Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rump Roast

We picked up our quarter of a cow from Crooked Creek Beef a few weekends ago. We received 200 pre-processed pounds of quarter-cow, it cost us just under $600 total. That means we paid $3.00/pound for everything from ground hamburger to t-bone steaks to roasts. We wound up with 38 one-pound packages of ground beef, and the rest was everything else. (Note - After processing, it's estimated we received approximately 115 pounds of beef, which amounts to approximate $5/pound. This is still a great price for the quality of beef we receive. Have your priced beef lately? And then priced hormone free beef?)

The reason I decided to go with Crooked Creek (aside from my friend Sarah using them) is because the beef is grass fed, hormone, antibiotic free beef. It's very high quality and you know where your meat comes from. When Liam is a little older, we will visit the farm and be able to see the cows we might be eating later that year. 

I'm still wrapping up using a few things from the last quarter of cow we got. I'm doing better at figureing out how to cook things I've never made before. I made the rump roast this week. And it turned out amazing! I love prime rib, and it was very similar. The quality of meat we receive tastes amazing. 

Rump Roast

The rub below is enough to use for 2.5-3.5 lb. roast (this is a good rub for any beef cut that you will roast). Remember, the spices only penetrate about 1/4 inch of the meat as it cooks. The roast should be served rare, and cut against the grain in thin, thin slices.
Before and After

  • 1, 2.5 - 3 lb. rump roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose black pepper
  • 2 good teaspoons granulated/powdered beef bouillon
  • 1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon regular paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • With a damp paper towel, wipe all sides of the roast.
  • Leave the saddle of fat on the roast. It adds moisture and taste.
  • In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Rub the olive oil into the roast and then coat with the dry rub.
  • Place roast on a metal rack in a shallow metal pan/dish.
  • Roast until it reaches an internal temperature of about 120-125 degrees. (Use a meat thermometer you can leave in the meat while cooking.) This will take anywhere from 50-70 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to stand without cutting for 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to stop flowing out and settle back into the meat.
  • Cut against the grain when carving. 
  • Remove roast to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Sometimes a sharp serrated knife works best.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meat Sauce

Another recipe from The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network. 

Here's what I did. It was DELICIOUS. I actually hope to make it again soon to keep a healthy stock in the freezer. 

3 pounds ground beef (I will use 2 pounds next time)
2 pounds sausage

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced (about 1.5 pounds)
3-4 bell peppers, seeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine or stock (your choice)
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Two 24-ounce jar good store-bought marinara sauce (or a 44-ounce jar)
Two 15-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes, drained
One 6-ounce can tomato paste

"Spice Mixture"
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
4 bay leaves
3 tablespoons parsley flakes

In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and sausage until totally browned. I added some Italian seasoning and garlic. Pour meat & liquid into strainer. Set meat aside.

Discard any grease in the pot, but do not clean the pot. (You can skip this step as I did below.) Drizzle in the olive oil. When it is heated, throw in the garlic, onions, and bell peppers. Stir and cook for ~5 minutes. Add the wine or stock and allow to boil/bubble and let reduce, another ~5 minutes. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, marinara sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine, and then add the "Spice Mixture". Stir, and then add the cooked meat. Mix well. Place the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for 1 hour+, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves before serving.


  • Add a little water or some low-sodium broth if it needs more liquid.
  • I was impatient on waiting for the meat to cook. Cooking five pounds of meat can take a while. The Pioneer Woman fools you during her half hour show and spending 10 minutes on the sauce. So while I started the meat I also started the rest of it in another pot. You could precook the meat the day before or hours before. 
  • Prep everything before hand! I cut all the onions and peppers, and then mixed together the "Spice Mixture" in a little bowl. I had all the cans ready to go, and a paper bag ready to put the cans for recycling. 
  • I like the Pioneer Woman because she does use shortcuts. I don't want to cook and crush my own tomatoes. Adding an extra jar of sauce is helpful, and cost effective!
I want to take into account the cost to make this. The Pioneer Woman says she gets 12 servings from it. I got approximately 15 servings. We used some for dinner tonight, I put some in a Tupperware for dinner later this week, and then filled 3 one-gallon freezer bags full (around 3 servings each) for freezing and use later. 

