Sunday, April 19, 2015


Well, over the weekend, my Spring Fever got the best of me and I ended up hurting my lower back by overdoing it. Consequently I missed work today and I've been sitting on an ice pack off and on and taking meds. 
So, I decided to write a post about some of the basic meal prep tips that I use to make it easier for a busy week when I work late, as well as helping preserve the foods that I buy so they don't spoil before I have a chance to fix them in a recipe. Most of it is pretty common sense.  For some recipes, I will cook up the meat say like ground turkey with all the herbs and spices and onion for, say, my Stuffed Shells. Then, when I prepare it, I've only to add egg, marinara sauce  and cottage cheese, cook my jumbo pasta shells, fill them with the meat mixture, top with shredded Parmesan and bake.  I'll do that with ground beef as well, for stroganoff and sloppy joes, adding all veggies that can be precious and frozen, then I freeze them in freezer containers and label them, of course, so that I have home-cooked meals ready with very minimal cooking or prep throughout the week. I try to decide on what recipes I'm going to fix and buy my groceries for the week accordingly. I also try to buy meat in bulk, as it's cheaper per pound. Same thing with vegetables, like Vidalia onions, celery, and peppers, if they're on special. 
I will divide up the meat in portion sizes for my husband and I and wrap ithe portions well, then label them and freeze them in freezer safe bags. 
For example the recipes that I've decided six for the week for the menu that I've chosen him I will buy enough of chicken or pork or beef or whatever or whatever part of me or type of mean it is that I'm going to give use and I will depending on the recipe either pick it up or portion it into serving sizes for my husband and I and freeze it that way and I will write the name of the recipe on the bag of the individual cuts of meat.  
The list goes on the fridge and with the recipe name and what page in what book it's in what recipe book and
and is checked off as the meat is frozen for it and then you get a quick reference and you know what's what and what's going on. 
Then I put all them in a larger Ziploc freezer bag marked with what kind of meat it is.  
It's a super quick way to preserve your food save money and make it easier to prepare good nutritious home cooked meals throughout a busy work week

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cooking in Quantity/prep

So lately, since I've been working overtime, I've been cooking up meals and freezing them, with some only being prepped to a point before freezing for minimal assembly/cooking after a long day.  
Right now I'm sautéing 1large finely chopped Vidalia onion, a 10 oz jar of sliced mushrooms and pressed garlic in about 1/2 C water, adding more water as needed till onions are tender and translucent.  
Half of this will be added to the lean ground turkey I'm browning, heavy on the basil, oregano, Tuscan seasoning, pink Himalayan salt and pepper and crushed fennel seed.  
At this point, I'll store in a freezer safe till cool, then freeze for use in stuffed shells or stuffed manicotti, with the addition of a few more ingredients, then assembled and baked.  
A package of ground sirloin mixed with the remaining onion, mushroom, garlic mixture, ready to be cooled and frozen. 
The second package of ground sirloin and a roll of Po Folks Italian sausage browned together.  This will be divided into two separate containers and frozen, for use in spaghetti sauce and or soups. 
So, that's part of my prep cooking for the week. It really is nice to have a home cooked meal in a very short amount of time after a long day.  You'll eat better, have better control over your food/calorie intake, and you won't have to rely on prepackaged, over processed junk.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Unexpected Vacation

I didn't work at all so far this week. Today is Thursday.  I stayed home from work Monday because of snow and slick roads, Tuesday because I felt unable to deal with leaving the house, Wednesday because of more snow and luck roads, and today, well, today, I actually could not leave the house.  I've already scheduled tomorrow off, because I'm pretty damn sure I'm not gonna feel capable of it tomorrow, either. I feel perfectly calm right now, but I still don't want to leave the house.   
Earlier, I had my truck warming up, lunch, audiobooks, water and coffee packed and ready to go.  I just could not move to put on my coat, pick up my stuff and head out the door.  My head felt fuzzy, I started crying, my legs felt shaky, my heart was racing, and my stomach hurt bad.  Just, blam! 
This has been an ongoing issue since my husband experienced a horrible wreck in August of 2000.  When he was finally able to return to work was when I had my first panic attack.  I had been holding down a full time job, racing home to pick him up to go back to town to his physical therapy appointments three and four times a week.  This went on for about four or five months, with me becoming more and more tired, more and more stressed.  It was like flipping a switch, or stepping into a new life overnight whilst asleep.  I went from having the normal, (if there is such a thing), amount of worry, you know, the every day kind of worry, nothing overwhelming, to worrying about minute things with the intensity that one would feel over a payment due that really put you short for the month.  It's hard and it sucks and anyone who hasn't experienced it doesn't understand the often crippling power of it. 

So today, in order to hopefully exorcise the anxiety from myself, I'm cleaning out the two spare rooms.  Rearranging furniture, clearing all of the crap out.  Maybe clear my head at the same time.  
Have the Aura music channel on the Dish, (hubby's been cool about that!),and I'm just finishing up a bite of lunch and planning the next angle of de-cluttering. 

