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Beef and Cauliflower Stew

February 13, 2011

With the cold temperatures outside, a hearty meal of  BEEF AND CAULIFLOWER STEW  is just what the doctor ordered.

2 pounds beef (Angus here),  1″ cubes
8 cups beef stock
1 head of cauliflower, buds separated
6 celery stalks, diced
3 turnips, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
10 -12 fingerling potatoes (purple here), diced
1 cup barley
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons worcestershire
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a dutch oven or large stockpot, saute onions in oil until lightly brown.

2.  Reduce heat and, except for barley,  add remaining ingredients.  Cover with lid and on low heat cook for 40 minutes, occasionally stirring.

3.  After 40 minutes add barley and cover again.  Continue to cook and stir for another 40 minutes.

SERVES: 8 – 10 | TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes


MOST DELISH’s First Submission

February 13, 2011

Hello Foodies.  This is for all of you who like to bake, cook, grill, roast, saute, fry, mix, steam and basically do anything remotely related to food.  Starting on March 13th, THE BASICS will have a new section called, Most Delish.  Each week, Most Delish, will feature one lucky reader’s recipe along with a photo of that recipe.  This is your chance to have your dish or beverage showcased and viewed by  THE BASICS readers.

• The first recipe submission is your favorite dinner dish.  Think outside the box or should I say souffle dish.  Just write in your recipe’s name and title and if you like, a brief description, or why it’s your favorite.  Is it an old family recipe or one your family loves.  Once the winning recipe is chosen, then you will be asked to submit two photos of the dish. Good Luck!

THE BASICS featured on Apartment Therapy

February 9, 2011

Today, one of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy, posted one of my recent renovations for under $300.  Thanks for the mention guys!!!


Here is the link to

Three Valentine’s Day Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

February 5, 2011

Valentine’s Day is around the corner.  Here are three unique ideas on how to spend the day with that special loved one and not break the bank.  Remember, it is about the thought and effort that you make, not the amount you spend.

Picnic by the Fireplace – February is not the optimum time to have a picnic outside, but why not try indoors.  Lay a blanket by the fireplace and have a romantic dinner.  Can’t cook?  Most grocery and specialty food stores carry prepared dishes.  Pick and choose what works for you.

Other Options Instead of Roses and Chocolate – Instead of roses, try calla lilies, tulips or another floral arrangement.  And instead of chocolates, create a scrapbook or have a favorite photo framed.

Champagne and Caviar – Award winning caviar, Kelleys Katch Caviar out of Tennessee, will have you thinking you are eating Beluga straight from the Caspian Sea.  Add a reasonably priced champagne and enjoy.

Fireplace Hearths Get Style

February 5, 2011

Each year, Designer Showcase brings together talented New York and nationally recognized interior designers to transform an entire house. Walking through the house, you are given inspiration and fantastic ideas to incorporate in your own home or apartment.

One area that interested me was fireplace decor. When given a room with a fireplace, designers came up with some inventive solutions on how to make a statement in the hearth itself. Below are two such examples, one with seashells and the other with birch logs stacked in a tepee formation. I also like the use of black lacquer paint which helps to accent the white marble frame.

Home Remedies to Remove Common Stains

January 30, 2011

Do you have grass stains on your shoes and clothing from mowing the lawn or playing football?  Having a party and a guest spills wine on his shirt?  Here are some  HOME REMEDIES TO REMOVE EVERYDAY STAINS.  Before you begin, remember the quicker you attempt to remove the stain the more likely you will succeed and it’s always better to blot, not rub out the stain.  Now let’s remove some stains!!

• Use a tablespoon of plain vinegar with a cup of water.  Let set for several minutes on clothing before blotting. Then put in the washing machine.
•Use a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol with a half-cup of water.  Let set for several minutes before blotting. Then machine wash.
•For deeper stains, you can use molasses or Karo syrup.  Rub into stain and let set for several minutes and then machine wash.

Red Wine
•White wine or vodka acts as a neutralizing agent.  Blot and then use a little liquid detergent and water and then blot again.
•Club soda
•Hydrogen peroxide, water and a little liquid soap

•Hairspray – First soak in cold water and gently blot out. Then place fabric between absorbent tissues and add direct pressure (books or weights) for several minutes.  Remove and use hairspray, repeating previous step.  Repeat again if needed

• Rubbing alcohol helps in the removal and then machine wash

•Hydrogen peroxide can help in both new and dried blood stains.  Apply to area and let set for several minutes and then blot.
Rubbing alcohol – Gently blot into the area and repeat if needed

• Aspirin – Crush several aspirin.  Add to a cup of hot water and let dissolve.  Pour over garment and rinse.  Normal wash

To Prime or Not to Prime? That is the Question

January 22, 2011

Before adding on to your wall that great color of paint you so painstakingly chose, ask yourself, do you need to prime the walls or not?

• If you are going from a light color to a darker color a primer is not needed, but if the reverse is the case then a primer is needed.

• When going from a semi-gloss latex base paint to a flat latex it’s also recommended to use a primer.  The same goes if your base coat is oil.  Many older homes might have oil paint on the walls. These will have to be lightly sanded before adding new latex paint. Use a mask when dealing with oil paint, as oil is lead-based.

• If there is drywall with no paint on it then you should use a primer.

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