Thursday, July 29, 2010

One roast - 3 meals (continued)

Good news!  I am out of payroll tax return purgatory with a couple days to spare.

This is a continuation of my using 1 roast I bought on sale to make 3 meals with no wasted left overs.

Beef Pilaf Salad
2 cups chopped beef roast
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked brown rice, (cooked the night before)
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 small apple chopped
1 small carrot chopped
1/2 c. celery chopped
1/2 small yellow bell pepper from a previous dish chopped
1 small can of sliced black olives
3/4 cup Paul Newman oil and vinegar dressing.

Combine ingredients and chill.

Let's just say that Husband didn't eat a ton of this, so it's my lunch this week, 'cause I like it.  He's not really a dinner salad guy.  He is more a meat and potatoes type of guy.  Thanks for not complaining, dear.  It was an experiment. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elk Jerky

This is rhetorical, because I'm talking to myself again.  But how do you make jerky?

I used my remaining Elk, about 3 pounds.  I merinaded it for 24 hours in the following
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. liquid smoke

I laid out the pieces on racks and set my new oven to dehydrate.  I changed temperature to 140 because I'd read that was right and set it to go.  About 12 hours later, I had beautiful jerky.  It looked and felt right.  It was the right texture to bite into.  But it wasn't flavorful enough.  It was actually a little bland.  I mean 1/2 t. of liquid smoke for gosh sake!  I need a better recipe.  Any ideas?

Monday, July 26, 2010

One roast - 3 meals

I'm making a number of changes in our lives.  One is a committment use all of my left overs very efficiently and never waste food.  I've been guilty of this in the past and I was raised better than that.  So this is 3 meals from one beef roast purchased on sale. 

Meal one.  Pot roast.  I have a brand new oven.  I am new to owning a convection oven.  This is the only stove I've ever owned which I cared to read the instructions for, but I love it and am looking forward to learning more.  Vegetables and potatoes.  Husband needed a comfort meal after all of the furniture moving he has been doing.


Meal two.  Barbecue beef sandwiches.  For lunch, I dashed home to toast my sandwich buns under the broiler of the new oven.  I wrapped them in foil and grabbed my barbecue beef and headed back to the office.  I transport food quite often, to work and back.  The microwave is the only means of cooking at our business, so I have to be creative.  I recommend owning an assortment of containers that microwave well, transport with a sealed lid, and can go straight into the dishwasher.  I bought this one from Goodwill, so this doesn't need to be a budget problem.

Once at work, I heated the beef and assembled the sandwiches.  This was just pieces of the roast and barbecue sauce poured over.  I used Josh's Sauce, recipe to follow, with my own secret ingredient.  I keep this sauce in a quart canning jar in my frig and use it many ways.  It is easy to make and uniformly handy.  And I know what's in it.  Just read the ingredients in some bottled sauces and you wonder what you are consuming. 

I had baggies of apple and carrots to go with.

The sandwich was savory and hardy.  Step-son said it was delicious.   Husband liked it, too. I had been thinking about it all morning.  Yum.

Josh's sauce
2 cups catchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 t. minced garlic
4 shakes of chipotle tabasco sauce, optional but good

I've reserved enough of the roast for meal 3:  Beef Pilaf Salad.  Recipe for the salad will be coming soon. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Talking to myself again.

I'm talking to myself again, and somehow that's liberating.  So here goes

Remember this room?

It looks like this now.  We move our worldly posessions from room to room in preparation for the next day the carpet guys are coming.  The granite guy measured our countertops on Thursday, so we'll have granite again late this coming week.  No more plywood.

I'm madly in love with my new stove.  I'm trying to teach myself to make jerky.  This is the last of the elk.  I've researched the seasoning I plan to use.  More on that later.

Since I'm talking to myself, I don't need to mention that the step-son shot an elk and I've been finding ways to cook it ever since.  When do I get my next one, kiddo? 

And off to work.  I'm so lucky to be working on payroll tax returns on a fine warm Saturday afternoon.  Lunch for Husband - left over pork tenderloin and left over green beans.  Lunch for Wife - Corn soup, a piece of pita, carrot sticks and hummus.

Remember to appreciate life and live in the moment.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Payroll tax purgatory / Rosemary & Corn soup

My work day finds me in payroll tax purgatory.  No, nothing is wrong; everything is fine.  I just have a lot of work and some tax returns due the end of the month.  Most of my business career, I've avoided accounting, considering it boring and mundain work to be done by others.  Bad attitude, I know.

But my business has required careful cost control over the last couple of years and too much accountant time just wasn't in the budget.  So here I am.  Promising to have a better attitude about pretty much everything.

In my home life, we are beginning to get moved back into our house after being gone for about a month during some major repairs.  Since many of the kitchen things I look for are still packed, I'm limited.  Still I dream; and we eat as best as we can.  Corn soup with Rosemary from the herb garden.  Worthy of the dream, but I'm going to work on the recipe a bit longer before I post it.  Since I'm talking to myself again, it doesn't really matter.

French bread with hummus.

My tomatoes are starting to ripen and I'm dreaming of tomato salads, salsa, and sun-dried tomatoes.  My pea crop wasn't much, but I should have a good crop of beans.