The meat came from my Crooked Creek Cow and I bought some extra pork from Williams Brothers. You can get pork for around $2-4/pound. It just depends on what you purchase. I estimated the meat to be $15. I prefer name brand canned goods, you could make this cheaper by using off brands. 

The other ingredients (minus the staples you should have, like EVEO, garlic, and the Spice Mixture), total almost $15. So $30 for 15 servings, or around $6/meal. Which is pretty good. I got worried at one point with the meat and all the canned goods this would add up and not be reasonable. I think it is reasonable, and can be made cheaper. Next time I'm going to use 2 pounds of ground beef instead of 3 pounds. The sauce was almost too meaty for me. My dad would love it. He likes a little sauce with his meat.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Use what have (AKA, The Freezer Cleanout)

The next quarter of a cow from Crooked Creek Beef is ready.

Big thanks to whoever is also using them! I earned a referral bonus on my quarter and got $35 off. Since I blog about it and FB, I'm not sure who it is, but thanks!

So Saturday we pick up like 150 pounds of meat. And um.... I'm not exactly sure where it's going!

Remember, we have *two* deep freezes! In the beginning of September our stand up freezer looked like this.
And four months later it looks like this ---->
We really need to have two cleaned off shelves for the meat we will receive. 

We still have a ways to go! But not really. Our (Andy's) 5 cu ft freezer is around half full. It was also full before having the baby. 

(NOTE - The rest of the post is mostly for me..... I'm going to keep an online list of what is in my freezer.) 
Our current stash includes: 
2 Mom's Lasagnas
Turkey Chili and Black Bean Soup (Those are the small containers in the door, and filling up the top drawer.)
2 lbs Bacon
5 lbs of Ground Turkey
6 lbs chicken (2-2 lbs cut for crockpot fajitas, 2 lbs cut for grilling)
Brats & Hot Dogs, Hamburger patties, and a few pounds of Ground Beef
T-Bone Steaks
Sirloin Steaks
NY Strip Steaks
Cube Steaks
Rump Roast
Shoulder Roast (defrosting actually, just had Beef Stroganoff and I want it again!)
London Broil
Chuck Steak
And a plastic container full of frozen bags of breast milk. 

In the 5-cu ft deep freeze.
2 Frozen Pizzas
2 Loafs of Bread
4-ounce salmon packs (Bag from Sams' Club)
Mozzarella Cheese & Pepperoni
Various Shredded Cheeses
Fresh Ravioli (from Sam's Club)
Bertolli Meal - I dress it up with more veggies and chicken when I make it. 
5-lb bag of frozen mixed veggies (to make more Tater Tot casseroles)
Homemade Broccoli & Cheddar Quiche

Our upstairs fridge-freezer has Tater Tots, Eggos, Pizza Rolls, Meatballs, Tortillas, Egg Rolls & General Tso's Chicken;  you know, the important things! 

And I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. Seriously. We won't be eating out for awhile!

I hope to make this Spaghetti Meat Sauce and get a bunch frozen. We would have had ravioli recently, but I have no sauce in the house! I was surprised too! 

Menu for this week includes:
Beef Stroganoff
Chinese food

We'll start there.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Beef Sandwiches

Have I mentioned how much I love watching The Pioneer Woman on Sunday mornings? And last Sunday was no exception! I need to start recording her show. I could go through her recipes online, but watching her show helps me better visual if I can actually make it. 

After Christmas, Jason and I went to the Lake of the Ozarks with my parents. Hell froze over and I got to control the remote control a few times! So Sunday morning, we all watched my favorite show. My mom even liked how she makes her spaghetti sauce. (I did too, I might try it sometime.) 
Searing the chuck roast in oil & butter

Since I still have meat from Crooked Creek Beef that I am trying to get through before my next cow is ready (like in a week or so...), I've been keeping my eye out for good recipes to use what I have left. 

