Fall is definitely upon us here in New Hampshire. The leaves have turned, taking us ever closer to those long winter months. Luckily, the temperatures are staying relatively warm, which makes me very happy. The cold can stay far, far away for as long as it would like.
Work has been busy since the last time I checked in. I decided to take a brief pause for re-edits before starting the second draft of No More Secrets. Occasionally, I like to go back and put a little polish on older works. Boy, has that taken me down a rabbit hole! But it has been such fun, revisiting my Bodyguards of L.A. County friends. I spend months with each couple while I create their stories, so it often feels like visiting with people who you adore but haven’t seen for a while.
I should be back to Cade and Gwen’s story by mid-November. I’m looking forward to dropping in on Carter Island once again. I think that’s what I love best about reading and storytelling—how we can literally transport ourselves to an entirely different place. It’s magical and such a gift, don’t you think?
Yet, despite the magic and fun, sixteen-hour days don’t leave a whole lot of time for anything but work and family. Luckily, my family learned long ago to roll with my work “seasons.” This one is a bit of a doozy, but this too shall pass.
But even at our busiest, there is always time to find a few slices of joy. My new fun has been the little space heater I bought for my office. It looks just like a tiny woodstove—fake flames and all—and I’m in love! Winter + Cate = Chronically Frozen Cate, so this will be just the thing. The ambiance is cozy and fantastic.
And look at these colors! Taking the dogs out at lunchtime is a welcome break when Mother Nature is on her A-game. Aren’t these trees breathtaking?
And, of course, I’ve taken a little time to play the kitchen. Fall means hearty, delicious dishes like my homemade beef stew. This is a recipe that I’ve tinkered with and adapted over the years.
Here’s what I love about this recipe:
- Everyone loves this beef stew. It’s a must make when family visits during the colder months.
- It’s super simple. It mostly needs time to simmer while you go about your day.
- It’s one of those cozy dishes that’s perfect on a cold night.
- Every time I eat this stew, I think of Lyla and Collin stuck in Alaska, or Julie and Chase, standing around in Nana’s kitchen, awkwardly enjoying a bowl while they pretend they’re not still crazy about each other.
Warm, hearty, and deep-down-in-the-soul soothing for any fall or winter night.
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 2 T olive oil
- 4 cups of water
- 2 t Worchestershire sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
- 4 bay leaves (or 2 if very large)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 t salt
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 or 4 red potatoes (3 if large; 4 if smaller), cleaned and quartered
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef stew meat and cook until brown. (The meat doesn’t have to be fully cooked through, just seared).
- Now add the water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove the bay leaves and garlic.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, and peas; cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and the 1/4 cup of water and stir until fully incorporated.
- To thicken the broth, add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir well, until bubbly.
- Adapted from Peter Christian’s Recipes Cookbook.
- Not only is this recipe amazingly delicious; it’s also rather forgiving. Although I wouldn’t get too carried away with adding a bunch of extra veggies, there’s no need for ultra-exact measurements here.
- Category: Dinner
What do you love about this time of year? Tell me in the comments below.