I've learned my lesson: make the beef stew the night before. It was good, but it could have been better. The carrots weren't quite that perfect consistency yet, even though I pushed lunch back to one o'clock instead of the usual twelve-thirty.
The flavor of the stew was tremendous--a combination of the aforementioned beer (Bayern Brewing's Oktoberfest), lots of garlic, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt and some cayenne pepper. Oh, and there was even an envelope of dry onion soup mix, a handy little cheater ingredient.
About half an hour before serving, I removed a little over half a cup of the juices, cooled it quickly in the freezer, and added four tablespoons of corn starch to it. Then, I stirred that mixture into the stew and it thickened the sauce perfectly.
It was a very flavorful and attractive beef stew, and it had that desired "wow" factor when served up in hollowed out bread bowls, but the carrots left me making apologies. No one else seemed to mind, other than me, and the guys polished it off with gusto, so I suppose I should relax.
It was a very simple meal, just some fresh fruit on the side of the plate, fruit punch to drink, and then a heaping plate of last night's chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert. Simple, but good.
School went well, albeit a little long, as we got a late start on lunch.
This evening I got to see other adults and have dinner made and served for me. That was a nice treat. There was a parenting seminar about teenagers that Andy had helped to organize; dinner and even childcare were included for free! Ever heard of Chap Clark? He came and spoke in our little town tonight.
I'm thinking I will put together tomorrow's soup yet before I go to bed...maybe.