Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Awhile ago, I told you about my wonderful first experience of fixing Beef Pot Pie.

This weekend, I tweaked the recipe to make stew, and since I was the only one around, it kept me fed all weekend – Here’s the recipe:

Beef Stew Ingredients:

I used a skillet to brown the meat in the olive oil and liberally salt & peppered it.

Here, I must confess that I’ve run out of my ‘proper and nutritious’ home made deep bone broth – so bouillon cubes in water it is…

While the beef was browning, I placed the water, vegetable blend, beef bouillon and flour into the slow cooker, gave it a few quick stirs with a wire whip (to mix in the bouillon and flour), turned slow cooker setting to high and scraped the browned meat and drippings into the slow cooker.

Two hours later, I turned the slow cooker to ‘warm’ setting, and had my first bowl of stew for lunch.

It could have been ready in about 30-40 minutes had I cooked it fully on my induction top, but I prefer to spend 10-15 minutes in prep, and let my slow cooker slave in the kitchen while I’m off doing something fun.

:)

I’m eager to try other dehydrated veggie quick meal ideas and will be posting various ones as I go.

Happy (not-so-much) cooking!

Joke of the day – The statistician

TamrahJo:

Had to share this from New Bloggy Cat – who always has me chuckling as I sit in front of my reader! :)

Originally posted on New Bloggy Cat:

(Clipart by www.gallerygraphics.com) (Clipart by http://www.gallerygraphics.com)

A biologist, a chemist, and a statistician are out hunting. The biologist shoots at a deer and misses five feet to the left. The chemist takes a shot and misses five feet to the right. The statistician yells “We got ‘em!”

View original

New Year – New Ways

Oh – you thought New Year was months ago?  Sorry, but Spring and Fall are my “New Year Times” – –

  • Spring – Time to regenerate / Fall- Hibernate
  • Spring – Time to expand / Fall – Reflect

I have my own way of doing things – :)

I’m Cyclical by Nature

I write everyday, but I can go weeks without blogging – depends on how busy I am writing other things – :)

I am currently doing a course through the fine folks at IttyBiz to learn how to write in a way that covers multiple needs, because, after all, it is more efficient…

I discovered IttyBiz while doing a search for something to do with website security when Life got hard in February – ended up surfing the Information Highway – AND – fell down the rabbit’s hole and busy compiling info for my new business website so I can share the wealth of what I’ve learned this past month!  Be sure when I launch my new business site, I’ll let you know, cuz I think of some of you and your struggles while I’m reading, “Hey- this info could help this person” – :)

Whatever Works

I’m a big fan of my own philosophy, “Whatever Works”

  • What Works now, may not Work later -
  • What Used to Work, will reach a time when it doesn’t

That’s Life

We all KNOW this – we just don’t always fashion our life around What Works –

Yes, Yes, I COULD Schedule, but Why?

WordPress software has allowed me the freedom to ‘schedule posts’ since I first became acquainted with them -I use it extensively for my customers –

Do I use this function for my own WordPress blog?

HECK NO!  I just log in and publish to my heart’s content -cuz afterall, it’s free and a personal blog, so who cares?  :)

Then I realized my stats looked something like:

  • Last Month – 56 posts
  • This Month – 2 (unspoken LOSER! tag inferred…..)

So What Works – REALLY?

I’m ready to try a new way of doing things – cuz it’s Spring –

Feel free to leave your feedback/insight/criticism via a comment – :)

Let ‘Er Rip – as folks where I’m from say – This is, after all, a new way of doing things….

…And being the data driven person I am, would love to hear what you think about all of this –  :)

P.S. This post written with scheduling set – you can surmise I wrote it when I last logged in to write – because I Do approve/answer comments from my bloggy buddies, BUT DO NOT respond to new folks OR write on my smarter-than-me-phone -:)

Why?  Cuz it’s more work to fix the typos caused by my clumsy fingers than it’s worth and I trust you to forgive me my typing sins only after I know you just a tad better –  :)

Spring Cleaning

How Long do I have to Scroll and Refresh to Get to What I Want?

