Shepherd's Pie

Chili. Butternut squash soup. Mac & Cheese. Fall is here...and it's time to break out the belly-warming foods! Here's another one to add to the list: Shepherd's Pie. My favorite shepherd's pie is from McGuire's in Destin, Florida. They have a Wild Irish Raspberry Wheat beer that is to die for. It doesn't get much better than 2 for 1 happy hour raspberry wheat beers and a bowl of shepherd's pie.

But, if you're like me, and McGuire's Pub is a good 700 miles away, grab a Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen and make this recipe:

Recipe adapted from Family Circle
2  tablespoons  vegetable oil
1 pound of hamburger
1   medium onion, chopped
2   ribs celery, diced
1  cup  baby carrots, sliced
1  cup  chicken broth
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1  cup  frozen peas, thawed
1  pound of potatoes
2/3  cup  milk
2  tablespoons  unsalted butter
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2  teaspoon  salt

Heat oven to 350°.
Boil the potatoes until tender and mashable, about 25 minutes.

For the filling: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from pan and brown the hamburger. Drain grease from hamburger and toss the meet w/ the veggies.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk broth, flour, salt and pepper. Pour into saucepan with hamburger and veggies and bring to a simmer. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened. Stir in dill and peas; cook 1 more minute. Pour into a greased baking dish.

Mash potatoes with butter, milk and salt until smooth. Dollop onto filling and gently spread to dish edges.
Transfer to oven and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Cool slightly before serving.


Backyard Reveal

As I was enjoying our "new" backyard this afternoon, I realized I haven't posted the big reveal yet. Shame on me! As you know, we got rid of the playground in our backyard and planned to make it more adult-friendly. The transformation was done in a weekend...so, let's begin!

Here's a before pic of the concrete slab. If you look closely, you can see I like to use it as a backdrop for my spray painting projects.

We picked up a gallon of concrete stain and a sprayer from Home Depot.


Next, we sprayed it on the slab. Please note, these are not my legs. Mine are much more shapely. And not as hairy. Well, usually.

We weren't thrilled with the color at first. Before we made any drastic decisions (like paint it a different color) we decided to finish the project first. We're always thinkin'.

We headed back to Home Depot and loaded up the Jeep with about 45 edging stones.

Landscape fabric went down first and then some stones from a local landscaping company.


Next, it was back to Home Depot for 20 bags of pea gravel.

At the end of the day, this is what we had. Not too shabby, huh? The concrete stain blends in perfectly with the edging and walkway stones.


Jeff was determined to have a built-in fire pit. Since our existing pit was only a year old, I didn't think it was necessary. He found this video from Lowes and convinced me otherwise. Our pit is placed on top of the stones. Genius!

We added some fountain grass....and here it is!

As you can see, it's a great place to relax with a glass of wine and old copies of Country Living and Flea Market Style (which is exactly what I did today).

 And, what's even better...it works!