Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stewing the Pot

Hi Eaters,

Drumroll.....the stew turned out...okay.  I think it will be better tomorrow.  The flavors didn't full-on meld together like they were supposed to.

However the Dutch Crunch bread from Raley's was more that sufficient to buffer my mild disappoint suffered upon tasting this stew. 

It's okay, I drowned my sorrows in a thick slice of this bad boy after dinner...so I will pull through...(so glad I had time to make Chocolate Cream Pie- my most favorite comfort food of all).

That's all for now...


Leftovers...the last stand...

Hello Eaters,

This afternoon is a cold and dreary one here in Chico, California.  We took down all of our Christmas decorations today (I know, I know, it isn't even the Epiphany, but I was so tired).  So I started thinking about making some comfort food.  I asked my husband if he thought it was a waste to use leftover Prime Rob beef for a stew.  He said yes, but no, since we were going to be using it.  So that sold it for me.  Beef stew with crusty sourdough bread slathered in butter.  Sounded good to my tired little mind.

I immediately went to my most favorite comfort food lady - The Pioneer Woman.  Treasure of all treasures, I found a simple, awesome looking recipe that will comfort me AND dazzle my taste buds at the same time.  This stew was taste tested and approved by her husband (The Marlboro Man) and has beef and beer in it.  How could it be bad?  The best part was that I knew I was going to christen my brand new cast iron dutch oven that my mom and dad gave me for Christmas. 

Here is the link to The Pioneer Woman's website and the fabulous recipe:  The Pioneer Woman - Beef Stew with Beer & Paprika

Here is what my simmering stew looks like in the middle of the cooking process - notice the shiny new dutch oven and my old standby wooden spoon...this time it told me to add extra beer and more garlic...who was I not to oblige?

I will post the end result after green beans, (adding those in they are not in the recipe), potatoes, and carrots are in.  I have to wait for the Great White Hunter to come home from Quail hunting at Black Butte today so I can go get the carrots.  It is our dog Belle's 11th birthday today and her treat was to scare quails into an early grave.  Nice.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crash & Burn Bakery

Hello Eaters,

Well, I am a Christmas liar...here I promised you all yesterday that I would post pictures from the great bake-a-thon that was to have happened yesterday.   Turns out I forgot to eat, so  by 4pm I felt like I was going to die.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.  Was I getting the dreaded stomach flu?  Did I reach my account limit on being on my feet?  Did I have a serious case of the Yuletide yucks?  Nope, just forgot to eat. 
For dinner I made a "practice" prime rib and miraculously after I ate some protein I felt like I could swim the English Channel.  So there I was feeling better but had not a single baked good to pass out...oh well...it is another day!  I will conquer!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's The Most Wonderfilled Time Of The Year - Bakery Phase 1

First up - mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins....

It's The Most Wonderfilled Time Of The Year!

Hello Eaters,
Ahhh...the smell of pine boughs, flour lightly dusting my countertops, bits and pieces of festive ribbon sprinkled on the floor, average of three hours of sleep per night...it must be the week of Christmas.  I am usually good for one Vesuvius style meltdown/explosion during this same week every year, and last night it reared it's foul head...so now I am good to go, with clear and clean mental sturdiness until Santa shoves his fat butt down my woodstove pipe.

So I am slowing it down, taking time to enjoy my kids and time off from school.  Today, after taking my kids to a morning movie, I will begin my annual "baking for gifts" odyssey.   Hopefully I will have time to post some pictures to this space and post recipes.  There are some good ones to be had this year! 

Until this afternoon....


Monday, September 19, 2011

Back To School = No More Time!

Prayer of the Day: 
" Bless this kitchen, Lord, and those who gather here each day.
Let it be a place where we can meet to love and laugh and pray.
Amen." - http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/prayer.php?p=1435

Hello Eaters,
(I feel funny always writing specifically to people (Eaters) and then realize I haven't told anyone about this blog yet - guess I still feel the need to practice and sharpen my writing knife)

A new addition - I will be adding a prayer to each blog.  I mean it is called "Holy" Cannoli, so there's got to be some sort of religious undertone in this blog...one way to work myself out of Purgatory faster... 

Well, I am back at my school, working full time (and then some) and this means...

1)  My home looks like it has been hit by an F5 tornado
2)  My husband and I are sporting two pairs of dark droopy bags under our eyes
3)  I come home and immediately reach for something that has been fermented
4) With Back To School nights, news schools, staff meetings, field trip prep, taking my Grandpa places, and going out of town, we have been eating out at least 3-4 times per week...yeccchh!!

So then a break comes along - thank you Pink Eye for infecting my daughter, Lucy! - and I find myself having a moment to myself - thank you again above acknowledged conjunctivitis menace and Wow, Wow, Wubbzy for entertaining conjunctivitis girl -to revisit my dirty little foodie blog secret.

Yesterday I was able to marinate in my kitchen long enough to bake and chef something up!  It felt amazing to create again.  My Mother-In-Law, Mary (from now on I will refer to her as the "Saint of All Saints") gave me this amazing Chocolate Chip cookie recipe that I will share here later today after I take some pics and find a way to bath the recipe in gold.  These cookies are to die for - a little high maintenance - but to die for.

Then, for dinner, I wanted something fast and easy so I made my own pizza dough (in the breamaker - it is fresh, fast, and easy) and then took some fresh garden tomatoes that my neighbors next door gifted to me and made my own pizza sauce, incredibly easy!

8-10 fresh garden tomatoes; 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, minced; salt and pepper to taste
I found my dough recipe on the Cook's Illustrated website - they are amazing!
So, there you have it.  I will be back to add the cookie recipe and pics from the Saint of All Saints. 

Ciao for now...

Mel from conjunctivitis Purgatory

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Baking Bee In My Bonnet

Hi Eaters,

Today I felt the urge to bake and cook - anything and everything...I wish I had taken pictures, but I was just in a zone - so I made my own sourdough garlic/Italian herbed croutons, a beautiful lime/cilantro/pepperjack pork quesadilla, home made tomato sauce (everything from one garden or another of me and people I know), and I just finished a triple batch of Blueberry Cream Muffins...I haven't been creative in the kitchen for a few days, so I have been having a blast!!!