Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Yummy in the Tummy




When a bottle of water left in my car overnight is frozen solid the next morning it means winter has finally come to the Carolinas. For some people, that would be the signal to pack up and head to Florida. For me, it means it's time to pull out the fuzzy socks, heavy sweatshirts, and stock up on ingredients for some of my cold weather favorites; foods that fill my tummy and feed my soul.  











Luckily, my local grocery fell right in line with the weather by putting boneless chuck roast on sale today. After a quick trip to the store, I kicked off soup season tonight with one of my all-time favorites: beef stew. It's been cooking on the stove since 2:30 this afternoon and the aroma in my condo (not just my condo, the whole ground floor of my building!) is mouth-wateringly delicious. Smells good. Tastes good. And it's good for you. Can't beat that!










Another winter favorite of mine is a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich. Okay, I'll admit it. I love them year-round but they taste especially yummy on cold days and nights. As a child, a grilled cheese meant white bread and Velveeta cheese but I've grown more adventurous over the years. Nowadays, it can be any type of bread (though I'm a bit limited since going gluten free) and fillings that range from eggs, bacon (or ham), tomatoes, sliced avocado, and gouda cheese to chicken salad with havarti cheese to cream cheese with sliced green olives (also good with a hamburger patty). The choices are limitless and I love experimenting.






One of my favorite soups to make is potato. I like mine creamy with green onions and ham and topped with cheddar cheese and bacon. The photo is from Panera Bread which makes great baked potato soup. When I'm not in the mood to make a big pot myself I skip on over to my local Panera where it's always hot, ready, and delicious. If my youngest brothers lived nearby, I'd be skipping over to his house. He makes the best potato soup!










Hot chocolate is another cold weather favorite. I make mine with milk. I usually don't use any toppings (like the whipped cream on Junior's hot chocolate in the photo) but occasionally I'll indulge with mini marshmallows or Cool Whip. For some reason, hot chocolate seems to be a late night treat for me.











Put away the cold cereal and smoothies. Now's the time for oatmeal. Hot, filling, healthy oatmeal. It's
my winter breakfast of choice and along with filling my tummy, it fills my soul with sweet memories. When I was a teenager, my dad would always wait up for me to come home from dates. While I was defrosting from being out in sub-zero temperatures, he'd cook up a pot of oatmeal with brown sugar topping and the two of us would sit at the table together, enjoying our late-night oatmeal and talking about any number of topics. It really didn't matter what. It was the special time with just the two of us that was important. Dad has been gone for almost twelve years but every bowl of oatmeal I make brings back our special bond those lovely memories of days gone by.


Do your menus change with the weather? 

What foods bring you comfort during the cold months?

Do you make your own soups or stews? Do you have a favorite?

Are you a grilled cheese purist or do you enjoy experimenting? Do you have a variation to recommend?

What's your cold weather beverage of choice? 





23 comments:

  1. I love making soups and stew. Tonight we will have pot roast. I would be just as happy with beef stew. You can't beat the flavor of chuck roast. (I certainly preferred it when it was 99 cents a pound instead of $4.99.) I love grilled cheese. We may vary the type of cheese, but it is usually american or cheddar. If I have some left over, I will add bacon to it and some times a tomato. Favorite soup to make is a broccoli and cheddar noodle soup. I love potato soup, corn chowder, beef barley, and chicken noodle. Winter is a good time for chili. A good bowl of chili when sitting by the fire is perfect.

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    1. I remember those $0.99/pound days with fondness too, librarypat. It's usually $6.99 here but was on sale for $4.99 yesterday plus I had a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase. I bought two, used one last night, cut the other one in half and stuck it in the freezer. I'll get two more batches of stew out of it. I'm already drooling just thinking about it! :)

      I love broccoli and cheddar soup. I've never had it with noodles. What kind do you use?

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    2. I use just the egg noodles in the broccoli cheese soup. I think I usually end up with the wide ones, but any would do.

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  2. I'm an oatmeal-in-winter breakfast girl as well. I like it best with chopped apples and pecans on top-- or sliced almonds and cranberries. We eat a lot of soup in the winter too. My favorite is everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup where whoever is cook that day tosses whatever veggies are leftover and bits of leftover chicken and/or beef and home-canned tomatoes into a base of chicken or beef broth. It's never the same twice, and served with steaming cornbread, it is a great winter meal. And I can almost see my mother and grandmother smiling their approval at my following their healthy frugality.

