Hearty Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew

Tuscan Stew

Delicious and rich tuscan stew for a chilly evening

Happy mid-week! With the chillier temperatures rolling in and out this week I wanted to provide a hearty stew to enjoy before we get to summer and all the grilling weather. I learned how to make this recipe in a cooking class with my mom and sister 🙂

It is a super rich stew so you definitely would want a salad or some side to break up the richness.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces, tossed in flour
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 large celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (1 tablespoon if you do dried)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bottle fruity, dry red wine, Chianti or Merlot
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth (more as needed)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons minced fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Place pancetta in a large dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and pancetta is crispy (6-8 minutes). Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. oil to dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Season beef generously on all sides with salt and pepper and add some flour to the beef. Place in Dutch oven and cook until beef is well browned on all sides (7-9 minutes). Transfer beef to mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. oil to dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, and celery, cooking and stirring occasionally until golden brown (8-10 minutes).
  4. Add garlic and rosemary and cook stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook stirring often for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste, stir often for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add wine, beef broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, 3 tbsp. parsley, and meat stirring well to combine.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover Dutch oven and simmer until meat is tender (about 2.5-3 hours adding 1/4 cups of additional beef broth if stew becomes dry.
  8. Divide stew into bowls, top with reserved pancetta, and parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I really enjoyed the wine I used as it made a great tasting soup, but is also a nice sipping wine 😉

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Fattoria il Palagio wine for the stew

Friendships- When to Let Go

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. The older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

I know we’ve all been there- wondering how or why you lost a friend. As I’ve gotten older, I have found that there are always people put in your life for what you need at that time. Growing up, you have a few best friends and as you mature through high school and college you have lots of acquaintances, but fewer and fewer close friends. This quote rings true on so many levels. I have made some incredible friendships over the past couple of years, and I have also lost some friends over these years. The friendships I have held onto from college, high school, and middle school are some of my strongest friendships I have. These are the friends who have known me almost my entire life! They know the young girl who poured her heart into sports, stressed about every test in school, dealt with heartbreaks as they came, laughed uncontrollably, loved slumber parties, had way too much fun throughout college, they know me at my absolute worst and my best, and yet they still love me (this includes family- my parents, my siblings, my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents). I am always so thankful to have these precious few friendships that date all the way back to those young, stress-free years. I have reconnected with several of my wonderful friends from middle and high school and it is always like no time has passed and we pick up where we left off. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful friends who have touched and changed my life for the better. You come to realize that “sometimes your circle decreases in size, but increases in value”. I’m always stumped as to why some friendships come to an end, but honestly, you don’t have the time to sit and dwell or wonder. I have come to realize that my life is no different without that person in it. I need people in my life that make a difference. Not many of my friends are moms yet, but they understand my life has a changed a little with having a baby and still want to be a part of it. They love my daughter, but they also know that I can leave her with daddy and have a fun night out. Friendship is a two-way street, and as we get older and mature, we don’t have time for the friendships that aren’t bringing us happiness or take too much to nurture. We all have our own lives to live and life changes, and its important to “understand that people change and sometimes they are no longer compatible with our lives. We just have to learn to accept it and move on”. Friends are such an important piece of our lives and as we get older, it is important that you know people from when you were young. Throughout the trials in life and the deck of cards you have been dealt, these friends remain constant- and know the you in which you were raised and haven’t wavered too far. They help keep you in check 🙂

As a person who has wondered why some friendships haven’t lasted, don’t waste too much of your time or energy wondering why. Keep on moving and put the time and effort into the relationships you love and care for. “God puts people in your life for a reason, and removes them from your life for a better reason.” I have been told that friends are the family you get to choose, or the ‘siblings God forgot to give you”. Be picky of these friendships- and know how important these friendships are throughout your life. ❤

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie

Business Casual Style

Dress- work

Professional look with a conservative dress and classy pumps

Who doesn’t love a sale?!? This adorable gray dress is on sale and it has the cutest details! It has a flounce bottom and cute stitching around the bust and neckline. It is the perfect staple to any working woman’s wardrobe. Classy, professional, yet also fun. Going into meetings confident will help you sell or close any deal you are working 🙂 I always go by Lauren Conrad’s rule of never wearing open-toe shoes to a client meeting which is why I paired this dress with a gorgeous neutral pump.

