Comfort Food on Hopefully the Last of the Snowy Days . . .

Saturday was a day to stay in our jammies.  The snow was falling and Trevor took my car to work so we were kinda forced to stay indoors.  With a four year old that has no problem telling you she's bored when she's not being kept busy, this could be a recipe for disaster and a blow to my mental health.  : )  Meggie is my "Chopped" partner.  If you've never watched "Chopped" then you have no idea what I'm talking about and you're missing out on one of our absolute favorite tv programs on the Food Network.  I honestly started watching it because I thought one of the judges was hot.

Scott Conant.  Is he yummylicious or what??!!!!!??  And yes, my husband knows how I feel about him.  : )

Then I ended up loving the show.  Megan, thankfully, will pull herself away from Peppa Pig and watch it with me.  I think this has brought out a love of cooking in her.  That and baking with her Nana!!  : )  So we decided to make a pot of beef stew together.  I wanted something simple that I had the ingredients on hand for already.  I found a recipe on line that met all our criteria and I thought I'd share it. 

It called for 2 lbs. of cubed beef stew meat but I used 3 lbs. and kind of guessed on additional amounts of the other ingredients that needed to be added due to the healthy appetites in our house and left-overs for my honey to take to work. 

3 pounds cubed beef stew meat
4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add oil to large pot (they called for a dutch oven but, truth be told, I don't have one) and stew meat and cook until browned on all sides.

Add four and a half cups of hot water and five tablespoons of beef bouillon granules.  You can crumble up five beef bouillons if you don't have the granules.  I always keep chicken and beef bouillon granules on hand because they add extra flavor to almost anything.

2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

Now you add your spices listed above.  The only dried rosemary I had on hand was McCormick brand that has been in my cupboard for a while so I added some extra in case it had lost some of its strength.  I ended up scooping it all out with a colander type spoon once the stew was finished cooking because it was not something I wanted to eat.  Reminded me too much of pine needles.  : )

My sous chef, Miss Megan, hard at work stirring the pot.

Next you put a lid on it and let everything simmer for an hour.

It's also time for a chocolate milk break!!!

After an hour, stir in:

4 large potatoes peeled and cubed  (I used red and I'm thinking I might not peel them next time.)
3 handfuls of baby carrots cut in half
4 stalks of celery
1 large chopped vidalia onion

Next, add 2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch to 3 tablespoons of cold water, mix and stir into the stew.  The recipe didn't call for it but I also added sea salt to taste.  I honestly thought it was a bit bland without it. It all depends upon your preference.  Cover the pot once again and simmer for 1 hour more.

Voila!!!!!  . . .

Add a crusty piece of bread to soak up all that delicious gravy and you have a rib sticking meal for a cold spring (in this case) day!!! It was a huge hit in our house and Jim took the last of it to work again tonight.  Minimal work with maximum return!!!  : )

Easy peasy!!!!  : )

Many blessings for a beautiful Monday ~ Wendy


Outside and Inside . . .

It's a beautiful day here in New York today.  Still a bit too cold to open the windows but the sun is feeling warmer and the snow is melting slowly but surely.  It's supposed to be close to 60 degrees by Thursday.  Mother Nature really likes to play tricks on us in the month of March so I'm not completely convinced we're out of the woods yet but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  : )

Seeing our grass for the first time since January.

Happy little gnomes soaking up the sun.

Buddha and a patch of snow in our front garden.

My wonderful in-laws from Tennessee have come and gone in a whirlwind of sawdust and sheet rock.  We had such a nice visit.  Way too short but so much was accomplished.  My father in law is a work horse. If you want something done, he's your man.  He's no spring chicken anymore but he really could outwork somebody half his age.  There is still so much to be done but I thought I'd share some "befores and afters" of what's been done so far.

This room was a crafting area and computer room for me before the renovation started.  Our realtor told us we could increase the value of our house if we updated it and added a shower to the bathroom.  Jim put in a whole new bathroom all by himself.  I haven't taken "after" photos of it yet because there are a couple of finishing touches that still need to be added. 

Looking down into the room after it's been torn apart before the work started.  Can you spot my orange kitty, Finnegan??

New insulation was added.  The window on the left was the bathroom window before Jim changed the location of the bathroom.  We were going to close up the window but instead we're going to put a simple little blind over it.  It would be too much work trying to find matching siding for the outside of the house if the window was covered up.

New sheet rock was added after the insulation was put in.

