Here on the frontier, There are falling leaves, Although my neighbors are all barbarions…And you? You are a thousand miles away. There are always two cups on my table.

Archive for the ‘budget’ Category

Thank You Gordon Ramsay. The Beef Casserole Rocked!

I Can’t help myself!

My guilty pleasure is Hell’s kitchen.

Being a foodie with a son who chefs also has me scouring Gordon Ramsay‘s recipe books.

Currently I am working through the recipes in his fabulous book,

“Gordon Ramsay’s Family Fare”

Every recipe I have made from  lamb cassoulet to salmon seviche has not only turned out tasting amazingly yummy but has been pretty darn easy to make.

I have to give cudos to the f-bomb dropping kitchen nightmare Gordon Ramsay.

He is all that and then some.

Beef Casserole:

Ingredients:

 Ingredients:

BEEF CASSEROLE

This casserole is the perfect winter warmer. Braising beef is slowly cooked with herbs and vegetables in red wine, which gives the stew a depth of color and a wonderful rich flavor.

1 3/4lb (800g) braising beef
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper olive oil, for cooking
7oz (200g) smoked bacon, cut into small cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 small celeriac, about 1lb 9oz (700g), peeled
5oz (150g) pearl onions (or baby shallots), peeled
few thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
9oz (250g) crimini mushrooms, trimmed halved if large
1 tsp tomato paste
2 cups (500ml) red wine
1 1/4 cups (300ml) beef or chicken stock
handful of Italian parsley, chopped

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Cut the beef into bite size chunks. Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss the meat in the flour to coat.

Heat a little olive oil in a large cast-iron casserole over
medium heat. Sear the beef briefly in two or three batches until browned all over, then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the bacon to the casserole and sauté gently until lightly golden, adding a little olive oil if necessary.
Meanwhile, cut the carrots and celeriac into 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes.

Tip them into the pan with
the whole onions, thyme, and bay leaves and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the mushrooms and tomato paste and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze.

Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.

Return the beef to the casserole and stir to immerse the meat in the liquid completely.

Put the lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender.
Check the seasoning, then scatter the chopped parsley over the stew.


As you can see from the picture there is no scattered parsley on top of the finished dish.
I also used a regular cooking onion instead of tiny pearl onions and bumped up the quantities of carrots and celery as well as beef.
You have to make a recipe your own by adjusting the seasonings to your own tastes and using ingredients that are available to you.
Don’t be afraid to be creative as long as the basic recipe remains intact.
For instance, using stew meat is a basic part of this recipe.Exchanging that for minute steak would not work.

The wine is also a basic element. You can leave it out if you have someone on anabuse who will be eating but you would want to exchange it with grape juice and a splash of vinegar.

If you keep a kosher kitchen as I do you can exchange the bacon for smoked meat.  I used lamb.

Lastly, I left out the bay leaves simply because the supermarket didn’t have them in the generic brand.
I wasn’t going to spend $4 for a jar of bay leaves from McCormick when I only use it occasionally.
Did not miss it one bit!

The casserole was simply amazing! Wonderful on a cold snowy October day.

WHAT? Snow in October??? Holy moly!!!

I think it’s time to take one last walk in the leaves.

Winter is coming!

Luckily Hoo and gmom loves us some snow!!!

this is gmom and baby Hoo

coming to you from beautiful Baltimore.

peace out.

Good Gifts (and bad) For Wives : Husbands You Can Take Notes On This

Everyone likes to get a good gift. A gift that demonstrates that the giver really thought about what the the receiver would like.

Women are typically good gift givers. Men not so much.

So I’m doing you guys a favor and spelling it out for you.

Newsflash!  Flowers are not a gift. They are a thoughtful gesture or an accompaniment to a heartfelt apology.

Roses go really well with, for instance,… “I borrowed your car,

left the tank on empty and didn’t tell you.

I am fully accountable for you being late for your meeting.”

Newsflash!  Unless the girl is a teenager don’t give candy. Almost all women are watching their figures and don’t appreciate the sabotage.

It’s a classic blunder.

If we want chocolate we’ll buy it for ourselves.

Good Gifts:

1. Diamond stud earrings. Guys don’t try and get creative with all the pretty colored stone  jewelry out there.

The classic diamond stud can be had pretty inexpensively. Just one word of warning don’t buy the size for infants unless your wife is a dwarf, then it might be okay, I’ll check.

2. Gift Certificate to a spa. Most women will really appreciate your thoughtfulness. Showing your love by giving her some pampering is going to win you big brownie points.  Most guys think their gal wants to spend her special day with him.  I don’t know why guys think this.

3. Gift Certificate to her favorite shoe or clothing store. Don’t risk buying what you “think” she would like and worse yet, guess her “size”. That’s a night on the couch for sure. And don’t buy sexy lingerie guys, it’s so self-serving.

4. Short on time or inspiration? Buy a Kindle and a beautiful card with a return gift receipt. She will love it. Unless she is blind and only reads braille. Then you screwed up.

Bad Gifts. Very very bad.

—————————————

1. Membership to a gym. (Can you spell divorce court?)

2.Gift Card to Home Depot.

3. An Appliance.  Unless it’s something she specifiacally asked for, found the one she wanted and taped a reminder to your shaving mirror.

4.A home cooked dinner. No explanation needed right?

5. A mop. Thanks to Silverado for this one. Inspired.

Guys I just want to say, your welcome.

I know you needed this information.

Gmom is here to help. I’m just like that. I’m a helper person.

Now, what was the best and worst gift that you have received?

This is gmom the helper person,

peace out.

I Found My Happy Place! He Wears Diapers!

 

The organic baby made his first project in daycare!

Marshmallow Fluff smeared on a paper plate with Fruit Loops stuck on it!

 

And he’s a cheap date!

Ya gotta love that!

Next time I go looking for my happy place I’ll start looking while on my knees but this time…

I’ll open my eyes.

Love to all.

This is gmom,

peace out.

Down The Rabbit Hole

For all  of you following my blog husband is still away overseas.

Here is what has changed at  home while the man who holds the string of your kite is gone.

Number one: You might accidentally kill one or  2 of your children.

Normally, in the night Bart comes in, he drives ones of the biofuel trucks and comes in at 3 or 4 a.m. I’ll half wake up and hear him kick off his shoes, shuffle into the shower, scrounge around the kitchen and go to bed.

But without husband here, I immediately reach for the gun.

I go up the stairs gun poised, ready to defend against any intruder. It never dawns on me that Cujo is upstairs happily bopping around.

Bart turns and sees me. Without a word he takes the gun out of my hands, removes the clip and tells me to go back to bed before I hurt myself.

Okay,sorry.

Number 2: You might let your guard dog sleep on your husband’s $200 Brooks Brother’s robe, maybe even on the bed.Everyone needs to be special sometimes.

Number 3: You might stop taking showers  often. I mean what’s the point? This goes for changing into nighties as well.

Number 4: You may suddenly realize that a plate of french fries makes a perfectly good dinner, even better while eaten in front of the TV.

Number 5: You may realize that you don’t have to water the “effing lawn everyday, or pick up your dog’s  poop. I mean who made these rules anyway? Poop is organic..it’s like compost.

Number 6: Turns out you don’t have to go and check on your neighbor just because it’s 103F outside. Just a big “ole, hope you’re still alive Edna!  Yelled out an open window does just fine.

Number 7: You have the opportunity to go though all husband’s secret guy stuff. Unfortunately this has yielded nothing! Nothing!

I hope this give you some good ideas for the next time your superhero flies off.

This is gmom.

Down the rabbit hole.

peace out.

The Artful Dodger’s Weekend: Hoo At Home

Hoo peering through the peep hole of the high chair.

Hoo’s Momma went away for a few days.

Gmom, Rose and Grandpa took over.

We are having a busy but awesome time.

We bought a Hoo- size motorcycle to amuse him so if he had a meltdown we had a good distraction handy.But the boy is doing fine, so we just gave it to him.

