Friday, November 30, 2012

Beef Teriyaki - Raw Pack Canning

Hey all,
I will polish this more tomorrow and make it pretty. Please note that this recipe is for my OWN use. It is not FDA tested and I do not recommend anyone, especially inexperienced testers use untested recipes.

This had a nice, light teriyaki flavor, not a heavy syrupy one. Feel free to doctor the dish after processing (see notes) to taste to tweak it.

PER PINT of cubed raw beef
Two tbl tamari or soy sauce (do NOT add salt)
1 tbl brown sugar
1 chopped scallions
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (powdered will taste different, be aware)
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
(red pepper flakes if desired)

PRESSURE CAN according to directions for beef.


  • I tried doubling ginger and garlic. Don't.
  • the small shake of red pepper flakes I added didn't even make a blip, next time I kick it up
  • If using this much soy, allow slightly more headroom
  • To serve, scrape off any solid fat on top, dump in a pan, *add one more tbl of brown sugar*, heat through covered, on med high to high heat. Serve over rice & steamed veg.
  • If desired, before heating pour off sauce into a bowl and add some cornstarch to thicken. Then add to pan and proceed as mentioned.
  • If you desire more sauce (my husband did) add stock or water and a small amount of soy to the pan. Do not add just soy or the saltiness will overwhelm the flavors.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Goal Set: Thanksgiving Update

About a week after I wrote the post A Goal Set is a Goal Met, I brought my family to a Welcome Home Open House for Sensei Kayla Harrison -- the first ever US Gold Medalist in Judo. I had a blast watching both my girls take a judo class from Sensei Kayla and was giving them snacks when Sensei Kayla said, "Ok parents. Your turn ... Get on the mat."

I was using my cane that day but I didn't hesitate to line up with the other parents to begin the workout. Until I realized she was beginning with jogging to warm up. Crestfallen, I left the mat and headed back to my seat struggling not to admit how close I was to crying. Until that moment, I had no idea how badly I wanted to be out there And then something clicked.

I stood up and walked over to Sensei Riley and said, "Please. I can't do the warm-up ... can I still do the class?" He said, "Of course!"

And I did.

I needed someone to bring me my cane to get off the mat after the class but I know I was beaming. As I rested and waited my legs t return to something other than jelly, the dojo quieted down as they began to raffle off door prizes. I could hardly believe my ears when they called my number for the Grand Prize.

I won a month of free judo classes and a free uniform. I didn't even consider using the prize towards Maddie's  fees ... this one was mine. I walked up to Sensei Pedro to accept my prize with my cane and he looked me in the eye with a smile, "You going to do this?" I grinned back at him and said, "Yes."

I set a goal. I would do a month of judo. I would get there at least once a week for a month, if it meant I had to have family drive me, if I had to go up and down those damn steps on my butt. Where I usually share everything exciting on Facebook, I kept this goal private. Telling only a few people, I drew on family, friends and my Fibromyalgia support group to keep me going those first few classes. Sensei Riley helped me chose classes where he would be able to help me modify the exercises ... he often offered to help me get down the stairs after. I felt safe going to his classes knowing that he had seen me struggle up those steps enough to understand the severity of my weakness. Many times I went to the Women's Workout class, which focuses on weights, core strengthening hardcore exercise and using judo for self-defense. I loved every exhausting, muscle-shaking minute. Inspired by how much enjoyed the classes, my older daughter Audrey joined Maddie and I on the mat. I was thrilled to hear that staff at her school have noticed the change in her - she walks with a new a happiness and confidence.

It has been two months now and I'm still going. Last week I was finally able to actually jog for the warm up for the first time. Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. I have many amazing blessings I have in my life, but I wanted to take a minute and post that I am thankful to Senseis Pedro and Riley for the chance to try and the encouragement to succeed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Updated 11/27/2014 A Heart Full of Joy

Updated 6/23/2015 Giving Thanks. 2015.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

From Scratch Chicken Divan

For some reason I was crazy in the mood for Chicken Divan tonight. I never buy condensed soup mixes so I created this recipe to use what I had in the house. And it was so incredible. It's too bad for the children that they didn't like it because I made a second pan for the freezer and they will just have to cope.

