Poor Man’s Beef Stroganoff

What’s for dinner on a weeknight? Got some hamburger in the freezer, some fresh mushrooms, sour cream and a few other additional items and you have the poor man’s version of Beef Stroganoff:

I served it with a ten-minute instant pot recipe for artichoke. They are on sale this time of year, so perfect accompaniment for a simple dinner.

The recipe can vary based on the ingredients you have on hand. I find ground beef gives the best flavor but you can certainly substitute another type of ground meat such as ground turkey or pork.  If using something other than beef, you’ll likely want to add some extra Maggi or Beef Bouillon for a richer flavor!

This easy Ground beef stroganoff recipe is made from scratch with fresh ingredients (no Cream of Mushroom soup as there is too much sodium). This way too simple to make!  You’re literally just  minutes away from getting this beef stroganoff on the table!

  1. Brown beef, onions and garlic.
  2. Add mushrooms, sauce & seasonings.  Simmer a few minutes.
  3. Start your egg noodles cooking!
  4. Stir in sour cream and serve over egg noodles.

Sauce:

  • Sour cream may curdle if it boils so add the sour cream, after you have completed everything else.
  • You can use Greek yogurt if you do not have sour cream. I prefer “light” sour cream or non-dairy sour cream.

Add a little more flavor with any or all of the following:

  • A teaspoon or so of dijon mustard
  • Add a sprig or two of fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon of dried)
  • Add a couple of slices of chopped cooked bacon with the sour cream. ( You can cook it covered with a paper towel for six minutes)
  • Add a small bit of smoked paprika and a dash of hot sauce

I like to serve over thick fresh egg noodles, but you could serve it over potatoes, rice or normal pasta.

Poor Man’s Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 lb fresh mushrooms sliced ( I like a variety of fresh mushrooms)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth (I have bone broth, which worked great)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
Instructions
  • Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in a pan until no pink remains.
  • Add sliced mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 more minute. ( I cook my mushrooms separately ahead of time, so there is less liquid)
  • Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low 10 minutes.
  • Cook egg noodles according to package directions.
  • Remove beef mixture from the heat, Let sit to cool a bit, stir in sour cream and parsley.
  • Serve over egg noodles.

Enjoy with a nice bottle of red wine!

Poor Man’s Beef Stroganoff

My Little Cottage (not by the sea)

Life brings you joy, happiness, challenges, changes and a long list of other things. This last year I sold my beach house, got a divorce and could only afford a small older cottage. It is amazing how well we all can adopt.

So begins a new story in my life in a small waterfront town in Washington half a year, and in California the other half. The little house has literally nothing in the yard, but brush that people left for years under the trees. My gardener from my last house took out two full dump trucks full of yard waste and etc. I have spent a lot of time putting down beauty bark, and will slowly plant the garden. (not today) Friends have been generous with gleanings from their gardens, so I know in the long run it will be lovely and carefree! (In appearance, not maintenance)

The entire little house has been painted the brightest white available, and I would love to replace doors, trim and cabinets, but that is not in the budget at the moment. I cheated on the drawing, as the house is actually yellow, not my favorite color! So hopefully next summer we can paint it a nice dark gray.

Every day is a new and mostly fun challenge. Today I discovered who ever lived here waxed the ceramic tile floor. It was already kind of an ugly light pink, but it never looked clean. Today Clorox and a brush on my knees, and a metal scraper, helped it look a tiny bit better.

I serendipitously came to see my first love from college again about a year ago. His late wife was a sorority sister, a beautiful and smart woman whose Celebration of Life I attended. It was wonderful to see they had a wonderful life together. I guess I had always wondered how his life had gone. It was a beautiful celebration and I was so happy to know he had a good life and two wonderful children. It was amazing to reconnect with so many of my AX sorority sisters from fifty years ago.

Over time Reed & I talked and discovered, both being widowed there was still some magic in life. We are having a amazing time getting to know each other in our seventies. You never know what will happen in life.

With the wildfires and COVET 19 life is not simple for anyone. The air quality was so bad in Washington when I wrote this, I was not sure if it is even a good idea to go to my garage to paint. We are having strange times. I feel lucky to be sharing it with someone so positive, loving and laughing.

