Saturday, January 14, 2012


Today is a huge mile stone at our house.  My baby is 16...and I am turning 50 in two weeks.  My youngest child is no longer a child and I am no longer in my 40s.  My youngest is more grown up then not and I am a real middle aged woman.  This just dose not seem fair....the time has disappeared and I am now looking at colleges and future jobs for my kids.  Our thinking has changed from just getting through school to what are they going to do with the rest of their lives. 
My mother often says "Growing old is not for the faint of heart", and that is so true.  How do I see the next 40 years of my life?  Filled with family, grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren;  taking our farm to a viable business that maybe one of our grandchildren may wish to continue.  Planning small goals for myself...knitting a full sweater for myself....teaching moms to cook for their family, teaching children how to cook. I want to head in the same direction that I am going, but set myself on the path with more detail.  Living the rest of my life with more purpose and direction. 

As I was standing next to my daughter, watching all her friends singing to her, I realized I am in a new phase of my life.  I am pleased where I am and I am proud of my children.  I have not done parenting well, I have made some colossal mistakes with each of my kids, I have apologized and started over.  I have yelled when I should have walked away, I have ignored when I should have acted, and I have had fun with each of them.  50 is looking pretty good.

And I am still making dinner!!! 

One Pot Stew on the Stove Top- (there is a longer less expensive variation at the end)

2 lbs of sirloin or a Petite Should Tender (this is not a cheap cut of meat, but it is so good!)
1 lb of Yukon gold potatoes
2 onions, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 lb of real carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces (not the baby ones, they do not have as much flavor)
1 lb of parsnips (these are our new favorite veggies, loaded with good stuff)
4 stalks of celery cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup of flour
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. fresh cracked pepper
1 box of good beef broth or stock
2 bay leaves
1 package of frozen peas
1/2 c water
1/3 c of flour
1 t. of kitchen bouquet (this gives the stew a dark color)

In a large bowl add the flour with the salt and pepper.  Cut the meat into 2 inch pieces and toss them into the flour covering all the meat.
In a large heavy pot heat up about 1/4 c of oil-you can use olive oil it will take a little longer because you will need to keep your heat to medium.  I use coconut oil mixed with a little butter so I can brown at a medium high heat.  You can also use a vegetable oil which if that is what I have, that is what I use.
Heat the oil and add 1/3 of the meat.  Leave the meat alone so that it can brown, if you move it all around it will not brown, you are looking for a brown crust on the meat.  Do this in batches, moving the meat to a holding bowl. 
Once the meat is all browned and out of the pan, you are going to de-glaze.  I will use left over red wine if I have any or you use the beef broth.  Carefully pour your liquid into the hot pan and using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan.  You will feel the brown bits loosen and mix with the liquid.  This is gold, this is what gives stew its character. 
Now you add your meat back in and all the juices that have accumulated in the bowl.  Add all the veggies except the peas.  Add more beef broth or water to cover everything.  Turn the heat down to a low simmer.  Let this cook for about 45 minutes.  Test your potatoes, when they are tender you can add the peas.

Here comes the thickening part of the stew.  In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of water to this add 1/3 c of flour on top,  mix with a fork till combines.  Add this to the stew and turn the heat up. 
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, and add the kitchen bouquet.

Variation- 3- lb chuck roast, cut into 2 inch pieces.  Cut the thickest pieces of fat out and discard.
Use an oven proof pot.
Do everything else the same, but instead of cooking on the stove top pop the stew into the oven at 325 for about 2 hours.  You can turn the heat down to 250 and cook it for about four hours.  Or you may do everything through the bay leaf and pour everything into a slow-cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours. 

Give this a try and serve your family a hearty stick to your rib meal.  This is my family's favorite!

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