Over the weekend one of my favorite annual events took place, our family trip to the pumpkin patch! Who doesn’t love a farm with a grassy field filled with pumpkins, wagons to carry them, and a giant hay stack. Throw in an adorable petting zoo and some yummy kettle corn and you’ve got a beautiful memory making day! We were lucky this year to be joined by my parents, my grandparents, and one of Gianna’s best little friends and her family, which made the day even more special.
After the traditional pumpkin patch we headed back to my grandparents’ house and out to their garden. They have been growing their own pumpkins, and every few weeks throughout the summer Gianna loved to go out there and “measure” the growing pumpkins.
We thought she’d be so excited to finally pick out and bring home her giant pumpkin…. And she was, but like a typical two year old digging in the dirt was a big hit too!
Since I knew my family would be with us for the day, I invited everyone over for dinner too. I didn’t want to be racing home form the pumpkin patch to get dinner started, so I decided to go crock-pot style. A stew seemed to be the perfect meal to end our Fall day. I combined, and made additions to a few recipes I’d read and threw it all in early in the afternoon. By the time we got home the house smelled amazing and dinner was a huge hit! My grandma even asked for a spoon to get the last drips of sauce from her bowl.
The recipe isn’t exact as I didn’t measure much, but it’s the kind of thing you can make to taste and add or subtract ingredients as you like.
Here is the recpipe as I made it :
1. Stew meat – I used 2lbs for 6 adults and one kid. Toss it in some flour, along with salt, pepper and any other favorite meat seasonings and throw it in the bottom of the pot.
2. Veggies – Add to the pot 3 or 4 peeled and cut carrots and parsnips, a handful of small white potatoes cut in half or quarters depending on size, one yellow onion cut in large chunks, and 1/2 a butternut squash peeled and cut into small squares. The butternut squash will dissolve mostly into the sauce and adds a great flavor and texture.
3. Seasonings – On top of it all add salt, pepper, 3-5 sage leaves, a few cloves of crushed garlics and a few tablespoons of tomato paste.
4. Liquid – Pour equal parts beef broth and red wine, and about half as much balsamic vinegar into the pot. The liquid should come about 3/4 of the way up the meat and veggies.
5. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!
Here is how we decorated our porch with our pumpkins and gourds from the pumpkin patch, plus the giant pumpkin and huge banana squash from my grandparents’ garden. Add a few hay bales (from Wal-Mart), and voila, we’ve got a lovely fall scene. (Not to mention the beautiful chalk art that adorns every inch of side walk around our house.)
I hope you and yours are enjoying the fall season and all its activities as much as we are!