August 26th, 2014

Comfort Food Friday: Irish Beef Stew

I am really excited because the start of college football season is just days away and fall is fast approaching.  Even though it is a warm August Day here in Southern California, I have stews, soups, and pumpkin bread on the brain. Yum!

I’ve noticed that Pinners are starting to add more hearty meals on Pinterest and my food board is bursting with new recipes.  Is it just me or do others find that the photos and recipes on Pinterest look fabulous, but never really taste as good as they look? Sadly, I think only 20% of the dishes I try are really worth the effort, are actually shared with friends, or are blog-worthy.

I can assure that this Irish Stew is worth every ounce of effort and calorie, too.   Great for warming the belly on a chilly fall night … or a 90 degree summer night in So Cal too.  This stew is just that good!

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IRISH BEEF STEW

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. stew meat
4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1 Bay leaf
2 c. beef broth
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. frozen peas

DIRECTIONS:

In deep skillet, brown stew meat in 2 tbsp. olive oil until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Pour in onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, and remaining Olive Oil. Add salt and pepper.  Then add a little more salt – trust me … a couple of teaspoons work well in this recipe. Cook another 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with beef broth, simmer another minutes or so, and transfer stew to an oven safe pot. Cover and simmer stew in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 275 degrees and cook another 2 hours or until meat is very tender.

Before serving, stir softened butter and flour together in a small bowl until smooth and incorporated. Remove Bay Leaf and stir butter mixture and frozen peas into the stew.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Once the gravy thickens slightly, it’s done. Serve hot over warm mashed potatoes (ahhh, so here’s the Irish part of the recipe!)

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Tips:  Beef browns more quickly and evenly when spaced apart.  Normally I would use 2 skillets to brown the meat, but I was in a hurry!  And, even though I love fresh herbs, dried are a-ok too.  Whatever you have on hand – cooking should be fun and easy.  Oh, and I am a huge fan of prepared, minced garlic.  Just sayin …

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Every family has their version of mashed potatoes.  Here is the way I’ve made them for years:

HOMEMADE MASHIES (Mashed Potatoes)
4 large Russet Potatoes
4 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
5 turns of the pepper grinder (1/2 tsp.)
1/2 c. whole milk

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse, peel, and quarter potatoes.  Put them into boiling water and cook until the center is fork tender (about 12 –15 minutes)

While potatoes are cooking, place butter, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Heat milk slightly (about 25 seconds in the microwave) and set aside.

Place cooked potatoes in the mixing bowl and add ¼ c. milk.  Beat slowly at first scraping the sides every so often.  Slowly add more milk as needed to achieve a firm, dense, yet fluffy mixture.  Whip the potatoes for the last 20 to 30 seconds to smooth – out those last few pesky lumps.  Because potatoes should be super-soft after cooking, mixing time will be less than 2 minutes.IMG_3832

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Please excuse my son’s shadow on this photo … he was hovering … because he was hungry … and was waiting for his stew … on a hot summer’s evening in August!

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ENJOY!

 

June 16th, 2014

Free Book with $50.00 Purchase: Sales and Promotions

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GET A FREE BOOK WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

I recently finished reading The Middle Place by celebrated author and journalist, Kelly Corrigan, a memoir about a happily married mother of two who discovers a cancerous lump in her breast. I was so taken by this triumphant yet bittersweet story that I am going to GIVE the book to anyone who purchases $50.00 or more from pinxwear.com before July 1st. I am confident you will find the book filled with powerful content, humor, and well-articulated insights like I did, too.

Use promotional code: FREEBOOK at check-out.

June 11th, 2014

Reading: It’s Good For Your Health

“Read any good books lately?”  I certainly have, and not just because I enjoy the provocative content of great literature, the entertainment of mind-numbing fiction, and belly-filling stories of love and loss. I read, a lot, because it’s good for me.

It turns out (and this is all backed by studies and research) that reading has helped people heal from serious illnesses, live more comfortably with physical disabilities, and deal with stress.

