The new year is sobering after enjoying a gluttonous holiday season. The January winter brings boredom and some irregular weather patterns. When the seasons change, I always feel like my appetite does too. Suddenly, I want warm, filling foods. I crave carbs, cheese, and heavy meals. Maybe this is why I also put on what they call "winter weight". When the days shorten and it's sometimes to cold to wander outside, there is nothing left to do but stay inside, under a cozy blanket or eat warm wonderful meals, preferably both. The first thing that comes to  mind for dinner during winter is soups and chilies.

Soups and chilies are to the cold is as what garden vegetables are to summer, they just feel right. Growing up, mom always had a good vegetable beef soup boiling on the stove and it was a complete meal. It had all you needed; meat, potatoes, vegetables, and you served it with a pong of cornbread. Did you really need anything else? Well maybe a glass of milk to wash it down. This recipe is a good, hearty vegetable beef soup, and was requested by an avid reader who now resides in Texas. I hope this one is just what ya need! If you have a recipe you would like to share, email

Vegetable Beef Soup
1 lb. beef (stew meat) chopped
1 onion
3 celery ribs, diced
10 baby carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, diced
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen peas
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 1/2 c. beef broth or 2 (14 oz.cans)
2 small bay leaves
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. olive oil (or any cooking oil)
4 c.water
2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Cut meat into small, bite-size pieces. In large pot, saute meat in oil 1 tbsp oil until browned. Set aside. Saute celery and onion in remaining oil, until onion is golden. Add browned beef, celery, onion, carrots, corn, potatoes, tomatoes with juice, broth, water, bay leaves, and garlic powder to large pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer uncovered for about an hour, beef should be almost tender. Add peas and hot sauce, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Serve with saltines or cornbread, season with salt and pepper to desired taste as needed.

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