Fixer-Upper Supper

Hey know what’s neat?  When you finally get the chance to settle in and cook your tail off and write your blog again, and then right in the middle of cooking a giant turkey for Thanksgiving (Canadians have theirs earlier than yours, America, calm down, it’s a real thing), your fancy dual ovens decide to blow a fuse and quit on you. BBQ turkey, anyone?  I hope Julia Child has enough room in that grave for all the rolling around she’s doing.

This whole owning a house thing is a little different than condo life, meaning there is no magic phone number to call for someone else to take care of your problems and you actually have to deal with things like broken ovens “yourself” (this will always be code for Husband Does This).  This is even more problematic when you’ve already given “yourself” a doozy of a to-do list requiring the assembly of a house’s worth of furniture, getting rid of the tree that fell in the yard during the last storm, putting up baby gates to keep the terror confined, and decorating the house for Hallowe’en because “you” want to make a good impression in your new neighbourhood. Although I’m pretty sure the towering grim reaper we have on our stoop is probably going too far, but hey, at least we’ll have lots of leftover Hallowe’en candy.

So me and the ol’ slow-cooker have become good buds lately. Slow-cooking food has only one con in my opinion, and that’s that you basically have to figure out what you want to have for dinner at like 10am and get it going so it’s ready when you want to eat at the geriatric time of 5pm(we have a baby, so the way it works is take the actual time on the clock and add 3 hours to it, because 5pm feels like 8, and 9 is when we ring in the New Year. It’s baby jet-lag. All good, I hear it goes away in 12 years). The pros of slow-cooking are many: delicious smells wafting through the house, super tender melt-in-your-mouth meats with delectable sauces in the bottom of the pot just screaming to be turned into a gravy you’ll regret eating later, and the main course pretty much ready to be served when you get home after a long day of working. (That’s you. I’ve been home all day because my life revolves around my baby’s naps. Cool, cool.)

So here’s a delightful beef stew for your hard-working self that is actually super easy and crazy tasty. Plus side: your kids will like it, too. Or at least mine does. Mine also eats sticks and Kleenex though, full disclosure.

PS. Quick note to husbands and partners in general who do the things we don’t feel like doing, specifically Charlie:

Thank you. I love you. You are perfect and wonderful and every day you give me another reason to love you even more. And that chandelier isn’t going to assemble itself.



Lazy Beef Stew


1 1/2 lbs chunks of beef stewing meat- I buy the high quality stuff (organic whenever possible) because you can really taste the difference when it comes to your proteins. Get something with some fat in it, like sirloin if you can, or whatever cuts are prepackaged at the grocery store specifically for stews. Just don’t do tenderloin. Fat = good. Capisce?

4 slices of bacon, diced

1/2 cup beef stock

2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

6 or 7 crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp worcestershire sauce (a few shakes, no need to measure, it’ll be okay)

1 bay leaf

a few sprigs of thyme



Heat a large pan over high heat with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, then remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add it to the pan to brown in all that bacon fat. Brown it really well until it’s got some good colour on it.  Add it to the slow cooker.

Lower the heat in the pan to medium-high. Pour the onions, mushrooms, garlic and carrots into the pan with the remaining fat and soften up the veggies for 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste, cooking for a minute, then add the flour and cook that for another minute or so. Pour in the beef stock and worcestershire and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the good bits from the bottom. Add the mixture to the slow cooker. Add the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and give it all a good stir. Pop the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 7 or 8 hours. It’s kind of fool-proof, so don’t worry.

Serve with some delicious noodles of some sort. My favourite are egg noodles tossed in some butter and chopped parsley, but use whatever you love. The noodles are a vessel, really.

Serves 4, or 2 pigs and a baby



20 Comments Add yours

  1. Mikel King says:

    Awesomeness! Thanks for showing some slow cooker love, they can be amazing and really do help busy families have a good dinner.

    BTW- Some of us Americans actually have traveled and do know things like Canada has a Thanksgiving in early Oct… 😛

    The new theme is great, btw…

    Glad to see you are back to spreading the foodie <3!


