Food Friday {On Saturday}: Beef Stew

Can we pretend today is Friday? We can? Awesome, thanks! ha :)

So I’ve had these pictures for a while but could never really seem to find the time to actually put them together in a post. I feel like I have been promising and promising to post it, but every time I sit down to start it, something comes up, so I’m so sorry for my lack of follow through. But pretty sure you’ll love it despite the fact it took forever to get to you. :)

A little about this stew: I have made beef stew before, but it consisted of using the beef stew package mix and just following the directions on the back. The package always turned out yummy, but lately I’ve really been trying to avoid any sort of “packaged” food with tons of preservatives. {Any ideas how to do that with THIS recipe??} Also, I’ve been trying to keep our eating out budget to under $50 a month {I know, insane, but a necessary evil to make our budget balance these days} which means cooking more at home. I have been buying all my meat at the beginning of the month at Costco, freezing it and dethawing it when I need it. While shopping the meat aisle at Costco I saw a apx 5 lb flat of beef stew for under $15 and I realized I could do beef stew weekly with it at such a reasonable cost! Whoohoo! And that, of course, prompted a search for a great recipe that didn’t use a package ingredient.

The first place I always look for recipes is The Food Network. Am I the only person who loves The Food Network? Seriously the best resource ever! I’m sure it’s because my favorite cooks are on there {Giada, Ina}, but I’m sure another reason is that they have a lot of options for everything I type in the search bar. ;)

Confession: I always pick the easiest recipe. hehe. If it says it will take hours and hours to make with lots of different ingredients, I usually just skip it over. whoops :) This recipe does take a while to cook, but nearly zero prep.

So I found this recipe by Paula Dean that I REALLY loved. The recipe is HERE. We tried it once and it was amazing…BUT, although the taste was great, it was missing something as the texture and consistency wasn’t like the beef stew I was used to eating. The next time I made the recipe, I switched things up a little and it’s absolutely perfect! Basically all I did was take out the cornstarch, add some flour and potatoes and reduce the amount of meat so it has a bit more broth. Here’s my Paula Dean Remix Beef Stew! :)

1 – 1 1/2 pounds stew beef

All Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 or 2 bay leaves

1 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Dash ground allspice or ground cloves

3 large carrots, sliced

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 Red Potatoes

* * * * * * ** *

Start with a bowl full of flour and dredge the beef through until lightly dusted.

And then place in a heavy duty pot filled with the vegetable oil.

Brown the meat over medium heat.

Add the water, onions, garlic and spices and simmer, covered for one hour.

Meanwhile chop up your veggies and potatoes.

Once the hour is up, add them to the pot and simmer, covered for 30 more minutes.

When done, meat should be fall apart soft and veggies cooked through. Serve topped with parsley and crusty french bread.

**Tip: If the stew is too thick, add a little bit of chicken broth while simmering. You can do this the next day as well.

Enjoy everyone, it’s AMAZING!!! And thanks Paula Dean for your recipe base! :)


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Diana Wrap Giveaway Winner

Hi friends, I am so sorry I am so late in telling you the winners. Honesty? WOW. What a long week this has been. I have had a tough couple of days with my little man. Someday I may tell you all about it, but for now, please keep us in your prayers. I am being 100% honest when I say, ADHD is TOUGH. :(

I spent most of the day at the school and then came home and ordered take out {shame, shame}, when I my sister texted me and reminded me it was my nieces last home basketball game. So we jumped in the car and just now got home. On top of all the crazieness this week, and the insanely busy day, the sickies have been going around our house, but this time it is the parents, not the kids. Brandon has been so sick and I have this nagging cold. When it rains it pours, right?

ANYWAY….pretty sure you don’t really care about that. Ha. I’ll make this announcement quick as I am so exhausted and haven nearly both eyes closed {please ignore typos, ugh}…

The first FB winner for the gorgeous Striped Diana Wrap above, chosen through the comments:

Yikes that tiny! DEANA KNEEN!!! You have 36 hours to email me and claim your prize:

Winner #2, as picked by rafflecopter:

Katy, I already emailed you…looking forward to hearing from you!

If you shared on Instagram, I am ashamed to say that I my camera is full and I have no way to upload a photo to instragm at the moment, so hang tight and tomorrow I’ll figure out how to download all my photos. Usually Brandon does it for me….haha. Anyone want to help?

