Friday, January 9, 2015

"Memories Of Snow"---Plus A “Home-style Beef Stew” Recipe

 "Baby, it’s Cold Outside" is a song with words and music by Frank Loesser. It is a romantic winter song that premiered as a duet in 1944 with his wife, Lynn Garland. 

What made me think of this song is, here on Long Island our temperatures have been below freezing, in the single digits, and even into the minuses. It seems that all across the country, there is what the meteorologists call a “Polar Vortex.” I know we are in the month of January, but our temperatures have not been that low in a long time. How are you keeping warm and cozy? Are you near a fireplace, or under your blankets?

My dad with my son, Paul 1980
I remember when I was growing up we always had a lot of snow in the winter. Sometimes schools were closed and my brothers and I would get bundled up like Nanook of the North. We would go outside in the yard and build a snowman which always seemed to end in a snowball fight. My dad used to take us on a hill, near the golf course in Queens, where we could go sled riding. He would take the sled that was his when he was a child (Sno Plane) and we would all pile in the car with boots, gloves, hats, and scarves. The anticipation of sliding down the hill took our minds off the fact that it was so cold. This hill was in the neighborhood which we called “Suicide Hill.” We would usually see our friends and their families as my dad would pull into a parking spot. We all piled on the sled and went down the hill, some of us tumbling down into the cold thick snow. 

Sometimes my brother would go down on the sled belly up, and you could see him speeding down that hill, missing all of his friends. As the sun was setting, my dad would say time to go home, which by now we had had enough. When we walked into the back door of the house my mom had hot chocolate or a hot mug of soup waiting for us to warm our cold insides. I always enjoyed coming back in the house as the aroma of the chocolate would be all throughout the house. Our cheeks were rosy, our gloves were soaked and stuck with snow, and we even had snow in our boots. But as we peeled off the winter cold from our outside activities I would not give it up for the world. Memories are made even in the coldest snowy days. As I reminisce about when I was young, I have been in the kitchen making the best recipe for keeping warm and comfy. That would be by cooking a warm bowl of Beef Stew. 

Did you know that January is “National Soup Month?” Soup can be dated back to about 6000 B.C. Did you know that soup is the #1 choice for comfort foods? I can't think of anything better than a nice hot bowl of soup or stew to make a person feel comforted when their feeling down or just cold. There's just something about having a hot steaming bowl under your nose, with a nice wedge of homemade bread and all your worries go away for the moment.

Soup usually consists of more liquid than stews, but this is a controversy, whether you decide that stew is labeled a soup. Whatever you decided soup or stew gives us a nice warm feeling inside. It's a good idea to always have some soup available for those unexpected rainy days, because the truth is; soup is healing, inside and out. Have you ever noticed when a loved one is sick, the first thing they ask for is soup? Soup feels real nice to a sore throat. Its smoothness and soft veggies slide down the throat without scratching and with very little effort. This is another reason why soup is a great meal to give a sick person. It can be eaten quickly with little effort at all and they feel comforted.

Soups are quick, easy, and practically no fail. You don't have to be an expert cook to make a great bowl of soup or a great stew. Soup also freezes easily too. You can make up a big pot and freeze part of it for a rainy day. In doing research for this post, I found that “Soup Month” is gaining momentum in other countries as well. Why? Because everybody loves soups and every country is famous for their own traditional soups.

Food in general has always had a way of sticking in our minds. How many times have you walked in a room and you smelt a familiar aroma that sent fond memories of your mom and grandmother’s cooking, rushing to your taste buds? We all have those memories and we would be lost without them. That’s why it’s so important for us to make fond memories of meals around a dinner table that our children can carry with them through their adult life. 

Memories of enjoying a warm bowl or cup of soup or stew were like a big hug for me, from my mom! In my Italian family, my mom would make some form of soup or stew for our dinner especially when it was cold out. Whether it was homemade chicken soup when we were sick or a cup of soup after we were out in the snow, building a snowman. There is nothing like that warm aroma of steaming bowl to melt all your troubles away. One of my favorite stews is called “Home-style Beef Stew.” I would love to share this recipe with you, my readers. Once you have had this stew, you will be hooked and want to make this delicious, thick, and flavorful recipe over and over again. Make sure you have a bowl of soup or stew before January is a memory. Enjoy!!

