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 ‘thanksgiving’ 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.

Let Go And Let God

Demolition of a small hut in our backyard.

It was a hard job.

Husband told me to leave it be.

But it was a fair Sunday,  and baby Hoo was sleeping.

So I took up a hammer.

Being unfamiliar with demolition I circled the hut a few times just swinging the hammer and thinking ,

“How do I do this?  How do I do anything?  I just do it.

Piece by piece.  Board by board.

Husband came home surprised to see the hut gone.

“You did that ? You couldn’t take down the hut!”

I could and I did!

It’s like my big sis taught me years ago when we got a rejection letter from a private school for one of my boys. She said,”What are you crying about, grow up, no does not mean no.”

Really?

She was right. I fought for an acceptance for my son and he went to that school.

Don’t tell me what I can’t do.

Oh but the  seismic challenges of the last few months.

A son losing his way.

A daughter walking into a relationship that was so very wrong.

The evil pain creeping from my back to my leg and settling in my foot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let go and let God.

That I have learned, and this I know.

Challenges?

Get out of my f**king way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Son.  My beating heart.  Keep your head up.

Love and service, baby. Keep saying it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pretty little girl will one day see that love knows no bounds. Only time and distance lets children scope the scene of their sad day when parent wrenched their sorry behind away from trouble.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My personal enemy? The creeping fire.  Pain.

I will walk through it to drop to my knees so baby boy Hoo can reach me,  and I him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a fair Sunday.

The hut needed demolition.

I took up the hammer and brought the hut down.

Just let me pull nails, and crack wood.

Let me struggle under the weight of heavy wood.

This is gmom,

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.

A Man’s Life

My husband is away.

Doing family business. Kind of heroic stuff. So while I sit home and do my small tasks, go to work, annoy the children, and worry my face into a topographical map. He took matters into his own hands.

He sat in the American Embassy for 8 hours to update his passport in one day at a cost of well….don’t ask.

He bought a ticket out of the country. Remembered his blackberry and my laptop and the boy is gone.

So what is a man’s life anyway.

I’m sitting at his desk. As usual it’s a mess. Little papers with names and numbers, messages scrawled all over it. A filing system I bought him for Father’s day sits unused right next to the monitor. Post it notes stuck to the wall!

Hand sanitizer, a mug one of the kids made eons ago filled with maybe 50 pens, most that don’t work, a calculator. His work jacket sits on the back of the chair smelling of trap grease..and him.

My dog Cujo’s cage sits right by his desk with his jar of treats right on the desk. He hates Cujo.

At least he always says he hates Cujo..

My desk is different.

I dust it.

I have a total of 2 pens and a legal pad.

There’s face cream and an eyebrow tweezers.

A jar of Exedrin and vitamin water.

3 pictures of the children.

My laptop.

Zyrtec.

That’s it.

This isn’t what I thought marriage would be like when I was a little girl running around with a pillow case on my head playing ” getting married”.

I never played “marry” with my girlfriends and said “Let’s pretend we have no money, our houses are too small, our children have problems , our husbands never pick up their dirty clothes and don’t even know how to load a dishwasher…yeah let’s do that!!!”

I never thought “marry” would be a messy desk in my ultra clean home, and a stinky jacket on the back of the chair and dust bunnies underneath the desk that look like shag carpeting in the worst color ever.

When I played “Marry” as a little girl I never fleshed out the guy in the fairytale, he was always an obediant shadow person.. you know a silent partner. I don’t think I even envisioned the guy living in the same house. He just brought a diamond ring and that was about it for his part. Ha!

I never imagined the silent partner would turn out to be my  hero.

This is gmom,

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.

Remembering Jeff: Like A Prayer

This is how I remember it.

This is how it was.

——————————————————–

It’s called a secondary cancer.

A migratory zone.

Where the cells go to garden.

The brain.

We  sat in the waiting room praying for him.  Losing hope as the hours passed,

as the 7 hour surgery turned into 22.

Finally, the surgeon came out and told us what we already knew.

It was not good.

But for now he was in recovery.

My sisters and I stayed at the hospital and waited for a chance to visit him, for the chance to see that he yet existed and was still amongst us.

At some point in the night the nurses removed the breathing tube.

He spoke in a broken record, PeeWee Herman voice not his own.. “tumor tumor tumor”.

“Tumor’s all gone, honey, tumor is gone.”

I didn’t know if he heard or understood me as he continued his senseless mutterings.

Suddenly, he turned towards me and with  eyes unfocused and snapping left-right, left-right said

“Sing sing sing sing”.

So I sang,

to my brother.

““““““““““““““““““““`

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone.
I hear you call my name and it feels like
Home.

When you call my name, it’s like a little
Prayer. I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you
there. In the midnight hour, I can feel your
Power. Just like a prayer, you know I’ll take you there

 

The hard part wasn’t his leaving.

The hard part was being left.

He stayed long enough to say goodbye.

This is gmom,

peace out.

We Played Frisbee

We all went to a local park today.

Kids tossed a frisbee around.

“C’mon Mom play, we’ll teach you…c’mon..”

They wonged the useless disc in wild arcs that most often dived hard in the grass.

I walked the perimeter of the park with Hoo  thinking of the friends so recently lost.

My mind is racing with thoughts and notions.

I’m going to quit my job, I’m going to live on the beach,I have to get out of town…I just have to.

The frisbee  hits at my feet.

I pick it up and easily throw it back-hand.

It flies fast.  Flat. Far. Straight.  Way beyond where the kids are playing.

“Hey Mom! Where did you learn to throw a frisbee like that???”

My mind flashes to a sunny faced boy winging a frisbee,

and I have to  smile.

He taught me this,

With frisbee the lesson is,

Just let it go.

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