Thursday, March 29, 2012

Italian Beef

I have been craving Italian Beef... those thin, juicy, tasty slices of meat in sauce. yum.

So, of course, I've been looking for a good recipe.... and thinking I had a roast in the freezer. I knew I was all set once I found this recipe on Paupered Chef.

Ummm... I know I use to have a roast in the freezer.  Did we really eat them all? Oh, no! But, I need Italian beef.  So, while my version does not use a roast.. I would highly recommend you have one. It's tasty either way... but cutting up a round steak into nice thin slices... madness! :)

Italian Beef

  • 2 1/2 pounds beef round or beef sirloin tip roast (or if you are crazy: round steak)
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart water
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450f.
Mix basil, red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic.  Rub meat with spices. 

Crazy people version:
put steaks in oven and roast for 10 min.
lower oven to 250f. 
add water to roasting pan, cover with foil.  Cook for 1.5 hrs, turning occasionally.
remove foil, cook for another 30 min. or so. 
pull out of the oven, put liquids in a pan to cook down.  And start slicing the meat as thin as possible.
I know that P.Chef put his in the freezer - but it really seemed like more work and waiting than I wanted to do.

Once all the beef is sliced, put it in the pan to meld the juices with the meat.  Serve.

Normal people, please follow the chef as I haven't tried this yet.  But, I will.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chemicals in the home

I know, it's been ages since I've written anything... and what is the first thing I write about?  Chemicals in the house.

I've been reading this book (What's gotten into us : how to live a healthy life in an increasingly toxic world by McKay Jenkins) which I picked up randomly at the library.  And, while the book is a bit over the top - I have to say it is making me think about what is in the house and the impacts of the products in our lives.  Then the other day, this NY times article about a woman who tried to figure out what is in the products in her house and the possible toxicity to child to be.  The article tends to make the women sound a bit wacko - but honestly, if I just had a baby - wouldn't I want to do the best I could?  I don't think it is off the wall to try and minimize exposure to harmful chemicals.

Anyway, here are some blurbs that just hit home for me:
  1. One thousand to three thousand new chemicals were introduced into our environment every year over the past 30 years,” Dr. Trasande said (NY Times)
  2. Here is the body burden study that was paid for by The Alliance for  a Clean and Healthy Maine.  This study was referenced in Jenkins' book. When I was reading the book, I was surprised - shocked, actually - at the amount of Fire Retardants (PBDE's) in people's bodies.
  3. As the chemical load, or “body burden,” has increased, Dr. Trasande said, “we’ve seen an increase in chronic childhood diseases: asthma, developmental disabilities, certain birth defects, certain childhood cancers. And these aren’t just two trends that exist at the same time. There are scientific studies that have tied the two together.” (NY Times)

Just reading those three pieces of information, that most of the chemicals being put out into the market aren't tested.  That we are finding products which aren't expected in human bodies - in human bodies.  That there is an increase in chronic childhood diseases from the growth in chemical load.  It makes me think that wandering off the consumer path isn't a bad choice. 

For a while now, I've been moving the house to less toxic cleaning products.  The house is cleaned using a vinegar and water solution (which may not be the best smelling cleaning product - is safe enough that I don't worry about the cats walking on the wet floor.  Or me wandering around bare foot on the damp floor)  Also, for the nicer smelling cleaning (bathroom/shower) I use Dr. Bronner's Castile soap in either Peppermint or Green tea both of which are germ killers and smell quite nice.

I don't know if this is going to "extreme" lengths or not. I know that I feel better not having a lot of chemicals in the house and it's heaps cheaper on the pocketbook. :)

Here are some sites that you can use to research what is in your products:
  • Skin Deep which is ok.  It doesn't have all the products I use/use to use.  And, I've found that some of the information maybe outdated.  But, still it's a good start.
  • Good Guide which I like a lot and spent quite a bit of time on today.  
  • US department of health household products database it's a bit geeky. I'm not sure how useable it is... but it has a LOT of data. 
Happy freaking out. :)