Sunday, November 30, 2014

Egg Nog Pull-Apart Bread

Oftentimes I will make cinnamon rolls for a morning treat.  I like to make the rolls the night before, then let them do a slow rise in the fridge overnight.  In the morning all I have to do is take them out of the fridge, let rise while the oven is warming up, and bake. It's an effective way to get a fresh yeast dough treat without getting up three hours before everyone else does!
My son loves egg nog.  At the holidays I always buy a container for his use.  I've made breakfast dishes before using eggnog, things like French toast and waffles.  I've made cookies and cake.  I started thinking about making a cinnamon roll using egg nog in the dough. I ran across a recipe for "Monkey Bread"; the pastry with balls of cinnamon goodness that you literally pull apart to eat. A lightbulb in my head went off and I thought I could do that with egg nog! It worked quite well!

I used my bread machine to make the yeast dough, substituting 1 cup of egg nog for the liquid. Your favorite sweet yeast dough can also be used, doing the same substitution.  The balls of dough are rolled in a sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg mixture.  Once baked, an egg nog glaze is poured over the still-warm bread. It was very good with our morning coffee!

This was a fun baking project to do with my granddaughter.  She enjoyed putting the dough into the melted butter, then the sugar mixture.  Her touch isn't very light yet, we had some squished pieces but that's quite ok! She was quite proud of her efforts!
On the last rise, before baking.

Egg Nog Pull-Apart Bread

Dough: (or use bread machine recipe, substituting egg nog)

1 cup warm egg nog
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons egg nog

In a large bowl, stir egg nog, yeast and sugar together.  Let sit 10-15 minutes or until it starts to foam. Stir in egg, oil, half the flour and salt. Slowly incorporate remaining flour until dough starts to get smooth but still a little sticky. Place into a well greased bowl and let rise 1-2 hours or until doubled. Punch dough down, remove from bowl and cut into bite-sized pieces.

(After dough has doubled you can put in refrigerator overnight).

Spray a 9-inch baking pan with baking spray or coat with butter.

Melt butter in small bowl or shallow dish.  In a separate dish, combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dip each dough piece into butter, then the sugar mixture.  Place into the cake pan.  Let dough rise another 30-45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 25-30 minutes, testing with toothpick to make sure bread is fully cooked.  Cover with foil if top and edges are browning too quickly. Remove from oven.

Combine glaze ingredients; spoon over warm bread. Pull apart the dough pieces and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

My table is set, pumpkin pies are cooling, pie dough is ready for the apple pie. Vegetables have been washed and prepped.  The serving dishes are assembled, wine fridge is stocked.  I think we are ready for the big day!  We will have a small crowd this year, only 8 of us.  We started with a larger number and it's gradually gotten to this.  Alas, I ordered the turkey for a larger crowd, have a 21-pounder in the fridge. Yikes! My guests will get take-out containers of turkey and I'll be incorporating leftover turkey in all sorts of things in the coming days! 
I kept the table pretty simple this year, some pumpkins, gourds and a few flowers.

Our menu is pretty basic and doesn't change much from year to year.  On this day of the year it seems that everyone wants the familiar menu, it's not the day for change.  We will be serving:

Roast turkey
Cornbread dressing (we don't stuff the bird)
Mashed potatoes and giblet gravy
Sweet potato soufflé
Sauteed green beans with cranberries and bacon
Cranberry sauce (homemade and my Hubby's favorite, the canned jellied kind!)
Homemade yeast rolls

Pumpkin pie
Apple streusel pie

I love the Woodland Spode dinnerware. Someday I will splurge and get the china.
I love this holiday.  It incorporates so many of my favorite things, I call it the 4-F holiday...Food, Family, Friends and Football.  And naps.  How bad can a holiday be when you get to stuff yourself with a great meal then get to take a nap?
I love a little splash of purple with the traditional fall colors.

