Cutting Our Christmas Tree

I want to share some pictures with you of our adventure to our favourite Christmas tree farm to cut our Christmas tree.

Livi, Sarah, Melvin, Nellie, baby Josh, Skylar, & Krisit

Some of my children and grandchildren:  Livi, Sarah, Melvin, Nellie, baby Josh, Skylar, & Kristi

 

This year, we were looking for a small tree under 5 feet.  I decided after last year that I didn’t want to move any large furniture to accommodate the tree in the corner.   After wandering around the field for a while, we found the perfect tree and Melvin skillfully cut it down.

Timber!

Timber!

 

Darin and Amanda and the girls were off in another direction looking for their perfect Christmas tree.

Aunt Nellie carried baby Josh around in his baby carrier – even Josh enjoyed himself!

Baby Josh and Aunt Nellie

Baby Josh and Aunt Nellie

 

While we were tying down our trees to the top of our cars, the kids enjoyed horsing around in the snow.

Skylar, Kalia, and Livi

Grandkids Skylar, Kalia, and Livi

 

Then we were off to Darin and Amanda’s house for hot chocolate, chili, and board games (of course!).

Loading up the tree

Loading up the tree

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Beef Stew

Today was a fine day to make Beef Stew:  it was -20C on my outdoor thermometer when I woke up this morning at 6:30 a.m.

I’d actually planned to make it today anyway.  I’ve been saving my ‘potato water’ (water used to boil potatoes in) for several days now.  And we had a roast beef dinner a few days ago so I already had the leftover gravy, peas, and potatoes which I add.  I also bought some local beef to use, so I was all set this morning to begin.  I usually choose a big pot to make it in because by the time I add all the veggies and meat, it’s full!

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My wood cookstove was blazing away on this cold morning, so I made this stew on it, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  I find a long, slow cooking stew tastes great.

 

Beef Stew Recipe

Beef, stew beef or steak cut up into chunks or leftover roast beef.  The amount is up to you.

1/2 teaspoon olive oil or vegetable oil

1/2 celery, chopped

1/2 turnip, chopped into 1″ or so squares

2-3+ large carrots

1 onion

6+ potatoes, cut into 3″ chunks

leftover gravy, about 2 cups

Any leftover vegetables in your fridge

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2+ liters water (or ‘potato water’), as needed

 

Cut up the beef into 2 inch chunks, unless you’re using stewing beef already cut up.  Add the oil to the pot with a little water, just enough to cover the bottom.  Cook the beef until browned.

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Add the uncooked celery, turnip, onion, and carrots.  Cover with the ‘potato water’ or water.  Add salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to barely simmering for 3-5 hours or more.    This is easy to do on my cookstove as I simply move the pot over to the side where it’s less hot.

One and a half hours before you want to eat, add the raw potatoes and any leftover cooked veggies from your fridge.  I find that if you add the potatoes at the beginning, they fall apart by suppertime, after stewing all day.

Fifteen minutes before eating, add the leftover gravy.  Stir well.  Let it heat up until it starts to bubble slightly.  If you find it way too runny, you can mix some flour (1/4 cup) in a jar with 1/2 cup of COLD water, shake really well until it’s mixed completely with no lumps. Then add it to the stew and stir completely, allowing it to come to a boil, stirring often.

It’s ready!  We love to eat our beef stew with lots of whole wheat bread smothered in butter.  Mmmmmm.

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Leftover stew is even better the next day!  Which is why I always start out with a big pot.  You can eat it for supper again or have it for lunch.  It never goes to waste around here – I think our poor dog Yukon wishes there was more left over for him.

 

 

 

 

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