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Candied Pecans (Crock-Pot)

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Did you know that the world’s largest pecan is in Brunswick, Missouri??? Until I moved to Missouri I always thought of the South when I pictured pecan groves but it turns out there are quite a few in the Show-Me State. See, we all learned something today!

One of my parishioners gave me a bag of these locally grown treasures for Christmas and I knew just what I was going to do with them.  Not only do candied pecans taste delicious, your house will smell like Santa’s Christmas Village (without the reindeer stable). Did I mention I have a toddler? We have imaginary lands on the brain… And we’re back on topic.

I like a lot of flavor so I’m pretty heavy-handed with the cinnamon and nutmeg. You could live a little and throw any spice in the pot. Also, excessive stirring tore my Crock-Pot liners (side note: Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners are the greatest things EVER) so unless you want to scrub burnt sugar from your Crock-Pot, be gentle.


Candied Pecans (Crock-Pot)

  • 1 ¼ c. white sugar
  • 1 ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups pecans
  • ¼ c. water

Prepare your crock-pot by spraying it with cooking spray or using a crock-pot liner. 

In a bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it is frothy. Coat pecans with the mixture. Toss pecans with the sugar mixture until well coated. Cook on low, 3-4 hours. Stir every 20 minutes. During the last hour of cooking add water and stir well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pecans on the baking sheet to cool.


Ham and Green Beans

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We’ve established the fact that I am cheap, correct? I base many of our dinners off of what is on sale in the produce section or meat counter. Why waste money? So, having said that, Fareway had fresh green beans on sale for 78 cents a pound. I snatched them up and picked up some ham. Fresh green beans are delicious and when you don’t have to weed the little suckers they are that much more so. I still have nightmares about the mosquitos that used to swarm the green bean plants of my youth.

Cooking, unlike baking, is not a science but rather an art. Who needs a recipe when you have decent ingredients? So, this isn’t really a recipe so much as a “what I did.” Feel free to mess with this to your heart’s content. Like I said, when you have good ingredients, it is hard to mess it up.

Ham & Green Beans

  • 1 pound green beans, snapped (you could use frozen I’m sure)
  • 4-5 potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ham, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can chicken broth

Prepare crock pot (you know my love for crock pot liners). Put all ingredients into crock pot, cover with chicken broth and water (I just filled the broth can with water). Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

Guinness Beef Stew

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Winter finally decided to show up. On Saturday we had nearly a foot of snow. I love when the snowstorms happen on Saturday because then I get to just sit around and enjoy it without worrying about the safety of getting to work or my husband getting to work. My favorite way to spend snow days? Drinking hot chocolate in front of the fireplace reading Winnie the Pooh to my daughter (the real Winnie the Pooh) with something that smells amazing in the crock-pot. Add in a little baking time and I’m in heaven. Saturday was my perfect snow day. I threw this beef stew in the crock-pot and hung out with the baby. Later, while she napped, I baked.

Honestly, I’m not a huge beer drinker. Don’t get me wrong, once in awhile I enjoy a little but it really isn’t my thing. But cook with it? Oh, yeah. My favorite beer to cook with is Guinness. Its deep, dark tones really enhance things like chocolate and beef. If you aren’t a beer drinker, don’t worry. The flavor of the beer really isn’t that strong. In fact, if no one told you what it was, you would have a hard time guessing what that “something” is.

If you have a snow day or you just have a hankering for something that sends your senses back to Great Britain give this recipe a try. Your house will feel like a cozy pub in no time!

Guinness Beef Stew

  • 1 lb stew meat , cubed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 -3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces Guinness draught
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 red/white potatoes , skin on, quartered
  • Handful of baby carrots, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour

Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet until just smoking. Brown the beef. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Add remaining oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and onions to the skillet and cook until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, 1 cup of beer, sugar, thyme, chocolate and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add the carrots and potatoes to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 9-10 hours or 6-7 hours on high.

Set the slow cooker to high. Whisk the flour and ¼ cup beer until smooth. Stir mixture into the slow cooker. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves.