The Nest Thermostat – Great Gadgets Week!



The Nest thermostat is not your ordinary thermostat.  It learns your habits and adjusts automatically.   It also has a smartphone app so that you can control the thermostat remotely.  Nest is a company co-founded by Tony Fadell, who was the creator of the original iPod.  He is on a mission to change the way that we interact with our homes.   And, his products look good – really good.

Recently, Nest launched the Nest Protect, a smoke detector… but more on that tomorrow…



Stay Warm!! Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew – Cooking Light

slow cooker


Try staying warm these next few days from the inside with this Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew from last month’s Cooking Light magazine.  It has all the traditional savory ingredients, plus the added bonus of dijon mustard and red wine vinegar to give it a little tang.   Enjoy!



  • 2 pounds trimmed boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided $
  • 3 medium yellow onions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (12-ounce) nut brown ale
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson), divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby Dutch potatoes, halved
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves


  1. 1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning until well browned on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef; remove beef and any juices from pan.
  2. 2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup stock, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer. Carefully pour mixture into a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add beef, potatoes, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
  3. 3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup stock and flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir flour mixture into stew; cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.

Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light