Friday, October 1, 2010

A New Giveaway and Decadent Sherpherds Pies

The winner of the spellbook giveaway is: Birgit from Swappin Howdies. The book will be on it's way to Munich on Monday.

This weeks giveaway is for these Halloween signs and four felt maple leaves and three felt pumpkins. The leaves and pumpkins could be used as decorations or even as placemats. I will include a few more things with this giveaway as the week goes on too.

To enter, leave a comment on this post. If you are not already a follower, sign on to follow. The winner will be announced and a new giveaway will be posted next Saturday.

***Today is the day my Fall basket is being given away on Mrs's B's 31 days of Halloween. Just click on the button on my sidebar and you can enter to win. Click on her home page and click on pumpkin #3.

Anyone out there like shepherds pie? How about shepherds pie topped with poblano mac and cheese instead of the boring old mashed potatoes. My kids and their friends wiped these out in a flash!

The first step is to brown some diced pancetta. Remove it from the pot and leave the rendered fat.

There should be a couple tablespoons left.

Dice a large onion.

Saute the onion in the rendered fat.

Dice several carrots.

Dice two parsnips.

Dice some celery. This is the celery I grew this summer and it doesn't come close to comparing to store bought. It has a much more condensed celery flavor and next year I am going to plant a lot more. This is one of those crops that is so easy to grow and gives such a good return.

Add all of the diced vegetables and then sprinkle in some dried thyme and some sea salt and pepper.

Add the pancetta back to the pot.

Add some chopped fresh rosemary and several bay leaves. Stir everything together and simmer for a few minutes.

Push the vegetables to the side and add about a pound of ground meat.

Break the ground meat up and continue to stir until the beef is browned. Now the fun starts. Seasoning.

Add a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Lea & Perrins has come out with a new thick version of the classic and it is terrific!

Add several tablespoons of tomato paste.

And if you have it, a spoonful of Marmite or Vegemite. Add a cup or so of red wine and a bit of beef bouillon . Taste it and adjust the seasoning.

Let this simmer over low heat.

Spray your container/containers with cooking spray.

You can make any mac and cheese you like. I made a roux with 6 T. butter and 6 T. flour. Then I poured in about 5 cup of milk, sliced poblano peppers, salt and pepper, a bit of smoked paprika and some nutmeg. Then I stirred in about 5 cups of assorted cheeses. I grated some white Vermont cheddar, some yellow cheddar and some gruyere. Stir until all the cheese has melted.

I cooked some medium shell pasta until al dente. Add this to the cheese sauce and stir thoroughly.

Place some of the meat mixture in the bottom of your container/containers. Top them with the mac and cheese and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Little pots of incredible yumminess!

These can be warmed up in a microwave if you have extras. However, I think they rewarm better if placed in a 250 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Or you could just stand over the sink and eat them cold. These are addictive.

Look at that! The mac and cheese flows down into the extremely flavorful meat mixture.

Comfort food at its best. You could easily make this vegetarian too.

Wouldn't these make great little dishes to serve to the gang while they are watching football? The Blog Tech liked these so much that he ate two right in a row. Teddy sat right under me the whole time I prepared these. She didn't get any though. These might look like good puppy treats but they aren't!

A Trip For Teddy

On one of our recent trips we stopped by a lake to take Teddy for a walk.

It was a crisp Fall day and the colors were starting to show on the trees.

The lake was exceptionally low do to the drought we've experienced.

We arrived quite early in the morning and the water was very cold.

I know my long time followers are rather familiar with what a pip Teddy is.

She doesn't get any less pippy with age.

Chow Chows usually do not like water. They are quirky when it comes to water. If there is the slightest bit of dew on the ground they will not set a paw out of the house on it.

But large bodies of water have a magnetic attraction to Teddy. The colder the better.

And once she goes in it is nearly impossible to coax her back out.

She totally pretends to not hear a word you are saying. Teddy has selective hearing.

Who me? You Talkin' to me?

I can't hear a word you are saying.

No, I am not ready to come out of the water yet.

In fact, I don't even know the person at the end of my leash.

Teddy always tries to shake the water off while she is still in said water.

It's as if she wants to be in the water but still stay dry.

Mmmm...this water tastes good.

And I am still not ready to come out.

I think I will just drink the whole lake.

Tugging is never a good thing to do to a chow.

They just don't tug.

What do you think I am fishing for using this bait?

The only reason you see this very reluctant departure is because I handed the leash over to the Blog Tech and I got in the car and drove away.

Mama....don't leave me.

Come back mama...come back.