Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Best Beef Stew in Six Counties


Tonight we had this scrumptious-ness and of course I thought of you, my sweet friends. I call it the Best Beef Stew in Six Counties for a reason.  It is.  The best part is you can toss this in the crock-pot and go about your business.   Except for the smell that will drive you absolutely nuts, you can basically forget about it until dinner time.

I could rant more, but lets just get right to it, shall we?

The Best Beef Stew in Six Counties

 1 -2 cans tomato soup (I used 2 for tonight's dinner)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 2.5 lbs beef roast (I don't like all the fat that's in beef chuck, so I used bottom round
small package of baby carrots (or you could cut up 3-4 medium carrots)
3 large onions, or 5 small, quartered
5 red potatoes, cut into chunks (however big or small you like 'em)
1/2 cup celery cut into large chunks
12 fresh mushrooms (if they're small put in whole, if large like mine were cut up)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon Italian herbs seasoning mix
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground pepper

Mix the soup, water and flour together until smooth; combine with remaining ingredients in crockpot.   Bake 6 hours on low.

and that, folks,is all there is to it.  Very easy, very satisfying and an all around winner at my house.  Serve this with some nice homemade rolls and a salad and call it a meal!     I hope you enjoy it and if you try it, DO come back and let me know what you thought.  

Remember,  be Sweet

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Easy Homemade Apple Cider

Did you know you can make your own apple cider using your food processor?  It's so easy, you'll never pay the big-bucks for apple cider again.   Here in Florida we don't have many apple orchards. In fact, if you know of any, please tell me.    But every October, there is an apple festival in north Georgia.  My sister went and gifted me with a bushel of apples.   These were Gala apples.  I thought they would be too mild for applesauce (another easy-peasy thing to make at home) so I tried this.  (I prefer apple cider over apple juice, but that's me)

There's no recipe per se.  But all you I-Need-A-Recipe folks, don't fret.  You don't need one.  You do, however, need a food processor and cheesecloth. Well, you don't even need cheesecloth.   I used what's called bar cloth. Walmart sells these in packs of five in the kitchen towel area.  Get those.  You'll get tons of use from that five-pack.

Here goes,

Wash the apples really well, because you're going to leave the peels on. You know those nifty little apple slicer/corer things?  Using that will help the process along quite nicely, but if you don't have one don't worry.   Just slice it the way our grandmothers, or great-grandmothers, did it.  You don't want the core and seeds, mind you.

Toss those slices into the food processor.   Don't fill it full of slices, half full is fine, otherwise you will be there a while.   I know, it seems counter-intuitive, but doing multiple half-full bowls is really quicker.  Process it until you have "mush", or as mushy as you can.

Have a large bowl, with a collander inside and the barcloth, or cheesecloth, inside the collander. Dump that mush into that.  (such technical terms)

Next, gather up the edges and give it a good squeeze to make a ball.

Quite a bit of juice is already draining.

At this point, I ladled out a taste.  Ooooh.  Heaven!

To make sure you get all the goodness (juice) extracted, place a heavy object on top of the bag of mush (those technical terms again).  I used the heaviest pot I could find.  Let that sit a few hours, or overnight if you don't have "critters".


and there you have it.  You apple cider maker, you.

Note:  This is not pasturized, so it won't keep as long as commercial stuff.  A week is fine in the frige.  But if you want to do bulk batches, you can freeze it.    Enjoy.  

How do you enjoy fall's bounty of apples?  I'd love to hear.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vinegar the virtues of

I like the idea of using "green" cleaners.  I'm not sure if it's more for the money saving factor, or the fact that I've lessened the disturbance to my environment.   But I just became a big, no make that huge, fan of vinegar.  What won me over was the ability to clean!    I had a stubborn mess on one of the shelves on my refrigerator door.  Now, before I show you the picture (and I can't believe I'm sharing this with you), I feel compelled to tell you that, despite what it looks like, we're not pigs.   Ok, that being said, here's the (gasp) picture...
Remember... don't judge

You see, there's some "sticky substance" to the left.  Probably from spilled tea.  Sweet tea, of course. and scuffed areas (i have no idea how that happened).  Scuffed, or scratched, areas on plastic just hold on to dirt and it's near impossible to get totally clean.   I used vinegar, full strength, and just plain old paper towels.  I didn't even have to use a scrubbie, and I'm happy to say this is the result:

Don't worry about any special kind of vinegar. The white vinegar.  Actually it's clear.  Just not the apple cider vinegar.  In fact, get the cheap kind and that's the white vinegar.   I have now started buying it by the gallon jugs.     Also, you know that drip tray thingie on the door for the water and ice?   Well, I tried everything on that.  I used bleach, other commercial cleaners, and nothing happened.   I soaked the grate in plain white vinegar, and the little place it fits in and Viola!  It's a miracle!    If you don't like the smell, don't worry.  It disappears in about 30 minutes or so.  

I'm curious, do you have a favorite cleaning remedy?   How about other uses for vinegar?   Would love to hear!  

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