This freezing cold winter is showing no signs of letting up. Even with the heat cranked there’s still a persistent chill that seeps in and I want to crush it. I want total heat through and through and the best way to do this – besides immersing myself in a hot tub – is to get in the kitchen and start baking. First step, turn on the oven, preheat it to 425, then go and grab your computer or smart phone and check out some of these heart and soul warming recipes that will be enjoyed by everyone in your house.
First, we want a warm beverage to drink while we begin prep. Hot chocolate is great, we like El Camino or Abuelita brand, but how about trying something new? Have you ever made a hot mug of Ovaltine? Why not go one better and make your own malted milk powder? Here’s a great recipe and blog post on it by FoodieWithFamily. Once you’ve got some homemade Ovaltine to sip it is time to get something into that toasty oven.
How about something for breakfast tomorrow? I like to use savoury muffins, rather than English muffins, for breakfast sandwiches, I just cut them in half horizontally, spoon on creamy eggs scrambled with spinach (warm the muffins in the oven while you scramble the eggs), top with the other half of the muffin and take them to the breakfast table. Try these Bacon, Leek and Cheese Muffins from Taste.com, they make the perfect breakfast sandwich.
Breakfast is done, now we’ll prep tomorrow’s lunch and for that we can make a hearty warming soup. But we still need an excuse to keep that oven on so we can make some quickbread to go with the soup. The soup will be a great vehicle for loading up on healthy veggies, so let’s get lots of dark leafy greens in there. This recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup is great served with toasted bread, make your own bread with this recipe for quick and easy Green Onion Quick Bread made with buttermilk and whole wheat flour.
If you’re going to spend a whole day cooking and baking then we should definitely include some cookie recipes. This one, for Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies, comes from the Pioneer Woman and is one of my absolute favourites. Shortbread is nice too, and it often gets ignored outside of the holiday season. Whip up a batch of Walnut Shortbread to enjoy with your Ovaltine.
Dinner time is fast approaching so it is time to think about an ideal recipe that fits our theme – mainly to keep that oven pumping out heat for as long as possible. Braising fits the ticket.
Try Braised Lamb Shanks served with Maple Glazed Root Vegetables or Cider Braised Pork Belly. Beef cheeks can be subbed in for the ox in Nigel Slater’s incredibly unique and luscious Ox Cheeks Braised with Mushrooms and Galangal. For a vegetarian option the Braised Endive with Hazelnuts from Vegetarian Times is fantastic, as is the Braised Cavolo Nero and Silverbeet (aka Swiss chard) dish. It calls for chicken stock but you can sub in veg stock easily.
Now every meal of the day has been prepped and your house is warm and full of delicious food. Life is good. Put your feet up and forget about winter for awhile.