I let them choose ahead of time which recipe they would like to make.
Here I am cutting the beef
It was surprisingly easy and fun. At the end we all sat together and enjoyed the meal which I prepared ahead of time. Next week, I will be teaching how to cook salmon in foil at the high school Home Ec room. So, no wine will be consumed in that class. I wonder if it will be as much fun?
Also, today is day 13 and I have 147 days until the 4th of July to be in the very best shape I have ever before been in. I can’t say that I have noticed a physical change in my appearance, however, there is a definite change in my energy. I feel fantastic. My mood may also be attributed to adding vitiman D to my diet. I think the lack of sunshine here in Minnesota may have been draining my energy and this vitiman has really helped. I have not missed a day of working out in 13 days and that in itself is a miracle.
I completed half of my yoga dvd today and walked. Okay, so I walked to the mailbox. But, I have a long driveway. It’s a start. I decided there are two requirements to my beginning a half an hour walking regimen. First, I need to get out of these glasses and into contacts because the blinding sunlight is killing me when it bounces off of the snow covered earth. I will need to wear sunglasses. Second, it should be above zero degrees. It looks nice out the window, but once I emerged into the arctic chill, I realize it could be dangerous to my life. So, I am buying contacts this week and hoping the temperature rises. In the meantime, I will keep up with the yoga. Tomorrow…the whole dvd.
Here is my article for the New Ulm Journal:
“Pot roast and resolutions”
The end of the holiday season can be a bit anticlimactic. We spend months buying gifts, writing cards, attending and planning parties. Relatives visit, you visit friends, the house is decorated, and the streets are illuminated with snowflakes and red and green lights. You may have spent time compiling a list of resolutions which you may or may not keep. It all leads up to that fateful stroke of the clock and the dropping of the ball and…bam: a few kisses and hugs, a few, “happy new year!” shouted out to your loved ones and it’s over. The year has ended. A new year has begun. But, then, the next day or the day after that, it all just feels the same. We shuffle back into work or school. We comfortably relax into our routines.
I like the idea of coming up with resolutions but feel it may be a mistake to do it on January 1st. I think resolutions should be made whenever you feel something lacking in your life. This can be any day of the year. When I plan to make a resolution on the 1st, I announce my resolution, maybe tell friends and write it down. It’s not a terrible idea. It’s just that if I don’t do it on the 1st of the year, day one, I feel like a failure. I’m usually tired on the first: I might be hung over. So, that new yoga or aerobic routine isn’t going to happen that very day. It doesn’t seem to be as exciting beginning on the fourth or the fifth. Before I know it, it’s February. Usually, the whole idea just fades away.
Instead, I try to treat every day as an opportunity to begin anew:start working on that novel, earn more money, cook more homemade meals,exercise more,spend more quality time with my spouse and children, or have more fun with my friends. Your list may be different. However, I have found that most lists are pretty similar because people generally want to be healthy, to be in love and to be loved, to be surrounded by friends and family and to be financially wealthy.
When the holidays end, things may get a little quiet. Many people might miss the hustle and bustle, the visitors and the visits, the holiday performances and church services, and the camaraderie which comes with the season. I am here to say that this spirit of togetherness does not have to end with the passing of the holidays. Why not keep it going?
You can continue the spirit of togetherness in your own home. You can create a club: writing, reading, cooking, painting, music, singing, walking, taking pictures…the possibilities are endless. You can take a class in something you are interested in. Here’s a shameless plug for myself, but you can sign up for my weekly cooking class through community education which begins on January 14th. If people sign up, we will be cooking a meal and then eating it together. I’d like to create a sort of weekly dinner party. It’s a great way to meet new people who have similar interests; mine, in this case, is eating good food with good people.
Another idea is to begin a tradition of having a Sunday lunch at your place. You can invite friends and family to come over on Sunday. Making a pot roast for a Sunday lunch is easy, affordable, and delicious. You prepare it a bit in the morning and go about your daily business. Just before you are ready to serve the food, you do a few more magic tricks and it’s finished. If lots of people arrive, there will be plenty of food. If few people attend, you will love having the leftovers. Whatever resolution or goal you decide you would like to keep, begin it today, or tomorrow, or the next day. Treat each day as an opportunity to make things happen: give more, smile more, and love more. You can watch a video of me and Claud making this pot roast at the end of this post.
Dry the sirloin tip with paper towels. Cover it on all sides with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a stock pot. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the beef. Brown the beef on all sides. This will take about five minutes per side. Remove the meat.
Add the onions and garlic. Cook them until the onions become transparent. Deglaze the pot with the red wine. Scrape all of the browning remnants from the bottom of the pot into the wine, garlic and onions. Add the meat back to the pot. Pour in the stock. You want the liquid to rise half way up the beef. If you need more liquid, add stock, red wine or water. Sprinkle in some rosemary. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for an hour and a half.
