Boneless Beef Short Ribs, Italian Style

Boneless Beef Short Ribs, Italian Style © Marie Stephens 2015

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F


The Rub
  •  1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 1tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
Wisk ingredients together and rub all over meat.
NOTE: Works best if you wisk dry ingredients together first, then add wet ingredients and wisk again to avoid lumps of spices.
  • Meat: 3 to 4 lbs of Boneless Beef Short Ribs from Fareway or your favorite butcher.  Only about $4.99/lb, and tastes delicious, like a flat iron steak but in roast form.


This recipe is for 3 to 3.5 lbs of meat.

  1. Preheat oven to 500.
  2. Put meat in a foil lined baking dish, I use a ceramic roasting pan…a deep one.
  3. Arrange the ribs side by side, standing on the skinny side, and nestle in the pan as close together as you can. I put the fat side facing up so it can baste the meat as it cooks.
  4. After you mixed all the spices and oil and vinegar, rub it evenly all over the meat on all sides.
  5. If you want the flavor to go down into the meat, you can pierce the meat on top but don’t go all the way through.
  6. Put the meat in the oven at 500 for about 15 minutes,
  7. then turn down the heat to 325. Cook for half hour, then baste with the juices, then another half hour, baste, then maybe 20 or 30 more minutes until it reaches your desired level of done ness.
  8. You can either just use the juice as is for an au jus sauce to dip meat in, or make gravy to go w/ mashed potatoes.


  • 1 cup drippings
  • 1 cup water, mix those together
  • Then put 1/4cup flower with 1/2 cup cold water in a container that seals, then shake or wisk
  • add to the drippings and water and wisk constantly until boiling
  • then turn down heat a bit and keep stirring until it thickens.

I use the Betty Crocker Recipe for my mashed potatoes, and use the gigantic individually sold potatoes, because they are much faster and easier to peel. 4 large potatoes makes enough for our family of 4 and we still have a few leftovers. I usually roast carrots and other veggies in a separate dish, so they don’t get too soggy or too much fat from the beef on them. Usually roast about 10 whole carrots in the oven too. Let me know if you have any other questions. NOTE: If you want the meat super evenly cooked, it’s a little extra work, but you can cook it for 7-10 minutes at 500 and the flip it over and do another 7 minutes or so, but it’s a lot of work and sometimes you burn yourself doing it! It’s kind of hard to do with the beef ribs vs. a whole roast.

Surviving A.D.E.M. From a Mom’s Point of View

     Over the Christmas 2014 holiday, mine and my family’s life was turned upside down by a mysterious disease that started out as a common cold with a runny nose that progressed into flulike symptoms, that progressed into pneumonia -like symptoms, that progressed into a massive sinus infection, that progressed into severe headaches that woke him from a deep sleep, all within about a week and a half.  He was eventually admitted to the hospital when white blood cells were found in his spinal fluid from a lumbar puncture taken the second time we went to the emergency room.   We were the unfortunate winners of the A.D.E.M. lottery, and my son quickly changed from a normal, 9-year-old boy, to a child who was quickly deteriorating and in a relentlessly severe amount of pain.  It was almost unbearable, for us, as his parents to watch him suffer his way through the roller coaster ride of ups and downs of the disease.

     I wrote the poem below, on our first visit to the emergency room, before we even knew what kind of journey we had ahead of us.  I wrote as I sat silently, watching my son suffer through headaches while an I.V. dripped fluids into his veins.  I am sharing this in hopes of helping other parents who are experiencing ADEM,  with their own child.  I will tell you, it will get better, but it will take time.  The only way we were able to survive this experience was through the countless prayers that were made in our son’s name, lifting him up, lifting his doctors up, lifting us up.  It is a walk that is so much harder if you try to do it alone.  

     We are all still trying to wrap our heads around what happened, but we are all getting stronger day by day.  My son spent nearly 3 weeks in the hospital, one week in an in-patient rehab center, and has now completed his second week of out-patient rehab for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and neuro feedback therapy.  He will likely be ready to go back to school within the next week or two, and his personality, physical abilities, and speech abilities are almost back to 100% the way he was before he got so sick.  It is truly amazing how far he has come, considering, about 3 and a half weeks ago, he could barely walk, was catheterized, spoke like a stroke victim, and could barely remember where he was half the time.  At one point, he did not even remember who I was, which was my most horrifying point in this experience.  He has almost completed a steroid treatment that began with a high dose given intravenously 2 times a day that tapered down to a liquid oral form that we will be giving him every other day for a few more weeks.  

