Monday, February 28, 2011

Perfect Medium Rare Roast Beef

Today I wanted to share my favorite way to cook roast beef. The technique comes from The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook by Richard Kimball, Editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine. (This is the same cookbook that has my favorite Blueberry Boy-Bait recipe!)
Davey Baby picked out this 4 lb. boneless blade roast @ Hannaford. I rinsed it off and patted dry with paper towels. Salt & pepper the roast.
Heat your oven to 250 degrees. While the oven is warming, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven on the stove. Add the roast and brown thoroughly on all sides.

Place in oven and cook 40-50 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 110 degrees. I like to use my cast iron dutch oven because it can go from stove top to oven.

Increase oven temp to 500 degrees and cook until the internal temp reaches 130 degrees, 15-20 minutes more.

Remove from oven and let it sit 20 minutes before carving.
This produces a perfect medium-rare roast. If you prefer roasts more well done (although the more you cook it the dryer and tougher the meat) cook it to an internal temp of 140 degrees but no higher. After 140 degrees the meat loses it's juices and becomes stringy and tough.
I boiled the potatoes and carrots on the stove top and we had a delicious Sunday supper.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

American Egg Board News & Giveaway!

I was enthused when the American Egg Board forwarded me this new information about eggs and their cholesterol content:

According to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data*, eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously thought. The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously recorded. Consuming an egg a day fits easily within dietary guidance, which recommends limiting cholesterol consumption to 300 mg per day.

The analysis also revealed that a single large egg now contains 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent from 2002. Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of Vitamin D, which plays an important role in calcium absorption, helping to form and maintain strong bones. The amount of protein in one large egg - 6 grams of protein or 12% of the Recommended Daily Value - remains the same. The high-quality protein in eggs provides the energy families need to perform their best on important days.

Eggs are all-natural, and one egg has lots of vitamins and minerals all for 70 calories. At less than 15 cents a piece, eggs are an affordable and delicious breakfast option. For more information on cholesterol and the nutritional benefits of eggs, along with egg recipes and cooking tips, visit

*In 2010, a random sample of regular large shell eggs was collected from locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs. The testing procedure was last completed with eggs in 2002, and while most nutrients remained similar to those values, cholesterol decreased by 14% and vitamin D increased by 64% from 2002 values.

This is great news! To celebrate this good news The American Egg Board has offered 1 Money Saving Maine-iac Reader a set of 2 Poach Pods and 1 Egg Timer. These are so cool I want a set!

You know here at the Hewson house we are big on egg breakfasts. Here are a few egg recipes I have shared with you in the past:
Want to win?!  Hop over to Money Saving Maine-iac and enter to win a set of 2 Egg Pods and 1 Egg Timer.  Giveaway ends 3/5/11.

Good Luck!

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    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Best Friend Makers

    Need a best friend?  These babies will get you one!  They're perfectly brownie-ish without being too bold; the coconut, pecans, and white chocolate chips add just a little something without being too complicated; and it's all wrapped up in a sweet and golden package that is the definition of cozy.  See?  Best friend material right there!  But if you prefer your best friend in human form, this recipe makes enough to share with your current best friends and maybe even make you some new ones :)


    Best Friend Makers (aka Congo Bars)
    adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner

    1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped*
    1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
    1 c. white chocolate chips
    1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
    1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    4 tsp. vanilla extract (yes, 4!)

    Preheat oven to 350°.  Fit two pieces of aluminum foil crosswise into a 9x13" baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges.  Spritz evenly with nonstick cooking spray.  It’s important to line the pan with foil because you want to be able to remove the bars from the pan by simply lifting the foil overhang on both sides. Then, you can peel down the foil and slice them perfectly.  

    Toss together the pecans, coconut, and white chocolate chips in a medium bowl; set aside.  Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.  

    Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix.  Fold in chocolate, coconut, and nuts.  Turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.  

    Bake until top is shiny and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and share with all your best friends. 

    * Note:  I'm a big fan of buying chopped, roasted pecans from Trader Joe's.  They're very reasonably priced, and the work is already done for you.  They're perfect for baking and for sprinkling on oatmeal or salads.  But, to roast and chop your own pecans:  Preheat oven to 350°. Spread nuts on a larged rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside.

