I have to admit I’ve been a bit of a grump lately. The culprit? Mother nature.
On more than one occasion last week, I wondered what in the world possessed me to move to Nebraska. Last weekend featured 50-degree days that were perfect for the dog park. By Tuesday, however, Hurley and I could only go out for about 15 minutes because we’d reached single-digit temps. How did this happen?? All the sudden I’m in search of snow pants and a full-on face mask so I can get Hurley out on walks in this god-awful weather (though once it warmed up enough to actually snow it was more bearable).
Clearly six winters in Missouri made me weak.
But whining and complaining about it isn’t going to make the next five months any easier. This weekend I decided to confront winter head on, knowing that the cold temps and snow are here to stay.
With the help of the middle (and not so much the canines…), I got plastic insulation on most of my windows. I also put up thermal curtains in my bedroom and purchased heavy-duty door mats to help with the wet boots and Hurley tracking in snow and mud. Oh, I also put air in my tires. First time I’ve ever had my low tire pressure light come on before. Thanks, mother nature.
I also got an offer I couldn’t refused. Since my neighbor and I share a driveway, he offered to do my half this winter using his snowblower. I’ll take it! (Though by my second shoveling outing this weekend I’d developed a system to make it relatively efficient should I want the workout.)
As the weekend came to an end, I let the aroma of beef stew fill my nicely insulated house. The craving came on Saturday when one of my old kickboxing/spin classmate (I couldn’t think of a more appropriate word) posted a photo of her beef stew on facebook. It seemed like a perfect kickoff to winter. I looked at half a dozen recipes or so on pinterest before decided on this crock pot beef stew recipe.
There were a few modifications I made based on my own preferences. I’m not a huge fan of beef stew meat, so I opted to just get half a pot roast. I also didn’t include celery (since I knew I’d likely just pick around it) and threw in green beans and mushrooms. And I must say, it was nice to have a full size crock pot.
The flour at the end really did the trick in thickening up the stew. Initially I wished I would have cut down on the beef broth (in part because I only used one pound of beef instead of two), but it was a good ratio in the end. Great comfort food with a nice mix of vegetables. Plus it puts canned soup to shame.
Hopefully winter won’t be so bad after all… At the very least, I know I won’t have to be under house arrest for days on end. I forget that snow doesn’t phase people here. But I may opt to hunker down with Hurley anyway.