Coffee Talk 12.10.17

Well, hello from the snowy northeast! We got our first winter snow this weekend, along with the rest of the east coast apparently, and it looks like a winter wonderland outside. Everyone is feeling pretty festive and happy around here.

I think I shared yesterday — or maybe that was in my daily email; sometimes I lose track of what I write where — that we didn’t have any weekend plans so the snow wasn’t an inconvenience in any way. It was really nice to just hang out at home, putter around the house, and watch the snow fall outside.

We actually got quite a lot accomplished yesterday. Paul had the kids straightening up and cleaning, and I tackled my office, my bedroom closet, and the attic. We store all of our seasonal decorations up there as well as out of season clothes, and now that the kids are bigger, they go up there and rifle through stuff and don’t always leave it in the manner in which they found it. We had a stern discussion about that, ahem.

I went up and organized everything, labeled it all, threw away some stuff, and basically got it in tip-top shape. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time, and it looks better than it has in years.

After that was all squared away, I tackled my office and my bedroom closet — two areas that I feel like I’m continually working on. I try to keep up with both since I spend so much time in those areas, but every once in a while I just have to do a big overhaul. I still have a ways to go on my office, but at least I can walk in here now without tripping over boxes. Ha!

My bedroom closet looks great. I should really take pictures before it gets cluttered up again. I’ve been wanting to do a “peek into my closet” post because I get a lot of questions about how I organize my clothes. That’s still in the plans… I was waiting for our 25 Days of Winter Fashion to wrap up because I prefer not to post 2X a day unless I have to.

Speaking of which, I do have a 2nd post going up this afternoon. I don’t know why, but the sponsor assigned me this date. I didn’t want to bump my usual Coffee Talk for a sponsored post so I decided to go ahead and double up today. I’ll be sharing a really nice and super easy (and affordable) stocking stuffer or teacher gift idea, so check back for that later this afternoon!

After my organizing rampage was over yesterday, I made a big pot of beef stew. I did the whole thing where you dredge the meat in flour (I used GF flour, and it worked just as well as regular) and brown it in batches, and then I did the diced carrots/celery/onion thing for extra flavor. What is it Emeril calls that? The holy trinity? No, that’s a Cajun thing with bell peppers. This is the French mirepoix. Oh, and then at the very end, you whisk in a butter/flour paste to thicken it… YUM!!!

Suffice it to say, it was quite a production, but I was feeling like cooking so I didn’t mind, and it turned out beautifully. My daughter made homemade biscuits to go with it, and everyone was happy.

Don’t ask me for the recipe because I probably won’t make it again for five years, and I hate taking recipe pictures. I got it from an old church cookbook so it’s not online anywhere that I’m aware of, but this one is quite similar. I expect that is very good. (Yes, I used beer.) I like how they place roasted potato wedges on the bottom rather than cooking them in the stew. I’ve never thought of trying it that way.

Oh, and look, I posted this one years ago. Pardon the gross pictures — that’s before I started actually trying to take pretty recipe pictures. It’s different than the one I made yesterday, but it’s a similar method. It uses wine instead of beer, and there are a few other differences as well, but both are good. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, water or beef/chicken/vegetable broth all work just fine.

Well, this is getting long, so I’ll let you get on with your day. I hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

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34 Responses

  1. Hi Jo-Lynne! That photo is so beautiful and peaceful. We have snow in northern NJ too and a very cold morning. We finally got our tree yesterday so today is decorating day! I am loving the Tory Burch purse and feel so blessed to have been the winner of your giveaway! What a fantastic holiday gift. Thanks again!

  2. We spent yesterday morning at the doctor’s because my 4yo has an ear infection. Even the snow didn’t entice her off my lap yesterday. She went to bed early and woke up good as new this morning.

  3. Funny – we are also tackling some of our messy and cluttered house areas this weekend and it feels good! There is something about Christmas time or maybe the new year coming that makes me want to purge and clean and organize! I am also going through some of my recent shopping opining purchases and deciding what to keep and what needs to go back! Enjoy your Sunday! 

