So it's Halloween. Another Woo hoo! Okay, it's not that exciting for me, but when my friend told me there were a ton of kids at the bus stop this year, that gave me hope that maybe someone besides my husband and I will consume the majority of the candy I bought.
I think it's going to be a bitter/sweet Halloween. On a walk yesterday my youngest informed me this will probably be her and her friends' last year of trick or treating - they are 17 years old after all. It will probably be one of the first "last" things I've paid attention to when it comes to my kids.
I've actually been thinking it was their last year for years, but now she said it out loud so it may be true. She's having all her friends over to trick or treat and spend the night; after many years they've figured out you can get a lot more candy in our neighborhood than in neighborhoods with sidewalks. We typically don't get a lot of trick or treaters, so candy is handed out by the handfuls instead of one piece at a time.
They will also trick or treat for UNICEF again this year. It's sweet how excited they get to be trick or treating for a cause. When they get back to the house, they immediately dump the money out and count it while they eat their candy.
It's a party I don't have to work hard at. I'll take them to our friend's annual bonfire and Halloween feast for dinner, then they'll come back and trick or treat. I'll throw some chicken nachos in the oven later to offset the sugar high. In the morning I'll whip up some pancakes and eggs.
For Good Food Friday, I give you a beef stew recipe. I had some stew meat in the freezer (purchased cheap from the "sell now" meat section of the store - love that!) and I was going to make it a few weeks ago. I even Skyped my oldest daughter and asked it she wanted me to freeze some for her. She asked what was in it. I replied, "beef, potatoes, carrots, celery... uh never mind, I don't have that stuff."
Although I had the beef, I had none of the vegetables. Now, fully restocked, I had everything. It is the kind of recipe I like to put in the crockpot, so I pulled out my tried and true "Fix-it and Forget-it" cookbook (Feasting with your slow cooker).
I like this cookbook a lot. It's kind of like one of those church fundraiser cookbooks. It has the name, city and state from everyone who submitted. There are usually several similar recipes to choose from. I picked this Herbed Beef Stew, because I really like herbs (I'm only sorry I haven't figured out how to grow and use fresh herbs yet; someday maybe, everyone needs a goal in life).
I'll post the exact recipe, then tell you what I did differently:
Herbed Beef Stew
1 lb beef round, cubed
4 TBSP seasoned flour*
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, cubed
2 onions, diced
1 rounded tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 rounded tsp chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
1 rounded tsp fresh marjoram or 1 tsp dried marjoram
- Put meat in slow cooker. Add seasoned flour. Toss with meat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- Cover. Cook on High 4-6 hours or Low 10-12 hours.
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
What I did differently:
The first thing I changed was the seasoned flour. I didn't really want to mix up a big batch and keep it, so I flipped the page and used a flour combination from one of the other recipes: 1/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika. This worked out really well.
I also used almost 2 pounds of beef. I don't want people eating my stew and saying "Where's the beef?"
I don't usually have beef stock, I just use chicken. I'm sure overall it gives it a different flavor, but I like the way beef stew with chicken stock tastes, so I don't worry my airy little head over not having beef stock.
I added stewed tomatoes, celery, and used all dried herbs.
It turned out very tasty and next time I make beef stew, I'll use this recipe again.
So there you have it - Happy Halloween, may the stew be with you.