Oh, and there is carpet in my living room.  I'm very happy.  Life will go back to normal soon.  Remember to dream.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another fine morning

Just a few idle observations:

First, raspberrries and Shredded Wheat is good.

Next, thanks to the forced remodel, I've been living in a house without carpet.  Last night I came home to the beginning of the carpet.  Carpet is better than no carpet.

Also, when you have carpet installed, all your worldly possessions have to get piled somewhere else.  I am an orderly, organized person, really I am.


And, thanks to the forced remodel, I've got a new stove. It has a dehydrator setting. I put these cherries in at 8 p.m. and took them out at 5 a.m. at 110 degrees.  They are delicious and yes, I've already eaten some of them. Good snacks for the Grandkids and fun.  I took the last of the elk meat out of the freezer and am researching how to make jerky.  New toys are fun.

Next, this is my good and loyal friend who can't wait to come to work with me every morning. 

Remember that life is good.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Berry Season

I was raised by gardeners.  My mother and grandmother had many things planted and we regularly ate strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in season.  Black berries grow wild in the Pacific NW, so it is easy to go out into fields and empty spaces to pick in late August. 

Within just the last couple of years, I got back into gardening and I have the following observations:

1.  Thank goodness for drip irrigation on a timer.  How the heck did my mother and grandmother raise so much food while watering manual?  They drug around a sprinkler and hose.  Remember to be thankful.

2.  The grandkids pick a lot of the best stuff.  Little miss Hailey regularly strips the raspberries, and strawberries.  She apparently has enough blueberries at her house that she leaves them alone.  Wait a second - I remember picking and eating in the garden as a kid.  Actually, it is an important memory.  This is part of what she will remember about me.  Well, okay, it's a good thing then.

3.  What is better than going out in the morning and picking a few berries for your cereal or yogurt?  Can't think of much.  The forced remodel has been a good reminder that the simpler things are what's important. 

4.  Ready and off to work.

Remember to be happy for worthwhile work. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Beef Vegetable Soup

Just before our forced remodel, I bought this cookbook at a thrift store.  Copyright 1978, the year after I graduated from highschool. 

You'd have to be the right generation to know how cool this book is to me.  Many an evening during our time at the motel room, I browsed this book and dreamed of things I'd make.   

Soup is comfort and happiness.  If you agree, you are a lucky person.

Many of my household goods are still packed.  Some are covered with fine construction dust.  For now, I'm stuck with just the basics, but it feels so good to start to get back to my normal routine.  

Beef stew has potato in it in my world.  My mother made stew.  I usually make it without the potato.  And my special ingredient that Mom would never had used - a can of beer.  I don't drink the stuff. The whole can goes in.  Husband comes by picking up the can.  No, you didn't leave it there, dear.  And no, I haven't started drinking it.

Beef Stew
4 T. Flour
1T. minced onion
2 lbs beef stew, cut very small. 
I think stew meat from the store must be cut up much smaller before it can be used.  What are you supposed to do with those big chunks? 

Combine the flour and onion.  Toss the beef in the flour to coat.  

2 T canola oil goes into my soup pot and I turn the new stove on.  

 As the oil heats, I add the coated meat, stirring as it browns a bit.     I'm not worried about cooking it.  It is just nasty old chuck, one of the worse cuts and will need to cook a long time before it is tender.  So once it is browned slightly but still pinkish in the middle, I start to add stuff. 

1 32 oz. carton of beef broth and the 12 oz can of beer.   
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 t. Italian seasoning and 1/2 t salt
1/2 t. Chipotle tabasco or your favorite hot sauce.
2 carrots and 1 rutabega, peeled and chopped finely
1 piece of celery, chopped finely
1 can each green beans and corn, drained first

Now bring it to a simmer and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  That old beef chuck becomes pull apart tender and yummy.  The pot gets cooled and into my frig.  It will be lunch for us this week.  Remember that soup makes you happy. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Flood / Our Renewal

I don't want to get into a rant.  Well, maybe I do.

Late in May, a pipe broke in a bathroom on the second floor of our house.  We were gone for hours while water poured in our house.  When I came home, the garage was flooded with water pouring through the ceiling and out from under the door to the house.  When I went through the door into the house, there was literally water pouring from the can lights on the first floor.

We've been through some interesting challenges in the last month and a half.  Let me first say, thank God for good insurance.  The current tally is around $34,000 damages to our house.  All repairs were covered.  In addition, we've stayed in a motel.  I could not cook.  We basically lived out of the vehicles, the motel room and our business.  The insurance covered our motel and 70% of our eating out bill.  We've had some lovely meals.  I've eaten my fill of my favorite foods.   

But it is times like this, you see what you are really made of.  You also see what the people around you are made of.  I had a couple really good break downs, but we are coming back strong.  Many but not all of the repairs to the house have been made. 

Here is what our kitchen looked like just a month ago.   

And other areas of my house.

And more

 You have to stop and wonder what all the stuff in your life is really worth.  Don't you?  What's important?  And what if it's all gone.  What will you do?

We are coming back soon.  Believe it or not, we live here again.  Have I said thank goodness for good insurance recently?

We are not 100% yet.  We have a ways to go.  We are calling it the Osborne Re-boot.  Check back for more.  Remember not to worry.