One of my favorite hearty, cold weather soups is good old classic Beef Barley.
This version is even better because you can throw everything into a slow cooker and forget about it for 6 hours. After about 4 hours your house will smell amazing, which is one of my favorite things about using slow cookers. This soup is thickened to make for a more filling meal, but if you prefer your soup a little more broth-y, leave out the cornstarch.
This recipe calls for a rump roast, but you could use any cut of beef that you prefer. This soup is especially good for tough cuts of beef as the long cooking time helps to tenderize it. Tomatoes, corn, pearl barley, carrots, rosemary and parsley are added to the soup, but many of the ingredients are interchangeable according to your preference. For example, peas would be a nice addition. If you didn’t have access to fresh rosemary or parsley, dried thyme or oregano(or both!) would be a good option as well. Feel free to change it up!
SLOW COOKER BEEF VEGETABLE BARLEY SOUP
This recipe makes a BIG pot of soup. Half the ingredients to serve a smaller group or fit a smaller slow cooker.
- 2 1/2 lb. Rump Roast, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 28 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
- 12 C. Beef Broth, divided
- 1 lb. Carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 2 small Onions, chopped
- 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 1 C. Corn(fresh or frozen)
- 1 C. Pearl Barley(dry)
- 1 T. Salt
- 1 t. Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 C. Cornstarch
- 1/4 C. Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Place the beef, tomatoes, carrots, onions, rosemary, corn, barley, salt, pepper, and 10 C. of the beef broth in a very large slow cooker.
- Turn the heat to high and cook for 6 hours(4-5 for a smaller slow cooker), stirring occasionally.
- 30 minutes before serving, mix together 2 C. of beef broth with the cornstarch(mix the cornstarch with a little bit of broth at a time so that it does not clump) and stir it into the soup. Let the soup cook 30 minutes longer.
- Taste the soup and add more salt or pepper as desired. Stir in the parsley serve.
When I was about 10 years old I received my first cookbook. A little book of cookie and cracker recipes published by Country Living.
I made several of the cookie recipes, here and there. The cheddar cracker recipe was quite lovely. But I found one recipe that would follow me to the ends of time( this it true, but I probably shouldn’t write posts while watching dramatic historical romances. Sorry guys.)
SOFT & CHEWY GINGERSNAP COOKIES
After I left home, I lost track of the book. Since then I have made dozens of different gingersnap recipes and none have come anywhere close to being as good as the one in that Country Living cookbook.
Last week I found it again at my parents house. So of course, I immediately whipped up a batch of the gingersnaps. The page was easy to find, stained and wrinkled from years of childhood use.
They were as perfect as I remembered.
Perfectly soft on the inside. Chewy and spicy. They have the perfect amount of ginger and molasses. And the tops crackle so nicely.
These are my favorite cookies of all time. And thanks to the world wide web, I will now never lose that recipe again.
A tip for making cookies extra soft:
As soon as your cookies are out of the oven, carefully remove them from the baking sheet to an airtight container or ziploc bag. Seal the container or bag while they are still hot. This way they retain the moisture that they would otherwise lose through escaping steam.
Makes 36 Cookies
- 1/2 C.(1 stick) Butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 C. Brown Sugar, packed
- 1/3 C. Dark Molasses
- 2 C. Flour
- 2 t. Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 t. Ground Ginger
- 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 t. Ground Cloves
- 1/4 t. Salt
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 C. Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Add the egg and mix well.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix until well combined. Dough will be soft.
- Divide the dough into 36 pieces( I use a 1 T. scoop). Roll each piece into a ball and roll in the sugar until coated. Place the dough balls, 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Do not flatten.
- Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes on the middle to upper rack. Tops should just be crackling, but not browned at all. I prefer to bake them for no more than 8 minutes. They will seem a little underdone at first, but will firm up as they sit.
- Store in an airtight container(see tip in post).
One of my favorite easy but incredibly delicious meals of all time would definitely have to be this -
PASTA CARBONARA ~QUICK & SIMPLE~
One of the greatest things in the foodie world would have to be a dish that is the combination of something that is quick and easy to prepare, taking almost no time at all, but having all of the best components. Richness, flavor, texture, color, contrast.
That is why I love this dish so much. I’ve been making it for years and it will always stay in rotation because it is all of those things listed above. So quick to make, it literally takes no more than 15 minutes from the moment your pasta water starts to boil. AND the ingredients used are things I almost always have on hand.
That’s it, folks. Aside from seasonings(fresh parsley, coarse salt, and freshly grated black pepper are a must) that’s all you need for a satisfying, classically Italian entree.