My Little Cottage (not by the sea)

Back in the Studio at last

It has taken quite a while to sort through everything and organize it, but I am there and was able to paint this week. My friend, Reed and I went on a drive last week to Brinnon where we took a very short hike to find the Rocky Brook Falls. I will admit we drove more back and forth trying to find the falls, than we did hiking, but it was worth the trip.

This is the photo that I used for the painting. As you can see I took a little “artists license” with the painting.

I’m not sure if I will attempt to paint this, but it surely was breathtaking.

Back in the Studio at last

Pain de Savoie

Pain de Savoie

Another successful Paul Hollywood bread recipe that is lovely to look at and even better to eat.  This one was devoured at my wine group. We were doing a Riesling night and the heavy texture with cheese and bacon was a perfect paring.  (or at least I thought so)

Pain de Savoie (makes 1 loaf)

400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

100g rye flour

10g salt

8g fast-action dried yeast

20ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling

330ml cool water

150g lardons, fried and cooled

200g Comté cheese, cut into 1cm cubes

Step 1: Mix the flours in a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the olive oil and 250ml of the water and mix with the fingers of one hand. Add as much of the rest of the water as you need to form a soft dough; rye flour takes a lot of water so you should need most or all of it. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and knead well for 5–10 minutes or more, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the cooled lardons, working them well into the dough. Form the dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled or trebled in size – at least 2 hours.

Step 2: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Knock back by pushing down on the dough with the heels of your hands, then your knuckles and fingertips, and folding the dough in on itself several times. Form each piece into a ball.

Step 3: Oil a 20cm springform cake tin. Roll out a ball of dough to a 1.5–2cm thick circle, to fit the tin and lay it in the bottom. Scatter over half of the cheese. Roll out a similar disc of dough and lay on top. Add the rest of the cheese. Roll out the final ball of dough and place on top. Dust with flour. Put the tin inside a roomy plastic bag and leave to prove for about 1 hour, or until well puffed up. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C. Bake the loaf in the oven for 30 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I am cooking my way through this book and have not yet had a failure, so really do recommend buying this book.  He shows you all the steps in wonderful photos, then shows you suggestions of what it tastes great with.  I have not been disappointed.  And I always leave the cookbook in my kitchen.  Not bad to look at either….

Happy Baking!

 

 

Pain de Savoie

Beached Surprise

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You just never know what might land on your waterfront.  This last week we had a decoration arrive.

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It just floated up and adorns our waterfront. I have seen a lot of things in the last fifteen years, but this is the closest and admittedly the “biggest”.  One year there were two huge diesel engines on an adjacent property, but they were small by comparison to this beauty.

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So when I posted photos on Facebook, friends suggested that I collect it and use as a coffee table.  What they did not grasp is that it would have to be a coffee table in the Land of Giants, as this puppy would not fit in my house.  So here is a photo to give you an idea of it’s immense size!

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Got to love living on the beach!  Should I call the Coast Guard??

Beached Surprise

Happy Birthday ???

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Yesterday in the mail, I received this book from my only brother as a “Birthday” gift. If you don’t know anything about the book, it is described on Amazon:

“Dinesh D’Souza, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller America, is back with this darkly entertaining deconstruction of Hillary Clinton’s flawed character and ideology. From her Alinskyite past to her hopes for America’s progressive future, the presumptive Democratic nominee is revealed to be little more than a political gangster intent on controlling the nation’s wealth. D’Souza chronicles the sleazy ascent of the Clintons and makes clear what some voters have long suspected: that Hillary is far more dangerous and corrupt than Bill ever was.”

I try to stay away from politics on my blog and will continue to do that. My brother is a stupidly loyal Trump fan and definitely not a Hillary fan. At the start of the presidential campaign he sent email after email against Hillary and for Trump.  I nicely asked him to stop several times and finally just had to block his emails.  I took him off my newsfeed on Facebook, as I did not want to read his rantings of “Fake News”.

So why would someone send this as a Birthday Gift?  I have not idea, so I marked “Return to Sender” and dropped it off at the Post Office.

