Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Beef Stew Recipe

Yesterday morning, I pulled out the crock pot to start my FAVORITE Beef Stew recipe for dinner because I knew I wouldn't have time to cook later in the day. But to my surprise, I'd forgotten to buy some of the main ingredients! I'd already opened the stewing beef and started cutting and cooking it, so I HAD to use it now. I rushed to my pantry and started digging around for something I could throw in. I ended up with a can of Cream of Mushroom soup and a packet of powdered Ranch! I let it cook for 10 hours hoping that it wouldn't be a  disaster and at the end of the day, when I sat down with my little family to eat dinner, my husband shouted from the table that it was THE BEST SOUP he had ever eaten! YAY! And since my attempt at dinner was a success, I thought I would share the recipe, along with the much healthier and also delicious ORIGINAL recipe (which happens to still be MY favorite beef stew recipe ever!)

(Picture credit and recipe from Movita Beaucoup)

Original Beef Stew Recipe from Movita Beaucoup:

Slow Cooker Beef Stew – inspired by many -
  • 2 lbs of stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium sized onions, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • about 20 mini-potatoes, cut large ones in half, leave smallest ones as is (I like to use a mix of yellow, red and blue, no need to peel)
  • 1  28 oz. can whole tomatoes (I use plum tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups sodium reduced beef broth, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then lightly brown the meat in batches. Transfer browned beef to a plate and set aside.
Dump the tomatoes into the slow cooker (juice and all). Crush them with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Add the onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the vegetables and then add the beef and any accumulated drippings. Pour 2 1/2 cups of the beef broth over the beef and vegetables. Give the mixture a quick stir. Add the bay leaves.
Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
About 20 minutes before serving, add the peas (no need to defrost first), salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth, creating a smooth paste. Stir into the stew. Replace the slow cooker cover and cook until thickened (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove the bay leaves before serving.

My last minute recipe:

Less-than-healthy Beef Stew - inspired by necessity-

  • 2 lbs stewing beef, cut into pieces about the size of your thumbnail (helps the little kids get it down easier)
  • 4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 4 red potatoes, not peeled, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Family size can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • (refill the can with beef or vegetable stock and pour into crock pot)
  • 1 packet of original Ranch powder

Lightly brown beef in a little olive oil in a pan over the stove. Throw it into the crock pot. Throw everything else in to the crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours! Easy Peasy!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Preschool Graduation!

We did it!!! And now we can enjoy the summer before I start round two of preschool with my 3-year-old! Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue teaching with Arielle since her family has moved on to Michigan, to a new house, and a new job. But as luck would have it, another wonderful lady that goes to church with me has agreed to join me for the upcoming school year. Wish us luck!

Preschool Week 35: SUMMER!

Monday with Arielle

Opening Activity: Practice writing b,d,p,q

Circle Time:
  • Date/Time/Weather
  • Sing songs about summer, 
  • Read books - “July” and “August” 


Wiggle Time: Favorite activities from the year.

Lesson: The 5 senses of summertime

Craft: Watermelon fan and crab picture

Wednesday with Naomi
Last day of Preschool 

Opening Activity: Beginner 1 Books focusing on phonics
  • Circle Time: 
  • Date/Time/Weather 
  • Story and songs about Summer
Snack Time: S’mores!

Wiggle Time: Walk to the park

Lesson: Discuss the 4 seasons, point out differences we see in Summer versus winter, spring, and fall.

Craft: Build Sand Castles!

Preschool Week 34: The Wonders of Water

Monday with Arielle
“Pond Life”

Opening Activity: Adding/subtracting goldfish after reading the number word!

Circle Time: 
  • Date/Time/Weather
  • Review sight words
  • Songs about ducks, frogs, fish
Snack: crackers, carrots&ranch dressing, bananas

Wiggle Time: Froggy hopscotch and leap-frog - a frog can leap as far as 10 ft in a single jump!! How far can we leap?

Lesson: Pond Life - what kind of animals live in a pond? Why do we need water and these animals? How can we conserve water?

Craft: Make a paper pond and put animal cut-outs in their habitat.

Wednesday with Naomi
"Water and Power"

Opening Activity: Beginner 1 Books focusing on phonics

Circle Time: 
  • Date/Time/Weather 
  • Read- Water Power by Tea Benduhn
  • Sing the Eensy Weensy Spider and other water related songs
Snack Time: Homemade Lemonade and fruit slices

Wiggle Time: Play in a small pool in backyard or blow bubbles out in the yard. Or try this idea from Apartment Therapy:

 Lesson: How does water generate power? Follow THIS link to find out!

Craft: Popsicle stick water wheel.

Preschool Week 33: All About Moms

"Mother's Day"

Opening Activity: Beginner 1 books focusing on phonics.

Circle Time: 
  • Date/Time/Weather 
  • Primary songs about moms:
Mother Dear
Mother I Love You
Dearest Mother, I Love You
  • Book: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Snack Time: Milk and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wiggle Time: Nickelodeon Wii Fit Games

Lesson: What is a mother? Discuss how humans aren't the only creatures with mothers. Explain that some people become mothers by giving birth, and others through adoption.

Craft: Hand print Aprons to give out as Mother's Day Gifts!