Thursday, September 26, 2013


This week continues to be full of activity!  It began with that familiar guilty feeling about having "short changed" my middle son on his birthday from having spent more time on having fun in my life than putting in the 100% effort on his birthday dinner ~ no cake got me I think ~ and the mix up with the menu request and having not enough time to make a stew and a Shepherd's Pie.

On Monday I began my day rip roaring and ready to go to remedy that situation by making a nice beef stew and a simple birthday cake on top of playing with my Swiffer and doing my floors, laundry and dishes.  I did a shortened version of my morning computer routine and set to work on the Beef Stew with the thoughts of a blog ~ as it was the first day of fall ~ what is more appropriate than a nice Stew?


I began by adding some flour to a zip lock bag and seasoning the flour with some pepper, garlic, and Italian Seasonings to which I added my stew beef chunks (about 1.5 lbs of stew beef) and coated the beef until the pieces were covered sufficiently while heating the oil up in a sturdy 6 quart sauce pan and added the meat to the oil for browning.

Seasoned flour
Floured beef in oil

While that was browning I chopped some garlic, onion and three stalks of celery ~ adding the garlic and onion to the browning meat.


Chopped garlic

Chopped onion

Garlic and onion browning with the meat

While that was cooking, I chopped the carrots, peeled the potatoes and cleaned and cut the fresh green beans.

3 stalks of celery

cut baby carrots

fresh green beans

When the meat and onions and garlic began smelling good and browned enough I added about 6 cups of water and got a slow boil going.

I added the celery as the boil was building up, as I wanted the flavour in the stock more than I cared about having celery visible ~ celery is one of those vegetables my sons would rather not see anywhere ~ let alone in their soup, but I like to push the limits where they are concerned as they sometimes do not know what is good for them!

I had limited time, as I had an appointment, so I added the potatoes, carrots and beans to the stew so that I could turn it down low enough while I was gone so that it could cook ~ but not too quickly and so the stock could thicken and the beef could tenderize.

beef, onion, garlic, celery

Carrots next
In go the beans
Potato last

The beginning of an awesome stew
I was running right on time ~ having enough time to take a quick shower and just make it to my doctors appointment at two.

My son had stayed home after his week long visit at his brothers ~ and little did I know that he had contracted the flu ~ as he had been complaining about not feeling well the evening before after our guests left and while we were watching television together after my mad long day of hiking in the Berkshires.

It became clear when he came downstairs ~ trying to be awake before the noon deadline which I gave him ~ but failing miserably due to the cough, chills and nausea!

That was when I decided to make him some homemade chicken soup and I took a chicken out of the freezer so I could begin that one for Tuesday.

I made it out the door giving the stew a stir and making sure the heat was not above a low simmer, as I would be gone for the next two hours at least.

I found a cake mix and frosting at the local Rite Aide and it was on sale ~ so I bought two ~ planning on making the yellow cake for Pat's belated birthday cake with white frosting and picking up a chocolate with chocolate frosting for a later date.

When I arrived home the Stew smelled awesome and the gravy was thickening nicely and the veggies were beginning to tenderize, along with the beef.  I set to work making the cake and calling my son to make confirm a time for dinner.

The cake finished baking and I set it aside to cool for frosting and I set the table and got ready for an early dinner.  Resisting the urge to try a bowl before anyone arrived, which was difficult!  When my guests arrived the Stew was ready and the cake was frosted and I felt less guilty about birthday dinner number 1.

Yumminess in a bowl!


  1. looks yummy ! I hope you had a good time :-)

  2. Looks good to me yummmmmmmmm..You did a good job making up ..Hope it was lots and fun and good eatting