I am glad it is almost Fall, as it has not been a good summer for me.  I was told if I say anything more about certain family members I will be sued for slander.  I never said anything bad, just a note of what happened. The asthma attack brought on by the fires up north and a dog in the house, was not fun or the trip to Urgent Care. I discovered my neighbor is slowly trying to kill my bamboo, by cutting over thirty stalks at three feet.  I just got this lovely birthday gift and now looking into my fish tank, I think my cat ate George, one of my Betas as he is not in the tank and the Catfish bottom feeder looks quite dead.

So the summer is coming to an end.  The best part of summer was having my granddaughter here for three months. If only all this other shit hadn’t happened, it would have been the perfect summer.

Here’s to Fall.

 

Happy Birthday ???

Finding the Fabulous Clothes

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So from my blog yesterday we learned we should not wear pants that hit below the waist once you are over 30.  Here is my question: Where do you find jeans that fit comfortably to the waist, have a good cut and look a little in style? I honestly do not know.

Here is the other question, why is it okay for under thirty year-olds to wear these and just let their bulges hang out?

I buy the jeans I can find that fit and luckily enough I am short so they do come higher up on my torso. To find jeans that look good and come to the waist seems a lost cause.

Wearing mini skirts or short shorts at any age is somewhat questionable.  I wonder if many young women look in a rear view mirror when putting on short shorts or mini skirts. I see way too much free floating cellulite on any given day in summer in the Pacific Northwest. It is not a very flattering look.

“Sexy Grandma” t-shirts just are not sexy. As I did my shopping earlier today, one of the things I did notice is that woman of all ages and sizes love t-shirts with writing on them. I did not see even one that looked at all good. I wear them for gardening and cleaning house.  I used to think it was kind of fun, but looking around I think it is kind of not.

Plunging necklines or waist high splits work from about twenty-five to thirty-five.  Younger than twenty-five just looks like you attempting to be a slut, and over about thirty or so who needs to see your wrinkly skin; it is just not sexy.

I never got the “see-through” look.  Why do you have to try and show off everything, even it looks fantastic.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

In the last view years it seems you can get out of bed and go shopping in your pajamas. I guess that is where the wrinkly look is popular.  I think it is great for someone under five and going directly on an airplane, but adults in jammies is like going to a black tie dinner in jeans.  It is done, but it is not appropriate.

Okay, so I like my gold hoops, when I am not wearing my diamonds.  So many earrings are so foo foo they take away from what you are wearing.  KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid. I know it is really meant to be Keep It Super Simple, but I like the first interpretation.

And finally, if I could bear the pain of walking in heels, I would wear them with everything. I do wonder at what height they could become more of a weapon than a look.

As we mature, looser is better, unless you live at the gym. Calmer is better look.  This morning I saw a very blonde, my age woman wearing the brightness yellow pants and sweater I have seen in a long time. It did catch my attention, but I am not so sure in what way.

As I said before dress how you feel best, but look in the mirror from all angles before you  go out. That toliet paper hanging off the back of your skirt could have been saved.

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Finding the Fabulous Clothes

The Quiet Life Begins Again

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Summer is coming to an end and the  entourage of guests is coming to an end at the same time. Entertaining my six year-old granddaughter had highs and a few lows. With little people it is interesting how perfectly behaved they can be for about two to three weeks, then familiarity begins and you are no longer a “fun” person, you are just another boring adult.  You have not changed, but their perception of the environment takes a turn. You are no longer new and exciting.

Summer Camp at the Boys and Girls Club saved the day for most of the summer, as she made new friends, had lots of fun activities and great field trips.  I joined them bowling in Silverdale, but decided the bus ride was a bit unruly for me, so did not sign-up for any more field trips. It was joy to watch my granddaughter bowl for the first time ever.  Of the three busloads of children, the high score (using bumpers) and on my team was 99.

When my son recently came to pick her up, we decided to take her bowling. So my off we went.  We discovered a ramp you can use for littler people that lines up the bowling ball and they just push it off. The one in Silverdale is hand-made wood, but worked just as well.

