Happy Groundhog’s Day!

It’s no surprise Punxsutawney Phil was a bit grumpy today, Feb. 2, 2015 on Groundhog’s Day.  He could’ve slept in if these humans used their common sense and realized that yes… winter is here to stay for a few more weeks.


History of Groundhog Day

By Holly D’Anna

Legend has it that if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2, there will be six more weeks of winter. Curious about the history behind this long-standing tradition? Read on for the interesting origins and fun facts about Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day Basics

Punxsutawney Phil

No surprise — Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most beloved and furry seasonal prognosticator, saw his shadow on Monday morning (despite overcast skies), portending six more weeks of winter.

According to legend, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on February 2, he will leave the burrow — signaling that cold winter weather will soon end, bringing an early spring. If it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, he will return to his burrow and winter will last for approximately six more weeks. See more about the origin of the Groundhog Day legend and some fun facts about Punxsutawney Phil, below.

Groundhog Day Origins

The holiday is rooted in German superstition surrounding the tradition of Candlemas Day, the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. When German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania in the 18th century, they brought the tradition of Candlemas with them. The tradition is celebrated on February 2, and according to an old English song:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
Fun Facts About Groundhog Day
  • The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated in 1887 at Gobbler’s Knob, 2 miles outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
  • The name Punxsutawney comes from the Delaware Indians who settled the area in 1723 and their word “ponksad-uteney,” which means “town of the sand flies”
  • Crowds as large as 40,000 people have traveled to Gobbler’s Knob to watch Phil make his prediction.
  • When he’s not predicting the weather on Groundhog Day, Phil lives in the town library in Punxsutawney with his “wife,” Phyllis.
  • Punxsutawney Phil has only predicted an early spring 16 times.
  • According to the National Climatic Data Center, Phil’s weather predictions have been correct 39 percent of the time.
  • The average life span of groundhogs is only 10 years — but fans say that there has been only one Punxsutawney Phil, who is kept alive with a special “groundhog elixir” given to him every summer that lengthens his life for seven more years.
  • Other weather prognosticating groundhogs include Staten Island Chuck (Staten Island, New York City), Sir Walter Wally (Raleigh, North Carolina), General Beauregard Lee (Lilburn, Georgia), and Jimmy the Groundhog (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin).
  • Texas started its own tradition in 2010 and uses its state mammal, an armadillo, to predict the weather for Armadillo Day. The armadillo, named Bee Cave Bob, makes his own weather prediction at the West Pole in Bee Cave, Texas.

Hot Chocolate Mix

Yield:  One batch makes Four 6-oz. servings of hot chocolate.

hot chocolate
Enjoy a cup of delicious-ness!


  • 8 oz.  pkg. (Eight 1-ounce squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:  Finely chop the chocolate squares with a sharp knife.  Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl.

If giving as a gift, spoon the mixture into 2 sandwich-size zipper-closing bags and include directions on a card in each bag.


Hot Chocolate Mix Directions: 

To prepare 1 serving: Place 1/4 c. hot chocolate mix and 2/3 c. milk in a small saucepan.   Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the chocolate is melted.

Broccoli Soup

Grab a Spoon and Enjoy a Bowl of Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

Warm up with a bowl of this healthy soup.

Yield: 6-8 Servings (2 quarts)

2 cups water
4 cups chopped fresh broccoli (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a Dutch oven, bring water to boil. Add the broccoli, celery and carrots; boil 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set vegetables aside.
In the same pot, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually stir in broth and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
Stir in reserved vegetables and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Possible Alterations:

1. Substitute low sodium chicken broth and omit the onion salt, use other spices
2. Substitute the cooking water for the chicken broth or go half water, half chicken broth
3. Sauté onion and celery in butter and use 4 tbs. flour. 4 cups chicken broth with 2 cups milk. 3 cups cheese – optional

Recipe and photo by Taste of Home©