Monday, January 16, 2012


I was Costco shopping with a friend today, and we got to discussing food, of course. What else do you discuss at a LARGE food store? Well, we talked about all sorts of stuff, but basically food. We're both law students, in our last semester (finally!), and we both miss cooking. She was saying she wants to cook more, but doesn't have a lot of good recipes. She also got a crock pot for Christmas, and wanted something to do with that, too. So, of course, being a former full-time mom/ cook/ bottle washer, I started rattling off some favorite recipes. It kind of freaks people out when I do that - I have so many of them memorized - but then I explain that I've been cooking since I was 13, which explains the memorization. I'm almost 50. That's a lot of cooking. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to share some of the favorites I gave my friend. I've already posted the family's mac & cheese recipe - here - and my summer veggies recipe - here - and my favorite Greek Chicken - here - so I'm going to add some different ones: Spaghetti Sauce and Crockpot Beef Stew.

Crockpot Beef Stew:

2 lb. (ish) beef chuck roast, cut into approx. 1" cubes
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can (Campbell's soup size) beef consomme' or beef stock
1 onion, sliced long ways
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 to 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2" pieces (can be cooked separately and added toward the end)

Put onions on bottom of crock pot, then add beef. Mix soup mix with consomme' and pour over the top. Add garlic. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours; low for 8 hours. If adding potatoes, put them on top of the beef.

Optional: add 1/2 cup barley and add a soup can of water. If you want veggies, hard ones work best - like carrots - add them in the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

Spaghetti Sauce:

1 - 28 oz. can Italian whole peeled tomatoes, or diced tomatoes. Try to get the ones without basil
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste (small one)
2-ish Tbsp. oregano
1 onion, diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until soft; add garlic and cook about a minute more. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, and oregano - I cover the top of a 12" frying pan with oregano. Cover and cook on low (just bubbling) about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta, use with baked fusilli, whatever.

Baked ziti: Use 1 to 1 1/2 cup sauce (eyeball it - if it's too dry, add more), 1 lb. pasta, cooked half the time on the box, add 1/2 to 1 cup shredded parmesan to the sauce, bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Sausage and Peppers: cook whole sausages in fry pan; remove and cool; cook onion and 1 diced green pepper; add garlic, add tomato sauce makings and sausage, cut into 1" slices. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Serve over chunky pasta - rotini, fusilli, something like that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Daybook entry for January


Outside my window... it's sunny but COLD. And quiet - it's too cold for the children at the school down the street to play outside, so no shouts and laughter today.

I am thinking... deeply about my life and my happiness. Specifically, about how to eliminate the stress that I can eliminate from my life.

I am thankful... for warm clothes, somewhere to live, plenty of food to eat, something interesting to do.

In the kitchen... my coffee maker is cooling down - I just turned it off. Salmon is thawing for dinner. Butter for making cookies is softening on the counter.

I am wearing... yoga pants, tshirt, wool socks, wool sweater - comfy clothes for a day off.

I am creating... knitted blocks for an afghan to give as a gift next Christmas, a scarf for the same reason, a shawl for myself... I always have quite a few things on the needles.

I am going... for a walk in a little while.

I am wondering... how the homeless people around Boston Common will keep warm tonight in the nasty cold weather.

I am reading... another romance novel from the library, on my Kindle. My break from law reading, although that's coming up soon, too.

I am hoping... I can stick to my resolution to get my weight under control this year. I'm so bad with resolutions...

I am looking forward to... starting my internship next Monday

I am learning... in a larger sense, how to practice law. In a smaller sense, to exercise more patience.

Around the house... Christmas decorations are still up - until the 6th, as always. The cat is sleeping on my bed, the sun is shining through the windows, and all is quiet.

I am pondering... my future. As usual.

A favorite quote for today... "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.

One of my favorite things... is my knitting! (*Are* my knitting? I have so many projects...)

A few plans for the rest of the week: checkup with my doctor on Thursday, knit night with dear friends Thursday night, possibly a gathering with friends on Saturday.

A peek into my day... knitting, walking, napping, watching TV.

I love clouds. They just fascinate me.

From the simple woman's daybook