*I said “Brrr! It’s cold in here!” There must be some Toro’s in the at-mos-phere!*I sing this line from the movie that defined my pre-teen years- Bring it On- every time the weather drops below 60 degrees. When I’m done being such a loser, I sit down and throw some fab recipes together, so listen up!But, first- some meals from yesterday.Breakfast:I’ve been doing some research on protein lately, and I’ve realized that my daily intake is somewhat low, due to the fact that I typically omit animal protein from my breakfasts and lunches. I discovered that nutritional yeast, which is the deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is an excellent way to include a complete protein (18 amino acids) in your meals when meat is not present. I sprinkled some on my usual scrambies and melted cheese. It definitely added some flavor to the eggs, plus I felt full for much longer after breakfast than normal. I also drank a big cup of Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee coffee made in the Keurig . Lunch: I enjoyed a hot bowl of Amy’s Organic Tomato Bisque with goat cheese stirred in, alongside a green salad with…more goat cheese.The inspiration for this next recipe came from this: This pot was a wedding gift that has been staring me in the face for about 2 months now. It’s pretty pricey for a pot, and we have been debating whether or not to keep it. I just couldn’t decide if I would use it enough, but after much debate, we decided to open it up and give it a test run. Man, am I glad we did! I can’t really explain it, but this Le Creuset Dutch Oven has magical powers. It literally made each ingredient smell and taste a hundred times more potent and delicious- it was crazy! The other important factor about this pot- browning. The material it is made out of helps with the browning process of things like aromatics and meat, which is the base of all great sauces.(If you do not own a dutch oven, a large pot with a lid will work just as well)Beef and Sweet Potato Stew Cooking Time: 3 hoursServings: 6-8Ingredients:3 lbs. beef stew meat3 large celery stalks, chopped12 cloves of garlic, chopped1 large onion, chopped6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes1 cup dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained1 and 1/4 cup water1 tablespoon flour4 oz. sliced white mushrooms2 bay leaves2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon black pepper1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil Directions:-Place pot over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of oil.-Throw in the garlic and cook until slightly brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. -Remove the garlic and place in a separate bowl.-Place another tablespoon of oil in the pot and throw in the onions.-Cook until browned, about 3 minutes.-Remove and place in the bowl with the garlic. -Season the stew meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on each piece.-Place another tablespoon of oil in the pot.-Working in batches, place about 1/3 of the meat in the pot, one piece at a time, to ensure the bottoms are able to brown. Brown on both sides, about 2 1/2 minutes per side.-Once browned, remove from pot and place in the bowl with the onions and garlic. Repeat until all meat is browned. -Add the wine to the empty pot, using your spatula to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom. -Bring to a boil, then add the meat, onion and garlic mixture back to the pot. -Pour in the water, beef broth, tomatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaves and salt and pepper.-Stir and bring to a boil.-Place lid on pot. If using a dutch oven or oven-safe pot, place inside 300-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. If using a regular pot, lower the heat on the stove to medium-low for 1 1/2 hours.-After 1 1/2 hours, remove lid and place sweet potatoes and mushrooms in the pot. -Whisk the 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon flour together until well combined, then pour in the pot and stir everything together.-Place lid back on pot and place back in the oven (or leave on the stove) for another 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. -Serve in bowls! I ended the night curled up in a blanket on the couch with my Kindle and a hot mug of chocolate almond milk. Winter perfection .See ya later for another wedding post!