Random Recipe: Beef & Mushroom Stew

Thanks to AJ Dub for transcribing this when I talked through it on podcast episode 168! I finally got around to making it again and testing the directions per my changes, so I’m sharing the deliciousness with you all. Only, you know, without inviting you to my house to eat it because I really need to vacuum the living room and clean the bathroom.

Pam’s Beef & Mushroom Stew

Adapted from AllRecipes.com.  Total time: 1 hour

  • 1-2 lbs stew beef , cut into bite sized pieces (not big honkin’ chunks)
  • 1 cup “classy” red wine (Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot with a screw top or a nice $5 Barefoot Cellar Zinfandel)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced (you might want to chop these smaller, too, but that’s personal preference)
  •  6 cups beef broth
  • ¾ cup barley
  • thyme and rosemary to taste
  • 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch to thicken the stew

Brown beef in about 3 tbsp oil in the bottom of a pan until edges are brown, to seal in juicy goodness. Once brown, add the 1 cup water and 1 cup wine. Let simmer.

In a large soup pot heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil and cook the onions, mushrooms, carrots, and celery until onions are soft and translucent.

Pour in the beef broth, and add barley, thyme and rosemary.  You may be tempted to add more barley than 3/4 cup because it doesn’t look like much. Don’t do it. Barley is the weed of stew world – give it an inch and it takes a mile and expands like mad until all you have a pot of barley that’s staged a coup and kicked all the beef and veggies to the side.

Add in 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch to thicken the broth, and then add in the meat/wine mixture. Simmer for 30 -40 minutes.

Serve with biscuits or homemade thick sliced bread to sop up the broth from the bottom of the bowl.

WIP Wednesday – State of the Stash

I’m working on a Seekrit Project this week, so rather than posting a picture of a lot of blurred out or black bars across it, I thought I post a picture of my stash.

State of the Stash - October 2014

I do have two drawers next to this shelving units that contains batiks (FQs or so) and novelties (50% holiday fabric and 50% random novelty), and a bin of FQs, but this is the bulk of my quilting fabric.

I’m still favoring the cool colors more than the warm, and I could probably use some grays and blacks as well. The chicken-and-egg question is do I not use more black and gray because I don’t have it, or do I not have black and gray because I don’t use it?

For comparison, here is my stash two years ago:

State of the Stash - A huge mamajamma

So yes, my stash overall is smaller, but that is on purpose. I started tracking Sunday Stash reports in early 2012, and my net used yardage from 2012 through last weekend is over 600 yards .  That’s a whole lot more yardage out than in!  My stash is manageable and doesn’t feel overwhelming. I still have enough fabric on hand to make projects without shopping, but I also have room to add fabrics if I want.

I’ve also spent more time working with my scrap stash, which isn’t shown in either picture, and those are used in a lot of charity projects and mystery quilt and general last-minute gifts for people. In general, I’m happy with where I’m at with my stash, although I wish I had more money to spend on fabric!

Sunday Stash – Charity Case

Is anyone else’s guild discouraging the use of the word “charity” in regards to donations? That has popped up in several areas of my life and I have apparently turned into an old fart who is set in my ways and can’t change my vernacular. Pardon me while I write this while sitting on the davenport, drinking a hot toddy and contemplating hemlines above the ankle.

NOTE: None of those things are true. Except the ankle thing – why do we need to show so much leg? Imagine how much more quilting we’d get done if we weren’t worried about personal grooming on our calves.

Anywho, this week I had to veer off course as I wanted to finish some “community benefit” projects. Or whatever the heck I’m supposed to call the 6 placemats for Meals on Wheels and 2 pillowcases I finished.  I do have two quilts sandwiched and ready to quilt, but those will have to wait until I finish a Seekrit Project for someone.

10690062_10154845349465657_3023901802061887496_nHere’s a previous Seekrit Project I finished that was debuted last night: a fancy flapper dress for a cat! The silent auction last night was “The Great Catsby”, so we were all encouraged to dress in 20’s theme. The model is Tricky, a cat that lives at Good Mews Animal Foundation; she was the victim of domestic abuse seven years ago and is paralyzed from the waist down.  Because the shelter has such awesome donors, they are able to keep her in diapers and pay for her many medications.  She was wheeled in as guest of honor in a wagon draped in velvet and fringe- quite the entrance!

Owly Images

My own “costume” took some liberties since I stuck with a black dress I already had and added some flapper-esque accessories like a headband and a TON of eye makeup. Gah. Reminded me of high school band flag corps when I had to wear enough eye makeup to be seen on the 50 yard line from the stands!