A few tips to make this dish even easier to prepare:
*For creamy, glossy pasta, do not drain the pasta water when your pasta has finished cooking. Lift your al dente pasta straight out of the water into the the saute pan and leave the cooking water in the pot so that you can easily access it to add ladlefuls of the cooking water to the pasta as you toss in the egg and cheese. The water is what will loosen up the sauce and give it that creamy texture.
*For easily sliced bacon: Freeze your bacon before using and let it thaw about halfway on the counter. While it is still in it’s semi-frozen state, use a sharp knife to easily cut the bacon into thin slices. Semi-frozen bacon cuts MUCH easier than raw, refrigerated bacon.
*Make sure to reserve your pasta water after cooking the pasta. It is absolutely necessary in producing a silky sauce.
- 1 lb. Spaghetti(dry)
- 1 1/2 T. Coarse Salt(for pasta water)
- 8 oz. Bacon, thinly sliced *see tip in post
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 Eggs
- 1 C. grated Parmesan
- 1/2 t. Coarse Salt(for egg mixture)
- Coarse Ground Pepper, to taste
- 2 T. fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
- extra grated parmesan, for garnish
- Fill a stock pot with 5 quarts of water. Bring to a boil.
- Add the 1 1/2 T. of Coarse Salt to the boiling water.
- Add your dry spaghetti, making sure to stir several times in the first few minutes of cooking to prevent sticking. Cook according to package directions, until almost al dente.
- Mix together the eggs and parmesan in a small bowl, along with the salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- When the pasta is about halfway done cooking, Heat a large saute pan to medium/high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Add the bacon and saute for 30 seconds. Remove from heat if pasta is not yet finished cooking.
- When the pasta is almost al dente, Remove it from the pasta water and add it to the saute pan. Toss the pasta in with the bacon and garlic, coating it well in the bacon grease.
- Turn off the heat under the saute pan at this point.
- Add the parmesan/egg mixture and one ladel-full of pasta water to the pasta. Toss it well, moving quickly. Add more pasta water as desired to loosen up the sauce and make creamier. *Make sure the heat is off completely or you run the risk of curdling the egg in the sauce.
- Plate the pasta and garnish with the parsley, and a little more parmesan and fresh ground pepper, if desired.
I guess bars have become my new favorite dessert.
Maybe it’s because they’re easy to throw together and serve.
Maybe it’s because Autumn flavors offer so many bar-compatible combinations and I absolutely adore the flavors of Fall.
Whatever the reason, the certainly make one legitimate, satisfying dessert.
CINNAMON CARAMEL PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE SHORTBREAD CRUMBLE BARS
That’s a mouthful, huh?
I’ll break it down.
Buttery, super tender shortbread crust .
Topped with a layer of creamy, rich, not too sweet pumpkin cheesecake.
Topped with a swirling of sour cream cheesecake batter.
Topped with a crumbly, cinnamon-y, buttery, shortbread crumble.
Topped with a heavy drizzle of thick, cinnamon-spiced caramel.
Anything with that many layers of wonder HAS to be good.
AND IT IS.
Now, I know it seems like a lot of components.
BUT, it’s not as bad as all that.
The shortbread is made, 1/3 of it is reserved(the other 2/3 is pressed into the baking pan) and oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar are quickly mixed in in the same bowl.
The cheesecake is the same sort of deal. The cheesecake batter is made, almost all of it is poured over the crust(which has been par-baked at this point), and the little bit of batter that is left is mixed with sour cream and swirled on top of the cheesecake batter.
Sprinkle that crumble over the top and bake.
While it’s baking, you can make the caramel sauce. Or, you can make it ahead of time, if you like. *Just note that this caramel is quite a thick one, and will need to be re-heated to be thin enough to pour if you make it ahead of time.
If you are looking for the perfect dessert to feed a crowd this Fall season, this would definitely be the one to go with.
I like to double the recipe so that I can serve 20-30 people(depending on how small the bars are cut).
A NOTE ON DOUBLING THE RECIPE:
If you decide to double the recipe, line a full baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment reaches well over all sides of the pan. When you pour the cheesecake batter, and topping in, along with the crumble, you will be all the way to the top of the pan. I was a little worried that the cheesecake would puff up too much, but it turned out perfectly. Nothing went over the pan. BUT, only use 3 eggs instead of four, if doubling. If you use all 4, there is a chance that the extra egg could raise that cheesecake right over the pan. 3 eggs will still give you a wonderful cheesecake.
