Saturday, June 22, 2013

Beef Tips

OK, I have pictures this time! Picked up some tri tip steak for cheap.  It was on its sell-by date, so they had it marked down, and I'm all for saving money!  Which is also why, rather than using it as steak, I decided to get 2 meals out of it.  Tonight is beef tips, and the rest can stay in the freezer for a few days when I think I'll make some Oriental beef of some type.  Haven't yet found a recipe I like as much as my old tried and true...and VERY sweet...recipe.  May have to experiment on my own.

Anyway!  Usually, when I make a recipe for the first time, I follow the directions pretty closely, but this time, not so much.  Some of the steps seemed silly and after tasting the meat, it was a little bland, so...yeah.

Beef Tips

1 1/2 lbs. cubed beef (the type doesn't matter as they simmer long enough to tenderize any cut)
1 T garlic powder
1 T. onion powder (I was out so I used dried minced)
1/4 C. red wine, divided (optional)
3 C. water
1 T. beef bouillon or 3 cubes
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 T. cornstarch
3-4 T. water
Hot buttery egg noodles

Season meat with garlic and onion powders.  Brown in a large skillet with 1/8 C. wine until cooked through.

Add water, bouillon, onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Simmer over medium heat 45-60 minutes, or until meat is very tender.
Combine water and cornstarch and stir until cornstarch is dissolved.  Add slowly to skillet while stirring.  Bring skillet to a boil, boil about a minute then turn heat off and allow to cool slightly so it thickens.
Serve over egg noodles.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cheesecake Bites UPDATE!!!

Hmmm...that didn't come out right.  What I meant was...well...cheesecake bites.  Clear as mud!  Bite-sized cheesecake treats.  Does that make more sense?  Good.  No, I wish I didn't like cheesecake.  I could eat my weight in the stuff!!

I'm an idiot and forgot to take pictures...twice!  I made a batch for us the first time, then, after hubby declared them acceptable (I think his words were something along the lines of "damned good!"), he asked if I could make some more for him to take to work for a retirement party. No problem!  And still, I forgot to take a picture!  *sigh* 

So, I'm going to post the recipe and I'll just have to make more (the suffering I put myself through!), and get pictures then.

The original recipe, and no, I don't remember where I got it, but I didn't come up with it, called for a cinnamon-sugar coating, and that's how I made both batches because I always follow the original recipe the first time I make something.  With the second batch, I didn't want to change it when it was going to feed others until I had made it differently for us and was sure it would work that way.  What I want to try next will be a coating of graham cracker crumbs with a little cinnamon and sugar mixed in.  That would be closer to cheesecake, I think.

Cheesecake Bites

8 oz, cream cheese, room temperature
16 oz loaf of bread (not the thick sliced stuff)
3/4 C. powdered sugar
3/4 C. melted butter
1 pack Graham crackers, finely crushed
1 1/2 T sugar

Heat the oven to 350.
Cut the crusts off the bread, then, with a rolling pin, roll the bread slices flat.
Combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese and mix well.
Combine the cracker crumbs and sugar and mix well.
Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread slices, about 1 T. per slice.  Roll the bread up jelly roll style.
Now, for bites, you would cut each roll in half, or you can leave it whole and they're more like sticks.
Dip each piece in the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes.

This originally called for 2/3 C sugar and 1T cinnamon to coat them instead of the Graham crackers and sugar, but that was REALLY sweet. I think the cracker crumbs are wayyyy better!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Using Up Scrap Yarn

So, a friend of a friend is in need of baby stuff.  Well, my "baby" is 20, so I don't have anything, but I hate to see someone in need and not help if there's any way I possibly can.  Like most folks, my husband and I rarely see much of our money.  It's generally spent before we actually get paid, so there's nothing I could do in that regard, so I offered to make her a baby afghan out of leftover yarn.  She's having a girl, so was asking for girl stuff, but while this blanket is going to be colorful, I'm working with what I have. 

I was raised on the phrase "beggars can't be choosers", and I still live by it, so if what I make doesn't suit her, that's fine, I'm sure I can find someone who would appreciate it.  I don't mean to sound nasty, but I have made too many things for people, put time, effort, and thought into it, only to have them turn their noses up at it.  I don't want, need, or expect a big production of gratitude, but it would be nice to be thanked, and for the person to NOT look like I just handed them a bag of dog poop!  *sigh*  Sorry.

Usually those folks are the same ones who raise their eyebrows when they find out how much it is to buy an afghan.  No, they're not cheap.  Not to buy and not to make.  On average, I ask around $200 for a regular sized afghan.  For a blanket??  No, a blanket you can go to the store and buy for $20.  This is a hand made afghan.  Not only that, but my afghans are made to order.  Bigger or smaller, whatever colors you like, and if you want to pay for Merino, I can do that, too!  (That's gonna be a hell of a lot more than $200, though!).  Once I take out the price of the yarn and break it down into all the hours I put into it, I'm making about half minimum wage.  Oh, well, you can do this sitting on the sofa in front of the TV.  Yeah...I can...but it's still work.  It still makes my carpal tunnel act up sometimes, I still get a stiff neck and sore shoulders from it!

I have looked at several calculators that are supposed to help you price your hand made items.  HA!  I should be charging at least three times what I do!  Now, there may be s few folks out there willing to put that kind of money out for an afghan, but I certainly don't know any of them!  I know I had an aunt who made quilts and she could sell just the tops for $600 each, but I don't see that happening here. 


I've just done a simple half double.  I have more blue and purple yarn, so I do five rows of one, then six rows, each one a different color, in no special order, then five rows of the other.  It's not baby-ish and it's not girly, but it's colorful...and it's free!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Finally Back!

Finally.  About a month ago, my 3 month old computer fatally crashed.  I got it back the other day.  I feel like I should get something out of it beyond them fixing it for free, I mean come on!  3 months and it dies?  *sigh*  Frustrating!

So, I've been busy.  Just a little bit!  I started and finished a baby blanket for a friend's first grandson.  I used the pattern I've already posted, the vertical lattice, but it's yellow this time. 

I think it turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself!
Our oldest son came home last month, too.  He's been stationed in Hawaii since 2010 and is finally home.  Big adjustment for all of us.  He's planning on going to school next spring, so now it's working on getting a job. 
Feeling a bit off with all that's going on, so please bear with me.