    Ingredient Lineup:

     Layer 2 pieces of foil crosswise over a 9x13" pan, making sure you have
    overhang down the pan sides.  Then, lightly coat with cooking spray.

    Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar until combined.

    Stir in the flour mixture with a spatula.

     Fold in the pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips until combined.

     Spread the stiff dough into prepared cake pan.

     Bake until golden and shiny.

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    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Blog Love

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    Sorry folks, I'm down and out sick.  There is no cooking going on over here and therefore I have no recipes to share.  I didn't want to leave you empty handed though so I thought I'd share some of my favorite food blogs.

    What Megan's Making

    Bellicious Kids (she has a main site too...I just happen to like her kid page)

    Make 5 dinners in 1 hour

    Once a Month Mom

    And of course...who could forget the Pioneer Woman


    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    2 Days - 2 Meals - 1 Clean Up

    A few weeks ago my friend Le'Cinda gave me this great recipe for making 2 meals for 2 nights in a row in the crock pot. Besides tasting supper yummy - you only have to clean the crock pot once! You read that right. ONCE.

    Night One: Brisket with fingerling potatoes, carrots, asparagus and salad.


    Buy a preseason-ed brisket and place it in a crock pot with enough water to almost cover it. Cook on low over night and the next day. Serve with veggies and a salad. I made fingerling potatoes, carrots, roasted asparagus and a garden salad. Since the main dish was busy cooking away in the crock pot I was able to bring my kids into the kitchen to help with the veggies. They had a ball breaking the tough ends off of the asparagus and peeling carrots. I had a ball because I wasn't stressing out about making sure that everything got done in time for supper. Win -Win.

    Night Two: Brisket Beans with fried potatoes and skillet cornbread.


    In the cooking liquid that is left over from night one, dump in a bag of brown beans that you have picked. Make sure that you take the time to pick out the broken ones and any stones. Add any remaining brisket and cover with water. Cover and cook on low over night and the next day. Serve with a side and cornbread. I made fried potatoes and skillet cornbread.

    Note to self: It's time to upgrade to a bigger crock pot. You have been able to scoot by with the medium size for a while now...but with 4 growing like weed's past time that you bought one that matches the size of your family. 


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    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Mushroom & Barley Stuffed Bell Peppers

    Mushroom & Barley Green Peppers

    8 oz. Pkg. button mushroom - chopped (about 2 cups)
    2 yellow onions - chopped (about 1 cup)
    1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 cup cooked pearl barley
    1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese (I like the Jalepeno variety)
    Salt & Pepper
    3 large bell peppers
    1 cup marinara sauce

    1. 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

      2.Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring until the onions are browned.

      3.Stir in the barley, salt & pepper to taste. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and set aside.

      4.Rinse the bell peppers. Slice in half from top to bottom. Remove and discard the seeds and pith.

      5.Spread the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.

      6.Stuff pepper halves your mushroom and barley mixture.

      7.Sprinkle tops of peppers with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

      8.Tent the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

      9.Bake for 30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

      10.Remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of baking
    I love that I created this recipe myself and that you can change the flavor by changing the cheese to whatever you have on hand. When cooking the barley for this dish I like to add 1 Knorr vegetable boullion cube to the cooking water.

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    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Ginger Carrot Soup

    I have been wanting to try Earthbound Farm's Ginger Carrot Soup recipe for a very long time.  With this sale I was able to pick up 4 bags of organic carrots for free.  I've made 2 batches of this delicious soup!  Freezing the second batch for future lunches.

    2 Tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
    1 piece (3 inches long) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    4 cups peeled, sliced carrots (about 1 1/4 lb.)
    5 cups vegetable stock or low sodium vegetable broth
    1/2 cup orange juice
    Pinch of ground nutmeg
    Sea salt, to taste
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Creme fraiche or sour cream, as garnish

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Note: I used only a two inch piece of ginger in the second batch and liked it better. I couldn't taste the carrots in the first batch. Too much ginger for my taste buds.

