I was born and raised in the north. Michigan, to be exact. I’m still there, but remain convinced that the whole thing has been an epic cosmic mistake — or a higher power’s sick joke. I don’t take cold well and while Michigan is by far warmer than some places it’s also colder than far too many for my liking.
It’s not the being in the cold that really gets to me, I can dress in layers, but warming up afterwards I have always found nearly impossible without all the right tools for the job: tall, wool socks; a cozy, fleece blanket; a favorite canine friend and hearty, heavy fare.
Usually the holiday season gets me through until this time of year. The hustle and bustle, the family and friends, the sheer business of the season makes everything seem warmer. By the time mid-January sets in however, I start to get antsy; I start to get cold. The days, while they do start to get longer, seem exponentially so in a dragging, dreary, bone-chilling way.
Reluctant to stay in too much lest I fall victim to the seasonal mood disorder that so likes to grab hold of people this time of year, braving the cold becomes an avenue of defiance; a figurative middle-finger in Mother Nature’s direction. After so gesturing however, the evenings must be spent under the blankets, cuddled up in a fight against the persistent, miserable shivering that only the best winter foods and loyalest furry companions can kick.
The best of those nights are the ones on which the house is filled with the aroma of a heavy winter meal when I walk through the door. A juicy venison roast with potatoes, carrots and onions in the slow cooker, a pot of chili simmering on the stove top courtesy my thoughtful husband, a loaf of whole wheat bread in a bread maker that was set to be done just in time; all are heaven on earth for me during the coldest winter days.
Tell me, what are your go-to winter warm-up meals?