                                                    “Home-style Beef Stew

Hearty and full of rich homemade flavor, this beef stew recipe is an easy way to get in servings of protein and vegetables. It’s especially good on a colder day alongside a crisp green salad and a slice of homemade bread. Enjoy and keep warm!

Recipe Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 85 min

1 lb. beef eye round roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
32oz of Beef stock (homemade or your favorite)
2 cups water
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups baby red potatoes, halved
3 carrots, sliced

Toss beef with flour; set aside. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat and brown beef. Remove beef from saucepan; set aside. Stir onions and garlic into same saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in Beef Stock, water, Worcestershire sauce, and beef pieces. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until all is blended together. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, 40 minutes or until beef is almost tender. Stir in potatoes and carrots and simmer an additional 40 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender. **(If it is too thick, add more beef stock, if it is too thin add more flour and stir) Try this dish tonight to help keep your family warm!

Till Next Time…………

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. This post is really sweet and uplifting and I love the photos too. The fire is really cool.. I mean I love it!
    You are absolutely right in saying that soups are healing in and out. They really are and as you know Italians do many soups. I grew up with soups all my childhood and still to these days I cannot live without them. You feel so good after a good hot bowl of goodness.
    Over here it is not so cold, it kinds of comes and goes. When I was in Italy recently we had a couple of days of really painful weather which was well below zero and it was impossible to stay outside! In England it is more rain and wind the cold usually.
    I wish you a relaxing and cosy weekend. I have my daughter's birthday party tomorrow so I am quite busy!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, I tried to use some gif photos. Nee taught me about them and now I love to use is very interactive and so nice. Happy that you loved them and my recipe. You are correct, my mom also made many soups especially in the winter cold months. That is what we are dealing with now, below zero temps and very windy. I know that England is rainy a lot. I am going to try to keep warm and cozy this weekend. I hope that your daughter has a fabulous Birthday party! I can imagine how busy you are. Enjoy your day and thank you again for taking time to visit me.
      Dottie x :)

  2. Good evening Dottie ,
    This post is amazing and what fond memories you have and thanks so much for sharing them with me and your readers .
    You are so right , soup warm your throat and your tummy and the steam opens your nostrils . I keep a different soup on the back burner of the stove , that's the first place the kids head when they get home from school to the table waiting on their mugs of soup .
    We don't have snow yet but got freezing temperature and rain off and on .
    I do love your fire , it gives the post a warm and inviting feeling (smiling).
    I have a beef roast and will make the stew tomorrow for dinner ... I will have garlic bread and salad , HMmmmm good . As you now I will have to double the recipe for my family (4 kids) and a couple of others .
    Love the picture with your Dad ... Dottie it's so good to be able to go down memory lane is it not ?
    Thanks for sharing and stay safe and warm my friend and may you always be blessed ....~Nee~ ;-D

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thank you for your comment and your visit! Yes, my younger days were always fun and full of memories. I love to share my experiences especially when I was younger. Soup is a miracle food, has healing properties besides a bowl or cup tastes good as well! That is a great idea of keeping the soup on the back burner for when it is cold and the kids are coming home from school. Oh it is really very cold here, Nee and yes I love the gif fire. I think it seems to add to the story. If you make this recipe I hope that you enjoy it. I am so glad that you loved the photo of my son, Paul and my dad. It is a favorite of mine. Yes, I love going down memory lane. I have a huge box filled with photos and last night before I posted I went through them for that photo of my son and my dad. So many photos and many memories especially of people that are no long will us. Hope that you and the family keep safe and warm. Have a fun weekend!
      Dottie :) <3

  3. These Are good memories Dottie. It seems we may not have had as many "gadgets" as the kids today, but we sure did have some good simple fun.
    Just going outside and the kids lining up to slide down the driveway with our sleds could last all day.
    The stew sounds delicious. xo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for your comment..Yes, I did have many good memories when I was growing up...At that time, as you know, we didn't have all of this "tech" stuff. Going outside was the were able to use your mind and create games. You knew your friends and enjoyed the air outside especially in the winter with the snow, or the fall with the leaves. Sounds like you had the same type of fun when you were young as well. Thanks for visiting and the stew is really good. Perfect for a cold day...Have a great rest of the week...
      Dottie :)