Big hugs and a HUGE THANK YOU for sharing! Love you guys! xoxo

PS Don’t forget: Spring 2013 comes Feb 13…perfect Valentine’s day gifts! :) 

Christmas 2012 Recap

Yes, you read that correctly. Christmas recap. Right. I am fully aware that it’s been nearly two months since Christmas, but a couple nights ago as I was cleaning off my SD camera card, I found all our Christmas pictures and realized I never posted them. So because this is a place where I record our lives for future reference, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to backtrack a bit. ha.

I’m not going to give you a whole lot of info, since most of the pictures speak for themselves. We spent Christmas Eve at my parents house and can you believe that I forgot my camera at home and didn’t get one picture? boo. My sister got a bunch, but I have forgotten to get them from her. Oh well. So the pictures you see here are from Christmas Day. The last couple years we have been doing Christmas Day as a little family, in our PJ’s.   We LOVE that. And then in the afternoon family comes over to our house, we lounge around watching Christmas movies and eat a simple dinner. This year it was this salmon, with brussel sprouts, carrots, a salad and scalloped potatoes. So yummy! In fact, it was so good I forgot a photo of it. ha. Anyway, Christmas Day was wonderful…and here’s a few snapshots of the day….

Our holiday dining room. I adore this room during the holidays. So much fun.

Our gingerbread house that the kids made with their cousins and their Uncle Brad. Not bad, right?

Very blurry picture of our stockings after Santa came.

Most decent picture we could get of jake when he saw the stockings. He wouldn’t stop moving. ha.

Reading the Christmas story.

Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus

Opening their presents from Santa…Jake wanted heelys and Evy wanted dollys

My gift from my husband…this beautiful card. For years now we don’t exchange gifts…just cards. They tend to be a bit more meaningful.

The kids LOVE this mug I got while in Disneyland. They have the best time finding things. Jake studying it while I made pancakes.Nannie’s pancakes. Someday I will do a new Food Friday on these with better pictures, but for now you can find the recipe HERE. They are best ever, trust me on this. :) In the afternoon my parents came over, along with my nieces and nephew. Can you see the Wollmer resemblance between my dad and my nephew Brandon??My niece made this mug for me in her pottery class. She is such a sweetie. Didn’t she do a good job?Oh and the last picture is from the Christmas program at church. Jake’s such a kick. ha.

Well, that’s it! Merry Christmas everyone! {ha!}


Spring 2013 Photo Shoot, Manufacturing Updates and a GIVEAWAY

**If you want to enter the GIVEAWAY and don’t want to read about everything else…just scroll to the bottom of this post. :)

Wow, what a weekend. If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know this, but we had a spring photo shoot this Saturday at my house. This photo shoot will be a bit different than the other ones I have done before…we focused on completely new people who are customers of Evy’s Tree. You will see every day people and how they mix Evy’s Tree into their every day lives. I am so excited for you to “Meet Evy’s Tree”.

Our first family to be photoed for the shoot:

On top of beautiful photos by Monika McSweeney, we had David of Daso Photo doing a lifestyle video for us. I am SO excited about this!! You will get to see me talk to you about Evy’s Tree, plus hear from our customer models how they feel about our products. It’s going to be awesome!! Monika and David doing their thing during the photo shoot:

Yes, we will have dog hoodies available this Spring. You’ll love it! :)

Evy is such a sweetie…playing in the field during the photo shoot.

Me, after filming for 2+hours. I was SO GLAD it was over. Hopefully it turned out ok…

So let’s talk about Spring 2013 for a second. In case you missed it…

Our handmade line will be available the eve of Feb 13. I think you will love what we have to offer. A couple things I want to cover about the handmade line…

Cost: You will notice a price increase. Unfortunately, price increases seem to be the name of the game world wide at the moment. ugh. boo. Bottom line is this…we want to stay open {and hopefully you feel the same way, hehe} and we can’t manage to stay open if we don’t raise our prices a little. We covered this quite extensively in our Save Evy’s Tree campaign, so I’m sure this isn’t a shocker to most of you. We will still offer promotions and discount codes when we can, so I think you’ll be happy with that.

Availability: Our manufactured goods were supposed to be released the same time as our Spring Handmade line, but there has been a delay {AGAIN. ugh. More info on that in a second}, so that means that only handmade will debut on Feb 13. Unfortunately, since I was expecting to have thousands of pieces of manufactured goods available, I don’t have much handmade to offer. Please note: the quantities of the handmade Spring 2013 are very, very limited. I am going to have to make a trip back down to LA to get some more fabric soon, but for now, this is all we have to offer this month. Just wanted to make you aware of the availability of the handmade line.

