When our third son was born almost 9 weeks premature, our life turned upside down for a short period.
My husband had just taken over the ownership of a business a few months prior to my forced bed rest and we already had 2 gorgeous and busy boys at home.
Seeing life through the lens of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was indeed life changing for us. Tiny, precious sick babies. So much silence, except for life saving machines beeping and the sound of the nurses (otherwise known as angels) hushed tones. Catching the eyes of the other parents huddled around their babies’ plastic incubators, not needing to speak but understanding in one glance.
This was a humbling time.
And chaotic. How to be a mum at home with 2 boys, and yet be by the side of this one who I didn’t want to leave, even for a second.
What’s this got to do with food I hear you say?
We were literally ‘carried’ through the weeks and months that followed, by family and friends who picked up our life, our pieces, our kids, our laundry.
And they fed us.
Meals, turned up, every night for at least 6 weeks. You cannot underestimate the power in giving a meal. For my husband juggling home and work, this was life saving. For me, who was living between hospital and home, this home cooked goodness was more than nourishing for my body.
As each meal arrived, accompanied usually by a warm hug, we knew we were not alone.
Over the years, I have been blessed to be on the receiving end of so many meals. I will never forget the day my beautiful friend who works full time, turned up on my door step with a hug, a BBQ chook, a yummy salad and a tub of ice cream. Sadly, the first thing she said was “sorry it’s not homemade.”
What she didn’t realise is that on that day, in that situation, that offering meant the world to us. In her limited time and capacity, she gave to us.
One of the ways I love to love on people is through food. Surprise.
To give a meal, fancy or simple, bought or homemade, is so much more than feeding them.
It says ” We see you. Your situation matters. I wish I could fix it. I wish I could heal your pain, sickness, grief.”
Often we can’t do any of that.
But we can take a meal.
And these days, none of us need to look too far to find someone suffering, sick, struggling, alone, on the edge.
This Beef Stroganoff is a great one to do in a large quantity in a slow cooker. To make 2 portions, one for your family and one for another family is not that hard. It is one I have often given away. You may be reading this and have actually eaten it!
If you are planning on giving this one a go, I hope you get the chance to give some of it away and in doing so, BLESS someone richly in the process.
I found this recipe years ago, trawling the internet for good slow cooker recipes. I have no idea where, but as I have played with it a lot to make it my own…I’ll take credit for it now 🙂
The quantity below is usually enough for us (2 adults 3 kids) and another family of a similar size.
1.2kg of gravy beef, chuck steak or shin beef (I used to get the butcher to cut this into strips for me, but it dries the meat out too much that way. I now keep it in really large chunks of meat and at the end of the cooking time, shred the meat up with a fork. It stays nice and moist this way.)
1/3 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400gm can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of tomato sauce
1 heaped teaspoon of vegemite (you might think this strange, but once when I had no beef stock, I used this instead and loved the result!)
2-3 tablespoons of dry sherry
500gm of button mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 cup sour cream (for those who can’t have dairy, you don’t need to add this, it’s just as yummy without it. But it is the secret to making it very creamy!)
Pappardelle Pasta or Steamed greens to serve
Place beef, flour and paprika in a plastic bag and give it a big shake to coat the meat.
Put the meat in the slow cooker and add all the other ingredients, except the sour cream.
Cook for 5- 6 hours (an hour or so less if using HIGH, an hour more if using LOW)
Check it a few times if you can and give it a stir.
With 30 minutes or so to go, stir in the sour cream and leave the lid off.
TIP – if you are planning on freezing this for someone else, freeze it before adding the sour cream. You can just give them sour cream to add themselves when it’s reheated.
Serve with pappardelle pasta, or on it’s own with vegies on the side.