Cold Weather Comforts

I was awakened from slumber in the early hours today by the soft pelting slush of frozen rain against glass.  “I thought this storm wasn’t due to hit until Saturday night,” I said to myself.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Bowie stood next to me, her black nose inches from my face.  I jerked back, then half-consciously said hello.  She kindly licked me as if to say “good morning,” then pranced out of the room into the next, where I recognized familiar sounds of logs being stacked.  He was making a fire.

woodstove_res

It’s hard for me to wake up and emerge from our cozy cocoon of a bed in the morning, especially when I know that the ground outside is wet, either from a drizzling rain or soft snowfall.  The sky is surely grey, the leaves most likely swooshing to and fro, trying to tickle neighboring greens.  My only motivation for getting up on days like these is the wood stove.  I move from a warm bed to a warm couch, perched next to the fire.

It’s definitely spring. No doubt about it.  Everyone I talked to this week planted their gardens already.  One friend claimed to have four-inch green beans crawling up from her garden beds already.  And then we have the threat of snow on the last weekend of April.  That is SO AMARILLO.  It seems like it happens every year.  People wait to plant their garden until May, and then we have a weird freak snow storm.  I guess it’s not that freakish if it happens every year. 

Today I get to sit by the fire because not only is it freakish that we’re getting frozen rain (think lightly falling 7-11 slushies released from the sky, minus the high fructose corn syrup), but it’s freakish that I don’t have something on the calendar for this Saturday.  Bowie bounces between hyperactive bouts of rage stemming from her confusion as to why I won’t go play in the freezing rain with her, to short, comfortable sleep-snorts as she lies on the cooling wood floor beneath my feet.

The first thing I did once hoisting myself from the “nest” I call a bed, is throw soup into the Crockpot.  I’ve been soaking green lentils for the last 2 days; they need to be transformed into something delicious.  I made veggie stock yesterday to prepare for this weekend (see, sometimes I plan ahead!).  I threw lentils, stock, an onion and about 4 cloves of garlic into the Crockpot on high.  I’ll revisit the situation in about 5 hours and add some chopped kale.  I’ll let that cook down and then when we’re hungry, I’ll ladle it into soup bowls with a nice spoonful of miso paste.  Instant yum. (It’s a go-to soup my sister used to make when we were roommates).

Not entirely convinced?  Suit yourself.  Regardless of the soup you make on a cold day like this, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want some bread with that.  One of our favorite recipes is for Onion & Walnut Muffins from Stella McCartney’s “Meat-Free Monday” cookbook.  Savory muffins…YUM!!!

Onion Muffins

Please don’t make me convince you.  Just trust.  We first tried this recipe when our niece came to stay with us.  We were all drooling.  This much butter will make anything taste good!

Onion & Walnut Muffins

Makes about 20 (I usually make a half recipe for 2 people)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion
18 TBS butter (that’s 2 sticks + 2 TBS!  I used half butter half olive oil and they still turned out delicious)
2 eggs
6 TBS sugar (I used half the amount b/c we like them more like biscuits)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups shelled walnuts, coarsely crushed
3 cups flour (We like them with half regular and half whole wheat; less muffin-like, more biscuit-like)

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 425°.  Line two muffin tins with paper muffin cups (if needed).

In a food processor (a blender might work too), purèe the onion.

In a bowl, beat butter, eggs and sugar.  Then add the onion purèe.  Stir in salt, baking powder and walnuts.  Add flour one cup at a time and mix thoroughly.

Fill lined muffin cups almost full and bake 20 minutes.  Serve hot with butter.

Onion muffins Meatless Mondays

If you’re still not sold on the above lentil soup recipe, try this one.  It’s always a crowd-pleaser.  It’s kind of like if a typical french lentil soup and African peanut stew got together…

Hearty sweet potato and lentil stew recipe

Maybe some of you are lucky enough to have actual, typical spring weather this weekend.  If so, enjoy it.  We in Amarillo will be hanging out indoors, hopefully by a fire. 🙂

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