cooking

beef stew with dumplings.

we have been eating this delicious crockpot recipe for the past, oh, week or so. because it makes a million servings and is so filling that you don’t have to eat a lot to feel satisfied.

crockpot

the recipe is from the betty crocker cookbook, which Mister Man and i live by. we have found some of our favorite recipes in this cookbook and it never fails to make a low-cost, delicious meal. (don’t worry, i’ll post the recipe in full further down.)

beef stew

it’s the easiest if you prep the ingredients the night before, so you can just toss everything in the crockpot in the morning. this is about saving time people!

beef stew prep

beef stew prep

seriously, you just toss everything except the thickening agent (water/flour) in the crockpot and let it work its magic for 8 hours. then you add the thickener to make it a stew, and whip up some quick herbed dumplings to cook on top of the stew. oh, did i forget to mention that there was wine in this recipe? there is. which makes it so much better than if there wasn’t.beef stewbeef stew

this is what it looks like when it’s done. i like to pair it with a salad, because otherwise it feels like a million pounds of beef and hearty stewed veggies are living in your body. the salad makes it feel a little more healthy and fresh. my personal favorite is a mixed green salad with blackberries, celery and green pepper topped with a blackberry-ginger vinaigrette. makes snowy days feel closer to summer.

stew and salad

beef stew

here is the recipe:

beef stew with herbed dumplings (from “betty crocker cookbook”)

prep: 25 minutes total time: 8 hrs. 50 minutes 8 servings

  • 2 lb boneless beef bottom or top round, tip or chuck steak, cut into 1-inch pieces (we used top round)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices (2 cups)
  • 2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 8 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 3/4 C. dry red wine or beef broth (we used wine)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 C. water 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

herb dumplings

  • 1 1/2 C. original bisquick mix
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage leaves, crumbled
  • stir in 1/2  C. milk just until moistened

spray  3 1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix all stew ingredients exceot water and flour. Cover; cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours (or high heat setting for 4-5 hours) or until beef is tender.

in small bowl, stir water and flour until well mixed; gradually stir into beef mixture. cover.

make herb dumplings as directed above, drop dough by 8 spoonfuls onto hot beef mixture. increase heat setting to high. cover; cook 25 to 35 minutes ot until toothpick inserted in center of dumplings comes out clean.

all photos taken by me or my lovely husband, who thought to take photos of the stew prep so i could write a blog post about it. yes, he’s thoughtful AND handsome.

humpday happy list.

oy. can we talk about how it’s already november 7th and thanksgiving is going to be here in like, two weeks?! and then christmas is here and then it will be 2013 and then somehow my kids will be grown up and moving out and i will be old! that is how i feel when time seems to be moving so quickly forward, and i can barely find time to take a step back to enjoy it all happening. like i will wake up tomorrow and life will have happened around me and i won’t know how i got there. so let’s just take a moment to enjoy some of the things that help us appreciate this crazy life. happy humpday!

1) humpday laugh: my drunk kitchen.

i think we all need a break from the serious parts of the world that have been happening lately. you guys just need to watch all of these. and either agree with me that this woman is the most genius person in the whole wide world, or not get it. which is fine. but i hope you guys get it, because this is what all four years of college looked like for me. how did we not burn any of our apartments/homes down, people??

2) humpday love: siblings (including the furry one).

for those of you who don’t know how awesome my siblings are, you should go read this post right here. that post right there, in a nutshell, it pretty much describes the greatness that is my family. we only (very) slightly resemble each other, so you should be able to tell us all apart down there, but i’m the one in the green dress and aviators in the middle right photo. the common denominator is my sister mags, whose instagram account this photo was taken from.

3) humpday recipe: sauerkraut pork roast in the crock pot.

today i made my very first crock pot meal. i felt like such a big girl, prepping everything the night before, putting it all in the crock pot before i left for work. it was great. until i started to freak out that somehow the crock pot would break and start our apartment complex on fire. i may have panicked all over twitter. all was well however, and the food was delicious. i was planning on having photographic evidence of my first attempt at crock potting, but it was one of those really ugly meals, so i opted to just eat it.

