Beef Tips and Rice

This is the simplest, fastest, most delicious crockpot dinner that I know of.  Bless my Mom’s heart for sharing it with me years ago.  My husband and children love it as it is always tender and filling.  I love it because it takes me about 3 minutes to assemble.  Then all I have to do is cook the rice later and dinner is done!

It contains 4 ingredients:  Beef stew meat, cream of mushroom soup, onion soup mix, and cooked rice.  Sound easy enough?

First, put at least 1 pound of stew meat into your crockpot.

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Then add a can of cream of mushroom soup

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Mix well.

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Pour 1 envelope of Lipton’s onion soup mix over the top.

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Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or longer if you’re cooking a lot of meat.
Cook some rice, and serve!

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This isn’t a fancy meal, but it is always tender and delicious.  I’ve served it many times for company, and they always love it.

Beef Tips and Rice

1 pound beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
cooked rice

Note: for my family I usually cook about 2 1/2 pounds of meat and add 3 cans of soup.  But I still just use one envelope of soup mix.  Just one seems to do the trick just fine.

Whole Wheat Rolls

Think freshly ground wheat transformed into delicious warm rolls!
It can’t get much better than that.

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In my Bosch, I combined 3 cups warm water, 2/3 cups vegetable oil, and 4 large eggs.

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Blend together, then add 1/2 cup powdered milk,

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and 1/2 cup honey.  (I didn’t have time to go get honey from my basement, so I used honey powder.  Just pretend this is a nice gooey pile of honey going in.  The powder works fine, too, in case you have some.  I really like it.)

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and 1 Tablespoon salt

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Mix well, and now it’s time for the whole wheat flour.
This flour is straight from my grinder.  It doesn’t look very dark because it’s white wheat.
Using white wheat means I don’t have to add any white flour to the dough because it will be nice and light on its own.
If you’re using red wheat, you will probably want to have at least 1/3 of the flour be white flour.

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I digress.  Add about 4 cups of wheat flour to the mixer.

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And 2 1/2 tablespoons SAF Instant Yeast.

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Turn on the mixer and blend until well incorporated.
Add another 3 cups of flour and watch so see the consistency of the dough.

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You might need to add another cup or two, but you don’t want to add too much.
You want the dough to begin pulling away from the sides of the mixer.

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Cover and let knead for 5 minutes.  Remove the dough hook and cover again.
Let rise for 10-15 minutes.  Then remove dough from mixer, divide into 4 pieces, and roll each piece out (one at a time, of course) into a large rectangle.

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Using a pizza cutter, cut in half lengthwise.

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Then cut each half into triangles.

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Roll into crescent roll shapes.

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Place on baking sheet to rise.  Cover and let rise another 10-15 minutes.

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Bake at 400 for 8 minutes or until tops are just beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and brush with butter.
Enjoy with butter, or in our case this time, homemade cherry jam.

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Talk about homemade goodness!  Yum!

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Whole Wheat Rolls

3 cups warm water
2/3 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup honey
1 Tb. salt
7-9 cups freshly ground white wheat flour
2 1/2 Tb. SAF Instant Yeast

In mixer, combine water, oil and eggs.  Mix well.  Add powdered milk, honey and salt.
Mix well, then add 4 cups flour and the yeast.  Mix again and continue adding flour until dough reaches proper consistency.  Let knead 5 minutes.  Remove dough hook and cover.  Let rise 10-15 minutes.  Roll into rolls, cover and let rise another 10-15 minutes.  Bake at 400 for 8-9 minutes.  You can also bake at 375 for a few minutes longer depending on your tastes.  They’re delicious either way!

Flower Rag Quilt

About a week ago I decided that it’s about time I did something to sort of acknowledge that we have another baby joining our family.  I happened upon a pattern that I really liked, and then went on a hunt for some fabric that really grabbed me.

I was hoping for flannel, but found these cotton prints instead.

