Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Frugal Kitchen: Beef Stew

Beef stew is so wonderful on a cold day.  Stew meat is affordable and with root vegetables in season beef stew becomes a frugal and delicious one pot meal.

I like to keep my stew vegetables as natural looking as possible.  I want the carrots, turnips and potatoes easily identifiable.  It makes the stew visually attractive and rustic.


Beef cut into one inch cubes (or larger if you prefer)
Beef stock
Small potatoes
Green beans
Small white onions
Several garlic cloves
Whole black pepper corns, 5 or 6
Red wine
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Rosemary
2 Bay leaves

Place some flour and a teaspoon of salt in a ziplock bag with the stew meat.  Shake to cover the meat with flour.  Add several tablespoons of oil to a hot pot and brown the meat on all sides.

While the meet is browning prepare the vegetables by washing them and peel them only if absolutely necessary.  Do take the paper like skins off of the onions and garlic cloves.

When the meat is browned add the onions and garlic cloves and let them get some color.

Add the other vegetables and the spices.  Add broth and red wine (no more than a cup of wine) to cover the meat and vegetables.  Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and lower the heat to simmer.

Cook for three hours, then add salt to taste.

Serve with a crusty bread.  We were so hungry after smelling this stew cooking all afternoon, we ate it without taking a picture of the finished stew.  Oh well, next time.

God bless,

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Eeek! Clothing Moths (and my desperate attempts to eradicate them)

I have to admit that I haven't been as observant lately as I should have, but when a number of moths started flying about our house, I went on full alert.  Because, even though I live in Florida, I am a wool junkie.  I love working with wool and wool yarns and always have several projects in different stages of completion.

Of course, when I pulled out my yarns and semi finished projects they had obvious moth damage.  Some things were salvageable, but (because moths love dark, undisturbed places) the yarn and wool at the bottoms of my project bags were destroyed.

The first thing I noticed were the clothing moth cocoons.  On yarn that only had cocoons, but no damage, I vacuumed the yarn balls inside and out with my vacuum attachment.

Then I placed any salvageable wool into 2 1/2 gallon zip lock bags and placed them in my freezer for, at least, 72 hours.

After I removed the bags from the freezer I open the bags while they came to room temperature, to prevent condensation.  Make sure that there is no moisture in the bags before you reseal them.

From now on I will be storing my wool in plastic even though I know that this is not the optimal method of storage.  I will also be more diligent about checking through my supplies on a regular basis.

I managed to salvage about 50% of my wool.  I knew better than to take my wool storage for granted, but sometimes life distracts us and we end up paying for it.

 I decided many years ago that I didn't want to own anything that, if it became damaged or ruined, would be heart breaking for me.  We live in hurricane territory and I don't want to worry about things when all my concentration should be on my family.  So the loss of a few projects is disappointing, but not devastating.

God bless,