The snow is softly falling, white and gray, part and whole, infinite and repetitious, soft and hard, frozen and melting, a crunching underfoot and soundless. It’s magical and cumbersome all at the same time. But first of all it is the culmination of many into one. It is substance, magically turning grass crystalline–covered in white; driveways, fields, log piles, collapsed red barns, even trees into one–all white, all the same.

It’s the perfect time of year to bury ourselves in cozy warmth, and nourish our insides; our bodies, our bellies, our hearts.

Here are two great recipes I make each winter season–Chicken Stew and Oatmeal Pecan Cookies. Both healthy, nourishing, and fairly easy to make.

Shannon’s Chicken Stew


2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
2 stalks celery, cut into cubed pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi chopped)
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf (dried)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breast with bone and skin (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed. (I use light red kidney beans)

Heat the oil in a 5 1/2-quart saucepan/pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent–roughly seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with some of the juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; 20161205_181546submerge chicken completely.

Bring liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken over and stirring the mixture every so often, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10-15 minutes.

Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into small/shredded20161205_182518 pieces. Return the shredded meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper–Enjoy!

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies:
(A sweet snack without all the sugars)
1 cup of rolled oats/steel cut oats
3/4 cup of Red Mill whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 large farm fresh egg/room temperature
1/2 cup honey (organic or raw is best) (can substitute maple syrup but has more sugar)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Set oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the oats, wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
In a small bowl (microwave safe), melt the unsalted butter. Cool, then whisk in vanilla extract, and egg. Once combined thoroughly, add in the honey and whisk until well combined.
Making a well in the center of your dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon/wooden spatula, fold the ingredients together gently until the flour disappears and combines with mixture. Don’t over mix! Fold in the pecans. Then cover and place in the fridge for roughly 40 minutes to allow to set as dough.
When the dough is ready, place cookie scoop size on parchment paper on baking sheets. Will need two baking sheets.
Bake for roughly 15 minutes until the cookie is slightly firm but still spongy to the touch and edges are golden brown. Let rest for 3 minutes, then enjoy!

Published by smtraphagen

SM Traphagen is a writer and novelist. Her works have appeared on, Accounting Today Magazine, St. Reds Magazine, The Culture-ist Magazine, Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine, among others. With a fiction novel written, the hope is to expand the world of fiction in fun and creative ways. Her love of writing fiction and food have culminated in a website that blends the two, including Digestion Suggestion and Untold Shorties.

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