In my world-(cold and wintry) there is nothing better than a slice of homemade bread and a hearty bowl of beef stew.  Unfortunately, there are some days (like today)-that do not provide me with the time to go through the process of making it the ‘old fashioned’ way.  No problem.  That’s when I pull out the ‘big guns’ and use the blessings that modern technology has given me.   Does that mean that I can’t have a delicious, homemade dinner?  No!  With little time to spare today-I was able to create a hearty, home cooked meal, and do so-without breaking a sweat, or adding any additional stress!

 One reason was because of this appliance I purchased almost ten years ago.

 Of course-that was when they were extremely popular!  Back then it took awhile to get used to, and actually trust that this machine would be able to do the same thing I could-and do it as well.  But, soon after I’d adjusted to it’s capabilities- I suddenly lost interest and threw it in the back of a cupboard. 

Just recently-I became ‘intrigued’ once more.  I remembered that this dang machine saves time! Even better-it saves me a WHOLE lot of extra work.  But, the best part is-the bread that comes out of this baby-is just as good as the stuff I used to sweat flour for!  Don’t believe me?

Well- take a peek for yourself!

So, pull that monstrosity out of the cupboard-blow off the dust-and  use this quick and easy recipe to make ‘homemade’, yes, I said, ‘homemade’ bread!  Because, even though this recipe doesn’t allow you the pleasure of getting carpel tunnel-it does allow you to use homemade ingredients.  That’s right-NO box!

Here is what you’ll need:

1 cup of warm water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg active yeast (2 tablespoons)

Place your water into the ‘loaf’ pan of your bread maker.
                                                  Combine flour, salt, sugar and shortening.

 Pour on top of the water.  

Scoop out a small hole in the flour mixture (without reaching the water below) and pour the yeast into it.

Turn your setting to “LIGHT”(for my bread maker this is 3 1/2 hours) and let it do it’s magic!

The next ‘modern technology’ blessing I used today-was my slow-cooker!  How great is it-to be able to throw all your ingredients inside this wonderful appliance and forget about it for 8 hours?  Even better-how awesome is it to come home after a long and tiring day-and SMELL that your dinner is ready!

Here is what you’ll need for my hearty stew:

1 lb top sirloin (cut into 1 inch cubes)-You can use stew meat if you prefer.
1 14 1/2 oz can of stewed tomatoes
2 packages of McCormick Brown Gravy mix
1 small onion (sliced thin)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
2 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2/3 cup flour
3 medium potatoes (cut into 1 inch chunks)
2 carrots (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
2 stalks of celery (cut into 1 inch chunks)
1 cup of frozen peas
1 bay leaf

Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and oregano.
Dredge meat in flour-coating well.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive to a large skillet. Add meat. Cook until brown on all sides (about 2 minutes.)
Add tomatoes.

 Add gravy mixes, water, onion and garlic.
Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Add chopped veggies to slow cooker. Pour meat sauce over top-and mix well.
Add bay leaf and cook on low for 6-8 hours-or high for 4-5.  ***Add frozen peas at least 30 minutes before serving.  If you prefer the sauce to be thicker-mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tsp water and add to stew. 
A PERFECT ending to a busy and chaotic Monday!
 Happy Monday!

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