Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Lessons from a Groundhog

Lessons from a Groundhog | Graphic created by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
It's February, and right about now is the winter of my discontent. Or now is winter, and I am discontented. 

It's also Groundhog Day. Not the kind where you relive the same day over and over and over again, that's the stuff of movies. This is the Groundhog Day where a woodchuck, who somehow holds all the cards to our future comfort, shows his hand. That's a lot of pressure. Not for the woodchuck, I haven't spoken to him lately (or ever), but I doubt he cares. Pressure for those of us who would like our toes to defrost sooner rather than later.

Because today all eyes are on Gobbler's Knob in
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (who names these places, anyway?) where, at 7:20 am, men wearing top hats (no idea why the dress code) pull a specific mammal out of his home (a hole), to predict the weather. You can't make this stuff up. Oh wait, you can.

Anyway, according to tradition, if it's sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, he'll retreat to his den and we're all due for 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, we're due for an early spring.

How could it possibly have come to pass that we anxiously await the projections of a rodent? One who eats wood, no less?
Portobellos in Alfredo Marinara Sauce is a meatless but hearty dinner. Portobellos are cooked in a creamy tomato sauce, served with spinach and bowtie pasta. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner
Portobellos in Alfredo Marinara Sauce
Portobellos in Alfredo Marinara Sauce is a meatless but hearty dinner. Portobellos are cooked in a creamy tomato sauce, served with spinach and bowtie pasta. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Perhaps the mistake isn't in whether or not we should put our hopes in a tradition involving a mammal, but which groundhog, and where. If we're going to buy into this we game, we need to use a little creativity, stack that deck. Like why Punxsutawney Phil? He's been on the job since 1887. That makes him 134 years old. Remarkable for a species with an average lifespan of 5 - 6 years. Surely we need to let this poor guy retire. Or, maybe what we really need is a change of venue. I vote we give Juneau a turn. They average 44 days of sun a year, may as well put that to good use.
I'm guessing, however, that Pennsylvania will fight me on this one.
Either way, I wake up on pretty much all February days, like I do every frosty winter day, hoping for some warmth, or at the very least, please, just let me have sunshine. Except for today. Today I have to be able to hope for clouds.
What we can all learn from February 2nd isn't about the barometer we use to predict the length of our continued frigid discontent. Today the groundhog has a lesson to teach, and it's not about eating wood and the dangers of built-up roughage. It's about life.
The moral of the story is this: sometimes it takes the foresight to hope for what you want the least, in order to achieve the result you want the most. 
Chew on that for a bit.

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Portobellos in Alfredo Marinara Sauce        

Printable Recipe

1 TBSP olive oil
8 oz Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
12 oz bowtie pasta
1 1/2 cups Homemade Marinara (or jarred marinara of your choice)
1/ cup Alfredo sauce (homemade or jarred)
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup spinach

grated parmesan and/or toasted pignolis for serving

*Heat oil in a saute pan at medium heat. Add the Portobellos, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the mushrooms start to brown and the onions soften.
*While the mushrooms are sauteing, in a large pot, cook the bowtie pasta to al dente according to package directions.
*Add the marinara, Alfredo sauce, wine, and oregano to the saute pan with the mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring now and then, for 10 minutes.
*Drain the pasta and mix in the spinach. Add the Portobellos and sauce to the pasta and mix gently.
*Serve sprinkled with grated parmesan and/or toasted pignolis. 


  1. I love meatless and share recipes like this with my veggie nephews. Sending them the link now!
    PS 6 more weeks winter!
    Carol Cassara (aka JulieO)

    1. That's great! The sharing recipe part, not the 6 more weeks of winter part, to be clear.

  2. I t's actually rather cloudy here in Sunny Tucson, so I will take a personalized forecast over national. And portobellos... YUM!

  3. This looks delicious! I have to give it a try! I think maybe we should get rid of the Wood Chuck all together. Maybe switch to a Prairie Dog or something!

    1. How about a turtle. By the time he gets out of that hole it'll already be spring.

  4. Never heard of a groundhog till that damn movie with hwat;s his name.
    A coldish morning here

    1. I know the movie well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised you didn't know about Groundhog Day, though, as you don't live in this country.

  5. Like other things, the groundhog celebration seems to have grown and grown in the past few years. Maybe they needed this pandemic break. And, hey, it's a tradition. So who am I to doubt it? I was intrigued by the combo of alfredo and marinara. I think I actually would enjoy this without the alfredo but that's me. I love mushrooms and spinach. We have both in the house, too, but I think soup is on the menu for now. Ah, winter. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. You could definitely skip the alfredo, hope you give it a try.

  6. In the old days, everyone knew it was the local weather for your area that was predicted in your area, not the whole country or world.

    And yes, sometimes you have to put up with temporary pain for a longer term gain.

    1. I'm not sure a groundhog in my area would have done much better, but then I'm hoping he was just plain wrong.

  7. HAhahaha! I think I got it! (Hope for what you want the least to achieve the result you.want the most?) And I didn’t have to spit splinters to do it! Ha!
    And just between us, I think I AM living the same day over...and over...and over...

    1. Ugh, I know it's a difficult time, I do hope things get better for you soon.


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