My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, www.rosemary-ridge.blogspot.com ... thank you!

Beef Stew and Baked Beans

Yesterday I was busy. Again. We had a major snowstorm so I didn't feel like leaving, but I had plenty to keep myself busy. I worked on the Kid's curriculum (it'll take at least another week, probably 2, before I have it ready). I did another couple loads of wash, hanging them on the shower bars. Cleaned the kitchen.

And made the best beef stew ever!

For Thanksgiving, I talked Hubby into getting a double-crock crockpot, so on the right one, I made baked beans for the Kid. Beef stew on the left. Here's how:

Beef Stew
Ingredients:
1/2 lb beef stew meat
1 cube vegetable boullion
4 cups water
1/3 can tomato paste
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 small potatoes, chopped, peel on
10-15 baby carrots
2 tablespoons dried garlic powder
4 tablespoons tapioca flour (or wheat flour)

Directions:
Spray the crock with pan spray and add the meat. Cook until brown. Add the water, the boullion, and the tomato paste and cook for another 4 hours. Stir well. Add the bacon, chopped onion, chopped potatoes, carrots and potatoes. Cook another 3 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, add the flour to thicken the broth into a gravy. Salt/pepper to taste. Delicious!

Baked Beans
Ingredients:
2 cups white beans
4 cups water
3/4 lb bacon, chopped
3/4 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons onion powder

Directions:
Add the beans and water to the crockpot. Cook for a minimum 4 hours, until the beans soften. Add the bacon and tomato paste, stir, and cook for another 3-4 hours. Add onion powder about 30 minutes before serving. Salt/pepper to taste.

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The Kid generally doesn't like my beans so I usually have to buy the cans. But for these he said, and I quote, "they don't have much taste". "They don't?" I was upset. "No, but I can really taste the bacon, and that's great!" Okay, so maybe these beans aren't as good as what's in the can, but he ate an entire bowl full last night along with a baked potato, and he was thrilled, so sure, these might be a little bland for you, but I got my kid to eat some protein, and that counts for something!

As far as the stew is concerned, I couldn't believe how delicious it was. I didn't even use any of the herbs I'd bought to experiment with. I guess it was the browning of the stew meat, and then the boullion cube that made the difference. I ate 2 bowls, Hubby had a huge bowl of that and baked beans, and I put 2 containers in the fridge for lunches later on.

At King Soopers the other day, I'd bought a 3-pound container of stew meat, almost expired so it was discounted with an orange sticker for 50% off, or $10.13 for the 3 pounds. I divided it into six portions, and used one portion for the stew last night. I bagged the other 5 and placed them in a bigger baggie for the freezer. I'm thinking that's 5 weeks of making beef stew once a week. Yum!

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I made 2 more pecan pies today. We're going to my mom-in-law's in about an hour, and we're taking the 2 gluten-free pecan/chocolate chip pies. Just having dessert and exchanging presents. Father-in-law should be there too (somewhat estranged from Hubby) and my sister-in-law and her hubby. Fun fun.

About my pecan ooey gooey ... I put the extra "batter" into a corningware dish, and it turned into pecan/chocolate caramel.... yum! Great side effect. Ok... yep, I gotta start my diet. I think I'll be traditional and start it on January 1. It's time I reduce from my very heavy weight. Hope you don't mind, but I think I'll use this blog for my diet too.

When we come home tonight, hopefully the Kid will go to bed (we never did the Santa Clause thing so we don't have to pretend or anything). But he does want us to wrap at least some of his gifts. We couldn't do a tree this year, so we're leaving them on the couch in the living room. We'll give Blanca Bunny an apple for her Christmas present, and Hubby and I exchanged clothes. (Read: I bought him some clothes, and got me some too!)

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Well, it's about time to skype Dad and many members of my family who are eating at his house, so I need to finish getting my hair done and purty myself up. Then we leave for Mom-in-Law. Have a great night tomorrow, and a great day tomorrow.

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