Here are 5 reasons why you should dust off the book on your nightstand, turn to page one, and get to readin’ …

  1. Getting lost in a good book helps slash stress levels:
    Reading transports you and your worried mind to another place.  Books provide adventure, escape, and uplift our spirits. Reader’s Digest  has reported that reading and relaxing lowers hormone levels such as Cortisol, which is an extra bonus.
  2. Reading Gives Muscle Back to Memory:
    If you are familiar with the term “Chemo Brain” you know what I mean by this one.  ABC News reports that keeping your mind sharp by reading or challenging yourself with crossword puzzles and games also protects the brain from Alzheimer’s Disease. 
  3. Identifying with characters in a book is form of therapy and friendship.
    Certain stories and subjects can heighten empathy for others and lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness. One of my favorites is The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan.
  4. Reading lowers resting heart rate and Hypertension.
    Need I say more?
  5. A good book can help you sleep better:
    Curling up with a beautiful (love) story about 30 minutes before bedtime is a great way to relax and turn off the incessant chatter in your brain.  Try to stay away from self-help books before bed … those usually trigger stress and fear in me!
November 28th, 2013

Wit and Wisdom: Thankful …

We welcome with love The Pinxwear Blog’s newest contributor, Erin Shafer.  On her own blog, Beyond The Backyard, Erin writes about her life, family, and the trials of being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 28.  We are so blessed and happy that she will be sharing her wit and wisdom with us, too!  A little more about Erin …

Hello! My name is Erin Shafer. These days I go by “MOM!” From my adorable, seven year old son named Cade; “mama” from my sweet little girl named Libbi; or “Babe” from my handsome husband, Aaron (We’ll just keep that
one between us). You can call me Erin.image 
I love this life. Everything about it. I have learned some if my hardest lessons not from the game of “LIFE,” but from life itself.
As a breast cancer survivor, and a pastors wife, you can image the hilarity that happens. Both in the job-and in having those two words in the same conversation! 
Life has so much in it for each of us, thus the reason I love to write. To share the world with each of you in word and in deed. To share about life through the eyes of faith.
Having experienced chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries as a result from cancer, I can honestly say my life hasn’t exactly landed in a Fairytale, but definitely has a happily ever after…because its still going!
I’m thankful to be a part of the Pinxwear, team bringing you (and myself) much needed encouragement and refreshment that keep this life moving.

Thankful…

The first Thanksgiving. I wonder what it was like. Was it similar to ours with the hustle and bustle of last minute preparations? Food. Family. Games. Traveling plans.

Perhaps it was. Only now much of the monumental significance of that special day so long ago is being reduced to metaphors. Black Friday. Deals. Savings. Dare I say greed?

This year newspapers titled their pages, black and white with store savings. Shortages. Very little being said about Thanksgiving except for the occasional parade commemorating such a day that long ago brought nations together to celebrate freedom and peace.

Perhaps the Pilgrims brought the fixings with skill and refinement while the Indians brought the hunted meat with arrow and bow. Such skill and dexterity required for both.

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like. Perhaps it would be appropriate for me to remember. To recall more than the simplicity depicted in the pictures of History. What if this season I pause to remember that this season is one of thankfulness and peace? One of freedom?

My son has a picture in his history text book of the very first Thanksgiving. A replica of course. It portrays the Pilgrims with their hats. Smiles on their faces and children playing behind the women as they hustle about to spread their tables with deliciousness. Dishes cooked with love, prepared with the first fruits of their harvest. A harvest brought in by the sweat of their brow as they exercised their freedom from England.

This same picture showed the Indians with their bows and arrows. Their women with beautifully ornate jewelry and robes, made by their own hands. Somber faces due largely to the harsh realities daily survival brings. A picture of tradition that is passed from generation to generation. Skill. Accuracy. Athleticism. Both people groups bringing an offering of peace. Harmony. Harvest.

It’s interesting as I’ve looked at this picture so often this week. I notice less the hustle and the bustle, but the ever present bow and arrows slung over the strong shoulder of a brave young man. The  determination in the eyes of the weary travelers. Both steadfast. Both strong.

The Bible likens arrows in a quiver to the blessing and heritage of a man having sons in his youth. A metaphor of sorts explaining the blessing of children. However, today we find these “sons” are often fulfilled by significant people filling the rolls of sons for some, daughters, friends, mothers, and fathers for others. What a beautiful picture as we compare the parallel. These people fill our lives or our “quiver” and out of it flows a people who get together to celebrate freedom, peace, and the harvest of good relationships. These things take hard work. Sustaining energy. But above all, require Thankfulness to remember. Thankful hearts to recall the determination it takes to “make it” in our day of survival.

