I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was smaller than normal, but wonderful anyway. We had all our favorite dishes and Gavin even napped for a record 4 hours while I cooked during the afternoon. Definitely, something to be thankful for!
These days if you looked in my window you would most likely see me bounce walking around the house like a Native American woman at pow wow with Gavin strapped in the Ergo. I am so happy I have one. It’s the only way to keep him happy for longer than 10 minutes. I just strap him in and within 15 minutes he is asleep. If I am lucky I can take him out and put him in the swing where he will sleep for almost another hour. At night there is generally a 50/50 chance that he is going to be awake (and fussing or hungry) during dinner prep time so I have had to find new ways to cook. Here are a few things that have made my life easier the last few weeks.
1. Do some dinner prep earlier in the day while baby is napping. Learn how the pros prepare food hours ahead of time so that they can cook to order. This week I learned that you can cut up potatoes 2 hours ahead of time and just store them in a bowl of ice water with a tsp of vinegar added. They stay fresh and don’t brown!
2. Enlist the help of family members to do the actual cooking if baby doesn’t want to be held by anyone else. Gavin’s fussiest time is in the early evenings so Tom has had to pitch in quite a bit for dinner. This has worked out great for us. Tom cooks and I teach him what to do. He has learned a bunch of new cooking skills. Plus its a new fun way for us to hang out together. Or if that’s not possible, you can very carefully cook in the Ergo, just don’t fry anything, pour out boiling pasta water or anything else that could burn your baby.
3. Leave most of the cooking to the experts. I have been buying a precooked rotisserie chicken at the store every week and making fajita or burritos with the meat and soup with the scraps and bones. It cuts out a bunch of the work. Frozen pizza is also very helpful for rough days and WAY cheaper then delivery.
4. Use the slow cooker. I get everything going when he takes his first nap of the morning and then I don’t have to worry about cooking dinner that night!
Hope some of those tips help you all out. And please share your tips with me too! We new mamas need all the help we can get!
So, recently a friend of ours gave us some venison from a buck he shot. I had never eaten or cooked venison before last month, but now I love it! It tastes like very lean beef and can be cooked in similar ways. One of the first dishes I made was a venison stew. It’s very similar to the beef stew I like to make. If you can’t find venison it’s perfectly fine to substitute beef. Oh and for those perceptive few, the below photo is the second time I made the venison stew and I added sautéed mushrooms and the last of the fresh tomatoes from my garden. It was amazing!
- 1/2 red onion, chopped into half moons
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 2 large red potatoes, cut into medium chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch coins
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 lb of venison stew meat
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 32 oz box of beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
1. In a large stew pot cook the onions, garlic, celery over medium-high heat in about 2 tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Empty into a bowl and set aside.
2. Add more oil to the pan and sear the venison meat for a couple minutes on each side. You will probably have to do this in two batches to get a good sear. Crowding is bad.
3. Add the thyme, rosemary, oregano, some salt and pepper and cooked veggies and stir until combined. Add the can of tomatoes, beef broth and water. Stir again scraping the bits off the bottom.
4. Cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 hrs or until venison is very tender. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
5. Add the vinegar and peas. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with shaved Parmesan and toast.