We just got back from a week-long trip to Florida where we learned that vacationing with an infant is not quite the relaxing experience of vacationing without an infant: No leisurely reading by the pool, no sleeping in, and definitely no going outside without worrying about is the baby slathered in enough sunscreen?
So, while an altogether different experience than our previous Florida vacations, we still had a really fun week! We walked on the beach, we watched the sunset, Baby went to a wine bar and spent time between naps in a bathwater-temperature hot tub.
I feel like just as we were hitting our vacationing-with-a-baby stride, it was time to pack up and leave. (Which I think really just means we need to go back ASAP and further refine these skills.)
Fall arrived in Virginia while we were gone. We came back to crisp leaves and crisper air. Finally! Virginia is about a full month behind where we used to live in Michigan season-wise, and this delay has totally thrown off my wardrobe and my comfort food eating. I have been checking the Michigan weather regularly and am sad when I see it’s 20 degrees and snowing there, and a balmy 55 in Virginia.
I don’t think I’m cut out for to live in the South, folks.
But with the long-awaited dip in temperature, I’m doing all of the fall things:
Comfort food eating: full steam ahead.
This Easy Beef Stew is one of my favorites for the cooler months. As much as I love spending an afternoon batch-searing beef and sautéing veggies, I like to have the option of a homemade beef stew without hours spent laboring over the stove.
And this stew is as easy as they come: combine everything in a Dutch oven, heat on the stove, then bake until your home is filled with all the comfort food smells and the beef is fall-apart tender.
It’s the perfect dinner for a lazy weekend, or for days you’re unpacking and doing 18 loads of sandy laundry and need to be incentivized by a hearty meal.
Easy Beef Stew
The easiest beef stew for days you want a hearty, beefy meal, but don't have hours to spend cooking. Toss everything in a Dutch oven, heat on the stove, then bake in the oven until beef is tender and falling apart.
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch spears
- 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a Dutch oven with a lid, combine beef, tomato paste, vinegar, flour, salt and pepper.
Add potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until beef is falling apart. Serve hot.
Adapted from Martha Stewart.