Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings

Being a long-time fan of Jamie Oliver, I was excited when he published an iPad app. The recipe packs for the app being on sale was an added plus. In the Fast Food, Slow-Cooking recipe pack is a recipe for Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings. I used Jill leaving town for a long weekend to volunteer at Camp Boggy Creek as an opportunity to make this delicious beef-filled dinner.

Beef stew
A delicious beef-filled dinner seasoned with bay leaves fresh from my garden

Although the recipe calls for Guinness, I decided to give it an American twist by using Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout from Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. I think Rogue Shakespeare is creamier and more chocolatey than Guinness, so I felt it would provide for a richer stew.

Rogue Shakespeare
I used Rogue Shakespeare instead of Guinness

The part of this recipe that I looked forward to the most (perhaps even more than the beef) was the dumplings. I would usually serve beef stew with either rice or mashed potatoes, but the dumplings provided a nice change. Despite being cooked in the stew, the dumplings were light, delicate, and not at all soggy.

Dumplings
Dumplings

The beef stew cooking filled the house with the most amazing aroma. I was pacing back and forth in the kitchen for two hours, waiting for the stew to finish cooking. If the Yankee Candle Company decided to make candle with the scent of this stew, I would buy it and burn it everyday.

Beef stew with dumplings
Beef stew with dumplings

Although I wanted to give in and pull the stew out early to eat, I am glad I waited the full two hours. The thick, hearty stew had a robust stout flavor with tender hunks of beef, velvety portobello mushrooms, and tender dumplings. To complement dinner, I threw together a quick salad with romaine lettuce from my garden.

Romaine lettuce salad
Romaine lettuce with caesar dressing and parmesan

Although I missed Jill while she was out of town, I am glad I had this comfort food (with several meals worth of leftovers) to keep me full while she was gone.

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Banana Chia Flax Oats (a la KERF)

One of the first healthy living blogs I followed was Kath Eats Real Food (KERF for short).  I was intrigued by her Tribute to Oatmeal.  Although it was never my first choice for breakfast growing up, oats are very heart healthy and KERF made them look delicious so last winter I took a page from her book and began making oatmeal with pumpkin and fun toppings.  It was the perfect cool weather breakfast.  I was excited last week when the temps in north Florida finally dropped below 80 because that meant the return of hot oats for breakfast!

These are the stars of my oaty breakfast: chia seeds, sunflower seed butter (soooooo good!!!), and flaxseed meal (pre-ground flax seeds).

Both chia seeds and flaxseed meal are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and high in fiber.

Chia seeds give the oatmeal a fluffy texture (I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I can’t think of another way to describe the unique texture) because they plump up when they come in contact with liquid.

Flaxseed meal is pre-ground flax seed (you can grind your own flax seeds using a coffee bean grinder, but I’m not into all that mess first thing in the morning).  Flax gives the oats a slightly nutty flavor.

Sunflower seed nut butter is one of my true loves (you can read my review of nut butters here).  A healthy dollop of sunflower seed butter on top of oats is deeeeeelicious!

I basically follow the KERF method, with a few modifications:

– I use 1% milk (I’m not into skim milk or soy milk)

– I use 1/3 cup water instead of 1/2 cup water (I like thicker oats)

– I use 2 teaspoons chia seeds

– I add 2 teaspoons of flaxseed meal at the end with the vanilla

I pretty much think everything tastes better served in a recycled nut butter jar, so I serve my oatios in a jar topped with a healthy glob (about a tablespoon) of nut butter.  At this point, you could also add layers of crunchy granola, dried fruit, or whatever else you like in your oats.  This is a yummy, fibrous, heart healthy breakfast that does a body good on a cold morning!