A Mother’s Oath

It’s been a long haul.
The nights have been long,
The days even longer.
How much more can I take?

I don’t know how, but I’m still here.
I’m not going anywhere.
I wish I could absorb all your pain,
I’d do anything,
Just to see you smile again.

Close your eyes.
Rest, baby.
Rest for me.
I’ll still be here, holding on for you.
This is what moms do.

Put on that face,
That fearless warrior face.
Look strong while
we’re caving inside.
Be positive, when all we want to do
is cry.

We are the warriors.
We wait patiently.
We serve our people,
strong or weak.
We overlook our own weakness.
We reach from above, we reach from within.
We care, relentlessly, fearlessly,shamelessly,fiercely
for our kin.

This is who we are.
We are moms.

Original poetry written by Marie Stephens ©2014


All royalties from the sale of this 8 x 10 inch cork print will go to Team Hannah! Hannah was our next door neighbor at the hospital who is fighting the battle of her life against cancer.   Click the link below to order.


My Oh My, Purple Potatoes?

This is an update with a recipe for mashed purple potatoes that I tried growing this season. They are deeeelicious!


Update October 19, 2014:  My family and I were able to enjoy some of our fall harvest…together!  I knew I missed having my hubs around on the weekends, but having experienced life without him every Saturday and Sunday over the past 7 months, has really made me appreciate the time we had around the table as a family today.  And, we got to try our purple potatoes!

The Recipe :  I had a small amount of little baby potatoes, enough for 2 adults and 2 kids, so I boiled them until tender, added about 1/4 cup milk, about a tablespoon of butter, 1/4 tsp real salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of dried dill weed, and finally about  1 or 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  I mashed them all together, skins and all, and they were deelish!

Regrets:  Just wish I had more of these yummy potatoes!  I planted them…

View original post 398 more words

On the Verge of Frost

Wish I had a retractable frost blanket for my entire back yard.  This time of year is so bittersweet for me and my plant loving self.

Up Next, Sweet Potatoes and Their Many Uses

Up Next, Sweet Potatoes and Their Many Uses


This summer I tried planting edible sweet potatoes in my landscape, and I couldn’t be happier with the way they performed….as an ornamental ground cover!  This post will cover, just how well they covered my hillside garden border. More later, time to take the Bebe to the kids museum!

The Zone 4 and 5 Gardener’s To Do List for August/September

The Zone 4 and 5 Gardener’s To Do List for August/September


As you are about to see, late August/September is all about cutting back.

1. Remove Dead Flower Stalks from Perennials As Daylilies and Irises begin to die back, you can yank out the brown flower stalks, just give them a tug and they should pop right out.

2.  Daylilies and Irises:  Remove dead and dying leaves with brown tips.  With both, you can just grab the leaves at the base of the plant and give a downward and outward tug, and they will come right off.  If it’s the end of August, and you can’t stand the way they look anymore, you can remove all or most of the leaves, as these plants are beginning their dormancy anyway.  I just removed all the leaves from some of my day lilies 2 weeks ago, Aug 18, and they are starting to get a few new leaves, and looking much happier.

3.  Deadhead, Deadhead, Deadhead:  Deadheading is the term used for removing spent flowers from your plants.  If you have not been doing it all summer, it’s not too late to start.  Just cut off the spent flowers just above a set of leaves, or down to a set of leaves where it will make the plant have a nice shape.  Why deadhead?  This will cause the plant to spend less energy making seeds, and more energy on producing more flowers.  We could always use more flowers, right?

4. Peonies:  If your peony bushes are covered with white powdery mildew, now would be an okay time to cut all the leaves off to the ground.  I do this every year, and my peony bush thrives every season.  Spare yourself from having to look at those icky leaves and just cut them down, right at ground level.

