Thursday, January 15, 2015

Recipe Time: Beef Barley Stew

So in a previous post talking about my 2015 goals, I said I wanted to try some new recipes out of my comfort zone. While this week's recipe was nothing out of my comfort zone, it was something different! Whenever we buy a roast, I tend to make the same exact stew every time.

Beef roasts were on mad sale last weekend at my market, so I "indulged". (We don't eat a lot of red meat, so getting a roast is a rare thing!)

I used my bread oven to make some home-made bread and spent my morning preparing all the good, delicious ingredients for this stew!

Let me tell you, it is amazing. Hearty, healthy, soul-warming, good stuff! And it makes your house smell like heaven.

Or at least what I think heaven might smell like?! Fresh baked bread and beef stew? ;)

Here it is:
-4 lb beef roast, cubed
-1 cup barley
-3 potatoes, cubed
-about 10 baby carrots, halved
-1/2 onion, sliced
-5 cloves garlic
-1/2 cup tomato paste
-red wine (about 1/2 cup? I just pour until the meat looks colorful and happy)
-4 cups beef broth
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp basil
-1 tsp parsley
-1/2 tsp thyme
-salt and pepper to taste1

1. Brown the beef is a pan with olive oil, wine, (And I added a little balsamic vinegar. Because that's just what I like to do.)
2. Place all vegetables in crockpot, add the meat, tomato paste, broth, and spices.
3. Cook at about 250 degrees for 4+ hours.
4. For the last hour, add in the barley.
5. Pour glass of wine for the cook. (Very important step)

**One thing to note. The stew was looking quite watery, so I was tempted to add flour or cornstarch to thicken it up. However, once the barley is added, it will thicken right up!

This made a ton of left overs (since it's just the 2 of us). Which is awesome, because I pre-packaged many containers and even froze a few!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Puppy Love

Had you asked me a year ago "Would you ever consider getting a dog?", I would have responded with hysterical laughter.

I did not grow up with dogs, so was never a "dog person". In fact, I was always kind of scared of them.

Except for when I was about 6-7 years old, and I was a "pen pal" to a cocker spaniel who lived next door my parent's lake home. His name was Sam, and we would write letters back and forth.

I was a strange child.

On the flip side, my husband loves dogs. He grew up with a dear Golden Retriever named Charlie. Every time we see a Golden while we are out running or hiking, I'd watch Ryan melt a little.

And then one Sunday evening in November, he asked for a dog. My initial response was a vile one. "A dog?!?!?! Have you lost your mind?! I would NEVER get a dog". Then I promised Ryan and I would do my researching and pondering......

And here we are....Meet "Miles"

And here is how we are coping:
  • 1st night home: if I hadn't had to go to work that Saturday, I'm pretty sure we would have returned him back to Phoenix. He howled, wined, and cried the entire night. (and to make matters worse, we had been awake since 3:30 am the previous day, since we traveled from MN to AZ)
  • The "crate method" is a God-sent. After that 1st rocky night, he's been great. We get him up every 3 hours to take him outside. He loves his little "room", and we've made it rather pleasant for him with a fluffy bed, abundant chew toys, and a heating pad.
  • We have already taught him how to "sit". He's a smart little monster.
  • Keeping him crated while we are at work is going okay. Luckily, I am able to come home for 20 minutes in the middle of the day to run him around and love on him.
  • Every time he is mischievous and pisses us off, he will immediately do something absolutely lovable and adorable. I think he has us figured out...
  • I cannot wait until he is 18 months, and can be our new running buddy! (our vet said "no running" until his bones are developed)
He certainly loves to chew on things...and his favorite chew toys are my shoes. I don't understand this concept. What is so interesting about pumps, slippers, and tennis shoes, when you have a chew toy that sqeaks? 

He goes from 100 mph to sound asleep within a split second. I enjoy his brief moments of "sleepiness".