What's running though my mind comes through in my walk / True feelings are shown by the way that I talk. ~MCA Adam Yauch 1964-2012

Sunday, January 06, 2013

One Pot Turkey Sausage and Potato Stew...It's What's For Dinner Tonight!

One Pot Turkey Sausage and Potato Stew


Here in my house, I try to feed my family recipes that are generally healthy, yet don't cost a bunch of money to make.  Being that I am the only female in a house of three men ages 15-47, making a recipe that will feed them and still have leftovers is awesome.  I saw a recipe at MiserlyMoms.com for Sausage and Root Vegetables and I made something a little different that is still healthy and frugal.  Best of all, it cooks all in one pot and comes to about $2.30 per serving.

One Pot Turkey Sausage and Potato Stew

Ingredients-
1/2 Chopped Yellow Onion ($0.45)
1/2 Chopped Green Pepper ($0.60)
20 oz. (1 pkg) Shady Brook Farms Sweet Italian Sausage, cut into pieces ($4.29)
32 oz of Imagine Low Sodium Beef Flavored Cooking Stock ($3.99)
 3 medium red potatoes (peeled and cut) ($1.29)
1 large sweet potato (peeled and cut) ($1.29)
14.5 oz can of Del Monte No Salt Petite Cut Tomatoes ($0.99)
15.5 oz can of Goya Great Northern Beans ($0.89) 

Using about a tablespoon or two of your oil of choice (I used canola today, but you can also use olive oil), cool the onion and pepper for a minute or so and then add the turkey pieces.  I cooked the turkey pieces until they were almost done and the added the stock, potatoes, tomatoes, and beans. I brought this all to a boil, turned it down to simmer , and let it cook until the potatoes were tender.

You can season this any way you want.  I added some pepper, powdered garlic, and cumin to give it a little bite.

I would say that this easily would have 6 generous servings, being a meal that will make good leftovers.  The cost of this comes to about $13.79 and can actually be paired down even more if you the store brand canned goods or beef stock.  I tend to use Imagine because it's organic and MSG free. 

Happy Frugal Eating!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Dear Google....

I watched your 2012 in review and must say that I find it unacceptable that you found time to put Honey Boo Boo and that monstrosity of a fresco restoration in your review but couldn't spare 2 seconds for Adam Yauch.

But that’s ok.  Those of us that love Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys know how important they are to music and the World.

EDIT-Ok..it was pointed out to me on Tumblr that the reason for the omission may in fact be due to the fact that Adam's will prohibits the use of his image in advertising.  I was looking at the Google retrospect as that, not as a commercial, but it make sense now.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Living on a Budget - Dinner for Under $11!

Since I unexpectedly found myself unemployed, I have been looking for ways to feed my family of four frugally, but what I didn't want is to feed them unhealthy foods.  I have come across quite a few sites that reference Depression Era recipes, which I tried out last week with pretty good success.  They fed my family with leftovers to spare, as well as being pretty healthy.

Today, I found Miserlymoms and got some ideas to try.  Going off their version of Hamburger Rice Casserole, I added a few things and substituted others to come up with a recipe that comes in at under $11. I have not done the calculations on calories and fat, but as I used healthy ingredients, I am sure it's healthy meal.

Kelly's Turkey, Bean, and Rice Casserole

Ingredients

20 ounce package Shady Brook Farms 85% Lean Ground Turkey $3.99
Half a chopped onion $0.30
Half a chopped pepper $0.40
1 15.5 oz can Goya Low Sodium Black Beans, drained and rinced $0.89
1 can Del Monte Petite Cut Tomatoes With Chipotle Chilies .99
1 24 oz jar Ragu Sauce $1.67
1 bag My Essentials Boil-in-bag Brown Rice $0.66
½  package Simply Organic Fajita Seasoning Mix $0.85
1/2 cup Shredded pepper jack cheese $0.59

Start boiling the boil in bag rice while browning ground turkey.  When turkey is almost done, add the chopped onion and pepper to cook all together.  Drain the turkey and add the fajita seasoning.  Once the turkey and rice is cooked, mix turkey, rice, beans, diced tomatoes, and ragu sauce(and any other spice and seasonings you like) together in a 9X13 Pyrex dish.  Place in 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes.  Really just to get it hot and combine all the flavors.   Take out of oven to sprinkle the cheese over top and place back in to melt.  

