January 25th – Gnocchi Stew

Another chilly day in the north forty!  I have places to go and things to do today, but fortunately Dan is home today to take me where I need to go. 

Dan went shopping yesterday and picked up  gnocchi so we could make the stew I had originally planned for supper on Sunday.  Nothing like a pot of steamy, tasty, comfort food to get us through a frigid spell of Saskatchewan winter.

Browning the beef in seasoned flour…
Adding the vegetables Dan chopped – onions, garlic, red pepper, mushrooms, celery, carrots, and parsnip. Add beef broth and … Into the oven for an hour or so.
Add the gnocchi, more broth, and a can of Swiss Chalet beef gravyBack into the oven.
Add frozen peas..and back into the oven!
Ready to serve with fresh baked, buttery, Pillsbury crusty buns!

While I was cooking the stew, I made a rediculously obvious discovery about the new stove we bought a few weeks ago.  🙄

I don’t know how frequently most people replace their stoves, but we had our last one for twenty years ago.  Like this one, it was a Whirlpool, glass top, electric, self cleaning stove.   Over the past twenty years, Whirlpool has made a few notable changes.  Our new stove has no power outlet in the top control panel (which was so handy on our last stove since our kitchen is seriously  lacking power outlets!). Our new stove has a convection fan – which I love – especially for some things like cooking thick cut bacon.  And our new stove has a BIG oven. It takes away room from the drawer at the bottom of the stove but it is BIG! And big is always better – right?  Except that ever since we have gotten our new stove, I have struggled to get things in and out of the oven.  Especially big heavy things like Dutch ovens full of stew.  What the hell?

Yes it needs cleaning – 🙄

The salesman was so excited about the big, roomy oven!  What he didn’t mention (no doubt because it was so obvious) is that the big oven came with a BIG oven door. A door that anyone  five foot nothing would have issues reaching across to put things into or take things out of the oven. Like really?  Who do they design these big ovens for?  Nobody in my family for sure.  When it comes to size, I am kind of the pick of the litter.  My sisters can only dream of being five foot nothing.   😧

I just called my salesman and told him that this issue might be something to mention to other height challenged home makers. I also suggested that people should be encouraged to use the floor mounting bracket that comes with these stoves, as the bigger oven door does tend to make the stove less stable than our older one. Our salesman definitely agreed that these suggestions were noteworthy and would be passing them along to his co-workers. 🙂

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day!

January 10th – Saucy Butterscotch Pudding

We have lots of out and about this morning, starting with a trip to the vet for blood tests for Kat. She is scheduled for dental surgery next Monday so we have to do a bit of pre-work to make sure she is good to go.

Yesterday was a quiet day spent hunkered down through another frigid day. I puttered around and worked on my latest jigsaw puzzle. It is much easier than the last one.

Last night we enjoyed the second coming of our homemade beef soup for supper. Since that didn’t take a lot of my time or effort, I pulled out my trusty ‘New Purity Cookbook’ and whipped up a quick family favourite desert. It is relatively quick now. When I was baking with the assistance of three pre-schoolers, it was a serious time commitment. Even then, it was always worth it because it tastes amazing and it never failed to amaze the kiddos. Now that they are all in their forties it is a bit harder to amaze them, but I still think it is magical.

Batter in the greased pan
Sauce on top, cake on the bottom.
Ta da! Cake on top, sauce on the bottom!

It is time to get going, so that is it for today. Take care and have a great day!

Oops! Forgot the recipe. 🙄

January 9th – Smoked Beans

Our temperature isn’t rising yet, but at least the sun is shining this morning. It looks quite picturesque, sunshine sparking on the ice and snow. Fortunately, I can enjoy the sight from the warmth and comfort of my livingroom.

We are still focusing on warm comfort food to see us through this cold spell. Last night’s main dish was one that I acquired the recipe for back in the late ’70s. My ex and I were living in small town Saskatchewan – Mankota, to be precise. There was the bank where my ex worked, a post office, a hospital, and the Mankota Co-op food store. The local entertainment consisted of getting together for pot luck suppers. The company was okay and the food was usually pretty decent, as people tended to bring their best, tried and true dishes. Carol, the bank manager’s wife, brought smoked beans. It was always a hit and she was happy to share the recipe. Over the years it has become a family favourite, and the recipe has been shared repeatedly.

Browning the ground beef, onion, and red pepper
Supper is served! Smoked beans, garlic toast, and a generous side salad.
  • Smoked Beans
  • Brown one pound ground beef – drain well
  • Add one chopped medium onion and one chopped red pepper. Cook until onions are translucent
  • Add one teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Add five slices of chopped cooked bacon
  • Remove from heat
  • Add two fourteen ounce cans of brown beans
  • Add one nineteen ounce can of kidney or mixed beans (I used Blue Label Six Bean Medley)
  • Add 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • Add one tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Add 3/4 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • Stir well
  • Cover and cook in oven for 45 minutes at 325 degree

Note #1 – If you are not ready to serve supper in 45 minutes, turn the temperature down to 250 degrees and stir every half hour. As long as it is kept covered, it will be fine.

Note #2 – If you are feeding anyone who is allergic to seafood – skip the Worcester sauce or at least insure that your brand does not contain anchovies!! Many restaurants use it in a number of nonsea food dishes like baked beans and Caesar salad dressing.

That’s it for today! Take care and have a great day!

January 2nd – Shepherd’s Pie

Here we are, cruising right into 2022. Dan and I took down the tree and packed away all of the Christmas decorations yesterday.

With Dan home for a few days and nights, it would seem our critters have retired to the basement to hibernate, or whatever it is that critters do when they feel unwelcome. At any rate there is no sign of them upstairs or down for the past couple of days. We still have a multitude of electronic and sticky traps about the place. So far the only thing to get stuck on any of the sticky traps was one small hairy dog.

It was Mom’s fault – she left that thing right where I could step on it. 🙄

After the packing up and housecleaning and laundry was done last night, we decided on a quick and easy basic comfort food supper. Shepherd’s Pie it was.

Browning meat & vegetables
Ready for the oven
And… Ready to serve!
  • (Working Mom’s) Shepherd’s Pie
  • Brown one pound ground beef. Add one red onion, one shallot, two small cloves of finely chopped garlic, half a red pepper and a few sliced mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add one can of Swiss Chalet beef gravy. Stir and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Make four servings of Idahoan mashed potatoes as per instructions on box. When ready, mix in one quarter of a cup of grated cheddar cheese.
  • Spread meat mixture in buttered casserole dish
  • Cover with one can of niblets corn
  • Cover with mashed potatoes. Top with bits of butter and a sprinkle of paprika.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until browned and bubbly

I used to make Shepherd’s pie with fresh mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, but this is quicker and easier. If you served them side by side, people would notice the difference, but honestly if this is the only option, most people will think it is real deal.

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day!

Today is the first day of the best years of my life. 🌟