 

Springing into Summer

Summer outfit

Flirty, fun summer style

With the warm weather in Denver this week, I have my eyes set on my style for the summer. I know the east coast is getting some pretty heavy snow storms, so maybe this can brighten your day and get you excited for that warm summer sun!

I love a good romper and you can shop this style really at a variety of stores, but I found this at the Gap Factory Outlet. You can grab a light sweater for this outfit to make it more of a spring-time look, but above is definitely more a summer look. And how CUTE are these sandals?!?! They are also 46% off right now so grab them quick!

nordstrom Rack

Statement Shoes- I’m obsessed 🙂

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie

Bachelor Watch Party: Success

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Bachelor Night Watch Party

Yep, this is happening. I am going to go full on nerd here. I have a friend from High School who has hosted a bachelor watch party for 4 or 5 years now which is 8 or 10 seasons of the bachelor/bachelorette. There is a group of about 10 or so girls that get together every Monday to have dinner together and watch it. It makes watching the show so much more fun when we can chat about all the drama and pick who we think will win, who we like best, etc. The finale of Nick’s season of the bachelor is premiering next week and I am so sad because it gives me something to look forward to every Monday. Anyways, my friend Rachel is on a beach vacation (lucky gal) with her family and her five-month-old son so I hosted the event for this week. 

It was the fantasy suite date episode, the final 3 women, and also women-tell-all (3 hours of show). For those of you who watch, you know that Chris Harrison tells us it’s the ‘most dramatic episode yet’. Well, us girls popped a few bottles of wine, had a nice dinner, and snuggled in to watch the show and holy drama! The girls on the show are so catty and pick fights with each other and its extremely entertaining to watch. My favorite part about last night was we all kept coming up with hysterical memes throughout the entire show of certain girls facial expressions and what the best/funniest verbiage would be.

If you and your friends have a favorite show, I highly suggest having someone host at their house each week so you can watch and gossip about it all together (or maybe you pick up the Bachelor because there is so much fun drama). It makes it so much more fun! For anyone who watches the bachelor, you should make these cute rose apple puff pasty desserts I made last night maybe for next weeks finale- they are so darn cute! Also, that E wine was delish- we drank every last drop 🙂 My mom actually suggested that wine, and everyone really enjoyed it! Have you noticed the theme? Red wine, red glasses, red apple dessert, we had spaghetti with red sauce, the list goes on, haha!

rose dessert

Will you accept this rose? Apple and cinnamon desserts 

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie

St. Patties Day Attire

I cannot believe how close St. Patrick’s Day is. Denver is celebrating an entire week before the holiday since the actual day is next Friday. Green beer, lucky charms, Irish car bombs, fun in the sun, etc. is just a few short days away. If you don’t have something green to wear, you better start shopping so that you don’t get pinched 😀

st paddies

This is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate (this year may be a bit different having a six-month old, haha) but if you need some outfit inspiration check out my look- sorry my dog, Paisley is not a look you can shop for from my blog 😉 I pair anything green with gold for this holiday, and there are plenty of basic green tee’s similar to this one that you can find. I found my necklace at White House Black Market, but unfortunately it’s no longer available. I have also had luck finding cute statement necklaces at Express.

 

Sleeve Detail is in!

As many of you know, fun sleeves are all the rage! I picked up this cute number last week and absolutely love the bright colors and fun sleeve detail!

Banana pink n white

Versatile top with fun, flowy sleeves

This can be dressed up or down and can also make for a great professional look if needed. This also comes in a variety of other clothing types like a dress, scarf, etc. This shirt I couldn’t find online but there were plenty on the rack in the store. Check it out!

