Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Warming up our winter

By Sara Steven

If I had to choose a favorite season, winter wouldn't be my number one choice. In fact, it would come in dead last. I’ve never been a big fan of cold weather. I dread the thought of shoveling snow, or having to contend with icy, sleet-filled roads. Nearly six months out of the year, that was my life while living in Nebraska, dreaming of a sun-filled, warmer climate.

After fourteen years, I got my wish. My family moved to Arizona last July, and while I enjoy not having to shovel my driveway anymore, there are a few things I miss about the winter. I never thought I would, but I do. I loved it when my two sons would make snow angels in our front yard. Or, when we’d attempt to make a snowman, to the best of our abilities. It never panned out, but we tried. The holidays go hand in hand with a winter wonderland, certainly lacking in the Arizona desert. I won’t complain too much, since I haven’t had to wear a heavy coat in the last eight months, but I do have a new perspective on things. Maybe the winter isn’t so bad, after all.

During those cold winter months, here were a few of my favorite things:

Favorite thing to eat: A good friend of mine passed along an easy delicious crockpot chili recipe a few years ago, and I still make it on occasion. There’s something about a hot cooked meal on a cold winter’s day, especially one that’s been simmering for hours! Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to give it a try. I’ve found it’s good all year round, no matter what climate you live in!

Crockpot Chili

2 pounds of hamburger
1 roll of sausage (Farmland Original, preferred)
½ onion, chopped
Cook the three ingredients until the hamburger is brown. Drain. Throw into crockpot with:

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 envelope chili mix
1 can ranch style beans
½ bag lima beans (I’ve often omitted this, or substituted it with other beans I find more palatable)
1 15oz can kidney beans

Cook on low all day.

Favorite thing to drink: Hot chocolate! Preferably with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkles aren’t bad, either.

Favorite thing to wear: I’d still venture outside for a run during those blistery winter months, and I couldn’t have done it without my trusty scarf. I’d wrap it around my neck and mouth, keeping the cold out until my body would acclimate to the frigid air. I didn’t enjoy having to get all bundled up in layers upon layers of clothing, but I never minded my scarf.

Favorite holiday that occurs: I love Christmas. It’s still my favorite holiday. True, I won’t have a white Christmas from here on out, but there’s something about a decorated tree, hanging stockings for my family, even wrapping the presents gets me into the spirit of things. It doesn’t matter what’s going on outside. It’s what’s happening inside that counts.

Favorite thing to do: Playing in the snow with my sons. Sometimes, the conditions would line up just right, where it wouldn’t be too cold, or too windy. The snow was packed perfectly, not too grainy or icy. A snowball fight was always on the agenda, and afterwards, we’d warm up with hot cups of cocoa. A perfect winter day.

1 comment:

Janine said...

I love chili on a cold day too. We didn't get one drop of snow here this year. I always like to see it at least once. usually when it snows here, it is gone the next day.