Monday, January 21, 2019

Beef stew recipe

Exactly how I made it this morning.  Ron loved it. 

1 pound beef stew meat
One handful frozen chopped onions (or to taste)
2 handfuls baby red potatoes, smallest ones whole, larger ones quartered
1 handful sliced carrots
(now we get more precise)
1 bay leaf
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t salt
1 cup GOOD beef stock (I used bone broth)

Layer vegetables/onion in crock pot, bay leaf, then meat.  Sprinkle seasoning on top of meat and pour stock down the side (so it doesn't wash away the seasonings). 

Cook 12 hours.  Stir well before serving. 

Works best with disposable liner for ease of clean up. 

He licked the bowl.  :) 

This morning

It was a long day.  We went to work.  As usual, I helped Ron stock, then did my work while he sorted change.  I had to take more Excedrin but I was able to do the lifting, etc. 

One customer yelled at me because, basically, people are buying things from the vending machines.  According to her, they should be 100% stocked at ALL times, and any sign of sales is a sign of failure on my part.  Oh, and she never buys anything. 

I get that a lot, I have dozens of items in the machines.  I think Ron tallied it up and he sells over 2 dozen sodas.  But if ONE item is out some people will scream, even though they can get it, right down the hall, at the other vendor. 

Or, my favorite, they yell at me because we don't sell something the other vendor does.  Like the pickle chips.  I got shouted at by one woman because we don't sell them.  I said we had never sold them.  She tried to tell me we had, then realized she had bought them all from the other vendor.  Finally admitted she only eats them when pregnant. 

That doesn't sound like something I should use to replace a "good seller". 

Anyway, finished up, went home.  We had good rides all day today. 

We got home and I laid down for a while after checking on my stew (it looks good, through the lid).  I was pretty wound up from the caffeine and tried to sleep.  Torbie came and lay with me, in her house.  She loves her house.  I got a little sleep. 

I woke up when the alarm went off.  Ron wanted to go to Denny's and get his free birthday meal.  The store near us has been so badly run we stopped going. 

Someone we know, knows the owner of that Denny's.  He wanted to know why we stopped going, we told him the truth, constantly out of basic stuff.  Excuses all the time.  Out of Diet Coke for over a month (when we stopped going), with a Sam's Club and 5 gallons of Diet Coke syrup for sale at $80 a case.  10 minutes for someone in a car.   We're not worth 10 minutes. 

But we heard they had a new owner so we decided to check them out.  Our friend asked for a report, so he could pass it along. 

Our ride was pretty punctual, and it was a straight trip (I told you, good rides today).  We got there.  I was happy they had moved the seat so I could push Ron up to the table. 

They brought the menu.  Ron showed his ID card.  I read Ron the menu.  He ordered.  "Oh, so sorry, we don't have any fruit salad".  They are literally half a mile from a huge grocery store, AND a SuperWalmart besides.  No one could go and buy a couple bunches of grapes and a bunch of bananas?  Not looking good. 

They did have everything else we ordered, and they did have the diet Coke.  We ate our meal.  I had eggs but I could tell they weren't agreeing with my pills.  I asked for a dessert.  "Oh, sorry, we're out of vanilla ice cream" - again, just a few miles from SAM'S, half a mile from two huge grocery stores, and no one can be bothered to run and get some ICE CREAM? 

I sent our guy a text, with the shortages, and then told him "Wouldn't go back".  And I won't.  I would rather go to the Waffle House.  They are much better stocked. 

Our ride came, we paid, left a tip.  They did give Ron his birthday discount. 

We had a nice driver take us home.  She was ranting about a terrible experience she had at that store, how they wouldn't let her sit at her usual spot, which was empty, instead trying to stick her "by the kitchen".  We got home. 

Ron laid down after I put his food away.  I got online and bought him the flash drives he requested.  He didn't ask for much, just "a couple of flash drives".  I got him 3, two of one type, one of another.  I also got myself a stun gun. 

I believe the political climate, and national mood, will get worse.  I believe, in some of "my" places, I will become a target.  I believe I should carry a stun gun unless I am at work.  I looked at some soap I had checked out recently, but couldn't justify the price ($7).  I just stuck with the electronics. 

