I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
Art PrintsArt Prints

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to make Oxtail Stew in a Slow-Cooker: Recipe

A comfort food that is great in the cold months is Oxtail Stew. This is a dinner that screams comfort like a toasty favorite cozy coat or a warm fire.
The little ox tails may look funny, but the meat is so tender and yummy. Cooking with crockpots and with meats like this is so forgiving. The choices of ingredients are basically whatever you have in your refrigerator. Some people use beans; I have seen eggplant, and potatoes. I usually do not use these, but your options are not limited. Also, if you do not have enough oxtails to cook an entire meal, you can add a mixture of meat like a pot-roast cut into pieces to this recipe.
 So what are these funny little guys, and how do you cook them?  
  • Beef oxtail  
  • White flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground Black pepper
  • Butter or olive oil
  • Favorite vegetables like: (sliced carrots, celery, cabbage, onions, leeks, green beans, tomatoes, bok choy, mushrooms, parsnips, turnips or you can use frozen bags of a mixture of vegetables.)
  • Red wine
  • Chicken or Vegetable stock (canned or in a resealable container by the soups).
  • Savory herbs (like 3  smashed garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, thyme, sage)
1.    Sprinkle white flour on both sides of the oxtail. Shake off excess. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper on each side of the oxtail. Set aside.
2.    Melt 1 Tbsp. butter for each oxtail in the frying pan. Place oxtails in frying pan. Brown on one side. Turn oxtails over with tongs and brown on the other side. Remove pan from heat.
3.    Place browned oxtails in a single layer on the bottom of the crock pot or a heavy baking pan.
4.    Add 1/2 cup per oxtail of your favorite vegetables. Do not stir.
5.    Add 1/2 tsp. of fresh herbs per oxtail of your favorite savory herbs (I use 1/2 tsp of thyme, 1/2 tsp of sage of fresh herbs from my garden. (If using dry herbs which are more potent, then cut the amount by one third: One teaspoon to One Tablespoon bc there are 3 Tsp in one Tbl); to the whole pot: a total of 3 garlic cloves, and 2 bayleaves--remove bayleaves before eating). Pour 1/2 cup per oxtail of red wine over the ingredients (about 2 C’s for 3 lbs. of oxtails). Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to barely cover the oxtails and vegetables (about 2 C’s for 3 lbs.).
Crock Pot Slow-Cooker Method
6.    Place lid on cooker. Turn on "Low" for 8 hours.
7.    Turn off cooker. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour. Separate the liquid from the solids and use a fat separator to remove the fat, or chill the cooking liquid for several hours so that the fat solidifies, making it easy to remove. If you are making ahead, at this point you can just put the stew in the refrigerator (let come to room temperature first), with the oxtails still in it, and let it chill overnight. The next day, scrape off the fat, reheat and then remove the meat from the dish.
8.    I pour the remaining liquid and vegetables through a strainer. This liquid is great stock! I prefer to throw away these overcooked tasteless vegetables away (however some cooks skip this next part of cooking new vegetables and keep these). I sauté’ all the desired new vegetables in the pan the meat was browned in. The juice and oil from the meat is very tasty. Once the onions are translucent (a few min’s), I add enough of the reserved stock to cover the vegetables, cover w lid until carrots, or turnips can be pierced w a fork). Add vegetables to the meat. You can pour the remaining stock in w the dish, or serve in a gravy boat, so your family can add as much broth as they like.
9.    If any of your vegetables of choice are leafy greens like: kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach or broccoli, you want them to be bright green, so throw in right before serving to not overcook them.
10. Remove from crock pot slow-cooker and serve with corn bread.
*Note a short cut to a fast meal in a bind: throw all your ingredients in a crockpot, meat on bottom, put on lid, turn on low, leave for the day and come home to a meal. This is not as delishious as the above, but it is a quick fix. ;o)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Cobbler & How to get Kid's to eat VeGGies: Recipe, Vegetables, Kid Friendly Meal.

Chicken Broccoli Cobbler &

How to get Kid's to: eat VeGGies?
I was making this recipe for football game day, & a friend wanted the recipe. So, here it is. It is a fun way to get kids who, would rather eat chips than vegetables, to consume some green stuff.
I garden and grow a good amount of broccoli. The question of what do we do with all of this broccoli occured to us last summer. So, this recipe was formed to answer that question.
Another question was how do we make vegetables more fun for kids?

