Monday, February 18, 2013

Beef and Barley Stew

Recently, my husband has been pestering, er, lovingly suggesting that I find a recipe to cook in the Dutch oven that we received as a Holiday present. Even though I was originally waiting to use it to bake some sort of bread (still planning on that), I decided to do as he asked and peruse the internet for a recipe for dinner this week. So I skipped on over to my trusty friend, Google, and came across a recipe for Beef and Barley Stew. It looked yummy and do-able without a terrible amount of work (always something I look at with new recipes); and since I would be done with work earlier than normal today and have some extra time for cooking, I picked it as our try-out recipe of the week.

It was a good choice! Although I believe that the original recipe was supposed to come out more as a soup, ours turned out as a stew and I'm glad, because it was de-lish! D. and I both agreed that this recipe was definitely going into the repertoire.

If you're inspired by this recipe and would like to make it but don't have a Dutch oven, you could easily whip this up in a large pot.

Gather the ingredients:

     8 oz. sirloin steak, cut into bit-size pieces
     1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
     4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
     1/2 to 1 whole onion, chopped
     1 large carrot, sliced
     2 tablespoons tomato paste
     1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
     3/4 cup barley
     4 cups (32 oz.) beef broth
     1 cup water
     1/4 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle steak with a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add steak  and cook, stirring often, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl. 

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, onion, and carrot to the pot and cook, stirring until beginning to soften. Add tomato paste and thyme and cook, stirring, until the veggies are coated with the tomato paste and beginning to brown.

Add barley, broth, water, salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain simmer; cook until barley is tender, about 40 minutes.  Return beef to pot and heat through. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Side note: my husband doesn't really pester me, but I have to tease him sometimes. ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

This Love Day...

…I am so happy. This day and every day; it’s a blast to experience this life with my best friend. Who knew marriage would be this fun? It just keeps getting better and sweeter. I love my Babe :)

Last night, I made chocolate dipped strawberries for us to enjoy today. Yum!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter's New Look

It's February, and I've hit the itchy part of winter where I long to change something up. Namely with my hair. It never fails to happen haha. So, I hopped over to my hairdresser and said, "Let's play!" She loves me; I'm always asking her to do something different, and we have fun. Yay! So happy!

Also, I got to meet my hairdresser's husband, and he told me to blog about it, so there! Done! They make a great couple, and they're cute together too :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Morning Thoughts #1

Over the past few weeks, I've embarked on what I consider to be two huge projects: organizing the office and organizing the bedroom! Now, one would think that having been married 8 months and me living in our apartment 9 months, this would already be a done deal. Er, not so much. I've found that it's been a lot harder than I imagined to combine two people's things, especially when one of the people (me!) has a lot of stuff. We've come a long way, gotten rid of stuff, gotten rid of more stuff, organized, reorganized, and finally it all seems to be coming together. It's not finished, but we're getting closer!

Organizing our life together has definitely been a process, though. And not one that I really wanted to tackle most of the time. We probably could have had the results that we're seeing now sooner if I had decided to motivate myself sooner. Making the decision is the key. It's easy to put things off, saying, "I'll do that later." But then all the I'll-do-that-later's start to build up, and you're overwhelmed with all of the work to do and don't know where to start.

Just pick a place and start. It's as easy and as hard as that. Make the decision, draw yourself a schedule if you work that way, and then dive in. Putting things off doesn't help you in the long-run; I'm the ultimate procrastinator, I would know. :)

Who you are, what you do, who and what is around you is up to you. Every morning we're given a new day. Make yourself.

And remember: don't just be a wannabe; DO!