And, during checkout, I had the option for free ONE day shipping.  Ooooh!  I took it.  Ron, like a lot of people, wants his stuff RIGHT NOW.  So he doesn't know it's coming tomorrow.  It will be a nice surprise. 

Hopefully he has learned his lesson about backing up files.  By the way, I need him to update the flash drive he gave me with the newest files.  It is about a month out of date. 

It's going to be cold, and rain, tomorrow.  So Ron gave me the day off.  I will sleep in and probably do some housework. 

But my garbage can is almost full so I can't toss much. 

I haven't tried the stew yet, I plan to give it another hour, then let it cool some.  Ron agreed to "try" it and give me his opinion.  Once I get that I will finish prepping my meat bags with the vegetables, spices, and stock, then freeze them. 

I hope he likes it.  If he does, I still remember what I did this morning. 

Nasty headache today

I slept pretty well but woke up with a headache.  I laid in bed, with Biscuit and Torbie, hitting the snooze alarm as he purred on top of me.  Then I suddenly remembered I had to do MEAL PREP!  I jumped up, put my long hair in a ponytail, and went into the kitchen. 

Since I have energy and depression issues I made it easy on myself.  I had a crock pot liner, I put that in the pot and make sure it was snug.  Then I got out the potatoes, baby reds.  I cut up the big ones but left the smaller ones whole.  I love potatoes in some nice, rich, stock.  I had purchased a bag of presliced carrots, I grabbed a handful of those and put them on top of the potatoes.  Out came the frozen chopped onions (bought that way, although I suppose I could put Ron on chopping duty or do it while manic).  A handful of them and I was done with the veggies. 

Out came the meat, a 3 pound tray at the use-by date, today.  I got 2 stand up gallon freezer bags.  I would not be able to cook it all today so I will freeze it, frozen, prepared and ready to cook.  I did one for you, one for you, one for the crock pot, until I ran out of meat.  Each bag, and the pot, had about a pound of meat. 

I wore a disposable glove for the meat-handling part.  I don't like the way it feels and I believe it is more sanitary.  Threw away the glove when finished. 

Time for the stock, premade of course, but very good.  All the stew recipes said to use about a cup, so that's what I did.  One cup.  I capped the stock (it is in a tetra-pack) and put it back in the fridge. 

Lastly, the seasonings.  A common proportion seemed to be 1/4 t each salt and pepper, per pound of stew meat.  That sounded about right so I did that.  I got a likely-looking bay leaf and tossed it in the pot. 

Done!  I put the lid on, plugged it in, and turned it on. 

I still had a vicious headache after a Mountain Dew and 2 Excedrin.  I got another Mountain Dew to drink during my shower.  Often, I can manage a screaming headache with insane amounts of caffeine.  It is ironic because, on a day off at home, I only use about 70 mg of caffeine.  Less than half a cup of coffee. 

I took a shower with very hot water.  They did not do the safety feature (and I'm glad of it) when they installed my hot water heater so I get some HOT water.  I drank the Mountain Dew while bathing.  I felt better when I got out. 

I just have to go to work (not for very long) and I am done for the day.   Ron wants his free birthday dinner today so we are going out for that, later. 

I guess my stew will have time to "mingle the flavors" before eating.  If I like the way it tastes I will bag up the ingredients with my meat and pour the stock on top, then freeze.  I already labeled and dated the bags (not something I normally do) so I will know the exact age and contents. 

Nice to know my food will be cooking while I'm at work, and I am "done" cooking it.  All I have to do now is scoop it out of the bag. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

My new primary doc died before they assigned her to me

Depressed, but got a lot done today.  Got up, shower, dressed, did some housework.  Ron drank and went back to bed. 

I checked the mail as part of my chores and found my new insurance card, yay!  Now I could research my new primary doc.  Who, I found, had just died. 

Well, shit.  Now I have to call the company back and get another doctor.  I hope I don't get the guy with the funny name in Acres Homes.  I would not feel comfortable describing my female problems to a guy from another culture.   Unless he was Asian.  That would just be weird. 

