Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 29, 2007 at 12:06pm

Brrr! It’s the real kind of cold out there now, not the fake stuff, oh no. I’ve even had to wear a coat (no!) these last few days (I usually get away with a cozy sweater, soft hat, and a big ol’ fuzzy scarf). Should serve to put me in the mood for the holidays, but I’m having my usual hard time. It always feels to me like Christmas just ended – uh, didn’t my tree just come down? Meh. Oh, I eventually get into it – we’ll do our tree this weekend – and then I love it. But it’s a harder transition every year. And I want that tree up for less and less time. There is no way, no how I am ever putting up a tree as early as Thanksgiving weekend. Egads, noooo!

In a somewhat more gracious mode, I’ve been cranking loads of food out of my kitchen. I made and brought appetizer pizzas (tomato/basil, bacon/caramelized onion, olive/feta) and almond coconut bars to Nathan’s school yesterday, for their monthly faculty meeting. Hopefully tasted good (!), although I kept thinking that by 3:30 p.m., after a long school day, just about anything would hit the spot, ha. The almond coconut bars were a rather last-minute addition that turned out to be quite delicious – chewy, buttery, and best of all…coconut-ty to the max, rarrr. And super-easy, definitely a new addition to my tasty-yet-make-fast repertoire. (Recipe posted in comments, below.)

Oooh, I also conjured up the most delicious beef soup. I sort of innovated as I walked through Byerly’s…grabbed a chuck roast, then fennel, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, sage. I browned the roast in some olive oil, took it out of the pot, then sauteed around 1-2 cups each of the chopped veggies, several cloves of minced garlic, and a few sprigs each of rosemary and sage. I put the roast back in the pot, covered it all with water to cover plus one inch, and let it simmer, partially covered at first, and then uncovered for the last hour, for about three hours until the beef was quite tender. I pulled the beef apart (discarded fat) into bite-sized pieces, skimmed fat off the broth, seasoned with lots of salt and pepper, stirred the beef back in the pot, and voila, a hearty, healthy, flavorful beef soup. Good stuff.

And check this out! I got my Romertopf Chicko (pronounced cheeko), but…it’s not a Chicko! Close, but not exactly the same. It’s just called a “roaster,” and it’s bigger, which might be nice because you can actually fit vegetables at the base to soak up all the delicious juices (and basting butter, let’s be honest here…) I’ll need to be returning Lindsay’s Chicko to her now, and I’ll check in soon on how the, uh, Roaster works (definitely not as cheeky a name as the Chicko, sniff).

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Older Comments

  1. By Lisa Lorenz on November 29, 2007 at 2:28PM

    One thing that I have found from working in a school system....staff will eat ANYTHING!!! Left over holiday baking, candies, crackers, you name is all usually gone by 10 in the morning! They ought to love you!

  2. By Stephanie on November 29, 2007 at 1:21PM

    Almond Coconut Bars
    Adapted from the website
    Makes 12 small bars

    Chewy and buttery. Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan.

    1 c. flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ¼ c. butter
    1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp. almond extract
    1 tsp. coconut extract
    1 c. shredded coconut

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut in the bowl of a mixer. Process briefly to combine.

    In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Off heat, stir in brown sugar. Lightly beat in egg and extracts. With mixer running on low, slowly pour over the flour-coconut mixture until just mixed (batter will be stiff and sticky).

    Spread in pan. Bake 35 minutes or until brown. Cool 10 minutes in pan; remove from pan and cool on wire rack. (Easy to cut by pressing down with a large, sharp butcher knife.)