Saturday, September 8, 2018

Where's the Beef?

As I have mentioned before, we bought a whole cow for the freezer. One thing I didn't mention is that I did not grow up eating a lot of beef. In fact, for a period of time, I was a vegetarian. It lasted for about 7 years. Not for animal rights or anything like that. I still had my leather jacket and had no problem with anyone else eating meat. I just didn't care for it. My mom didn't eat much beef either. She preferred pork, chicken and turkey. I still don't care for turkey. The rest, I will most definitely eat now. The problem I am having is learning to cook it.

Last Friday, I decided to do a bit of batch cooking since I work on Saturday and knew we would be busy over our weekend. I wanted to make Italian beef and beef tips with a cheesy white sauce and noodles. The only thing that turned out was the noodles. I was one unhappy camper.

The beef tips were some that we had previously canned. I already knew they were tender as we had opened some up and used them before. I still am not sure exactly where I went wrong, but the beef and sauce turned into glue. Tasted good, but I think I could have glued up some wallpaper with it. So we tossed it. Eeerrrrrrrr.

When I made the Italian beef, I made up the dressing and seasoning mix and that went just fine. Then I took the roast I had thawed and dumped it all in the slow cooker and set it on its lowest setting. It was smelling really good. I know you shouldn't open the slow cooker as it's cooking but I wanted to make sure I had enough liquid. This was about 2-3 hours after I had put it in. The roast was completely cooked already! And hard as a rock. I put the cooker on the warm setting and left it there for several hours hoping that it might soften it up some. No such luck. I took my meat thermometer out and checked the temp of the liquid while it was on warm and it was about 160 degrees. If I recall correctly, when I got the cooker, the warm setting should run about 140 degrees. We ended up throwing that whole roast out. I am not sure if it was the wrong kind of roast to use for the recipe or if it was simply the slow cooker started running too hot. Either way, two batches of food got pitched over the fence for the animals to eat.

I was extremely unhappy for the waste of all of that. Some things I get right, some go quite wrong.

We had ribeye and baked potatoes for Labor day. My son loves a good steak and since we have plenty from the cow, I don't mind making them. Not all the time, just for things like holidays or his birthday.

We bought an Instant Pot to replace the slow cooker. I like the slow cooker and use it a lot. Since I don't want to overcook everything I make and it seems to be running too hot, we decided to replace it. The Instant Pot seemed like the best answer to that since it will do a lot of things in one small package. We actually used it to make the baked potatoes. It was fabulous. In about 30 minutes we had fluffy fall apart baked potatoes. Yummo! I do believe the Instant Pot will be my new favorite kitchen gadget.

We have decided against trying to burn the garden refuse ourselves. I will ask my boss if I can take the stuff to work and throw it in the burn pile we have. Every time we try to burn it, or plan on it, it rains and the stuff is all wet again. This weekend we are going to move one of the raised beds. We have looked at the layout of the garden and figured if we move one bed, we will be able to better use the garden space. It will also create a space close to the front door to put the grill and a couple of chairs so when we are grilling out, it is easy to get to and not have to walk so far from the kitchen to the grill. It will be a direct line, which is much better than the layout now.

The park has finally decided to do something with the abandoned trailer next door. We actually didn't mind it since it meant no neighbors on that side. However, so far all they have done is string out the stuff left behind and take the stuff that the maintenance workers wanted and leave the garbage and leftovers all over the yard. Then on Wednesday, we heard some machinery running over there. Ignored it at first since we knew they had started tearing things down. Then something bashed into the side of our house. I looked out the window and they are digging out the privet that grows between our houses. That does upset me. It is about 15-20 feet tall and gives us shade on that side of the house in the afternoons. My husband went out to talk to the guy digging it up. He asked if he had to tear it all out and the guy said he was just doing what he was told, so my husband asked if he couldn't leave at least some of it since it's our shade. He said he would ask but most likely it would only be at the very back of the lot, which means we lose our shade on the house and most of it for our awning that we put up. Not to mention the privacy that it gave us. That is a real bummer. However, they have not been back yet, so maybe they will be able to leave it. A girl can always hope!

One of my cats has decided to fully accept the dog now. He is terrifying the dog, though. When we first got puppy, he got too close to the cats and they swiped at him, teaching him quickly to let them have their space. Claws meant get back. Of course, the cats play with each other already by swiping and chewing on each other. Not drawing blood or anything like that, just typical cat play. Now, one of the cats has decided to try the same with the dog. Which he thinks means back off. Since the cat weighs about 10 pounds and the dog about 60, and he still plays rough, I am not sure I want them to play like that as I am afraid he will nip too hard and the cat will attack him and one of them end up getting hurt. When I am playing with the dog, he usually gets over excited and ends up nipping me and bruising me. He hasn't ever broke the skin, just gets a little overzealous. :)

That is about it for this week. How about you? How has your week gone?

P.S. Supper tonight is a cold plate. We will have cheese, crackers, veggies, sliced ham and whatever else I decide to cut up but don't have to cook. It's gonna be another hot humid day and since I work, I want something easy to fix and cold.

P.P.S. I am thankful that we have plenty to eat. I don't like throwing food out that turns out yucky, but at least we won't go hungry when it does happen.

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