Winter Weekend

Oklahoma weather is crazy. It totally fluctuates. Two days ago, it was sixty-six degrees and I went for a nice morning lake walk. It was breezy, yet very mild, and I actually thought about how fun it will be to get in that lake again! Meanwhile, mist hung over Skiatook Lake to the west and dark clouds loomed in the distance to the south.

By lunchtime, it was pouring rain.

The doorbell rang, and look who was hoping to come in for a visit.

Just kidding, we don’t even have a doorbell. But I did open my garage door so my neighbor’s chickens could take refuge in there.

When John, the kids and I woke up the next day, it was turning into a winter wonderland.

To Isabel and Brady’s pure delight, we played in the snow…

We also had fun off-roading around in it…

I had a blast walking around looking for beautiful shots.

The chickens weren’t so sure about the snow.

In fact, Isabel successfully removed one of the chickens who was hiding in the wheel well of John’s truck without getting flogged or clawed.

Friday morning I had gone to Walmart and filled my cart up with provisions like a blizzard was coming (not just one day of snow), including a storm radio as encouraged by my mom. Thank you, national news stations, for sufficiently worrying my mother in California every time we’re about to embark on some kind of extreme weather in Oklahoma.

Anticipating a wintery weekend nestled in our cottage in the woods, I knew I wanted to make a giant pot of something cozy and hot. Even when we lived in California, our Womack rainy day go-to recipe has always been chili and cornbread, but to my husband’s suggestion, and I always do what my husband suggests (that’s a joke), I made hamburger soup.

I didn’t take photos of the cooking process. I just spontaneously thought to add this recipe to my already spontaneous blog post. But, here is the recipe. It’s hearty, yet healthy. The broth is silky, rich and flavorful, and the soup is chockful of meat and vegetables. It’s a meal in itself, however, John, Isabel, and Brady enjoyed it with a wedge of cornbread. I sprinkled my soup with a bit of grated cheddar cheese.

When I take the time to make soup or chili I like to make a humongous batch (there was barely room in the pot to stir it once I finished adding everything!), and freeze half of it for a busy weekday when I go searching in the freezer for a fast meal. Make sure you let the soup cool before putting it in a plastic container and into the freezer. You can store soups in the freezer for three months and broths for six months. I like to write on the label the date that we need to eat it by.

Here is the recipe. All of these measurements are just suggestions.

Ingredients

1/2 onion, diced

a few cloves of garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 lb. ground turkey

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

a few tablespoons tomato paste

10 oz. can crushed tomatoes

10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes (or just use another can of crushed tomatoes, but the Rotel has green chilies in it and it adds nice flavor)

a teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning

salt and pepper

2 32 oz. containers beef broth (I like using the low-sodium kind)

6 carrots, sliced

2 large potatoes, diced (I like a large dice so they don’t get too soft and they hold their form)

1 package frozen green beans

1 package frozen corn

Instructions

1. Sweat the onions and celery in a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Remove the onion mixture from the pan and put to the side for now.

3. Brown the ground turkey and ground beef, breaking into pieces with your spoon. I season this layer with salt and pepper, as well.

4. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and rotel, italian seasoning, beef broth, potatoes, and carrots. Stir.

5. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer until the carrots are the desired tenderness.

6. Add frozen green beans and corn, as well as the onion mixture. They frozen vegetables will need just need a few minutes to heat through.

Cozy up and enjoy! And no, I didn’t eat this outside. It was too cold! That’s totally staged. But, doesn’t it look picturesque?

My winter weekend story isn’t completely over yet. Today, our beautiful winter wonderland gradually melted away.

By this afternoon, there was no more snow on the logs…

Or on the rocks…

The only evidence of snow is the puddles and mud that it left behind.

To Isabel and Brady’s dismay, they’ll have to wait until next time to take a snow day from school!

 

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