Thursday, May 28, 2015

The doldrums


 (dōl′drəmz′, dôl′-, dŏl′-)
pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
a. A period of stagnation or slump.
b. A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.
a. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
Yup. That's where I was. The doldrums. A definite state of stagnation and listlessness. A sort of wondering 'what I'm doing with my life?' and 'is this all there is?' place. I felt like enthusiasm, joy and happiness was a foreign language that I didn't understand. 
The thing about the doldrums is that I know when I'm in them but it's just so freaking hard to get out. I imagine myself on a sailing ship stuck in a becalmed ocean. Bored, empty, nothing but ocean for miles and miles. Nothing to do and nowhere to go. No future, nothing positive. Just stuck. The only thing that will move that ship out of the doldrums is for the wind to blow.
Lucky for me (and the people I live with) the doldrums never seem to keep me stuck for too long. This past time was two weeks too long and definitely felt weather-related. Hard to be sunny when it's been nothing but grey, awful and cold for weeks. Especially when it's supposed to be summer.
My wind finally blew in the shape of a long weekend away in Pebble Beach. We didn't necessarily get much sun but incredible (and inspirational meals) were had, moments around the fire pit were enjoyed, adventures and conversations were embarked upon. Note to self, sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what I need to get me going again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ground Beef and Vegetable Soup - Mmmm Mmmm Good.

Because I wasn't about to give my leftover fluffy dinner rolls to the chickens and because our weather has been winter-like, I knew I needed to make a soup for dinner. I've been experimenting with grinding stew meat into ground beef, so I wanted a soup that cooked long and slow and involved ground beef. I found a recipe for a ground beef vegetable soup on and tweaked it a bit to incorporate to the flavors I prefer and because it seemed a little bland. It got two thumbs up from Derek at the end so I know it's good.
I do think you could through all different kinds of veg into this soup - it would be a good 'use it up' pot of goodness.


1 lb. ground beef
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
15 oz can tomato sauce (I used chopped tomatoes and whirled half for sauce, and kept the other half diced)
8 oz frozen peas
8 oz frozen corn
2 bay leaves
4 thyme springs
1 T dried oregano
1 parmesan cheese rind (what you don't keep yours? Keep them from now on! They give soups a lovely depth of flavor)
4 cups stock (I used turkey because that's what I had)


- Crumble ground beef into a stockpot over medium-high heat; cook and stir until beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain and discard any excess grease.

- Stir carrots, celery, and onion into the ground beef; cook and stir until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, tomato sauce (and chopped tomatoes if using), peas, corn and rind to the pot; season with salt and black pepper. Stir mixture until evenly mixed. Add thyme, oregano and bay leaf to the pot. Pour stock over everything, cover and simmer for at least an hour.