Overcoming Winter Time Blues – January & February Are The Cuddle Up With Comfort Food Months

Beat Cabin Fever with Comfort Foods Rich in Omega 3

If you live anywhere in the US, especially on the East coast, you know as well as I that the last few weeks have been very difficult. And more cold weather

Many Southern comfort foods are popular not only because of their great tastes and affordability but also because of their hidden nutrient factors, especially in winter.

Eating lots of Omega 3 fatty acids are a proven way to overcome seasonal depressions like cabin fever.

Well known for being found in found in fish and nuts Omega-3 fatty acids are also inside many foods such as kidney beans, navy beans, squash of all kinds, green beans, collard greens and other fruits and vegetables that are popular with Southern cooks.

So it’s not unusual that we gravitate toward these traditional foods for not only their warmth in colder weather, but also for the effects that they have on our moods and attitudes.

As you know Mountain Made is essentially a North Carolina art gallery, yet we also carry a wide selection of books, both fiction and nonfiction, by local writers.

Many of our cookbooks showcase several of these comfort foods or heritage-based recipes such as southern pioneer or Cherokee cooking.

One such book is “Log Cabin Cooking: Pioneer Recipes And Food Lore”, by Barbara Swell. Ms. Swell has been cooking since she was nine years old after winning a blue-ribbon for her sugar cookies at a West Virginia country fair.

A former self-imposed pioneer now child counselor, Barbara lives with her husband Wayne and their three children near Asheville North Carolina and she has written a series of superb pioneer and vintage cookbooks.

Another popular author is Cherokee elder Johnny Sue Myers. Several of Mrs. Myers’s dishes were seen on the popular Travel Channel television show, “ Bizarre Foods “, when the show’s host Andrew Zimmern came to Western North Carolina to shoot an episode on Appalachian cooking.

While many of recipes in her cookbook, “The Gathering Place” offer details on the preparing and cooking wild game. she also has several traditional Southern recipes using more common foods found in the homes of many country cooks.

Another favorite is the reprint of the Southern classic cookbook, “The Book Of Corn Cookery”, by Mary L. Wade. Mary Wade’s book of corn recipes was originally published in 1917 and was widely distributed among various homes in the Southeast.

Her books were published at the height of the United States involvement in World War I and were intended to provide inexpensive alternatives to foodstuffs that were in short supply and needed for the war effort.

These books along with many other great local cookbooks are available for purchase…check out this “Pie for Two Bundle”.

We invite you to learn more about these books are take a moment to drop by our store (if the weather permits) and browse our wonderful collection nonfiction works as well as novels by local writers.

But as our gift to you here is a couple of wonderful recipes from our Mountain Made staff.

This recipe was graciously given to us by Melinda Knies, owner and manager of the Mountain Made Gallery.

Melinda says that this easy to make chicken and muffin dish is a favorite with her family especially in these cold winter months. It is a hearty yet simple to prepare recipe that your whole family can enjoy.

2 CUPS chicken cooked and diced
2 CUPS celery, diced
½ CUP almonds, sliced
2 TABLESPOONS pimiento chopped
1 CAN sliced water chestnuts
½ TEASPOON salt (optional—I don’t usually add because everything you are using is seasoned)
2 TABLESPOONS onion, grated
½ CUP mayonnaise
3 TABLESPOONS lemon juice
1 CAN cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom or cream of celery
½ CUP grated cheddar cheese
3 CUPS potato chips, crushed

Mix all ingredients except cheese and potato chips. Turn into baking dish. Top with cheese and potato chips. Bake 30 minutes at 350 deg. Serves 8-10

2 CUPS self-rising flour
1 ½ TEASPOONS dill weed
¼ – ½ TEASPOON ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 CUP (8 OZ. container) cottage cheese
½ CUP milk
4 TABLESPOONS ( ½ stick) butter melted
1 ½ TABLESPOONS coarsely grated onion

Heat oven to 400 deg. F. Line muffin pans (makes 12 muffins) with paper/foil liners. This is essential for these muffins as they will stick to any pan of any kind.

Thoroughly mix flour, dill weed and pepper.

Then mix egg, cottage cheese, milk, melted butter and onion and add to dry ingredients.

Scoop batter into baking cups.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until springy to the touch in the center. Cool before eating.

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