Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 10 Commandments of Responsible Living

A long time ago I used to always make it a point to pick up a free local magazine named Catalyst each and every month. Then it dropped out of view. At least it dropped out of my view.  Not sure if they are still publishing or not... But going through the junk from my storage room where all the stuff I didn't want to deal with when I moved got stashed I found some clippings I'd kept from old Catalysts. The following is from the one in February 2007 where they quoted from a book, You Can Change The World: The Global Citizen's Handbook for Living on Planet Earth by Ervin Laszlo, published in 2003.

Ervin Laszlo is (or was) the president and founder of the Club of Budapest, a little known association of creative world leaders in art, literature, and the spiritual domains of culture.  It was founded in 1993 and dedicated to the proposition that only by changing ourselves will we be able to change the world.

Live in a way that satisfies your needs without detracting from the opportunity of other people to satisfy theirs.
Live in a way that respects the right to life and development of all other people, wherever they live, and whatever their ethnic origin, sex, citizenship, and belief system.
Live in a way that safeguards the right to life and a healthy environment of all the things that live and grow on this Earth.
Pursue happiness, freedom and personal fulfilment in consideration of the similar pursuits of your fellows in the community, country and culture, and in the global community of all peoples, countries, and cultures.
Do your best to help those less priviledged than you to live without hunger and penury, whether they live next door to you or in another part of the world.
Join like-minded people to preserve or restore the integrity of the environment so that it can generate and regenerate the resources esential of human life and well-being.
Help children and young to discover sustainable ways of thinking and acting on their own.
Ask your government to deal peacefully and cooperatively with other nations and cultures, recognizing the legitimate aspirations for a better life and life-supporting environment of all the peoples, countries and cultures of the world.
Patronize businesses that produce goods and offer services that satisfy your needs and the needs of other people without impairing the environment and widening the gap between rich and poor in your community and the world at large.
Give preference to newspapers and magazines, television and radio programs and internet sites that provide regular and reliable information on the trends and events that affect your life, and help you and others around you make informed decisions on crucial issues affecting your future.

Not a bad code of ethics for living...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The $12 beef roast

Grocery shopping yesterday, I purchased a nice beef roast with the challenge in mind to see how many meals I could stretch it into.  The purchase prince was $12.06 at my local Walmart Super Center.

Final tally:
3 meals with roast beef, steamed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions) and gravy
2 packages of slices to each make a BIG roast beef sandwich
1 package of shredded beef mixed with BBQ sauce (easily 2 sandwiches worth)
3 very large dishes of beef stew
3 packages of beef broth for future soup making (like French Onion Soup later in the week!)

All but the one meal of roast beef, vegetables and gravy that I ate for dinner last night went right to the freezer.  Counting it... that's 13 meals from the one roast.  I think that's pretty darned frugal!

And in all honesty, the beef stew dishes are big enough that I could easily scoop out about 1/3 and add some more vegetables and a topping of pie crust or biscuit dough and make an additional pot pie meal from each of them... stretching my grand total to 16 meals.  Not a huge fan of beef pot pie though so we'll have to wait and see if that happens.

Yes, I am only feeding 1 person.  If you have a family, you'll obviously need more of everything but should be able to achieve the same per portion cost results.

How did I do it?

My slow cooker is the key!  (It's similar to a crock pot except it will brown meat and is a little smaller overall.)  I came home from shopping and got it hot enough to brown the roast on both sides.  Next, on top of the meat, I filled it with onions chopped into approximate 2 inch pieces, baby carrots and celery stalks cut to about the same size as the carrots.  When these vegetables were partially cooked, and there was room to add them, potatoes cut into approximate 2 inch pieces went on top and I filled the cooking chamber up with water.  Added a spoonful of beef base for flavor and let it all simmer for a few hours.  Oh... it smelled so good!!

When all was cooked, I removed almost all the vegetables to a bowl and set the meat to rest on my cutting board.  Then I used my hand blender to puree the remaining vegetable pieces, added more water to the slow cooker and seasoned the broth to my liking.  While it was still relatively cool, I ladled out 3 zipper bagsful and put them in the freezer.  While the remaining broth was reheating to a boil, I cut, divided and packaged the meat and vegetables.  Then I added a slurry of cornstarch mixed with water to the boiling broth and spooned out gravy on the 3 meals of roast beef and vegetables.  Then I added the portion of cubed meat back to the pot with the remainder of the vegetables, a couple of chopped tomatoes (probably the last of the season from this year's garden) and some frozen peas and corn, and let it simmer while I ate my dinner.  After the stew cooled I packaged it and added it to my freezer stash.

Now, I get to reheat and enjoy the fruits of my labor over the next month with frugal, healthy, tasty, quick meals.  Hard to beat that plan!!

Next up I'm going to try it with the $10 family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts I found on sale for cheaper than a whole chicken...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What does it mean?

Or is a dream just a dream?  I very very rarely remember dreams.  I can easily count on my fingers the dreams I remember from my entire adult life.  Sometimes I wake up aware that I've been dreaming but I don't recall what it was about.  Early this morning, however, I did have a dream that I remember.

It was mid-day, sunny with a light breeze.  Typical summer day.  I had been working inside my house... when I happened to notice that it didn't look right out the front window.  I walked over and saw a crowd of people in the yard and sitting on my steps.  They had cut down the red-leafed plum tree in the front yard!  I was so upset!!

I woke up thinking about what I'd do if it was really true... really practical things like grab my camera and take pictures of their faces, the sad little tree stump, the license plates on the cars and grab the cell phone and call the police to have them arrested for trespassing and vandalism and anything else I could come up with for tree murder.  These were my thoughts as I jumped out of bed and ran to the living room to peek out the window.  Yes!  The tree was safe.  It was just a freaky dream.

Later a friend suggested that all dreams have meaning and sent me this link to look up the different elements of my dream:  tree, red, summer, people, anger.  Here are some excerpts that resonated with me.

To dream that you chop or cut down a tree indicated that you are wasting your energy, time and money on foolish pursuits.
To see a falling tree in your dreams means that you are feeling off balance and out of sync. Perhaps, you are off track and headed in the wrong direction.
To see a withered or dead tree in your dream indicates that your hopes and desires have been dashed. You are experiencing some instability and setback in your life.
...is and indication of raw energy, force, vigor, intense passion, aggression, power, courage, impulsiveness. The color red has deep emotional and spiritual connotations. Alternately, the color red in your dream indicates a lack of energy. You are feeling tired or lethargic.
Red is also the color of danger, violence, blood, shame, rejection, sexual impulses and urges. Perhaps you need to stop and think about your actions.
To dream about summer represents growth, knowledge, high productivity, tolerance and maturity. You are expanding your realm of understanding. It is important to keep your hope alive.
To see people you don't know in your dream denotes hidden aspects of yourself that you need to confront or acknowledge.
To dream you are holding or expressing anger symbolizes frustrations and disappointments in your Self.
I'll give credit where it's due.  Those are pretty darned accurate descriptions of where I'm at right this moment.  Now what to do with it and about it...