What a beautiful time to pause and remember the various people that sit around your table. That have gone on before. These people that shoot straight and true as an arrow through your life. Friendships that have been refined by the skillful hands of time and yes, determination.

This Thanksgiving Day, make time for those in your life that matter. Thanking them and your Creator for the joy that giving brings. For the hope that being thankful gives. For these gifts that we are forever changed by.

Think about it…we are continually carving history. Every day matters. Every person matters.

In a thousand years, what would your Thanksgiving Day picture portray?

Yes, as the day draws near, I find myself thankful…

October 25th, 2013

Comfort Food Friday: Cathy’s House Dressing

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My dear friend Kristin gave this recipe to me, but I must confess, I have totally and completely claimed it as my own. I recently prepared the salad for a friend’s birthday dinner and Kristin complimented me on the dressing.  I did, for the record,  quietly admit that it was she who passed on the recipe to me years ago.  Hmm.  I wonder if she heard me?   With that said, if I ever put pen to paper and created a cookbook, I would absolutely include the dressing recipe and probably take full credit for it, too! :)

Krissy and Cathy … hope we can still be friends!

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I always use the same oil and vinegar combo, but change-up some of the salad fixins’ depending on the season.

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Cathy’s House Dressing:
I shallot, chopped – 1/2 c. vegetable oil – 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard – 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar – 2 Tbsp. honey – ½ tsp. salt – ¾ tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, stir, cover, and chill.

The flavors are best when they marry for a few hours before serving.  It’s hard to describe the way this tastes so think sweet, light, kind-a tart, onion-y … well, it’s Liquid Gold!  That’s all I can say!

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I do alter the salad goodies, but really like this combination best:

Salad:
1 bag Spring Mix or 50/50 bagged lettuce – 3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts – 1 peeled granny smith apple cut into 1” bite-size pieces – 1 sliced avocado – 2 oz. crumbled Goat Cheese

Stir oil and vinegar mixture and toss with the lettuce right before serving.   I prefer a lighter flavor and usually use about 3 full tablespoons to dress my salad.  Make sure you include some of the chopped scallion, too.  I like to sprinkle the goat cheese on top – it’s just prettier that way.

The dressing yields about two large salads. I have also been known to use it as a crispy chicken tender and veggie dip as well.

Variations:
Switch-up the apples for pears, dried cranberries, or fresh pomegranate (the more vibrant fruit is great for the holidays)  When using Bartlett or Asian pears, I like to switch the goat cheese for a creamy blue cheese.  Toasted or sugared walnuts can be substituted for the pine nuts any time.  Adding 2 c. bite-sized cooked chicken breast turns this side salad into a beautiful meal.  Oh, and don’t forget to pair with a light Chardonnay!  Yum!

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Enjoy!

October 18th, 2013

Comfort Food Friday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet!  I am so happy to finally be sharing my go-to, always a big hit, recipe is always asked for, and easy to tote casserole of yummy goodness!

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The last time I served this was on Cinco de Mayo, 2013.  When I pulled out my cookbook and photos of our dinner, my daughter thought I was going to prepare this casserole for our evening meal.  Happy dance, then disappointment ensues. Oops, ok … I have now committed to making this meal for my family this weekend.  College Football and Chicken Enchiladas – I’m In!   Everyone including Boo and Sunny (our cats) are dancing with joy! I am a sucker for chicken recipes made with flour or corn tortillas.  The bite size chicken breast, Monterey Jack Cheese, sour cream, and mild (but flavorful) seasonings make this a well-loved dish for young or old and picky or adventurous eaters across the globe!

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Chicken Enchilada Casserole I medium onion, chopped – 1 bell pepper,  chopped – 2 Tbsp. butter – 2 c. cooked, cubed, boneless skinless chicken breast – 4 ounces canned, mild diced green chiles – 3 Tbsp. butter – ¼ c. flour – 1 tsp. ground coriander  - ¾ tsp. salt  - 2-½ c. chicken broth – 1 c. sour cream 2 – c. shredded Monterey Jack Cheese – 12 6” flour tortillas

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This may seem difficult to make, but it’s really a snap.  Yes, a little messy and time consuming, but well worth the effort!

