Things That Photograph Poorly

…but taste grrrrrreat!

That describes my evening of eats perfectly. Let’s face it, there are just some foods you can’t make look good no matter how hard you try. But let’s not discriminate against the ugly food! I know I don’t.

After a squat-filled cardio kickboxing session at the gym, I came home to the most wonderful smells of my mom’s homemade beef stew. Made the same way her mother made it.

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I’ll try and give you a recipe, but there really isn’t a proper one. Mom just “knows” what to put in, and it always turns out good.

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We always have dumplings with our stew. Now if only I could get mom to switch from all white flour to at least half whole wheat. Baby steps, right? 😉

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Mom’s Homemade Beef Stew with Dumplings

Serves 6 – 8 

  • 2 lbs round steak (or other lean cut – you can use stewing beef, but cut off as much fat as possible)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 large carrots, cut into thirds
  • 5 stalks celery, cut into sticks
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • water as needed

Dumplings

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk (+ more as needed)

1. Heat Dutch oven or electric frying pan to medium-high heat. Add beef, and brown on all sides. Add onions & garlic, fry for 30 sec – 1 min.

2. Add beef stock, and reduce heat to medium-low (or even low). Simmer for 2 hours. Watch your liquid levels – if it’s getting to dry, add some water.

3. Add potatoes and carrots, simmer 45 min.

4. Prepare dumplings: Mix all ingredients together until dough is very sticky, adding more milk as necessary (mom’s note – it is ALWAYS necessary).

5. Add celery to stew, the spoon dumpling dough on top. Make dumplings as large or small as you want.

6. Cook 10 min uncovered, then 10 min covered.

7. Serve & enjoy – it might not be pretty, but it sure does taste good

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Feel free to add any other vegetables or seasonings you want. Any root vegetable would work here. Green peas or mushrooms are also a nice addition, but don’t add them until you add the celery & dumplings or they will overcook. We added some mushrooms today at my request.

I then wasted a few hours of my life watching the train wreck that is the Canucks play hockey. Le sigh. They can’t lose all their games, right? Right?!

To drown my sorrows, and satisfy my nightly snack needs, I broke out something I picked up this afternoon.

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I went to the store to buy 4 things – frozen raspberries (on sale), hummus (on sale), milk (almost out), and mushrooms (for stew). Yeah…a few more things may have made their way into my basket, but only because they were also on sale. Like this Kashi cereal – Organic Cinnamon Harvest. Not only was it on sale, but there was a coupon for an additional $1 off. I totally grabbed some extra coupons as well. What, they don’t expire until the end of March! You know you would have done it too

I don’t know what made me choose this one in particular. Perhaps I was having a cinnamon craving? Regardless, you can’t beat the ingredient list.

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First I needed to taste test the product as is.

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Two thumbs up!   I was worried they would taste too “plain wheaty”, but the cinnamon flavour is excellent, and they have just a hint of sweetness. I can see this cereal making it’s way into regular rotation.

I spotted a lonely peach in the fruit bowl that needed to be eaten up, and thought it would pair nicely with my new cereal. When I cut up the peach, I found out quite a bit of it had started to go bad But I salvaged about 1/3 – good thing it was a big one!

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I mixed some of the cereal, the remaining peach chunks, and some unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze in a small bowl, then heated it in the microwave for about a minute. Again – something that photographs ugly, but tastes yummy.

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So my plans to get into bed by 11 pm failed miserably. Oh well, I’ll still get there before midnight! I have a big day tomorrow – my 4 hour afternoon class is going on a field trip. Where to, you may ask? You’ll just have to wait and find out. Night!

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Categories: Dinner, Recipe, Snack

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12 Comments on “Things That Photograph Poorly”

  1. October 6, 2009 at 4:02 am #

    I’m going to have to make beef stew this week… it’s such a favorite!

  2. October 6, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    Oh intriguing!

    The stew and dumplings sound/look fantastic! What a great thing to come home to.

  3. October 6, 2009 at 7:07 am #

    moms beef stew is always the best!!!! 🙂 i think it looks amazing

  4. October 6, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    That is my FAVE Kashi cereal!! SO glad we have it in Canada now.

    Your Mom’s stew looks stellar… 🙂

  5. October 6, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    i love that cereal!! 😀
    i have to try it with a peach. yum yum

  6. October 6, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I think I need to test out that cereal! Sorry about the game – they’ll get in their groove (just like the Winds, I hope)!!

  7. October 6, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    There are few things on earth more comforting to eat than homemade beef stew!!!

  8. October 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    To be honest, mushy cereal and oatmeal pictures still gross my boyfriend out although to me it’s beautiful! hahah So I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder!

    I would LOVE to try that cereal!!! I’ve walked by it several times, but think to myself – i’ve got a ton of cereal in my pantry….maybe next time. *sigh* Good for you for picking it up while it’s on sale!!! 🙂

  9. October 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    what a coincidence! i had stew with dumplings last night too. but mine was with veal and gluten free dumplings. otherwise, very similar! also a coincidence, i was supposed to go to a cardio kickboxing class last night but skipped it to watch gossip girl. hah

  10. October 6, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    i’ve had that cereal before and thought it was great! and yay for the coupons!!!

  11. October 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    Ooo that beef dish sounds so comforting, it looks like the crock pot beef my mom makes! I like the addition of celery as well 🙂

    Have fun on your field trip tomorrow!

  12. October 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Haha, yes I have discovered that some things just aren’t that pretty through the camera lens, like my oatmeal that turns gray when I add blueberries. Mmm cement.

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