  4. You are cracking me up in this post, because I felt like I was actually sitting there listening to you talk. Loved it! After you do a good clean up, don’t you just keep walking back and looking at it? So funny. Enjoy the winter wonderland! XO

  5.  It is not a sight i will wake up to in southern California….This past week has been hard with the fires and winds. Thank you for this gorgeous picture! I love it! It gives a little dream:). 

  6. I’m a South Louisiana reader and love your blog! The Holy Trinity is a combination of chopped onions, bell pepper, and celery. Down here they even sell this combo already chopped and mixed in our grocery stores but I prefer to chop the veggies  myself fresh. The flour/butter paste you mentioned is actually how you make a roux. A roux is the base of many Cajun recipes like gumbo and etouffee. It thickens and adds lots of favor. You have to continually stir the butter and flour on a medium heat stovetop until it gets really dark before adding the “Holy Trinity” and other ingredients for your recipe. We too had an early White Christmas here in Louisiana this past Friday. The schools and many businesses were closed. We don’t get much snow in these parts so it was an exciting day for us southerners. ❄️ Look me up if you ever come to New Orleans. I’m a local and would love to show you around our city. ????

    1. Yes, that all sounds familiar now. This “roux” goes in at the very end, just to finish it off — so not like mac and cheese when you add more milk and stuff to it and have to stir often. I’m such a dunce when it comes to cooking terms. I know how to do it but not what it’s all called. LOL!

  7. Organizing Rampage – Ha Ha! My kids know to lay low when I go on those – usually something else is bugging me. Hope you have a blessed rest of your weekend! 🙂

  8. Your winter wonderland is gorgeous!  I love that the kids had to help clean and got an understanding of leaving things as they found them.  Doing that makes it so much easier on everyone.  Here in the south we have lots of issues with black ice, for days after the rare snow occurrence.  Do y’all have the same issue?  Enjoy the beauty of the snow!

      1. Be safe!  Several school systems in GA are closed tomorrow due to black ice that will be on the roads tomorrow.

  9. Gorgeous picture!  Nothing like the early morning shots!  After reading about all your cleaning, organizing, and cooking, I feel like I need a nap!  With the holidays closing in on us, I’m at an organization standstill.  Doing what it takes to keep house decent, but no more purging. I have sooo much stuff to move out next year.  With our youngest grandson turning 2 next month, there are a lot of baby toys/items to be donated now.  Yet another season of our life!  

  10. Hey Jo-Lynne,
    I got up early yesterday and managed to the lights on the front of the house up before the snow started.  Got around to trim the deck with light just as the snow began to fall in Baltimore.  Spent the rest of the morning decorating the tree and the house while listening to some favorite Christmas CDs..  I think I’m finally decorated.  On to the wrapping!!!

  11. Love your blog, been reading it for years.
    I live in San Diego. We have fires. Would LOVE to see some snow!
    Jo-Lynne, I would LOVE a “peek in your closet”.

  12. Love the snow pic ! We can only dream about that down here in Texas ????
    The stew sounds amazing ; I’ll have to try taking the extra steps of browning the meat and veggies . Pioneer Woman serves her stew over mashed potatoes instead of diced in the stew.  We tried that last week and it was really delicious and everyone loved it.  
    Have a blessed Sunday !

  13. I’m
    Sooooooo jealous. I want snow. We are Northwest Oregon getting cold and sunny. Usually rain this time of year so dry has been nice. 🙂 but nothing like snow this time of year. Hope we get some this year. Sounds like you got a lot done this weekend. Great. 🙂

  14. I would LOVE a post on closet organization!  I struggle with that so much! Especially if it had lots of space saving ideas for small closets 

    1. I actually have a pretty decent sized walk-in closet so I’m fortunate I don’t have to be too terribly creative with the space. We actually won a closet makeover a few years ago with Easy Closets which made such a huge difference. It’s so much more efficient now.

  15. What a lovely picture and I’m so glad that you didn’t skip Coffee Talk – it’s one of my favorite posts. Wow, you’ve been busy but everything sounds delightfully organized.

  16. We have had snow. It is so cold here much of it is still hanging around…especially the dreaded black ice. Thank you for writing about all your cleaning and organizing. I started in my closet yesterday and needed the motivation to finish today. Have a good week and God bless you and your family. ????

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