I just went through my “Blogs I follow” list and made some deletions -

If you received notice of such and think I’ve treated you unfairly, here was the criteria of why I chose to not follow you anymore:

  1. You haven’t posted in 2 years
    • Sorry, I understand Life happens and I, myself, am guilty of being a bloggy slacker – but seriously, my only rule of thumb was, I had a stroke in late 2011 that left me walking, talking and typing funny and still managed to hit the publish button for 2 posts in 2012 and at least 10 previous posts for the past 14 months – This is purely my own rule-of-thumb/slanted perspective and you are free to disagree with the methods of my madness.
  2. I scanned through your most recent posts and was not immediately dying to read at least one of them – nothing against you –
    • You may have changed -
    • I may have changed -
    • In the end, doesn’t matter – not a good fit anymore for either of us
  3. I didn’t recognize your name/title/gravatar in the list, clicked on your blog title and was only given an “RSS Feed” icon – with nothing to let me know if you’re still writing or not OR whether we are still ‘in sync’ or not, etc
    • Let me add, when trying to figure out why error messages to delete blogs from Follow list and Unfollow Folks made me determined to do things “Right” before complaining to WordPress.com – I have to say, if it takes me 3 clicks to get to where I can unfollow you without errors being thrown, then I’m already ticked off and cussing -

I Still Mourn the Loss

Yes, I went from 227 blogs followed down to 134 -

I wondered what had happened to those who hadn’t blogged in 2 years –

Especially those who talked about health issues, Life in Transition from areas of the world where I would quake to live in –

Yes – I wondered why – if you ever stumble across this article and it triggers a, “Hey! Tamrah Jo unfollowed me when LIFE got so hairy, I didn’t blog because I couldn’t get out of bed to the computer or figure out the password for my lap top – Or it was Unsafe – or I was flying off the grid – Please know, I am so glad you are still alive and safe to access the internet and read!

Some of you Didn’t Have to Play by the Rules

Yes, Yes, I had ‘standards’ for deciding when I embarked on the process, but if I’ve Emailed with you – shared comments at 2AM (my time) with you – if you’ve sent a comment to check and see how I’m doing when I go ‘dark’ – EVEN if you’re now onto a passion/pursuit/bandwagon I’m not into, I didn’t delete you -

Why?

Cuz you’re Family

Family sticks together even when we don’t understand fully why so-and-so is approaching life in a certain way -

:)

If I only subscribed to an RSS feed and accidentally unfollowed spectacular You! Please forgive me – I have no doubt we’ll meet up again if we’re meant to -

Except for posting a support thread, the process was relatively painless, tech-wise

(May I say again that while I understand the reasons for WordPress.com to go forward in the manner it has been doing, I still, REALLY, REALLY hate learning this new crap and fumbling around with 3 clicks to do what used to just take one….)

In the End

I got through today’s ‘duties’ in better shape than I thought I would -

  • Yes, I will mourn  lost connections, no matter how small or infrequent  -
  • Yes, I will wonder, “Whatever happened to so-and-so?” -
  • Yes, I will be more careful before hitting the “follow” button, instead of just the “like” or “comment” options – I can’t bear the pain of doing this every year!

It’s all a journey – I hope my journey didn’t cause you pain or angst – :)

P.S. – Do me a favor – go to your Blogs I follow List – Find Me – TamrahJo – with my little D icon bathed in purple/blue/green gradient and try to delete, or unfollow, or what have you – were you successful in one-click or less without an error message?  Let me know your pain/angst/was easy-peasy feedback via a comment!  Thanks!

Can’t See the Pig for all the Slop

Yes, yes, it’s ‘forest’ and ‘trees’ – but, sigh, I am who I am and seriously, you didn’t chuckle even a teensy bit?

Yes –  I lured you here thinking you’d learn about great pulled pork recipes or urban homesteading, only to find out, you’ve been led astray -

Will Google smite me with a lightening bolt?  Inquiring minds want to know…

Seriously, I DO read all the SEO advice, doesn’t mean I actually apply it – however this post title is Gold! Gold I say…

if ever I become a pig farmer or BBQ specialist….

