Easy Peasy Crock Pot Life: Beef Stew

Hello everyone!

This week I will be going on a four day juice cleanse to help me with my IBS. Perhaps it is because I am stressed about the holidays, I am hosting Christmas Day this year, or because I am ultimately saddened that I will not be with my family for the third time this year. You see, my family lives in Germany. I grew up in a city called Berlin and met my husband through the US Army when he was stationed in a small village named Baumholder. When he seperated from the military we both moved to Florida, his home. But that is a story for another time.

Anywho, juice cleanse. To help boost the energy that my insides so direly need. And during this time I tend to make a meal that the husband loves, and that lasts a couple of days. Who likes to cook delicious food for someone else when they themselves cannot have any of it because they are going on a cleanse? Not me that is for sure. So here I am preparing this Beef Stew in my Hamilton Beach Crock Pot , my trusty cooking companion of four years. 

It is easy. It is peasy. And it feeds four or one hungry husband for up to three days.

Beef Stew:

The Ingredients that you will need:

  • One carton Vegetable Broth
  • One carton Chicken or Beef Broth
  • Two large cups of Stew Beef. You can cube up a cheap steak that you bought, or do as I did and go to your local Sams Club and see what beef they have on sale. I was able to find 3.5 pounds of Stew Meat for $11.53 and I am only using two cups worth of that and have the rest frozen for another delicous time.
  • 6 medium Potatoes, red or golden that is up to you. I will be using red because that is the husbands preference.
  • Half of the biggest onion you can find, or one whole medium onion.
  • 6 handfuls of baby carrots
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add Mrs Dashs Table Blend Seasoning.
  • A crock pot, of course.


Here we go.

How to prepare this super easy meal:

Turn on your crockpot and set it on HIGH for SIX HOURS. Why six? I do not know but six always worked for me.

Fill the crock pot with the Broth Combination. Add seasonings (Worchestershire Sauce, Salt and Pepper).

Add the baby carrots. I used six handfuls which could be four normal hand sized handfuls to most (I have incredibly tiny hands).


Chop up the potatoes. I prefer to slice them up fairly thin, that way they cook faster and soak in flavor quicker. And add the potatoes to the crock pot.

Next you will chop up the onion, have tissues ready for when the tears come rolling. And you add it to the crockpot as well. I used half of a giant Spanish Onion that I bought from our local Market. I put the other half in the fridge because I will be using it for a different dish I will be making soon. 

Place the lid on top of the crockpot for 30 minutes and walk away. Play with the animals, play with your kids, check your phone for notifications, pay the bills, go to the mailbox, do whatever your little heart desires.


After 30 min you will take a big spoon and mix the stuff in the crockpot around and add the beef to it. Make sure that everything is drowning in the broth so that it does not dry out while it cooks.

And now you can relax. The first 45 minutes are already done. 

Always make sure that your crockpot is not at arms reach for children and animals. Make sure it is on a heatproof surface away from the stove top or any majorly important cables. Crockpots can get really hot really quickly.

And drum roll (when the six hours are over…….


Delicious Beef Stew with even yummier left overs.

One pan. 30 minutes. In your belly. Done.

We all know this, we come home from a very busy day and we dread the moment we enter the kitchen. Now we have to cook after all that exhaustion we have been facing all day long. Of course, we could order in and spend unnecessary money and eat unwanted calories. That would be the lazy way of how to do things. The other option would be your partner/room-mate/spouse/sibling/other family member cooks, but that is not always the option. In my case, my husband is incapable of cooking even the simplest of things. A lot of trial and error, and I became in charge of feeding us. Now where was I?
Oh, yes.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just dump everything in one pan and walk away for 20 minutes and just relax?

Of course you would have had the option of dumping food in to a crock pot before you head out to fulfill your list of chores. But most of us do not want to wait 4-8 hours for our food to be done.

So now to my tasty 30 minutes, one pan dish.

Beefy Marinara Macaroni, AKA grown up and healthier Hamburger Helper.

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You will need:

  • One pound of ground beef
  • Two bell peppers, cut up in to thin strips
  • 2.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups of marinara sauce (or a can of tomatoes if you like)
  • 3/4th of a cup of macaroni noodles
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella or whatever cheese you have leftover in the back of that drawer in your fridge that you do not know what is inside of. (I ended up finding Amish creamy Havarti cheese and it went quite well with the dish).
  • A  deep pan with a lid, duh.