This recipe makes two square pans or one large 9x13 pan. Notes on preparing a pan for the freezer included below but I haven't tested my freezer pan yet.

Chicken Divan
Preheat Oven to 350F


2 cups cooked rice
Some cooked chicken (I used one quart sized jar but honestly, however much chicken you want to feed your horde)
One Med to large head of broccoli (you can also add in or substitute cauliflower, romanesco or asparagus), steamed (I steamed in the micro)
Two shallots sliced
1-2 tbl butter
4tbl wondra or white flour
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2 tsp each curry and mustard powders
1 tsp granulated garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cups each Mayo and Greek yogurt 

1-2 cups mild shredded cheddar cheese
In a small pan melt butter; saute shallots until soft
Add wondra, stir well (will look awful)
Over low heat, add one cup stock, mix well
Stir in spices, Mayo yogurt, stirring well
Add last cup of stock, stirring
Add broccoli, chicken and rice to pan, layering or mixing as desired
Pour sauce over top.
Top with cheese then breadcrumbs
Cover w foil, bake 30 min or until it begins to bubble. Remove foil for last 10. 

To prepare for freezer, I added the rice, broccoli and chicken to my pan, STOP, and cover with plastic wrap and then tin foil. From what I read on the web, the rice would absorb the sauce while freezing/thawing so I've kept them separate. Allow sauce to cool and place in a separate freezer safe container (I use BPA-free Ziploc Perfect Portions bags). Add shredded cheese to another freezer container. I stuck them all in a jumbo ziploc (including the pan) but you could do whatever you want to keep them together.

When ready to assemble, thaw the pan and the sauce however you normally choose to (if you usually pop your glass pans in the oven frozen, do so BEFORE preheating your oven to reduce the whole exploding glass pan odds). Pour sauce over stuff in pan. Consider adding some chicken stock or milk if you want it more soupy. Top with cheese and then bread crumbs and cook.

ETA: I cooked it from the freezer as above (thawing a bit in the freezer first) and holy moly - it was  better than the first time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Holidays!

As we are getting closer to the December holidays I need help diseminating the kid's wish lists to various loving family members.


My children are the oldest grandbabies on both sides, so at this time of year I'm concious that how I approach things. Luckily, I embrace the wisdom of "set the bar low, baby". As my girls get older I realized they really didn't know HOW to start thinking about what to ask for. Where do they start?

Inspired by Pinterest, I've created this for my girls... we aren't planning on limiting them to these choices. This is in addition to their regular list to help them focus and let us know what really matters to them.

Wishing you a mellow, low-stress, full-of-love holiday season.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Anger, Politics and Applesauce

Two days after the 2012 US Presidential Election, I have a massive crockpot full of cranberry apple sauce beginning to warm in my kitchen. The apples are all locally grown - some from the amazing people at Farmer Dave's CSA, others picked by my family on a wonderful fall apple picking trip.

Some of you know I cook and bake to cope. I think today may take more than applesauce. Until I had children, I've never been particularly motivated but like much of the country I became deeply invested in the results of this year's decision. 

Well, it's done now. Some of us are elated while some are devastated. What I am feeling is known to my friends but is not the point of this post. Right now I'm focused on the fallout.

Today an already grieving friend was been emotionally and verbally abused under the guise of political expression. She contacted a friend to ask a completely non-political question and her close friend responded with a barrage of hateful texts regarding my friend's political choices. I'm touched by the grace with which my friend stepped back from the contact and leaned on her community to support her in her pain. 

So here is the point of this post.

If you are angry enough over this election to consider attacking or verbally abusing another person (whether they are a faceless online friend, family or a long time friends) take a breath and realize you are in over your head. You need help coping with your anger, grief and loss. Grief is not just about a loved one dying - grief can stem from the loss of hope, the death of a dream.

Please, PLEASE consider contacting someone at one of these resources.

There is never, ever a reason strong enough to abuse anyone. If you are feeling out of control, reach out for help.

Rather than responding emotionally to vitriol spread on the web and in person, consider feeling compassion for a person so clearly unable to control their anger and cope with their grief. Share this page. And maybe bake something. Me, I'm going to go add a bit more brown sugar to the crockpot ... and maybe bake some muffins.