I’m a huge veggie girl. I could eat veggies, nothing but veggies, at every meal and be contented as a cat. My mother in law shares my love of veggies so on a recent visit from them I decided to create a stew that was loaded to the brim with all of our favorites, with a really easy way to achieve the perfect seasoning and my favorite “dump it all in” method of preparation. But before we get into that, I want to visit with you a little. If you’re in a rush, just scroll down to the recipe card. Otherwise, grab a glass of tea and settle in because chances are, you can relate.
We are in a new season in life.
Our first child is about to leave the nest. In the blink of an eye we have moved from being diaper changers and bottle washers to sages who offer advice on relationships and insight about ethics. It’s almost as if we can hear the clock counting down the seconds and as it ticks away we go over the wisdom we have gained in our own lives and try to impart as much as possible to them. Dinner conversations are comical in how quickly they can go from “Hey! I made cake for dessert” to “Now you know the company you keep will absolutely alter your behavior and attitudes, not to mention your reputation. So you have to be very careful to choose wisely.”
I’ve become that person in the grocery store who stops moms with kids in the buggy, tells her how beautiful they are, and then offers up a mini life story of how mine were that age yesterday and now they are grown. It’s like I’m in this new club that doesn’t have any member meetings (we’re too busy watching our bank accounts drain from college fees) and so I need to let others know to hold on to where they are while they can.
Brady, my little boy who used to want me to pretend I was the bad robot so the good robot had someone to overcome, is now a striking young man with one of the finest beards I’ve ever beheld. And this coming from me, a decidedly non-beard person. He is so very busy in this season that being his mother is like being mom to The Flash – because often it feels as if that is all I see of him. Just about every night there is something to do and as I’m setting the supper table he’s whizzing down the stairs and through the kitchen to his car. And I love his life and the fact that he loves it, but every now and then it sinks in how close he is to leaving and it almost takes my breath away.
Several weeks back, after a week where he had three evening activities that caused him to miss supper with us, I gently pulled him aside and confessed “I need you to do me a favor. I’m coming to terms with the fact that soon you won’t be living here anymore and that’s really not easy on me. We don’t have a lot of family suppers left until you leave so it’s important to me to have you as many of them with you as I can.”
And when I leveled with him like that, something amazing happened. The teenager who I’ve felt like so much of my wisdom over the past few years has gone in one ear and out the other, looked at me with the eyes of a young man to his mother. He nodded, gave me a hug, and said “I didn’t realize it meant that much to you. I understand.”
And just like that, I knew he was gonna be okay. I was going to be okay.
The next day he began a pattern that he has not deviated from. He comes home and two sentences leave his mouth every day: “Hey Ma, did you have a good day?” and “What time is supper?”
My child has grown to be all I had hoped and more and is truly coming into his own. He is a man I am proud to call my son and my friend. And my transition into this new season in my life is an awful lot smoother thanks to the character and purpose with which he transitions to the new season in his.
But I’m still gonna warn Mamas with little kids from time to time, how quickly they go from holding your hand, to coming home to check on you.
To make this, you’ll need: lean ground beef, frozen stew mix or gumbo mix*, frozen butter or baby lima beans, small onion, chopped, crushed tomatoes, beef broth, ranch dressing mix, and Italian dressing mix.
Exact measurements and some other options are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. You’re actually going to add your ground beef to this uncooked and it adds even more flavor to your stew. The two dressing mixes are what make the seasoning PERFECT and take it over the top in flavor.
Frozen Stew Mix : A couple of people asked what this is so I came back to clarify 🙂 Frozen stew mix is just a mix of frozen veggies in a bag. Usually it’s green beans or okra, corn, chopped onions, and sometimes tomatoes and such. It can be any blend of frozen veggies you like, though. I love the type that has okra in it for this stew.
Dump everything except the meat in the slow cooker. Take your meat and pinch off bits at a time to add to the slow cooker, until it is all added. I do add my meat raw.
Give this a little stir, and turn it on. Low, 7-8 hours, or high, 3-4.
Go about your day and get ready for a delicious supper!
Oh my. This is such a soothing bowl of deliciousness with flavors that hit all the right notes!
Enjoy – and if there are any leftovers, it’s even better the next day. This stew also freezes beautifully so I usually make extra and freeze it in single servings.
Have you entered a new season in your life lately?
Do you have any kindhearted wisdom to pass on to us about parenting grown and growing children?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
- 1 pound lean ground beef, uncooked
- 12 ounce bag frozen stew mix or gumbo mix (gumbo mix that has okra in it and is my favorite)
- 12 ounce bag frozen butter beans, baby lima beans, or veggie of your choice
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 29 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth (can use two cups water and two beef bullion cubes)
- 2 cups water
- 1 package ranch dressing mix (1 ounce package)*
- 1 package Italian dressing mix (.7 ounce package)*
- Place all ingredients in 6 quart slow cooker except beef. Using your hands, pinch off bite size pieces of beef and drop into slow cooker. Beef doesn’t have to be uniform or done a certain way, it just needs to be in smaller pieces.
- Stir everything. Cook on low, 7-8 hours or on high, 3-4.
Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.
~H. Jackson Brown
If you’re in my Christy Jordan’s Front Porch Fellowship group, I did a new Facebook live Scripture chat this week that you may want to watch. If you are already in the group, click here to go straight to that video. If you aren’t already in the group, you can request to join here but make sure you answer the two questions you will be asked or your membership won’t be accepted. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to watch the video without a Facebook account and membership into my group.