He did take one spill off of it which required a band- aid,several kisses and quick application of one dum-dum lollipop.

The toe scrape was from chasing Cujo with a handful of  sand from the sandbox.

For a special treat we let Hoo use a real screwdriver to meddle in the workings of a broken fan. It’s his current mechanical obsession. Anytime he started walking away with the screwdriver I say, Hoo get back to fixing that fan or give me the tool. He would give me his blue eyed grin and get straight back to work on the fan. I expect with all the banging it will be be working again in due time.

We have watched a fair bit of Baby Einstein videos both in English and Spanish.

The English versions are quite lovely with Pachelbel Canon in D Minor playing beautifully while a soft female voice recites barnyard animal names. The pictures show sweet images of baby cows, chicks and horses.

The Spanish version has the theme to Mama Mia playing with a child reciting animal names.

Rat, snake, iguana and turtle.

I don’t know what to make of that.

Hoo watching Baby Einstein vids

It’s been busy. But a lot of fun.

Hope your weekend was good.

This is gmom.

Wiping the sticky from the keyboard.

Peace out from Hooville.

Carousels

Hoo, 20 months old pointed desperately at the carousel.

“Oh gosh, that’s fun let’s take him on!”

Good idea, right?

Started out okay. His mama, Eggs  sat with him on one of the painted ponies.

We waited for the ride to start.

The Calliope played the tinny tune while we, Hoo’s fan club stood at the fence and waved madly.

 

Then the meltdown.

Hoo started crying and slithering in that way he does where the only thing you can do is gather bunches of his clothes and drag him up off the floor like spilt milk.

The carousel started up and Eggs quick tossed Hoo on to the chariot seat and held on. Hoo cried and wrestled pointing at the horses. Eggs tosses him back up on to a horse and jumps on behind him…and he cries…and he cries.

We his cheering section…are  laughing our ever-loving’ heads off.

“You’re doing it Hoo! Yay Hoo! You’re riding!” We called every time he went by, then we collapsed in hilarious laughter until he came around again…still crying, with Eggs hanging on to him.

“Yay Hoo! You are awesome dude! You are riding!”

Finally the carousel stopped. Eggs carried Hoo over to us and happily handed him over….and…he started crying!

What is it? Why are you crying now?

Of course he wanted to go back on the carousel again.

That destroyed us. We couldn’t stop laughing after that.

He rode the carousel all day long.

 

If you ever wonder is the world going crazy or is it you.

Hang out with a 2-year-old. Chances are (sigh) it’s you.

I mean me.

This is gmom,

peace out.

Apple (Lappal) Cake

Something about apples…

They are so…American.

In light of that sentiment and the news of the day.

Shall we tally ho and forth and so on with this ultra-comfort food.

Pass me another piece!!!!!

A Teenage Gourmet published this recipe for apple cake.

I made it today with little granddaughter Starlite, who calls it lappal cake.

It is as delicious as it looks and super easy.

Here is the link to Sammi’s blog where you can get the recipe.

http://ateenagegourmet.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/heckuva-apple-cake-for-mom/

Absolutely, totally worth it.

I made the cake as Sammi suggested with granny smith apples.

I used the full sugar and oil, and no orange zest.

I was working with Starlite’s help so I kept things simple, and moving fast.

Awesome, awesome cake.

Thanks Sammi you rocked this one!

I made the cake in 2 pans so Starlie could take home one to Mommy!

Apple cake served with ice cream.

Here is a bite for you!

Yummy! Thanks Sammi!

This is gmom,

Have a safe weekend.

Peace out.

Don’t Make Me Call Donald Trump!

If the white house news reports and the subsequent  inconsistencies regarding the raid on Osama Bin Laden‘s compound haven’t caught your attention then maybe you’ve just been too busy with your own life to follow it.

I’m going to link you here to The Roycroft Report which is not fully comprehensive but does offer a nice even handed overview from a swell guy.    http://jroycroft.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/obama-cant-get-the-bin-laden-story-straight/

Here’s my take.

People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

Did anyone wonder why it took a “carnival barker” like Donald Trump to make enough noise to finally get the president to choke up a birth certificate?

