Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baby Beef Stew

This recipe comes from a baby and toddler cookbook and is recommended for kids 12 months and older. I made this tonight for my daughter for lunch tomorrow. I hope she likes it. Despite my hatred of onions, I am determined not to curse her with that so I chopped up the onion myself and added it to the stew.

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 in chunks
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 Yukon gold or red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium tomato, cored and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Veggie/Chicken broth (I used more) 

Makes about 4 cups


  •  In a small stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Sprinkle the beef lightly with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook, turning as needed, until browned, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Leave the juices in the pan over medium-high heat. 
  • Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, and 2 tablespoons water and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring to scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Return the beef to the pan, along with any juices accumulated on the plate. Add the potatoes, carrots, tomato, and stock and stir to mix well.. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beef and vegetables are very tender, about 1-1.5 hours. 
  • Depending on your toddler's age and chewing ability, shred or mash the beef and vegetables into a size your toddler can handle. Let cool slightly, then ladle into bowls and serve. 
  • Store it: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or free for up to 1 month. 

This picture was taken before I add more water and broth. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Quick, Easy and Cheap Popcorn

I love those bags of popcorn at the store but they're pretty expensive for what you get. Also, many times, the bags are huge and I feel obligated to eat the whole bag so that I don't waste it. Here's a solution:

Take one of those brown paper lunch bags. Put 1/4-1/3 cup of plain popcorn. You can get a big container of it much cheaper than the bags. Add any dry ingredients you want such as salt. Microwave just like you would the bagged popcorn. I always listen to my popcorn to tell when it's done. When it's done, add whatever you want. You can make all of those fancy popcorns you see in the store. Be creative.

Essentials and Ingredients: Toum (Garlic Sauce)

This can be added to meat, vegetables, or whatever you want. Use sparingly because the base is garlic, which is very strong. Also keep in mind that the longer you have this sauce, the spicier it will be.


1 head of garlic (Peeled) - remember to save the peel for your vegetable stock
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup oil

Blend garlic, salt and lemon juice in a food processor until it is a paste. Then add the oil and blend again.

You can vary how much of each ingredient you add depending on your personal preference.

There you have it, a simple and delicious condiment.

Essentials and Ingredients: Stock

This applies to vegetable stock, or any meat stock:

Save the scraps of whatever kind of stock you are making.
If you are making vegetable stock, save all of those scraps from vegetables that you won't eat such as onion and garlic peels, the leaves of celery if you don't eat them, literally any part of the vegetable that you will not eat.

If you are making chicken stock, save all of those bones and fat and any part of the chicken you will not eat. (Don't forget if you go out for fried chicken or chicken wings, don't throw that stuff away, RECYCLE)

You will want to keep these separate. Have a vegetable stock zip lock bag in the freezer, have another bag for chicken, another for beef, etc. Freeze this stuff until you are ready to make your stock.

When you have enough to make the stock, put the scraps in some water and add salt and any other spices you like.

If you have a crock pot, leave it overnight in the crock pot on the high setting.

If you do not have a crock pot, put it in a pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

Strain out the scraps and store the liquid in the refrigerator. 

There you go, now not only do you not have to buy the stuff, but you will cut down on your food waste.

Also, if you have a garden, you can put the vegetables that you just made into a compost pile along with egg shells and expired canned good for double recycling. Do not, however, put the meat scraps and bones in your compost.

Essentials and Ingredients: Fruit Soda

Instead of buying soda that has a ton of chemicals and HFCS, make your own.

Save the parts of the fruit you wouldn't eat such as the peels of oranges or the core of pineapples. Collect it in a zip lock bag that you keep in the freezer. Once you have enough or are ready to make some soda, buy some club soda. If you're a big soda drinker, it is more cost effective to buy the 2 liter bottle but if not, the cans are better so that you avoid wasting your soda.

Put your fruit scraps in a medium sauce pan. Cover it with sugar. You're going to use quite a bit since you're making a syrup. Add enough water to submerge the sugar. Put on medium heat for 15 minutes and then check the thickness of the mixture. Stir and heat for another 15 minutes if necessary. After you're done heating it, add the syrup to club soda. Add as much as you want. Taste it to see how sweet you like it.

Cooking School

I've mentioned my friend Allie before. Well, I'm finally going to learn the basics of cooking that we have both been talking about me learning for years. She is breaking up the curriculum into three parts:

1. Ingredients and Essentials- This is where I will learn about how to make staples such as breads, jams, sauces, stock, etc. This will include anything you can make to use in recipes. I will also learn about how to avoid food waste by recycling and substituting ingredients.
2. Meals and Takeout- This will be simple meals, meal planning, and how to make food that I would ordinarily want to go out and eat.
3. Pastries- This one is pretty self explanatory.

I may have missed something in my explanation but I will elaborate as we go through.

How to get Mildew off your Shower Curtain Liner

I am very allergic to mildew so when it shows up, I just want to discard whatever it is on. Well when my mom was visiting, she mentioned that my aunt takes her shower curtain liner and washes it with a few towels. I tried this. I used the Arm & Hammer laundry soap, no bleach and it came out like new. I put it in the dryer on the low setting just so it wasn't soaking wet when I put it back. I only left it in there for about 10 minutes or so. It worked great!

My aunt is a clean freak so I'll be posting some of her ideas. Her house is always spotless.