  2. George Edge says:

    Happy to see that my favorite non-Julia is back! I will be giving this Fixer-Upper a try. I am sure it is going to taste way better than it looks!

  3. Sherry says:

    Thank you for the recipe! It looks yummy.

    Though I admit I usually hesitate with slow cooker recipes because the ones I’ve tried in the past (i.e., the ones that come in a booklet with the slow cooker) are usually really freaking bland or downright lousy, so I never use my slow cooker. It sits on my shelf and I feel guilty. 😀 So perhaps your recipe will inspire me to use it again.

  4. Jim says:

    It pains me to think that Julia would be spinning over BBQ turkey because I do turkey on the grill for Thanksgiving (US version) every year. Brine the turkey, soak wood chips (I usually use alderwood or cherry) for a couple of hours, and bring your charcoal to medium heat. Put the chips in, place the bird so that it’s getting indirect heat, and away you go.

  5. Valaincort says:

    Hahahaha! Great writing. GL with chandelier.

  6. I had no idea you wrote a blog and I loved this post. I’ll have to try your recipe. My wife and I are always looking for a good stew recipie. Happy cooking.

  7. Caryn says:

    Instead of browning the stew meat on the stove you can also put it on a cookie sheet (covered in foil and then parchment paper) and stick it under the broiler while you cook the bacon. Much less splattering that way. And thanks for this!

  8. Lyn Never says:

    I sing to you the song of the Instant Pot, where you can make pretty much the same thing except also forget to think about what to have for dinner until like 5:00pm. (And it is also a slow cooker, rice cooker, oatmeal and yogurt maker, and the liner is tons easier to wash than a crock insert.)

  9. Krisha says:

    Mmm. That looks fabulous. My favorite is kalua pig in the crock pot. Granted i didn’t learn until i moved to the mainland from the North Shore but even then we just dug the imu. But hey, it’s way more succulent when it’s been cooking in the juice. My 4 picky eaters will all dig in. And the best part is kalua pig burritos the next day with left overs. It’s a win-win.

  10. Rebekah says:

    Sounds delicious! You mention adding flour in the instructions, but it’s not in the ingredients.

  11. Nannig says:

    I’m so glad this blog is alive again!
    I don’t own a slow cooker but I’ll definitely try that recipe in my pressure cooker !

  12. Oh yes! I have beef stew meat in the fridge right now! Thanks a mil!

  13. Sara Myers says:

    Looks delicious! I’m going to make this tomorrow. FYI, Pinterest won’t take a pin unless there are pics in the body of the text. I want to save this where keep all of my other recipes, but I keep getting an error message. PS, I love your work, your look, and your snark…and your family is lovely!

  14. Sara Myers says:

    I just learned that crimini mushrooms are what we (in Texas) call white or button mushrooms. The more you know…

  15. Krisha Kai says:

    Next up, kalua pig in the crock pot

  16. Barbara Thornton says:

    Uh, for us ‘don’t want to guess if don’t have to’ people…how much flour?
    Thanks (for this and all your other great recipes and stories)!

  17. David says:

    Thank You Jewel

  18. Tom says:

    Sorry to hear about the oven. And just to let you know, that “honey-do” list works both ways. “Baby, I’ll be working in the basement on things.” is code for the game is on, don’t bother me. Feel free to pile on.

    I like the turkey on a grill. I have done mine on the smoker for the last 7-8 years. It has a great smoky flabor and leaves the oven free for everything else that is cooking.

    As for Julia, come on, she showed mistakes she made on her show when they were shot live. She would be fine with it.

    Best of luck with the Squibber and the new life in your home.

    P.S. Slow cookers are a life saver.
    P.P.S. It doesn’t go away at age 12. It’s just that you are too tried to give a damn any longer about New Year’s Eve.

  19. Ken says:

    “then add the flour”

    What flour?

    (New to cooking, and eager to try, but don’t know how much or what kind, etc.)

  20. Clinton says:

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe, we tried it tonight and it was utterly delicious!!!

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