I laughed at Trump. I am not laughing anymore.

I’m thinking maybe Trump who, oh yeah, lives a whole lot more comfortable then gmom, might know something I don’t.

““““““““““““““““““““““““

So we don’t get to see pictures of the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan  cause it might be inflammatory to Muslim extremists.

What about us?

All the raid news information is coming straight from the white house. They are the sole source.

They have the pictures and the sound reel and still can’t get the story straight?

This does not make sense.

Where is Donald Trump when you need him.

Does it take a carnival barker to get us the answers we have a right to?

May God keep you safe.

This is gmom,

peace out.

It’s Time For Monkey Bread!!!!!!

Yes indeed friends it is time for Monkey bread!

First I want you to know that only one monkey is included with each recipe.

So don’t ya’ll feel bad making it there’s plenty of the little swingin’ critters to go around.

Hahaha!

Just kidding.

No animals, including monkeys, dogs or squirrels are harmed in the preparation of Monkey Bread.

Why it’s called Monkey Bread you ask????

Well even a monkey could make it and it still comes out good.

The taste? Sinful! Just sinful.

You can find other easier recipes using pre-made buttermilk biscuits but they aren’t as good as this recipe. Cutting corners just isn’t worth it sometimes!

Now get to it.

Ingredients: In a large bowl mix

2 packets active dry yeast (5 teaspoons)

2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons sugar

Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

This is called proofing the yeast.

Once it is foamy add in:

6 cups of flour

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

4 tablespoons softened margarine or butter

Mix together with a large spoon:

Then knead for 10 minutes by hand either in the bowl or on a floured surface.

Let dough rise for 45 minutes or until double in bulk.

In the meantime, in a  saucepan warm:

2 cups margarine or butter

2 cups brown sugar

Optionally:

Add in up to 2 cups of raisins and 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans

When dough has risen knead it for a couple of minutes.

Cut it into small chunks.

Dip the pieces into the margarine sugar and drop them into a cake or bundt pan.

Let rise for 25 minutes.

Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

While still warm turn over on a serving plate.

Pull apart to eat!

Enjoy.

Monkey out now friends.

This is gmom.

Peace out.

Simple Living. Where The Eye And Heart Can Rest.

http://36×37.wordpress.com/

I love this blogger who is a bona-fide writer.

She recently blogged about Randy from Pittsburgh who creates street art.

His focus is revitalizing the neighborhoods with his vibrant colorful art.

He creates gardens and landscapes as well.

Quite the awesome dude.

Thanks to Maura for throwing a light on Randy and introducing him to peeps like me through her blog.

Years ago I was a Randy wannabee.

The only difference between Randy and I? I have no artistic sensibility.

But I didn’t let that stop me.

My canvas was our family bathroom. A spare 4 by 8 foot utilitarian white, waiting for me.

I went with cow spot.

I painted huge black splotches.

Cow hide covered the ceiling and walls. I bought a couple of farm prints and hung those.

Cow hand towels hugged the towel bar. I even had a cow shower curtain.

Everyone commented on the cow bathroom. I was artistically fulfilled.

When it came time to sell this house the realtor advised us to paint the cow bathroom white. “What??” I cried “Absolutely not, everyone loves the cow bathroom.  It adds value to the house!”

From his expression I could see he did not agree. Paint over the cow bathroom???

I sulked the day it was done. Goodbye cow bathroom. But the funny thing was. When it was done the bathroom looked so much bigger.  So much calmer. Peaceful even. I hung white towels and bleached  the counters and the room was transformed from a joke to something of an oasis.

Ever since, when I get the urge to go wild with color and theme,  I say to myself, less is more.

Edit, edit, edit.

In how few elements can I do this.  In how few words can I communicate a thought.

The most important word is 4 letters.

The most important emotion can be expressed in a touch.

When you break life down in to its base elements you can see what is really there.

What the truth is.

One yellow sun.

One gray moon.

One blue earth.

This is gmom and Hoo,

living simply,

And simply living.

Peace out.

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