Some of my most vivid childhood memories are not from birthday parties, or sleepovers, or family vacations. They’re not from moments spent with friends or family, conversations or jokes shared with people I love. Many of the moments that are preserved so very clearly in my mind are the moments I spent alone with my thoughts, thinking through things that bothered me, inspired me and dreaming up all the hopes I had for my life.
The moments spent alone in my childhood room, organizing and reorganizing my American Girl doll’s wardrobe and furniture, listening to The Beatles on cassette tape. The hours spent laying on the dock at our lake cabin, almost always reading books intended for readers much older than I. The unending days I spent on the lawnmower, cutting my parent’s ridiculously large lawn, aching to grow up and have a better grasp on life.
And as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that this time alone to process, putter and daydream, is absolutely crucial to my happiness and health, friendships and relationships.
There is truly nothing I love more than to use that alone time to dig into a favorite cookbook, pick out a single recipe I wouldn’t normally choose and turn all my attention to perfecting it. It’s rare that I get to put all of my time and focus into just one dish, and something about it always feels so decadent when it’s finished.
This light stew was perfect choice for a cool day off last week. I opened a bottle of red wine, gifted to me by a dear friend and client, turned on the stove and stood by. I pondered good friendships, reflected on the wonderful craziness that the last few weeks has brought and happily chopped, stirred and smelled a delicious meal in the works.
My solace was eventually interrupted by a husband coming home from work, hungry for food and conversation. Thanks to my time alone preparing this lovely, comforting dish, I found myself refreshed and ready to engage with the one I like the most.
- 1 can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium leek, diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 pkg andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 lb top round organic, grass-fed beef
- 5-6 new potatoes, diced
- parsley, chopped
- Heat olive oil and the onion, leek and peppers. Salt and cook 5 minutes until just soft.
- Add tomato paste, sausage and beef.
- Add beans, 4 cups water, diced potatoes and cook on low until potatoes are tender.
- I ended up reducing the stew for about 5 minutes on medium heat towards the end to thicken.
- Add chopped parsley, or other herbs and season.