It certainly improved her score. She came in with a score of 98, the best of the group. The rest of us came in with scores in the 80’s. Maybe they should have ramps for all ages, especially seniors. Guess we are not a family of bowlers. The last time I personally bowled you had to keep your own score, not a plasma screen up above the alley for all to see just how bad your were.  They have senior bowl three games for free on Wednesdays.  Maybe I should work on improving my score, and it my be good for my arthritis as my hands were pretty sore.

This should have been the best summer ever, as my granddaughter is a joy to be around. In reflection I think I will try to only remember the joy of sharing her summer and not the heartache of some other visitors. It was a summer where I learned maybe you just need to make yourself happy and not feel responsible for the happiness of others.

My three adult sons got to spend a weekend together. It was not without its events, but they did get to spend time talking and catching up. A couple of their friends they had not seen in a while came over and they all initiated our new beach side deck. Pavers are now under the fire pit, rather than warped boards.

My husbands children arrived for the next weekend. They spent time on the new deck and added a little more initiation rites to the deck as they stayed up and talked into the night. Maybe we need to think of a way to have “smaller” fires. I wish I could say that weekend went well, but it ended on a majorly sour note.

We all see the world through our own set of blinders. We see what we want to see, how we want to see it. We can all be in the same room at the same time and have a totally different experience. Our memory of what is said and done is biased by our view of life. The bias can be small or it can be extreme. I learned a little of the extreme before I had to start blocking emails.  I now know my view of the world is my view and only my view. People may understand how you see the world, but they do not see it the same way.

Next summer I think we just take a vacation. It would probably cost a lot less money than what we spent on toys, clothes, food and wine and for some reason I think it might a lot less stressful.

As our children grow into adults and become the people they are going to be our role changes and we are no longer the parent. Adapting to whatever role we have or don’t have in their lives is not as simple as one might think. We are no longer the person of knowledge that we were in their youth. As we become grayer in hair, we are perhaps grayer to them, not the lively over-active person they have always known.

One night I took my granddaughter to a local Mexican restaurant to dinner. We ordered guacamole with the chips, as they come with just salsa. I ordered two tacos and she had a quesadilla. Neither of us are big eaters, so I never order full blown meals there. When I the bill came I was charged for two orders of guacamole. I pointed it out to the waiter and realized by his expression he did not think I would notice.  Telling my older neighbor about this she shared that she thinks people see your gray or white hair and think you have less gray matter in your brain.

When I started getting gray hair, I did not start getting stupid. When I started getting gray hair I did not start to get meaner, but I do stand up for what I believe in. As I get more gray hair I am seeing people view you differently than they did when you were younger. I am finally okay with that, but I do think you need to look for the humor. The other day when I was out running errands I found a sign to put by my front door.  If I can match the paint, I may change the W in WITCH to a B.

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The Quiet Life Begins Again

Celebrate Solitude

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In our busy world, we seldom take time for ourselves.  We keep busy working and taking care of others. Once in a while it is good to step back and enjoy our surroundings.  Where we live in the Pacific Northwest we are surrounded by the beauty of nature. At this point in my life I live in a cottage I personally designed and built on a quiet cove, near a quiet town with limited traffic sounds in the distance.

This summer my husband with the help of two sons, built a deck about twenty feet from the edge of the water. The fire pit in the middle keeps you warm for conversation in the evenings.  This summer fires burned often and conversations continued till close to dawn.  I will have to admit I did not take part in the late night gatherings, but was glad for the hum of family and friends enjoying the beach.

The other night with guests galore in the house I found myself with the only room available being our living room.  I was reading a book, but was not in the mood for what I was reading. I looked out at the beach and noticed no one was around.  I grabbed a bottle of champagne, a glass, my down coat and walked by myself to the beach and the new deck.

It was a glorious early evening with lights still dancing on the water and  a group of geese floating nearby on the water.  In the early evening there was little traffic, the park across the water was empty as it was dusk. Opening the champagne, not in celebration but in “Oh My God, I need a drink” after the week that was still happening, I sat and decided I was the only one that could make and keep myself happy.  We all determine our own self worth, how we view the world and how we feel about who we are. No one but you can do that.

Like a copper tea pot, others can abuse you, put dents in your soft exterior, overheat you till you are no longer the beautiful copper you once were, but unless they put holes in your body, you can still make a great cup of tea.