There is a lot of turmoil in our Country right now but we all have so much to be thankful for. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt "Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"The" Crib

In 1982, pregnant with our first child, my Hubby & I bought a Jenny Lind-style crib. I loved the simplicity of it and the vintage charm it possessed. We were newlyweds, didn't have extra money, and the crib was probably beyond our budget.  But we put it on layaway (remember those days?) and saved for it. Our son  and daughter both used it, we just changed the bed linens. Once they outgrew it, it went up in the attic.  My sister had twin boys in 1988 so down the crib came for their use.  After that the crib stayed in a corner of the attic, with the intention of being used for grandchildren at Nana & Papa's house someday. In 2010, while pregnant with her daughter, my daughter said she would like to use the crib.  So, down from the attic it came once more! It was reincarnated as a white crib for our granddaughter's use. When she was done with it my son told his sister that he wanted to have the crib, he and his wife were hoping to start a family soon.  Now it's 2014 and our first grandson will soon sleep in the same crib that his father once did 32 years ago. Another reincarnation of the crib has taken place as my daughter-in-love's father painted it to her specifications.

My sister told me the other day that this is a well-loved crib. I agree but also add that the occupants of the crib are well-loved, too!

The crib may not be an antique, may not have monetary value, but, to our family, it is priceless!
Jared - 1982

Our cat, Krisha (who lived to be 21), loved the crib, too!

Jenna - 1986
Waiting for Avery - 2010

Waiting for Jacob - due date 12/24/14.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Caramel Pear Bread

I love baking (and eating!) bread, all kinds.  Bread is one of my major weaknesses.  Making a yeast bread can be very therapeutic and relaxing. Surely, the kneading of it is a great way to relieve stress and anger! But making yeast breads takes time, often many hours, as you wait for the dough to rise. My schedule doesn't allow that on a regular basis.  Non-yeast breads, or quick breads, is a great alternative.  Like their name implies, they are quick to make.  Usually it is just throwing the ingredients in a mixing bowl, mixing it up, putting the batter in a loaf pan and baking. Because they are so easy to make, they are great to share with neighbors, family and friends. I often bake a loaf to take to the office. I especially love to have a quick bread in the morning, with a cup of tea or latte.  Banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread are all so yummy!
I had a few pears languishing in my produce drawer so decided to make a bread with them.  I am getting a little tired of things with cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin spice, etc. so went online looking for something a little more basic.  I ran across this apple praline bread and decided to put a pear twist on it. I knew I would not make the praline topping, I'm not a big praline candy fan anyway, but it just looked too rich for me.  Instead, I drizzled some caramel sauce over it. The bread itself isn't real sweet so the caramel gave it just a little extra "oomph" of sweetness.  I also didn't add as much nuts to the top of the bread, sprinkling it with about 1/3 cup (give or take a little, who measures this stuff?) The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups apples, I had two large pears, so went with that.  I find that pears bake up much moister than apples do. I was happy with the dough to fruit ratio, I think another pear would've made the bread too mushy (don't you love my technical baking terms?) I also toasted all the pecans, I think it brings out more of the nutty flavor.

We really enjoyed this pear bread. Every bite had a little taste of vanilla-spiced batter, pear and pecans. I took half of it to my parents' house and it got good reviews there, too.

Caramel Pear Bread

1 cup chopped pecans
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped peeled pears
Caramel sauce (I used Fran's)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or grease and flour it).

Spread pecans in a small skillet, over low heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until light brown.

In medium bowl, beat sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed 2 minutes. Beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until blended. Stir in pears and 2/3 cup of the toasted pecans. Spoon batter into pan.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup toasted pecans; lightly press pecans into batter.

Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, covering with foil during last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning, if necessary.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack.

Spoon caramel sauce over top of bread. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Wisdom in Little Golden Books

Most of us are very familiar with Little Golden Books, the small cardboard books sold at grocery and variety stores.  Our parents read them to us when we were young. We, in turn, read them to our children. The short stories and colorful illustrations have become classics.  Who can forget The Poky Little Puppy, Chicken Little, and The Gingerbread Man?

