"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway"
- John Wayne

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kitchen House Rock: "Lazy J's"

HOORAY to my first food recipe post!  And when I mean first food recipe post, I mean MY OWN RECIPE.  And best of all, it's made in the CROCKPOT!

After turning to Ree Drummond and About.com for inspiration, I created my own recipe.
Well, not exactly.

I DID create my own recipe; however, I created it based on what my poor college self had in my poor college cupboards.
It's not all the time I cook for everyone, but when I do, I enjoy it.  I never knew where I found this love of cooking and baking.  But whenever I visit home, my mom always asks me "What's for dinner?" when I definitely remember that I was the one who always asked this.  Just some food for thought.  HA.

Only 2.5 lbs of our lovely ground beef...
For these past 3 months, my roommates and I have housed 25 lbs of ground beef in our freezer.  It was an impulsive purchase at Costco.  It just happened, it was weird.  You walk into Costco and find yourself in awe of all the food in BULK.  You float down the aisles admiring the grand columns of endless quantities of food.  Glorious.  And then you walk out $200 poorer and with a hell of a bunch of food YOU DON'T NEED.  Costco's marketing strategy is quite brilliant, I must say.

Now to the beef:  I've been slowly using the beef to cook for my roommates and I but one can only eat so many burgers...

Yes, I know, "Sloppy Joe's" are a form of burger, but I was lazy and didn't feel like slaving all day to peel potatoes, fry bacon, and grate cheese for potato, bacon, and cheese soup like I did once.
So this would be like my Sloppy Lazy's, Lazy Burgers, Sloppy Burgers, J Burgers, Sloppy J's...LAZY J'S!!! 
I dubbed these "Lazy J's" because I'm so lazy I can't write out J-O-E-'-S"  And I added the lazy just to highlight the fact I felt lazy today.  Pretty nifty how my mind works, huh?

Step 1
Heat up a medium/large skillet on medium.  Throw the garlic into the skillet and swish it around to cook.  Before the garlic starts to brown, throw in all the beef.  Cover and let sit for about 7 minutes.  The meat should begin to brown on its face-up side.  Mix the beef around in the skillet, trying to get the pink side down and cover and let sit for about 3 more minutes or until fully browned.
Throw it in your CROCKPOT.

Step 2
This flavor is an easy way out if you don't have tomato paste or onion.
Gebhardt is by far my FAVORITE Chili Powder!
Can't go wrong with all those additives and processed ingredients!

Throw in the rest of the ingredients!  I suggest the ketchup and sauce first and then the spices.  You can add however much more salt and pepper as you’d like. 

Step 3 
--> Cook lazily on LOW for about 4-6 hours.
Serve lazily on delicious off-brand hamburger buns :)

In case you were wondering, it didn't taste like pasta sauce at all!

Until next time, where I'll be lazily making some sort of breakfast concoction...in my CROCKPOT!

Love, Raquel


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Raquel Rocks Politics: Proposition 37 Edition

I hate to drag on the ideas of the election and the proposition (I celebrated last night to no more annoying campaign ads!), but I was taught to review everything I do.  If this wasn't self-taught, someone must have slammed that idea into my head.
 For those of you non-California residents, Proposition 37 focuses on our food supply being labeled if it has been "Genetically Modified".  If passed, this prop requires that all foods that have been genetically modified in some way or another MUST be labeled that it is a GMO.  If not passed, there will be no labeling and nothing will change.
By the looks of it, Prop 37 will NOT pass in California.  Click here to look at the results.
However, this result shocked me.  California, being known as a "blue" state would have most likely voted "yes" for it causing all our food to be labeled a "GMO".  The public now-a-days is extremely health conscious about what they're putting into their mouths and what they're feeding their children.  These were the people FOR labeling food.  The people who were NOT for labeling food were the farmers and people who grew up around agriculture (some may be health conscious as well).  On the contrary, it was all how this prop was worded.
A huge slogan for the "No on Prop 37" Campaign was it would raise consumer taxes and waste consumer tax dollars.  Speaking for myself, I sincerely abhor taxes.  And I don't even pay them yet (except for state/local tax).  That was my first intuition of voting "no".  But the "Yes on Prop 37" Campaign stated labeling foods would not cost a thing.  My reason for voting "no" is the fact that almost every food we consume is already a GMO.  That's a whole other can of worms, but let's stick to the theory I'm making:

-Is the reason why Prop 37 didn't pass because Californians know this state has no balanced budget to provide for the cost of labeling?

-Or is the reason why Prop 37 didn't pass because Californians truly are okay with GMO's?

These are just some questions to think about.  Had California's budget been balanced (that's a nice fantasy), CA residents might have passed Prop 37.  My intuitive response is that CA residents are fed up with this state having governors who just spend and spend and spend as much as they want claiming "to fix" the state debt.  Furthermore, the whole country is in an economic recession which could have contributed to the way people voted.  People just don't want to spend any more money (aka taxes).

The other propositions that hinted towards taxing and funding were Proposition 30, 31, 33, 34, 38, 39.

Prop 30 "Temporary Taxes To Fund Education" is meant to increase taxes to help fund the state budget (advertisements stated the money would go to schools).  Although, I would immediately have voted against taxes, the ads for this prop hit me emotionally.  They were attacking my education.  If this prop didn't pass, my college bills would increase (because they are just SO affordable now...).  HOWEVER, nowhere in the Voter's Guide did it say the money would be used to help schools.  Prop 30 passed.

Prop 31 "State Budget, State and Local Government" is meant to where local governments could provide their own funding to implement legislation and also to have the authority to develop their own programs for state programs.  It didn't pass.

Prop 33 "Auto Insurance Prices Based on Driver History" is meant for the auto insurance companies to set a price for the customer based on their driving record.  It didn't pass.

