Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beef Stew

I have decided I'm going to post a new recipe every week (or try to), and this week I'm posting about my hubby's favorite beef stew.  I did a lot of looking online and in my many cookbooks to find a beef stew recipe that Hubby would like.  I never found one.  SO, I combined things out of several different recipes and came up with the following:

In a CrockPot combine
- 1 1/2 lbs of stew meat (our grocery store sells meat already cubed)
- half bag of each of the following vegetables: corn, green beans, onions
- 1 small bunch of celery (heart? or bunch?) cut into bite size pieces
- half bag of baby peeled carrots cut length wise
- 4 potatoes (I use red skinned because that's what hubby likes) cut into bite size pieces
- 1 can of dices tomatoes (do not drain)
- 2 beers (favorite flavor, but beers with more bold flavors taste better)
- Season salt, garlic powder, italian seasonings (use to taste... I sprinkle a liberal dusting of each seasoning on the top of all the ingredients)

- Cornstarch

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours.

before you serve it, if you like a thicker stew, remove a bowl of the broth, and whisk in about 4 tbl of cornstarch and then add it back to the pot and stir.  This makes it thicker.  Serve!

I don't really know if this constitutes as a stew without the cornstarch, or if that is really the correct way to thicken something like a stew, but that's how I make gravy, so I figured it would work for my stew.  Most of the time, I don't really know what I am doing, I just wing it.  :)

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do, it really took some time to figure out what hubby liked and didn't like, he's kind of picky, but this is now what he asks for regularly!

Thanks for stopping by!

p.s. I'm linking up to these parties:



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cleaning. A Review.

I am not big on cleaning.  I just don't like it.  Probably because I was forced into it as a young child.  I mean if I had to choose between scrubbing the toilet and watching the smurfs...Smurfs ALWAYS will win, even now as an adult.  I've been in school for the last 18 months, and I really haven't been home a lot or had a lot of time to clean.  My sweet darling loving amazing husband has picked up the slack (or hired someone to do it for him).  Either way, my house has been clean for the last 18 months with minimal effort from yours truly.

Let me back track for a moment.  When I started blogging, I found Ann Marie over at White House, Black Shutters.  Then I found her sister-in-law Bonnie at House of Grace.  Bonnie and Ann Marie both frequently mentioned these household cleaners and other products they used called "Shaklee."  I had NEVER heard of them before, but I was intrigued.  Mostly because Bonnie had written this post and this post about a scalp treatment.  I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and one of the lovely symptoms is horrible scalp problems and hair loss from a hormone imbalance.  I wanted to know more about this scalp product that Bonnie used.  Also, I was even more curious about these cleaners, but I wasn't going to just jump into a huge expense (money is tight when you are a perpetual student living on one income) and not have them work.  But then, I started seeing more and more people in blogland using these products, so I figured it has to be legit. ;)

Dear Hubby had made the comment to me I had two weeks to clean the house before I had to start my "big-girl" job.  I began by cleaning the kitchen.  I use clorox kitchen and bath...its what I've always used, and Hubby made the comment that I would have to clean when he wasn't there because the smell was so bad it was giving him a headache.  That was the determining factor for I had some money from my birthday and I decided to take the leap of faith and try these products.  I ordered them Thursday, and it was a rough couple days waiting...the suspense was killing me!  On Monday I was so excited for Patch (the UPS man) to come, I couldn't stand it.  My Hubby and I went to run some errands and got back to the house at 3.  Hubby said the box truck drivers have to deliver the air mail first and then the ground mail, so it would be in the afternoon before Patch came to our house.  When we got back, there we no boxes at the front door.  I was really sad.  We backed the truck in behind the house, and there in big plastic bags were two boxes.... MY boxes!

I brought them inside....

I opened them up, and it was like a chorus of a million angels singing to me.

I mixed up my bottles immediately with the BasicH....

