Hearty Winter Meals–Beef Stew

Beef Stew1

On cold winter days like yesterday nothing hits the spot more than a steamy bowl of soup or stew, and this hearty beef stew really hit the spot. This recipe is easy to prepare but requires a long cooking time to tenderize the meat and vegetables, so you’ll need to plan ahead. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make beef stew:

Beef Stew Ingredients


3-4 pounds of stew meat (or a 4-lb. boneless chuck roast, defatted and cut into cubes)
1 tablespoon oil
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
2 cans (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup red wine (or cooking sherry)
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 package fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
6-8 fingerling potatoes, cubed
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef in hot oil in a large pot over medium heat, stirring to ensure the meat browns on all sides. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, wine, soup mix, and onions. Cover and cook until the meat is tender (about 1.5 – 2 hours). Add additional beef broth or water if too much liquid evaporates during cooking. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes and cook until the vegetables are tender (about 1/2 hour). Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve with cornbread, butter, and honey.

Holiday Decor Ideas–Winter Owl Theme at Anthropologie

Winter Owl Theme3

Winter owls nestled in branches.

Winter Owl Theme1

Winter Owl Perched High on a Wall Made of Wood1

Perched high on a wall made of wood.

Winter Owl Perched High on a Wall of Wood2

Winter Owl on a Swing

Swinging from swings. I like the birch trees and snowflakes painted on the rustic window panes.

Mason Jar Chandelier2

A mason jar chandelier flecked with snow and filled with candles and bits of nature.

Mason Jar Chandelier1

Tied with simple twine and hung from the ceiling. How lovely.

Old Books Covered in Snow and Cranberries

Old books covered with snow and cranberries.

Pretty Perfume Bottles

Pretty perfume bottles.

Pretty Ceramic Vases1

Lovely ceramics.

Ceramic Owl1

And even more owls. Lots of fabulous holiday decorating ideas I can recreate in my own home. If you don’t have an Anthropologie store in your area, visit them online at Anthropologie.com.

Tea at the Ritz

Tea at the Ritz

Each Christmas the women in my family meet for tea at the Ritz Carlton. We’ve been enjoying this tradition for over twenty years. Some of the ladies pictured here were toddlers when I first began the tradition; now they’re young women who will one day introduce their own daughters to the pleasures of taking tea.














One Lump or Two

One lump, or two?

Teapot Warmer

Teapot warmer.

Dessert Tray1

The dessert tray.

Holiday Bling1

Holiday bling.

Tea at the Ritz

Such a lovely holiday tradition.

My Niece’s Yellow Trumpet Flowers

Karen's Yellow Trumpet Flowers

My niece Karen chose to paint these yellow trumpet flowers. This is her second watercolor painting and her painting skills have improved a great deal already. I love the shading in the center of the flowers–it gives them such depth–and the sunny color scheme she chose. This painting is based on a tutorial in Janet Whittle’s book, “How to Draw Exotic Flowers in Simple Steps.”

Here’s a close up of Karen’s painting, isn’t it pretty?

Karen's Yellow Trumpet Flowers Close Up

My Niece’s Leaf Fairy

Jenny's Leaf Fairy

My niece Jenny chose to paint the same leaf fairy that I painted several weeks ago. Her painting style is so similar to mine that it’s nearly a ringer for my painting. Can you believe that this is Jenny’s first attempt at painting? This painting is based on a tutorial in Linda Ravenscroft’s book, “How to Draw and Paint Fairies.”

Here’s a close up of Jenny’s painting:

Jenny's Leaf Fairy Closeup

My Sister’s Fairy Artist

Cindy's Fairy Artist

My sister Cindy chose to paint this fairy artist during our winter family watercolor fest. She really rocked the shading on the fairy’s dress. This painting is based on a tutorial featured in Linda Ravenscroft’s book, “The Fairy Artist’s Figure Drawing Bible.”

Here’s a close up of Cindy’s painting:

Cindy's Fairy Artist Closeup

Holiday Puppy Photo Shoot


Dexter in front of the Christmas tree.


Steve on the couch.


Marty also known as “Piggy” because of his cute little curly tail.


My sweet girl, Mary.


And our lovely girl, Luna, who is 14 years old. The first photos taken with our new camera–a Christmas gift my daughter and I gave to each other. I can’t wait to learn how to use it.