A classic, delicious, homemade Beef and Vegetable Stew

Reposting for 2017 -

Even though I think of a hearty beef and vegetable stew as a 'winter' food, for some reason I really, really wanted to make this yesterday.  It worked out perfectly though as it's about 100 degrees out this week and I was able to put this in the slow cooker and forget about it while it cooked away on the countertop and didn't heat up my kitchen.  I also used my solar oven to bake a loaf of bread so our dinner last night was not only delicious and filling but it cooked without my help or using the stove or oven!

I did not have fresh carrots on hand - only about 1/4 cup leftover of the carrots I had dehydrated last month so that is why my photos don't show large, brightly colored carrot disks in them.  I also used my dehydrated sliced mushrooms and added them at the beginning of the cook time and we don't use corn very often in our home so I left that out.  Substitute as you need to or want to.

Beef and Vegetable Stew

3 c cubed, peeled potatoes
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, cubed
2 lb. steak or other beef, cubed or cut to about 1" pieces
2 T oil
3 T flour
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 c boiling water
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c ketchup
1 T prepared horseradish
1 T prepared mustard
1 T sugar
1 c peas
1 c corn
1 c fresh sliced mushrooms

Place the potatoes, carrots and onions in a slow cooker.  In a large skillet, brown the beef in oil.  Lay on the vegetables in the slow cooker.  Sprinkle with flour.  In a bowl, dissolve the bouillon cubes in the water and stir in the vinegar, ketchup, horseradish, mustard and sugar.  Pour over meat in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high about 5 hours.  Add the peas and corn and mushrooms.  Cook an additional 45 minutes.  Makes about 5-6 servings.

Related products available at Amazon;

Crock-Pot Casserole Crock Slow Cooker, 3.5-Quart, Perfect Plum
Zatarain's Prepared Horseradish 5.25 Oz
Crock-Pot  3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker


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Oh Henry Oatmeal Bars (and a sugar free option too!)

O' Henry Bars.  These hold a special place in my little ol' childhood heart.  We didn't eat many sweets in our home but at church events or at school functions where there was punch and cookies after, I would search the cookie table for two treats;  pumpkin bars and O'Henry Bars!  It was like a mini Christmas.   I could never make these myself as a young little cook as we only had 1 'recipe box' of hand written index cards and 1 cookbook; a Fanny Farmer cookbook given to my Mother at a bridal shower in 1968.  It had neither recipe of course.

As an adult I'm thrilled for the availability of millions of recipes at our fingertips through cookbooks, magazines, websites, smart phone apps and more.  But even with all these fabulous recipes at my fingertips, my family's favorite, number one, all time 'bar' is O' Henry Bars.

This week I made them but I made 2 batches.  One regular, the way Grandma made them and a second, half batch in which I used natural sugar substitutes.  I used Ideal Brown Sugar and Just Like Sugar as it is what I had on hand.  We also have natural peanut butter on hand that is only 3 grams sugar and the chocolate chips I used were Hershey's Sugar Free.  They turned out wonderful!  Links will be available at the bottom of the post.

O' Henry Bars

2/3 c butter, soft but not melted
1 c brown sugar or Brown Sweetener:  by Just Like Sugar
4 c oatmeal
1/2 c corn syrup or sugar substitute w/ just enough water to make it thick
2 t vanilla
pinch salt
1 c chocolate chips or sugar free chocolate chips
2/3 c peanut butter

Mix the soft butter with the brown sugar with a spoon.  When incorporated, add the oatmeal, corn syrup, vanilla and salt.  Press into a lightly sprayed or greased baking pan of your choice.  9X13 is a great size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (less for a really dark pan).  Cool.  Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Spread on bars.  Chill or let set until the chocolate sets up.  I like to store in the refrigerator to keep the chocolate nice and firm as we currently live in the deep (hot and humid) South! 

You might be interested in some of the products I used to make the bars in the photo above;

***NOTE:  Ideal stopped making their brown sugar version (which is sad because it was the BEST brown sugar version on the market.  Try this one instead:  Brown Sweetener:  by Just Like Sugar

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A classic homemade bread, roll and hamburger bun recipe! Hamburger Buns

Homemade buns are much more filling than the 'mostly air' store bought versions.  Men that normally eat 2 or 3 burgers on a store bought bun can usually only eat 1 or 2 on a 'real' bun as they are more substantial, but I also love that they don't include all the preservatives and chemicals a packaged version does.

This recipe is a very basic, classic, white dough recipe.  Use it for 2 loaves of bread, one bread braid, 2 or 3 french loaves or of course, buns!

Classic White Dough

12 oz. warm water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 c unbleached bread flour (or use all purpose if that is what you already have)
2 T dry milk powder
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t yeast, dry

Either place this in a bread machine (in the order your machine requires) and run on the dough setting or place into a large KitchenAid style mixer with a bread dough hook and knead/mix for up to 10 minutes.  I used the electric mixer and placed the water, salt, sugar and yeast in first;  let it set and proof for about 2 minutes and then added the butter, dry milk and flour.    Let your dough set for about 10 minutes after kneading to rest.  Remove the dough from the machine or the mixer bowl.  Divide it in half.  Then each half into half.  Then each of those halves into half.  This is how you will get fairly equal sized balls.  If making rolls to go with a meal divide them until you have golf ball sized balls.  If using for hamburger buns, stop dividing the dough when they are double that size so they will be large enough for the hamburger patties.  Roll and flatten a tiny bit in your floured hands and place on greased or parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 375F for approximately 15 minutes but this can be up to 22 minutes depending on the size buns you make, the thickness of your baking sheet and your oven.  When they are golden brown remove them, brush the tops with butter for a softer bun and let cool to warm to serve as rolls or cool completely and serve as hamburger buns.

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