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Cold is the color of crystal the snow light That falls from the heavenly skies Catch me and let me dive under For I want to swim in the pools of your eyes - Annie Lenox



This cold is the worst! It went through HoneyBear, SydneyBean, me AND now Ninja who NEVER gets sick. The whole house has smelled like Eucalyptus for 4 days now. I have a pot on the stove with water and Eucalyptus, a diffuser in HoneyBear’s room and one in ours.

It is cold here today. I can’t even believe that I just said that! I am from Winnipeg. I am used to -25 on a nice day. It is +6 right now. I have turned into such a marshmallow. I remember February as the coldest month of the year.

My Granny died on a February morning that was sooo cold that when I ran out of the hospital just so I could breathe my tears actually froze on my cheek.

That was 7 years ago. She went into the hospital because we thought she had a cold. She died of lung cancer exactly 2 weeks later. My sister, brother and I were the ones living in the city at the time. We called my parents in and our cousins and my Uncle. It sucked. She had the most beautiful blue eyes… just like my SydneyBean. I quit smoking 8 months later.

My Mom didn’t, she was diagnosed with lunch cancer 4 months ago.

Actually, the day SydneyBean was born was her first chemo session. I have said it out loud numerous times but writing it makes it more real somehow. Like I have said before, we live with my parents so when we all get sick like this it is very scary. Last chemo session was difficult and she ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks.

It is cold out there and we have colds in here. I am making comfort food tonight. I love stew, Bessie gives us LOTS of stewing beef. I always make stew. Today I thought I would make my yummy chicken pot pies but with beef.

Comforting and warm beef pot pies. We also have 2 pears in the fridge that NEED to be used so a nice salad with pears, Feta and walnuts to accompany it!


Beef Pot Pie

1.5 lbs. stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 leek (whites and light green only), chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 small bay leaves
2 tablespoons red wine
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk
1 roll ready-made puff pastry, thawed


Cut beef and pat dry then season with salt, pepper and a bit of flour.

Toss it up to coat all sides

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high. Add in the beef, cooking until brown. I did this in 2 batches so I could keep the beef in a flat layer. Remove beef from pot to a small bowl and set aside.
Browning

In the same pot, cook the onion, leek, potatoes, and carrots until soft and fragrant. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, then add in the onion powder, herbs, paprika and bay leaves.

ALWAYS have the veggies cut first

Pour in the stock, Worcestershire and wine, and then add the browned beef back into the pot. Stir to combine everything and reduce the heat. Cover the pot and allow the stew to simmer on low for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

I used fresh thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Mix cornstarch and milk in a small bowl, turn the heat up to medium-high and stir in your frozen peas. Then add in the cornstarch mixture. While the filling cooks on a high simmer continue to stir it until it thickens. This can take about 10 minutes. 

Thickening 
Divide the beef filling between 4 French onion soup bowls. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into squares that will fit over the tops of the dishes, pinch the pastry against the rim of each dish. Cut 2 slits into each pie.  

I love split screen!

Bake the pies for 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through, puffy, and golden brown.

This was much more golden than the picture shows :(

Roasted Pear Salad
Adapted from 86 Lemons

2 ripe pears
juice of 1 ½ lemons
cup dried cranberries
cup chopped walnuts, toasted
½ cup apple juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
cup maple syrup
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Feta Cheese
Green leaf lettuce
black pepper and sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Cut the pears into 6 slices per pear, removing the cores and seeds.

Whisk the apple juice, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a bowl. Gently toss the pear slices with the mixture.

I used Bosc pears


Arrange the coated pear slices, core side up, in a baking dish. Bake the pears, basting every 8-10 minutes with the basting mixture, until tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Sticky Goodness
Remove and let cool to warm or room temp. Whisk together the remaining olive oil and ½ cup of the basting mixture. Toss the lettuce with the dressing, nuts and cranberries. Top each salad with 3 pear slices and feta cheese, season with salt and pepper. 

Super fresh, sweet and salty!

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