4) humpday getaway: girls cabin weekend.

i am headed north on friday. after work, a few gals and i are trekking up to alexandria, mn for a weekend full of wine, desserts, and lots of yoga pants time. if none of you have ever had the pleasure of a cold weather cabin excursion, i would highly recommend it. although summer cabin trips are the best for being outdoors and doing stuff all the time, fall and winter trips are for being cozy and watching obscene amounts of girly movies.

5) humpday love #2: my absentee husband. (just kidding darling!)

my lovely husband started a looooong series of trips this week. combine that with me jet-setting around every weekend in november, and it makes for one lonely month. the upside is that i am even more excited to see this face than i usually am, and proves that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a pretty accurate statement. it makes the newlywed feeling last longer too. 🙂 see you sunday sweetheart!

(see my past humpday happy lists here)

source(s): 1 | 2

humpday happy list.

well. this week has been going….less than fast. i can’t tell if it’s because i have a lot of work that only requires me to sit at my desk for 8 hours staring at my computer, or if it’s because it’s the first week of my new translation class. maybe it’s both. either way, on tuesday, i was convinced it was wednesday until about 3pm, so that means my actual humpday is going to feel extra long. at least i had a dinner date with liser at the blue door pub to cure my tuesday blues (is there anything that a cajun blucy with buffalo tots can’t cure?). so here’s to the little things that make weeks like this move a little quicker.

1) humpday recipe: pumpkin chocolate chip brownies

totally still on that pumpkin train. that’s what happens when you buy the large can of pumpkin puree. it sits in your refrigerator and mocks you until you find more ways to use it. ergo, this is how i will be spending my thursday night.

2) humpday dress: anthropologie dots dress

this is a dress that can be worn in every season, just toss on some tights and a cardigan in the winter to keep warm and cozy! apparently there is a sale on at anthro right now, and this dress is a part of that sale….sweet temptation.

3) humpday beverage: la croix sparkling water

i’m a little in love with this. it tastes vaguely like a pina colada. and it’s weird that i love it because i really don’t like pina coladas at all. i’m a daiquiri girl all the way. also, this has none of the health benefits of the coconut water that is all the rage right now. don’t think i’m some sort of health guru. no, this just tastes delicious and is all fizzy goodness.

4) humpday activity: wednesday night bingo

Mister Man and i have this crazy habit of going to play bingo like a geriatric couple. we are way beyond our years. but you better believe that wednesday night bingo at carbones is one of the highlights of our week. you eat pizza and you can win money! it’s especially satisfying when you are there avoiding homework.

5) humpday snack: candy corn and peanut mix

this can’t technically be my humpday snack, although that was the original thought process behind this. i bought the two ingredients on saturday and made the mistake of displaying a bowl of it during book club that night. all that was left by sunday night was two peanuts and one corn. and now i’m not allowing myself to buy more until closer to thanksgiving. because good lord!

maybe cracking a fake coconut water while baking some pumpkin brownies will help me get my days straight again…

(see my past humpday happy lists here)

sources: 1. coffeebiscotti.blogspot.com 2. anthropologie.com 3. lacroixwater.com 4. sussner.com 5. flickr.com

i roasted a chicken.

yes sir. yes i did. i roasted it. two of them actually. just call me martha.

turns out it is shockingly easy to roast chicken. like, so easy you will shake your head and wonder what took you so long to do it. was it because it seemed like so much work? was it because you have to stick your hand into the cavity? (up its butt, really. oh stop, we were all thinking it.) was it not wanting to rub the herbed butter all over a raw chicken? (i hope not, because that part is awesome.) whatever reasons you had for not wanting to roast a chicken, they will disappear and you will forget all of them forever once you finally do it.

i used this recipe from the pioneer woman. full disclosure: about 75% of any new recipes i try are from her or her cooking website. i still need her cookbook, so if anyone is looking for gift ideas….

