Comfort Food: Savory Lamb Stew

With rich, sweet, and fattening foods of the holiday season at every turn the last couple of weeks, I thought it was a great time for something comforting, warm and cozy for supper as the holiday season winds down (and a cold front heads in), so I prepared a huge pot of lamb stew.

Soups and stews are such versatile dishes to make and serve. You can make them as simple or as elaborate as you desire; use them as a first course or the main course for dinner any time of year.

Stews are also a very easy dish to make, although time consuming, and you can even change up what meats you use if you desire. This recipe would be particularly delicious with venison and also beef, but lamb is by far our favorite.  It’s a very tender and flavorful meat!

 

Savory Lamb Stew

You’ll need an oven-proof pot for making the stew.  I highly recommend a cast iron or enamel-coated dutch oven.  For our stew I used 3 pounds of lamb, cubed which makes a fairly large pot. I like for stews and soups to last more than one meal, so I always make a huge pot!

Besides, stew always tastes even better the second day so go ahead and make that big pot!

Other ingredients you’ll need include potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic, red wine, beef stock, a little flour as well as salt & pepper. Very basic ingredients that most of us keep on hand.

Y’all, I’m really bad about not measuring ingredients, so when you look at the full recipe I totally guessed on how much veggies you need.  Thankfully this recipe is really easy to adapt for your family.

Always be open to to adaption when you are in the kitchen.

I used a 10-quart enameled cast iron pot made by Lodge to prepare the recipe from start to finish.

{One pot!  Who doesn’t love that?!}

You begin making the stew by swiping your chopped lamb pieces  through flour then cooking in bacon grease or olive oil. I used the grease from one full pound of bacon (save the bacon for salad topper or make a yummy BLT sandwich while the stew simmers) for cooking my stew meat. Once all the stew meat is browned, remove from the pot and pour 1 1/2 cups red wine into your pot, scrapping to deglaze it.  Scraping the bits of browned lamb will keep them from scorching while it all cooks and of course you want that flavor!

Once deglazed return the meat to the pot and add the potatoes, carrots, onion, & garlic to the pot. This isn’t on the printable version of the recipe, but if you like garlic, add dried garlic flakes to your stew as well! Just a small way to elevate the flavor.

Pour beef stock over it until everything is completely covered. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven at 375° and simmer for 1.5  to 2 hours.

Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty French bread. Turn on some contemporaty jazz (FYI, Harry Connick, Jr. has a new album), enjoy a quiet and cozy night in, around the table with this savory stew and your family.

For the full printable recipe, click Savory Lamb Stew

Wishing you all a quiet and peaceful New Years Eve with a New Year full of blessings!

Goat Cheese Truffles

It’s holiday party time and it seem everyone is having one from work to the neighbors, and then it’ll be time for family Christmas… or three!

With all our get-togethers generally comes the invitation to bring a dish or an appetizer. Today I’m sharing this super easy goat cheese truffle that you can whip up, dress up, and introduce an oft forgotten soft cheese to your friends and family for a unique flavor.

I didn’t come up with this recipe on my own. It’s from one of those videos that circulates Facebook (not even sure where it originated from) where you watch it once and can never find it again, so you spend a couple of days trying to remember the ingredients, waste a few ingredients, and then hope for the best when you finally decide to serve it.

{BTW, If you know the originator of the recipe, let me know!!}

 Since these were all eaten when I made them I’m assuming I did ok guessing ingredients and measurements.

These truffles are easy to make, quite flavorful and really pretty when displayed on an appetizer table. If you love cheese and all its delicious varieties that are out there, this is perfect!

 

The shopping list for this recipe is easy:  cream cheese, goat cheese, cinnamon, honey, pecans, Craisins, and parsley. You can purchase the pecans and parsley already chopped if you want, so that makes it even easier!

I used eight ounces of cream cheese and six ounces of goat cheese. This combination can be played with depending on how strong you want the truffles. Goat cheese is delicious, but very strong. With both being soft cheeses they mixed smoothly together. After blending the two cheeses I mixed in the honey, some of the pecan pieces, and cinnamon.

After combining the cheese mixture, the truffles need coating. To do this I used wax paper and combined the leftover pecans, minced parsley and craisins in a pile on the paper.  Roll the cheese mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll in the pecan mix you made to coat.  Do this until all the cheese has been rolled into a finished truffle.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Set a jar of honey out for guests to drizzle on their truffles as they are served.

 

For the full and printable recipe, click Goat Cheese Truffles .

 

Happy Wednesday y’all!  Just one week until Christmas!

 

Putting Together an Easy Thanksgiving Celebration

The final countdown to Thanksgiving has arrived; we’re down to just six days! This is our second Thanksgiving celebration this year as we enjoyed a feast of fine proportions last month when our Marine was home on leave. I’m very much looking forward to doing it all again and seeing my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews!

I don’t know how your plans are going, but there have been a flurry of text messages between my sisters, momma and myself as we finalize the menu and plans for Thursday. Momma has already decided we are using her Blue Willow on the table which is by far her favorite china.

We seem to stress too much over holiday celebrations, so today I thought it would be timely to share some ideas for a gathering that’s relaxed and lively as we celebrate the end of the autumn season from harvest fruits scattered across the table to organizing your time so you enjoy the relaxed feeling Thanksgiving Day should truly have!

