a rave, a rant, and a recipe

rave • We’re in Potty Training Land.  The land where little buns run around in little undies and make the world a cuter place.  It’s our second major ‘go’ at it, and there is no turning back now.  I am under no illusions of speed or genius here.  We are not a ‘trained in 2 days’ kind of team.  But, Ry is getting it.  She is starting to understand the mysterious ‘feeling’ that comes before you have to go.  How the heck do you explain that to a three year-old?  Truthfully, I admit I doubted her abilities.  I thought with all her motor issues that the Potty and Undies were not in our immediate semi-normal future.  I was/am wrong.  Again.  Way to go, Kid.  We are so ridiculously proud of you for starting this step in your life.  We have a long way to go, but Girl, you can make a gray sky blue. [This is our potty.  We love it.]

rant • I’m mad at Martha Stewart.  I actually feel contempt towards her, which is extremely sad. I know.  It all started when I saw her guest-judge a bunch of Kid Cooks.  One girl made Sloppy Joes and offered Martha a taste. “Oh, I don’t eat that kind of food,” she replied.  Then, on another episode, she took a bowl out of a child’s hand and emptied the contents herself because he was trying to ‘make it pretty’ and she said, “It’s all going to be stirred together.  It doesn’t matter.  And then, THEN PEOPLE!  She was talking about invitations and how she was going to something special and blah blah blah… and her guest said, “Yes!  Didn’t you see that at the bottom?  You’re supposed to wear blue.” Or something to that effect… and Martha said, “Oh, that.  I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. I just write down the event and time.”  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  How rude and snotty can you possibly be? That is absolutely unacceptable behavior.  Time. Out.  I like her ‘stuff’ so much… all her crafty gadgets and dishes and sheets.  I really do.  I suppose that’s a credit to her Craft Team, essentially.  But I don’t like her.  I just needed to get that out there so you know where I stand.  I hope we can still be friends.

recipe • Oh man, is this gonna rock your socks off.  It’s just stew.  Your basic meat and carrots and broth stew… but there are these potato dumplings.  The dumplings, people… they may change your life.

from: Taste of Home, page 121

[Obviously, you can use your normal stew recipe, but here’s the whole deal if you like.]


Dust 2 pounds of stew meat with salt/pepper and flour (Thank you, Skeeter, for making this meal possible).

Dice 2 medium onions and saute in a dutch oven/heavy pot with 2T of oil.  Add the dredged meat and cook until meat is browned and onions are beginning to soften.

To the meat and onions, add 21ounces (or close) of beef broth, 3/4 cup water (skipped), 1T red wine vinegar (I skipped this.), 6 peeled and chopped carrots, 2 bay leaves (I used one.), 1t. dried thyme, and 1/4t. garlic powder (skipped).

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer covered for 1.5 hours or until meat is almost tender.  Discard the bay leaf.


In a large bowl, beat one egg (thank you, chickens for making this meal possible).  Add 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1T flour, 1T minced parsley, 1T minced onion, 1/2t. dried thyme, 1/2t. salt, 1/2t. pepper.  (I forgot the onion and thyme.  I’m pregnant.) 

Stir in 2.5 cups of finely shredded potatoes.

Turn the heat up on your stew again so it starts boiling.  Flour your hands and make little dumpling balls out of the mixture.  Then roll each ball in a pile of flour and shake off before setting in the stew.  Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.  No peeking!  The dumplings have to cook.

I also added a small can of peas at the very end.  In my house, stew is not stew without carrots and peas. It’s the only time I eat those vegetables, and the meal is incomplete in their absence. 

So say-eth Katie Mulder.  Amen.

Be warm and happy this weekend.  Love to you all!


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), a bloodhound (Hank), 2 barn cats, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

29 responses to “a rave, a rant, and a recipe

  • Jim

    Pox on M Stewart. Stew sounds really good, Skeeter provided a slow-cook pot roast earlier this week, yum. Bless him and TexasNorth.

    Yea Ry.

  • Sunday

    I have to say I wad wondering which longhorn got the ax. I did not want to ask but now i know! We are semi potty training. BR went twice and that has been it. Not sure how to keep going. Everyone tells me she will in her own time. Ok then. I love Martha’s magazine and her crafts and all that, but you are right it is the craft team. She just never seemed very nice.

    • texasnorth

      Well, Skeeter and Joey are feeding 6 families this year. It was difficult, but we feel good about it. This year, we’ll have 3 boys ready in October to feed some more folks. After watching Farm, Inc. I am more than happy to make the sacrifice to provide people with honest, pure, happy beef.

      And with BR… seriously, Sun. There’s so much pressure to potty train! But if you wait, she’ll do it. And it will be fine. I don’t care if Ry’s 4 when she finishes. I really don’t anymore.

      • Sunday Grant Photography

        i wish we could have some of your meat (I just could not write that sentence and other way, i just keep thinking “that’s what she said”). We have a great farm here that we like to buy from. That food inc. was good and eye opening for sure!

  • Amy B.

    We are not a 2-day potty training team either, and I think that’s OK. Our pedi even said, “With potty training, it’s one step forward, and two steps back.”

    It’s funny you should mention Martha. I haven’t watched her in ages (I steer away from stuff that makes me feel inadequate, which pretty much all of her stuff does – except the Everyday Food brand), but I caught three minutes earlier this week.

    She had a doctor on talking about how to be healthier in the new year and she said something about how even when parents eat healthy, they don’t always make sure their children are, so now we have a childhood obesity epidemic in this country. And she asked the doctor something along the lines of, So what do we do about all these children “waddling around”? I actually had to rewind to make sure I’d heard her right. And then I was done. That was enough to remind me why I don’t really watch her anymore.