I served this with some avocado and sliced cucumbers and there was plenty of leftovers to freeze for later.

Pretty tasty!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My heart goes out to the town of Newtown, CT for the unimaginable tragedy that they have endured.  It hurts my heart to think the pain they are going through and for the loss of those 20 little souls and 6 of their teachers, including the principal and school counselor.  

The prayers of a Nation are with you, Newtown.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

When life throws you a curve ball...facing unemployment

Yesterday I went to work as an Administrative Assistant in the HR department of the organization I work for like I always did, with no indication of how it would end.

By the end of the day, I was unemployed.  I was told at 4pm that I was not coming back the next day...do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Eleven days before Christmas, my family's income was slashed in half.

The "official" reason seemed to be that I wouldn't work with my new supervisor.  I worked with my last supervisor with absolutely no problems or no complaints.  It could be that with that supervisor, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do, but she also trusted me to do my job.  My new supervisor wasn't familiar with our organization and since I wanted to keep our department running smoothly, I tried to take care of the every day stuff that needed to get done. Even last week, I thought we were good because I said to my supervisor that between the three of us, we could have a "kick ass" Human Resources Department, and she agreed.  What I thought was initiative and being proactive was apparently misconstrued as "wanting to do your own thing".

I had a half hour to clear my desk and was asked to unceremoniously take the side door out. I'm still not so sure that  I wasn't canned because they either didn't want a throwback from the last HR director getting in the way of the progress of the new one or they are trying to save themselves money by eliminating my position, but instead of being decent enough to just lay me off with notice, they found three relatively minor mistakes that I made, mistakes that maybe warrant a verbal warning, and used them as an excuse to fire me.

Now I am going to admit something....I will not lie and say I was the best employee.  Very frequently I felt like it wasn't a good fit for me and there were many days that I went to work with a sigh, not wanting to be there.  I am sure that no matter how hard I worked, or met deadlines, and tried to convince myself that I had it pretty good, that attitude showed through. I will not sit here and make it out that I was a super employee, because I wasn't.  I did what I had to do for the paycheck.

Nonetheless, I was still stunned...in shock.  I cried on and off for the most of the night...then I was mad...then I started to worry about the financial future of my family...then was mad again...then I was sad.  I told my man how sorry I was...that maybe if I was a better employee, that I would still have a job.  His response was that any agency that would let someone go two weeks before Christmas will always find a reason to let someone go.

I ended my day applying for unemployment for the first time in my life.  Now I can be the draw on society that the Republicans complain about.

Here's the weird part though.  As I woke up this morning, my first day as an out of work 40 year old, I didn't feel heavy-hearted and I didn't feel down. I felt relief and a bit of excitement.  No, not of the prospect of living on unemployment, but for the fact that almost every great epic story starts very similar to what I am experiencing now.  I think this is the Cosmos' way of telling me that my path is ahead and I need to head towards it.  Maybe I will find that job that fits me better or maybe I can finish school and help people like I always wanted to.  Maybe this will allow me to improve my relationships with my children, as I will be home more and not be weighed down by whatever happened at work.

Who knows, but I do know that I refuse to look at this as a disaster. Just a few weeks ago, when I turned 40, I stated, "I feel like I am at the cusp of an epic journey and I am anxious to get on with it." That has not wavered.  

This, my friends, is a journey to be taken!


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Adam Yauch - Teacher, Bodhisattva

In the seven months since Adam Yauch has been gone, I have learned more about life and enlightenment than I ever had in my life before. I had been searching for the proverbial meaning of life. Went to different churches, read a variety of books, you name it, never finding the answers.

