Another day, another Pinterest recipe…or 3.

Now that Christmas is creeping near, I like to act like it’s cold outside(even though it’s been about 80 here every day) and make yummy cozy warm food–and there seriously is nothing better than a beef stew.

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 I don’t know what I read or when I read it, but I was hellbent on having my stew over top of mashed potatoes so it was important for me to find a recipe that didn’t have potatoes in the stew itself and I was SO happy when I found a recipe for Irish Beef Stew over mashed potatoes.  It was perfect, since I didn’t have any celery and I didn’t have any wine(the bottle I had was pretty old and opened a couple of months ago and I think I was just using it for decoration at this point(giving my kitchen a little class).
I stuck pretty tightly to the recipe, since I’m always nervous about starting something new to me, since I’ve always used those packets from the grocery store where the spices are all mixed in and ready to go.  The only big difference is that I made the recipe in my crock pot, adding ingredients as I prepped them.
First, I browned my meat and got my (low sodium) beef broth ready, since it was bouillon.  I pretty much burnt my meat, because for some reason it just tastes better when it’s seared to hell.  Right before I took the meat off of the heat, I tossed in the diced garlic to release a little flavor, and then I tossed it all in the crock pot and poured the broth on top.  I cleaned out my cast iron pan, since the fond of the meat wasn’t really flavorful so much as burned to the bottom, toss in a little more oil and browned my onions while chopping up my carrots.  I tossed those in, threw in herbs, and then added two additional ice cubes of my own homemade chicken broth(it was from a perpetual broth that I cooked down and then froze) for a little extra flavor.  Lidded it and set it on low and let it cook all day.
Within an hour I was salivating and I kept lurking over the crock pot because I have no self control.  I was very proud of myself because I did hold out!!  I did, later on, add another cube of my broth with about a cup of water because I love the gravy and I wanted to make sure I had a ton for my taters.
My potatoes were also an awesome Pinterest find, branching out from the fact that I had a container of ricotta cheese that was still half full after my eggplant involtini and honestly, I don’t cook with ricotta often so I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it.  The ricotta mashed potatoes were seriously easily to make and seriously delicious.  It was creamy and flavorful and absolutely great with the beef stew.  I didn’t make a single change to the recipe and I was pretty happy with my decision.
Let’s just say, the mister and I both had seconds and I totally had beef stew for breakfast the next day.  It was AMAZING.  I totally recommend these two recipes, together or apart, especially since you can easily adjust them to a particular low sodium diet that we work with here.  The beef broth is the only real sodium factor in the stew and you can find a low sodium broth at the store just as easily as a regular sodium one. If you make your own broth, you’re a cooking jedi and you already know that you can cut the salt way out and skip right to the flavor and make this recipe with almost no salt at all(and with a crock pot and a few bones and left over veggies pieces and some herbs you can make the best broth in your town with ease). The mashed taters, I only added a little sprinkle of salt on top for a little flavor and I used unsalted butter.
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BONUS ROUND!!!!!

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I’ve been discussing sprouting beans in a little facebook group I am in. Someone wanted to know some information, etc, so I decided to go ahead and start a Sprouting board on my pinterest. There are mostly links to how-to guides and nutritional facts.  Sadly I couldn’t find the one link I was looking for, where it broke down the nutritional increases day by day.
I did decide to go ahead and sprout some garbanzo beans I’ve had for a little while and make sprouted hummus.  From initial soaking to sprouting, my beans were in their jars for about 4 days.  I tried a different approach since I didn’t have cheese cloth on hand and I used coffee filters to top the jars.  They worked very well and maybe one day I will dish out the cash for the awesome lids that have screens in them but for now I can DIY it.
I did cook my beans for about 15-20 minutes before I made the recipe, you can try raw if you’d prefer, but I figured I’d try it this way and build up to raw.
The flavor was immense. It had a sweetness to it that I adored and I was eating it by the spoonful.  I think a big factor in your hummus is using an olive oil you enjoy.
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