Now, where was I? Ahh.. yes -

**********

I’m sure I’ve previously shared with you the advice given to me from an employees assistance program counselor – but, I was recently (and most heartily) reminded of it in a big way.

Here’s what I forget every two-four years or so:

“Why do you always seek approval and/or feedback from the very sources that have historically proven will not provide you with what (insight or support) you need?”

Maybe I’m stubborn or a dunce – who knows – but in some areas of my life, I just can’t see the pig for all the slop -

I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when the refresher course comes up  -

We humans do that -

Often -

Because (doh) we’re human.

**********

As I’ve said before, sometimes we really need to be surrounded by a squad of Barbie cheerleaders – just to keep our chin up off the gravel, cuz it does get rough -

And not because we feel like smiling just then, but oh what a help to be surrounded by folks who smile – who jump up and down in excitement a lot – those who are bustin’ some moves in unison and taunting to our current nemesis,

“We’ve got Spirit, Yes We Do, We’ve Got Spirit – How ‘Bout You?”

And of course, these same peppy people are really good at making sure all the folks on your side of the court scream and yell much louder than those who foolishly chose to sit with the vocal-chords-impaired folks across the way.

This is why “Us vs. Them” is still so popular – we can’t bear to place such enthusiastic folks in the unemployment line -

(I could have said ‘field’ but it’s March Madness time now, so court it is…. If only the Superbowl would take place in the same month, always, and be named appropriately – my life would be easier, because I wouldn’t be staring at my computer asking why is everyone suddenly intrigued with appetizer Game Day Food – – -oh…wait….I’m with ya now…finally – – )

***********

Sometimes, I get tired of the cheerleaders always being happy and, quite frankly, oblivious to the fact that the creek has flooded, the train has wrecked and the dog is on it’s last legs – so I then go seek out critics to learn a new way of looking at things and figuring out how I can grow to better meet the current Life conditions -

Problems only arise when I ask one group to play the part of the other -

And I’ve spent a lot of time and energy asking/pleading/begging for someone to be something different than who they are -

Yes! I confess!  I’ve spent a lot of energy over my lifetime asking a tree to be a pig and a forest to be slop -

And I’ve  once again been (not so gently) reminded why this M.O. is insane – and doesn’t work -

So I’m focusing on letting trees be trees and pigs be pigs and once I know the difference and quit trying to get the wrong characters to play the wrong parts on the stage of my life, well, life gets easier – – :)

I’m rather embarrassed that I have to take a refresher course in this, every so often – – but, wrote this just so if you struggle with this too, You’re Not Alone!

I’ve been informed by many they don’t do this – but let me say, from my observations,

“Um – Yes – – We all do this to a certain extent”

And, just let me say no to a request and see how quick someone is upset that this tree has become a pig – :)

This week is about quitting asking trees to be pigs and other such nonsense -

Next week is about saying “No” more often – – :)

Until then, I search the internet for a group of critics that dress up like cheerleaders and go bar hopping once a month -

If you’re part of such a group – let me know, cuz I’m IN!

Pot Pie, Anyone?

Yes, I realize now that you clicked to read this blog title, I must, in all good conscience, educate you -

I’m NOT baking Marijuana Pie – so if that’s the recipe you were looking for to increase your  daily nutrition levels by supplementing your intake of Brownies with something containing veggies, I’ll save you some time – this is NOT the recipe you were searching for – sorry – :)

(although, have you ever considered weaving some zucchini into your Brownies recipe?   They are easy to grow and, shredded, can be added to durn near anything without affecting the taste – just trying to help – :) )

***********

For years, perhaps decades, I’ve wanted to make home-made chicken pot pie – without the peas -

I detest the taste of any peas that are anything other than the ones I pick in my garden, and eat, right then and there -

Sans wash, rinse, sprays to protect me from all the huge food-borne pathogens, etc. -

I don’t care if they are home OR factory canned – frozen – dehydrated – freeze dried, etc., – bottom line, the only peas I can stand to even smell, are those raw, fresh plucked from the earth in which they grow, ones-

Yes, I’m picky, that way – :)

The only other consumer of food in my household feels the same way – so, we eat raw peas, from our own garden, or not at all -

