28 October 2008

Pot Roast

Today I had the afternoon off from work to go to the dentist (what fun). I got home and started putting a pot roast in the crock pot. This is my first ever crock pot meal, but it looks great so far. The recipe follows, but before that I want to clarify some things in the HFCS 30-day challenge. Birthday cake is certainly exempt as is food you get at a restaurant or party. Basically anything you buy or have stored in your pantry that has a label you can read is what we are focusing on here. Luckily I have a head start on the pot roast. No way we can eat 3 pounds of meat in a week, so I plan on freezing half of this bad boy for the first week in November. And now back to the recipe :-)

Crock Pot Roast
(in progress photo)

3 lbs of beef round
0.5 lbs of oxtail
4 turnips
2 parsnips
1 white onion
1 shallot
3 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 potatoes
a few cups of vegetable stock

spices: flour, bay leaves, sage, coriander, salt, pepper, olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic.

Take the 3 lbs of round and coat with a light layer of flour, a bit of salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Mince one garlic clove and the shallot and put in hot oil. Sear the meat on all sides so that it is a bit brown, but not cooked. Put the meat on a plate to rest and throw out the now very brown garlic and shallot bits. Chop and peel the rest of the veggies. we want big chunks here and ballpark to have stuff roughly the same size (impossible with the carrots and celery, just break these into thirds). Add a few more drizzles of olive oil to the pan and saute the veggies and oxtails just till they are a bit caramelized. Again, don't cook, we just want color.

Add meat to the crock pot fat side up (this will help the fat melt downwards and yield juicier meat). Add the veggies and oxtails, 2 bay leaves, 2 dashes each of coriander and sage. Add the remaining garlic clove whole. Fill the crock pot about an inch or so deep with the vegetable stock. Set on high for about 5 hours.

27 October 2008

HFCS 30 day challenge

I am using this blog post to instigate a HFCS 30 day challenge. If you can, read the whole post before deciding I am a nutter. Please feel free to use the comments section to comment on the challenge and how you are doing on it should you choose to accept. But first, a bit of background.

High fructose corn syrup is the go to sweetener in the US because of ridiculously high tariffs on imported cane sugar (which makes our sugar cost more than sugar globally) and subsidized corn production (which makes corn much cheaper). HFCS is also not processed in your body the same way as cane or beet sugar. The jury is still out on whether HFCS is the root of all evil, so I am not indicting the entire industry here. HFCS has only been around since the 70s, so it is not like you grew up eating it (well my generation maybe has, but then again my mom cooked for us a lot so I may be exempt). HFCS has become so pervasive as a cheap sweetener that it has found its way into food that has no business having sugar in it. Check a can of regular old non-organic sweet corn and look for the sugar. Why does sweet corn need sugar added? Well because HFCS is also and excellent preservative.

There is no doubt that this stuff is not good for us. The corn lobby has started a ridiculous ad campaign which may indicate that sales are suffering due to consumer awareness. They may be correct that it is fine in moderation, but since it is in everything it takes some effort to only get it in moderation. I know that many of you reading this blog think that the organic hippie in me is a bit over the top. But, I think if you take this challenge with me, you may learn a thing or two.

The Challenge (if you choose to accept it).

Starting November 1st you will not eat or drink anything containing HFCS until November 30. Restaurant meals are excepted because you can never be too sure and I don't want to spoil a birthday or something. This should give you a week to alter your menus and get your pantry prepared. Then just start reading labels. Don't buy or eat anything with HFCS in it. You have to check every label- even bread can be hiding some. You don't have to go all organic, but you may have to change brands on some things.

There are plenty of soda companies still making cane sugar sodas (Jones, Blue Sky, Dublin Dr. Pepper). I am not a big fan of splenda or sweet and low (for other health reasons), but for the purposes of this challenge, you can drink diet soda if you like.

I will be taking this challenge as well. I have been trying to rid myself of HFCS for some time, but sometimes the snack attack gets to me. I just have to be smarter about my choices. More Pirate Booty cheese puffs for me!

I hope this challenge goes well. My goal is to get people reading labels and trying to get people to eat additives in moderation. You don't have to give up coke for your entire life, but you may just find that a splash of OJ in seltzer water tastes much better.

13 October 2008

Bike extravaganza

Yesterday I went on my biggest bike ride yet. My rockstar bike was in the shop, so I borrowed the green monster from luscious luka. Lauriebee and the Captain were also there to round out the pack. We biked to the lake and then tried to locate some grub. My chain got jammed while trying to cross a large road. I hoped off and ran across the street. Luckily the Captain was really prepared- first aid kit (which was thankfully not needed), bike pump, and chain repair tools. We were back on the road in no time. We ate, said goodbye to the Captain, and then biked up town to our Sunday knitting group. There were a bunch of new people there- great to have so many friendly faces. We only got to stay for an hour and a half because we still had to bike back across town. On the way, Lauriebee and I were accosted by a very large dog that was trying to jump out of the car next to us and eat us. The dog was barking, we were screaming, Luka had no idea what was going on because she was ahead of us and the Captain had already headed home way before. Well I don't care if the driver of the car was laughing, we just walked our bikes across the street and got out of his way. My legs were tired, but I am not sore. That is either because a) I am super hard core, or b) Luka made us eat magnesium. Ok, so it is probably b.

All told we rode 17 miles. The seat on the green monster was so much better than my too big squishy one on the rockstar, so I need a new saddle. My new tat is also holding up well. No puffyness, no itching, no oozing. That could all change later, but right now all is well.

12 October 2008

Big Update

I have not posted in a while (apologies), so I have a ton to show you. First up Tony: I went to water my plants the other day and found this in my watering can. Silly ferret! He is getting more playful every day and can't wait to have everyone visit for thanksgiving.

Last night, I also got my tattoo. My friend called me up in the morning and said we were going (her and her husband were getting their own as well). I thought we were just going to check out the place, but really we were there for the real thing. Glad we did it that way though, because I just kept putting it off for no reason. Hope y'all like it.

And finally a knitting update. My mom's green socks are almost done. I hope to have them done before she gets here for the holidays. I also hope to post a pattern for the Captain Hoodie to link in to ravelry. I have the hoodie done, just resizing it is going to be a pain.

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