There is something about being a reader that allows you to find yourself. It isn’t in a philosophizing way where you sit and ponder your existence in an existential funk. What it is, is that you sit quietly with yourself and let your mind travel. It may be with one of those books that you tell your friends about and want everyone to read, but it may just be with one of those novels that you read just for you. I reject the term ‘guilty pleasure’ because reading is never a bad thing for me. I feel no guilt in enjoying a romance novel. I revel in the formulaic plot, the budding romance, the dangerous villain, the black moment between the two lovers, and the satisfactory conclusion.
Being a reader is a part of me and when I haven’t been reading much, I feel its absence. Part of me is missing. When I find the time or inclination to sit down and read a book for longer than the 10 minutes I usually read before I fall asleep at night, I feel a deep-seated satisfaction. I feel myself. I feel I am the same self that read book after book in my lonely pre-teen and teenage years, and the same self that read novels as a treat in between the required reading in university. Now reading fills empty spaces between interruptions or I force myself to read a few pages before I fall asleep at night. This sporadic reading is wearing on me. I feel disconnected and often depressed. I need to stop, sit, and read so that I can find me again. I need to be the girl that would read for hours on end, whose sister would make fun of for reading, the girl who didn’t care because I was where I wanted to be. Right now, I’m not where I want to be and I don’t know how to find my way. I wonder if I stop, turn off the TV, pick up a book, and just start reading again if I might find my way to where I want to be again.
The lure of the TV has been a strong one for me lately. Likely because when I sit down to feed the baby I pop on a show to watch while he has his bottle and a cuddle from me. I watch while I fold the multitude of laundry that my house generates and then I watch TV with my husband when we relax together at the end of the evening after the boys are tucked into bed. When I have time that could be devoted to reading, I find myself doing chores or trying to work on the blog. I feel the need to fill these blocks of time with productivity. Perhaps with the season changing I won’t be such couch potato.
Winter is close to being officially over and I am enjoying the brighter days that extend past supper time. I know that a hearty beef soup isn’t exactly springtime fare but it is a meal that is pretty quick to put together and can easily be doubled for the freezer. To freeze, I take the soup as far as deglazing with the wine and then put it in the freezer bag. To add the broth before freezing would make more bulk in the freezer.
I leave you with this soup recipe and hope it is one more for the road where winter is concerned. I am so over freezing my ass off and being cooped up in the house. Also, if you have any book recommendations for this lapsed reader, please share in the comments. I love historical fiction and historical romance and I’m always looking for new books to read. Well, in my case recently, I’m looking for more books to sit on my bedside table waiting to be read.
10 minPrep Time
1 hr, 15 Cook Time
1 hr, 25 Total Time
- 1 lb stewing beef
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Herbe de Provence
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 carrots
- 1 potato
- 1/4 cup whole buckwheat
- 1/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup chopped green beans (fresh or frozen)
- salt and pepper
- Cut the stewing beef into small, bite sized pieces (approx 1/2" square). Season well with salt and pepper.
- In 3 1/2 or 4 quart wide bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add all the stewing beef to to the pot* and brown well. Cook the beef long enough so the beef gets some deep brown parts.
- When the beef is browned well, add the chopped shallots and minced garlic. Let those cook for a few minutes to soften and then add the Herbe de Provence and tomato paste.
- Deglaze the pot with the red wine and then add the beef broth and water, cover with the lid and let it simmer for a half hour.
- Peel and cut the carrot into thin circles. Wash the potato, peel if necessary, and cut it into 1/2' cubes. Add the potato and carrot to the pot, cover with the lid and let is simmer for a half hour. Add the whole buckwheat as well. Season with salt and pepper
- When the stewing beef is very tender and the potato and carrots are cooked through, add the peas and green beans. Check the seasoning of the soup and adjust according to your taste. Let the peas and beans cook for a few minutes and serve.
This is contrary to the best practice of browning meat in batches but this is done to make this a quick recipe. If you leave the beef to cook long enough, it will brown after the excess juice evaporate away.
*I buy whole buckwheat at a large health food store. You could substitute pearl barley if you are ok with gluten