The old ceiling and fixtures were taken down so that all new electricity could be run. 

A new ceiling was put in place and new fixtures will be next.  There's also now a place for a ceiling fan. 

This is what the floor looked like before.  It wasn't quite this bad before the work started but bad nonetheless.

This is with the new floor.  Now we're debating on whether to put in carpeting or a wood floor.  I am dreading mud season with two dogs going in and out that back door on a new carpet so I think we will go with the wood.  A sane wife/mother is a happy wife/mother!!!!  : )

Finnegan looking up at me from the bottom of the stairs.  : )

As you can see, there's still so much left to be done but it's taking shape nicely.  Jim has next week off and hopes to finish it then.  Meanwhile, I've been working on packing up some of my tchotchkes (not sure if I spelled it correctly!!) and things that I know I don't need right now.  All winter, we've talked about putting the house on the market in the spring.  Now that spring is officially here, it's scarey and exciting all at once.  So much to be done and limited time to do it all.  One day at a time, right??  : )

Many blessings for a very happy Monday ~ Wendy


This Moment . . .

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Megan with her Pop and Gram visiting from Tennessee.

Many blessings for a wonderful Friday and a very happy weekend ~ Wendy


Where Family Gathers . . .

Chef James.  : )

"Tis himself, my father in law from Galway."

Jim and his beautiful sister (my sister from another mister!!), Michelle.

Five corned beefs, four Irish soda breads, red potatoes and carrots to fill our bellies.  Family from out of town and lots of cousins catching up with each other.  It all made for a most wonderful St. Patrick's celebration.

I almost forgot the yummy shamrock cookies!!!  : )

st patricks day print

Many blessings for a brilliant St. Patrick's Day ~ Wendy


An Early Celebration . . .

Today we're welcoming a houseful of family for an early St. Patrick's celebration.  My honey started cooking the first batch of corned beefs last night before we went to bed.  I woke up at 3 am to the wonderful smell of  them cooking in the crock pot.  Jim's alarm went off at 4 while I was still awake playing Words with Friends (love that game!!!) and he was off to the kitchen to begin cooking the next batch.  He's cooking 5 all together. 

Some of the finished products.  Yes, I did grab a pinch at the bottom.  Couldn't resist!!!  : )

Jim's been cooking our annual St. Paddy's dinner for the last few years since my mother-in-law passed away.  My very Irish father-in-law gives it two thumbs up!!!  : )

Many blessings for a very happy Saturday ~ Wendy


This Moment . . .

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Brendan playing King Triton in his middle school play, The Little Mermaid.

Many blessings for a beautiful day and a happy weekend ahead ~ Wendy


A Star is Born . . .

This past weekend, we saw many months of rehearsals and late night scenery making all come together in the form of The Little Mermaid, Jr.  It was presented by the Nyack Middle School and what a wonderful job they did!!! 

Brendan played the role of King Triton who is the father of the little mermaid, Arielle.  He did such a fantastic job and I was one proud Mama seeing him up there on that stage!!!  I have goose bumps just typing this!!!! 

The "Mer Sisters."

The young lady that played Ursula The Sea Witch was phenomenal and so was her costume!!!

Sebastian the Crab was the hit of the show with her one liners and beautiful singing voice.  Brendan told me that she has been in plays on Broadway.  We are so blessed to live in such a talented community!!

King Triton and Arielle.

Final bow.

Megan was completely mesmerized by the show.  When it was over, she told us she wanted to meet Arielle.  Her wish came true!!  She was a little nervous and completely star struck.  When we got home, she immediately went upstairs and changed into her prettiest costume while singing bits and pieces of songs she remembered from the play.  She's still talking about it!!  : )

We have a lot going on in the next couple of days.  Jim's parents are coming from Tennessee for a few days for a visit and for my father in law to help Jim with some of the things on our "To Do" list for getting the house ready to go on the market.  Our goal is to have it ready for sale some time this spring.  It's mostly cosmetic stuff like painting and finishing little jobs here and there that were started but never finished.  We have lots of those!!  LOL!!!  We've been looking at a couple of homes in Cornwall-on-Hudson that I've fallen in love with but I'm doing a pretty good job of not getting my hopes up right now since we can't do anything about buying a new home until we sell our current one.  I honestly can feel that the wheels are already starting to be set in motion for this big change in our life and it makes me smile.  Magic truly happens if you believe in it.  : )

Many blessings for a beautiful Thursday ~ Wendy