Everyday Mom's Meals: Our New Normal

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Our New Normal

Every day when I wake up these days, I find myself holding my breath as I reach for my phone to read the latest headlines and see what latest development has occurred.

We are living in uncertain, and for many, scary times. Being told to stay in place, shelter at home, quarantine ourselves. Restaurants are closed. Businesses have sent workers home. Grocery store shelves are empty. I could go on and on about so many things that are causing anxiety of every single minute of the day.

As I was going through the few recipes I have to choose from to post this week, I chose this for one reason. It is filled with ingredients that you could maybe have on hand already or hopefully find easily at the store, and not spend a fortune.

The thing I notice when I venture out to buy groceries, besides the vast amount of empty shelves, is that fact that for many like me who shop on a budget, and know the brands to buy every week to stretch a buck...that is out the window. We are all in survival mode, and buying whatever we can find, no matter what brand, and in many cases, no matter what the cost. I know I spent more money at the store yesterday than I normally would because I had to substitute pricier brands for the generics I usually buy. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to find what I did and felt blessed to be able to buy every single item on my list (okay, I couldn't find any tomato soup, but that is very minor) but it got me thinking about how much extra money we might have to spend on groceries over the next few weeks.

Don't worry when you see the amount of ingredients on the list. They are simple. They are pretty inexpensive. And many of them might be in your pantry or fridge right now. We are heading into the end of March, and I wish I could say it's warming up so stew doesn't really sound that good, but as I type this, snow is falling outside, so soups and stews are definitely still on the menu.

The other great thing about this? Make it for supper one night, and have leftovers for lunch for a few days! You know with the kids home from school, lunches need to be easy too!

I wish I had some encouraging words for all of us to make our new normal actually seem normal. I will leave you with something our pastor said during our virtual church service today.

"Asking why is okay in times of trouble. Rest assured, while we might not have the answer, God is doing is work all the time, and we can have peace knowing His plan is always right." 

Smoked Sausage Stew
3 TBS butter
1 lb. smoked sausage, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped  
1 (32 oz.) box beef broth
3 c. water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen mixed veggies
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
4 TBS cornstarch
Salt and Pepper

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, melt butter. Saute sausage, onion, celery, carrots and potatoes for 5-7 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add frozen veggies, broth, water, bouillon, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Whisk cornstarch into cream until smooth. Increase heat high. Add cream mixture. Stir constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes until desired consistency. Garnish with extra parsley.

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