My American Kitchen: Super Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

The weather here is still very cold, snowy and wintry – so naturally, something hearty, warming and tasty was going to be on the menu this week. Hubby had been wanting a beef stew, and we looked for something we would both like (he is a very picky eater) but did not find anything – so I created my own recipe! The end result was really scrummy (and super easy) so I am delighted to share what has been going on in my American kitchen … enjoy!

beef stew recipe graphic

Ingredients (serves 4):

2 medium carrots, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks

4 small potatoes, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks

1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch chunks

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp dried rosemary

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 lb of lean beef, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 packet of ready to serve beef gravy (about 180z/518g)

carrot, potato, onion chunks covered in the rosemary, salt & garlic

carrot, potato & onion chunks covered in the rosemary, salt & garlic

Directions:

Peel and cut the carrots, potatoes and onion into 1 inch chunks – place in slow cooker then add the minced garlic, dried rosemary, salt and flour

Cut your beef into 1 inch chunks and put in the slow cooker (I used the leanest beef available – ask your local butcher what they would recommend)

the vegetable chunks, rosemary, garlic, flour & beef

the vegetable chunks, rosemary, garlic, flour & beef

Pour the ready to serve gravy over the vegetable and beef chunks and mix all together

Put the slow cooker lid on and cook on high for 4 hours then on low/warm for 3o minutes

Be sure to stir occassionally throughout the cooking time and check for any excess fat that you can skim off if you use a fattier type of beef  – add another tbsp of flour in the last 30 minutes of cooking if you think it needs thickening

Check that the beef and vegetables are cooked through – then enjoy

This can be served with whatever you like – maybe some green beans, vegetable mash (like swede/rutabaga) or buttermilk biscuits/scones

beef stew recipe 3

What do you think? If you have a go at this recipe, let me know how it turns out!

Life Lately | A Quote from Spock

For a closer look, click on the photographs below.

spock friend quote

Life Lately has been saddened by the news of the death of Leonard Nimoy. I am quite the sci-fi chick and have adored much of the genre, which was largely started with the Star Trek series and Dr. Who.

Like with anyone when they are no longer with us, you begin to fully grasp the impact that they had on you or the wider modern day cultural community. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nimoy and decided to share one of my favourite Spock quotes (from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) – feel free to pin it, share it or download it, and to all those of you reading this … Live long and prospser!

What have you been up to lately?

 

OneDad3Girls

Brando Does Indeed Have Eyebrows & Other Funny Search Term Referals

brando eyebrow graphic

I have previously written about what people have typed into various search engines and then got directed to my blog (to read those heartfelt, hilarious and downright odd things, you can click here and here).

The latest list contains mainly sensible searches (there was a lot of people looking for advice about moving to America, going through the visa process and surviving a long distance relationship) and a few ones that left me scratching my head … have a read of them below and let me know your thoughts:

marlon brando eyebrows  ||  I actually have a very long standing, deep love for Marlon Brando (and his eyebrows) so whilst this does not immediately make sense … I like it. Or if you are looking for confirmation that he has them, I can say with unequivocal authority that he definitely does indeed have eyebrows.

Marlon Brando's eyebrows, like him, are seriously beautiful (original image source)

Marlon Brando’s eyebrows, like him, are seriously beautiful (original image source)

 

sadness is hubby give me chocolate  ||  I am guessing this is a typo as sadness could not possibly be related in any way to a Hubby giving chocolate. Chocolate giving is always happy. Always.

i am waiting for coffee  ||  Me too. Make mine a skinny cappuccino.

art representing life  ||  Not sure why this term would have directed someone to my blog … but I will take it … and ponder on it whilst crossing my arms and stroking my chin and raising one eyebrow.

Not sure if this is what they were looking for, but here is me representing some art ... or life ... or something

Not sure if this is what they were looking for, but here is me representing some art … or life … or something

 

what three things would you bring to a desert island?  ||  Sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen – natural redhead, people!

coffee caramel sauce  ||  Go on. You have my full attention you caramelly, saucy, coffee thing you …

relocating from america to cornwall  ||  Do it. Go to Penzance – it is awesome (totally not biased or anything)!