We watched her make Drip Beef Sandwiches. They looked delicious! And since I had a chuck roast, I figured I'd give it a try! I varied it a bit to make it in the crock pot. The following instructions are Crock Pot - while she made it all in a Dutch Oven and same day. Next time I will probably just make it same day in the crock pot. 

Beef Sandwiches
One 3-4-pound chuck roast
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups beef broth (One 14.5 ounce can)
1 cup of water
1 jar pepperoncinis, juice and all

1 yellow onion, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
garlic powder, salt & pepper, Italian seasoning

Buns of your choice (Sams Club has these 12-inch hoggies that work well.
Swiss Cheese Slices

Sprinkle the chuck roast with salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and the canola oil in a skillet over high heat. Sear both sides of the chuck roast until very browned, about 5 minutes in all. Move chuck roast into the crock pot. Pour in the beef broth and 1 cup water. Then pour in the jar of pepperoncini with their juices. Cook until the meat is tender and falling apart, 4 to 5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.

Note - You can eat this that night or save it for the next day. I followed TPW's lead. 
Separate the meat and pepperoncinis from the juice. Place in two separate containers. 

The Following Day
The next day, remove the solidified fat from the "juice container." Shred the meat and place the juice, meat, and pepperoncinis in a stock pot on the stove. Simmer on low for an hour. 

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and spices, and saute until light golden brown. Set aside.

To serve, slice bread in half and slightly toast. Heap a generous portion of meat on each roll, and then spoon some of the cooking liquid over the meat. Top with a few peppers from the pot and plenty of caramelized onions. Top with Swiss Cheese. I then placed mine in the toaster oven to melt the cheese.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 - Wants, Needs, Hopes, & Dreams

2013 was quite the year. Baby, job loss, car accident. Those are the biggest things that I remember and affected me the most. 

So what do I want out of 2014? What do I need to happen in 2014? And what kind of Hopes and Dreams do I desire for 2014 that will keep me going? 

My biggest concern for 2014 is weight loss. Since having gestational diabetes, it means I am more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. And with the other factors, my weight and since my parents have Type 2, I'm like 99.99999% likely to develop Type 2. Unless I lose weight. My doctor and I have discussed how I could avoid Type 2 and hopefully future pregnancy complications by getting my weight back down to a manageable number.  

You can calculate your BMI with a quick formula, or google for one. I like the webmd one. It gives you a couple ideas for your healthy weight range, reminds you the medical complications with being overweight (thanks, my doctor does that too...), and tells you your ideal heart range. I like the "ideal range". The lowest weight for my height is 105 pounds. Since I eat food, that won't be possible. But it's good to know! 

So I have been thinking about my fitness plan for 2014. I thought about some of these a few months ago. I did lose most of my baby weight, having GD helped calm down my weight gain during pregnancy. I probably would have gained 50 pounds, but I only gained 28. I lost almost all of it in the first two weeks, and have maintained since.... even thought breast feeding is supposed to help lost weight. It might be all the Oreos. 

The biggest thing I need to consider with working out is my lack of sports bras and shoes. Pregnancy changed my body and I need to get some new gear. 

I also want to help with my goals by going back to something that tracks my steps, activity, sleep, ect. I loved the Body Bugg I had a few years ago (2009), but the monthly cost is ridiculous. I have been eyeing the FitBit for awhile, and think it might be the best. While the cost is now similar to what a new Body Bugg costs, there is no monthly fee. It's also less bulky and noticable. The more expensive FitBit doubles as a watch.

Instead of putting a bunch of money into fitness gear, I'm going to start with the two most important things I need to get back on the treadmill - new shoes and new sports bras. My birthday present is going to be a new pair of running shoes, fitted. My feet changed and I want to make sure I'm wearing a good pair of shoes. I was fitted back in 2006 in Richmond, Virginia and wore Brooks Adrenaline GTS. After being fitted once, I shopped online for great deals to I never paid full price or them.

So at the moment, I am only going to set one resolution - get back on the treadmill. I want to log at least 20 miles in January. I will also get back to my trainer. At least one day a week in January.

Then I will set some goals in February. Baby steps.