Sunday, October 31, 2010

For the Hestias

In case you were unaware, Hestia is the Greek Goddess of Hearth and Home.  In elementary school, one of my favorite teachers presented my class with a "Greek Gods and Goddesses" unit.  Being the lover of learning I am, I adored this particular unit, particularly because we had the opportunity to take a little quiz that would reveal which god or goddess we were most like.

If you all remember anything about the little individual you were in your pre-teen years and you grew up in the 90's, I would venture to say you too were a fan of quizzes such as these.  Every teen magazine had them, each of which posed a variety of questions.  They asked everything from "What kind of kisser are you?" to "Who is your celebrity boyfriend?"

Now seeing as I had never kissed a boy at that point in my life and was very naive to the world of Hollywood beyond the Disney channel, I felt as though I had finally found my niche when I came across the gods and goddesses quiz.  As I'm sure you would have guessed, every girl wanted to be Aphrodite.  Most of them would just secretly look ahead and attempt to discover which answers would lead to them being equated with the goddess of beauty and love.  But not me, I was quite the rule-follower.

So after a deep sigh, I answered all of the questions truthfully and ended up with Hestia.  Now I would venture to say not many girls in elementary school would be overly thrilled to discover they were most closely associated with the goddess whom I envisioned slaving over a fire all the live-long day.  No, that was not exactly the strong feminist figure I was hoping to be comparable to.  I was raised in the twenty-first century by a hardworking father and mother and was determined in my early years to be the first woman President of the United States of America.

You may not be able to tell from the picture, but that indeed is President Clinton on the television behind my sissy and me.  From day one I was raised with a deep reverence and love for the ideals of democracy and freedom this country was founded upon.  What can I say?  I LOVE AMERICA.

Nonetheless, over a decade later, I look back on this and am quite shocked by the accuracy that seemingly silly little quiz I took back in yesteryear!  Let's be real, I am definitely a Hestia.  My most dominant spiritual gift is hospitality.  My favorite publication is Martha Stewart Living.  Cleaning is my anti-stress mechanism.  I love to share.  I have already dreamt up names for my future children.  (I'm partial to Ellie, Evie, and Graham.)  I love spending afternoons organizing my room or baking in the kitchen while listening to some Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra, which that is exactly what I did this afternoon.

With autumn in full force, my heart was set on making a rich soup of some kind.  Granted, one would never be able to tell it was fall today, seeing as it reached 85 degrees outside this afternoon.  But the leaves are slowly changing colors, and according to The Weather Channel, this week should be much cooler.  Despite the outdoor conditions, I decided a nice, hearty stew would be the perfect choice for my afternoon creation.  I haven't had the opportunity to come home much this semester due to my tendency toward busyness, but when I do come home, I love to help my precious mommy and daddy with whatever I can!  So I felt like a beef stew would be the perfect dish in case a stressful week was about to commence.  This way, they would undoubtedly have something in the refrigerator, because when cooking dinner becomes a chore, it is just never as enjoyable.  And just in case they happen to have a stressful week, cooking dinner will be one less item to add to the to-do list.

I'm not quite sure if the recipe is even an actual recipe, but we all had a little bowl tonight and it was wonderful!  So I highly recommend it.

Straight from Caitlyn's Kitchen... (or lack there of, because I actually made it at my parent's house)
A Hearty Beef Stew
2 packages stew meat
1 package mini potatoes, fresh (Almost all local grocery stores usually have variety packs w/ red potatoes, purples, etc.. I recommend the varieties, but then again I just love color!)
1 package pearlized onions, fresh
1 red onion
7 carrot stalks, fresh
2 packages beef stew seasoning

Step by Step Directions
1. Put stew meat in a baggy
2. Add about 6-7 tablespoons of flour to the baggy and shake
3. Empty the stew meat from baggy and cook on the stove
4. Peel onions and cut all vegetables into smaller sizes
5. Once the meat has been fully cooked, add 6 cups of water and the seasoning
6. Add all vegetables
7. Cook on low for 1-2 hours
8. Enjoy!

All of these pictures were taken of the preparation stages, and unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  But I promise, it was quite the taste treat.  So I say give it a try.

Embrace the inner-Hestia within you!  Try a new recipe this week.  Bake cookies for your neighbor.  Put a sweet note in your children's lunch pales.  The holiday season is just around the corner.  But we needn't a special occasion to share our love and joy with those around us!  And what better way to do so by sharing a favorite dish or a thoughtful note?  Likewise, I've heard it said the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  So for those of you looking for love, maybe some red velvet cupcakes will do the trick?!  More to come.  All my love!

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