A few months back I was introduced to a book that showed me  Little Golden Books aren't just for children, they contain messages for adults, too. In Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book the author takes illustrations from the little books and combines them with words of advice that are relevant to our busy lives today. It's a darling book, you will find yourself smiling as the pictures remind you of a favorite childhood book or character (I love the Poky Little Puppy!) It's very creative how the author combined the books' illustrations with  pertinent words on how we should live our lives. If you know of someone who needs a little encouragement or need just one more stocking stuffer, this is the book for you. It's even a great book to keep on your personal bookshelf for those times when you need a pick-me-up! I just love it!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Dresden Plate Pillow

The Dresden plate quilt pattern was very popular in the 1920’s and 30’s. It is also know by names such as Grandmother’s sunburst, sunflower, and friendship ring. There are usually 12 or more “petals” that are sewn together, radiating from a central circle, and then appliqued onto a block of fabric. They often look like flowers, hence the many garden names. The "petals" may be smooth at the outer edge of the circle or shaped into arcs or points, or a combination. The center of the Dresden can be plain, embroidered, decorated with trim, yo-yo's or doilies. It's a very versatile and creative pattern.
I have a Dresden plate quilt made by my Grandma over 20 years ago.  It's gotten rather threadbare so it no longer resides on a bed. I've always loved the pattern and when she offered to make me a quilt that was my request. When Grandma made a quilt she had to make a paper pattern, trace out the pattern onto the fabric, then cut out each piece.  This was all very time consuming, of course. Modern quilters have it much easier.  There are rulers and circle guides, rotary cutters and cutting mats of all shapes and sizes. It never occurred to me to make a Dresden plate, I'm not a quilter (though I'm thinking I should attempt one!) but then I saw this tutorial and she made it look so easy.  I ordered the two rulers and got to work. It was much easier than I thought it would be.  Who knew?!!
My first Dresden plate went on a pillow for my sister's birthday. I embellished the center of the Dresden with ric rac trim and added piping to the pillow. Now it's time to repeat the process and make one for me!

I'm linking up to Inspire Me Tuesday.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

No Willpower Equals Skillet Brownies!

I've mentioned the food board that I belong to.  We've been together over 10 years now.  We are spread out all throughout the United States.  Some of us have been able to meet up in person.  I traveled to a drag race in Pennsylvania a few years back and was able to meet up with Elsa.  A trip to Phoenix resulted in a meet-up with Eileen. A few ladies, Nancy and Sharon, live along the California coast and we have met up more than once, the latest being when a member from Maine, Kim, was vacationing out here. It's amazing how it feels as though we've known each other forever, our love of food and entertaining unites us. It's a wonderful group of women, I feel very blessed to be a part of the group.

We share recipes, restaurants we've been to, where to find certain ingredients, and our review of cookbooks.  We also share our lives.  We've "watched" kids grow, celebrated graduations and marriages, we all put up with the posting of grandchildren pictures. We've had a few members die much too early from cancer.  It's a community.

Now there is a downside to this group.  We are always posting about cookbooks we've bought, dishes, linens, where to find a certain piece we saw in a magazine. It's very easy to get caught up in the action and buy things that I didn't know I needed, especially cookbooks.  I have a lot of cookbooks. I've been collecting cookbooks since I was in high school. I've been on a mission to pare down my collection and to stop buying.  I was doing really well, haven't bought a cookbook in over a year.  Then Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, came out with a new cookbook.
I resisted pre-ordering it last spring.  I resisted for almost two weeks as the food board members started talking about how they were enjoying it, the recipes they were making.  I felt so strong!  Then I watched the Barefoot Contessa one Saturday morning.  She made skillet brownies from her new book.  She made them in the cutest little skillets!  I CAVED! Not only did I buy the cookbook, but I ordered the skillets, too!  No Willpower!