We shall see, I'll work on doing that tomorrow.  Customer service seems to be in India, so they won't have tomorrow off.  I can get it fixed then. 

I got ready, Chuck came right on time.  I was depressed and irritable but tried not to show it. 

I started at the vegetable section.  I wanted some of the thin skinned potatoes that are good for boiling.  I plan to put them in my stew.  I read the standard "brown wrapper" potatoes get mushy and waterlogged.  I have always used that type so I am curious to see how it is with a different variety. 

I couldn't decide between the multicolored ones, or the red skin, so I got a bag of each.  I like a lot of potatoes in my stew.  I remember when I was active in low carb, it was popular to use turnips because they are lower carb.  I ate turnips twice, both times when I was manic.  They were OK the first time but awful the second.  No turnips for me. 

I went down the list.  I had a little trouble at the garbage bags.  I plan to clean up as much as possible (I have limits on how much I can put out) when I get manic or even just have a little energy.  I run around finding stuff to toss and quickly run it out to our massive trash can. 

I couldn't find the one I had used, and instead opted for a more generous package of unscented generic trash bags with the "flex".  There were people everywhere all over the store, unusual for so late in the month.  I realized food stamps had been paid early so, as far as everyone was concerned, it was a shopping holiday. 

I did manage to find my lentils.  I wanted some new ones.  The old ones were really old and the new ones should cook up a lot fresher.  But, for the short term, it's beef stew on the menu. 

I plan to start the pot tomorrow morning and leave it on all day, then eat it for dinner.  It's Angus stew meat and fancy potatoes (I have presliced carrots as well), with some nice stock and fresh spices, so it should be pretty good. 

It's a good way to get some red meat in my diet.  Anything that is easy to cook and tastes good is fair game. 

The herbs (Wild Yam) seem to be helping, the bleeding has gone to more heavy spotting now.  Hopefully it will continue to diminish.  Especially since my doctor is dead.  I feel bad for the family but my luck with primary doctors has been terrible.  One doctor moved.  I found another, he moved.  Then the one downtown.  And, finally, the one that died before I could even see her.  [sigh]  Hopefully my next one will be local and good. 

I don't think my problem's very difficult to manage.  From what I have read he will probably just put me on hormones.  But we'll see. 

I just want to know it is not something serious.  The odds of that happening are pretty low but still need an exam. 

Back to Walmart, I was delighted to find the Scoop Away Ultra cat litter.  My guys love the stuff and it's the only thing they want in their toilet.  The first package was ripped, the bags were OK but impossible to pick up.  The second one was OK but the outer wrapping (it is 4 bags of litter, with an outer wrapper) was loose.  I got it home OK though.  I found everything on the list. 

I couldn't find glass food storage jars, so I got plastic.  I don't plan to keep my kitchen food as long this time so it should be fine. 

Then I checked out.  After everything, I had $3 left.  At least I could get everything on the list.  We came home (I don't think Chuck ever wants to go to that Taco Bell again!) and I put everything away.  I tried to take a nap but couldn't sleep. 

Ron woke up, was talking, wanted to make some noise, so I went ahead and got up.  I asked him if he had laundry and he said no (I didn't notice his t-shirt until later).  He went back to the kitchen for more drinking, dropped a V-8 on the floor, making a mess.  He cleaned it up himself, though. 

I got started on the laundry, that takes a while.  I was careful to balance the load, got that done, and eventually moved it on to the dryer where it is now. 

After Ron went back to his room, I cleaned up my counter, making room for the crock-pot tomorrow and setting out everything I will actually need to do the beef stew.  I would do it tonight, put it in the fridge, and then put it in the crock pot tomorrow BUT that is bad for the ceramic to go from very cold to on the heat element.  I don't want to cook it tonight, I'll have strange dreams if I do.  Better to get up 15 minutes early and do my meal prep tomorrow, then let it cook while I'm gone.  If I put it on at 6 AM tomorrow, it will be done by dinner time. 

