Crock Pot Beef & Vegetable Soup

Hi All!  Today I made a family recipe for beef and vegetable soup.  It turned out great and was perfect for a cold, rainy day.

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Ingredients
– 2 pounds of bottom round cut beef.  Top round and English roast also work.
– 12 oz. can of tomato sauce
– Small bag of frozen mixed vegetables (mine had peas, corn, carrots, and green beans)
– 3/4 cup of frozen lima beans (optional)
– 4 to 5 stalks of celery, cut in to small slices
– 3 to 4 red potatoes, cut in to chunks
– 1 beef bouillon cube
– 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
– 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
– 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– water

Directions
– The night before, rinse the beef and put in crock pot.  Pour cold water in to crock pot over the beef until it is just covered.  Cook on low overnight.
– In the morning, remove the beef from the crock pot.  Using two forks, shred the beef.  Discard any fat.
– Keep the water that’s left over in the crock pot because this is the start of your broth.  Add the beef bouillon cube, tomato sauce, and the spices/seasoning to the crock pot. Stir.
– Add the beef and vegetables to the crock pot and stir until ingredients are mixed.  Cook on low all day (8-10 hours) or on high 4-6 hours.

I served the soup with yummy cinnamon muffins straight from the oven.

Enjoy!

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Veterans Day

Today marks the 98th anniversary of the end of WWI.  It is also Veterans Day in the U.S. which is a national holiday designated to honoring and thanking those who have served in the U.S. military.  A huge “thank you” to all veterans.  I hope you had an amazing day and got to enjoy the weather as much as I did.

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November Morning

I woke up early today to go to a craft show.  I didn’t stay long but I did buy a homemade soy peppermint candle and a homemade Christmas card.  It was a cold morning, but it was sunny and there wasn’t much of a breeze, so it didn’t feel too bad out.  After I got home, the sun was still low and it was casting interesting shadows.  So I grabbed my camera.

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Anyone started their Christmas shopping yet?  I’ve only bought three things so far and I have A LOT more to go.  I really enjoy buying things for other people, but the problem is coming up with gifts that a.) they don’t already have and b.) they’ll like.  Wish me luck!

Decorating for Autumn

I usually don’t put up autumn decorations (because I didn’t really have any), but this year I decided to change that.  I had a hard time figuring out how to decorate my mantel without going out and buying more things, but I think it turned out cute in the end.  How do you decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or autumn in general?

 

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The pumpkin picture I took in 2012. The banner I bought at Target for a few dollars. Everything else was purchased at various places like Jo-Ann Fabrics and HomeGoods.

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Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Hello everyone!  I want to share with you the recipe for a quick and easy dinner I’ve made a lot recently.

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas!

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound of chicken (I use chicken tenders cause they’re cheaper and cook quickly, but you can use chicken breasts instead.  Or you can use seasoned ground beef. Or you can go vegetarian which is awesome too.)
  • Bell peppers and onions.  I use the pre-packaged “fajita vegetable mix” in the produce section.  Super easy.
  • Flour tortillas. I use the 10 inch shells but you can go smaller with the 8 inch if you’d prefer.
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Shredded cheese
  • Your choice of toppings (sour cream, guacamole, green onions, cilantro, salsa, etc.)
  • Butter for cooking the tortillas

Directions

1. Poach the chicken until done. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred in to small pieces using two forks. Mix 1-2 tablespoons (depending on your preference) of taco seasoning with the chicken.

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2. In a skillet, mix olive oil with the bell peppers and onion. Stirring frequently, cook over medium-high heat until peppers and onions are soft.

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3. Heat a separate skillet on medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter and allow it to melt.  Place a tortilla in the skillet and move it around a bit so the butter evenly coats the bottom. Then add cheese, the onion/pepper mix, and the chicken. Top with a second tortilla shell.

 

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4. Check the bottom of the tortilla fairly often because it burns quickly.  Once the tortilla starts to brown, place a dinner plate on top of the quesadilla.  Pick the skillet up and flip the quesadilla on to the plate.  I usually wear an oven mitt on the hand holding the plate in place so I don’t burn myself.

5. Melt a bit more butter in the skillet.  Using a large spatula, transfer the quesadilla from the plate back to the skillet.

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6. Once the bottom is browned, remove the quesadilla from the skillet using a spatula.  Cut it in to four even pieces (so it’s easier to eat)

Enjoy!

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Shadows and Light

I went back to the park yesterday to take some pictures.  I was hoping to get some practice with my macro lens by taking pictures of flowers and other small things, but there wasn’t really anything small that stood out to me.  Instead, I used my favorite lens, a fixed 50mm high aperture lens (f/1.4), to take pictures of some really great light.

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I hope you’ve had a wonderful June so far.  June is my favorite month and I’m looking forward to a long, warm, and productive summer.