This past weekend we were invited to a Harvest Festival. The festival was being held at one of the local schools that puts on an awesome event complete with its own farmers market. Several of the local Italian farmers donate not only their fruits and veggies, but some of the Italian restaurants offer their delicious foods. Who can resist that? Believe me, I was more than happy to check this out. So while adults walked around noshing on the local goodies, shopping for the perfect pumpkin and socializing, the kids got to enjoy the massive slides, carnival games and the occasional junk food.
My son Jordan was asked by his dojo to participate in a karate demonstration at the festival. Jordan is the one on the left with a green belt. First they demonstrated different levels of performance in fighting and kata, then the black belts put on a performance that knocked our socks off. Jordan has 2 more stripes in his green belt to go before he gets his brown belt, but he is determined to go all the way to the black belt after that. We are incredibly proud he has made it all the way to his green with all the hard work it has taken.
Part of the performance was to perform a kata while a black belt tries to undermine your concentration. It teaches the lower belts to stay focused and perform under distraction.
It was really windy out there at the festival even though we had sweatshirts and long sleeves. Perfect fall weather for me. I love that kind of wind that goes right through you and chills your bones. It makes me long for a hot cup of tea while curled up on the couch with a warm blanket.
A hot bowl of Irish beef stew fit the bill after a cool day. This is a rich, meaty stew is more than satisfying with hearty chunks of buttery beef and potatoes. The long cooking time tenderizes the meat until you can easily pull it apart with a fork. Serve with a couple slices of crusty bread. It's a lovely thing...
(I cut the recipe by half)
4 pounds beef chuck cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup flour
2 cans tomato paste (6 ounce cans)
2-1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
2 medium onions cut into 1 inch pieces
2 can beef broth
1 can irish stout beer
10 garlic cloves, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 boxes frozen peas, thawed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the beef with the flour in a 5 quart dutch oven. Stir in the tomato paste.
Add the potatoes, garlic, onions, broth, and beer. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the meat is fork-tender, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in the peas and serve.