Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Every Time is Exciting

My latest book is in stores as of yesterday and as I wrote on my Amazon Connect blog, every time I see one on shelves, it's a really exciting event. I *still* can't believe that's my book I'm seeing. Still can't believe I wrote that book and still can't believe someone actually published it. And when a fan writes me e-mail, I still can't believe someone actually wrote to me.

It's weird. Authors, well, at least this author ;-), write books, NEVER expecting anyone to actually READ them. When someone does and then writes to me, telling me they liked it (hopefully saying that, LOL), I am truly stunned.
So, to see the book in bookstores is as exciting as it was when I saw my first book in stores. I have a signing at the Valparaiso, Indiana Barnes and Noble on Saturday from 11 to 1 p.m. CST on this Saturday (if you're nearby, come on by and say hi and get a free pen ) and you can bet I'll be marveling at the book, still stunned that I'm actually holding those words I penned back in September 2005.
I've been offline for a couple days, battling another migraine (ugh, ugh, ugh). But better today and back at work. I did get to the gym for three days in a row. Got on the elliptical machine, did some weights. Felt pretty good. I skipped yesterday because the weather was so hideous (the wind chill here was 25 below zero) that I wasn't going to even get out of the car unless someone paid me ;-). But that meant I ended up cheating and eating a ton of Cheez-Its and graham crackers, which showed on the scale, so back at it today.

However, because of the cold, I did make my all-time favorite cold weather meal. Beef stew. This is not your ordinary beef stew. It is a kick-butt beef stew to beat all beef stews. Yum-O, as Rachael Ray would say ;-). I got the recipe from a Parade magazine years ago and tweaked it over the years to be my own.
Oven-Baked Beef Stew
1 pound round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups red wine (I use a Shiraz, or a Merlot, something we would normally drink)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound baby carrots
2 small onions, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups red wine (same wine; the recipe says to use the marinade wine; I think that's gross, so I use the rest in the bottle for the recipe)
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons corn starch
Marinate the beef for 1 to 3 hours, depending on when you remember to start this ;-). Remove from marinade, then heat olive oil and cook beef until browned. Remove from pan. Cook garlic and vegetables until browned, remove from pan. Melt butter, add flour and make a roux (the base for a sauce, if you don't know what this is, you can go here for the basics). Add the wine gradually, stirring with a whisk. Then the chicken stock and tomato paste. Put the beef, vegetables and liquid into an oven-safe Dutch Oven or other large pot/pan and bake at 375 for two hours (you can also put this in the Crock-pot).
Just before you're ready to serve, you can thicken the stew. I like a really thick stew, so I mix the water and the corn starch, then stir this into the hot stew. It makes it nice and thick, really yummy . I serve it with biscuits and that's enough for a mega meal. Okay, this is totally not Weight Watchers friendly but when it's 25 below outside, I really don't care ;-)
Have a great day and stay warm!


  1. Anonymous10:33 PM

    I have been searching for a recipe like this for years, except the one I remember you carmelized the carrots... About when did you get this recipe from PARADE? thank you! maggie

  2. Anonymous6:07 PM

    Shirley, do you have the original recipe? I have been searching for YEARS to find a recipe my Mom lost for beef stew (from Parade Magazine), and the carrots were carmelized; this looks close. when did you get it? I don't have a google account, but my e-mail is



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