Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (
© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

This morning was classic...cold and quiet...zero and sunshine...nobody but us (Max n' me) out there...well, the birds and a bunny too...they count...
Max with his ears "on"...

Crow prints in the snow...
Crow eating sumac berries...I loved the layers in the sky turquoise on top and the gray cloud below...

Last night's dinner on the woodstove...Black Forest Stew...easy-peasy to make...I'm not much for following recipes, I fly by the seat of my pants and make it up as I go along...like most of my creations...so never expect exact measurements from me, it's a little bit of this, a pinch of that, a bottle of something and that looks about right...and the taste...mmm...mmm...good!

It’s fairly versatile, like a pot roast...

To start with:

1 chunk of beef, a chuck roast, bottom round, London broil...I usually keep it whole and cut it up later after its fall apart tender! (Stew beef chunks work too!)
I take a knife and score the beef on both sides, against the grain, and sprinkle black pepper on it...brown in oil or butter, sauté onions and garlic (mushrooms too if you like 'em, chopped baby portabellas are always delightful!)
1 bottle of Saranac Black Forest beer (when you first dump it in on the browned meat it fizzes!)
at least 2 cups of water (to cover, add more as needed throughout cooking)
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
garlic (minced, as much as you like, two or three cloves is good)
mushrooms (are optional cuz I know some people don't like eating fungus)

carrots (as many as you like)
potatoes or barley (either one, not both, I used barley last night since I didn't have the taters, you don't need too much of it 1/4 cup or less)
a pinch of salt
couple of sprinkles of parsley(dried from my garden, fresh is also lovely too if you've got it)
a couple of dollops of your favorite BBQ sauce
a healthy sprinkle or two of cumin (give the spice bottle a shake, think about it, add a little more)
a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy

Thicken with flour before serving...or it can be served as a soup...

I cooked it on my woodstove most of yesterday afternoon (the house smelled heavenly!) This can be done in a pot on the stove top or in a covered roasting pan in the oven (at 350 degrees). Or it works in a crockpot. The meat will fall apart, depending on what cut you use, it can be cut up into stew beef size chunks or fished out of the pot and divided into larger servings and have the stew pored over...whichever way you like! My boys repeatedly called it "awesome"...


Judybec said...

Yummmmmmm! The stew sounds wonderful... as does your life and artwork! I enjoyed reading about the crow and the hawk -- life can become so dramatic very quickly!

From This Moment to That said...

I agree with Judybec, however I wasn't aware that crows could be set upon by hawks,I thought crows might be too fierce, so you've educated me on that one. I'm so glad you saved him. We've got just two crows around the spot where we live in the suburbs of the city. I keep hoping they will increase as there are an inordinate amount of magpies here they seem to be driving out all but the pluckiest birds.
A Very Happy New Year friend.
hugs Jane