I take a lot of things into account when planning my meals for the week. My schedule, my workouts, my budget, the weather. Yes, the weather. Is that weird? I like to see if there’s a snow storm, or rain, or a cold day on the way. Why? Because I really like to have a big pot of stew, soup, or chili on those days. Some stick to your bones on a wet, cold day kinda food.

There’s tons going on these days. That whole day job thing, keeping up with my Nutritional Therapy studying, getting this whole website thingie worked out and shifted around, eBooks, and getting my nutritional coaching going. So much! Plus, the next Whole Life Challenge is just around the corner and I’m going to be sending out tons of stuff this time. I’ve already sent out my prep guide and I’ll be sending weekly ‘meal plans’ out starting next Friday! If you’re not already on my email subscription list, make sure you jump on it so that you get all the goods since it won’t be posted anywhere. It’s all exclusive to subscribers and all that jazz. Ya know…super special folks.

Speaking of cold weather and the Whole Life Challenge, it’s about time for a new recipe, don’t you think? It’s been a while. Sunday night I checked the weather report and saw that despite our random 64 degree day in New Jersey in January, we were about to get hit with an 11 degree one plus some snow. The perfect day for beef stew. Stew is a great weeknight meal. It’s virtually mindless to make and once the prep is done, you can ignore it and go about your evening while it simmers away into deliciousness. For normal people, this recipe will probably feed an army. In my house, it feeds two people a few times depending on the day.

The flavors are classic but with a few additions. I’ve really been loving cinnamon and red meat together, so there’s a little pinch. With WLC coming up, I wanted to throw something in there that would act like a potato. Enter the celery root. I never use it. I see it all the time in the store. I’ve eaten it at restaurants, but ne’er have a brought it home. Let’s talk about celery root for a moment, shall we?

Celery root, or celeriac, is exactly what it sounds like. A big old bulbous root. Winter is a tough time for vegetables. Dark lefty greens, squashes, and root veg are pretty much what’s around and we all tend to gravitate to the same ones over and over. Celery root is an excellent way to try something new. If you’re really missing white potatoes, you’re in luck! It has much the same texture of white potatoes, but with 1/3 the carbohydrate content and gobs of fiber. Fiber, as you know, is needed and wonderful for smooth digestion and uh…elimination. Fun fact: It’s actually mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey wayy back in 800 B.C as the Greek selinon. Talk about old school food!  It’s in the same family as carrots and parsley, and contains many of the same anti-oxidant phytonutrients. It’s also a great food source of Vitamin K, which we are learning more about every day and it’s immense impact on overall good health, including possible Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis prevention. It’s a source of many other minerals: phosphorus, calcium, iron, copper, and manganese. Manganese is a very under-known ad under-rated mineral. It acts as a spark plug for many of the body’s reactions, like energy production, protein metabolism, bone formation, and the creation of many hormones and enzymes.  It’s an important cofactor in the utilization of essential vitamins like B1, Biotin, C, and Choline. A major role of manganese is the production of the hormone thyroxine, which is critical for healthy thyroid function. It’s pretty amazing what food can do, isn’t it? Screw multivitamins, just eat nutrient-dense, organic meat and vegetables!

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This recipe is completely packed with good for you foods. Grass-fed beef, bone broth, spices, veggies. Who needs a flu shot when you have this stuff? If this doesn’t get your feeling all warm inside on a cold winter day, I don’t even know what to tell you. You may be a snowman.


Classic Beef Stew
On the table in: 2.5 hours.

2 lbs stew meat (grass fed beef, lamb, or bison will all work)
2 tbsp of cooking fat (ghee, lard, coconut oil, butter, bacon fat, tallow, etc)
1 large onion, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 celery root, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup broth (ideally bone broth that you made earlier this week. wink wink.)
1 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper as you go (to taste)

  1. Pat the meat dry and cut any particularly large pieces so you have all bite sizes cubes of meat (about 1″). Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside in a bowl. This will take you probably 10-15 min.
  3. If needed, add the remaining cooking oil to the pan. Add in the chopped veggies: onion, celery root, and half of the carrots. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until slightly softened and browned (about 8 minutes). Next add the garlic and herbs: tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon, and cumin. Cook another minute or so until fragrant.
  4. At this point, add the apple cider vinegar and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. This deglazing is an important step. All of those brown bits (called fond in French cooking) is where the depth of flavor in your stew resides. Cook the vinegar for a couple of minutes until it doesn’t reek of vinegar anymore, and then add in your broth and water (and some more salt and pepper).
  5. Bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  6. At the 45 minute mark, add the rest of the carrots (give it a stir) and cook, uncovered, for an additional hour (stirring occasionally if you’re around to do so) until the meat is pull apart tender.
  7. Serve in nice big bowls and get maybe make a fire to really set the mood.