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.

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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.