Here we are smack dab in the middle of the first day of the new year. 364 1/2 days ahead of us to make an impression on the universe and redeem ourselves for everything we screwed up in 2011. I need to borrow about 40 days from 2013 to completely balance my mess out. At least one resolution I won’t have to break this year is quitting smoking. I didn’t even bother adding it to my 2011 list and I have been nicotine free since March. This theory in place, I’m putting innocuous things on my list this year, like hang gliding with Elvis impersonators over Ecuador, and omitting the more important goals like becoming wildly successful, writing the great American novel, or winning the lottery and seeing if that yields better results.
In the spirit of starting this year off on the right foot (argh, sorry), I donned my running shoes this morning just after the rooster crowed and opted to take a walk across the dam. Rule of thumb normally being if it’s 50 degrees at the house, you can count on it being about ten degrees colder across the dam. Because I was a good girl, Santa gifted me a new coat for Christmas. Normally, this time of year a down jacket with a fur-lined hood would be a plus, but since the temps have been loitering unseasonably around the mid sixties I was afraid I might be too warm. Looking a more like I was recruiting dog teams for the Iditarod than taking a walk, I grabbed my earmuffs for effect, shouted “mush” to my Ford Fusion and headed up the hill.
Other than myself, there was one lone couple visible about half way across the bridge and a man on a bike walking his dog. The sun was up but only covered the far end of the dam. Stepping out of the car it was windy, and brisk, definitely brisk.
Suddenly the down coat, which I’d previously though would only be handy if I was leading a rescue effort in the Andes, felt more like a thin sweatshirt and I tucked my hands in my pockets. Once out of the protective shield of the foothills, wind came sweeping across the water. For the most part the covered areas of my body were toasty. After a minute or two, however, the ear muffs went on.
Halfway into my walk I turned around when I realized I could no longer identify my facial features since they were frozen in place. Once I got back to the car even after cranking up the heater it took a good fifteen minutes to restore any feeling above the neck. Okay, so much for early morning walks in the chill air. Number two is crossed off the “to-do” list.
Pulling in the garage I found Mouse the cat reclining on the top step. Having a late night last night, my other half had gone back to bed leaving the cat to fend for herself. In an obvious case of guilt by association, the black and white she devil slung a string of insults in my direction and then took the lead going through the door. Before leaving the house I had poured myself a large bowl of dry cereal topping it with blueberries and fresh strawberries. Covering it with plastic wrap I left it on the counter so I would just have to add milk when I got back. Doing just that after removing my shoes, I collected the paper from the driveway and settled in on the couch to eat my breakfast and review what devastation had befallen the world while I slept.
Mouse, deciding to forgive me apparently, stretched out on the opposite end of the couch keeping one eye partially open just in case there was a morsel coming her way. As I’ve mentioned, she’s our “special diet” cat, and consequently anything she determines loosely edible ends up on a trip through her digestive tract. Night before last we found a half eaten Hall’s mentholated cough drop in her bed.
Just getting comfy I realized I’d left my readers on the counter. Fine, well since I was up I figured I’d better hit the loo as well or that will be the next thing interfering with relaxing. I returned, glasses in hand to find Mouse straddling my bowl, having consumed half the milk and cereal. Having a discerning palate, so it would seem, she tossed the fruit hither and yon on the newly cleaned white carpet. Kill the cat. Definitely number four on my list, and before the end of the day this may be bumped up a notch or two.
My other half now awake, was kind enough to point out that the cat was just being “cat”, and she was full of my cereal because I left it within her reach. Thank you. I feel better knowing that I am now both hungry and an idiot. I appreciate you bringing this into perspective for me. I needed a cup of coffee, unless, of course, the cat had polished off the last cup. Payback’s a, well, you know.
As that was the last of my beloved blueberries and I prefer mine unlicked prior to adding to my cereal, I opted instead for a spinach omelet and an English muffin.
I made the dish following in the crockpot yesterday for dinner tonight because I’m taking New Year’s Day off due to lack of interest. It not only looks pretty on the plate but is definitely the two-bowl variety of good. Have a great holiday!
Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash
1 3-3 1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 large fresh beets, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced 1/4″ thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Hungarian paprika (hot if desired)
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup Merlot (or any dry red wine)
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 lb. dry egg noodles
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Sour cream for garnish
Heat oil in large deep skillet. Dredge roast in flour on all sides and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Brown meat on both sides on med-high heat until deep golden brown, about 10 mins. Place in 6 quart slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.
Add onions, celery, and beets to same skillet. Cook 3-4 mins. until vegetables have begun to soften. Add tomato paste, garlic, paprika, cumin and coriander. Cook an additional 3 mins.
Deglaze skillet with red wine. Continue cooking until wine has nearly evaporated. Add broth to pan. Bring mixture to a boil. Pour over meat in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours. Shred meat with fork and put back into sauce. Add 1/4 cup parsley and red wine vinegar and mix well. Allow to continue cooking for 1/2 hour on low.
Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water as directed on package. Drain noodles and toss with butter and 1/2 cup parsley. Season as desired with salt and pepper.
Serve goulash over noodles with a dollop of sour cream.