Putting Together an Easy Thanksgiving Celebration / ohfiddledeedee.com

THE TABLETOP:

Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest, so besides cooking with autumn’s bounty, decorate the table with it too! Lay a tablecloth or placemats out that coordinates with your dishes, then add pumpkins, leaves, dried Indian corn. Grocery store flowers really add to the festive atmosphere of the day and won’t cost you a lot of money. Round off your centerpiece with candles. Seriously, who doesn’t love candlelight?! Besides keeping the decor seasonal and simple, you can set the table (or tables) a couple of days in advance and have that knocked off your to-do list!

If you desire to use paper plates, by all means set them out! If you prefer china, use it! Here in our home I have a set of Thanksgiving china that adorns the table every year. They are mostly white and neutral in color which allows me to coordinate with my plain white dishes for serving the meal.

I plan out the dishes I need for serving in advance so I’m not rushing around Thanksgiving morning like a mad woman looking for everything. Things like gravy boats, deviled egg trays, and soup tureens aren’t everyday pieces so it helps to be organized.

GETTING READY:

Having a perfectly prepped dinner allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your family. Six days out should see your menu completed, grocery list made and a trip to the store imminent. If you don’t want to find yourself in a madhouse or unable to find ingredients, head to the market as soon as possible.

*Make a list. Seriously, sit down with a note pad to write your menu, who is bringing what, your grocery list, and what must be done around the house. It takes 30 minutes. Make the lists and put them where you see them.

{Then, use them.}

*Allow plenty of time for your turkey to safely thaw out. I have a 20 pound bird that will land in my refrigerator tonight to begin thawing.

*Most pies can be baked a couple of days in advance so take advantage of that; it takes a couple hours to prepare bourbon pecan and pumpkin pies. Having them out of the way is a huge help come Thanksgiving Day.

*If you are ordering any part of your dinner (Honeybaked Ham is my friend), order at least two weeks ahead of time and pick up early the day before so that you miss the heaviest of crowds.

*Have all of your ingredients measured, chopped and placed in prep bowls before you begin cooking. By taking care of as much as possible beforehand, you’ll leave plenty of time to visit with family and friends.

*Prepare a soup a day in advance or put together a fruit and cheese board for everyone to snack on while the turkey is in the oven.

*Offer a range of beverages to compliment the meal. Besides tea and soda, consider serving a spiced cider or flavored tea.

*On Thanksgiving Day plan to start cooking early – your turkey needs 3-4 hours (maybe more) in the oven, plus an additional half hour to rest before carving. If you are using stuffing in your bird, cook it before the turkey so that the bird has time to cook.

It doesn’t take much to put on a memorable Thanksgiving dinner. Just don’t let the little things stress you out. Taking a couple of evenings beforehand to knock out prep will make the day so much easier, and I hope I’ve given you some ideas to get you started!

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17 Retro Happy Meal Toys Are Returning to McDonald’s This Week

40 years ago this month McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal to the delight of parents and kids around the world! Finally there was a bargaining chip on the table (literally) that could be used to coax every child to behave at the doctor, dentist, worship service, piano practice, Cub Scouts and to pay attention on the little league field!!

Laugh if you must, but I remember that ploy quite well. My mother used the tool on me, and I on my kids.

Admit it, we’ve all been there!

Seriously though, I do remember the feeling of being special when we got a Happy Meal as it was a real treat! Years down the road, when Audley and I were dating, and I was preparing to become Samantha’s momma, we made many a visit to McDonalds for play days and a Happy Meal as we searched for the ever elusive Pink Power Ranger!

The things we do for our kids, Right?!

Well, McDonald’s is unlocking that childhood joy across the globe in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Happy Meal by introducing the limited-edition Surprise Happy Meal, featuring favorite throwback toys from the past four decades.
 

My baby sister totally remembered many of these!!


The Surprise Happy Meal will be available in more than 90 countries starting November 7 at participating restaurants. If you’re in Atlanta like me, you can get your hands on the Surprise Happy Meal until November 11, while supplies last.

Over the years Happy Meal toys have put a playful spin on the foods McDonalds is known for, showcased movies from Disney to Looney Tunes, and had fun with pop culture by including matchbox cars, beanie babies and the always adorable Hello Kitty! It was the original “unboxing”!

Are you ready for a trip down memory lane? Here are all the toys that will be returning for just a handful of days this week: 1988’s Cowboy McNugget, Fireman McNugget, and Mail Carrier McNugget, 1989’s Hamburger Changeable transforming toy, 1990’s Grimace, 1991’s Dino Happy Meal Box Changeable, 1993’s McDonald’s Hot Wheels Thunderbird, 1995’s Hamburglar, 1995’s Power Rangers, 1996’s Space Jam Bugs Bunny, 1997’s Patti the Platypus (yes, the Beanie Baby is back!), 1997’s 101 Dalmatians, 1998’s Tamagotchi digital pet, 1998’s My Little Pony, 1999’s Furby, 2002’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, and 2013’s Hello Kitty.

While this is a global release, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey and 101 Dalmatians are exclusive to the US.

To help you celebrate this fun event I am giving away a gift card from McDonalds to one of my readers. All you have to do is share your favorite, first or most entertaining McDonalds Happy Meal memory!! This is not a place to discuss your opinions of McDonalds, or anything negative, but to look back and have a little fun!! I will draw a winner on November 7 so hopefully you will have your gift card before the promotion ends!

Happy Monday Y’all!!