Happy Valentine’s Day!

Prettiest Valentine ever
Prettiest Valentine ever

Should I admit I don’t mind being snowed in? Perfect excuse not to go to the gym, nor for long walks. Perfect time to plow through piles of old pictures, to take some new ones with my new camera, to finish one book and begin another. Plus, our energy-inefficient house is all windows looking out over fields of melting snow. And plus, plus, Stoic the Vast has faithfully maintained the firewood supply along with a fire in the wood stove.

I’m glad my always considerate old horse decided to lay himself down and dee on Monday morning, two days before his 35th birthday. It would have been harder on him if we hadn’t been able to get our wonderful vet out almost as soon as I called. As it was, old Matt Dillon pretty much just “stopped,” which is as much as any of us can hope for.

We had plenty of  weather warnings so had groceries and recipes all DSCN0090prepared (as our friend David A. once said, “I feel pretty good about our food situation”). The power stayed on. What more could we have wanted? Well, maybe to get to the library for more books, but I should be OK until Saturday. Stoic has been searching for the Kindle, and surely it will turn up before spring.

We had homemade applesauce and a baguette in the freezer (from Nova’s Bakery, Charlotte NC), we had butter, red wine and this skillet cassoulet, best bean and sausage dish I’ve done this winter. It’s heart-healthy with beans and turkey sausage and carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Somehow all the vegetables managed to keep their flavors, maybe because I didn’t use crockpot but cooked in skillet as directed.

Recipe comes from Feb./March 2014 issue  of Taste of Home magazine. Says it makes 3 servings; we thought it more like 4 but I’d put in 10 ounces of meat, rather than 8. (BTW, you do have a kitchen scale, don’t you?)

Skillet cassoulet

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/4 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices

4 ounces fully cooked boneless ham, cubed

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1 celery rib, sliced

1/2 medium red onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 15-ounce can kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In large skillet, heat oil. Add meat, carrots, celery and onion; cook and stir until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in beans, tomatoes, thyme and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Makes 3 servings, 282 calories, 8 grams fat and 10 grams fiber each.

Cassoulet is as pretty as it is good for you. I used ground sausage, not slices of sausage and cubes of ham. Hey, blizzard conditions!


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