Susie homemaker

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know that I am not the most domestic of creatures.  I’m a poor housekeeper (put a pack-rat into a 1930’s cottage with no closets and you have disaster), but I am a good cook.  At least, I like the things I make and I’ve had several people tell me that they like my food too.

I have a few recipe sites I’ve signed up for over the years, and some of them have stayed with me.  Today’s recipe from one site was for traditional Beef Stew.  Oddly enough, I had just made beef stew yesterday.  Their version?  Boring.  Mine?  Tasty and a little non-traditional.

Theirs called for some steps I use.  Sauté some onions, celery, and garlic in some olive oil (most folks add carrots, but they are a bit sweet for me), I also added some mushrooms, then add some cubed stew beef and let it brown a bit, and then sprinkle some flour over the lot so when you add some stock and other ingredients, it will thicken a bit.  Yes, I do all of that, although I don’t add much flour at all.  I have a terrible time with the carbs, but I will go for a bit of thickening, figuring that the protein in the beef will help to combat those carbohydrates.  Once we get this far, we can transfer this whole mess into a crockpot or slow cooker, so the beef won’t be chewy and tough.  I generally add a bay leaf, some Better Than Bouillon (come on – it is really better than bouillon), and a good deal of freshly crushed black pepper.  I also use chopped tomatoes.  I know, sounds a bit weird, but trust me, it’s good, especially if you canned the tomatoes yourself.  Let that all simmer for a few hours until the beef is very tender.

Now we come to the part where we’re going to add vegetables.  Potatoes and carrots, right?  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to have?  Well, you’d think.  But, both of those will end up making me ill because they have too high of a glycemic load.  So, what can I put in that stew?  This time I used 1) green beans, 2) brussels sprouts, 4) butternut squash, 5) parsnips, and 6) kale.  You’re probably thinking this sounds just awful.  Well, to me, these are great vegetables.  But, if you want to make them wonderful vegetables, there’s something you need to do to them before you add them to the stew.  Roast ’em.  Take out a fairly shallow roasting or baking dish, line it with heavy duty foil.  Spray or brush it with a bit of oil (I use EVOO – extra virgin olive oil), dice and chop your veggies up into stew-sized chunks.  Put them into the pan (I didn’t roast the kale) and then drizzle a little more oil over the top.  Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt.  Put the pan of vegetables into a pre-heated oven, about 450° and roast them for about 10 minutes.  Take the pan out, stir the vegetables a bit, and put the pan back in for another 15-20 minutes.  They should be just browning on the top when you take them out.  Add them to your stew.  These vegetables, even though they already have a natural sweetness before roasting, will be delicious.  And, because they have more fiber-y goodness than the carrots and potatoes (even though they do have some), they don’t affect my blood sugar as much.  I usually add some kale a few minutes before serving, just to let it wilt.  The flavor is acceptable and it has awesome nutrition, so it goes in.

The best part though?  When you’re cleaning up, and you take that foil out of the pan to rinse and recycle it (yes, I live in Oregon, remember?), you might find a few pieces of fairly crispy vegetable residue on that foil.  Peel it off and eat it.  It is sheer heaven.  stew

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a photo of beef stew with no potatoes or carrots in it?  ;D  Anyway, just get creative with your food.  Try adding something new.

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Not there yet

Well, I slept like the dead!  I only take half-doses of medications.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve become a real light-weight in my older years.  I took one half of a muscle relaxer last night and I slept till almost 9 o’clock this morning.  I wonder if I even moved in my sleep!  My shoulder, however, has decided that it’s not happy and has asked my neck to join in the party.  Oy!  I’ll try some more massage today, but I may be in for a cortisone shot or some other remedy if this pain doesn’t let up soon.  I’ve been close to tears with it for the past few days.

I did manage to get a few things done today.  I hemmed a pair of pants for my niece.  It wasn’t exactly Picasso painting someone’s garage — as we say is the simile if you ask a quilter to mend clothing – but it might have been the equivalent of Martha Stewart’s home decor painting the garage.  ;D  I did get to use a decorative stitch on the hem, as my niece is a more artsy sort of person, so she enjoys things that aren’t just hum-drum.

I then undertook my covert mission for the day.  It’s my sister Ginny’s birthday.  I knew she was going for a hike with her husband on a trail off the old McKenzie Pass, so I snuck out to her house at about 2 p.m. and put most of her presents on her dining room table.  I then put the printer that my brother and sister and I bought her upstairs in her bedroom, leaving her a note to let her know it was there.  I also put a couple of pieces of birthday cake from Sweet Life Patisserrie in her refrigerator, along with some birthday candles.  I wanted it to be a surprise, and it was!  She called just a little while ago to say she is loving all the surprises.  I must say, I’m a bit jealous of the printer, and was almost hoping she didn’t want it.  It’s an Epson WorkForce 7510 – wide format (will print 11 x 17″, will print two-sided, and is energy star certified).  Plus, Epson has the best ink for printing on fabric.  The rest of the presents are a bit boring – paper for the printer, some lingerie (grandma-like), four 1-yard cuts of background suitable fabric for quilting, and the forms for one of those cute little clamshell boxes that I made several months ago.  She had expressed interest in making one, so I thought I’d send her on her way.  I was pleased to get everything in the house and set up and get out of there without being caught!

Clamshell inside 2

I then came home and started a big vat of turkey soup.  I had been getting really tired of trying to decide what I was going to have for dinner lately.  As you know, my diet is very restricted, and there are only so many ways you can have meat and salad.  I took a turkey out of the freezer a few days ago and began the thawing process just in time for the 90°+ weather to return to the valley, so Ozzie and I stayed up very late the night before last.  I put the turkey in the oven at 9 p.m., just when the outdoor temperature started to go down, and had to stay up till 1:30 to get it out of the oven.  I deboned the turkey yesterday and had all that protein stored in a giant bowl in the frige.  Today, I chopped up a bunch of celery, onions, and garlic, sautéed them in some butter (yes, real butter), then added about half of the chopped up turkey.  Added some Scarborough Fair – parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme – and some freshly ground pepper, and it is now simmering away out on the stove.  I’ll add some fresh green beans, broccoli, kale, and perhaps a little butternut squash.  I’m thinking of taking a chance and adding some red Himalayan rice – it’s a more protein-rich grain (not a true rice) and is said to have less glycemic load than most grains.  It smells like heaven in here.  I’ll probably put the rest of the turkey in a food saver bag and re-freeze it for a future batch of soup.  Ozzie wants me to tell you that he was totally spoiled today, having a bowl of turkey garnished with a few kibble for dinner.  The tryptophan seems to have knocked him out, and he’s sound asleep on the couch!

I need to try to get some quilting done this evening.  Not doing so well, since my arm is killing me and, of course, this is one of the few quilts I’ve done in a long time where I’m not using the IQ.  I can’t quilt for very long before the arm makes me stop.  Let’s hope the pain ends soon!