Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer's End Memories

I sat down several times in the past few months to blog but found it difficult with so much to do and a transverse baby in the womb - sitting has been sooo uncomfortable!  Over Labor Day weekend of all times, and at 32 weeks, that baby finally turned head down and put me into Labor!  After a few days of lingering contractions and much pain, things have finally calmed down and I'm feeling pretty good again.

As much as my boys give me trouble, they really helped me out and we were able to get a lot accomplished this summer. With baby on the way we even started homeschooling early amid all the work and already have 42 days behind us! (Happy Dance). Yes it was a very productive summer, but it seems that we have suffered one loss...our dear cat Figaro has been missing for about a week now. The boys and I pray each morning for his safe return, but in reality, I don't think we'll see him again. We'll keep praying, but it breaks my heart that he is gone.  
Here are some highlights from the past few months.  We took no grand vacations this year, but we were together and saved our money for things like new flooring, a mattress and we're still looking for a new car for my husband.  After the pictures you'll find a recipe that I came up with called Summer's End Stew.  It combines all those things in the garden at the end of summer to form a filling dinner.  Don't judge the taste by the picture - soup doesn't always look elegant. 

The boys decided to help wash
the dishes one morning.  It
really made a mess, but I know
they meant well.
Who doesn't love swimming
with their cousins?

Plum Jam

Golden Relish
Bread & Butter Pickles

My first and largest tomato out of our garden this year.
Jonathan picked the tomatoes, I canned them.
Jason helping with
Baby's Room Demo.
Goodbye Red Carpet,
Hello Cork Flooring!


Summer’s End Stew

1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 Tablespoons
    Safflower Oil
1 lb. ground beef
8 cups water
3 large tomatoes,
   skinned & diced
1 cup uncooked
   brown rice
1 1/4 cup corn
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro,
1 Tablespoon salt
Grated Cheddar Cheese for garnish

As with any soup, take your time.  I like to cook my soups a few hours ahead of time so the flavors have time to "network" with one another.  This stew keeps well in the freezer. 

Heat oil over low/med heat and add diced onions and peppers.  Slowly simmer until tender but not brown 20-30 minutes.  (Yes, this is a long time, but the longer you simmer the more flavor you'll have).  Add ground beef and brown. 
Next add water, tomatoes, rice, corn, cumin, cilantro and salt.  Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.  (Brown rice does take awhile).  Leave the lid on and let the stew simmer until serving time.  Top with fresh grated cheddar cheese.  Enjoy! 

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