We had our carpets cleaned yesterday so I was holed up in my kitchen with the cat. I’ve been avoiding having them done because it means pulling everything up off the floor, moving the small furniture, and hanging around for a day watching the carpet dry. Being somewhat of an “A” personality hanging around waiting is not a the top of my list of fun activities as you might imagine.
The bill was just under $200 for the three bedrooms, hall and stairway. All in all around three hours work. While writing the check, we were talking about how expensive it is to live these days. Believe it or not there was a time where you could buy a loaf of bread for less than the sticker price of a Lexus. To really date myself I can remember getting a loaf of bread for around thirty-eight cents. I know!
People seem to be hunting out bargains, flooding on-line sales, cutting corners, and looking for ways to stretch what money they have. I stood in line at CVS yesterday behind a woman with a bulging three-ring binder taking up most of what I call “the baby seat” portion of her shopping cart. Reaching the front of the line she began madly flipping back and forth between pages in the massive volume pulling out coupons from here and coupons from there. Mission complete, she handed the man at the cash register a pile of coupons equal to the size of a small phone book. Why is it I always end up in the line behind someone like this? It’s a gift really. I don’t begrudge anyone their fair time with the checker, but really? There can be ten lines open and I will end up in the only one with the customer waiting for a recently hired bagger to locate an item somewhere in an unfamiliar store. Last week I stood behind a man with broken eggs. The bagger dispatched to replace the eggs came back with the wrong carton and so had to go back to retrieve another. The week before the machine ran out of tape just as they were going to print my receipt. If there’s a customer who either has a complaint or simply enjoys the sound of their own voice, I seem to seek them out and step obediently in line behind them.
As expensive as grocery shopping has gotten I certainly applaud people straining to squeeze their money’s worth out of their purchases. While in one of the major grocery stores recently I got in line in the only lane with a light on. People quickly began to line up behind me and the usual muttering began about the lack of available cashiers. I try to avoid this store for this very reason. However, their store brand bottled water happens to be Rick’s favorite so I sacrifice myself for the cause whenever he runs out. As I moved into the number two slot and placed all my groceries on the conveyor belt two lanes opened up on either side. Sigh. Waiting patiently the woman ahead of me began to complain to the cashier. From the gist of the conversation, a number of her store coupons didn’t match up with the in-store price on the items in question. Fine. I finished the afghan I began knitting when I first got in line and moved on to a sweater for my Mother for Christmas. Just kidding, but it wasn’t far from the truth. After the slip was reviewed and corrected, the lady then had a return. