Weather aside, this has been a horrendous week for me as I am trying to quit smoking. As of this moment it has been 6 days, 16 hours and 39 minutes since my last cigarette, and believe me, I have suffered through every waking moment. %-(
I have been thinking of quitting for some time, but the recent problems with my gums gave me the kick up the arse I needed. The dentist told me my gums would have more chance of healing if I quit smoking. But the real clincher was, he told me if they didn’t heal I would need surgery for bone grafts on three of my teeth. Needless to say, that scared the shit out of me, and gave me the impetus to do something about it.
This week, I have found it very difficult to do any writing, I just can’t do it without a cigarette smoldering in the ashtray. I find myself unable to concentrate, and end up wandering listlessly around the house, gazing out of the window, or fiddling with pens and pencils, or crushing a piece of silly putty to a gloopy mess. Nothing satisfies though, as there is something missing from my life. It’s not that I’m craving nicotine, because this patch is feeding me a regular dose of that, but I am craving the simple pleasure of smoking.
I do so agree with Mark Twain’s sentiments,
"...when they used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile words upon -- they little knew how trivial and valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it!"
But that’s because I’m an addict. Addictions, however, can be broken, and I am determined to do the best I can to break mine. Wish me luck.
BTW, I should mention, that I am back on solid food again. The only things I have to avoid are crisps/chips, hard fruit such as apples, and uncooked veggies like carrots.
Anyway, enough of my driveling on, time for some beef stew. In this recipe you can pretty much use whatever veggies you have hanging around the fridge.
1 lb. beef stew meat
¼ cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups beef broth/stock
1 large onion, divided, half chopped into big chunks, the other half just chopped
½ a rutabaga peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 leek, white and pale green parts (thoroughly cleaned) and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
- Put flour in a Ziplock bag, season with cracked pepper, add the beef stew meat and toss until coated.
- In a large soup pot, or Dutch oven heat olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the flour coated beef to the pan, season with more black pepper, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the large chunks of onion and sauté for a further minute or so. Add the beef broth/stock to the pan, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, throw all remaining veggies into the pan. If more liquid is required add another cup of broth, or just a cup of water will do. Return to boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 40-45 minutes until all veggies are tender and stew has thickened.
- About half way through this period of cooking check seasoning and adjust if required, toss in a bit of paprika if you like.
Serve with crusty bread. I, of course, couldn’t resist adding a few dumplings during the final 25 minutes of cooking. :-)