THE RECIPE BOX - 2018: The year of making dreams

THE RECIPE BOX - 2018: The year of making dreams

I have decided to start journaling once again. Last year, I pledged to dedicate 15 minutes each day to writing more and I failed. My longterm goal is still to write a book, so I need to get to it.
On the upside, I did faithfully read a Scripture verse, as well as a positive affirmation, daily during 2017, and I found it is a great way to practice doing something better every day. Now it’s time for my pen to reach the paper.
Overall, the past year was a very good one for me. My family is mostly healthy, I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. But there is this one thing gnawing at me, and it began last week while waiting for a follow-up in my oral surgeon’s office and reading the poster on his wall.
It was called “21 Suggestions for Success” by H. Jackson Brown Jr. It was his number four on the list, “Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know” that made me stop in my tracks. Honestly, that’s just not me. So it has become my quest to be better at that.
The truth is, I’m so damned reality-based and matter-of-fact that I leave no room for dreams to come true. I actually earned the nickname “Dream Crusher” from my former coworker. While that still makes me laugh, there is some degree of truth in it.
I don’t intend to be negative, it’s just that I always see the worst case scenario first, as if never to be caught off guard. Then, through a thought process, I accept the possibilities, cautiously.
I blame my genetics. My dad was a very no-nonsense man who was not one to ever be fooled. “Wake up young lady,” he’d say, and he meant it. He was a realist in life, which looking back may have limited his potential.
I remember one teenage conversation I had with him where I told him I wanted to run away to Vermont and live in a cabin in the woods because I hated this stupid society. I still remember his completely dismayed look when I said it.
I planned to grow my own food and not need to be a part of them (my parents). “Wake the h___ up!” he said. And eventually I did. But not without acquiring a stunted ability to dream big for myself and take chances.
Ironically, the dream crushing is applied from me to me. I am a cheerleader for my grandchildren, an encourager for friends, and a willing server. But it’s time to look under my own scope and see if maybe I haven’t sold myself a little short.
At this stage of life, I feel less worried. Maybe it’s the Red Rose teabag I read years back that said, “Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive anyway.”
Time has softened those hard edges, and I’m ready for something big. Really.

Dutch Oven Beef Stew


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt, optional

1/4 tsp. pepper

1-1/2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. canola oil

4 cups beef broth

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, cut up

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

3 celery stalks

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed


1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Save any remaining flour mixture.

2. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion, celery and garlic in oil over medium-high heat until meat is browned. Stir in reserved flour mixture until blended. Gradually stir in beef broth, tomatoes and thyme. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/4 hours.

3. Add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and bake 1 hour longer or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir in peas; cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Rhonda’s Note: This beef stew is a hearty and delicious dish that is best served with a crusty slice of bread and butter. Enjoy!

A hearty beef stew, made in a Dutch oven, is sure to take the chill out of a January day. Served with a crusty slice of bread, it’s a one-pot meal.