CHERRY BLOSSOMS by Frances Robson

Good evening, ya'll. Come on up on the Net Porch and sit a spell and let's talk. I put a picture of cherry blossoms which are on our tree in the front yard so I could share their beauty with ya'll. They are so pretty and are telling me that spring is on the way. Now daddy would say not to get in a hurry to begin planting your garden for we have not had Easter and he said we would have frosts until then. He was usually correct for until Easter Sunday we will have some cold weather but I do enjoy these first signs of a new growing season.

Spring means lots of good things such as planting gardens and flowers, enjoying the first buds, leaves and blooms but it also means I can soon go barefooted outside. At church supper last night there a little 2-year old friend of mine running around in her bare feet and our table of "old folks" discussed how we would like to do the same thing.

My sweet memory of going barefoot is when daddy would plow the garden to begin spring planting, we could pull off our shoes and walk in his footprints. The ground would be damp, dark and cool and feel sooo good on our bare feet. We would take great, big steps and place our feet right in daddy's footprints. It was a lot of fun and is a great memory.

My brothers didn't think it was such a big deal for the boys in our area went barefoot all year round even to school. Mama did make them wear shoes to church but that was about it and they shucked those shoes as soon as they left the church. When the boys entered the 7th grade, they had to wear shoes to school and you should have heard all the grumbling and complaining. You would have thought they were having to wear leg irons rather than shoes. Little boys are funny little creatures aren't they?

We had a great beef stew this week and I thought I would share the recipe with you. I combined a beef stew recipe from my Bell's Best cookbook and a goulash recipe from an old, old Hungarian American cookbook. Of course I had to add my own special touch to it but it is really good so I just know you will enjoy it also.

Beef Stew -Frances Style

2 lbs. lean stew meat ( I like to use the ones with bones for I think it has a better flavor)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (If they are firm and fresh, I scrub well and leave the peelings)
3-4 carrots, scrubbed an sliced about 1" thick or a cup of whole baby carrots
1 large onion, chopped in large chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup yellow and green bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth (may need to add more to cover the meat and vegetables)
1 cup red wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
Flour to dredge meat
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste , 1 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. paprika

Mix flour, seasoning salt,pepper, cumin,and paprika in plastic bag, shake well and add stew meat. Shake and leave in bag until oil is hot. Pour vegetable oil in large pot, heat and brown the stew meat. When brown on all sides, remove from pan and add onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and garlic to oil and saute until slightly tender. As they saute, sprinkle with about 3-4 Tbsp. of the seasoned flour to thicken the gravy. When vegetables are tender add the wine,beef broth,and Worcestershire Sauce and bring to a simmer and add the browned meat. Simmer in a closed pot until meat is tender. Add the potatoes and tomatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender. Taste while cooking to see if additional seasonings need to be added.

I served it with fresh cornbread and cabbage slaw and called it my "Cracker Barrel" meal. The stew freezes well and makes good leftovers. For leftovers, heat and serve over cooked, flat noodles for the Hungarian version.

This is what we call "slap yo mama" for another bite good and it is inexpensive and makes a bunch.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do and let me know what you think - which you have not been doing. Wake up readers and send me some comments.

It was good to have you stop by and visit with me awhile and now go forth, pull off your shoes, wiggle your toes in the dirt and think like a child for a little while. It will make you feel better!

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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