Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gingersnap Beef Stew

This recipe was originally supposed to be a slow cooker version of Gingersnap Pot Roast. I didn't have the time to make a whole pot roast (or the mouths to feed all that food!) so I pared it down into a simple beef stew.

Now, you may be as confused as I was when I read Gingersnap? In a beef stew? Trust me, its good. It's really good. This stew is perfect around this time of year when we get into all those spices in cookies and cakes and now, beef stew. The gingersnaps give it a nice light ginger flavor and adds a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the beef.

This stew has lots of veggies, from carrots to onions to parsnips to sweet potatoes, and cooks in about an hour. It is perfect for any weekend at home where you just want something comforting but easy. Want to make it even more luxurious? Serve it over some fresh mashed potatoes for a nice bite of heaven!

Gingersnap Beef Stew

Recipe by Rachel Vdolek

An easy winter beef stew with gingersnap cookies.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


 1 lb  cubed beef stew meat
2 c. beef stock
5 gingersnap cookies
2 tbsp red wine
yellow onion, cut into 1/2" wedges
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
carrots, peeled and cubed
parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cooking Directions:          

            In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Brown stew meat in batches, if necessary. Remove from pan. Add in onions, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant, then add in meat, stock, wine, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Add water until veggies and meat are covered. Put cookies in a food processor and process until they are like bread crumbs. Add to stew, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until stew meat is tender.

Serve with crunchy bread or over mashed potatoes.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Pineapple Cantaloupe Strawberry Smoothie (Dairy Free)

Wow, its almost Christmas. Can you believe it? I can't! This year has just flown by and I want it to slow down!

My parents had their annual Christmas party last week and I was the lucky winner of all the fruit leftovers, plus some delicious meatballs. Yay! The fruit was going south quickly and there was so much of it that I couldn't eat it all in one sitting. So what did I do? I made a smoothie!

This smoothie was so good and creamy that I drank it all, even though it really is enough for 2 servings. The trick to getting it really creamy without using any dairy is to use a frozen banana. I always end up with that one last banana that is too ripe for my taste, so I pop it in the freezer to either make banana bread or smoothies with them. I've even seen people use frozen bananas as a base for ice cream!

Give this smoothie a try for breakfast! It's sweet without any added sugar and will give you a wonderful start to your day.

Pineapple Cantaloupe Strawberry Smoothie
Makes 2 drinks

1 c. pineapple pieces
1/3 c. cantaloupe pieces
about 12 strawberries, hulled
1 frozen banana, peeled and cut in half
1 c. orange juice

In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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