I can attest that the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook is awesome.  So are the skillet brownies.  The little skillets are adorable (you can get them here).  I know I will use them for many things, such as individual portions of cornbread, fruit crisps, even a mini frittata. So, all is well with the purchases.  I will try to resist better next time!
Skillet Brownies

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces plus ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter, 4 ounces of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Set aside for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together ¼ cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss together the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips and one tablespoon of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mixture into five 3½ inch cast iron skillets and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Don’t over bake!

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Having a kitchen helper makes things so much more fun!  She loves to bake with me.  She loved the brownies, too!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Apple Butter Bread

I make apple butter every fall (recipe here).  It's probably my favorite toast topping.  Like most jams and jellies, apple butter can also be used for baking and cooking. Today it goes in this tender and moist bread, with all the spicy flavors we come to expect in the fall.  It's wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee.
I used a simple confectioners' sugar glaze for this, adding some cinnamon for more spice.  Apple cider or juice can also be substituted for the milk to get more apple flavor.

Apple Butter Bread

Makes 1 9x5-inch loaf

For the bread:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (see note below)
3/4 cup apple butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired

For the glaze:
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and apple pie spice; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the apple butter, brown sugar, milk, oil vanilla and eggs (one at a time). Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and milk.  The mixture should be somewhat thick but pourable.  Slowly add more milk, if needed. Pour the glaze over the top of the loaf and let it drip down the sides.  Let the glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Recipe notes: To substitute for the apple pie spice use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice.  Or make homemade version (recipe here).

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Pumpkin Pot and Pumpkin Rolls!

Belonging to a food board community can be both dangerous and good.  Foodies tend to be on top of the newest dishes, cooking utensils and, of course, great recipes.  It takes restraint to not buy everything that is being brought to our attention. Sometimes, however, a girl just can't resist.  Such was the case with this Staub pumpkin pot.  Becky (who passed away a few years ago, much too young) is the one who first found this pot and informed the rest of us.  Little by little, many of us got one. Sadly, I admit I caved right away.  Is it possible to love a pot?  Because I'm very fond of this one!  Every October it comes out of the upper storage cabinet and takes center position on my cooktop.  All through fall I use it for soups, stews and other braised dishes. Though it wasn't inexpensive, it's very heavy and well-made, this pot will outlast me.  It may be the only inheritance my kids get! 
On this evening the pot held Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup. To serve with the soup I made a batch of pumpkin rolls. 
I first spotted this bread recipe on Pinterest last year and pinned it to one of my boards. I thought they were so cute! Like many of my pins on Pinterest I forgot about it.  A food board friend, Martha, made these a few weeks back and I was reminded of the recipe. She gave it rave reviews so I knew I had to make them.  We loved them.  They have a slight pumpkin flavor, not overpowering, kind of sweet.  They were excellent with the soup and would be a wonderful accompaniment to any fall dinner.  They can be served with cinnamon butter, it takes the rolls from ordinary to over-the-top.
To give credit to the original poster of this recipe I direct you to the recipe here.  Her pictures of the various recipe steps are very helpful.

Join me at Inspire Me Tuesday.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's All About The Mouse...and Baby, Too!

My daughter-in-love was the guest of honor at a cute baby shower, Mickey Mouse style.  She is a huge Disney fan so the shower theme was very appropriate for her.
Once I knew the theme my mind went into overdrive thinking of Mickey Mouse baby things I could make.  First up was a bib in Mickey colors. I used a yellow terrycloth towel for the back of the bib, should be very durable for the little one.
On Etsy I found these "month" stickers.  I love the pictures that show a baby every month for the first year. What a special way to chronicle how fast they grow!
Finally, I made our little Jakey a quilt.  I am not much of a quilter so a rag quilt is about as good as it's going to get from me!  I love them, though, they are soft and durable.  My "Stitch 'n Bitch" friend, Linda, graciously did the machine embroidery of the Mickey Mouse silhouette and Jacob's name in the Disney-style font.  It made a simple quilt a little more special, I think!