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie

Spring Fever- White and Denim

peplum-top

I know you aren’t ‘supposed’ to wear white before Memorial Day, but I have spring fever and am loving this look! It’s so simple and easy to dress up or down. White jeans are definitely a spring/summer must and a fun denim peplum top (On sale!!). It’s a nice high neck where you can wear a statement necklace. I paired it with some of my favorite pink Ivanka Trump shoes (and of course MAC pink lipstick), but you could add any pop of color or a neutral.

pink-stilettos

Cute pink stilettos- can’t resist the gold accent and a fun bow!

Brunching it Up

Hellooooooo Friday! It’s felt so long since I last saw you 😉

I made an incredible French Toast Bake last weekend and thought I would share the wealth.

french-toast

The more the merrier- Feeds many or makes for lots of leftovers 🙂

Again, it is so easy to make and you can prep everything the night before so all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning! Whether you are going out this weekend and want an easy hangover cure for the am, or wanting something easy to make for your family- this recipe is a slam dunk.

Serving it with fruit helps cut the richness and add some tasty flavors, as well as maybe a mimosa or orange julius!

french-toast-with-garnish

Red ripe strawberries and powdered sugar completed this meal

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie

Brooklyn’s First (disastrous)Trip- Dallas

Okay so it has taken me a couple weeks to finally write about our first trip with a baby- as it took me a bit to get over the dilemmas of the trip and be able to write about them, haha!

Brooklyn was five months when she got to ride in her first airplane from Denver to Dallas in February. Since it was also my husband and I’s first time flying with a baby, we decided to arrive a few hours early to the airport to make sure things went swimmingly. Thinking we were being smart, we decided to check her carseat and stroller so we didn’t have to haul them around the airport or through security and we could just strap her to us with the Ergo. Once we were through security we found out our flight was one hour delayed- not bad. We decided to go get lunch at a restaurant to pass the time.

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Brooklyn and Seth dining before flight

Once we finished our lunch we went back to our gate in hopes of boarding soon. We come to find the flight was 2+ hours delayed. So we decided to walk around to pass the time, going to different terminals, looking in gift shops, etc. Then it was announced it was 3 hours delayed. At this time we were both so annoyed that I went to the gate to find out what was wrong. The plane had mechanical issues and had landed in Vegas and was waiting for the part to be fixed.

By this time, we had tried to fly standby on every other flight to Dallas and didn’t get on since ya know, we don’t have status. Then it was changed to 4 hours delayed. Finally, at 4.5 hours delayed we finally had a plane and were able to board.

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Now that you can understand our frustration, Southwest Airlines issued each passenger a $200 voucher which was extremely generous! Now, where to fly to next? haha. Once we got on, Brooklyn loved being on the plane and was awake the entire flight just content and quiet which was a huge relief for both my husband, Seth and I.

Once we arrived in Dallas we checked into our hotel at 9:30pm. Of course there was a HUGE trade show at our hotel and we got put in the worst hotel room. It was an accessible room, right off the elevators where we could hear everything and it consistently woke Brooklyn throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, we got no sleep and were extremely lucky to have gotten a different hotel room that next morning for the remainder of our trip. After those ‘minor’ hiccups, we had an absolutely amazing trip!

We got to see the SMU campus (where my husband went to school), see a few of our friends, dine at some good restaurants (Cedar Grove was the best for anyone in or going to Dallas), shop, enjoy the warm weather, and introduce Brooklyn to the pool.

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A snapshot of our trip to Dallas- beautiful and fun

The trip home was uneventful and flawless, luckily! For any new parents who have not traveled with their babies yet, my one piece of advice is to gate check your stroller and car seat so you don’t have to tow your little one around if you have a 4.5 hour delay 🙂

Looking back on our trip now, we can finally laugh at all of the things that went wrong, but learned a lot for the next trip we take. In fact, we have another upcoming adventure to Disney World come April, so stay tuned for another ‘traveling with baby’ post! (Hopefully this one will be perfect ;)).

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo,

Jamie