Not sure if I will freeze the raw meat with the remaining vegetables, to be pulled out and cooked when ready, or cook 3 batches of stew and freeze them ready to eat.  I am leaning towards the last.  It won't be a problem with the crock pot liners (I got more of those last week). 

I made a nice dent in the counter, got rid of some stuff I don't use, and put my new wooden spoons, and plastic spoons, away in my organizer.  I was happy to find assortments for $1 for 4 spoons.  My "new" saucepan has a non stick liner so I have to baby it. 

After I did all that, I took out my lentils and heated up a bowl.  They were still a little chewy.  Well, I did use old beans.  I am debating how cheap I want to be.  Do I want to throw away the remaining cup of lentils?  Or try to cook them (last time they were still a little tough after an hour?).  I think I will just use the new ones.  The lentil spices were better the first night, they didn't hold very well, but it was a decent meal.  I had a protein shake and some cheese with it, too.  I took my pills and they were OK with that.  Good to know. 

In about a week I will need to buy another block of cheese.  You get a lot of protein and flavor out of that cheese and at the rate I use it it lasts for weeks.  I might go ahead and put that on my list. 

I plan to go to bed early tonight so I can get up early and prep everything, throw it in the crock pot.  I forgot to buy more stock today but I always try to have some on hand so I just got it out of the pantry.  That's another thing I need to put on my list! 

That's it for now.  While Ron was pretty soaked most of the day he was decent and did not bother/disturb me.  He did give the cats a whole lot of treats.  I think he would be devastated if you took that away from him. 

I just need to remember to get him to change his shirt, tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Early Hours

A cold front blew into Houston today, literally.  We have had clear, cold, weather and extremely gusty winds.  Happily Ron and I have decent winter coats.  I wouldn't worry about having a "good' coat if I had a car, but when waiting outside on a ride, it's essential. 

I got up, showered, checked Ron, fed the cats, etc.  I brought my insulated tote bag with some frozen "keepers" to keep my stew meat cold.  I like stew and can eat a lot of it. 

I planned to buy a 3 pound package, split it 3 ways with vegetables, stock, and seasoning.  Cook one, freeze the other 2.  Then when I want a good dinner just take one out a day or two ahead to thaw, and then throw in my crock pot liner and cook.  Great depression food and a great source of red meat with minimal cleanup. 

So I brought the tote.  Our ride arrived on time and we had a straight trip.  On the way, I started talking about gun control, and how, if someone is determined to kill another person, they will do it.  I think I made the driver a little uncomfortable but I was trying to make a point.  Yes, forbid ownership to felons and crazy people, but the average guy is not going to go off.  The ones who go off almost always got their guns illegally anyway. 

We got to Sam's, went in, I got a cart.  Ron gave me the money and I started shopping.  I found a nice stew meat with just a little bit of fat on it, but I liked the color of the meat better than the others.  Into the cart.  Some muffins for Jack (I always get him a treat), and then all my work shopping. 

As I checked out they told me I would HAVE to upgrade to "Plus".  Why?  If I wanted early hours, I would have to be a "plus".  I said I would have to talk to Ron.  I did.  He was furious but said to go ahead. 

I finished the transaction.  Ron was escalating and even more angry.  He asked to see a manager, I got one and brought her over.  He shouted at her for a few minutes and she placated him.  He finally settled down when she told him he would get cash back on the money spent.  According to the register, that would be some hundreds.  He was happy to hear that (who wouldn't?). 

We waited a little while.  I got a drink.  I wasn't hungry and Ron had eaten beef jerky for breakfast.  That can only help him. 

I had my stew meat tucked away in my bag, next to a frozen water bottle and the freezer pack designed for large lunches.  It stayed cold all the way. 

We loaded the truck.  It was freezing out, very miserable with the cold gusts, and I helped Jack load as quickly as possible.  We got that done and went to work. 

We unloaded and got it all in the building, I put everything away.  Then, the main part of the program: helping Ron.  I did that for a while until we got it all done, then I did snacks for a while.  I didn't have time to do everything but it will hold until Monday. 

