Archive for the ‘Something New’ Category

I haven’t liked ground beef in a really long time, as long as I can remember actually, maybe 15 years atleast.

I will eat it though, I will eat a burger from time to time, especially if they are made at home. I will make tatter tot casserole and even meat loaf.

Recently in the last 6 months or so (I got a meat grinder (actually I got 2, a manual and an electric one, YAY!) I stopped buying ground beef at costco and started buying bulk meat (they sell 3 packs of eye of round roasts and rump roasts and such) so I get the eye of round roasts. Then I get them home and grind them before I freeze it.

In the last year there has been a scare over pink slime. Even when I make something like meat loaf or burgers if I post pictures on facebook (which I do a lot, and D makes fun of me for doing it) I almost always get comments like, I can’t believe you would eat that, don’t know know what pink slime is, how gross how could you even consider eatting anything made out of ground beef.

First of all, after watching a bunch of Penn and Teller Bullshit about hippies who want to inflict their idea of organic and fresh food on the world has skewed my views. America as a whole is VERY spoiled and can afford to be because there are grocery stores everywhere, there are so many safety standards and before these things were made public MANY of these same people at the very things they are crying out about now, probably because they liked them so much.

In the end. I know what pink slime is, it is beef (or another type of meat but in this instance we will say beef) thecuts of beef that are not wanted or the left over bits and they are run through a centrifuge and then the meat bits are seperated from the fat and the meat it then cleaned with ammonia and water (I don’t know they recipe of that mix or how long they are mixed or soaked for and then they are ground either into what looks like ground beef or ground into finer bits and then ground into regular hamburger, in this country up to 70% of the ground beef in our country contains up to 15% of pink slime. They don’t have to tell you or even mention that there is ammonia in the beef that your purchasing.

Honestly, I don’t think it will kill anyone, if anything it makes it more affordable and doesnt really taste very different.

The thing is, for me, I don’t like the texture of ground beef and I believe that this was before they even started adding pink slime to regular grocery store ground beef. When I order from fast food, I always get fish or chicken. Yes I have see the videos about cod and about chicken nuggets, I am an adult. I don’t need the lecture.

In the end I prefer to grind my own beef because the texture is very different to me and I like it a lot better. I cut it into manageable chunks and then I grind it, fat and all, I grind the fat because I think its important to have fat content in ground meat, it holds up better and tastes better, but since I use eye of round roast, there isnt a lot of fat to begin with.

I will post a bunch of pictures, after the jump.

I am also going to post a picture of a baby shaped meat loaf. I am going to do this because it was freaking funny, and I got a lot of jokes that will really offend a lot of people but my friend posted a picture similar several months before and he messaged me and asked me to make it for him for his b-day as his present and instead of a cake, so I did it. I figure it will be the only one I will ever make and I think it is the only one I will ever make. I am an alternative type person and I thought it was funny. I did grind the meat for that as well.

By the way, grinding your own meat (good, lean meat) is not much more expensive that buying it and the cost of a grinder is under $100 and if you don’t have the money for that, find the cut of beef you like (even at Wally World) and ask the butcher (unless its super late at night, pretty much any normal sized grocery store has a butcher)  to grind if for you, it doesnt cost any more to have it ground, it will still be the same price as it was in the roast shape. Only small groceries or specialty butchers will charge you to grind meat, and even then, not often. I have even asked the butcher at the chinese food grocer to grind pork or chicken and they do it for no more than the cost of the meats weight.

Sorry if your offended by the meat loaf shaped like a baby…. It really was hilarious, men do love their meat.

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Organizing my spice/staple pantry became really important because I don’t have a large kitchen, we have a large house but the kitchen isnt definitely not the reason that the house was chosen.

So any how. The reason I needed better organization in my pantry was that I always had to move stuff to find what I was looking for.

I wish that I had a before picture, but I wasn’t thinking about that when I started.

since I took this picture I have been back to Ikea and actually purchased MORE organizational “stuff”  but as you can see in this picture, I have 3 double level lazy susan’s for spices and on the shelf above that there are 3 three tiered can organizers (they look like little steps) It makes it SO much easier to find things.

When you are storing food, its really important to keep track of everything, knowing what you have on hand and what you have opened.

I also really like the door unit, it doesnt pit the smaller sized door so from here on out we will have to close that door first, which to me is just not that big a deal. The door shelving makes it a lot easier to put boxed goods. Its like having a complete additional shelf that I don’t have to push things out of the way to find.