What search terms have people used to end up at your blog or website? Have you ever typed in something and been directed to a site that left you confused as to why you are there? Have you ever typed in anything really embarrassing and ended up in a bit of trouble?

How Not To Be An Annoying Hotel Guest

Recently I had a stay at a local hotel because the heating decided to die and the temperatures here were at a record freeze (yay). It was a very pleasant stay with regards to the hotel itself and the staff … but there were a few things that made the stay a little less enjoyable – or to be specific – a few other hotel guests who made it less enjoyable.

hotel guest graphic
With that in mind, I have created this list of good hotel etiquette to get the moaning about inconsiderate people off my chest so I can concentrate on sorting the flood occurring in my bathroom (yes, the house woes continue).

Have you ever experienced a stay in a hotel that was made less relaxing by other guests? Share your experiences in the comments below – go on, let it all out!

1. Everything you say in the corridor at night can be heard, so please do not stand around having a loud conversation whilst other people are trying to sleep. Thank you.

2. Whilst young children are understandably excited about being in a hotel, getting them to stop jumping off the beds and onto the floor at night with reverberating loud thuds would be greatly appreciated.

After all ... we all want a good nights sleep

After all … we all want a good nights sleep

3. The room doors are heavy for good reason (fire safety first, people) but knowing that they slam shut behind you should be duly noted, and when people are trying to sleep, it would be a nice idea to make sure you do not let them slam behind you at all hours.

4. Please refrain from farting in the elevator. Enough said.

5. More fresh coffee will be brewed and you will get one more. You do not need to obsessively guard the last dregs of dark roast. If in doubt, you can ask for more.

Got anything else you would add to the hotel guest etiquette list?

Life Lately | Freezing my Brits Off

For a closer look, click on the photographs below.

life through a lens

Life Lately has been rather stressful … during record cold temperatures for this time of year, our furnace decided to break (which always makes me think of a giant brick fireplace with bellows … just me? … ok). This meant we had little to no heating at all – meaning I was busy co-ordinating repairs and trying to stop my fingers and toes from snapping off (hence the reason I have not been on my little blog for a week). The inside of our house became akin to an ice palace and was impossible to stay in. We had to go to a hotel and turn off our furnace as it started to smoke profusely … this then made the pipes freeze.

The water I used to soak a pan in had frozen

The water I used to soak a pan in had frozen

 

Me staying warm indoors by wearing full winter gear

Me staying warm indoors by wearing full winter gear

Luckily all has been fixed and we are all cosy again, but it got so cold, the water I used to soak a cooking pan in had frozen  … shampoo became a solid block of ice crystals and my facial wipes resembled a rock-hard brick. It. Was. Cold!

This Red Cardinal cheered me up during the cold

This Red Cardinal cheered me up during the cold

What have you been up to lately – keeping warm, I hope?

 

OneDad3Girls

Life Lately | Kitchen Creations

For a closer look, click on the photographs below.

life through a lens

Life Lately has mainly involved keeping warm as some (possibly record breaking) cold temperatures are heading our way over the weekend. Predictions are for a some serious windchill that will bring with it -35°. Brrrrrr!

What has helped keep me warm is creating / trying out some recipes. I am still tweaking them to get them right, but I have been working on an aubergine (eggplant) dish and some lower fat chocolate treats for Valentine’s Day.

What have you been up to lately?

 

OneDad3Girls

Can You Have a Healthy Diet in the U.S.?

healthy eating graphic

Eating junk food in America is incredibly easy. It is literally everywhere (at least where I live) and is relatively cheap to buy and fill up on … in fact, Toledo is often the place where major food chains test out new items to see if they are popular and can then be rolled out nationwide. Trust me when I say that the food mash-ups to keep the customer’s interest and the new ideas can sometimes be truly hideous – think more cheese/fat or stuffing a food with another type of food and then deep frying it, and you will get the idea!