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The pattern I chose is called “Lazy Daisy” by Sweet and Shabby Designs.
The fabric line I chose is a new one called “Whimsy” by Pillow and Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics.
The fabric is definitely retro but I loved it.  Of course, I supplemented with lots of fabrics from my stash, which is always good because the finished product has more personality that way.

In case you’re not familiar with a rag quilt, it is a quilt that has the seams on the top facing out instead of facing the inside of the quilt.  It’s  kind of a shortcut, because you quilt it as you go, but it’s also a kind of quilt that really has its own style.  The way the seams look after they’ve been washed is really fun.

The pattern wasn’t difficult to follow, and had a mistake or two in it, but I noticed a correction on their blog.

First, I cut all the fabric according to the instructions.  I love how quilting takes these stacks of fabric, and then you cut (carefully of course) and end up with these tidy little stacks of fabric in various shapes and sizes.

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Next I cut the batting.  I decided to use cotton batting.

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Next I assembled each square for the quilt.  I did this by laying the bottom piece face down, then a piece of batting, and then the top piece face up, like you’re assembling a sandwich.

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Repeat this with all the fabric and batting.

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Now it’s time to start quilting each block.  On the long, thin strips for the borders I just sewed a straight line down the middle of the fabric.  On the large blocks I sewed diagonally from corner to corner, and then went the other direction so they had a big X on them.

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The squares with the flowers were fun.  I tried a quick new trick and am really happy with the results.
It’s called a washable glue stick.  The key word is “washable.”  I also like the price:  15 cents.  Tell me what you can buy for 15 cents now-a-days!  I call that the deal of the week.  Using the glue stick allows you to stick the piece in place while you sew, but the glue will wash right out when  you wash the quilt.

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On the wrong side of the flower, just swipe the glue in enough spots to hold it in place while you sew around the edges of the flower.  I love that this means I didn’t have to use any pins!

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Glue the fabric on your square and sew around the edge of the flower, about 1/4 inch in from the edge.

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Repeat with the larger circle for the center, and then the smaller circle as well.

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After sewing the three pieces on, the back of the square is now quilted in a cute flower, too!

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When all of the pieces to your quilt have been quilted, it is ready to assemble.
For the sake of holding less fabric, I decided to snip the edges of the flowers before assembling.
Just make sure you don’t cut through the seam!

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It will look like this when you’re done.

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Now just lay out your squares as you want them to look.
Whenever I’m doing this I feel grateful that my office doubles as a guest room because the bed is a great spot to lay things out and move them around until I like them.

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For this pattern, you must first sew the strips to the bottom of the flower pieces, and then sew the pieces together into rows.  You ‘ll have four rows of four pieces, and then you sew the rows together, too.  Add the border last.

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The seams look rather ridiculous at this point.  Whenever I make a rag quilt, when I get to this point I always wonder why I picked a rag quilt instead of a regular one.  But it’s too late now, so carry on.

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The back always looks fun at this stage!

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Your last real step is to snip carefully into all of those rows of seams!

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Once again, be sure you don’t cut the seam.   If you do , you’ll need to restitch it so your quilt won’t come undone.
This step seems to take forever.  You can either do it in little pieces, or if you’re like me, you know that you won’t feel like picking it up again so you’ll just plow through and do it in a single sitting.  I always regret the way my hand feels after doing it, but it doesn’t last long.  This is certainly the boring step in the quilt, but I remind myself that it’s not super exciting to sit and bind a quilt by hand, either.

After cutting everything, the next step is to toss the quilt in your washing machine.  Wash it and then dry it in your dryer.  This step is what will make the seams look right.  (Be sure to clean out your lint filter on your washer because there will be tons of lint from this blanket.)

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When the quilt is done drying, the seams will be soft and cute.
Use your scissors to cut off the longer strings.  TaDa!  You’re finished.
A lovely, new, baby-sized quilt in just a few hours.

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