Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainy Days are good for Beef Stew & Baking~

Zucchini Bread
Today one our learners awoke with the sniffles. Its about 54 degrees here in the lakes region of New Hampshire and it is pouring rain outside.

We decided today would be a good day to do some catching up on our read a-loud book we are reading to go along with our history and the Puritans ( The Witch Of Blackbird Pond). We snuggled and read for a while then the youngest needed some rest.

All the rain outside and not doing formal studies got me thinking about dinner and gave me an idea to get the oven going in this nice cool weather and bake something. I had left over zucchini from our local farm stand so I decided to bake some zucchini bread.  We love zucchini bread. I use a fantastic recipe from one of Paula Deen's Cookbooks ( The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook)  and it has been a favorite in our house ever since.

Here is the recipe for Paula Deen's Zucchini Bread:
yields 2 loaves~
3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour                   1 cup vegtable oil
1 1/2 teas salt                                            4 eggs, beaten
1 teas ground nutmeg                                 2/3 cup water
2 teas baking soda                                     2 cups, grated zucchini
1 teas ground cinnamon                              1 teas lemon juice
3 cups of sugar                                           1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350.Grease and flour bread pans~  Mix dry ingredients except for nuts in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients, fold dry ingredients into wet bowl, and add nuts.  Bake in two loaf pans for 1hour or until done.
This bread keeps well, freezes well and improves in flavor with time.

Beef Stew with Apples
For dinner tonight I decided on Beef Stew.   I make a really different kind of beef stew, I combined a few different recipes a few years back and it seems to be a real favorite in our home.
I use sirloin tip beef cut up or sometimes stew beef approximately 1 1/2- 3/4 of a lb.  (depending on how many I am feeding ) I add to the crock pot 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and one packet of McCormick's Hunter Sauce and 3/4 of a can of water and mix well. Add one medium chopped up onion and celery  ( approximately 2/3 cup or so) and then add cinnamon flavored apple sauce to it ( about one or two of the individual packages you can buy in the store. If you don't have those just use 2 apples cut up any old way and I simmer this for a few hours on low and then about two hours before we are ready to eat I will add our carrot chunks  ( 3 carrots ) and potatoes  ( in this one I used about 5 red bliss, quartered) let simmer and add peas or anything else you prefer in your beef stew. The apples kill the bitterness of the beef flavor and give it a nice mellow flavor we enjoy so much ~ YUM, I serve it with a big salad and/or biscuits, sometimes the boys like to have it served over egg noodles also ~ :)

Off to go check my banana breads I have in the oven! Will share that recipe a bit later~ :)


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