Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"My" Hurricane is a Wicked Witch!

I really have no business writing a blog entry right now.  I should be asleep.
It's 3:30 AM, and I'm supposed to take my car to the shop at 7:30.
I guess I'll just take a nap before I go. :P

The reason I can't sleep is that I've been up watching the news online all about "Superstorm Sandy".
I feel a connection to this storm, because it's named after me.  But, whoa!  She is MUCH more wicked than I have ever been!

When I was a young girl, we watched the news about "Hurricane Ginger" (my sister's name), and I said, "I want a storm to be named after ME!"

Well, I finally got what I asked for 40 years later, and this storm is WAY MORE than I asked for!
Why couldn't "Hurricane Sandy" just be a normal little hurricane?  Why did it have to merge with all those other weather disaster ingredients to create a "Frankenstorm"?

Oh well....you get what you get in life.  My moniker has been claimed by a beast, and I just have to live with it.

So, I think I've seen enough news about the superstorm now.  I'm gonna hit the sack.  My little car needs an oil change, and the tire pressure needs to be checked too.  The tire light keeps coming on...and yesterday the  BRAKE light came on!!  What's up with all that?  Maybe my car heard about the storm, and is afraid of me now.  Wouldn't surprise me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Small (2 qt) Crock Pot Marinated Beef Stew

Last night, I bought a new, very small crock pot at Walmart - for $10.  While shopping on earlier occasions, I had seen this tiny crock pot, and thought it looked like it would work perfectly for my solo meals.

Rival 2 qt Slow Cooker

I already have a regular sized crock pot, but it made such huge amounts of food, that it would take me a MONTH to eat it all.  Usually, I was throwing away about half of what I made.  So, since I decided to buy the smaller one, I was looking forward to trying the recipes I would find in the manual.  Unfortunately, there is not a SINGLE recipe in the manual. :(

I decided to check online, to see what recipes I could find.  Not very many.  When I did a search on Google, it just showed results for recipes in regular sized crock pots, with just a few mentions of 2 quart sized concoctions.  Since I didn't have much luck online, I decided to just give it a try on my own.

There were some cubes of sirloin in my refrigerator, marinating in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and spices.  I had planned on grilling them on my George Foreman grill, like shish kabobs.  But, I decided to give them a try as the base for a beef stew in my little crock pot instead.

I opened the box, and got out my little slow cooker, gave it a good wash, then plugged it in.  Next, I poured in the marinated meat.  Then, I chopped up two medium potatoes, one large carrot, half an onion, and 4 mushrooms.  Next, I poured a can of tomato soup in, and added half a can of water as well.  Then, I sprinkled on some sea salt and cracked pepper.  It looked like it needed a bit more liquid, so I looked in the fridge, and got the can of Guiness Extra Stout that had been in there for a few weeks.  I poured it on top of the mixture in the crock pot, until it looked like it was full enough.  I still had about a third of a bottle of beer left, but it was too early in the day to drink it, so it went down the drain.

The mixture in the pot looked right, so I gave it a stir, then turned the dial to High.  It took about 30 minutes for me to get ready for work, then I turned the dial to Low as I walked out the door.   I was gone for about 6 hours, teaching piano lessons, then came home to a kitchen that smelled DIVINE!

The potatoes were still a little too hard, so I turned the dial back up to High, and set the timer for an hour.  While it cooked, I had a snack to ease my hungry, growling tummy, and played a few rounds of Wheel of Fortune on my Wii. :)

When the timer went off, I stepped into the kitchen, and the little slow cooker was happily bubbling my stew.  It smelled even better than before, and looked nicer as I stirred it up to take a look.  The potatoes were still not as tender as I wanted, so I turned the dial back to Low, and let it sit for about another hour.  So, the total cooking time was about 9 hours, I guess.

By this time, it was smelling heavenly, so I decided to try a bowl.  VERY TASTY!
Sirloin Beef Stew in Crock Pot
If you want to try my Small Crock Pot Marinated Beef Stew, here's the ingredients listed:
  • Small package of sirloin steak, cubed for beef kabobs
  • Marinate beef with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, cracked pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and marjoram.  Place in ziploc bag, and marinate at least an hour - or overnight.  (I marinated mine for a whole day.)
  • Two medium yellow potatoes, cubed
  • One large carrot, thinly sliced
  • Half of one medium sweet onion, chopped
  • Four medium mushrooms, sliced
  • Sprinkling of sea salt and cracked pepper
  • One can of condensed tomato soup, and half a can of warm water
  • One bottle of Guiness Extra Stout Beer  (save this for last, and pour in a much as the crock pot will hold)
Stir Gently, Cook on High for one hour, then turn to Low and cook for 6 hours.
Stir well, then cook on High for another hour.  Next, check the potatoes and carrots to see if they are tender.  If not, then cook for another hour on Low.