Do you ever get bothered by going through the same conversation week after week? I am sure, for the majority of the working population, we go through the same conversation with people each week.
On Monday, when asked the all-too-common “How are you?” most of us give some type of generic response like “I’m good…. it’s Monday, ughhh.” As the week progresses, most responses form around whatever day we are on; “At least its not Monday,” or “Half-way there, almost Friday!” This cycle, along with people always asking “What’s up?” or “How are you?” as they keep walking past you really gets to me. I’m just as guilty as the next person, but have been trying to stop asking unless I sincerely care to stop and know how a person is doing.
This routine has been weighing on me for a while, so I’m using my blog as a way to vent. I’d like to start responding with something related to food, but most people don’t care if I cooked Overnight Oatmeal Crisps or dehydrated okra and green beans with my new food dehydrator. But on my blog, the people reading actually do care (hopefully!) for my thoughts on food and health, so it’s nice to have Just Add Cayenne as an outlet. I just want to thank everyone who stops by to read this, if you like it, please share with others you know.
I’m done now. On to food!
One thing I’ve been trying to work on is not taking so long in the kitchen so I can spend more time with Kelley. You might think “Really? Doesn’t she enjoy a husband cooking?” but I agree, I take way longer than usual. For example, I woke up at 7:45am on Sunday, and basically stayed in the kitchen up to 7pm. So, I constantly have ways to reduce time in the kitchen running through my head while still making 5 lunches ready to bring to work throughout the week. Kelley says I don’t have to do this, but it’s just my “thing” and I enjoy providing meals from home…….I really despise relying on going somewhere that I can’t control how my meal is prepared.
With time saving on the mind, I decided to use the slow-cooker with a healthy mix of garlic, onions, barley, veggies and the cut of beef on top. I let this cook on low for 8 hours while I cooked and prepared other food items for this week. In order to save time with the slow cooker (sound odd, huh?), I used half of the 1.1lb cut of beef for another dish. We have a meal with Jersey Sweet potatoes and a veggie bean mix just about every week, and I figured using slow roasted beef chopped and served with veggies and the potato would be a tasty change. Kelley liked the idea, so that was all I needed to be inspired for this simple dish. That’s 2 meals for us right there; actually 3 meals since I made enough beef and barley stew for leftover leftovers. No complaints here, this is an excellent meal full of flavor and nutrition!
I still made the other vegetarian sweet potato meal since it is pretty quick to make; steam the potato, steam the veggies and beans, season with herbs and spices, and it’s ready to go. For the final meal, I soaked dry black beans that I used for a hearty black bean with long grain and wild brown rice dish that is sure to please. Rice and beans provide an inexpensive meal that supplies you with complete protein and can take on many flavor variations.
We are looking forward to week full of healthy beef lunches; did you make anything you’re looking forward to this week? Next time you are confronted by a co-worker; try discussing something else like food instead of talking about what day it is or isn’t…..you’ll probably catch them off-guard.
For those that are curious, here are the ingredients used for the beef and barley stew:
- Onions, celery, 5 cloves of garlic, and red peppers sautéed for 3 minutes to bring out their natural sugars; all but the garlic came in a frozen 12oz bag
- Frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans; I just used the whole 12oz bag for each
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
- Jar of salsa (use your favorite kind) and chicken broth to top off
- Without measuring, I added cumin, chili powder, paprika, ground mustard, cayenne, basil, cilantro, and thyme
Just give everything a good stir, pan sear the beef round on each side and place on top of everything. Put the lid on your slow cooker, set the heat to low, and wait until done.