A site for sore tastebuds and a woeful wallet

Posts tagged “stew

After Work, Let’s Eat and Watch the Cardinals Win Again!

100_9558It is a busy morning getting hubby off to work, my daughter off to school, and myself off to work as well.  So this means making breakfast for every one, making lunch for my daughter and I (where hubby works they serve lunch), so I thought to insure a 100_9560relaxing evening (which I will definitely need) I’ll just get dinner going too.

100_9561All I do is throw in about 6 cut up carrots and 5 potatoes in chunks, and two nice pieces of chuck eye into the crock pot.  I add some minced garlic, some dehydrated onions, cut up sprigs of chives, salt, pepper, about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a whole can of beer.  It feels kind of weird cracking open a beer at 8:00 a.m. then going off to work in a church, but hey!  I throw the can in the recycling bin, put the lid on the pot, turn it to LOW, pet the kitty good bye and take off in my trusty old ’78 Ford pick-up

100_9575Working at a church is one of the most exciting and enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had.  You wouldn’t think it could be but there are many facets involved in running a church.  The team of wonderful people I work with help manage these facets with  knowledge, kindness, patience, and love…and I love and trust each of them beyond measure.   I’m one of two secretaries at our church and Friday is the busiest day dealing with some of those facets plus making sure the Sunday bulletin and all of its information for the service are put together with several hundred copies printed before 10:00 a.m.

With its dozens of ministries and hundreds of people who turn to the church for help and answers, I never know what to expect  when I answer the phone.  Often it’s just a member needing to know another member’s phone number, or what time the such and such meeting is, but sometimes it is a person who needs someone to pray with or a person who needs help with a personal problem.  There are even some times when it gets weird.  Angry and desperate people can be very unpredictable but even those people need a place to turn.  A church is a good place. 100_9566

There is a graveyard adjacent to the church with graves from as far back as 1843 and occasionally I get a call from someone looking for an ancestor to fill in their genealogical gaps.  This is my favorite part of the job. Since our church is 170 years old there is a lot of exciting history to which I have access allowing me to answer some of those questions or at least guide people to a place they can get more information. Church records are a great source for birth names and dates, marriages and deaths of whole families.  It is very satisfying work exploring the old files and helping locate someone’s relatives from the 1800’s

So, after a long day of connecting people, meeting deadlines, dotting I’s and crossing T’s, I’m so glad I decided to make dinner before I left the house.  When I come home, hubby and daughter are waiting for me with the table already set.  All we need to do is thank our dear Lord for what he provides and tuck on in to a bowl of delicious stew.  The meat  and vegetables are so tender, it only takes a spoon to cut everything up, and of course drink the tasty broth.100_9574   On a cool October evening this ready made meal does a great job warming us all up inside and out.  Now we’re ready to relax and watch the Cardinals play some NLCS baseball.

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More Dehydrating

As I have posted before, dehydrating is a great way to store food.  When you dehydrate, you only take out the water…all of  the flavor and most of the nutrients stay in the food.  This week there was a great sale on green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  These are things that I use a lot in my cooking…especially in cooking stews and soups.  Stews and soups are the foods that are really easy to make, and great to prepare when the weather is not the best.  In the summertime I hope to have food from the garden on hand that won’t need cooking.  Even so, the surplus from the garden with all its fresh flavors can be dried and stored as well.

We have a snow storm coming our way just now and besides stocking up last week, we have dehydrated several bags and trays of  mushrooms, onions and green peppers to use another day.  Dehydrated foods last far beyond the shelf life of regular canned items, decades beyond even.  To do this we have sterilized mason jars with lids,  and a special attachment that hooks to our Food Saver vacuum bagging system.  It cost about 25 dollars but is worth a lot more because we can seal up food that we purchase on sale that ten years from now will be maybe ten times the price.

49422The mushrooms we dehydrated cost us 69 cents per container, and the onions were on sale for 79 cents per bag (7 medium onions in each).  We use a lot of onions so roughly a dime an onion is a great deal.  Having them ten years from now because we dehydrated and stored them at that price seems even better.

49436So you might see that purchasing vegetables and even some meat when there is a really good sale makes for some super savings in the future.  It also takes up so much less space  storing these foods when you take out the water.   We  love to store food this way and store lots of vegetables from the garden this way, food on sale from the store, and food that our relatives have hunted and shared like deer meat.  I’ve posted on how to dry deer meat and beef before, also how to store vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, corn, apples, also herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil.

In this photo you will see four containers of mushrooms in one Mason jar, also a bag of onions in one jar as well.  You could fit at  least three pounds of dehydrated meat in one jar, and a whole two bags of  frozen broccoli in one as well.  Ten green peppers chopped and with the stems and pith removed can fit into an 8 oz jar…yes, this is ten chopped green peppers we can preserve up to 25 years!  At any time we might toss a portion of these jars into a soup or stew and enjoy all the flavor it had on the day we dried it.  People all over the world have been doing this for thousands of years!

If you ever try to dehydrate apples, good luck getting them in storage.  They are so delicious that we can hardly help ourselves from eating the whole batch.  I think that they are  the best treat of all from the dehydrator.  A close second is corn and the tomatoes are third I think.  Corn makes a great crunchy snack and tomatoes are great when baked into bread and bagels.  We’ll have a tons of snack food some day if  stores can’t provide fresh veggies for what ever reason…snow storm, power outage, or the proverbial “Zombie Apocalypse” .  We’ll be OK by having prepared  just a little beforehand.  Anyone can do this if they put their mind to it.