Last night was a very cold and chilly night, so I decided to make a big pot of Mushroom Beef Barley Soup. The smell as it was cooking was so delicious that I could hardly wait for it to be ready. Its the perfect cold weather pick-me-up and is loaded with healthy vegetables, lean meat and whole barley. Its a meal in a bowl and worked great as a dinner with a side salad, or as a lunch all on its own.
What you'll need:
1 lb. Stewing Beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 cup diced Carrots
1 cup diced Celery
1 cup diced Onions
2 cups sliced Mushrooms
1 clove Garlic, diced
4 cups Beef Broth
1/2 cup Pot or Pearl Barley
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
In a large dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt, pepper and thyme, and then toss in the pot to brown.
When browned, remove beef to a plate and set aside.
Set aside a few pieces for your dog because he just looks too cute today.
Add 1 tbsp oil and lower to medium heat. Add in onions, celery and carrots, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes or until the onions start to go translucent. Look at all those delicious flavourful brown bits that will give this soup a deliciously rich taste.
Add mushrooms and garlic, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushroom liquid starts to evaporate
Stir in beef and any juices from the plate. Add broth, tomato paste and bay leaf.
Pour in barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for an hour, or until beef and barley are tender.
Stir occasionally and add water if the soup becomes too thick. Discard bay leaf before serving.
I can see this becoming a winter favourite in the coming months!
For the past few years I've been using Organized Christmas to keep everything running smoothly over the holidays. They have great printable sheets to make your own holiday planner and make it super easy to know where everything is. I usually print them out and create a simple planner in a thin binder. There are many printables that they offer, but these are my favourites which I'd like to share with you!
I love to send out Christmas cards, but it isn't always easy to keep track of them. This little Christmas Card List is perfect for doing just that. It lets you list the address and phone number and also has boxes for sent and received for not only this year, but all the way to 2014.
Another must have is the Master Gift List. Not only does it let you list the gifts you're giving, but it also provides a column for you to budget how much you'll spend and then add in your actual amounts later. For those of us who are on a budget, this is a great way to keep on track. I also like to use the Gifts to Make List with this as well to organize what gifts I'd like to make and keep me focused on the deadlines, so I'm not sewing in all hours of the night when the final week of Christmas comes around.
Though I don't need to use their Holiday Menu Planner because my mother does Christmas Eve dinner at her house, I do like the Weekly Meal Planner to keep track of what groceries I need to buy during this hectic season. I'm thinking of using something like this all year round in the New Year.
One of the not so nice parts of the holidays is that there is usually lots of cleaning that needs to go on before the decorating can begin, and with us having just moved into the new apartment, the list is quite extensive. This Chore Checklist is perfect for listing all those last minute chores you need to get done and goes perfectly with the Room-by-Room Decor Planner.
The final pages that I like to include in my planner is the Holiday Baking List to write down all the yummy treats I'd like to make in the coming weeks and the Holiday Budget List to make sure that all this festive spirit doesn't break the bank.
I try to be an organized person, so a planner like this helps to keep me on task and also keeps my mind at ease that nothing will go amiss...which makes it much easier to kick back and watch some Christmas movies with a lovely cup of hot chocolate!
The past few months have been very chaotic with the new job, new apartment and all the wedding stuff that we did, so I was really thankful when we had a normal Saturday lined up this morning.
Garrett and I have both been slacking in the fitness department, so we headed over to a new gym where I could do a class (my legs are still shaking!) and he could fit in some strength training. It felt so good to get it all done and out of the way before 10am!
While we were out we decided to do a bit of grocery shopping and run some errands.
We found big red bows for a Christmas project I'm doing next week. $1 each at the dollar store is waaaay cheaper than buying the ribbon at Michaels and making them myself.
We admired all the fresh green wreaths in stores...but not the $30 price tags that came with them.
If our place was just a wee bit bigger, I would have loved to pick up a fresh tree, but for now we're just going to use the new pre-lit one I got last year.
A quick trip to Rona for some brackets and new shelves. More on that soon!
This past weekend, Garrett and I were in the wedding party of our dear friends Courtney and Dave. It was a beautiful night full of many happy memories and I've just now had the chance to go through all the photos and reminisce.
Courtney was such a lovely bride and she did a great job with our bridesmaid dresses.
Earlier that morning we didn't look very glammed up while we got our hair done. This is like one of those before and after shows, haha! No makeup, old clothes and serious dark circles....at least for me. Court already at that blushing bride glow going on.
A couple of hours later, her hair was almost complete and just had to wait for the curls to relax a bit.
It took two hours for the poor stylist to do my hair. Thats how much of it there is. Even hours later (and the next day!) these curls barely relaxed.
Next up, the other bridesmaids got their hair done, while the bride's pooch joined us for cuddles and treats. She could sense that something was going on.
The mother-of-the-bride created a beautiful lunch spread of quinoa and rice flour crepes!
There were so many great fillings to chose from - pineapple, apple with schnapps, bananas with rum and blueberries.
We all filled up our plates as it would be while before we had a chance to eat again.
It was one last kiss from the father-of-the-bride (so sweet!) and then we were off.
This is the gorgeous dress that the bride found. I had only seen a cell phone pic before this and was in awe when I saw the real thing. So elegant and light...it honestly looked like she was walking on a cloud.