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photo-1For a chilly Sunday night beef stew was the perfect meal. I have a yummy cookbook that I never get to cook out of because everything takes too long or requires a million ingredients. Not so friendly for a weeknight. But here is an easy one that was oh so yummy thanks to Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris — with my special added touchs of course.

Added bonus…it tastes better the second day!


Olive Oil

4 ounces bacon, diced

1 1/4 lbs beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes

salt / pepper

1/2 lb carrots sliced into 1 inch chunks

1 onion sliced

1/2 bottle good red wine, like a burgundy or cabernet

1 1/4 cups boxed beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon herbs de provence

3 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 lb frozen peal onions

1/2 lb mushrooms thickly sliced (any kind you like)

1/4 lb frozen peas

handful chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup cream

How to make it….

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Dry cubes of beef and season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches sear the meat in hot oil on each side, total about 3-5 minutes. Removed the beef and add to the plate with the bacon.

Place the carrots, onions, salt and pepper in the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the onions are lightly browned add the meat and bacon back into the pot with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and beef broth. Mix in the tomato paste, thyme and herbs de provence. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn heat to low and cook for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and carrots are tender. (Resist the urge to open the lid – all of the heat will escape).

Mix 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the pearl onions. In a separate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add them to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add peas, parsley and the cream. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve over buttered egg noodles and top with extra chopped parsley.



A lot of people have been asking me what to do with leftover apples from their apple picking adventures.

Apples are diverse and can be used in sweet or savory dishes.

If you are looking for some yummy ways to eat apples — besides the obvious, slathered in peanut butter…Here are a few delicious suggestions on how to use them up!

  • Roast diced apples with onions and fennel (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper) in a 425 degree oven until tender. Serve with roasted chicken or pork chops as an easy side dish.
  • Prepare an apple pie in an aluminum pie tin and freeze uncooked — This is a great way to be prepared for “drop in guests”…especially around the holidays. Just bake it off and enjoy!
  • Slice apples in half, scoop out center and fill with brown sugar, raisins and honey. Bake and top with Greek Yogurt or ice cream.
  • Make an apple compote to top french toast, waffles, or to eat on it’s own! Link to an Emeril recipe I love.
  • Make my Caramel Apple Dessert (see post from last week)
  • Add slices to a turkey sandwich with brie and honey mustard
  • Toss with an arugula salad, goat cheese, dried cranberries and simple vinaigrette
  • Add apples to pumpkin or butternut squash soup for added sweetness.
  • Turn coleslaw up a notch by adding grated apples.


Lobster was on sale for half price at the supermarket….$4.99 / lb — A Steal! Here’s my recipe for what turned out to be delicious lobster rolls. Serves 2. ENJOY!


2 – 1 1/2 lb. lobsters

2 tbsps mayo

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 ribs celery chopped small

1/4 cup cucumber, seeds removed, chopped small

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

sprinkle of dried dill (or fresh if you have)

squeeze of lemon

splash of red wine vinegar

salt / pepper

hot dog rolls

teaspoon butter


For the lobsters: Bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the 2 lobsters, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 – 22 minutes. Let cool. Crack and remove meat. Cut into chunks.

Mix together the mayo, mustard, lemon, tarragon, dill, vinegar and salt / pepper. Add in lobster, celery and cucumber. Mix to combine.

Melt butter in a pan. Toast up hot dog rolls on the inside and outside. Spoon lobster salad into toasted rolls. Serve with a simple salad and kettle cooked chips.

We a great time with some great friends in Philly this weekend! They always take us to such great restaurants and last night was no exception. If you are in the Philadelphia area this restaurant is definitely worth a stop. Plus the Chef is a finalist on the Next Iron Chef on the Food Network. Check out Distrito – We did the Diego Rivera tasting menu, it was delicious. Ceviche was unreal, Sangria was yummy and the atmosphere was fun and laid back. He is also the Chef at Amada, another place we have visited when in Philly. This place is great as well – we also did the tasting menu there when we went. It was great!

photoI was in the mood for something sweet last night after dinner.

We have apples left from the farm so here’s what I came up with.

I love to invent things based on what I have on hand…it’s fun, you should try it!

This tastes exactly like a caramel apple….Fall is here!


1 large apple sliced thin (you can peel it if you like)

2 tbsp apple cider (can use apple juice or water too)

1 tbsp orange juice

dash of cinnamon

pinch each of nutmeg, ground ginger and salt

2 tbsp brown sugar

drizzle of honey

1 tbsp butter

caramel frozen yogurt (I used Stonyfield)


Melt butter in sautee pan on medium high heat. Add sliced apples and cook for two minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except for frozen yogurt) and cook for about 5 minutes until apples are soft. Top with caramel frozen yogurt and enjoy!

eggplantI have so many yummy veggies left from the farm, so I decided to make a great caponata to use them up. I used a Tyler Florence recipe and adapted it to use up what I had in the fridge.

This is delicious warm, cold or room temperature. Sever on toasted bread as an appetizer, mix with pasta or serve with chicken or fish for an easy dinner. This is a very versatile dish…and yummy too!


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

dash of red pepper flakes

1 large eggplant, cubed

1 zucchini cubed

2 ribs of celery cubed

2 tomatoes, halved and seeds squeezed out, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 cup pitted kalamata and green olives

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

pinch sugar

handful of torn fresh basil

salt and pepper


Pour the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant in the oil. Add red pepper flakes. Cook until brown, be sure to stir often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, celery and onion cook for about 15 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the capers, olives, balsamic vinegar, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until thickened.

I happen to be a huge fan of Greek Yogurt, I think it’s so versatile and delicious. Here are some of my favorite ways to use Greek Yogurt!

  • Mix with cinnamon, honey and a splash of vanilla. Use instead of ice cream to top a baked apple, fruit crisp, grilled peach or eat alone as a sweet treat after dinner! (This one is my favorite)
  • Use it to replace mayo…mix with chopped shrimp and celery for an easy shrimp salad or use in cold spinach dip. By using Greek Yogurt instead of mayo you can save a lot of saturated fat and calories.
  • Mix in a mini chopper with roasted eggplant, salt, pepper, cumin, ground coriander, olive oil, parsley and lemon for an easy dip. Serve with pita chips or veggies.
  • Add a dollop to mashed or baked potatoes instead of sour cream.

Do you have ways that you like to use Greek Yogurt? Post a comment and let us know!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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