As the sun set further and the chill of the night set in, I sat in quiet reverence enjoying the time by myself. I was saddened by the events of the last few days, but knew it was still a lovely place to live.  Harsh words could not take that away from me. I had worked hard all my life to finally be able to live on a beach where I could easily put sand between my toes.  I had done it on my own as a single mother. I no longer needed or wanted what I had in past and am content in my here and now. At some point in time taxes and life will take away this spot in the world that is mine to enjoy for the moment. When that time comes I will try to remember this moment in time when all was well with the world, the champagne was cold and I was content to not answer to anyone.

Look for that space in your life. As a child I had a special walnut tree in our orchard where I would climb and sit and dream about the future. Now I am content to sit and wonder where life will take me next.

Celebrate Solitude

Pianos are not “IN” anymore

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In my attempt to get rid of everything now, instead of waiting mode, I am finding the things I treasure are not even worth anywhere what I thought they might be.  I have a beautiful 1907 Mahogany Etsey grand piano with ivory keys and a new soundboard.  I have not played it much since marrying six years ago, as my husband is much better than I am.  I am a little embarrassed to play if he is around.  I took lessons for several years, but my first love of music was the clarinet, so my left hand does not mind as well as my right. Trying to work them together doing different things with each hand is just not intuitive to me.

Growing up on a farm in Northern California, we were not poor, we were dirt poor.  I never realized just how poor we were till I was an adult. My father worked two jobs and my mother was an elementary teacher.  We lived in a house that had been passed down from my great grandmother.  It was a very old house with no central heat, a cesspool behind the garage and the only bathroom where remodeling was started, but was never finished, so we had plywood countertops for years. The kitchen counter was rotted linoleum by the sink, but we had many wonderful family meals in the kitchen on our 1950’s now retro table. My mother played the piano, but my family could not afford lessons for me, so I did not have the opportunity to learn.  My mother played for church and school as my grandparents had an old upright piano where she learned.  I often wondered why I was not allowed to take lessons and play their piano, as they lived next door.

When I married the father of my three sons he supported my wanting to learn the piano and bought me a very nice upright piano, where two of my sons took lessons in Del Mar. We left the piano behind moving to the Northwest, with the promise when our gorgeous new home was complete we would buy a new grand piano.  The house was designed with that in mind. For my fortieth birthday, and the year Fred died he bought me a beautiful black concert grand piano where all three boys and myself took private lessons. When I sold that house, as after he died, it was just too big (7000 square feet) I designed the next house with a separate area for that beautiful piano. It had been used by the Seattle Opera, so it was signed by the conductor of the orchestra and had “Lionel Hampton” casters.  We had to hire a crane to get the piano to the second story conservatory for the piano.  In hind sight it was not the best place for the piano, as it was in a very private space away from the main area of the house.  I did practice every day for the years that we lived there; but since I had to go back to work full time to support my sons and I no longer took lessons.  By then they were teenagers and could not be bothered with  piano lessons.

When my taxes grew and grew and grew and I decided it was time to make a change, I had to hire a bigger crane to move the piano.  At the time I was not sure where I was going to move, so I put the piano in storage. I knew I would most likely never have a house with enough space for my beautiful fortieth birthday gift, so when I moved to my beach house I traded it in for the one I have today.

When I called the piano store where I purchased the Etsey grand, the owner informed me he had closed the store and works out of his garage. He told me pianos no longer sell well. He suggested I look on Ebay and see how many thousand pianos were offered for sale. It is sad that so many of the beautiful elegantly crafted and perfectly designed objects that were loved in the past are dismissed in today’s world. Not only are they unwanted, but if you happen to have them, many in the younger generation do not understand the significance they might have had in your life and think it is sill that you have not sold them for the “money”?

Now I guess I am going to keep it and when all the company of summer leaves, I may find somewhere to take piano lessons once again, as it is so relaxing. Maybe when my day comes, I will just donate all my beautiful things to a good cause, as I truly to do not want to burden my family with the bother of selling them.  Ha Ha

 

 

Pianos are not “IN” anymore