    Add the carrots, stock and juice. For the stock I substituted 3 Knorr vegetable bouillon cubes & 5 cups water. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes.

    Puree the soup in the saucepan using an immersion blender. Or allow the soup to cool a bit, then puree it in a blender or food processor and return it to the saucepan. If you like a smoother texture, pass the pureed soup through a sieve.

    Add the nutmeg, plus salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, thin it with more water or stock.

    To serve the soup chilled, refrigerate it until cold, at least 6 hours or up to 5 days. To serve the soup warm, heat it slowly over medium-low heat. Serve the soup garnished with a spoonful of creme fraiche. If desired, create a swirl pattern in the soup by dragging the tip of a knife or fork through the white creme fraiche into the orange soup. Note: I tried to get fancy with our soup bowls but I just couldn't get the sour cream to 'swirl'. I think if the sour cream was at room temp. first I may have had better luck. :)

    This was such a bright and cheery soup to serve , a perfect foil for our blank landscape outside. The flavor was amazing! I strongly recommend trying this recipe. I actually 'felt' healthier eating this soup! 

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    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Overnight Slow Cooker Oatmeal

    How on earth had I not cooked with steel cut oats before this?  I'd heard of them, and I'd certainly seen the cans of them on the bottom shelf of my grocery store, looking all fancy and expensive.  But, my life was certainly lacking until I finally bought my very first can of steel cut oats.  They have an amazing aroma when you open the can - it's kind of nutty, and as weird as it sounds, they smell cozy and warm.  The steel cut oats look like they come straight from a wheat field, and something about that made me feel good about what I was cooking.  Ahhh...

    Anyway, our task at hand - Overnight Oatmeal.  I adore this recipe.  It's only a few ingredients that you toss into a crockpot, and when you wake up the next morning, it's cozy warm breakfast time with zero effort.  The oats cook up fluffy, almost like a tapioca pudding.   And the recipe itself is a cinch to remember:  8 hours, 8 cups, 2 cups, 2 Tbsp, 2 tsp...  Something about easy numbers makes my heart skip a beat.


    Overnight Oatmeal
    Adapted from Foodista

    8 c. water
    2 c. dry steel cut oats
    2 Tbsp. butter
    2 tsp. cinnamon, optional
    1 c. dried fruit

    Stir all ingredients together in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours overnight. In the morning, stir well and add milk, spices, or additional toppings to your liking.  To reheat, add water or milk and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Microwave until steamy, and stir before serving.  Makes 8 1-cup servings.

    Ingredient Lineup (minus the butter, whoops!):

    Steel Cut Oats are very coarse (and remind me of chicken feed, lol).
    Do not try this recipe using anything but the steel cut oats, 
    because other kinds will just turn to gross mush after 8 hours.

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    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Caramel-Nut Breakfast Biscuits


     Miss Maddy and I made these scrumptious Caramel-Nut Breakfast Biscuits from Pillsbury's e-newsletter last week. They were super fast and easy to fact Miss Maddy did all of the work with just instruction on my part.



    1 teaspoon butter or margarine, softened
    6 Tablespoons butterscotch or caramel topping
    1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
    6 Tablespoons chopped walnuts {I used pecans}
    1 can of Biscuits {I used Grand's}
    1 teaspoon sugar

    Heat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bottom and sides of 2 (6-oz) custard cups {I used a 9x13} with softened butter. In small bowl, stir together topping and cinnamon. Divide between custard cups. Sprinkle with walnuts. Place frozen biscuit in each cup. Sprinkle each biscuit with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
    Bake 23 to 27 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy. Immediately run sharp knife around edge of cup; turn each upside down onto serving plate. Slowly lift custard cup from biscuit, releasing biscuit onto plate. Spread any topping remaining in cup over biscuit. Cool 5 minutes before serving.


    I have to say: I am so thankful for Hubby. He does all the dishes for us so that I can spend this extra time with my kids teaching them to cook and a love for cooking. On this particular night he did the dishes for this recipe plus 3 more. I also made Chili and skillet cornbread with Avery and coconut bread with Ethan. Without Hubby doing on our clean up crew...I am not sure that I would have the will, energy or time to play in the kitchen with my kids.

    Who does your dishes?


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