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    1. I love the chopped apples on my oatmeal too, Janga but I usually add walnuts. I'll have to try the pecans this winter. I always keep dried cranberries on hand and like that on my oatmeal too.

      Love the sound of that soup and I'm a huge fan of cornbread. I just found some gluten-free cornbread mix and am excited to give it a try. I've missed my cornbread!

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  3. This post made me hungry, PJ. :) I saw the pic of your soup and scurried over here.

    Winter calls for comfort food. I love to throw things in my crockpot in the winter, so their smell heats up the house. Chili, beef stew, chicken noodle soup...

    As for straight comfort food? Meatloaf is my go-to. I marry it up with some mac and cheese and nothing's better. :)

    Stay warm, folks!

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    1. I know, Marnee! I got hungry while writing it last night and went back for a second bowl of stew. *grin*

      I adore meatloaf! When I was in Florida last month, my niece made meatloaf using golden flax seed instead of bread or breadcrumbs. It was some of the best meatloaf I've ever tasted. I'll be making mine that way from now on.

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    2. I did the exact same thing, Marn! *LOL* Saw the pic, got hungry, and scurried over!

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  4. Ah, what a TIMELY post, PJ!

    Let's see: lately I've been doing old school grilled cheese sandwiches (white bread, melty yellow cheese)--in fact I had it last night and the night before and the night before. Comfort food because I've been feeling a bit off. (Sinus congestion.) I've also been doing chicken noodle soup (the kind out of a box) and spicing it up with ginger and asian peppers to clear the sinuses. My favorite cheese and bread combo is french bread with brie--and if very adventurous, a bit of chocolate and melting it all together. OMG, to DIE FOR.

    My friend and I have creativity night every other Monday at each other's house (we take turns hosting.) With it being cold and dark, we like to come home earlier...so we're moving to have a bit of potluck at each other's house on these nights--and we've been entertaining ideas of slow cookers, soups, and warm sandwiches. I can't wait to come up with something awesome. I'm thinking Cuban Sliders and some complementary soup.

    Comfort foods: Lo Mein (which I discovered these asian noodles at my local grocery store that are PERFECT), mashed potatoes and roast beef, meatloaf, green bean casserole, mac & cheese....oh the list goes on and on. *LOL*

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    1. This made me want green bean casserole. Does that go with the chicken cutlets and shells that are on the menu tonight? Maybe the question should be, "What DOESN'T green bean casserole go with?" LOL

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    2. I think green bean casserole goes with anything, Marnee. :)

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    3. I love your creativity night, Hellie! I think I'm going to see if my neighbor wants to do that.

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  5. I do a lot of grilling in summer and then switch to my crock pot in the winter. I love making soups and stews. I have no recipes but throw in a bit of this and that. I enjoy ham and potato, lentil, and vegetable soups and beef stews and loin pork and sauerkraut in the crock pot. I will add tomato or ham to my grilled cheese - nothing too fancy lol. I drink coffee year round.

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  6. For winter it is beef stew and vegetable soup. Recipes that were passed down to me have now been passed down to my kids. As for grilled cheese, I am just a basic kind of gal. Now I love hot tea during the winter. I do agree that hot chocolate is a late night snack. A dollop of cool whip to top it off.

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  7. beef stew or chili is a nice cold weather food. I like hot chocolate as an evening treat--like a dessert since I rarely have dessert.

    denise

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    1. I haven't had chili in a while. I think I need to make a batch soon.

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  8. I see you live in NC. I just moved back north because I was sweating at Christmas! NC IS the tropics to a Massachussettan.

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    1. Love your name, Soft Fuzzy Sweater! Growing up in Michigan I would have thought NC the tropics too but after several years of living in Florida it's now like living "up north." ;-)

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  9. We like chilli or sloppy joes in this weather. I liek coffee always but also like tea....

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  10. Ijust made a BIG pot of lentil soup with veggies last night. I'll serve it tonight because it's always better the next day. I'll add the spetzle style egg drops my mother in-law taught me how to make just before serving it! YUM!

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  11. Ijust made a BIG pot of lentil soup with veggies last night. I'll serve it tonight because it's always better the next day. I'll add the spetzle style egg drops my mother in-law taught me how to make just before serving it! YUM!

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