Because neither of us have died from such folly as actually picking up food from the earth and (gasp!) eating it – we are rather set in our preferences and not likely to change -

(oh, if only doctors and nutritionists were as good at gathering customer requirements as database builders are – :) )

*********

I also, many moons ago, (circa “2006”) fell down the rabbit’s hole of nutrition, dehydrated foods and how to better plan for the apocalypse of barren or closed grocery stores – who cares why you can’t get any food – all that matters is, it COULD happen – to you – Someday – for more reasons than you may be willing to read about just now, so I won’t give you a list of links – – :)

But! I still do a ‘winter preparedness’ stock-up run every August – just in case we get snowed in for 3 months and can’t make it to the grocery store now located 3 blocks from us – HEY!  The Unbelievable happened to my Dad in 1957, It could happen to you, too!   :)

************

Mainly, I hate shopping - so if I can find a way to only engage in it a few times a year, all the better – :)

What I discovered so many years ago, was that I really liked the idea of dehydrated food stocks – but also couldn’t afford the upfront cost to get a full (I do mean FULL) pantry stocked, right then- so I tried other ways – until I could start my dehydrated foods stock.

What was I ultimately searching for?  An affordable to me way to say:

“HOLY CRAPPOLA! It’s 4pm already?  Oh what will the hungry minions say when they arrive home? Oh WAIT – I have a quick, easy to fix  meal – don’t I?”

I’ve tried various methods of supporting my less-than-stellar-cooking-dedication – all I can say, is,

8 years later? I’m ready to tell you the truth -

I like to garden, but my basic personality is better suited to planting perennials suited for my current area and putting in drip irrigation systems  -

(I could have written a grant for funds to pay for my time/strict variable controls in a double-blind, long term study – but, I’d rather do it for free – skip all the hours required for me to be a real scientist – and tell you, “Ta-Da” this is how lame I am….LOL )

Here’s What I know, for Me

If my garden plants are like me – those who thrive and persevere on no one listening or paying attention – then we’ll get along fine – I don’t plant those “me-me-me – You Really Love Me” plants, because I may need to work 60 hours next week to finish up a project – and what happens to them, pray tell?

(I’ve often wondered how many vegans and vegetarians are responsible gardeners – seriously, I cry when I realize my recent trip down some new rabbit’s hole of research or innovation, resulted in a much loved/appreciated plant dying from neglect – because I simply lost track of time – 

Speak up you non-carnivores – does this happen to you?  Do you grieve plant loss? If so, for how long? I want to know because I’m currently mourning the loss of two house plants – simply because I dropped the ball …

************

And so, after years of looking/trying the possibilities and deciding it was kinder to the plant world, at the very least, to buy them once they fulfilled their circle-of-life-purpose, instead of depending upon me for their life cycle –   I finally, FINALLY, placed my order last October,  for a few dehydrated food stuffs from Walton Feed in Idaho.

And this past Sunday, I fixed Homemade (sort of) Chicken Pot Pie – recipe courtesy of Tammy over at Dehydrate2Store.com which I found after about 3 hours of searching the internet for recipes that fit in with my:

  1. Pared down kitchen equipment
  2. My willingness to (not) be Betty Homemaker
    1. (yes, I hear you – Betty Homemakers CARE!  I do, to a certain extent given ROI, but no one else appreciates or values the Caring time – if you don’t believe me, just ask your local school food services cook – they make less per hour than McDonald’s employees, but have stricter guidelines to follow – -and have more paperwork to do than any other business owner I know -Yup – if they are still wearing the hat of “Head Cook” they care more vastly about trying to make it work to feed your children something that tastes good than me and all  WordPress folks put together – I can say this, because Head Cooks for schools don’t have time to blog, read WordPress or respond – so, I can say whatever I want – right? :) )
  3. Use of newly purchased dehydrated veggies in concert with either my bought-directly-from-the-rancher meats, or allowed me to take the easy way and use canned meats – :)
  4. Use of freezer version of pie crusts, made from all kinds of things I know are not the greatest for us, but frees me from making my own pie crust – at least for today (remember I told you about my declining homemaker status – – – )

