1-week countdown!

Can you believe it! A week til Christmas! We are leaving town on Christmas Eve to spend 9 days at my parents’ house in Idaho. We had to make it a long trip so we could recover from the journey in between. ;) We’re really looking forward to hanging out - we haven’t been back to Idaho in 2 years. Not so much looking forward to the full-day traveling adventure that includes TWO layovers and a four-hour drive from Salt Lake to Sugar City, but we’re keeping our hopes up for a good time (because what else are we going to do, right?). Our flights are something crazy like Raleigh-Chicago-Minneapolis-SLC, then the four-hour drive that will put us back there at about midnight on Christmas Eve. Any traveling-all-day-with-two-toddlers suggestions you have are most welcome!

This morning, Elliott and I went to Michael’s to pick up a few things, and he asked to hold the receipt, as usual. We got back in the car, and he started pointing at the letters on the receipt, and he said, “T. U. V. Dot Com.” It was so awesome. That’s my boy. :D

And for those cold run-up-to-Christmas nights, I have a new recipe! We bought a book that’s just our speed: Cooking with Kids. Ha. So far we’ve tried the Shepherd’s pie, the French toast (I will admit now that before Saturday, I had never made French toast. Good thing that’s an easy one. :P), and the popovers.  

It isn’t necessarily a book that’s FOR kids, but it has suggestions for what kids can help with, and all the recipes and meals are family-friendly. What I loved this weekend was actually making food. That probably sounds a little crazy, but I’m a bit of a non-cook. Maybe it’s the new countertops. Maybe it’s the hope of a new mixer for Christmas (hint hint, Jared. ;)), or maybe it’s the time of year, but I actually want to be in the kitchen making stuff. Maybe being sick has altered me in some way…

So do you have a favorite recipe book? Or a favorite recipe? That’s your challenge for today, in our countdown week! Blog about it, or post it here, and we’ll gather up some recipes! :D 

For my part, here’s our new AWESOME recipe, which tastes a bit like a beef stew - lots of different flavors, and warm and hearty, and which I could gladly eat every day for the rest of my life (and one glance at the ingredients for the potato topping will be proof of why - seriously, can you go wrong with butter, sour cream, and cheese in the same recipe?. ;).

Shepherd’s Pie


Potato topping

6 c. potatoes, chopped and peeled

2 teaspons salt, plus more to taste

4 T. butter, cut into pieces

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4 - 1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 c. grated cheese


Meat Filling

2 T. butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 1/4 lb ground beef (I made ours with just a pound and it worked fine)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 T. flour

1 c. beef broth

1 c. diced canned tomatoes

1 t. dried thyme

1/2 t. dried rosemary

1 1/2 c. corn kernels

1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce


Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with wather. Add 2 teaspons of salt to the water. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Cook until done, about 10 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, start the filling. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute’ the onion and celery in the butter, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until done. Drain the fat.

Lower the heat, then stir the garlic and flour into the drained ground beef mixture. Stir in the beef broth, then the canned tomatoes, then the herbs,  corn, and Worcestershire sauce.

Simmer the mixture for several minutes until slightly thickened, add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a 13x9 inch glass pan or a large casserole dish. Heat the oven to 400.

Drain the cooked potatoes and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Scatter butter and sour cream over them, then mix with an electric mixer, adding enough milk to make medium-soft mashed potatoes. Salt to taste.

Spoon the potatoes evenly over the filling. Sprinkle chees on top, then sprinkle on some paprika. Bake on the center oven rack for about 20 minutes. Cool for several minutes before serving.

(Tastes just as good the next day) 


Have a wonderful day

dot com.


Jessica Sprague22 Comments