Also if you look at the top shelf you can see some cereal containers, I’ve bought several more of those for cereal and other dry goods such as dry milk. I just wont eat those things if they are stale (not unless I had to) so I like to put things in containers once they have been opened. I also love labels and today I spent my day making lists of what labels were needed, making those labels and putting them where they were needed, storing food doesnt have to make your house a mess, or disorganization.

I while ago I was watching some Youtube videos and I stumbled across one that showed a families food storage pantry room and they had these cardboard can organizers. I looked around for them, but I have always been awful at “Key word”
or what phrase to use in the search angine to find what I am looking for, even when you would think it would be easy, I will miss it. *sometimes at least*

Then a friend of mine contacts me about 2 weeks later and links me to this site and asks if I wanted to get some “with” her to share on the shipping costs. So we got a bunch (I got 20 and she got a dozen)

They are amazing, Here is a snippet of my food storage before and after:

Before:

After:

I really would LOVE to afford Shelf Reliance shelving units but I just can’t afford that right now. Even if I get one or two (which I probably will eventualy) I will probably keep them for larger cans that just won’t fit into the can organizers.  I was so excited with the turn out that I actually emailed the company and told them how amazing I thought it was.

With having children who are constantly running down to the food torage (in the basement) and getting this or that that I need, sometimes things are taken out of order even when it takes me ages to keep them in FIFO (First In Forst Out) order. So this takes the guess work out of it.

So yesterday I picked up the netted bag I’d purchased the day before of peaches from the “Fresh and Easy” market down the road from where I live. I totally love shopping at that store. But I think, because of the heat the peaches were angry because overnight they got so soft, and some of them had spots on them.

Now granted, they were relatively small and werent hard to begin with, but they went south fast. So I parboiled them, and peeled them, mashed them up and made jam with them.

the recipe I used, is as follows:

Sweet Peach Jam

Juice of 1 medium lemon

3 cups mashed peaches (about 2-2 1/2 pounds)

3/4 cup peach Schnapps

1 pouch liquid pectin (3 ounces)

7 cups sugar

I was afraid it wouldn’t gel with so much liquid but it did. It doesnt taste anything like alcohol and I boiled it for 7 minutes or so, so I am sure there isnt any actual alcohol left in it. But it really really does give a lot of peach flavor.

I processed it, in 15, 4oz Kerr Jars. I decided to make it in smaller jars because I wasnt sure what I would use it for (other than making thumbprint cookies and maybe adding to a chicken marinade for some dish.)

A while ago, someone suggested smaller jars for smaller batches so that I could kind of test of flavors and recipes, and be able to give them out and let more people try them while not spending more incase they didnt like them. Also I think that being able to make several flavors in the small jars will be awesome because then I can give 3 or 4 jars away at a time in sampler sets. which may be awesome for Christmas.

D has a huge family and they always do a Christmas thing, no need to remind me, I am still away that I am a Jew, but I do give gifts to my children for Christmas, its about family and fun for us, not religion.

So, its super yummy, amazing really. But even D asked me what the heck I was doing making Jam on SUCH a hot day. I told him, its either today or not at all tomorrow the peaches will be dust. (Ok maybe not that bad, but gross enough to not want to make them into something else.)

A friend of mine is doing a Water Bath Canning party.  Just a canning 101 kind of deal to give the basics.

She asked me if I would like to talk a little bit about food storage. Why to store food, and where to begin. I haven’t ever really done anything like that before but I am totally happy to talk to people about doing food storage and explain why it is SOOOOO important.

Send me a personal message at phedrespaz at g mail dot com (please forgive me, I prefer not to add links for my email on my blog due to spammers) My friend who is throw this shindig is going to give me a free gift to give away to some lucky email entry! It comes with a bunch of coupons for canning as well.

Awesome, right? So shoot me an email and I will let you know how the talk goes.   :)

Its only a 6 quart but I am excited about it.

I like to cook, I think that mastering (or striving to master) your arts is always important.

I want to pressure can food. But I think that an important aspect to that is being able to pressure cook first.

I also think for canning homemade stews and chili it will be nice to be able to pressure cook it and then take the finished products and put them into canning jars and process them in another much larger pressure canner.

I’m looking forward to it.

Back in February for D’s birthday I bought him a really nice camera since the last one I’d purchased (which wasn’t uber nice but was easy to use, functional and took nice pictures) was taking out to the range for target practice and was accidentally left in a box full of magazines and by the time it bumped its way home in the back of the truck the screen was cracked.  But I digress. I am making a new goal to start taking and posting pictures of my new adventures. Although I may not be perfect at it, it is a goal.

I’m actually quite a shutter bug and I love taking pictures while we are out and about but with little things like cooking and sprouting or whatever, I just don’t think about it… So now, I will try.

I’m really excited!