How to make dinner:

  1. Heat the pan up to the highest heat setting and add your bell peppers and ground beef to brown. Do not wait until the meat is completely cooked because it will fully cook in the broth later.
  2. Add the broth, the marinara sauce, and macaroni noodles and bring it all to a boil. Once it boils lower the heat to medium high, place the lid on the pan and walk away for 20 minutes.
  3. Do a little dance, you are at home, you get to eat soon. Life is good.
  4. Turn the heat off, place food in bowl, add cheeses and let them melt.
  5. Enjoy

And just think how many other home cooked dishes you can just throw in the pan and enjoy in less than an hour!

I hope you enjoyed this post.

xoxo Natascha

 

 

How to handle another BFN

You’re sitting on the floor in the bathroom, waiting for the timer on your phone to tell you it is ready. You take a deep breath. This has to be the month. You and your partner love each other. This will be your month. Yes. 


And there it is again, hello darkness my old friend. A Big Fat Negative. 

  1. You did everything right this month. You did not drink any alcohol although you probably should have to calm your nerves.
  2. You did not consume any caffeine because doing all of that research you decided to ditch the coffee and the green tea.
  3. You took your supplements religiously and avoided medications such as Ibu Profen and just dealt with your migraines like the lioness that you are
  4. You checked your CM.
  5. You checked your temperature
  6. You tracked your ovulation, what you ate, what you didnt eat, and on and on.


Meanwhile everyone is getting pregnant left and right. People you went to high school with are announcing “whoops I guess we are parents now lol we weren’t even trying”. You write congratulations but secretly wish it was you who got to write that status update for all the world to see.

But there you are, locked inside the bathroom with this stick that laughs at you. Are you only half a woman because you still are not with child? Did the expensive and incredible painful laparoscopy for your newly diagnosed Endometriosis fail you? Did the doctor sloppily flush your tubes? Can you not have children? Is this where your DNA ends? Is there something wrong with the gallons and gallons of water you consume each month because you’re afraid to drink anything else because it might harm you? Is there something wrong with your husband? Why not this month? This month was a good month.

Sex becomes a scheduled chore instead of an intimate bond between you and your partner. Afterwards comes the dreaded two week wait. You timed everything now. At first it was just fun, fun that could lead to a new life. Now it is a task. A step to receiving another BFN. Each month you promise not to buy more pregnancy tests, you swear you wont look at the baby section of the store. Your hormones get worse and worse and you start having fake symptoms because just like your mind, your body wants this too. 

But how do you deal with that dreaded Big Fat Negative?

  1. Stay away from the baby section.

Yes you may have friends with babies or friends who are pregnant and want gifts. Never go alone in to the magical baby merchandise of the store if you absolutely have to be in that section. Stay away from baby sales, you do not need to collect more for your imaginary baby. It is easier said than done but the time to buy cute imaginary baby stuff is not now. Instead, go to the make up section, the book section, get something to eat instead.


      2. If you feel like you need to cry by all means cry.

It is impossible to keep all of these emotions bottled up. You start resenting yourself and your partner if you do not let the feelings come out. Am I the reason this is not happening? There must be something wrong with you! Do not do that. Go on a Forum that helps you with expressing what you are feeling. This month was month 10 of TTC (trying to conceive) and I strongly believed that this would be the month. It was not. I discovered the Glow app and their forum and found a lot of women who are experiencing exactly what I am going through and feel what I feel. It was such a relief to know I was not alone.
        3. Stop buying Pregnancy Tests.

For one they are expensive if you keep buying more and more each time you rush to the store. Yes you may feel that this is the month, but until Auntie Flow does not make her grand entrace, hold off on buying the sticks. Are you late? Buy a test. Are you dealing with morning sickness or did you just eat something bad? Check when your period is due or was due and if you missed it, get tested. If you do not have the Tests at home, you cannot get disappointed by testing to early or testing and not getting the answer you want.


   4. Think of yourself and not of your uterus. 

Go on a hot date with your partner, have that glass of wine or that cocktail that you have been avoiding like the plague. Get your nails done, buy some clothes that you can fit in now, have a relaxing day by binge watching your favorite show in bed. For me it is F•R•I•E•N•D•S• and marzipan chocolate while laying in bed and having my cats sleep next to me. Remember that there was a life that revolved around you and not your ovaries.  
Now, if you are truly worried about there being something physically wrong with your body or your partners body, get it checked out. Better safe than sorry. It is always recommended that if after a full year of trying you still are not with child, that you should get everything checked just incase. For some couples it takes no time to get pregnant for some it can take a while. As depressing as a BFN is, I am still with hope. I do not know how, but I am.

And you should be too.