Then, on May 4, 2012, I heard that Adam Yauch died. I’m not going to pretend that I was a Beasties Super fan before that day. I had let life get in the way of my paying attention to all the magic that these boys had to offer, but I do remember that everytime they came out with something new or when Saboage came on the radio, I would lose my shit! I remember how they came out with “In a World Gone Mad” just when I wondered if anyone was going to speak out about the War. And I remember that out of the three, it was MCA’s voice that I loved to hear and watching him on film was like being hypnotized.

I was so far out of the loop that I didn’t even know he was sick, but when I found out that he died, I called my boyfriend from work to say, “I’m so sad….Adam Yauch died!” So even though I wasn’t paying attention before, I knew the loss was great.

In the seven months since Adam left us, I have caught up on what I missed and through that, I have learned so much in how a person can evolve, how to be more compassionate, how to make a vow to help others yet not lose myself, learn to be a sentient being, how to be a grownup, yet not be….and still be a badass in the process. I was taught lessons in how to live and die with grace and dignity and how you can start off one way and journey to a whole other level.

Today I started my day with mediatation, then the “Bodhisattva Vow” and “I Don’t Know”…it all seems to fit, doesn’t it? You have taught me so much, MCA….my teacher, my bodhisattva.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On turning 40...

If there are any other "Lord of the Rings" geeks out there, you will remember the scene at the end of the "Return of the King" film when Bilbo Baggins is getting on the boat to the Undying Lands, he smiles and says, "I think I'm quite ready for another adventure!"

 That's how I feel about turning 40 years old today. I feel excited about the potential that is ahead of me and of the lesson that I have learned in my 40 years that has helped me grow as a person. I feel like I am at the cusp of an epic journey and I am anxious to get on with it. I've spent the first part of my life growing, learning, making mistakes, and paying for some of those mistakes. I've learned to forgive and let go of the past. I've been raising two beautiful boys and although they are getting at the ages where they may not always want me in their business, I know and they know that I will always be there for them.

But I also have to to be there for me. I spent much of my life worrying about how others see me, about whether I looked right, talked right, was thin enough, if I was supermom and the price I paid was forgetting who my true authentic self was. I find it quite refreshing where I am now, not caring too much what other think of me. I care not if someone thinks me wearing a Beastie Boys shirt while shopping, or sees a flash of my pink polka dotted silly socks under my office casual at work and finds me ridiculous. It doesn't bother me when stylists try to talk me into dying my hair to cover my gray because somehow society has placed a higher value on looking young while pouring chemicals on your head then just rocking what you have.

I am not the same person I was when I was a child, or as a teenager, or in the twenties. Hell, I am not the same person I was 5 years, or even 2 years ago.  I know that I am a constant work in progress, an ever evolving being.

So instead of looking at 40 as the "beginning of then end" where my body falls apart and my life slows down, I choose to see it like Bilbo saw that boat...as an adventure.

And I'm quite ready for it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On weight loss and how people view themselves.

I notice a trend in many of the weight loss commercials and stories out there. It usually involves a person being delightfully happy that they have finally lost the weight that burdened them. They feel free, they feel light, and they feel empowered. It's a great place to be when one sets a goal and works hard to get it. Why, though, do so many of these stories add a part where they talk about what a loser they were when they were overweight? Yes, I get it...I have been slightly overweight my whole life and it wasn't until I made the lifestyle change to exercise more and eat more whole foods that I started to get it under control and yes, I did go through a phase of self-loathing because of my weight until I realized that overweight or thin, I was an on-going work in progress. I guess what I am saying is that I believe you set yourself up for failure if you think that all your life's ills will be magically fixed by weight loss. I also believe that if you see your overweight self as a loser, you missed the point of the journey. What one is and where one is at a particular point in their life's journey is precisely where one needs to be for lessons learned and experiences lived. I am not a different person because I lost 15 pound with 15 more to go. If I am a different person it's because I grew and evolved out of any bad habits I had. I will continue to be as different 10 years from now as I was 10 years ago. I will continue to evolve as a person long after the weight it gone. We are all an on-going work in progress.