potato display
So you would think that eating a healthy diet is pretty hard out here, and up until about a year ago I would have agreed with you. Recently, however, there has been a real movement towards promoting healthier alternatives like reducing sodium, using no hormones, no steroids, no preservatives, or no artificial flavours. I certainly have noticed a real change in what is available on the grocery store shelves, and even in adverts on television, that promote a more natural whole food approach and the ethical treatment of animals within food production.

fresh produce
There are entire food stores dedicated to only selling food that is as close to farm fresh as you can get and has not had anything added to it / taken out of it. Most surprising to me was the shift in your average grocery store (the ones that do not specialise in whole or natural food) that are now stocking a much larger variety of healthy / organic / whole foods. Hubby and I have seen a huge improvement in the amount of shelf / aisle space dedicated to good wholesome food in our local stores – all of which has helped us lose over 30lbs between the two of us just by simply substituting certain foods for the natural or healthier options. We still eat the ‘bad’ stuff, we are just finding it easier to eat much less of it as there are many more alternatives to go to than there was before.

Do you think there is a real change in the way we all are looking at our food and what goes in to it? Do you have a favourite healthy alternative that you use in your daily life? I would love to hear your thoughts about this!

Seychelles Mama
Expat Life with a Double Buggy

My American Kitchen: Slow Cooker Chicken Nachos

This is an adaptation of the Salsa Chicken recipe I previously posted. It is very similar but goes in the crock pot (slow cooker) to make a fabulous topping for nachos. I hoped it would turn out well … and believe me, it did. It is delicious and will become a regular in my house!

slow cooker chicken nacho graphic

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 tbs olive oil or veg oil – and a little extra to coat the crock pot

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 packet taco seasoning (I used a reduced/low sodium variety)

2 cups salsa

shredded cheese to serve

sour cream to serve

Mixing the oil & seasoning then marinating the chicken

Mixing the oil & seasoning then marinating the chicken

Directions:

Mix together the oil and ½ the taco seasoning in a container (preferably with a lid) that is big enough to contain the chicken breasts

Coat the chicken with the oil/seasoning mix on both sides and leave covered in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour (I actually marinated mine overnight)

Chicken breasts in the crock pot & covered with the salsa

Chicken breasts in the crock pot & covered with the salsa

Coat the inside of the crock pot (slow cooker) with a little oil then put in the marinated chicken breasts

Cover the chicken with the salsa

Bake on low for 3 hours or until the chicken comes apart easily

Remove chicken using a strainer (there will be quite a bit of water once cooked) and place in a large bowl to then pull apart with a fork

Chicken removed from crock pot & then pulled apart

Chicken removed from crock pot & then pulled apart

Sprinke the rest of the taco seasoning packet onto the chicken and mix through

Serve on top of some nachos, sprinkle with cheese and mircowave or bake in the oven on a medium heat until the cheese has melted

Dollop sour cream on the top and enjoy!

chicken nacho recipe 4

chicken nacho recipe 5

What do you think? If you have a go at this recipe, let me know how it turns out!

Life Lately | Nachos & Icicles

For a closer look, click on the photographs below.

life through a lens

Life Lately has involved a lot of snow (as you may have seen from the previous post as well as the photograph above) and some seriously impressive icicles … plus a little work in the kitchen figuring out an adaptation of a recent recipe I posted for Salsa Chicken to cook it in a crock pot (slow cooker) to make chicken nachos – it will be on the blog soon!

What have you been up to lately?

OneDad3Girls

Winter in Ohio

Just thought I would share some of the photographs I have been taking of the recent snow … It looks rather picturesque, but it does make life a bit difficult as we have had to dig out Bessie our car, and she is not so good at coping with the ice or mush left after the salt trucks and ploughs have been down our road (cue me throwing cat litter in the driveway and sticking cardboard under the wheels to help Hubs get her home … eek)!

What has the weather been like where you are?

Click on the photographs for a closer look …

winter in ohio 1

A snowy street view

 

winter in ohio 2

Snow topped bushes

 

winter in ohio 4

A monster icicle from the side of our house

 

winter in ohio 5

Bird tracks in the snow

 

winter in ohio 6

Mounds of snow