  • Mandi

    We used that potty seat with Weston, as the one Ruth used just didn’t seem to work for him. We loved it. Max, however, WILL NOT sit on it. He really, really doesn’t like it. He will only sit on the one that is just a seat that goes on the big potty. To each his own, I guess. We are definitely not a 2-day potty training team either. It’s definitely a one step forward two step back process for us. But they all eventually get it, which is what really matters. Give Rylie a pat on the back for us. Potty training is a big step, and we’re proud of her!

    • texasnorth

      We have a helper seat for the big potty too, but she is most successful on the green one. I wonder if we’ll have trouble transitioning?

      It IS such a huge deal. Curt and I were laughing about how excited we get when ‘it’ happens. It’s amazing.

  • Callie Baldwin

    Oh Martha Stewart. It comes as no surprise how she treated those children. Look how her child turned out. She has a show dedicated to making fun of her mother! And the most dysfunctional part is that her mother is the producer. Whatever Martha is right! I don’t really watch or buy her stuff – although I wish she’d make her thread rack available again. It’s my fav.

    Callie (JTP’s friend)

    • texasnorth

      I’ve seen Alexis (is that right?) on a few interviews… I’d love to see her laugh some time. I can’t imagine it.

      And, I’ve seen that thread rack! You’re right!!! We need it!

      Thanks for popping in, Callie 🙂

      • Callie Baldwin

        Alexis’ show is awesome. She and her BFF sit and watch clips of Martha’s show and bust on it the whole time. It’s quite entertaining. She says what I’m thinking most of the time. Search for “Whatever Martha” on the guide or on hulu.com . Hilarious!

        I want 2 more of those racks! Maybe we can write her and ask- we can act like we think she’s the greatest.

        I read your blog every week- its awesome. Sorry to blog-stalk you. 🙂

  • kateohkatie

    Martha Stewart pisses me off, too. And part of it has to do with my personality type – I’m one who has to fight the urge to “just do it myself”. But hey – I DO fight it. She needs to come down off her high horse 😛

  • Julie

    Potty training- I am a firm believer in “it happens when it happens”. Annabelle definitely took the step forward and 2 back approach.

  • beckyswann

    I think it is so funny that you don’t like Martha Stewart, I was not expecting this post to lead there but I love that you don’t like her, people not liking random people, and passionately, makes me laugh:)
    Way to go with the potty training! Soon you will be saying remember when Rylie was potty training? and it will seem so far in the past!

  • ecky

    we are starting our first round of potty training – and hazel seems into it so we are going for it – but it is totally hazel lead. if she asks for it, we put her on it…but we aren’t pushing. i was told that pushing too early can really backfire on you.
    she did poop in the potty two times so far and we called just about everyone we know and celebrated with high-fives, stickers and ice cream on each occassion!

    it’s true. a little poo or pee in the “right” place and we are giddy and smiling from ear to ear.

    and – for the record – martha annoys me too. her voice drives me nuts.l she’s one of those fake accent people – but her old martha kid and martha baby magazines rock!

  • Wende

    I’m worried lightening from heaven is going to strike me for posting a comment on this–since you know who my “patron saint” is. 😀

    You crack me up, tho. And YEAH for potty training successes. 😀

  • Margie

    We’re nearly done with potty training here; once she “got” it, it went pretty quickly. Hope you find the same. Two thumbs down to control freak Martha in our house. And the stew – wow. It looks fantastic. I’m printin’ it out for a meal next week.

  • Cortney

    I am married to someone that, despite being so wonderfully well meaning and having the best of intentions, always says something in a way that I *KNOW* offends someone. He just can’t help it, there’s a little corner of his brain marked “tact” that seems to malfunction. But I always know what he *meant* and I love him anyway.

    That is how I feel about Martha Stewart. Most of the time it just doesn’t come out quite right. But I love her anyway. She has a wicked sense of humor, particularly about herself, which I just find endearing–she knows she’s nuts, and that most of us sit on our couches like Alexis and mock her mercilessly, and she is TOTALLY COOL with that. Because she is a gazillionaire with excellent self esteem. Can’t help myself, I dig her.

    • texasnorth

      Are you married to me? Hmmm.

      I think you’re totally right. I think she just has no clue how she sounds or how condecending it comes out.

      And, you can dig her 🙂 We can still be friends.

  • Mary Carol Phillips

    I always knew there was something wrong with Martha. I haven’t seen her on TV since college (remember, Becky Swann, when we used to watch it everyday and Brian would get so annoyed?) but I can TOTALLY picture her saying and doing all those rude things. Poor Martha. She needed some more love.

    As for the rave and the recipe, WOOHOO!!! Thanks!

  • LoLo

    I am thinking you could make those dumplings with a chicken/veg. Stoup (soup meets stew) and it would also be great. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Carley

    Wow… that is crazy weird about Martha!?!?
    Good luck on the potty training. I think it’s important to have a cute potty chair too!! I think it help with the learning process! = )

  • Sue

    I’m so sad I didn’t see this earlier, because I saw that cookbook, shrinkwrapped and brand new, in the used section of Schuler’s and thought about buying it but wondered if it was any good. Unfortunately for me, some shrewd soul out there snapped it up and it is now gone. Alas.
    I love Martha’s magazine and “stuff,” but whenever I watch her show, she always makes me squirm. Can’t stand the way she treats people.

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