Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sailboats, Beef Stew, and a Question

It's been a cold, typical January week, but while I sat at my desk bundled in fleece, I concentrated on summer, sailboats, and the deep blue sea.  The summer thoughts resulted in a mug rug, and the keeping warm resulted in comforting beef stew. 

The Sailboats

Blue skies, blue sea, and two sailboats ride the waves. I'm so looking forward to warmer weather. 


Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

I wouldn't exactly call this a recipe because I basically tossed some beef and veggies into a pot and let it simmer, but this is how I made it. I didn't start this until mid afternoon, so I cooked the stew beef in a pressure cooker while I was getting everything else together. If you have more time the stew beef can be cooked in a pot before adding the vegetables. I much prefer using fresh herbs, but I was limited to the ingredients in my pantry.

Yum! Beef stew with a crusty baguette on a cold winter's night.

The measurements are estimates because I tossed in what looked good to me. You will need to adjust the vegetable proportions and quantities to suit your own taste.
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. stew beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery cut into 1" strips
  • About 1 1/2 cups of baby carrots
  • 3 or 4 small to medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
  • 1 T dried parsley flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of dried thyme
  • A sprinkle of ground cloves
  • 3/4 c frozen green peas
  • Salt & pepper
  • Water 

    Almost done. This is gently simmering, but peas haven't yet been added. 
    1. In a pot or pressure cooker, saute onions in olive oil until translucent and lightly golden in color. 
    2. Add stew beef to the pot, brown on all sides. Add water to cover and cook until tender.
    3. Toss all the other ingredients except for the peas into the pot. Add water to cover the veggies. Some of this will evaporate during cooking, but if you like the stew to be more soup like, you can always add more water.
    4. Cover and simmer on medium low heat until the veggies are cooked through and the juice has thickened. (30 minutes to 1 hour
    5. Add the peas into the pot. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes to heat the peas through. Serve.
    The Question

    I'm working on an idea for a quilt about sewing/quilting. I want to place some words on it, and I'd like your input. Rather than the names of tools or items used in sewing, the words should be more descriptive of feelings or thoughts you might associate with it. What words come to mind when you think of sewing or quilting? 

    Keep Warm!!


    1. love, gratitude, joy, tradition,celebration, memory-making, tonic, romancing (the idea), therapeutic

    2. happiness, bliss, creating. Oh boy, it's sort of hard to think of single words but here are some things which I particularly love to do with quilting/sewing: the feel of the fabrics as they sensuously move through my fingers; the lovely straight, clean cut edges of rotary cut fabric; scent of the Mary Ellen spray starch - particularly the 'Peaches and Cream'; freshly ironed, non-wrinkly (oh to be like that fabric!!) crisp fabric ready for sewing - actually it's almost like virgin sand waiting for those first footsteps on a hot summer's day but instead its a beautiful smooth piece of warm fabric waiting for those first stitches which will transform into something even more beautiful. That's it - I was going to unload the dishwasher but now I've just got to go and do some sewing!!!!

      1. Sarah, I hope you write a blog. If you do, I want to follow you. Your writing is deliciously descriptive. Thank you for all of these ideas. You are taking me in a new direction. :)

    3. What a delicious looking stew you made - this will be on my list for mid-year cooking - perhaps the word 'delicious' fits with the feelings about quilting and sewing.

      1. This is the most basic, ordinary stew imaginable. That may be the reason that it so comforting on a cold day in mid-winter.

    4. Piece (peace), joy in the gift I will place in someone's hands, warmth on my legs when I hand quilt. Planning for the next one.

      1. Thank you Tspoon. These are wonderful.

    5. quilty hugs, follow your bliss, zen, breathe, enjoy, love, peace (piece), joy, make do, or do without, recycle, re purposed, are just a few that come to mind while sewing. The harder ones are do the work, persistence, patience, finish... not perfection, etc. LOL Sounds interesting.

      1. Thank you! I love these ideas, especially the persistence, patience, and not perfections. That really is what quilting is all about. :)

    6. Words to quilt by : peace, harmony, love, balance