We were so happy that Tony’s blood level didn’t drop too much after he stopped taking blood thinners so that didn’t have to spend a day or two before surgery in the hospital.  We had to call Saturday night and were told to be at the hospital this morning at 7:15 for his 8:30 hernia surgery.

My SIL took the day off too to keep me company which will be nice!  Thanks Jody!  Not knowing how long Tony will be in the hospital, or what his appetite will be like, I decided to make him pure winter comfort food – rosemary sea salt Artisan bread and beef stew.

I love the smell of baking bread – pretty sure that’s my favorite kitchen smell.  I ended up brushing the top of the bread with a bit of milk so the dried rosemary and sea salt would stick.  I also made slightly smaller loaves, so this only needed to bake for 20 minutes.

If you are afraid of yeast breads, don’t be.  Here is their quick video on how simple it is to make this bread.


The best is when it is slightly cooled, the crust is still really crunchy, but the inside is so tender.

Our store had cut up beef stew meat for $5.99 a pound.  Um, I don’t think so.  So I ended up buying a boneless chuck roast and cut it up myself.

There wasn’t a whole lot of fat, in fact that first group up front I put in my dutch oven just to render out the fat, then browned my stew meat in the rendered fat. 😀

The cinnamon and brown sugar were weird ingredients to me, but it totally works.  When I seared the meat the outside almost carmelized and gave the stew a whole new flavor that I loved.

Beef Stew (adapted from here)

  • makes six servings:  386 calories, 13 fat, 31 carbs, 4 fiber and 29 protein) (according to eTools only 5 WW points!)


  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, fat trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 can or bottle of beer of choice
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add trimmed fat and cook until fat renders out.  Remove pieces and give them to your dog when they are cooled – he’ll be your best friend then.

In a large bowl mix flour, salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Toss the meat with olive oil, then toss the meat in the flour mixture.  Sear the meat in batches, making sure not to overcrowd and add canola oil if necessary.  Remove the heat to another bowl.

Pour in the beer and deglaze the bottom of the pot, and let the beer reduce – about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste, garlic, canned tomatoes and beef broth.  Simmer another 10 minutes, then add the meat back in with the carrots and potatoes.

Put a lid on it, and simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.

I used a lone Sam Adam’s Summer Ale leftover in my downstairs beverage fridge.

I will never use any other type of meat for beef stew again – the meat so so flavorful and tender!  Tony deemed both the bread and stew “spectacular!”  Just what I was going for.  Most of us know who shitty hospital food is, so I was glad to make a winning dinner. 😀

I am bringing the leftovers for me and my SIL for lunch – they have microwaves in the hospital cafeteria.  I am also bringing us a fruit salad on the side.

Thanks again for your continued thoughts and well wishes for Tony today – keep em coming!  I can confidently say this will be his last surgery of 2011 and fingers crossed we don’t have any in 2012!

Make it a great day!