Summer is my middle name. I'm not just saying that--it really is! It's totally appropriate, because I love summertime. Flip flops, tank tops, morning runs and potlucks? Count me in. The drearier months do little to excite me: soggy snow, slow traffic and frozen toes. It's easy to dwell on the drawbacks of winter, especially when it snows in the middle of the week. This weekend however, we got somewhere near 20 inches of snow and after playing in it like a kid, I remembered: winter can be fun too.
It looks like this outside:
These days, my opportunities to enjoy the snow are few and far between. It's an obstacle more often than not, making my drive into town twice as long as it should be, not to mention twice as nerve racking. It means breaking out the snow shovel and wearing boots. But you know what? This time, I'm more than ok with it. It's not summer--it's far from summer- but it's the most beautiful, fluffy snow I've seen in years. Trudging through a hill covered in snow is at least twice as hard as climbing a hill without snow, but turning around and sliding back down on your butt brings out your inner five-year-old. Have you ever build a snowman? An ingloo? Skied through your back yard? This storm is reminded me of the snow days I had as a kid, and tempted me to lay down and make a snow angel, or ten snow angels, just because I could.
Sometimes, it's good to let out your inner child and slide down the hill on your butt.
Jumping head first into the powder is twice as nice when there's an Instant Pot full of stew at home waiting for you. Served over Garlic-Herb Cauliflower Mashers, this Paleo Rosemary & Thyme Beef Stew is exactly the type of meal you want after a day in the cold. Its a satisfying, creamy, saucy bowl of umami. It may be simple, but the flavor of herbs and fennel seed add depth and intricacy.
When it's cold outside, it's should really look like this inside:
Paleo Rosemary & Thyme Beef Stew over Garlic Cauliflower Mashers
1 pound ground beef
1 medium white onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped small
2 large carrots, diced
2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 star anise
4 springs thyme
1 spring rosemary
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups bone broth
Garlic-Herb Cauliflower Mashers (recipe below)
1. In the bottom of your Instant Pot, melt the coconut oil (use the "sauté" setting).
2. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and celery, sautéing until the onions are translucent. Add the arrowroot powder, stirring it in so that it coats the vegetables. Pour in the wine.
3. Add the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and then the carrots. Toss the fennel and anise seed in, stirring again, and then add the herbs on top. Pour in the broth, and add a few cracks or shakes of salt.
4. Close the pressure cooker, and set to the "stew" setting. Set timer for 10 minutes. Once the timer goes off, leave the pot to depressurize on its own. This will give the flavors a chance to meld together.
5. Serve hot over Garlic-Herb Cauliflower Mashers (recipe below the next photo).
Garlic-Herb Cauliflower Mashers
1 pound cauliflower
1 teaspoon butter or coconut oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper
1. Steam the cauliflower until softened through.
2. While the cauliflower cooks, mince the garlic. Sautee in the garlic in the butter over medium heat in a skillet until golden.
3. Use a spatula to scrape the garlic and butter into a blender. Strain the cauliflower and add it to the blender along with the herbs. Puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.