As much as we hate hearing the words “it will happen when it is supposed to happen” or “just have fun and it will happen”, that is sadly all we can hold on to. You cannot force a miracle, unless you want to pay thousands of dollars to get hormonal treatments done or to get inseminated.

Trick your body in to thinking it is just an average day, and that you are making love for the sake of making love. Over time it gets easier. But the darkness creeps in too from time to time. Find a new passion you can sink your teeth in to and excell at it. Find a new love for something, a band,  a hobby, a new pet, a group that meets up and does activities together. 

You can do this, you can do anything. It will be your time.

Remember that. 

5 Ways how Teamiblends helps me 

Maybe because it was getting unbearably hot outside, or maybe it was because I cut out dairy completely and just accepted the fact that I am lactose intolerant and the pain cheese gives me is no longer worth having. Somehow I was no longer going number two. My stomach felt hard and was aching. I have not passed gas in God knows how long. My husband was happier due to the fact that I was no longer nuking him in my sleep. I checked the scale, I gained 8 pounds in 5 weeks. How? I had cut out dairy, I had been eating bunny food and stayed away from gluten and fast food. I was drinking my gallon of water a day. How on earth did I gain weight? Then I realized, I had not been to the bathroom in two weeks. That explained the migraines and the acne outbreak. The dull skin and terrible sleep. I looked in the mirror and there it was, the giant belly bloat of Satan.

It was unbearable. Carrying this giant belly around. My pants still fit but I was carrying around a doughnut ring around my pants, I was sluggish. Over the years the doctors had prescribed me anything from Mira-lax to fiber supplements to heavy medications like omeprazole. When I had my colonoscopy is 2013 I had to drink two gallons of laxatives instead of one because one did not do anything and two had only and finally kicked in a couple hours before the colonoscopy. Cutting out certain foods did not help. Fiber makes me more plugged up. I got so desperate. Should I pay 60$ every 10 days to get a colonic to help me? My rectal enemas are no longer working, the grape flavored laxative doesn’t even make me fart. Hooray for my husband. Boo for me.

Then I saw all of these “Instagram famous skinny women where you don’t know why they are famous or have money but they have thousands of followers” brag about this company called Teamiblends. I got desperate and was crying because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. I ordered their colon tea. I told myself if it does not work I can always return it and spend my life savings on colonics. The shipment arrived at my home four days later. Here goes nothing.

I boiled some water, placed the tea bag in my mug, added water and some honey and did as the instructions said: let it sit for 2-3 min the first time. Now I planned on doing that. I was looking at the clock and checking on the tea, when my cats decided to knock something over so I went to check on that. 10 minutes and 39 seconds later I remembered the tea. I removed the bag and said screw it. I was doubting this company. I drank every last drop.

This was at 8:00 pm. I continue tidying up the house. At around 10 pm I laid myself down to sleep. My stomach made bubble sounds that I have not heard in six weeks. I pass gas. I start to cheer. My husband gets scared for his nose.

11 pm rolls by. My stomach sounds like the sinking Titanic. Creeking noise and incredibly loud bubbling sounds. I get excited. More tooting occurs. I keep chugging down water to speed up whatever is happening in there. Then the sound stops. And I have exactly 12 seconds to run to the bathroom.

Let me spare you those details.

Fast forward, it was 4:00 am and I got to lay down for real real not for play play. My stomach is very sore but feels comfortable. My migraine is gone. I go to sleep.

1. You wake up feeling rested

After I drink this tea (every 2-3 days) I go to sleep, only to wake up feeling refreshed. I get to rise from my slumber feeling like a new born. I believe it is because this tea rids you of toxins in your body that your feces carries. I have not had brain fog since drinking this tea.

2. The Bloat is gone!


I do still carry a bit of bloat on me, just because it is 105 degrees in Florida. However, I have not looked this healthy in a very long time. It works while you sleep. The tea is to be consumed at night so your body can process it while you are asleep. And when you wake up you get rid of the waste and enjoy your day. That was not the case for me, I blame it on having been majorly backed up. My body processed it immediately and there was no sleeping and waking up as my body waits for me. Nobody waited for me. It was a life or loss of dignity by pooping your pants, at age almost 25, situation. Throughout the day your bloat gets less and less. I felt confident again. Hello skin tight clothes and goodbye my giant pajama shirts. I felt like myself. A person I had missed for a very long time.