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In a large saucepan melt 2 Tbsp. butter and cook onion and bell pepper till tender. Combine onion mixture in a bowl with cubed chicken and mild green chilies; set aside. For the sauce; melt 3 Tbsp. butter in the same saucepan.  Stir in flour, ground coriander, and salt.  Once combined, this should resemble a sticky paste.

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This is what is called a roux: a cooked mixture of butter or other fat and flour used to thicken sauces, soups, etc.  Stir in chicken broth and simmer and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir about 2 more minutes.

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Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and ½ c. of the Monterey Jack Cheese. Now this next part may sound complicated so pay attention, please!  :)  The goal here is to moisten both the chicken mixture and flour tortillas.  You will then roll up the filled tortillas, top with remaining sauce and Jack Cheese. Bake, cool a bit, and then devour!  Got it?

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So, here goes … pour about 1/3 of the cheese sauce into the chicken mixture and stir. Spread about 2 Tbsp. cheese sauce onto a dinner plate, place the tortilla on top, press down a bit and moisten.

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Place 2 Tbsp. or so of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla.  Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down on a large, greased baking dish.  Repeat.

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Arrange rolls side-by-side and top with remaining cheese sauce.  Sprinkle remaining Jack Cheese over all and bake, uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes. Easy, right

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I have taken this casserole to friend’s homes countless times.  You can prepare the enchiladas (a day ahead is a-ok)) and deliver hot or with baking instructions.  I usually serve with fluffy rice pilaf and Cathy’s House Salad.  I will post the recipe for my perfect salad dressing next time, ok?  Until then … ENJOY!

June 10th, 2013

Tips and Tools: Masking Under Eye Circles

From surgeries, chemo, estrogen blockers and the tick tock of the ol’ clock (ugh) my skin has been an incredible challenge for me.  I am running, not walking, to the nearest CVS to buy these products in hopes to reduce my latest, and least fave, cosmetic issue.  I don’t know if it’s stress, age, allergies, or what, but this is a new problem.  I am happy to be the guinea pig for y’all and will try this out.  Not loving the heroin-chic look on my 49-year-old face!  I’ll keep you posted …

From Beth Shapouri at Glamour Magazine:

 Use super-star makeup artist Pat McGrath’s one-two punch of a mask and a concealer packed with anti-aging ingredients.

You’ve heard of Pat McGrath, right? Oh, she’s only the supermodel of makeup artists who’s worked on countless magazine covers and, um, every celebrity ever. Recently, I got to pick her brain a little and find out all her secrets. Aren’t I lucky? Well, I’m going to share. Here’s what the CoverGirl spokesperson had to say about her tricks to hiding undereye circles:

“The trick to preventing dark circles under the eyes is to use a great skincare regimen daily. For a fresh complexion, use SK-II Signs Eye Masks as a mini treatment. They instantly moisturize and liven up the face and the nutrients in the masks refresh skin for a healthier, more hydrated appearance. Then apply a dab of CoverGirl + Olay Concealer Balm under the eyes with your finger—it has anti-aging and skin care benefits, which minimizes dark circles. Lastly, dust a light dose of loose powder as the finishing touch to perfected skin. Remember to moisturize every day and night! Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is an amazing choice for all skin types.”

 

June 6th, 2013

News: Komen Cancels 7 City Walks

 

Komen breast cancer charity cancels walks in 7 US cities

Published June 05, 2013

Reuters

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    A sign for the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s 2012 Race for the Cure is displayed in Washington. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which suffered a publicity backlash last year after it sought to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, said on Tuesday it was canceling fundraising walks next year in seven cities where money goals have not been met.The organization, which says it is the largest non-government funder of breast cancer research, said it was cutting three-day walks for 2014 in Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Washington. The event will continue in seven other places.”The difficult decision to exit these markets was not made lightly, as we know this bold and empowering event has touched the lives of thousands of participants like you,” the Dallas-based group said in a message on its Facebook page.

A Komen spokeswoman said in an email that participation in the three-day walks declined by 37 percent in the past four years, without specifying whether that was the number of participants or dollars raised. The group decided to remove the cities from next year’s schedule that have not been meeting fundraising goals, the spokeswoman said.

It was unclear what the group’s fundraising targets were for the walks. Each participant is required to raise a minimum of $2,300 and walks about 60 miles over the three days.

The charity sparked an outcry last year when it said it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, a provider of birth control, abortion and other women’s health services.

