Grandma’s Beef Stew

Autumn comfort, made easy!

Grandma's Beef Stew (small)

Remember when churches used to put out a church cookbook?  We still have old copies of church cookbooks lying around somewhere.  Some of the recipes in there make me laugh, the way things are worded, or the ingredients used (apparently margarine used to be called oleo?). Every cookbook our church ever put out had at least one recipe from my grandma and/or great-grandma.  My grandma was an excellent cook, even with her poor eyesight.  One of those recipes was a simple but delicious beef stew.

When I was growing up, my dad’s favorite meal was beef stew.  He always said it made him feel “ritzy.”  I never really understood that, because beef stew isn’t exactly high-class food.  He loved it, though, and with good reason.  My mom my grandma’s stew recipe, and it definitely stands the test of time. Continue reading

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Apple Cider Salted Caramels

The taste of fall you never knew you needed in your life.

Apple Cider Salted Caramels (small)

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been going to a local apple orchard known as Tuttle Orchards.  I have always loved it, so much so that I have worked there for the last three fall seasons on the weekends.  The best part, without a doubt, is the delicious apple cider.  This is not the apple cider you get a the grocery store.  That stuff is basically glorified apple juice.  The cider from Tuttle’s is amazing.   Continue reading

Burman’s Mayo: vegan and affordable

A while ago, I wrote about Just Mayo, a vegan mayonnaise that is also soy-free.  That’s a big deal in our house because Reese can’t have eggs or soy.  Not long after that, I posted my own homemade Super Easy Vegan (aquafaba) Mayonnaise recipe.  As the name implies, it’s super easy (and vegan).  On a really busy day, though, “store-bought” wins, no matter how “super easy” a recipe may be. But when you have three kids and life happens, sometimes the store-bought can be a challenge, too.  Enter Burman’s.

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Burman’s is an Aldi brand.  If you aren’t familiar with Aldi, get familiar with it now!  If you don’t have Aldi around you, well…. I’m sorry.  You’re missing out.  I’ll be honest, Aldi is not typically my go-to grocery store.  I really like it, but I don’t often think about stopping in.  They have some excellent products, though, and usually for much cheaper than the other stores.  This vegan mayonnaise, for example, is comparable to Just Mayo, but significantly cheaper.

In a side-by-side taste test, I can tell the difference between this and real mayonnaise.  I can tell the difference between real and lite mayo, though, so that isn’t really the point. The point is, despite the very minor taste and consistency difference (this product tends to be a bit thinner than real mayo), it is a very acceptable substitute for a lower price than other vegan/egg-free mayonnaise products.  On a sandwich or in a dip or spread, you would be hard-pressed to taste a discernable difference unless you did a side-by-side.

Burman’s egg-less mayo is something we like to keep on hand all the time.  It’s totally worth the small price and is a product that I think anyone with an egg-restriction who misses their mayo should get their hands on.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

My world has been turned upside down.  2+2= yellow and I’m totally ok with that.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse (small)

I’m pretty sure that I’m one of the only people in the country that doesn’t like avocado.  I know all the health benefits, and I know it’s super popular, but I just can’t get over the taste. Blasphemy, I know.  And it’s not just in my head, I promise.  I once ate a delicious club sandwich, but halfway through, I noticed the sandwich started to taste like dirt.  I opened it up and noticed that there was avocado on half of the sandwich… the half that I had just started eating.

But the health benefits keep me curious… how can I integrate avocado without actually tasting it?  The answer came while watching some of my favorite YouTubers. Chocolate avocado mousse… could that really work?  The guys at SortedFOOD seemed to think so, so I figured it was worth trying. Continue reading

Super Simple Hash Browns

The best way to start a weekend….

Super Simple Hashbrowns (small)

It’s Saturday morning. In a rare stroke of luck, the kids let me sleep in all the way until 7:15 (trust me, that’s late in our house).  I sleepily go down the stairs to find them watching YouTube videos and eating cereal.  I love that Emily is old enough (and nice enough) to pour a bowl of cereal for her little brother and sister.  And they love cereal. They get that from my wife.  I’m pretty sure they would all be perfectly happy eating cereal for lunch.  Me, not so much.  But as long as there are potatoes, there is breakfast. Continue reading

Weeknight Barbecue Chicken

Long day?  Don’t worry, I’ve got your dinner covered.

Weeknight Barbecue Chicken (small)

Tuesday night.  It has been a long day at work.  You walk in the door, loaded down with work you had to bring home.  You see that, despite the fact that your partner has cleaned and vacuumed the family room four times today, the kids have made an almost unnavigable mess. And then they all run to you and say, “What’s for dinner?”

Sound familiar? If you’re anything like me, that scenario has your reaching for the phone to order a pizza (well, to order a pizza online… I hate ordering pizza on the phone). But put the phone down!  Save the pizza for Friday movie night.  Using stuff you probably already have, you can make an excellent weeknight dinner with little effort. Continue reading

Vegan Soft Pretzels

Soft, chewy, German-y… just the way a pretzel should be!

Homemade Soft Pretzels (small)

When I was in high school, my best friend and I  both worked at the local mall.  In our free time, we would go hang out at the downtown mall. As an adult, however, I have come to a realization.  I hate malls.  People walk up right behind you, people stop in front of you with no warning, the salespeople at the Dead Sea Minerals kiosk jump out and try to put lotion on your hands without permission… *shudder*  There is one thing that makes going to the mall worthwhile, though.  PRETZELS. Continue reading

Honey Mustard and the World’s Largest Ball of Paint

Great on chicken, fries, a spoon….

Honey Mustard (small)

So we are back to school here in the Indiana.  For the couple of days before going back to school, we decided to do something fun and offbeat.  So what a better way to spend the day than going to see one of central Indiana’s bizarre roadside attractions?  Just about an hour away from our house is: Continue reading

Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge (dairy free!)

Stop whatever you are doing and make this now. Because fudge.

Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge (small)

It’s no secret that I love food.  And it’s not just the eating of food that I like; I love that food can bring people together, can represent and define cultures, and can soothe and comfort.  Typically I prefer savory foods.  I will choose bacon with biscuits and gravy over pancakes every single time.  Night time snack?  Popcorn.  Usually buttered and seasoned with some weird concoction I made up on a whim.  But there is no question: I LOVE FUDGE. Continue reading

Crescent Cinnamon Rolls!

A delicious breakfast, and you don’t even have to go to the airport!

Cinnamon Rolls (small)

It seems to be general knowledge that you should bake cookies if you are trying to sell a house.  The smell of baking cookies evokes a feeling of home.  If you ask me, though, you would be better off making cinnamon rolls.  The beauty of cinnamon rolls is that you get both the sweetness of the cinnamon filling and the inviting aroma of the bread.  Plus, then you have cinnamon rolls!  I say that’s a win-win.

I’ve always been a little hesitant to make my own cinnamon rolls.  Other than the Bread-in-a-bag, I have never really had a lot of luck with yeast breads.  I tend to kill the yeast, and I get super impatient with letting it rise, rolling it out, letting it rise again… basically, I’m just lazy and don’t want to mess with it. But I got to thinking: I found a way to fake donuts… can I fake cinnamon rolls, too?

As it turns out, I can. Continue reading