely continue; however, no matter how hard we humans try, we can’t change the path of the sun and the earth. We can create as many artificial time frames as we want, but the sun will still rise in the East and set in the West at its appointed time. What we do with those hours of daylight is up to us.
As the weather warms and our “to do” list lengthens, saving time in the kitchen so we can spend it in the garden (or golf course, swimming pool, or anywhere else we’d rather be) becomes very important. That’s when I start looking for recipes that are quick, easy, and nutritious. Your slow-cooker is good for more than pot roast and beef stew (although, those are good meals, too). If you don’t like lima beans, skip to the next recipe; I love them and Lima Bean Soup can be heated on top of the stove or is perfect for the Crock-pot.
1 lb. dry baby lima beans - soaked overnight in water
1 T. salt
2 large onions, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
1-2 c. chopped cabbage
1 tall can of tomato juice (about 2 quarts)
2 c. (+ or -) ham, cubed
Drain water from soaking beans. Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven or slow-cooker. Cover. If cooking on stovetop, bring to a boil, lower heat, and continue cooking at near boiling for three to four hours, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft. If using slow-cooker, set cooker on HIGH if you want to be able to eat in four or five hours; set it on MEDIUM if you have six to eight hours before dinner. Add water if necessary and salt and pepper to taste.
I love Italian food, so I’m a big fan of this Slow-Cooker Tuscan Beef Stew from Campbell’s.
1 c. each of tomato soup and beef broth
½ c. red wine or water
2 lbs. stew beef, cut into 1” pieces
1 can diced Italian-style tomatoes
3 large carrots, cut into 1” pieces 1 t. Italian seasoning, crushed (can substitute equal parts ground oregano, marjoram, and thyme)
½ t. garlic powder
2-16 oz. cans white kidney beans (cannellini), drained
Combine everything except beans in everything except cannellini ina3½qt.slow-cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for eight to nine hours (or on HIGH for four to five hours). Stir in cannellini and cook on HIGH for additional 10 minutes. This is delicious served with crusty garlic bread.
Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
2 - 3 lb. pork loin roast
Salt and pepper
1 large sweet onion cut in quarters
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
4 medium cooking apples, peeled and quartered
½ c. brown sugar
2 t. butter
Rub roast with salt and pepper and place in bottom of slow-cooker. Tuck onion quarters under sides of roast. Arrange sweet potatoes over roast; arrange apples over sweet potatoes. Top with brown sugar, cut butter into four pieces, and dot on top of sugar. Cover and cook on HIGH for four to five hours.
Our prayers go out to those suffering from last week’s tornados. At times like these, faith is what sustains us.
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