Okay, so I really took this picture tonight after I have been cleaning EVERYTHING in my house....

And I began to look for something to clean...I wiped down my countertops, Dear Hubby sitting right there.  No smell.  He even commented the counter didn't have the "film" on it that the other cleaners had left.  I used the degreaser on my stove top.  Clean.  Tried it on the sink with hard water and calcium build up.  Clean.  Stainless steel.  Clean.  So then I went to the windows.  I'm just keeping things real folks, this really is how my back door looks 99.99999% of the time.  

Let's take another look for good measure. 

Do you see all the nose prints?  ALL OF THEM?  Its horrible.  I'd use windex, and it would smear them, and then I'd have to start all over, but it never really got all the "nose gunk" off.  I sprayed the window cleaner on the wipe.  GONE!  All of it.  There isn't a trace left.  Seriously-look:

I was SO excited.  I went outside and cleaned the outside of the window too...its 20-something degrees outside here, and I'm out there cleaning my windows.  I'm sure the neighbors think I'm CRAZY. That's fine because my window was clean just long enough for me to take this picture, then it got nose prints on it again. *sigh*  I had to quit cleaning to bake a cake for Dear Hubby's mentee (is that  a word?) from work.  I had a pan in the sink and one in the cabinet.  I used my new Shaklee dish soap and washed my pan and pulled the other one out of my cabinet (it had been cleaned with dawn and put away).  I went to pour my cake batter into the pans and stopped.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  This is what I saw:

The pan on the right had been cleaned with dawn and had this nice film where the soap had stuck to the cooking spray and then dried.  The pan on the left I had just washed with the Shaklee Dish Soap.  I washed the other pan and it cleaned up just like the first.  WOW!  I don't know about y'all, but I have problems with my pans getting the cooking spray "stuck" on them and then it won't come off...let me tell you.  It is all off now.  They look like new.  

Everything I have tried to clean with the BasicH has come out clean...floors, counters, cooktop, oven, mirrors, my sofa!  I LOVE this does Hubby.  I'm cleaning and there are no odors.  

I wasn't one for worrying about the chemicals etc I was using, but then I got to thinking about it a little more.  When I wash my floors with the clorox or pine-sol or whatever, and then my boys or miss kitty would walk on it, they would be getting the cleaner in their paws.  Dogs and cats lick their paws.  This means they were licking the cleaning solutions.  Not to mention all the floor licking that goes on with dogs.  YUCK.  That can't be very healthy.  I now worry less with using the BasicH products because there aren't the yucky chemicals.  I had previously read this article a friend sent me.  It really has made me think about what products I use and how they are helping/hurting us and our environment.  Next time you are looking at purchasing your cleaning products, actually look at the ingredient labels and see what you are bringing into your home. 

Thanks for reading, I'm sorry it was SO long, I am just really excited and have a lot to say!

p.s. I was not compensated in any way for writing this.  These are completely my own thoughts and opinions.  I just want to share an exciting product! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Boys...and a Cat.

I know I have shared on multiple occasions my sweet boys (and Miss Kitty).  Today's post is for Debbiedoos blog and linky for our furry children...because every good mother likes to brag right?

This handsome boy is Brinkley.

This was taken last winter.  He loves the snow!  We think he is part husky and maybe a collie or something...AKA...mutt.  He is the best boy!  I LOVE him!!!  He's really smart, and loves to get into trouble.  I have had him for 4 years this April.  He was adopted from a local humane society, and when I got him, he was not white, scared of cars, and very timid around people.  However, with some love, tummy rubs, and treats, he loves people, and is very out going. 

Here is is tonight.  I'm sorry his eyes have that creepy "glow"....  My darling Husband has put Waylon's bandana on him because he thought Brinkley "felt left out not having a bandana."  haha!  I'm sure he's fine, and the bandana is the least of his concerns.  He also has his Christmas present in this picture.  He carries a toy around with him all the time, and one of his favorites are these loofa dogs.  We have to replace them every so often, but that's okay.  

