A "Grand Adventure", you say? Leslie, where on earth are you headed this time? Is it Gay Pareeee? Africa? Kollyfornia? Intercourse, Pennsylvania (wink, wink, Susan!)? Well no, dear readers, my grand adventure this week was so fantastical, so gosh-darned GLAMOUROUS, that it's gonna blow your little minds...........see, I had every intention of taking a bazillion snapshots of our world famous Adirondack Fall Foliage today on a walk, but then I fell asleep on the sofa while watching Mystery Diagnosis on Discovery Health. And when I woke up, probably because I snarfed down a huge handful of Indian Corn an hour earlier (someday they'll feature me on a Mystery Diagnosis, where they'll diagnose horrible type 2 diabetes from ingesting handfuls of Indian Corn, I'm suspect), I had a ZILCH energy level. Like, it was seriously so hard to get up and just do something...ever have days like that? Well, I knew the dog needed to go out and do his monkey bizness, and I knew my cat Jack was super bored, so we decided, just the three of us, to saunter across the street to the river and see what my camera could see.........here's what Jack was doing when I found him, in the driveway gravel, rolling around..........(mind you, he's SIXTEEN plus years old...that's about 94 in human years......and I still think he's damned sexy, despite his funny hanging belly these days!)...................
So Sexy Jack, Wee Willie and I sauntered ALL the way across the street (see, I told you I had low energy!) to the lazy Moose River to hopefully get some decent photos, despite the dreary gray day at hand. My neighbors, who seriously worship the ground I walk on, always let us go and hang on their dock, and since they weren't home this afternoon, I knew they wouldn't mind. Here's what's really cute...Sexy Jack loves to follow us across the street (where he is forbidden to go, actually, but if you've ever owned a cat, well, you know quite well that they don't follow rules) and sit on the dock, easy as you please...here is he, breaking da law.......
And here are the photos we three took on our Fantastical Adventure this afternoon.....you can make out the beginnings of the spectacular show that the Adirondack trees put on each and every Autumn.....
Pretty, no? We really feel very blessed to live in such a gorgeous place! Hopefully soon the weather will clear up and then I'll just go NUTS with my zoom lens and take you all on a proper tour....but until then, this is what you're gonna get, folks!
Hikes in the woods really work up an appetite (or, in my case lately, lolling on the sofa!), and the other night I made a traditional beef stew for supper, but sans the traditional diced potatoes that traditional beef stews normaly have, BECAUSE this recipe calls for Potato Dumplings. Does that sound like comfort food, or what???? I am being totally honest with you when I tell you that B. A. (his nickname used to be B.D., short for Big Daddy, but has recently decided that he's done with that boring nickname and now prefers to be called Bad Ass, so B.A. for short....is it too late for an annulment?) seriously said to me, after inhaling his Beef Stew with Potato Dumplings, "honey, I would eat this meal again and again!" How can you not love that? It's that good, especially on a brisk fall day.
I know fall is here, each and every year, when I get out my trusty old Red Dutch oven....what did I ever do without her? ..............................
To begin your stew, cube up about 2 pounds of beef stew meat......
In a plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper--add cubed beef and shake well to evenly coat.............(looks kinda gross in this photo, I know)......
In a Dutch oven or large non-stick pot, cook meat and chopped onions until browned. Stir in condensed beef broth......
some water, vinegar, carrots and spices; bring to a boil................
Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until the meat is tender.
While the stew is bubbling away, you can start preparing your dumplings--so much FUN! Just don't grate your knuckles (I KNOW, I keep doing that!). In a bowl, beat an egg, then add bread crumbs and seasonings..............
Grate about 3 or 4 peeled large Russett potatoes into a strainer (you won't believe how much water potatoes have in them)..........
Stir grated potatoes into bread crumb mixture; mix well. With floured hands, shape into 1 and 1 / 2 inch balls. Dust with flour and set aside until stew in done.....
Bring the stew to a boil; drop dumplings onto stew. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until dumplings are done..........
Serve to hungry guests right away......
Doesn't this dish look like something they'd serve in some Eastern European village somewhere? Prepared by a plump little 82 year old woman, maybe? Well regardless, I hope you love this as much as we do...enjoy! Here's the recipe....
BEEF STEW WITH POTATO DUMPLINGS
1 / 4 cup flour
3 / 4 tsp. salt
1 / 2 tsp. pepper
2 lbs. beef stew meat, cubed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tblsp. vegetable oil
1 tblsp. butter
2 cans (10 and 1 /2 oz. each) condensed beef broth, undiluted
3 / 4 cup water
1 tblsp. red wine vinegar
5-6 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 / 2 tsp. garlic powder
3 / 4 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 tblsp. flour
1 tblsp. dried parsley
1 / 2 tsp. dried thyme
1 / 2 tsp. salt
1 / 2 tsp. pepper
3 of 4 peeled large Russett potatoes, finely shredded (you'll need about 2 1 / 2 cups)
In a plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add meat; toss to coat. In a Dutch oven, cook meat and onion in melted butter and oil until the meat is browned and onions are tender. Stir in broth, water, vinegar, carrots and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 to 1 and 1 / 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves.
For dumplings, beat egg in a medium bowl; add bread crumbs, flour, parsley and seasonings. Stir in potatoes, mix well. With floured hands, shape into 1 and 1 / 2 inch balls. Dust with flour and set aside.
Bring stew to a boil; drop dumplings onto stew. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes (do not lift lid) or until dumplings are done. Serve immediately.
TODAY I'M SO THANKFUL FOR.....
***My dinner out tonite! B. A. and I are trying out a Thai restaurant in nearby Utica...nothing like driving an hour each way to have dinner!
***Freakishly warm temperatures today....even though I'm looking forward to sweaters and boots, it is nice to keep on wearing my sandals and capri pants in late September!
***Our daughter's improving health--she's been down with a flu bug this whole week, and just texted me to let me know she was IN class, and not running a fever!