Then I put everything away.  Probably the most challenging part of my job, other than putting the bottled drinks in the fridge, is picking up two of my hand carts and resting them on top of my soda.  That gets a little challenging.  I need to get new carts.  I love our old guy, but plastic carts just don't work, in my line of work.  I need something metal.  I need a trip to the tool store (we have 2) or a restaurant supply place and buy one good metal cart I can pick up (even with a new cart, I still have severe space issues). 

I saw the other vendor's wife.  She was meeting the repairman.  Major problems with a couple of her machines.  Good thing the state pays her back for repairs! 

Finally done and we left, but stayed inside, by the front door.  The front door does not look out to the street. 

This is the nice thing about everyone knowing our business: one guy came in and said "Your bus is outside".  I thanked him and took Ron out.  Ron was very glad of his coat, even though he still hasn't figured out the zipper.  We went out and loaded. 

The driver is originally from CA, hated it here, and plans to go back.  I told him about a "good job" near our home at a warehouse.  If he really hates paratransit that much. 

I think it's like work, it's a good job, but you have to put effort into it.  You don't get the "good" hours but you get a decent wage, and you go home tired.  But it's not "easy" and that's what a lot of kids these days want, good money, easy job.  The only way to do that is selling yourself, or drugs! 

We got home.  I remembered to put my meat in the fridge.  It was still miserable cold out and the cats were in the house.  Torbie was smack in the middle of my bed, not looking like she planned to budge at all. 

I made sure Ron was OK (he decided to start drinking) and took a nap. 

Ron called Chuck and they had an animated discussion for a while.  Good.  I want them talking while Chuck is helping me, it avoids awkwardness. 

I woke up with a nasty headache but still tried to stay in my nice warm bed for a while.  I had Biscuit and Torbie with me.  But some kids down the way were shouting and screaming very loudly (out in this weather?) so I went ahead and got up.  Took some headache pills, got on the computer. 

I looked for stew meat recipes.  I plan to make one pound batches (1 lb of meat).  So the best info I have says 1/4 each t salt and pepper per pound, some potatoes and carrots, a bay leaf.  1 cup stock.  I need to get some "good" potatoes (the red ones) at Walmart tomorrow and then cook it probably Monday. 

We still have to work but I'm OK with that.  At least I get tomorrow off, and my trip to Walmart. 


Ron just had one in Sam's club when they told him he had to upgrade to plus.  A manager and I managed to calm him down but I am exhausted.  And I haven't even gotten to work yet.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Publish failed

We went to the BBQ place, it was a straight trip and Ron paid the toll on the freeway ($1.25).  It was worth it to get a much faster trip. 

We unloaded and I rolled Ron inside.  The manager greeted us, it was apparently a slow time and he was working the line. 

I ordered my baked potato, chopped beef, no onions, and got exactly that on an enormous potato half the size of Biscuit.  Ron wanted the pork ribs with potato salad and beans (remember this was his birthday dinner).  I tried to blog a photo of it but "publish failed".  We paid and got to work on our food. 

I could only eat a third of what I'd been given, I got a to-go container and put the leftovers in it, then a bag.  Ron ate half his ribs and sides, I encouraged him to stop for a couple of minutes and see if he was still hungry.  He wasn't.  So we put his food away, too. 

When I saw the times I did not think we would have long enough, but we did.  Then we came home, also a straight trip. 

There is a client near us, slow, who works in an office complex near our home, and lives way across town.  He gets off work 4-5, so the driver has to take him home during the worst traffic Houston can offer.  I do not know why his social worker or whoever got him the job, can't get him a job closer to his residence, but the poor drivers get stuck with this awful trip every day. 

And today, our driver won the lottery.  I felt bad for him but it is a part of the job. 

Earlier today, I noticed Torbie was having a little trouble getting in and out of my bed.  I may get her some stairs.  I need to think about it for a day or two, I want her to be comfortable, but I want to get something she will actually use. 

And I'm off to go do up my pills for the next couple weeks. 

Beef stew recipe

Exactly how I made it this morning.  Ron loved it.  1 pound beef stew meat One handful frozen chopped onions (or to taste) 2 handfuls ba...