5.  Hydrangeas:  You can begin pruning back the blooms as they die back, or thin them out so that they don’t sag so much after a rain.  My Limelight Hydrangea was so top heavy with blooms, that the last time it rained, it looked like someone had jumped the fence and landed right on top of the bush!  After they dried off, I thinned out the largest blooms, and the whole bush, sprung back up, as if saying “Thanks, momma, my branches were getting so tired.”  If you like to dry your Hydrangeas, wait until the florets begin to feel papery, and then cut them, and place the stems in buckets of water in your garage until they are completely dry.  They make lovely wreaths and floral arrangements.  If you are wanting to reshape your Hydrangea bushes, now is the time to do it, after they bloom.  Pruning it in the spring will result in no flowers the next summer.

6.  Asiatic and Oriental Lilies:  If you haven’t already done so, you can cut back the stems to about 1/2 or 1/3 their original height to remove the seed heads where the flowers once were.  As the stalks begin to brown all the way down…later in September, you can cut them back.

7.  Purple Coneflowers:  Remove the spent flower stalks, if you don’t like the looks of them.  You might get a few more blooms, but at a much slower rate of growth as the season is winding down.  If you don’t mind the looks of the seed heads, leave them on, as Goldfinches love to snack on them.  Also, they will reseed and your coneflower patch will expand for next season.

8.  Hostas:  Remove leaves as they turn brown or start to look bad, and cut spent flower stalks down to the base of the plant.

9.  Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  This time of year is all about thinning out and cutting back whatever is driving you insane because it’s so over grown.  Grab those pruners and a bucket, put a tarp in the bed of your pickup, and start filling it up with everything that is beginning to make you want to pull out your own hair.  Just remember, your garden might look a little “shocked” at first when you step back to take a look.  Don’t worry, garden pruning is just like haircuts for plants.  As my father-in-law always says, “The difference between a good one and a bad one is about 2 weeks.”  It will be fine, and you will feel  much more under control…..and maybe a bit sweaty.

My Brand New “White” Gardening Shirt

My Brand New “White” Gardening Shirt


I can’t believe I spent $40 on a long sleeved shirt, that actually complimented my figure, only to get it stained with chlorophyll by scratchy tomato leaves and equally scratchy and itchy hops vines.  My once pure white beautiful shirt is no longer pure.  It’s filthy!  But, I am not itchy or scratchy.  I bought it for our family hiking trip to Utah this summer, and also thinking hey, I could use a shirt that offers UV protection while I’m out in the garden, as I really dislike using sunscreen.  It seems so impractical to buy a new shirt, knowing that I am going to ruin it, but if it means avoiding greasy sunscreen everywhere, and less scratches all over my arms, I guess the shirt is worth sacrificing.

A New Way to Prevent Soil From Leaking Out of Flower Pots

A New Way to Prevent Soil From Leaking Out of Flower Pots


Well, new to me anyway.

While visiting with family over the past weekend, I learned a great new tip passed down from my hubby’s grandma, down to his mom, and now to me.  It’s the coolest thing I’ve learned all summer!  Yes, I am a nerd, but I know you will come to appreciate the genius in the simplicity of this tip.  Are you ready?


Coffee Filters!  Yes, coffee filters!

They make an excellent screen/filter to place over the hole in the bottom of your ornamental flower pots.  They are readily available in most kitchens, and they filter the water through the pot without leaving that filthy muck under your pots throughout the summer.  Thank you, Grandma Mary!  You.  Are.  Awesome!

What a great idea!  Since it’s July 1st and I haven’t even started doing ornamental pots yet, I think I’ll definitely be giving this a try.


Why Do My Squash Plants Wilt and Die?

Every spring, I have high hopes for an abundant crop of butternut squash, watermelons, zucchini squash, and pumpkins.  Every year, I make my hills, plant my seeds, and wait for them to sprout.  Every year they sprout, take off beautifully, and form nice plants.  Every year, about half way through the season, they start to wilt, and die a slow, painful to watch, death.

I  have narrowed the problem down to either a disease or plant virus, herbicide drift from neighboring fields, or an annoying creature known as the squash vine borer.  I am going to go with the last choice, and try one more season to get the crops I have dreamed about.

For those of you experiencing the same problems, here is a link to a site that has useful info on how to identify the squash vine borer, and how to deal with it in a safe, organic way.