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Savory Beef Stew

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Seuss

There are some things that I am just not proud of. 

And last night I indulged in two of my greatest shameful secrets. 

A Hollywood Awards Show and the Miss Universe Pageant. 

I'm shaking my head in disgust. 


You enjoy the fashions of award ceremonies too? You get giddy when Claire Danes comes on stage and then 10 minutes later Jared Leto does as well?

The People we Lost this Year montage moves you to tears too?

Wait a second... When True Detective does not win an award do you shake your fist angrily at the TV?

When you see Jennifer Aniston in another plunging neckline do you, like me, wonder how Brad Pitt could've ever been happy with such a boring individual? Do you then laugh at yourself because hello it's Jennifer Aniston and she looks stunning and at least it's not another black dress?!?!

Do you smile broadly when Debbie Reynolds excepts the lifetime achievement award from her daughter Carrie Fisher who played Chewbacca in Star Wars? Okay okay maybe that's stretching it a bit, but seriously she looked horrible!

Well I'm glad that you do all of these things just like me LOL now I don't feel nearly as guilty!

Wait a second, what was that?

You were down with my obsessiveness of celebrities so you can get behind my awards show freakishness but there's NO way in hell you can back my love for Miss Universe Pageant?

I understand completely. Really I do. 

I apologize. 

I am deeply saddened by my weakness when it comes to pageants. I don't fully understand it myself. I don't agree with their politics, I've never worn make up and come on... world peace? Miss Lebanon got shit from her own country for posing in a group picture with Miss Israel?!?! Seriously, why do I know this shit? 

I just can't help it. I'm a big pageant watcher. I like to pick my top 12-15 and then see if I make it to the end. The majority of the stuff in between I could really do without especially the Jonas brother. I love the clothes though and the swimsuits and the inane interviews. Although I have to say I was supremely disappointed every time a lady opened her mouth last night :( The only one that answered was Miss Jamaica and she was ROBBED. Robbed I tell you!!!

Absolutely ridiculous, sexist and frivolous but I remember coming to Penticton every summer and thinking, one day I am going to be Miss Penticton. One of my friends participated in the pageant here in town and I saw the confidence it gave her, how it helped her in public speaking, how it taught her about community.

When I was HBear's age my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, my answer was, Miss Teen USA. 

When she explained to me that that was not an option, not because I wasn't talented, smart, or pretty enough of course LOL but because I wasn't American and I needed to pick something else. 

I honestly to this day don't know why, I was in grade one, maybe it had something to do with the cute little white bunny, but I said if I couldn't be Miss Teen USA then I would be a playboy bunny!

Yeah I really made my parents proud with that one.

As Ninja always says "a Dad has only 2 jobs in this world, 1 to keep his daughter off the pipe and 2 keep her off the pole." Apparently early on it was touch and go for me LOL. 

The point is is that Ninja and I had a truly relaxing weekend and I was capping it off with a little awards show and a pageant :)

My Dad went to Mexico on Friday and I met up with my BCBesty to test out the new kid's indoor playground! It is called Jumping Beans Play Cafe and it is pretty great! If you haven't checked it out, you should :) It has a craft area, beautiful toys and playgrounds, a play kitchen area, a bouncy castle, trains, interactive digital floor games, a toy store called Little Nest Kids that is full of beautiful educational toys, coffee, Wouda's AMAZING bakery treats, and couches and recliners everywhere for Mommy's to sit and play/chat :)

On Saturday morning we took the girls to the mall for family literacy day.  It was an awesome day out full of free entertainment for the girls while we learned about a lot of different programs in our community. The girls had a riot and did so many crafts. 

Ninja's parents took the girls for a sleepover on Saturday. Without having to worry about anybody else's schedules Ninja and I took it easy. I took a nap, got up and did yoga, then we got dressed and we went out for pizza and beer. 

It was a super nice evening completely laid-back. 

We went to this little micro brewery called a Bad Tattoo. Ninja started with a Caesar salad and ale croutons and then he had a  mozzarella, ham, and Granny Smith apple pizza. It was sooooo good.

I had 2 amazingly large soft pretzels with stone ground mustard and ale dip. 

I also had a bowl of cheese soup. This was the most amazing cheese soup I have ever tasted. It was made with Pacific Rock cheese, shallots, roasted peppers, and ale. Very rich but oh so good. 

We sampled a few different beers from their microbrewery and then we headed to the casino. We don't go out very often and certainly not to the casino but when we got there they had all these new slot machines! But of course we go back to a tried-and-true ones that we've been playing since we are 18 years old in Winnipeg LOL, Frog Prince. 

Must have been our lucky day because within 20 minutes we cashed out with $400!

So, we decided to go play some pool LOL when we got home we had a Bailey's and watched the NHL All-Star skills competition. 

Pretty perfect day if I do say so myself. 

Today Ninja and I took SBean to HBear's school for Stop, Drop and Read :) I love her school and the wonderfully encouraging programs and activities such as this one.

My MBesty getting her READ on :)

Everybody across Canada seems to be getting pretty nice weather, well except for Toronto, apparently they had a cold weather advisory at -12, whaaaaaaaaaat?

So perhaps this isn't the most ideal meal to share – but two weeks ago I actually made a good stew.  I say this because my Mom made the best stew so every time I've tried to make it in the past year and a half, it just never taste as good as Mom's. Well, this one is the closest so far. It's really good, really comforting and really warm on a chilly day. I'm sure they're still coming up we DO live in Canada and we are only in January...

Savory Beef Stew
Adapted from My Recipes

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat 
1 med onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can/bottle of beer 
3 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
4 potatoes, cubed
4 carrots, sliced 
1 cup peas
2 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary
finely chopped fresh parsley 

Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef. Working in 2 batches, brown meat on all sides, 6 minutes. Remove to plate.

Add onion and mushrooms to pot and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Pour in beer. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, sugar, paprika, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.

Return beef to pot. Simmer until meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Stir in potatoes and carrots. 

Simmer until vegetables are tender and meat is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Add peas.

Season. Sprinkle with parsley. (I forgot the parsley lol)

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