First off just want to say thank you to all of you who have commented or emailed me to show concern over Crazy Cocker Spaniel. We went to her regular veterinarian today and he seemed very optimistic. The condition she has technically has no treatment, but if it is what they refer to as Old Dog Vestibular Disease, then it sort of works itself out over time. In reality they dog learns to compensate much like if she lost a limb. CCS is already walking (very drunken like) upstairs and has even tried downstairs (though she doesn’t like to do it in the morning as she is a night owl like me). Her eye nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) has slowed down (that’s a good thing) and she is eating and drinking. I am told that her head tilt will most likely stay and her walking will never be 100% but she is not in pain and is a happy go lucky dog. She forgets her body can’t do things though and she keeps trying to do things she shouldn’t…similar to that of a toddler. So she is still under watchful eye. I am told that 7-14 days for significant recovery. We are on day 4 and she has improved so much that I am very hopeful.
And now on to the name of the post…CHANGES. Well more like reversing in a way. When I was at the King Arthur Flour event I had a wonderful chat with Maria of Pink Patisserie (which if you aren’t reading her beautiful blog you should be) about blogging and the fine line of making money vs. hobby. Talking with her reminded me of why I used to blog…for fun. For outlet. For the love of baking and cooking and to share that love and knowledge with others. I didn’t worry about upsetting people (not that I like to but I used to be a tad more controversial) I just wrote. I didn’t worry about what percentage of people might make what I put on the blog. Or what would go viral on Pinterest, etc. And then I needed money. So I decided to change a little to appeal to a more mass audience and maybe get some income that way. And I did. But the people I work with: Plugra and Rodelle would have worked with me regardless as I am of course a butter and vanilla junkie.
So what does this mean? Not much really to you the reader. Just that I am back to blogging for fun. I wasn’t really making money when I was trying to make money anyway (in fact I might have made less ironically)….so why put that kind of pressure on myself? I was getting too caught up in the I should be doing x,y,and z in order for me to be a best blog. I’m coming up on 9 years of blogging next month and I want to continue so I know that I need to go back to this being for fun or I won’t be around. Now if I make money along the way that is awesome (feel free to donate to the cause..aka blog). That doesn’t mean I won’t have ads as this blog still does cost quite a bit to run each month and I need that cost covered (plus the IRS says I’m a business). That doesn’t mean I won’t be working with wonderful companies like Plugra and Rodelle, I will. I will continue to only choose companies that make sense for this blog and whom I have the utmost respect for (though I have always done this). I’m also considering doing a monthly podcast with my blogging bud and all round kick ass person Kita of Pass the Sushi…again just for fun. And I’ve decided I want to do an E-book…yes those make money but I want to do one that is on something that I want to do not what a publisher wants me to do.
One thing I am adding to my blog is a Newlywed series. When I lived in Phoenix and even when I first moved up here I used to teach cooking lessons. I taught bachelors how to cook so they could work on not being a bachelor anymore. I taught baking skills. I taught teens how to cook. And I had a whole series on Newlywed cooking. The Newlywed lessons were my most popular. So being a newlywed myself, I thought it would be fun to spend the next year to the art of being married. The Newlywed Series that I used to teach would focus on one ingredient or technique and learn it in one easy, one medium, and one more wow worthy (save that for the in-laws). I would teach chicken three ways. Beef three ways. Pasta three ways…I think you see where this is going. I’m going to start off with a few slow cooker ideas so hopefully you own one or at least registered for one if you are about to tie the knot. If you don’t own one I love my Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System (MC701). You also should start to invest in spices. You could just buy a spice rack that comes with spices like this one Kamenstein Criss Cross Bamboo 18-Jar Spice Rack (it comes with all the spices you need for this recipe…and then some). If you prefer to just buy them a few at a time that is fine. I will actually be doing a whole post on spices you should have in your pantry this coming week.
Also along this newlywed adventure of mine I enlisted the help of Jameson Fink. I first met him through our mutual friend Jessie (aka Cake Spy) but really knew he was the coolest when I attended his unique wine pairing class at IFBC a few years back when he had us pairing wine with jarred jalapenos, potato chips, cheese, and my personal favorite…Skittles! Told you he was cool. He will be helping you pick out a wine to go with each newlywed recipe (including dessert). The other thing that makes him cool is he went to grad school where I went to undergrad school…Northern Arizona University (Go Lumberjacks!). Be sure to check out his blog!
Now on to this sauce: When I was married to the picky eater he would eat what I call meat spaghetti usually once a week, if not more. It wasn’t even fun meat sauce, just ground beef cooked and then jar sauce usually Ragu added. But when I would make meat sauce for me I would make Bolognese sauce. MDP is all about the Bolognese sauce. Mine tends to have a little Italian sausage as well but I wanted to limit the ingredients in this since the recipe does have quite a few already. If you are thinking of skipping the fennel seed, please don’t, it really adds something. And if you are not wanting wine you can use beef stock in its place.
What Jameson has to has to say:
What better to pair with a classic Italian sauce than an equally classic wine? Go for a red wine from Tuscany’s Chianti region. And hey, now that you’re married, it’s time to stop buying the bottle with the straw basket. Move on! (You can still put a candle in an empty bottle if you must.)
Chianti is made mostly from the Sangiovese grape, and is a red sauce-loving wine. And since in this case you’re cooking with it, too, buy something good without breaking the bank.The Badia a Coltibuono winery makes a very nice, and nicely priced, Chianti called “Cetamura”. For around ten bucks you can both slow down and enjoy your slow-cooked meal.
(Note: If you can’t find the Cetamura, ask your friendly wine shop person for a recommendation in that range.)
Obviously you don’t need to be a newlywed to benefit from the series so I hope you don’t feel singled out (pun intended) and just enjoy the post regardless of what you relationship status is.
*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you buy items from Amazon with a link from my blog I make a small percentage of the sale which helps keep this blog running.
- 1 TBSP. bacon grease or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
- 1⁄2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1⁄2 cup chopped celery
- 1⁄2 cup chopped carrot
- 1 TBSP. chopped garlic
- 1 can whole tomatoes, chopped (28 oz.)
- 1⁄2 cup milk or heavy cream
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
- 1⁄4 cup tomato paste
- 2 TBSP.. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
- 1⁄2 cup cream cheese
- Heat the bacon grease in a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the fat and set meat aside.
- Mince onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a food processor (or unless you possess mad knife skills feel free to mince by hand).
- Transfer to a 4- to 6-qt. slow cooker.
- Add meat mixture, tomatoes, cream, wine, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, basil, oregano, and fennel seed to slow cooker.
- Cook on low-heat setting for 3–4 hours.
- Immediately before serving sauce, stir in cream cheese to give it a silky finish.
- Adapted from Cuisine at Home