Thursday, November 06, 2008
Mrs. McGill's Beef Stew and Bran Muffins
On a rainy day more than a year ago, I set off on a work assignment to interview an artist for a local magazine I edited. My hair was frizzing, I was hungry and stressed. The last thing I wanted to do was drive across town with a photographer to interview an artist.
The house was surrounded by tall trees and more flowers than I had seen in the Pond, which normally features cactus and mesquite trees. Grabbing my notebook, I headed inside with the photographer.
The artist was no normal flaky crafter. This woman had a gift. Not only was she original and talented, but she was kind and delighted we were there. Her enthusiasm was sincere and heartwarming. First, we sat in her cozy kitchen were she served us slices of lemon coffee cake and coffee. She spoke of her family, her art and wanted to know everything about what we did.
The two hours at her house flew by. I was enchanted. Besides Marie and Libby, there are few women I have instantly connected with. Mrs. McGill was one of them. Her positivity overwhelmed me and I loved the joy she took in her work. As we left, she looked up at me and said, "Oh do come back! I do love having visitors."
I promised her I would. And I have at around once a month for almost two years.
When I come over, Mrs. McGill always fixes some tasty meal. I used to bring her sandwiches since she doesn't like to go out much, but now she insists on cooking and I bring her some kind of baked treat in return. Even though she's past 80, Mrs. McGill was raised with a mother who was ahead of her time, preaching the values of more vegetables, natural food and lean and less meat in meals. But even Mrs. McGill knows the value of fried chicken.
This is her stew. I have a lot to learn.
Mrs. McGill's Beef Stew
1-2 Packages of stew meat beef*
1 onion, sliced or chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 large potato or 3 medium potatoes
Half a bag of frozen carrots
1-2 cans beef broth
Brown meat and crushed garlic in Wessen oil, just a slight amount. Add onion and brown a little more. Add two cans of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and beef broth. Simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.
* I marinate my beef in Lowry's beef marinade for 15-20 minutes and season it with pepper and Lawry's salt.
No good stew is complete without some tasty bread. In keeping with my healthy theme, here's the recipe for bran muffins from my new favorite book, Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.
Wheat Bran Muffins from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook
1 /14 cups wheat or oat bran
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk ( I used 2 %)
1/3 cup honey ( I used more honey.)
1/4 cup refrigerated egg product ( I used an egg.)
1 tblspn. cooking oil
1/2 cup raisins
1) Spray muffin pan. Mix wheat, flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt. Make well in center of dry mixture.
2) In another bowl combine applesauce, milk, honey, egg and oil.
3) Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in raisins. Batter should be lumpy.
4) Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack for five minutes. Remove from cups (I used a knife around the edges) and serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.
*The book says that if 100% oat bran isn't available, place 1 1/3 cups rolled oats in a food processor and blend until like flour.
Tomorrow, a new Miss Pickles! And Saturday, we have the beginning of our first holiday story to whisk you off to a fabulous weekend of frivolity!