Friday, March 9, 2012

Crock Pot o' Gold Month (Part 1)

In like a lion and out like a..well, I'm not sure how to finish that and frankly this unpredictable March weather worries me. March is still supposed to be cold in Chicago and yet nature is enabling people to wear seasonably inappropriate footwear. In any case, this month is all about the comforts of warm food and the convenience of an electric slow cooker. What's better than cooking? Not cooking. I got my crock-pot for Christmas and I can't stop finding uses for it. I apologize for my long absence from the blog, Little Dinner Party moved at the beginning of the month and we're still trying to put our life back together. You'll notice that our craft this issue is essentially a housewarming/home improvement gift to myself. 

This is my own recipe and quite basic. Beef stew is a staple for any recipe box as far as I'm concerned. Who doesn't like slow cooked beef and veggies? Vegetarians I guess. I'm obsessed with that little chalkboard I just got too, couldn't resist incorporating it. We all know what stew looks like. Word to the wise: if you get your produce at a wholesale produce place it vastly improves the taste and lowers the cost. (Chicagoans: try Stanley's)

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
1 lb cube steak
2 large carrots
1 parsnip
3 stalks celery
1 white onion (quartered)
4 red potatoes (diced) 
2 c chicken stock
1 small can tomato paste 
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp butter
salt & pepper

Flour your beef and then brown in a skillet with butter. Add stock, veggies and paste to crock and turn on HI. Add beef and rosemary. Simmer for three hours. Serve with crusty bread. 

Bookshelf Facelift

We'll call this the "before" photo. This is my own furniture version of The Swan. I've had this bookshelf literally my entire life. My grandpa made it for my brother and I's bedroom. Through the cute years it held picture books, the awkward years held an embarrassing amount of pulp horror novels and now in our new Lake Shore Drive condo its shabbiness sticks out, and hardly does my meticulous literary collection justice. For less than $20 I gave my books an attractive new home. 

You Will Need the Following: bookshelf, glossy paint, brushes etc. and self-adhesive shelf liner

Step 1: Paint shelf inside and out making sure to cover the dozen or so places where "poop" is scribbled on it in crayon. Allow to dry completely. 

Step 2: Measure cubbies and cut accordingly sized panels out of the shelf liner. Adhere liner to shelves and smooth out with a credit card. 

Step 3: Admire your work. 

This is the "After" photo. 

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