Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beef Noodle Soup

The other day I was planning on making beef stew, but realized I was out of potatoes. No problem. Instead, I made Beef Noodle Soup.

First chop up a large onion...

Along with 3 cloves of garlic, and 1 lb or so of stew meat (round steaks are good.) Beef pieces should be in about 3/4 inch.

Heat about 2 Tb oil in your dutch oven, and brown your beef.

You want your pot fairly hot, and let it get good and brown.
Add in the onion and garlic.

Let it cook until the onion and garlic are soft and slightly browned.

Now add in about 2/3 c cooking wine (red or white...whichever you prefer)

Now add in about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of your favorite "soup" veggies. Today I am using some chopped carrots...

and some left-over peas from the night before. Why waste?

Pour in one of these...

...along with 2 cups of water.

Now the herbs....

I added 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp parsley, 2 sprigs (about 1 tsp) thyme, and some salt & pepper.

Bring it all to a boil, reduce to a low-medium heat. Cover and let it simmer about 35-45 minutes.

Next I added these adorable little things.

About a cup.

(but your favorite little noodle will work)

I also added 1 Tb of Worcestershire sauce.

Let it cook about 10 minutes.

If you want it thicker, use a little cornstarch & water.

We ate this with my "dangerous cheddar biscuits" (winning biscuit recipe with 1 1/2 c grated cheddar mixed in.) and topped with some grated parmesan cheese.



Printable Version:

Beef Noodle Soup

1 lb stew meat
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 Tb oil (evoo)
2/3 c cooking wine
1 quart beef broth
2 c water
2 1/2 - 3 c chopped veggies
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Parsley
3 Bay leaves
1 tsp fresh (or 1/2 tsp dry, ground) Thyme
Salt & Pepper
1 c your favorite little noodles
1 Tb Worcestershire Sauce

Heat oil in Dutch Oven. Brown meat well on all sides. Add onion and garlic. Cook until soft and slightly browned. Stir in cooking wine. Add beef broth & water. Stir in herbs, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 35-45 minutes. Add noodles and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 10 minutes more. Thicken with cornstarch & water if desired.

Serve with Parmesan if you wish.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I like to use organic ingredients around here. I do so as much as possible, but one thing I can never seem to find, is organic Ricotta cheese.

So I make my own!

This is so unbelievably easy, and is about as fresh as you can get! I love the buttery, creamy smell this sends around the kitchen.

You need:
1 Quart whole milk
1 cup Half and Half
pinch salt
2 Tb lemon juice

First, take a large colander and set it in a larger bowl. Line the colander with a double layer of damp paper towel, or cheese cloth.

Now, in a stainless steel, or enameled saucepan, bring the milk, half and half,and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

As soon as it comes to a nice boil, remove from heat immediately - you know how milk likes to boil over! Stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will immediately begin to form curds. If it doesn't form after a half a minute or so, add another teaspoon of lemon juice.

(I know these are hard to see, but what can I say? Milk is white!)

Pour the mixture into the colander, and let it drain 15 - 30 minutes, depending on how dry you want it.

This recipe will make approximately 1 *full* cup of Ricotta cheese. You can easily double it as well.

Use it right away, or put it in the fridge, covered to be used the next day.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Home-made Laundry Soap

This is the laundry soap I make. It is extremely economical, as a batch only costs somewhere around $1.50 to make, and last our family of 5, 2 months! That is only 75 cents a month! Does your laundry soap/detergent give you a month's worth of washes for 75 cents?

I have seen this recipe all over the internet, some with slight variations, many just the same. One of the most common variations, is where the person adds some essential oil to give it a scent. But seriously, essential oils can be VERY pricey, and that kind of defeats the purpose of the economy factor in my book. I have been using this for a few years now, and am very happy with it.

To start, you will need a 5 gallon bucket (nothing fancy, recycled/reused is fine! Just start with a clean one.)

Then you will need....

1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
2/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha soap, or 2 bars of Ivory soap.

Grate the soap into an old pot.

Add about 8 cups or so of water, and put the pot on the stove.

Heat the pot with medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the soap dissolves.

Add in the Borax and Washing Soda

Continue to heat and stir until the additional ingredients are dissolved. DO NOT let this come to a boil!!! If it boils over, you will have a HUGE mess! Just be patient, and use the low/medium heat.

Pour mixture into the bucket, and gradually add enough water until the mixture comes to about 4 inches from the top of the bucket. Stir it up well, and then put a lid on it and leave it alone. After a day or so, you will have a thick jelly substance.

Use it just like you would any other detergent. I use 1/2 to 1 cup per load, depending on how dirty the wash is, but usually around 1/2 cup.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Feathered Alarm Clock

This morning I was awoken by a rap-tap-tapping on my bedroom window. That was a strange thing to wake up to! I rushed to the window, and looked through the blinds, and couldn't find what had made the noise. I assumed it was a woodpecker. Odd.

So I got up, and later told my daughter about it. She then told me about a yellow bird that had been trying to fly through the living room window yesterday. Silly bird!

So a little while ago, I heard "thump! thump! thump!" coming from my bedroom. I walked in there to see what was making the noise, and there again was a yellow bird flying around the window, trying to get in! After it fluttered around for a few seconds, it grabbed onto the screen and sat there looking at me. Finally it flew away.

A few minutes later, it was back, flying outside of the living room window, then up into the tree.

I grabbed my camera, and looked out the window. It isn't the greatest of photos, but I was taking it through the window with blinds on it.

Introducing the "Tropical Kingbird" (Tyrannus melancholicus) I had actually never seen one of these before, and it took some searching to find out what it was.

Also known as my feathered alarm clock.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mmm Mmmm Good! - Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip

This recipe has moved. You can find it --> HERE

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The view this morning.  A nice toasty 2 degrees :-)