On a récent day, I woke up early to enjoy a peaceful morning meditation while listening to the whispering sound of snowflakes falling outside my kitchen window.
Although I had intentions to run a few errands, the wintry conditions suggested staying put. Somewhat of a relief as I recollected the many times, against my better judgement, I ventured out in bad weather. Having a car with 4 wheel drive, a sturdy shovel, kitty litter (in case I got stuck which I did), an extra coat, gloves, hat, bottled water and non perishable food sometimes just wasn’t enough to brave the elements. Cursed my way through chipping ice off frozen windshields and broken wipers, spinning tires and sliding on treacherous black ice.
As I tightly gripped the wheel of my car, cautiously following behind tracks and rear lights of the cars and trucks in front on me on highways while listening to breaking traffic and weather reports on the radio. Harrowing adventures to say the least.
Homemade pork, beef and veal meatballs in marinara sauce
One consolation of these trips was knowing there’d be a home cooked meal on the table. Even with my long commute and hectic schedule, I did a fair amount of cooking ahead back then. I still do. Spent at least one weekend day prepping and cooking for the week ahead. Batch cooked stews, soups, casseroles, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna* and sheet pan meals (chicken and vegetables). These were meals which could be reheated easily after long work and school days.
Tomatoes from my little patch in the local community garden.
As much as I yearned to grow food in my former home, the deer had another plan. The spring they ate all the tops off my tulip bed made the decision easy not to plant a garden. Most of the produce I used came from the farmers markets and roadside stands in New York and New Jersey.
Since moving to Cleveland, I’ve had the opportunity to grow food in a real garden…mostly tomatoes, collard and mustard greens and herbs. Looking forward to this summers planting. My sister has already been reviewing her list of plants for her garden! She’s encouraging me to start plants from seed, however, I’m short on space.
The tomatoes (mine and some from the local farmers market) made their way into marinara sauce. Tastes like summer whenever I retrieve the vacuum sealed pouches from the freezer. My recipe for marinara sauce is here: Tomato Joy
*Here is one of my favorite recipes for Mushroom Lasagna. I add layers of chopped cooked spinach for more veggies. Perfect for a cold winters day.
Snowy winter days call for comfort foods. What’s your favorite?
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and collaborative lifestyle brand. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at select Northeast Ohio businesses including:
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