Add the potatoes and carrots. Cook for thirty minutes. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook ten minutes more. Remove the meat and vegetables from the pot.
In another pan, melt the butter and mix in the flour to create a roux. Slowly whisk in the remaining liquid from coking the beef and vegetables. Add the remaining salt and pepper. Pour the vegetables into the gravy. Slice the beef and layer it on top of the gravy with veggies. Enjoy!
I’m in awe of the crunch the leaves emit beneath the weight of my feet and how they blanket my lawn as if preparing it for a cold winter to come. I cannot bring myself to rake. I feel as if the earth needs this protective layer. Come springtime, I promise, they will be gone. But, for now, I must be grateful for their beauty and warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is commendable how many people diligently rid their lawn of leaves once the trees are bare. It is just a difference of opinion and another perspective of aesthetics. Neither is right or wrong. Both are beautiful.
I eagerly anticipate the inevitable colder days to come, much colder days. Yes, even the negative twenty days in winter are thrilling. The wind chill factor and how jeans don’t protect you from it. The pain in your face from a subtle breeze in the air and how you have to wrap a scarf around everything except your eyes sometimes just to walk into the grocery store. I think growing up in Southern California made me appreciate these extreme changes in weather. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself, its fall and this season needs the attention it deserves. We can’t think of it as merely a prelude to freezing days to come.
Living most of my life in a climate where the weather remains at clear skies and seventy plus degrees gets old. I like variety. Minnesota has the most perfect seasons: each one exactly as it should be.We are very lucky indeed. As if overnight, everything went from green to red and yellow to brown. Bald eagles soar over highway 13, deer peer out from behind garages in New Ulm, and ripples of waves caress Lake Hanska from the increasing strength of the breeze.
I enjoy the misty mornings on my way to take the kids to the bus and the crackle of walking on the frosty grass. It’s great to pull out your boots and sweaters, hats and scarves, and get chances to wear them. With each new season comes inspiration for meals that suit the climate. We, Minnesotans, are lucky to have so much encouragement from Mother Nature to make a variety of delectable dishes. For fall, I think we are in need of some hearty comfort food. We should make food that will warm and nourish us from the inside out. Beef bourguignon does the trick. How could beef, garlic, spices and tons of red wine not taste delectable? It has to be fantastic. To make it even better, after you work on the initial preparation for about twenty minutes, you just leave it to work its magic for hours as you do what you want to do. Also, once you have a bit for dinner that first evening and put the rest in the fridge…it’s even tastier the next day, once all of the herbs and spices have had a good chance to truly get acquainted.
Apparently, the French used to make this dish as a way to make cheap and tough cuts of meat palatable by simmering it in wine for hours. However, beef bourguignon has become a staple in haute cuisine. This is because, although it is simple and inexpensive to make (this recipe cost me about ten dollars in ingredients), it is so delicious. You can make it in a Dutch oven or stock pot and allow it to simmer for hours while your home becomes bathed in the scents of a French cafe. You can make it in a crock pot and allow it to cook longer than two hours if you will be away from home. When you return to the smells of your kitchen, you will think you hired a French chef. Either way, your home will smell amazing while this stew cooks. You and whomever you are feeding will not believe your taste buds. Bon Appetite.
Time: 2 ½ hours
2 ½ lbs. beef roast
¼ C. olive oil
1 1/2 C. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced thick
3 large carrots, sliced thick
6 cloves of garlic, sliced thick
2 C. button mushrooms, slice and sauté in 1 tsp. butter
4 bay leaves
2 Tbsp mustard seed
1 Tbsp dry thyme
1 Tbsp dry rosemary
1 bottle burgundy wine
2 ½ C beef broth
¼ C. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut beef into 1 ½ inch cubes. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Mix flour with salt and pepper. Roll the cubes of beef into the flour. Pour olive oil into a pot and place on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, place the cubes of beef into the oil. You want to brown each side of the cube. Do not let the meat touch each other. You may have to brown it in stages. Once the cubes are browned on all sides, place on a paper napkin. Pour the rosemary, garlic, mustard seed, and thyme into the oil. Add the onion and carrots. Let these sauté for about five minutes. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pot. Add the broth and the sautéed mushrooms. Sprinkle the remaining flour (bout ½ C.) over the potatoes. Add the beef cubes and potatoes to the pot. Make sure everything is covered in liquid. If not, add more wine and broth to cover stew. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer with lid on for two hours. Take the lid off and skim off the oil which has accumulated on the top. Add sugar. Simmer uncovered for thirty minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Right now, I am on the hunt for some really good comfort food. I can’t think of anything better than a nice steamy bowl of beef bourguignon. The weather is getting colder and the leaves are changing. I need something hot and hearty. I found this great recipe at frontier coop’s website. Have a look and try it tonight for dinner. Enjoy!