Alas, no yardage used in my or Tricky’s costume since none of it was quilting fabric!

  • Used this Week: 5 yards
    • 3 yd for placemats
    • 2 yd for pillowcases
  • Used year to Date: 282.5 yards
  • Added this Week: 10 yards
    • 10 yd of various fall prints from a bulk purchase of a de-stash (2 of which already used for pillowcases!)
  • Net Used for 2014: 178.5 yards
  • YTD Used for Charity: 113.25 yards (39% of total used)

See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times!

WIP Wednesday: Splitting the Difference

I am typing this out frantically between calls for work because DAGNABBIT I’m going to get it posted on a Wednesday. I also officially have a Pile Up – three tops to be quilted!  I think this one is going to be first finished because it’s smallest.  And because it’s on top of the pile!

Split Nine Patch quilt topThis is made with split nine patch blocks- 32 of those and 4 straight-up nine patches.  I used the same yellow with blue/green floral print for the center of all the split nine patches and a yellow for the HSTs on the corners of the blocks.  From there it’s scrap happiness in blues and greens for the rest of the squares.

I cut this out last minute to take to retreat in case I ran out of projects, and I got all the HSTs made and some of the blocks put together on the last day. Thank goodness I did- it’s a super happy quilt, and it’s going to be a Christmas present for our neighbors. Their kids fight over the baby quilts I’ve given them, so I’m trying to reduce the drama for the parents!

Sunday Stash – Retreat Roundup

UntitledIt was a Very Productive Weekend! Beyond the two quilts I finished at retreat, I also got two tops (and one back) pieced, as well as 11 journal covers to be donated to Wellspring Living.

This is a fun chevron baseball quilt I’m making on commission- I got the top and the back pieced, and will get it quilted in the next week or so.

Here’s my Kimberly Einmo Lone Starburst quilt top.  I added the piano key border at the top and bottom so it wouldn’t be square.  My friend Judi saved my bacon and loaned me fabric to add the background border so I could finish the top.  It was one of two things I managed to forget for retreat – that an my E-Z Angle ruler. It will get backed with minky and be another couch snuggling quilt for my living room.


UntitledAnd finally, here are the journal covers I made for composition books.  Wellspring Living requested some journal covers for the girls in the recovery program since they do a lot writing in the rehabilitation process, so I used a tutorial had written up a couple years ago to make most of these.

  • Used this Week: 7.75 yards
    • 5 yd for Funkytown Christmas quilt
    • 1 yd for Twister Tablerunner
    • 1.75 yd for 11 journal covers
  • Used year to Date: 282.5 yards
  • Added this Week: 1.5 yards
    • 1.5 yd of a Kaufman linen print
  • Net Used for 2014: 183.5 yards
  • YTD Used for Charity: 108.25 yards (38% of total used)

See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times!

WIP Thursday

I took the picture for WIP Wednesday, but forgot all about posting in light of a LOT of things going on yesterday which included: fancy meeting with a lot of executives for work, a potentially sick child, and jury duty. The good news is I survived (as has everyone else in the family) and am packing for my quilt retreat.

Now for the panicky Retreat Tourette’s sets in where I randomly yell out things I need to remember to pack (LAPTOP! THREAD! UNDERWEAR!)

One of the things I’ll start on in the next hour or so is quilting this other funky Christmas quilt- I may or may not take it with me to retreat, but wanted to get a start on it at least!

Funkytown Christmas Quilt

Jim Shore Christmas Quilt – Finished!

After the FMQ frenzy of the Autumn Splendor tablerunner, I took it a bit easier on the math and the quilting on this panel project.  This Jim Shore panel had 8 pieces to it, which makes a horrible 2×4 layout on its own.  As mentioned before, I “Brady Bunch”-ed it and make an Ohio star for the Alice position.

Jim Shore Christmas QuiltJim Shore Christmas QuiltThe panel blocks are surrounded by 3 1/2″ squares from my scrap stash, drawing on the Christmas fabrics that have been used in other projects with some complementary blues as well.  I added an extra border of 5″ squares at the top and bottom to give the quilt a better ratio.

The center star got a Christmas tree quilted into it and some small-ish feathers in the star points.

The rest of the quilt got the ol’ meander treatment until I got to the Santa faces, which got outlined in the hats and beards so I didn’t feel like I was scribbling over Santa’s face.  I have a feeling that might get me on the naughty list and I need a new vacuum cleaner this year.

Jim Shore Christmas QuiltThis is going in the gift closet so I can keep it protected from cat hair until it’s ready to go to its new home!