Recipe // Nana’s Beef Stew

Growing up in Florida, cold, winter days were few and far between, but when there was a chill in the air, my Nana would make her beef stew. This was hands-down my favorite meal that she cooked. It’s probably because it was so rare that we had it. It’s been in the 20s here in New Jersey for about a month now. I’ve been making soup regularly, but I wanted something a little more hearty this weekend. I decided on Nana’s Beef Stew.

2014-02-16 19.44.43-2

Here’s the recipe with a few tweaks. It was delicious and will be even better tomorrow. For some reason, stews are always better the second day. Must be that overnight flavor mingle that happens in the fridge.

Nana’s Beef Stew
Serves: 12 (or 6 big bowls)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

2 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch piece
2 T vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 c flour
3 cloves minced garlic
1 c red wine
3 c beef broth
1/2 t dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 t dried thyme
4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
3 large red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (or unpeeled and scrubbed clean) and cut in eighths
1 14oz can cut green beans
1 c frozen peas
1 T red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

On medium-high heat, add oil to a large heavy pot.
When the oil begins to shimmer and smoke slightly, add the beef and brown it. If necessary, brown the beef in batches.
Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon set aside.
Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add a pinch of salt to help them sweat.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken as it comes to a simmer.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary. Return the beef (and any juices collected) back to the pot.
Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on low for about an hour.

After an hour, add potatoes, carrots, and celery, and simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, salting and peppering to taste.

Turn off heat and add peas, green beans and stir in vinegar.
Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired. Serve with bread and butter and a side salad.



Madonna launched a new skin care line in Japan earlier this week. The official press release is below along with a promo video. I’ll be curious to check out the line when it makes it stateside.


‘MDNA SKIN’ – the new innovative and revolutionary skin care brand created by Madonna in collaboration with MTG, Japan’s leading beauty company, is scheduled to open in Omotesando for a limited time beginning Thursday, February 13th thru Sunday, February 23rd between 11:00 and 20:00. This will be the exclusive location to buy ‘MDNA SKIN’ in the world. The brand’s goal is to challenge women and their awareness about the art of beauty and skin care.

The state-of-the-art treatment system consists of three components: The clay oil therapy inspired CHROME CLAY MASK, made with a base of clay from Montecatini Terme in Italy, which performs multiple functions that enrich the skin.
The SKIN REJUVINATOR – the specialized Magnetic Force and Deep Derma induction system devised to remove impurities and revitalizes the skin.
THE SERUM – based on an original formula that was created exclusively for Madonna, it creates a glowing effect when used alone and is further enhanced when used with the CHROME CLAY MASK and SKIN REJUVENATOR.

Using these products routinely as part of daily skin care regime creates firm, resilient and radiant skin overflowing with energy after every use.

The MDNA SKIN POP UP STORE will give customers the opportunity to see, feel and experience the products and enjoy the multiple screen projected visuals. The store will also host a VIP area and the location for special events.

MDNA SKIN will be available at selected department stores in Japan on February 26th.


More details

DATE: 2/13 – 2/23
OPEN TIME: 11:00 – 20:00
5-11-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
5 minute walk from Omotesando Station, Exit A1
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon

Oscar Movie Catch Up


I’m nearly caught up on all of the Best Picture nominees! Tonight I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. It wasn’t my favorite of the Oscar pics, though Leo DiCaprio was pretty convincing as sleezy stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Jonah Hill was surprisingly excellent. I thought the film was excessive and bloated (It’s THREE HOURS) but I guess that’s the point. I read that the original director’s cut was FOUR hours! Scorsese could use an editor. #justsayin


Finally, the last three Best Picture noms I need to see are Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and Captain Philips. I’m hoping I can knock those out this weekend. Rumor has it that Captain Philips is already at Redbox. I see a trip to 7-11 in my future.

Country Pancake House // Ridgewood, NJ

Last week, a couple of my coworkers were in town for a business event. I love when people are in town because it gives me an excuse to try out new restaurants. We all decided that we wanted breakfast for dinner (one of my all time favorites!) so I scoped out a few restaurants near our event space. Turns out Country Pancake House was the perfect place. Little did we know that we should have ordered one dish and all shared it. So we ended up having three ginormous plates of food to eat (and share).

2014-01-29 19.55.19

I ordered the blueberry banana pancakes. You can get one giant one or four “regular” pancakes. I say regular but they are honestly the size of hubcaps! I ate one.

2014-01-29 19.55.23

We also ordered the triple berry french toast. Holy moly. It’s like a loaf of bread cut into three pieces. I couldn’t believe the slices were cooked all the way through. They were and it was delicious!
You can see below that our third dish was a chicken and broccoli cheese crepe, which was really delicious as well.

2014-01-29 19.56.11Someone’s excited for dinner!

Oh and btw – I didn’t even mention the cornbread basket that was brought to the table after we ordered. So much food and the price was great. The joint is cash only, but they have an ATM on-site. Ridgewood is also an adorable town with a ton of shops and restaurants. I’ll definitely be back to Country Pancake House and Ridgewood!

Country Pancake House // 140 E Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

1 2 3 4 5 6 265