Monday, November 21, 2011

My voice

Ravings: This weekend I attended/co-hosted one of those home parties. You know the ones. You go and feel obligated to buy something you don’t need because the hostess gets a discount for selling stuff. But this one is different. W.A.R. International is such a great cause. From their website:

  • 800,00 women and children a year are trafficked illegally; 50% of them children.
  • The US State Department estimates that 17,500 of these people are transported to America to be sold, while the CIA estimates the number between 40-50,000.
  • The FBI states that there are 100,000 teens trafficked in the USA between the ages of nine and nineteen.
And there are countless other atrocities happening to women and children every second around the world, including honor killings, female genital mutilation, selling of organs on the black market, and sexual slavery to name but a few.

It is truly heartbreaking to think of the enormity of the suffering. It humbles me and makes me beyond grateful for the basic safety and comfort that I have every day. I have what they call “a circle of protection.” But so many women and children do not have this. They are alone and afraid. We have to use our collective voices to stop this evil. All humans have intrinsic value, and we need to stand up for that value in all of us.

While I believe in the W.A.R. International organization, I’m not saying it’s the only way to use your voice. I think it’s as simple as living your life with integrity and standing up for the value of all humans.

Cravings: I am not much of a baker, but I made 2 baked goods this weekend. Both from a recipe because baking scares me. The first was for the WAR party (see above). I made eggnog cheesecake bars from the Martha Stewart website. So yummy, although my sister had to show me up with her salted caramel butter bars. They were sinfully delicious!

Because Jason loves eggnog and cheesecake, in fact I think those are his 2 favorite things, and I wasn’t leaving them at home for him, I also made spicy caramel brownies from the Nov ’11 Cooking Light. Also very yummy. And since my sister brought the caramel butter sin on a plate to the party, I had plenty of eggnog cheesecake squares leftover for the boys.

I know I missed posting on Friday so there was no recipe for Thursday night’s dinner. And I do have one, which I was smart enough to write down! Impressive right? Except that I forgot to bring it with me to work, and given the fact that I turned 42 today, I am making my brain bleed trying to even remember what we ate. I'm actually impressed that I even remember writing it down. So I owe you a recipe!

I do recall what I made last night, however, and not only was it easy, it was really good! I made a version of Cooking Light’s beef stew. First I cooked some bacon. I think it was about 5 strips. I chopped it up first, but you can cook it and crumble it after. Then I sautéed the onion and mushrooms in the bacon grease, and put them in the crock-pot with the bacon. Then brown the meat in the same pan and add that to the crock-pot. I then deglazed the pan with about ¼ cup brandy and ¼ cup beef stock. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of brown mustard, and then add that to the crock-pot. Chop up the carrots and add those, along with some pepper and thyme. Turn the crock-pot on high and let it cook for 4-5 hours, then turn it down to low and cook for another 2 hours. It would probably be fine on high for the whole time, but I was home and my crock-pot runs very high. I stirred in a couple tablespoons of flour right before serving to thicken it up.

4-5 strips bacon
1 sweet onion
1 package mushrooms
2 large carrots
1 lb stew meat
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup + 1 cup beef stock
2 T spicy brown mustard
1 t black pepper
½ T thyme
2 T flour

I served that with some mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Basically, I just boiled several potatoes, cut up, with a head of cauliflower, cut up, until they were both soft. Reserve about ½ cup of the liquid before draining and then add the liquid back to the pan with the potatoes and cauliflower to mash. I added about a ¼ cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of butter once it was mashed. I served the stew over the potatoes. I also supplemented with some frozen veggies that you steam in the microwave. I forgot to take a picture! I need to get back on track with my food styling.

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