Thursday, February 26, 2015

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

This winter has been way too long here for me. The only thing making the whole situation any better is warm, comforting food like this stew. Luckily it is almost the end of February so a few more weeks and this cold long winter nightmare will be over and gone.  My mother-in-law has been making stew similar to this for years but she adds sweet potatoes as well.  I forgot to pick them up at the food store so there is none in this batch.

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2-1/2 lbs chuck round cubes
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 can tomato paste
6 cups low sodium beef broth
6 carrots peeled and diced
8 small potatoes peeled and diced
1 8 oz. package frozen peas
salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the butter and olive oil in a big sturdy pot.  Sprinkle the meat with some salt and pepper.

Add 1/2 of the meat to the pot and brown on all sides.  Remove the meat and put in the rest of the meat in a single layer.  Remove this meat when browned.

Reduce heat and add onions and garlic.  Stir a little bit and get it nice and brown.

Add tomato paste and stir.

Add beef stock, the meat adding the plate juices as you go.  Mix it around a little bit.  Add more salt and pepper if desired.  Bring to a boil and then put the lid on and turn down to low.  Cook for at least 2 hours.

While the meat is cooking chop your potatoes and carrots.  Add to stew and cook 30 minutes or so.  Add peas and cook another 15 minutes.  You can add more beef broth at this time if it doesn't look like you have enough liquid for a gravy.

Here is the finished product.  Yummy!


Monday, February 23, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #112

This is an exciting week! 
We have added 3 new blogs to our list of co-hosts! 
Welcome to the team...
Tammy of My Life Abundant
Jaime of Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide
Brittany of Mommy on Demand

Last week's party was so much fun. 
Take a look at the ones that you viewed the most...

Most Viewed

Very Popular

Sinea's Pick
Cutest birthday party idea! Happy 1st Birthday, Madelyn.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party from Flavors By Four

This week I chose to feature this Chicken and Peppers in a White Sauce. It looks like a delicious variation of the traditional Italian Sausage and Peppers from Bunny at Bunny's Warm Oven. Her secret to make this pasta dish creamy is mayonnaise!!

Our Lovely Hosts

Love this party?

 Simple Guidelines:

  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below) 
  • PLEASE TWEET THIS PARTY !!!!  We want everyone to know about it!
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • When you are PINNING, remember to do it from the original post. ♥
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. ♥
  • Thanks for joining us!

Follow our hosts as you can. 
Our three new hosting blogs are listed first:

Tammy of My Life Abundant

Jaime of The Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide

Brittany of Mommy On Demand
Kim of 2JustByou

CD of CD's Country Living

Diane of Recipes For Our Daily Bread

Libby and Rachel of Two Keck Girls

Nicole and Susan of Flavors By Four

Carrie of A Mother’s Shadow

Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row  (host)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #111

Welcome to our party!

This is Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop number 111 and YOU are our very special guests!
Last week's most view post won hands down with 4 times more views than all of the other popular posts...a beautiful hear necklace and earring set. 
I pinned it. Did you?

Most Viewed
Heart Necklace & Earring Set by The Pin Junkie

Copy Cat KFC Chicken Recipe by Pink When
How To Freeze Mashed Potatoes by Mums Make Lists
Biggest Decluttering Mistake You Don't Know You're Making from My Love For Words
Homemade Bread Making Shortcuts by Taylor Made Ranch
Get Paid to Transcribe and Write from Musings of  a Multi-Tasking Mom

Editor's Pick
Last but not least at last week's party was this delectable dish with a New Orlean's flare! Looks so delicious. 

Voodoo Shrimp and Garlic Mashed Potatoes from a Sprinkle of This and That

This Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup from Parrish at Life with the Crust Cut Off looks like it would be perfect to make for dinner this week. I love the colorful tortilla topping!! I'm going to need way more than a bowl of soup to keep warm since the weather in NJ is going to be frigid over the next few days.

And now for this week's party!
Share your family - friendly posts.
No giveaways, shops or parties please.
Visit a few and leave a nice comment.
Follow our hosts where you can.
Please remember to pin from the original posts.
♥ Tweet our party and make us very happy! ♥


Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row  (host)

Libby and Rachel of Two Keck Girls

Kim of 2JustByou

Diane of Recipes For Our Daily Bread

Elie from Chocolates and Crockpots

Nicole and Susan of Flavors By Four

Carrie of A Mother’s Shadow

CD of CD's Country Living

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party Ideas

I want to take a break from food and recipes today to tell you about the great Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party my niece Madelyn had last month for her 1st birthday. We were all excited to celebrate with the birthday girl, especially my son Owen. My sister Kelly was super creative thinking of everything from simple decorations like balloons and crepe paper to fancy signs and banners. She worked very hard planning all the details for Madelyn's party with the help from a bunch of women on Etsy!!  Below you will find all the links to the Etsy stores she used for Madelyn's party. Maybe it will inspire you to plan a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party for your little one as well!! 

