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A hearty winter meal, from leftovers! Super simple winter veggie pan fry

Updated: Mar 14

Let's turn this...

Into this!

I had a little bit of sausage and mushrooms leftover from a dinner I made 2 nights ago and didn't want it to go to waste, so I whipped up something awesome! I definitely cook a lot like my mom, and I often think of how my Meme cooked too. My mom has always been good at throwing a few things together in just the right way to make something amazing happen, and my Meme always cooked with very simple ingredients too. Nobody has ever taught me how to cook, I have just taken what I have seen, and added my own spin.

I like to cook what I like to eat, and I like to keep it no fuss, without any extra craziness or effort. That is how we have always cooked, effortlessly. Plus I like to cook! It's just kind of fun to chop things and hear the stove sizzle and smell all the nice flavors coming together... doesn't have to be a task, and you don't even really need to love it - it can just enjoyable pause in the day to say thank you to the world for providing for you. Sometimes it's nice to slow down, especially when you value what you'll get out of what you're doing and making.

My Meme used to always cook spaghetti and meatballs, and her and my grandpa had a cellar full of vegetables they canned themselves, and she always made her own sauce with the tomatoes he grew. My grandpa loved to garden and had a green thumb. I can still picture his huge sunflowers and the smell of tomato vines! He had a rickety old greenhouse (he was also a builder and did all of his projects himself.) Both of my grandparents were quite older when I was a kid, but I still have some fond memories of them... like me Meme teaching me how to sew buttons... we were sitting out on aluminum lawn chairs in the front yard in the sun.

My mom had a beautiful little garden at our old house too. I vividly remember playing in the mud and how happy I was! Her cooking was always simple but hearty too. We would take the simple stuff, and make it awesome. One of my favorite things she would make was sautéed hot dogs and peppers with onions and rice pilaf or mashed potatoes, and she usually cut up a little tomato or cucumber and put a little salt and pepper on it too on the side... always simple, and oh so beautiful.

I find I cook a lot like that, I really like simple things that just don't need a lot of fuss to taste amazing.

Eating seasonally in New England - what would we eat if we grew it ourselves?

Usually people had root cellars - if you go deep enough underground you reach a stable, cool temperature, perfect for canned goods and root vegetables. If you don't have a root cellar, use your fridge! Choose a few things to start with that are versatile.

Carrots and cabbage

Carrots and cabbage both last a very long time in the fridge when stored properly! The bag of carrots I have, I am not kidding, have probably been in there for 2-3 months. And brussel sprouts are a great little cabbage that you can bake, fry or even make salads with. The carrots, you can boil and add butter and salt and pepper, you can roast them with herbs, you can also throw them into a "winter" salad, or sautee them too! I love, love, love crispy baked brussel sprouts with garlic and salt.

I love cooking with sausage in the winter - again, you can add them to sauces, fry them in a pan, or sauté them with vegetables. It is so easy to cook 1 thing in so many different ways. That's how our ancestors did it!

And of course... my egg noodles. I love egg noodles. Both my mom and Meme used to make them with mushrooms and gravy with black pepper. So good! :)

My point it, it's really easy to eat really well with very little. Sure saving money is good, but shouldn't we want to be eating like this? Shouldn't we want to eat food we grow ourselves, or at least aim to, or value? Eating foods that connect you to the natural world is good for you. It just is. And I think it's something we need to do. I am very thankful for my grandparents and their little backyard garden. I am also very thankful for the love my Mom put into feeding me meals she cooked herself with so much care.

I think we're all on the search for meaning - so why not start with food?


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