For the Love of Snow Days by Carolyn Raber

The earliest I can recollect the term “snow days,” meaning that a huge amount of snow closed the schools, was in the ‘60s, when a huge blizzard paralyzed the Midwest for days. As a younger child, schools were never closed for snow, so being home on a “snow day” was cause for finding creative ways to fill the time. The options then, as today, were countless; being outside enjoying all the white stuff, catching up with the neighbors while shoveling, and cleaning closets and other indoors tasks that we never quite find the time to do. Personally, I have come to love these days, as they elevate the idea of cocooning to a heightened joy. There’s something quite wonderful about being stuck at home…a peaceful, cozy feeling.

Beef StewWhat I most enjoy doing on snow days is taking inventory of my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what comfort foods I can make.My priorities are a bread, a long cooking main dish, and a delectable dessert.  These are the days that I ignore my usual healthy eating recipes and rules and just enjoy the experience. A favorite recipe from my childhood, my mother’s oven beef stew, is actually very healthy, plus it is super easy. It can be accompanied by bread, dumplings, biscuits, noodles, rice, potatoes – whatever I can make without a trip to the store. I look forward to the next snow day when I can break my rules and totally immerse myself in the kitchen.


Oven Beef Stew
  1. 1 lb. stew beef, cut into bite size pieces
  2. 4-5 carrots, large slices
  3. 3-4 stalks celery, large slices
  4. 2 medium onions, rough chop
  5. 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  6. 1 T. tapioca
  7. 1 t. salt
  8. 1/4 t. pepper
  9. 1 bay leaf
  1. Combine all ingredients together in Dutch oven. Place in 325 oven for 2 hours.
  1. This is a basic recipe. If you are making this on a snow day, and you assess your food on hand, you can substitute, add, or eliminate ingredients . Bon appétit!
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