So now it's Saturday. Haven't finished the de-clutter, ran out of steam. Gonna work on it today.  Yesterday, we accomplished, thanks to our tax refund, the purchase of a new gas stove and matching refrigerator!  Both in black, both Whirlpools.  Had to special order, they'll be here in a couple of weeks. Other than the Frigidaire dishwasher we put in about twelve or so years ago, these are the first brand new kitchen appliances I've ever had. Hard work pays off!!!
After that, we bought groceries, making it home just before it started sleeting. We woke up to about two or three inches of fresh snow and sleet.  
It's 10:36 a.m., we've been up for about an hour I'd say, seeing as how I'm on my third cup of coffee.  I love our mornings at the kitchen table, talking over things, discussing plans, enjoying coffee and watching the birds at the feeders.  This morning, it started sleeting again, turned to a light snow, then it snowed heavy for a bit.  Fine flurries right now. 
At some point today, I need to lie down, put some earbuds in and meditate.  The first thought in my head this morning when I woke up was, "I have to go back to work day after tomorrow ".  I don't know why this makes me anxious, but it does.  I think a lot of it is because I feel so alone.  I mean, I'm not shunned or anything, and I have work friends, it's not that at all. It's just that my beliefs and opinions aren't that of the group/herd on many points.  While we have much in common, there is just as much we disagree on.  And, knowing their views on certain topics, I sometimes catch myself wondering, as I see them talking to others who ARE one of those "certain topics", how friendly and genuine they are towards them, are they just being that way towards me?  For, I have made the "grand mistake" of espousing my view on "certain topics", and have done so in my typical, headstrong and passionate way.  Oh yes, quite the faux pas!!!  
Many of my tastes and interests are different.  I don't like the murder mystery audiobooks, nor the romance and, oh hell no, never 50 Shades of Grey.  I prefer reading (listening) to historical fiction, history, bios and auto bios, politics, Hitchens and Dawkins, and if it's fiction, it'd better be damn good fiction. I listen to Folk, Indie, Singer-Songwriter, some new bands, Classical, Opera, World Music, especially traditional Nordic and Celtic Music.  Most listen to country, which I consider to be utter horse💩.  Or nothing but classic rock.   😴
And I don't play the little social games.  You know, the ones where you pretend to be interested in something that "just came into your head", and ask twenty questions, partly out of concern, partly out of nosiness for something to gossip about.  Or someone stabs you in the back and expects you to be over it in a few days and that everything's cool.  Or someone makes fun of you in a hushed but just loud enough for you to hear, then shriek with laughter when you get upset  Everyone knows it's going on, but few to none say anything to them.  If you say nothing, you're complicit in the bullying too.  And, of course, you're supposed to get over it in a few days or so.  I. Don't. Play. Those. Stupid. Games.  I will cut you out. You'll barely exist to me. You will not take up rent in my head.  Anything work related, I will be "work polite", other than that, I don't want one damn thing to do with you.  You've proven yourself to be someone untrustworthy and rude, so why would you think I want to be "friends" again?  Seriously!  Funny thing is, most of my life people told me I needed to stand up for myself and what I care about and believe.  Now that I do, they often wish I'd just shut up.  
For years, because this has been a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember, I've been picked on, bullied, ignored, mocked, and a couple times, hit by people around me.  I've never quite fit in, and kids can sense differences and collectively shut out anyone who doesn't conform to group standards.  My few friends growing up were either "good", (as in conforming) kids, who, in my typical headstrong independent fashion, got in trouble by encouraging and including them in my misadventures, (such as walking two blocks down and across the street to climb in a neighbors apple trees at about 5 years of age), resulting in them not being allowed to play with me anymore, or I was the one being kept away from other little girls who were more rebellious and independent than I was.  
We moved from the city to a 75+ acre farm a month before I turned seven.  Being naturally shy, and unafraid to roam on my own, by the time I was eight, I was regularly sneaking out at night to wander the fields and forests in moonlight, rain or snow. I haunted the woods, immersed myself in learning animals signs, how to sit perfectly still and observe wild foxes playing at the entrance to their den that sat on a steep hillside overlooking a small waterfall in the creek that meandered through our land.  How to imitate quail and whippoorwills, catch the biggest bass, find mushrooms and berries, tend cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons. How to cut and stack wood, prepare for winters, garden...  Being an only child, having so much freedom as long as my work was done, really brought out my independent, go it alone side.  It also made me rather socially awkward, as I never learned how to play the silly social games people play. What you see is pretty much what you get.  
In other words, I'm too "everything", and I'm too independent, a "think-for-myselfer", and that's going against the grain.  And its something I've been and done, All. My. Life.  
The way I feel about it, how can one just hide themselves and conform to the herd?  And why would anyone want to or feel compelled to?  Why deny who you really are? Why play a part in the "show"?  Wouldn't it be better to be yourself, be open and honest and fair in dealings with others?  Wouldn't that go a long way towards making a better world?  

Sunday, last day before heading back to work.  I feel better, still don't want to go. 
First ever Dutch Baby (look it up) in the oven and a couple sausage patties on the stove.  Trying to just relax and keep busy at the same time.  Breathe.  Breathe. Breathe.