Makes 12-15 Bars
- 2 1/2 sticks(1 1/4 C.) Butter, softened
- 2 1/2 C. Flour
- 2/3 C. Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 C. Oats
- 1/2 t. Cinnamon
- 1/4 C. Brown Sugar(lightly packed)
- 2 pkg.(16 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 C. Sugar
- 1 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 t. Vanilla
- 3/4 C.(heaping) Pumpkin Puree
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 C. Sour Cream
- FOR THE CINNAMON CARAMEL:
- 1/2 C. Sugar
- 2 T. Water
- 1/3 C. Heavy Cream
- 1 T. Butter
- 1/4 t. Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper(parchment paper should go all the way up the sides).
- Place the softened butter, flour, and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix together until it just forms a dough.
- Place 2/3 of the in the prepared pan and press evenly over the bottom.
- Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven and remove.
- While the crust is par-baking, add the oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar to the remaining 1/3 of the dough and mix together until the dough is broken down into medium sized crumbs. Set aside.
- Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese until very smooth, scraping down the sides 2-3 times.
- Add the sugar and pumpkin pie spice to the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides.
- Add the vanilla and pumpkin puree and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scrape down sides after mixing in and give one more good mix to make sure that the batter is perfectly smooth.
- Pour all but 1/2 C. of the cream cheese mixture over the par-baked crust and smooth out evenly.
- Mix the remaining 1/2 C. of batter and sour cream together.
- Spoon the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake batter(in several different areas)and swirl over the entire pan.
- Sprinkle the reserved crumble evenly over the top of the cheesecake batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven or until the cheesecake is puffy and the crumble is golden brown.
- Let cool. Refrigerate until cold(I like to pop them in the freezer for 30-45 minutes so I can cut them sooner).
- TO MAKE THE CINNAMON CARAMEL:
- Place the sugar and water in a saute pan. Stir together until all the sugar is moistened. Heat on high and bring to a boil. Brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming. When the sugar turns a deep, amber color, pour in the cream, butter and cinnamon. Mixture will bubble up intensely. Let bubble until mixture becomes smooth.
- Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Drizzle the cinnamon caramel over the bars.
- Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and sliding them out.
- Cut into 12-15 bars.
Other Fall Favorites:
No soup speaks Autumn to me quite as much as a bowl of steaming hot, velvety smooth butternut squash soup. To me, it is about as “Fall” as a soup can get, especially served alongside freshly baked rolls. Make it a cold evening full of pumpkins and colorful leaves and I’m in Autumn heaven.
Who has pumpkins out on their front porch already? Come October and we’ll be taking the kids pumpkin picking at a local patch right up the road. I think once we have pumpkins on our porch it will really, truly feel like fall. [Read More...]
It seems as if we all go through the search for the perfect roll recipe.
Some of us already have it, passed down from generation to generation.
Some of us try recipe after recipe, hoping to find one that hits the right balance of density and lightness. Something soft and buttery.
I went through several recipes before I found the perfect rolls.
And they are PERFECT. [Read More...]
I’m ready to be rollin’ with all the pumpkin recipes.
This one uses just a little pumpkin puree to turn ordinary butter into something seasonally delicious.Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Honey Butter
CARAMEL APPLE PUMPKIN SPICE MUFFINS WITH SALTED CARAMEL GLAZE
Never was a more fall-appropriate muffin baked.
I don’t know about you, but I have a major thing for caramel apple anything.
And more caramel. Specifically Salted Caramel. [Read More...]
I can confidently say that these are without a doubt, the best bars I have ever had.
I thought I’d have too many of these bars so I sent a few of them up to one of my most favorite neighbors. [Read More...]
This bread pudding has a double shot of peaches with a tangy, salty/sweet caramel sauce soaked through it as well as being studded with fresh, seasonal slices of peach. Custard enveloped slices of bread with a hint of vanilla combined with all that peachy goodness make for one perfect early fall dessert!
While you’re still looking for something to do with all of those fresh peaches, why not give this peachy caramel bread pudding a try?
Ready for a little spin on caramel?
How about a little FRESH PEACH CARAMEL SAUCE ?
Yeah, you heard me right.
Peaches and caramel together.
In a sauce.
It’s just the way things should be, isn’t it? [Read More...]
If you have been pregnant, you most likely have found that the term “morning sickness” is a bit of a joke. It seems that for most of us, it can hit at any time of the day and often doesn’t let up at all through the first few months.
I can’t complain too much, I am not one that throws up, but I do feel like am just about to most of the day. Not terribly fun, but part of the deal. I am currently on my fourth pregnancy and have found that with each one, the nausea has been easier to deal with. Either you start to get used to it, or the other littles running around help distract you. In my experience, anyhow. [Read More...]