Mister Man and i hosted a book club/dinner party on saturday, and for the main course i wanted to do something simple, but filling enough for everyone, because those discussions can be exhausting, people! also, i have this habit of only attempting to cook things i’ve never cooked before when entertaining a group of people. because i like to live life on the edge. where’s the fun in knowing that something will turn out well, when you could potentially food poison your friends? or at the very least deprive them of the meal you promised them? so roasting a chicken it was!

aren’t they beautiful?

all this recipe consists of, literally, is rinsing the chicken and patting it dry, mixing some rosemary with lemon zest and butter and rubbing it all over and inside the chickens (to make sure the skin gets good and crispy), and cutting some lemons in half and stuffing them with some rosemary into the cavity of the chickens. then you roast them at 425 for about an hour and a half until they’re done. they will roast faster if you don’t keep opening the oven door to check on them, because erin, you are an idiot, the heat needs to stay inside the oven.

as i’ve mentioned before, this ain’t no food blog, which explains why i don’t have any photos of a finished roast chicken. also, book club/dinner party had already started and everyone was hungry (see above: do not keep opening the oven) and would have made fun of me for taking pictures of roast chicken. i will tell you that it was delicious and went well with the food everyone else brought that was prepared on time. and we also have tons of leftovers. and no one got food poisoning.

i think i may turn into someone who roasts a chicken once a week. i know that’s something that grandmothers do, but it’s just. so. easy. and when your husband needs animal protein in every single dinner, it would be extremely helpful to have pre-roasted chicken on hand. like i said, just call me martha. i can submit my interview to her magazine or real simple whenever they would like it.

p.s. just to make my super suzy homemaker weekend complete: i made a freaking garland for our door. who am i?

 

putting things into cans.

my mom happens to be one of the all-time most talented people i know. she speaks two languages, she raised five (arguably) successful children, and she does things like canning on a regular basis. it’s amazing. i aspire to be just like her when i’m a fully grown adult, so to begin that long journey, i went over to my parents house for a marathon canning session over the weekend. gosh, that sounds weird. but it is what happened.

we started out pickling beets. i don’t know about all of you out there, but i love pickled beets. i could eat a whole jar in one sitting. but i won’t do that, because i am pretty sure my skin would turn purple. (insider secret: beets turn your pee purple. TMI? sorry, but that is a true fact, and when you know facts like that, they have to be shared.) we started out with 15 pounds of beets, and after lots of boiling, peeling, slicing, and pickling, we ended with 18 pints of pickled beets. aren’t they gorgeous?

then we tossed together some pesto. does anyone have any idea how much basil you actually need to make a half pint of pesto? i’ll tell you. about a half a bush worth of leaves. good thing my mom has about 8 plants. making your own pesto is incredibly easy, you just need the ingredients (basil, olive oil, walnuts, pine nuts, salt, parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley) and a blender. seriously, that’s all it is. it’s really cost-effective to make it on your own too, all the ingredients are inexpensive, and the time for labor is completely worth it.

the real adventure of the day came when we made tomato sauce. this was the one thing that neither of us had ever attempted before. it was….involved. yes, involved sounds nice. first, you have to cook down about 60 (!) tomatoes and wait for them to boil:

then you need to pour the tomato mixture into this cool contraption that separates the flesh from the skin and seeds (you can use a blender too, but that is way less cool). our contraption is italian, which i’m assuming is because italians make a lot of tomato sauce. stereotypes? this part is pretty fun, but takes a really long time, and you WILL get tomato juice all over your sweater. wear an apron and avoid my mistakes.

once all of it has been pureed and separated, you should fill every single large pot that your mom owns and wait for the tomato sauce to thicken and cook down to about half of its volume. once it’s cooked down, you put it into jars, cover them and put them in a water bath to seal completely. i don’t have any photos of this last part because it was 4:00pm and i had to leave my mom to finish on her own. UPDATE: my mom informed me that we should have done the tomatoes first, because it took them so long to cook down, she only finished sealing them at midnight…she did say that it is delicious sauce though. thank you mom, you are a rockstar!

if anyone ever has a chance to get all homey and can your own food, i recommend it 100%. it takes a little planning and organization, also a bunch of large pots, but it’s so worth it. having a hooley mom there to help makes it much easier too. i will consider renting her out for the right price. contact me with questions.

(all photos by hooleywithaz)