Sunday, May 2, 2010

Beef Barley Stew

I love homemade beef barley stew, especially when it is cold out. Even though I am only cooking for 3.5, and even though every time I set out to only make 1/2 a stock pot full... somehow the whole pot gets filled up. It is always a little different than the last time, but still comfortably the same, and even my daughter the picky eater goes for seconds.

I tend to make a lot of stock, heck, I even make some for the dog. Spoiling the dog like that was probably not the best idea as it has lead to his constant vigils of the kitchen.
I also look at it this way, my daughter is really attached to him, and he is a wonderful dog. He is the dog that all of the other dogs in her life is going to have to try to live up to in standards. He checks on her and stays close when she is sick, he has a special rrrrrooooooo when she gets home, she leans back on him when she is reading or playing video games, when it is rainy/snowy out and he has to sit on the rug till he is dry enough- he will silently wiggle across the floor to get to her in such a manner that 10 minutes later we realize he is still soggy but now snoring with his head on her lap. He is a big, silly, loving, happy happy happy goofball and she is his bestest buddy. So yeah, he gets spoiled.

Leftover bones from dinner plates gets tossed in a pot and simmered for awhile, bones pulled out, meat scraps tossed in with leftovers off the plates (rice, potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, celery, etc. whatever we had), garlic added, sometimes some oats or barley, sometimes I toss in an egg... take it off the heat to cool for awhile and then he gets his treat. He's part rottie.. food is what drives him, and if it is not dog food... he goes insane. Now while you can trust him to be gentle around babies, and toddlers can feed him itty bitty bits of food, or on occasion legos.. when it comes to big people filling his bowl with a treat, he dives head first blissfully into the land of stupid. He races around, never taking his eyes off the prize (hence the rare SMACK into a wall), he quakes like a bowl of jello on a jackhammer and jumps up and down in the air. This would be why I don't give him the bowl. I am the one beaming from on top of the couch with the cat.

Beef barley stew night... while we are eating, his bowl is cooling on the counter. He is just outside the kitchen... drooling and waiting for his turn. His stew doesn't have onions in it, but it does have everything else plus a little extra garlic, carrots and some peas.

So while I may not have to cook for the next 2 nights as we happily devour the stew, it also is a few days of total dog silliness to enjoy too.

(btw- He always has a full bowl of dry food as he grazes on it. He eats a few bites when he passes it by, but like all of the dogs I have had over the years, what you whip up in the kitchen they like even better than canned/wet dog food. I can't say I blame them.)

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