Slow Beer Braised Beef and Broccoli with Baked Potatoes

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Let’s talk about personal space.

Living in Canada, we really like our personal space, don’t we? We have enough of it  – 107.5 trillion square feet, actually. Our lawns (those who are fortunate enough to afford them, anyhow) sprawl ‘fo dayz, yo. In Vancouver, we brag about our proximity to the ocean, the mountains, and the city all at once – we love our nature. And ‘ya get on public transit & everyone gives each other a foot of breathing room on either side (often to the delay of others waiting to board.)

Yup, Canadians. We like our space.

Slow Braised Beef and Broccoli with Baked Potatoes - SheEats.ca | Seasonal food blog in Vancouver B.C., featuring local ingredients and boozy cocktailsMy travels around the world, however, have enlightened me to the fact that not everyone requires the same amount of breathing room as we do. Before my 30th birthday celebration to Barcelona, I thought “busy” was rush hour in downtown Toronto. After visiting London England, I realized Barcelona was a quaint little town whose residents drink a lot, love hard, and nap daily (no judgement – I’m into it.) And after meandering Khao San Road in Bangkok until the wee hours of the morning, shopping the night markets in Phnom Phen for “white-person” shorts that fit my ass, and braving the perilous motorbike crowded streets of Saigon – hold onto your butts; I became uncomfortably familiar with the idea that the the closest thing you’ll find to personal space, is that someone is in yours. 

It’s all part of the adventure, though… amiright?

I just got a new personal space of my own, actually. This past week Tyrone and I moved into a new apartment, in a new part of town, with all new furniture. Not to mention a big new soaker-tub. A huge new freezer to stockpile soups and stews. And our new outdoor space is the patio I’ve always dreamed of and never had.

The biggest win though?

I have a big fucking kitchen. Or at least a 50 square-foot one.

Slow Beer Braised Beef and Broccoli with Baked Potatoes - SheEats.ca | Seasonal food blog in Vancouver B.C., featuring local ingredients and boozy cocktails

I realize 50 square-feet of anything doesn’t doesn’t sound like much, but in our previous apartment, we were constantly vying with our roommates for a bit of clean space – any space – to cook something for dinner. It was crowded, to say the least; everyone was in there, all the time. And while I love the people we were living with, as someone who cooks for a living and finds solace in the bottom of a soup pot or the depths of a rich sauce, mama needs her space.

In short: this 600 square-foot home is everything I could ever ask for.

The kitchen has come in especially useful right now, given the current, ahem, situation. T has found his inner baker, and I’ve found a place to store the box(es) of wine. I guess with this self-isolation stuff, we’re all going through a bit of a rough patch in one way or another. While I’m more of an introvert and because I’ve been self employed for 8 years – and thus, am used to being home for days on end – I feel like I’m faring relatively well. It does feel like all our plans have been quarantined, though. But you know me – I’m more of a glass half full kinda gal, especially when whiskey is involved. But also life. 

Slow Beer Braised Beef and Broccoli with Baked Potatoes - SheEats.ca | Seasonal food blog in Vancouver B.C., featuring local ingredients and boozy cocktailsLost some clients? Great – I have all the time I say I want to work on pitching my first novel to agents, and begin writing the second one. Sci-fi adventure comedy? Oh yes.

Fiancé lost his job? Fabulous – he’s at my beck and call to do all the dirty things I ask him to do (no really – he is. It’s awesome.)

Not traveling to Vietnam or Nepal or Peru or Spain or anywhere else I want to hike before I turn 40? Fine. I’ll do it when I’m 41. Or 42. After all, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything anyhow, right?

I believe we have zero control over the circumstances that put us in the positions we find ourselves; we only have control over how we choose to respond to them.

So I’m choosing to write, because I am a writer. To laugh at myself because I am a dumbass and clumsy AF. To make love to my fiancé because hot damn – have you seen him? To breathe in the space the universe is gifting me. To move my body more than I’m watching episodes of Orange is the New Black. To cuddle the crap out of my doggo. And to cook delicious, beautiful food that is both affordable and seasonal. Because it’s fucking important to nourish myself and my loved ones – now more than ever.

Slow Beer Braised Beef and Broccoli with Baked Potatoes - SheEats.ca | Seasonal food blog in Vancouver B.C., featuring local ingredients and boozy cocktailsThis recipe was inspired by my recent interview on CBC Vancouver (2 hr, 30 min mark). When host Gloria Macarenko asked me about what we’ve been eating lately, it occurred to me I should share that here, too. 

This recipe is SUPER flexible so use what ya got in your personal space. No potatoes? Use rice. No rice? Use Pasta! If procuring broccoli is a challenge, try cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots, or zucchini – all roast really well. Or hell, microwave some damn peas. And if stew beef just isn’t in your grocery shopping future, try your favourite chili recipe instead, friends. 

Oh yeah, and on the note of friends… We gotta stick together through all this. Please, right now, #StayTheFuckHome. If you MUST go out, maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and anyone else. Not only do the lives of vulnerable populations depend on your participation, but if people keep getting sick, small businesses like mine – and the fabric of our economy – can’t recover. Okay, I’m done.

Enjoy the slow beer braised beef and broccoli with baked potatoes. It’s tasty, nutritious, and it’ll make your house smell incredible.

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