Style: This spring line is very streamlined. It is meant to go with EVERYTHING you purchase for Spring this year. Basic colors, stripes, simple. These are all words to describe the handmade. I really wanted Evy’s Tree to fit into your lifestyle, not you have to fit into ours. I think you will love it.

Now that I’ve covered handmade, let’s talk about the manufactured items….First, I think I need to tell you a little bit about why we’re manufacturing {or maybe reiterate, since I think I’ve talked about this some already, so sorry to repeat if so}. We have several main reasons and to be honest, they all are equally the same as far as importance is concerned. I have a post all about the manufacturing process ready to publish for you guys but just waiting for a few more details before I can hit that publish button…but I hope to do so next week sometime and introduce you to many inside details of this transition we are making.

For now, let me say this…manufacturing enables us to make Evy’s Tree not just an “embellished” hoodie company, but a hoodie company that is ahead of the curve with gorgeous colors, luxurious fabrics and outstanding designs. When we embarked on the manufacturing process {i.e. making hoodies from scratch}, we opened up endless possibilities for Evy’s Tree. However, since we are currently NOT a company making items from scratch, but using already made hoodies to embellish, we ran across several problems.

First, we knew we needed to alter the sizing from what we currently have to offer, but doing this proved to be tricky as that meant we needed to make sure what we were producing would fit as many of you as possible. Fittings after fittings and samples after samples later, we now believe we have a good fit that I think you all will love and enjoy. {and yes, we WILL have plus sizes available!! :)}

Second, fabric has always been an issue for us. Up until this point, Evy’s Tree has always been at the mercy of American Apparel {our hoodie supplier} and our fabric suppliers. We had to chose from a very limited source of fabrics that could work for us and create a new item every season. Confession here: this is NOT easy. There are only so many ways you can play with something and then you run out of ideas. This is kinda where Evy’s Tree has landed. We simply have exhausted our idea bank with “embellishing”, especially when American Apparel only offers a handful of colors. It really puts you in a box.

Lastly, quality has always been an issue. While American Apparel’s hoodies are nice, they are by no means high end. With our manufactured items, the fabric will be so wonderful, wash well…basically these will be items you will want to live in. It will be a good reflection of our brand. Currently, we are still working on this. My manufacturers are {get this} weaving the fabric themselves. This is not some fabric that we picked up in a Chinese warehouse. These fabrics are handmade for yours truly. They are going to be AMAZING. We had one round of fabric samples finished before Christmas, but after putting them through a thorough analysis, the fabric did not hold up how I would like it to, so we went back to the drawing board this week and I believe we are very close to finding the fabric that you all will love.

I cannot give you a definite date when these manufactured goods will be here, as every time I give a date, another delay comes up. Since this is my first round of manufacturing, the process is MUCH MUCH longer since we are starting from scratch, but once we get over this hump, our next rounds will be so much quicker. But I will say this, it looks pretty definite these items will NOT be here in time for our Spring release this February. Boo. To those of you who are anxiously awaiting these items. THANK YOU! You are amazing. And those 50% off coupons I passed out during the Save Evy’s Tree campaign last summer…HANG ON TO THEM. They will be valid when the manufactured items get here.

And as I mentioned above, hopefully next week I will have some details to reveal to you and give you more info on our exciting venture, plus introduce you to our manufacturers. In the meantime, will you pray for me? I have to be honest and say this manufacturing process has made me want to dig my head in the sand and stay there. It is NOT easy. ugh. But I really do have confidence once I get over this, it will be so much easier. And I can’t wait until the items get here, they will be GORGEOUS!

WHEW! Thanks for listening! So now that I have THAT out of the way, how about a giveaway??

So many of you loved this wrap on FB, so I thought it would be a good giveaway to kick off spring! Want to win this??

You do? Good!! Here’s how:

Share the above photo on FB and come back here to tell me you did. Super easy, right? You can do this daily, until the giveaway ends.

Extra Points

1. Follow Evy’s Tree on twitter

2. Follow Evy’s Tree on Pinterest

3. Like us on Facebook

4. Tweet the message avaiable

5. Pin the above on pinterest

Make sure you tell us you did all these things through our rafflecopter below, or else it won’t count! Giveaway will end Thursday, February 7 at 11:59 PM. Another giveaway will be live on Friday. Fun, right?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks friends and have fun! xoxo

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