Thanks so much, Tammy – I appreciate your info – even if I’m not dehydrating my own garden stuff  – you are truly a lighthouse shining in the dark -for us wannabe souls – :)

***********

I followed the directions for Chicken Pot Pie on Sunday – turned out great, and I used the left overs for lunch for me on Monday – and the picture (yes, we’ll get to pictures, eventually…) shows how much was left after the growing-boy-child-unit and I ate Sunday and Monday and I still have to deal with leftovers -

(okay, so my plates measure 8″ in diameter, we each had multiple, generous, filling proportions – you do the math – I suck at Geometry – )

************

Today, I cut the recipe in half to make Beef Pot Pie – used beef from my own freezer stew-meat stock instead of the canned version – used the Vegetable Stew Blend mix from my purchase of dehydrated veggies, instead of dipping 1/4 – 1 cup at a time from several “indie veggie” cans, as I did to follow the Chicken Pot-Pie recipe – -

and the timer just dinged, but I can’t tell you how good it is until the growing boy makes his way home and eats more than one helping and gives me feedback as to whether I should ever, and I mean EVER! fix this again! – but in case it goes well – here’s what I did for Beef Pot Pie

  • Use one pre-frozen, pre-made pie shell dough thinggee (or, be a from scratch homemaker and make your own recipe from good ingredients for one pie shell…..)
  • Put your dutch oven on your single, induction top, cooker, (which BTW, still works after 2+ years of use) or use your regular cookstove, cuz that’s what you have and always do – we each work with what we have -
  • Brush about 1 tsp of olive oil around the pot, put the frozen lump of stew meat in it (because you forgot to defrost/thaw in the slow food way) set your induction cook-top to lowest setting (mine is 100), shake the pepper and salt shakers  over the meat 4-5 times unless, your shakers are clean (as a waitress, I cleaned shakers every week – as a homemaker (snicker), I do it once or twice a year -If you’re an awesome homemaker, good for you and 1-2 shakes is probably enough – else, use the 4-5) and keep an eye on it as it cooks, because seriously, you don’t want to ruin your awesome, grass-fed beef by burning it – – -
  • While your frozen meat is happily slow cooking away, mix together in a bowl:
    • 1 and 1/2 cups of Rainy Day Foods Vegetable Stew Blend
    • 2 beef bouillon cubes, crushed to wonderful powder (or the equivalent amount of your own great, deep-bone, dehydrated, broth blend)
    • 1 tablespoon of whatever flour you think serves your purpose (mine, because I’ve fallen down on sprouting my own direct from farmer wheat, is Rocky Mountain Gold flour, available at, you guessed it, Wally-World – this is how far I’ve fallen – I admit it – – :)
    • 3 cups of water
  • Once the stew meat is 1/2 cooked, (yes, it’s somewhat less than blood red on the outside, but still oozing red if you you try to chew/cut it) take each piece out of the cooking pot, cut it into bite sized pieces – seriously – your butcher would charge you $25/lb if they were to cut it into reasonable chewing, non-choking proportions for you – just cut the 2 inch pieces into bite sized pieces and know that I whined for you over what constitutes bite size pieces  – -
  • Add the bite sized pieces back into the pot, add the water/flour/veggie/bouillon mix to it and put it on 700 (induction, have no clue what your gas or electric range needs – which is why I don’t sell cookbooks for a living) so it cooks faster (original directions for Chicken Pot Pie were followed religiously – today, I experimented and if you set your induction cooktop to 700 with meat and bowl contents, which already were soaking up the water you added while your meat was cooking, you can be done in 15 minutes instead of 45 – just saying).
  • Take one frozen pie shell sleeve that you defrosted yesterday because you had good intentions of fixing a nice supper instead of leftovers – smoosh it down into a small 8″ cake pan, trim off the excess, spoon the contents of your now cooked dutch oven (pot) contents, into the bottom shell and strategically place the ugly trimmed pieces over the top, because as long as it tastes good, no one but the county fair judges care how pretty it looks – so why bother?
  • Put the completed, ugly looking, won’t win county fair blue ribbons, but smells good, cake pan masterpiece, into your toaster oven – set it to Bake – 400 degrees – 30 minutes -
  • Listen to the timer ding while you’re writing a blog post about how smart you are and realize you started the process an hour earlier than you needed to – -(and also realize you’ve crammed more info than anyone even wanted to hear about into what COULD have been a 500 word blog post and but is now a 2500 word post about WAAAY more than just a recipe – )
  • Set toaster oven to “Warm – 200 degrees” and wait for starving-boy-unit to arrive home  and see if it’s palatable to starving folks – because they are always more hungry and less picky -
  • If yes, you’re now a non-Betty-Homemaker success – ! :)