3. Your cravings go away

Since drinking this tea I no longer have a hankering for junk food, sweets, salty foods, bad food in general. Now I did some research and could not find anything hunger suppressant related about this tea. I believe it is a psychological thing for me. Focusing on eating the better things so I do not end up backed up and bloated again. My stomach cannot hold as much food anymore, it now tells me when I am full. Something it was incapable of doing for almost two months. The cravings are almost completely gone. I do enjoy an occasional Popsicle or a Starbucks coffee. But anything else that is not necessarily good for me, I show absolutely no interest in. And since I have been detoxing thanks to Teami colon by Teamiblends , I have established this new energy which helps me get more than 6,000 steps in my day when my goal is just 5,000.

4. You lose inches and a couple of pounds

Since I started this tea I have lost 7.4lbs and four inches around my waist. I do not necessarily believe that it is fat, it seems like water weight and what I was backed up with contributed to this loss. I can say though that I fit in to size 8 un-stretchy-fabric pants again. Something that was out of the question for me since 10th grade (eight years ago). The water weight keeps coming off but only if you drink the tea every 2-3 days. It helps keep you regular. I now go to the bathroom every two days. Which is a miracle schedule for me. It really helps with chronic IBS symptoms.

5. The detox effect clears your acne issues

I never had an issue with acne until recently when it was getting really humid outside and my chronic IBS flared up. I have been drinking this tea for 2.5 weeks now and my face has never looked nicer. I have less acne issues and my skin does not look dull anymore. It finally absorbs lotion again and also helped heal parts of my eczema. It is not a cure for eczema or chronic IBS but it helps lessen the symptoms for me.

TO End this recap of my wonderful experience with Teamiblends Teami Colon :

I do not get paid to talk about them. They did however offer me my own personal code that I get to share with all of you! If you type in LOLAJ10 at the checkout you get 10% off your entire order! That is the same code I use when placing my orders.

If you seem interested in Teamiblends teas , I will encourage you to give it a try. Their products are gluten and lactose free and carry no pesticides or preservatives. Their tea leafs are from Hong Kong, a place that is still practicing medicine with the power of Teas. It helped me and maybe it will help you, and that is what is the most important thing. To help each other.

 

DIY Victorias Secret Shopping Bag Box

Some of us are fortunate, fortunate to not being a hoarder. I am not that case. I hoard anything I ever receive as a gift, or find laying around. You offer me something completely pointless for the sole purpose of getting rid of it? I will take it. Why? Because what if I need it in the future??

So here I am, with a ton of Victoria’s Secret Bags. Bags that have accumulated over time, either from shopping there or somebody else had these bags stashed somewhere and was ready to throw them out. And that is where I play my part.

I got a new desk, I have empty shelves, I needed boxes. I like boxes. In a not so normal way. I will collect them and if they are big enough, fill them with smaller boxes. Heck, even one Christmas my brother gave me decorative paper boxes with bows on them, empty, but so pretty. I was smitten. Now they hold smaller things. Back to the need for boxes. I had all this cardboard left over from our recent move. I am good and making something out of nothing. I learned that from my German Grandfather. So here I am with 11 empty VS bags, the kind you receive when you purchase items in the store (probably should have added that in the beginning), and a lot of left over cardboard.

And this is where my mind went. Make my side of the crafting area look mega organized. Boom.

First you grab some cardboard and a pen and you trace each side of the box. Just trace and flip and trace and flip until you traced a flat outline of your shopping bag. Watch out for cats, they can sense a box is being made and want to test out their new bed.

Then, and watch your fingers, you cut the shape out. You cut along the very last trace and straight across the top. To create this giant rectangular shape. Measure about two finger width of a space and cut off that much of the very top, this is important because if you do not do this, the cardboard will not fit underneath the flap inside of the bag (the flap that holds the string that lets you carry your pretty new underwear treasure bag).

Yay, we made it this far, good! Now take the scissors and gently cut along the lines you created with your pen when you traced it, creating a small cut, but not entire through the cardboard!!! This well help fold it easier for when you insert it in to the bag later. Then you fold towards the cut, NOT away. That would lead to ripping of the cardboard. We do not want this to happen.

Then you fold it along the lines. By creating a triangular shape it will be easier to insert! Dont forget to fold the flaps upwards, insert the cardboard, and then place the flaps over the cardboard. Use some clear tape or washi tape or duckttape to secure it all. And voila! You have your adorable and super functional VS box. And if you are like me, you will realize any gift bag you have ever received could be made in to a box, so you spend you afternoon making these beauties while watching FRIENDS and forgetting what the outside world looked like. Now you can add white tape or pink tape for the side as well (or different colored thick cardboard), I did not do so because all of mine are already filled to the top with shipping items, so you cannot even tell that there is cardboard inside of them.

I hope you liked my simple tutorial!