Good morning folks! Did you have a festive and fun weekend? Let me tell you, I already knocked off a couple blocks on my bucket list already. Bazing! Call me jelly, cause I’m on a roll. That’s a jelly roll in case you missed it.
After getting some shopping done, I headed over to the cousin’s house to decorate some gingerbread houses. We used to do so many Christmas crafts and the like when we were younger, so we decided to reminisce old times.. except with some added red wine. I tried some Apothic Red after hearing so many rave reviews and could see why now. True fact: I know I’m getting old when I like red wine.
My house came out better than I expected (the one on the left) ..until I got home to it being completely broken apart. So much for entering it into the county fair for a prize ribbon and all. At least it was fun while it lasted.
Sunday, MJ and I got to putting up the tree and decorating the house for the holidays. Which translates into me putting up the lights and garland while she spruces up the house, and then we hang the bulbs and ornaments together. I always have to hang a few of my favorite ornaments like the vintage Santa, German pickle from my friend Karen, and this really creepy French clown is from when I was born. I can’t see why I’m the only one who likes it?!
We followed our Christmas festivities with my tradition of watching the Polar Express and drinking hot cocoa by the tree light. I refuse to watch that movie before the tree is up, even though it is one of my favorites. It really doesn’t feel like the holidays until I watch it. Cue the light snowfall now, please.
Now that I got my weekend bragging out of the way, let’s get to one of my favorite soups of all time. One of my best gal pals in college’s mom JL used to make this a lot, and I fell in love with it the moment I had it. If you couldn’t take a guess, it has two of my favorite ingredients in it. Carrots & Peanut butter. Need I say more?
It was actually a perfect time for me to whip up a batch of this stew. Around this time of year I used to share a table with JL at her work’s craft fair. She would make the best dip mixes, cookie mixes, and holiday treats. And I would sell my crafty goods like knit stockings, melted snowman cookies, and snowman poop aka peppermint meringues.
Since I didn’t have the time to whip up anything for this year’s fair, I thought I would celebrate in my own way by making a batch of JL’s famous African Peanut Stew. Prepare to have a new favorite.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium sweet potato, chopped
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
- ¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen leaf spinach, thawed
- salt & pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add chopped onion, pepper, celery, and carrot. Cook until slightly tender, 2-3 minutes.
- Add garlic and curry powder and cook an additional minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, sweet potato, bay leaf, and broth.
- Bring to a boil, then reduced to a simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in edamame, peanut butter, and spinach.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I had to swap out the peppers for some summer squash and left out the onion after finding mine was halfway to the compost heap, but it still came out delicious. I use about double the amount of spinach it calls for since I don’t really feel like saving half a package of frozen spinach, but I don’t think my inner Popeye minds much.
There’s nothing like some hot stew over rice to warm the body and soul. I think I’ll come out with a new book series for Foodies and it call it “African Peanut Stew for the Soul”. That’s an original so don’t think about ripping it off anytime soon.
Here’s to a great week!
Do you have a favorite ornament to hang on the tree?
What are some of your holiday traditions?