Winter Warm Ups

Are frigid temperatures and snowy days hounding you? We haven’t had much and I’m the rarity wishing for more snowy weather. I just love me a good old blizzard! Growing up in Maryland, I remember the excitement of heaps of snow, power outages and our trusty cook stove! It kept the kitchen toasty warm and when we didn’t have other cooking options, you really could cook or bake with it! Although in that case, it took skills to a new level. I remember Mom putting a ham bone and beans on to simmer all day. The shelf above it was a perfect place for rising bread loaves …..Ah what cozy memories!!

I admit I’ve never been caught in a blizzard high up on a lone mountain. Nor have I been homeless, hunkered beneath bridges for cover from the snow. I have always been blessed to experience the comforts of home and by large, enjoy winter on the warm side of the windows. So I have concluded perhaps the reason I love winter so much is the indoor coziness of home. Winter is cold and harsh, no doubt. But it’s also invigorating air, sledding, moonlight on snow covered fields, and warmth of home after a hard day! Love of family and supper’s aroma the moment you step inside speak comfort. Add a pretty tablecloth, a good smelling candle, and China dishes. Every once in awhile it’s fun to get out that China just because! Best of all, enjoy each other’s presence together at home. Tangible comfort at day’s end. That warms the heart!

Our supper table

I also think Spring is more special after you’ve been through real winter. Isn’t that true spiritually too? After several rough months, God sends the warm sunshine and tiny shoots of green growth. We revel in that happiness all over again! Joy comes in the morning! No winter lasts forever, all ye down cast souls. Listen to this promise from God– While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

If you need a hot, nourishing supper to warm up from the freezing climate, try out this Black Bean and Pumpkin soup. I’ve made it numerous times and always hear positive things. “Mom, this is the goodest soup!” “It’s my favorite!” Jerald even suggested this would be a good soup to feed a group of men on a cold day. It’s very hearty and filling!

Don’t let the name scare you… it is for true delicious! I also advise not letting certain picky individuals hear the name, particularly the males in your household. For sure if they’re the type to presumptuously conclude on how it will taste ere they put the first bite in their mouth!

Black Bean And Pumpkin Soup

Sauté together: 2 T. Olive oil or butter, 1 green pepper diced, 1 onion diced, 3 cloves garlic.

Add in: 3 cups chicken broth, 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, (I like adding a 28 oz. can of tomatoes because it makes more soup and also because we love tomatoes in this) 2 t. chili powder, 2 t. cumin, 2 t. oregano, 2 t. salt, 2 T. parsley. Bring to a boil and add in:

2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, 1 15 oz can pumpkin (or 2 cups), 2 15 oz. cans black beans. Simmer about 10-15 minutes. Serve with corn chips, shredded cheese and sour cream. I love the convenience of having my own home canned beans. I use 2 pints for this recipe. Check out how to easily can your own here. Credits for this delicious soup go to Velma Birky.

A tip on the pepper and onion- I always like to dice the extras from the summer garden, fill little ziplock bags and freeze them flat. Later, you can neatly stack them in the freezer in a larger ziplock, for organization. When a recipe calls for peppers or onions I’m all set to grab a baggie, slice or break off what I need and throw them in!

The frozen onions and peppers

And on the garlic, I never keep garlic cloves on hand anymore since I’ve learned the convenience of fresh minced garlic I can buy. A big plus side is that there’s no garlic press mess either!! It’s super simple to add in to many dishes and it will keep in the fridge a very long time. You can also conveniently sneak in extra garlic for those health benefits!

This is what I like to use

The last time I made this soup I tried another time saver. I used my homemade taco seasoning to replace all the seasonings except the parsley and salt. It worked perfectly! I used 2 Tablespoons.

I like making a double batch of the following recipe at a time

Taco Seasoning

1/2 T. Cumin, 2 T. Chili powder, 2 t. Garlic powder, 2 t. Paprika, 2 t. Oregano, 4 t. Onion powder, 1 t. Salt.

Mix all together and store in a small glass jar in the freezer. The freezer keeps it from getting clumpy. Remember, homemade things don’t have that anti-caking junk in it! Use approximately 2 Tablespoons to replace one boughten packet of taco seasoning. I normally just sprinkle some in and kinda guesstimate. I taped the recipe on the back side of the jar. When the jar needs refilled you got the recipe right there!

Now for some dessert! If your feeling a sweet tooth craving coming on, try out these tasty crepes. They’re not that sweet but yet fit the bill! And they’re so good looking you could easily serve them for a tea party or brunch!

Gluten Free Crepes

3/4 c. Almond flour

3 T. Tapioca flour

3 T. Simple sweet- (recipe here)

1/2 t. Xanthan gum

1/2 t. Salt

4 eggs

2 T. Melted butter

1 1 /2 t. Vanilla

2/3 c. Milk or almond milk

Mix first 5 ingredients. Beat eggs and add in to the first part. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and let set for 5 minutes. Pour 1/3 cup batter into a nonstick skillet. Shake pan to flatten out as thin as desired. Cook on low for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Aim for lightly browned like this on both sides

I put a paper towel between each layer to prevent sticking. These are also fine made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.

For filling you can put in whatever you choose- yogurt, whipped topping, cream cheese or a mixture of these. I’m liable to throw a few things together but here is a recipe if you’d like.

Cream Filling

2 1/2 T. Simple sweet, 3 oz. soft Cream cheese, 3/4 c. Whipping cream, 1/3 c. Greek yogurt.

Beat cream cheese and sweetner until smooth then add yogurt. Beat whipping cream separately until stiff, then mix into cream cheese mixture. Spread this inside the crepes and sprinkle on fresh fruit or drizzle with any pie filling you desire. Used with permission from Simple Foods.

Let the drooling begin 🤤

2 thoughts on “Winter Warm Ups

  1. Thanks for reminding me of the simple way to can dry beans! I have several kinds I “inherited” from my MIL’s freezer. This should work for both larger & smaller sizes, correct? What a convenient way to prep them for recipes!

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  2. Looks so delish!! I can’t wait to try the soup, and I’m out of taco seasoning, and was thinking I need to hunt down a recipe. Perfect timing. 😁

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