Komen, which supports Planned Parenthood’s efforts to provide access to breast-cancer screening, reversed that decision within days and said it would restore the funding.

After the controversy, several of the group’s leaders stepped down, and the group’s founder, Nancy Brinker, stepped down as CEO, though she continued to hold a management role.

Brinker founded the organization in 1982, two years after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer.

Komen’s signature event is the Race for the Cure, which includes 5 kilometers and marathon races as well as the walks. The group says the events involve more than 1.7 million participants each year.

Komen will continue to hold walks in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/komen-breast-cancer-charity-cancels-walks-in-7-us-cities/#ixzz2VOq3xgdN

September 19th, 2012

Tips and Tools: Wise Words from a Survivor’s Teen Daughter

A beautiful message from the blog: Miracle Survivors – Inspiration and Information From Cancer Thrivers 

Wise words from my 13-(going on 30)-year-old

September 18, 2012 – Posted by tamilb

As promised, here is a post from our wonderful daughter, Chrissy! I did not help her write any of this; it’s all from her. I’m so proud! Please share this with teens you know who have a loved one with cancer.

Hello! My name is Chrissy Boehmer, Tami’s daughter. My mom and I were talking one day and we decided that I should share my experience with having a parent with cancer as well as give some tips to parents and children who are dealing with this disease. I hope that this blog post is helpful to you, as well as other families dealing with cancer.

I have been dealing with my mother’s cancer nearly my whole life, since I was three years old to be exact. I don’t really remember much about her first diagnosis. Most of what I remember is that she had lost her hair and sometimes wasn’t home due to surgeries and chemo sessions. One memory that I still remember quite vividly was when she was in the hospital due to her lack of white blood cells. I didn’t really understand the importance of any of those things until I got older.

Ever since her second diagnosis a few years back, everything has made a much larger impact on my life. I now understand what it’s like to be afraid. Somehow, that scary thought about what could happen to Mom always stays in the very back of my mind, no matter how well things are going in my life. Over the years I have grown to be more independent, from staying home alone for a couple hours while my mom goes to get treatment to helping take care of her when she is not feeling well. All of this has helped me become a stronger person and even more grateful for the things I have.

However, even though cancer is a part of my life, I don’t let it take over my life. I consider myself to be an optimist and I enjoy spreading positivity within myself and to others. Of course, it isn’t like this all the time, but I’ve learned that keeping a positive attitude helps me enjoy each day. Below are some things that have really helped me become this way.

If you are a child or teenager who has a parent with cancer, here are some things that help me day by day to keep a positive attitude.

  • Talk with your loved ones. It’s never good to keep your feelings bundled up inside. I find that it always helps to talk to my mom and dad about whatever is on my mind. Be open with those you love and trust. If they truly love you, then they will understand your situation and maybe provide some help.
  • It’s okay to be sad. It may seem silly, but sometimes shedding a few tears can make me feel a million times better. Let your feelings out and don’t feel ashamed about it. This can release a lot of pressure that you didn’t even know you had built up.
  • You are not alone. There are countless kids just like you who have parents with cancer and sometimes talking to people who know what it feels like can stop you from wallowing in your misery. There are many ways to find kids just like you, just look online. One that I highly recommend is www.campkesem.org .

I also believe that parents can make a lot of the difference in how a kid deals to their parent’s cancer. If you have a child with cancer, here are some tips.

  • Be open. One common misconception is that it is better to hide their cancer from their kids then to be open. Due to my mom being open about her cancer with me, I am able to understand what is going on and see how I can help. This allows me to build a trusting relationship with her rather than making false assumptions.
  • Set an example. If you stay positive about your situation, your child will most likely do the same. It may be difficult at times, but if you keep an open mind you will not only be helping yourself, but helping your son or daughter.
  • Take advantage of the opportunities cancer can give. There are countless retreats, giveaways and services given to cancer patients. If you take advantage of these, you will open you and your childrens’ minds to seeing that cancer can actually have benefits.

I hope that this post has helped you all! Remember, this is from my personal experience with cancer and none of the things I mentioned are 100 percent sure to work. Have a great day!

http://www.tamiboehmer.com/2012/09/wise-words-from-my-13-going-on-30-year-old/

September 18th, 2012

Quick Quotes: Anonymous

Very very true for me!