This handsome boy is Waylon Dog.

Again, sorry about the creepy eyes!  He looks so sad, but trust me, this little boy has it MADE!  His tail is always wagging, and his ears *try* to move like his brothers.  He's my darling husband's dog.  We adopted him from the Kentucky Lab Rescue.  The lady who runs the rescue had driven to Michigan to get him from a high kill shelter and brought him back, the day before they were going to put him down.  We adopted him that weekend.  He is the best companion, and LOVES my husband.  He just loves me.  Ha!  And that's okay.  When my husband is home, Waylon will follow him around the house like a shadow and not let my sweet husband out of his sight.  

Case and point, as I'm taking this picture, my husband got up to go get ready for work, and I was no longer important to Waylon.  He has since followed my husband into the bedroom and perched himself on the bed while Hubby gets ready for work.  Our sweet Waylon has severe allergies to wheat/soy/ he gets a special diet of sweet potatoes, duck, and chicken food.  Sometimes he gets the salmon and rice food.  He loves chicken jerky!  He is our expensive child.

These two boys are my pride and joy!  I absolutely LOVE them.  I can't imagine not having a dog now that I have had these two.  You see, I have always had cats, and been a cat person.  I have never had a dog before Brinkley.  So in keeping with that, I have a cat.  When Hubby and I got married I had Brinkley and Belle.  

Meet Belle.

I know I've shared this picture of her before, but it is worth sharing again.  Anyhow, she isn't really photogenic...well, she just really is too lazy to have her picture taken.  She was not adopted, I was adopted by her.  She found me.  In 2003, we had a massive ice storm here in Kentucky.  No power for a week (seriously), massive damage, horrible weather (we are talking INCHES of ice on EVERYTHING here folks).  Well, this little kitty showed up at our house.  It was really cold this time of year, so I put her in the garage.  We already had one kitty at this time, and I didn't think my dad would appreciate it if I brought another one into the fold, but I couldn't leave her outside.  So in our garage she sat for two weeks before my dad found out.  By then, we were hers.  When my husband and I were married I brought my Brinkley and my Belle into the family.  My brother-in-law decided to call her Miss Kitty.  The name has since stuck, and she now answers to Belle or Miss Kitty.  Ha! 

So, here are a few more pictures of my loverly children to share with you!  (please forgive some of the quality, most all of them were taken with my cell phone because I can never remember to keep the camera handy!)

Seriously, this is how he lays most of the time. 

Riding in the car with mom. 

Sleepin' on her new thrown by the fire.

Taken this summer after Brinkley got his summer doo.

Merry Christmas 2010! haha!

Good night!

Friday, January 21, 2011


I had these excellent plans to start blogging again when school was done.  That was December 17-and technically I finished class the first monday in December.  I have no excuse really....except Pinning (see previous post), Christmas with my sweet husband, Christmas with my parents and sister, Christmas with in-laws #1, Christmas with in-laws #2, New Years, MY BIRTHDAY, a Kaplan prep course for my licensure exam, my licensure exam, 48 hours of stressing about my licensure exam, passing my licensure exam, final job interviews, drug test, background checks, pre-employment paperwork, cleaning my kitchen (top to bottom...literally), hair cut, AND my craft I'm going to share with everyone.  I really have been super busy, but I feel like I'm creating excuses.  Good news: I am a "real" nurse (RN), I am a Neuro/Progressive care nurse!, my kitchen is pretty clean and organized, and I got a hair cut.  I am waiting my niece to arrive, which actually is related to what I'm going to share.  I can't wait.  I'm going to finish it this weekend because my dear sweet darling husband has been so wonderful to help me.  Finally, I was able to order some shaklee products from Bonnie over at House of Grace.  I'm SUPER excited to get them...I can't wait!

Okay, that's all for now. I'm sorry I don't have the project like I promised. :(