My daughter-in-love was blessed to have three baby showers. I don't think there is anything major that they need to set up babykeeping, just the baby.  Another 5-6 weeks and he will be here! I know the time will fly by and we will soon be taking him to see Mickey Mouse!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

On Tuesday afternoons I am lucky enough to be able to take my four-year old granddaughter to her ballet class. Such fun to watch the young girls blossom in gracefulness.  Afterwards we come home for some quality Nana time before her Daddy picks her up after work.  Some days can be a little tricky; the physical exertion of ballet class and no afternoon nap can often equal a tired (and cranky) little girl.  So I try to do things to keep her occupied, yet not over-exhaust her.  She loves to work with me in the kitchen so today we made these pumpkin cookies. They are quite easy to make with steps that were very easy for her to assist me with. The best part is they are delicious.  Most anything with cream cheese frosting is!  These cookies are rather like mini pumpkin bars; soft and full of cinnamon and pumpkin goodness.  I like to add a little crunch to them, so top them with some crushed Heath bar candy.  I guarantee the combination is a winner!
On the way home from dance today she told me she was tired.  I told her we would get into our comfy clothes and rest awhile before making our cookies.  She went to change and came out in her pajamas.  I asked her why, it was only 3pm?  She said, "Nana, these are my most comfy clothes."  How could I argue with that? So we baked cookies in our pajamas.  My husband wasn't quite sure what was going on when he came home but Avery and I had a nice day in the kitchen, being extra comfy!
Yes, we had powdered sugar everywhere! Oh, well!
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)
1.4 ounce Heath candy bar (English toffee), chopped finely

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Add pumpkin; mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in walnuts, if desired.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (I use a small ice cream scoop) 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets (or lined with parchment paper).  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the frosting ingredients until light and fluffy.  Frost cookies.  Top with chopped Heath Bar candy.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Guinness Beef Stew

In the course of the last week we've gone from keeping the windows open in the house to wearing sweatshirts and watching it rain.  Oh, how we need the rain! Even though it's already November I feel it's only now time that I start cooking fall/winter comfort food items; things like soup, pot pie, and stew.
I belong to a small food board. We share recipes there and it's the first place I go to on the web to look for a recipe.  The ladies who belong to this board never let me down, they are wonderful cooks and bakers. Betsy pointed us all in the direction of this stew and, one by one, we've all been making it. Today was my turn and I wasn't disappointed. The recipe was originally found on Cooks Country (recipe here).  Each of us has tweaked the recipe a bit to suit our tastes. Though the recipe does take some time to make, most of that time is in the oven. It's very easy to put together. We are still curing our wood oven so we cooked this in that oven. Unfortunately, for me, we had a torrential downpour as I was putting the veggies in the stew! It's not everyday I get drenched cooking dinner!

The recipe calls for a boneless chuck roast, that is then cut into cubes.  At the grocery store I went to, the roast was $4-something a pound.  "Stew meat" was virtually the same price.  As the stew cooks for such a long period of time, I didn't think meat quality would make that much difference so I went with easy and bought the pre-cut meat. Call me lazy, I don't care!

Beer & I don't agree much but I couldn't leave it out as it is such a big part of the recipe.  The brown sugar tempered it some and I found the flavor to be quite nice.

The stew, along with a baguette of sourdough bread, made a wonderful and filling meal. This won't be the last time we have this stew this winter!


1 ( 3 1/2 to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Draught, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon mince fresh thyme (or equivalent dried)
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Season the beef with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the onions and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Whisk in the beef broth, 3/4 cup of the Guinness, brown sugar and thyme, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beef and return to a simmer.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 90 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Stir in the potatoes and carrots and continue cooking until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour, stirring halfway through cooking.  Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of Guinness and the parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Don't know what to do with the rest of the can of tomato paste?  Put one tablespoon dollops (is that a word?) onto waxed paper, freeze for 10-15 minutes until firm.  Then store in freezer Ziploc bags.  Whenever you need a little tomato paste, just grab a dollop or two!