So there you have it – two ways to do pot-pie either in a grand nutritional, Betty Home Maker style, or the

“OMG! I’m in charge of supper? When did that happen?  I didn’t get the MEMO!” Mode -

Here’s the single pic for this how-to, because, I really, really suck at taking pictures DURING the process – but it gives you an idea of how to pare down the recipe to delete leftovers – it shows you the pretty, full sized Chicken Recipe (right- two days of leftover-hood later), and the new smaller, less pretty, please God, let us not have leftovers again version with beef -

This is all good, unless, of course, it turns out to taste horrible, in which case, I’ll throw it away, delete this post and never speak of this failure again – :)

But I tell you – it smells pretty delish – -and I’m thinking I may eat my portion before the child-unit arrives home –  :)

PotPieComparison

P.S. – Maybe add a couple tablespoons of water  – my ‘lets fix it fast’ idea turned out a tad dry -

P.S.S. Growing-Man-Child-Unit loved the beef version better than the chicken one and also read/gave editing advice for this blog post – if there are typos – it’s his fault for not catching them – my work here is done – -:)

If you’re looking for a simple to print recipe without reading – you’re at the wrong place – to me, it’s all connected – an your soul may prosper by reading a 2200 word recipe –  you’ll probably disagree – :)

Have fun!

Happy (barely) Cooking! :)

I May Be Wrong….

Years ago, I read Robert Fulghum’s story about his childhood buddy, who quit the fast lane, showed up at (Robert’s house) in a flower incrusted van, with two jail-bait girls and said, “It’s all lies!  Ya gotta live for today!  To Heck with the whole Show!”

The same dude,  it turned out, was actually in town for some professional seminar (lawyer, I believe) and who, also, on his way home, risked his own life to save someone else’s.

Why?

Because, he said, “I May Be Wrong”

Robert Fulghum remembered this story – and wrote about it years later  – like 30 years later – –  and pondered upon….

If it’s all lies – If it’s all crap – If our current culture/country/government/religion/employer/relationship don’t live up to what we believe is Right – why support/risk/take a chance on any of it, at all?

Because, Robert tells us, “I May be Wrong “-

  • I may be not seeing how my actions hurt others –
  • I may not understand the persecution/hurts etc., others have suffered that color how they view me and my actions
  • I may not have any clue about the fears others face….

I’m following the whole “Unhappy with WordPress.com” thread -

I’m engaging in conversations with another who is where I (in my arrogance, filtered experience) used to be

I’ve worked my arse off these past few weeks and have some doubt as to whether I’ve served my customers in the manner they envisioned – not because of complaints, but because of no feedback whatsoever – – -

I was given, tonight, another example of how someone wants me to be in order for life to be comfortable for them – of the sacrifices I can make so others can continue on their same-ole, same-ole course  – -

A request that asks for obliviousness, ignorance and the status quo – — which you know, IS

So NOT in tune with who I am — -

And, I got a sore jaw out of the exercise (by accident, not because I was talking, but because a Team Building Exercise resulted in me, fully invested in meeting others half-way, cold-cocking myself with full force with both hands when the other person let go while I was ‘doing my best’ – – – How on earth does this stuff happen?!? )

**********

Bottom line – I’m looking at my life, the world, etc., tonight and thinking about what needs to change – no more sore jaws during friendly spars is rather top of the list right about now – -

I have a plan to end this kind of man’s inhumanity against man -

But you are my witness – -

I May Be Wrong…..

:)