Prop 34 "Death Penalty" is meant to no longer initiate the death penalty.  Instead, the state of CA would provide 100 million dollars in grants to local law enforcement agencies over the next 4 years.  It didn't pass.

Prop 38 "Tax For Education.  Early Childhood Programs" is meant to increase taxes for the next 12 years where this tax money would go directly to schools, childcare, preschool, and state debt payments.  It didn't pass.

Prop 39 "Tax Treatment For Multistate Businesses.  Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding.  Initiative Statute" is meant for multistate businesses to pay more corporate income tax.  About a half of this increased tax would be put forth for clean energy and efficiency projects.  It passed.

Continuing with my prediction, Californians just don't want to pay taxes.  Who would have thought?  Additionally, the props listed above spoke of "funding" and "grants" but they didn't specify where this money would be coming from.  Because CALIFORNIA HAS NO MONEY.  

In conclusion, most Californians voted based on money issues (Go figure).  This state has no money, I wish to move out of this state, my college is too expensive for having a professor who keeps flip-flopping his answers to midterms (sounds like a politician!), and I have no money.

I hope you enjoyed my post election ranting and theories.  I feel like such an political science major; sometimes this stuff is kind of interesting!  And then I just get upset.  Ahh the joys of growing up.  
Can't I just play with my Cabbage Patch Kids and call it a day?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Goats Vs. Cows - "Goat's milk is disgusting!"

One "moos" and the other "bleats".  One is as big as a horse and the other as big as a dog.  One has 4 teats to the udder and the other has 2 teats to the udder.  One produces as much as 10 gallons of milk per day and the other produces as much as 2 gallons of milk per day.  The cow, therefore, is more productive in making milk for a population of our size.  The goat, therefore, is not productive in making milk for a population of our size.  However, goat's milk is valued for more than just a "gallon of milk" because it can compare in flavor to cow's milk, has major health benefits, and makes delicious dairy byproducts.

When most people think of goats, they immediately think of stinky and smelly creatures that either chew on everything or eat everything.  Even though the aforementioned may be true, they are quite a nutrient powerhouse for an animal of their size.  For some reason, goats give a negative connotation in people's minds.  When the thought of drinking milk from a goat is tossed around, people suddenly vomit a little in their mouths.  It might go like this:  "Milk from a goat!  That's disgusting!"  or "Goat's milk is disgusting!"  or even "Goat's milk?  I bet it tastes really bad".  Believe it or not, there is no flavor difference in goat's milk than in cow's milk.  Believe it or not, goat's milk is not any less different than cow's milk!

Growing up drinking cow's milk, I admit the thought of goat's milk grossed me out.  It wasn't until I visited a farm where they kept dairy goats that I suddenly became curious as to why people (and myself) found goat's milk inedible.  I decided to raise my own dairy goats where I would keep the milk of my labor.  The very next morning, I had goat's milk for the very first time.  And I didn't turn into a violent green rage monster.  Personally, I found the goat's milk was a bit sweeter than cow's milk.  Also, I didn't homogenize or pasteurize the milk.  I was drinking raw whole goat's milk.

The major health benefits of goat's milk is it can be easily digested by humans, has a higher protein and lower fat ratio, and has a lower lactose concentration.  Goat's milk is more easily digestible because it contains shorter and medium fatty acid chains when compared to cow's milk.  Because these chains are shorter, the human stomach can break them down faster and may cause less bloating and gas.  For people who are watching their weight, goat's milk has high protein and low fat.  The fat provided in the goat's milk provides humans with more than a few of the essential amino acids such as tryptophan (essential for growth and development) and a high dose of the macronutrient Calcium.  The lower lactose concentration is better for people who are lactose intolerant.  Even though it is not ideal for people who are lactose intolerant to drink milk, some have said that drinking goat's milk doesn't bother them.

If taste and health benefits aren't enough persuasion, goat's milk makes excellent fromage de chevre (cheese of goat).  How could one forget the delicious types of cheeses that come from milk?  One can make cheese form cow's milk and one can make cheese from goat's milk!  Goat cheese is very popular among weddings and parties in America.  Overseas, Europeans enjoy goat cheese accompanied by fine wine either for an afternoon snack or only for supper.  I myself have even made cheese from goat's milk and it dissapears in my house in less than a week.  I can make half a pound of cheese from about 5 quarts of goat's milk (the rest of the volume is whey, the liquid which is not kept in the cheese).  The herbs and seasonings to add to cheeses are endless:  dill, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest, jalapeno, cumin, orange zest, lavender, honey, etc.  Best of all, goat cheese contains probiotics which provide the immune system with essential bacteria to keep active and ready to fight a virus when needed; they are a collection of natural occuring cultures (also found in yogurts) that aid the body's immune system.

Even though their are numerous health benefits from goat's milk, I have faced the fact that people will have a psychological issue with goat's milk.  I understand cow's milk is more popular due to it's efficiency in production and it's lower prices on the store shelves.  Though I prefer goat's milk over cow's milk, I admit I cannot afford goat's milk anymore (I sold the goats I raised).  Over the summer, I worked for Camlon Farm, a Dairy Goat Farm where I learned the Dairy Goat business.  It was a great experience where I learned to make cheese and make soap from goats milk!  Since working for Camlon Farms, I have really appreciated the power that the Caprine Family holds.  Udder and all!

Beau, one of my goat's kids.

"CHEVRE IS SEXY, SKINNY, SMART." Goat Cheese Health Benefits. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.bellechevre.com/goat-cheese-health-benefits.php>.

Coila, Bridget. "Is Goat's Milk Healthy?" LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 17 Dec. 2010. Web. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/336633-is-goats-milk-healthy/>.