Easy Beef Stew

Olive Oil
1/2 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tbsp of pre-minced garlic)
1 Cup (or more) mushrooms (any variety)
1 Cup (or more) carrots
3 Cups beef stock
1 can of beans (refried works well)
1 pound of lean stew meat
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

Place carrots, mushrooms, and can of beans in crock pot or 5 qt. dutch oven or pot.  If using a
pot, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onions and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. 
When onions and garlic are done, transfer to crock pot (or dutch oven).

With remaining tbsp olive oil, brown stew meat on all sides, do not cook meat all the way through.
Once meat is browned transfer to crock pot (or dutch oven)

Add in beef stock, salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings. Stir all ingredients well.

Cook in crock pot on high for 4-6 hours or on low 8 hours. If using 5 qt dutch oven, mix all ingredients

Pumpkin bread pudding

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 2007, from

I made a few of my own adaptations to this, using only milk and no cream (to me, it makes no difference in dishes like this, so I figure I’ll save the calories), and doubling almost all of the spices. Oh, and I added bourbon, but you probably anticipated that.

1½ cups whole milk (Or 1 cup heavy cream plus ½ cup whole milk)
¾ cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
¾ stick unsalted butter, melted* (can skip this step if using the second set of instructions)

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Gourmet’s Instructions: Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.

Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Alternate, Come On, Be Lazy With Me, instructions: While preheating oven to 350°F with rack in middle, melt butter in bottom of a 8-inch square baking dish. Once it is melted, take it out of the oven and toss bread cubes with butter, coating thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Pour them over buttered bread cubes in baking dish, stirring to make sure all pieces are evenly coated. Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Shirley peanut butter cookies

Book page

Shirley's peanut butter cookies


    * 1 cup butter, softened
    * 1 cup white sugar
    * 1 cup packed brown sugar
    * 2 egg
    * 1 egg yolk
    * 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    * 1 (18 ounce) jar peanut butter
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 cup chopped peanuts


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Stir in peanut butter. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Finally, stir in the peanuts.

    Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

  3. Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

    Cookies should look dry on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to cool completely on a rack. These cookies taste great when slightly undercooked.

Megan's chocolate chip cookies

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These truly chewy chocolate chip cookies are delicious served warm from
the oven or cooled. To ensure a chewy texture, leave the cookies on the
cookie sheet to cool. You can substitute white, milk chocolate, or peanut
butter chips for the semi- or bittersweet chips called for in the recipe.
In addition to chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts,
raisins, or shredded coconut.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies 2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour
(about 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle
positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until
thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients;
mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips
of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees
and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base,
again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven
surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined
20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet.
Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one
time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated
up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until
cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers
are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes).
(Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies
on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Cranberry/Orange scones

Book page


Book page

Food recipes, many I have tried, some I have not.

* untried

Ariel's family tortilla recipe

So that I can stop asking Ariel each time I want to make tortillas, allow me to finally (finally) put it somewhere I'll find it again.

Hi, all!

Here's the recipe for the tortillas I made at taco night last
week.  The recipe is from Ariel's mom - she said I could share
it with you.  :)


First I will give you the original recipe for flour tortillas that my
mother and mother-in-law used since they first began making them.  It
is higher in fat than the recipe we now use, but they are sooooo good.

4 cups unbleached flour (I like King Arthur)
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
about 1 1/2 cups warm water (my mother-in-law uses boiling water and so
  do I)

Mix flour and salt in a bowl; cut in shortening using a pastry blender
(my mother and I) or your fingers (my mother-in-law).  Add enough water
to make a soft dough; at this point the dough isn't particularly smooth.
It is better to have a dough that is too soft than one that is hard.  

Pomegranate-Scented Toasted Barley

Pomegranate-Scented Toasted Barley
Miraval Life in Balance Resort & Spa
Tucson, Arizona
Serves 4

3/4 cups barley
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp diced onion
2 tbsp  diced carrots
1/2 tsp clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth
1/4cup pomegranate juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp fresh chopped parsley

Place barley in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high 
heat and toast, 5 minutes, stirring until lightly browned. 

Add oil, onion, carrots and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. 

Add stock and juice, then season with salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 35 minutes until 
barley is soft. Remove from heat and stir in mint. Top 
with parsley and serve.

Endless House Guest Apple Fritter


By popular demand, here is the recipe for the "Endless Houseguest" pancake:

You'll be sauteing and baking in the same pan, so you'll 
need a good 10" or 12" nonstick pan that can also be used 
in the oven. I like Wearever nonstick pans - they cost $20
at Target, and they have a neat little handle on the far 
end of the pan (which makes the flipping part very easy).

4 large eggs
1.5 cups whole milk
1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium tart apples (I use Granny Smiths), peeled, cored,
                      and sliced
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together the eggs, milk, flour, and vanilla. Beat until
there are no lumps. Set aside.

In the pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the apple

Honey Orange Ricotta Cheesecake


This cheesecake may be made up to 2 days ahead.
Keep it covered in the refrigerator and garnish 1 hour
before serving.

1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal or graham-cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. canola oil

Cheesecake Filling
4 oz. reduced-fat (not nonfat) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp. orange-juice concentrate, thawed
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
1/4 tsp. salt

2 seedless oranges
2 Tbsp. honey
Mint sprigs