Madelyn's birthday crown is from Kutie Bow Tuties and her outfit including the red tutu is from Pattys Tiptop Tutus. To stay in theme with the party I got Owen a Mickey Mouse graphic t-shirt from Old Navy and Minnie Mouse ears for myself and my other sisters at Party City
Both of Madelyn's fancy cakes were made by Erica Elgart from Piece a Cake in Morristown, NJ. Her smash cake was frosted with fondant decorations which worked perfectly for Owen and her to put their fingers in.

A milestone chalkboard poster from Periwinkle Papery  is a great way to document all the important things that you want your party guests to know about your birthday boy or girl. You just have to print it out and glue it onto a big piece of poster board.

 The front door welcome sign, happy birthday banner and monthly picture banner were all constructed beautifully by the Sweet Heart Party Shop.

Kelly found Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed invitations that featured Minnie Mouse from My Celebration Shoppe. All she had to do was forward the PDF file to Staples and get them out in the mail.

Amanda's Parties To Go helped my sister create centerpiece by sending her the PDF files for these cut-outs. Then Kelly printed, cut and glued them together onto skewers and grouped them into cups with crinkle paper for great colorful decorations.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

My Secret Recipe Club assignment this month was Tasty Cheap Skate.  Jeanie started her blog in 2010 like Nicole and I did so I had tons of recipes to choose from.  She likes to break down the cost of each ingredient so you know how much it will cost you to make the entire meal which is helpful if you are on a tight budget. I chose her peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting because my family is a bunch of peanut butter lovers.  I thought it might be too much peanut butter but I was pleasantly surprised.

 I cut the recipe in 1/2 as this is supposed to make enough for a sheet cake size.  There are only 3 people living in my house and the last thing we need is a sheet cake sized cake so a 9 x 9 pan was used instead.  Instead of chocolate ganache on top I used chopped Trader Joe's mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups.  The frosting was supposed to be made in a saucepan but I just whipped it up in my mixer instead to make it a little bit fluffier and less dense.

Ingredients for 9x9 Cake:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup water

Ingredients for Frosting:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) softened
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 cup confectioners sugar
5 tsp half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla

10 mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups (Trader Joe's) chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl combine sugar and flour.  Set aside.
In a medium bowl mix the egg, baking soda and sour cream.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, butter and water. Bring to a boil.

Add boiled mixture to flour mixture and mix.

Stir in sour cream/egg mixture and mix again.

Pour into greased 9 x 9 pan.  Bake for 23-25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes back clean.  While cake is cooling make the frosting.

Combine softened butter, peanut butter, vanilla, confectioners sugar and 1/2 and 1/2.  Mix until mixture is at desired consistency.  Add more 1/2 and 1/2 if needed.  Spread on top of cooled cake.  Top with chopped mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups.


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins

These Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins would be the perfect way to start your Saturday morning this Valentine's Day weekend!! My goal for the day will be to have chocolate as part of my every meal. Who else will be eating chocolate all day long on Valentine's Day?? Since it's dark chocolate paired with some fruit I can pretend they are at least a little bit healthy haha ;) 

4 cups flour
2 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Stick I Can't Believe it's not Butter - Melted
2 1/2 Cup Low Fat Sour Cream
4 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Frozen Cherries - Thawed & Halved
1 1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Makes about 22 large muffins

Adapted from:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray the muffin pans with Pam or put cupcake liners in the pan and set aside.   In a  medium sized bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients (sour cream, honey, eggs and vanilla). Melt the butter in the microwave for about 2 min on a low level and pour the melted butter into the bowl with all the other wet ingredients, whisk everything together. 

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, baking powder). Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry. Whisk it all together until it has just combined to make the batter.

If you are using fresh cherries make sure you have taken all the pits and steams out before you cut them up. If you are using frozen cherries like I did make sure they are completely thawed and cut in half. To prevent your batter from immediately turning purple dry the thawed cherries with some paper towels before adding them to your batter. Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. 

Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and bake at 425 for 5 minutes. Than turn the heat down and bake the muffins at 350 F for 20 minutes. The muffins will be slightly golden brown on the top and will spring back when touched. Allow them to cool for a few minutes, take them out of the tins and enjoy them warm if possible.


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