Colored broccoli "trees" is a fun answer. Use a variety of these colors to make a dinner fun.;-)
Chicken Broccoli Cobbler
Prep: 15 min, cook 30 mins, makes 4 servings or about 7 individual pies.
¼ C melted butter
3 C’s (6 ½ oz.) cubed sourdough bread
½ C shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 C’s sm broccoli florets
3 C’s chopped cooked chicken
½ C drained chopped roasted bell pepper (or roast your own in a 450 degree oven until charred, rub skin off)
1 (10 0z’s ) of Alfredo sauce (I make ahead & refrig: Add to ¼ C melted butter—1C heavy cream, 1 clove crushed, minced fresh garlic, 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese, & ½ C freshly grated gruyere cheese, --whisk quickly, heating through. Stir in a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg on a microplane grater (small grater) & ¼C fresh chopped parsley) Or you can purchase pre-made at the grocery store.
½ C sour cream
2 Tbsp. dry sherry
1.       Preheat 400 degrees. Drizzle butter over bread cubes in a large bowl; sprinkle w cheese, and toss well.
2.       Combine broccoli & next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon filling into a lightly greased 2 qt rectangular or oval baking dish, or (what I do) individual baking dishes--(it is more fun this way!); top w bread cubes.
3.       Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 mins (20-25 min’s for individual cobblers) or until bubbly & top is toasted.

HoMe ReMeDies’ to treat WiNtEr HaiR: homemaker

HoMe ReMeDies’  to treat WiNtEr HaiR
I had my hair done at a new place, and asked for the summer blonde to be taken out. The result is a color I do not care for and hair in need of a good conditioning; so I have been researching in the hair care "on the cheap." My budget and husband are thanking me. Give these a try, they are all fabulous!
Why does the winter seem to dry out our hair?
The winter brings dry hair with its presence. Dry heat pumped into our homes equals’ dry hair. Hair hydrating conditioner treatments can become costly. Try these homemade conditioners straight out of you kitchen cabinets!
The HoNey HuMectanT:
Honey and molasses are both natural humectants, meaning they attract and hold on to moisture. They are also excellent ingredients to use in creating your own conditioning hair pack to help combat dry winter hair. (Yield: 4.5 ounces)
1/2 cup honey or molasses
1 tablespoon almond oil

4 drops of essential oil of lavender
Stir the honey and oil together until well mixed. Then apply the entire mixture to clean, damp hair and massage into your strands and scalp. Put on a shower cap or cover your hair with plastic wrap and leave the treatment on for 20 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual.
Luster YOGURT isn’t Just for Eating:   
This is a great conditioning hair mask for repairing dry, damaged hair especially during the winter months. It will help revive lackluster hair, from your scalp to the ends of your hair. (Yield: 5 ounces)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoon light olive oil
2 to 4 drops essential oil of peppermint
1 to 2 drops essential oil of rosemary
Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until you have a smooth paste. Apply the mixture to clean, damp hair and massage into your hair and scalp. Put on a shower cap or wrap your hair in an old towel and leave the mixture on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with warm water and style as usual.
AvOcAdos Anyone?

Avocados are rich in oil, protein, B vitamins and vitamin A, and they are super-hydrating to dry, damaged hair. They contain more protein than any other fruit, and their abundant natural oil will coat your hair and form a protective barrier, keeping your locks well hydrated, soft and flexible. (Yield: 2 ounces)
1 ripe avocado, mashed
2 tablespoons sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 drops of essential oil of lemon
Stir all of the ingredients together until you have a smooth paste, using a fork or blender. Apply the entire mixture to your head and massage it into your hair and scalp. Wrap hair in a warm towel or put on a shower cap and leave the treatment on for 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water, then shampoo as usual. 
The UltiMaTe RoYaL TreAtMenT:Use this conditioner once a week during the winter to keep your hair soft, radiant and flexible. It contains three natural oils that are effective in treating dry hair and easily found at your local grocery or natural food store. (Yield: 2 ounces) 
1 teaspoon almond oil
1 teaspoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon olive oil

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 drops of essential oil of lemon
Mix all the ingredients together and stir thoroughly. Massage into your hair and scalp. Wrap your hair in plastic wrap or use a shower cap and leave the conditioner on for 15 minutes. Shampoo your hair as usual and rinse well.
EggS Ain’t Just for Breakfast!
Using fresh eggs to nourish and condition your hair is a classic beauty treatment -- you may remember your grandmother doing this, it is a classic! The protein and lecithin contained in eggs keep your hair soft and smooth. (Yield: 3 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 drops of essential oil of lemon

Mix together all of the ingredients and stir well. Shampoo your hair as usual and massage the conditioner into your hair. Leave on for 1 to 2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water -- but not too hot or you could end up with bits of cooked egg in your hair! Follow with a cool rinse and style as usual.
Give these remedies a try and see if it adds some luster to your hair. Your budget is better used on a new pair of shoes anyway. ;-D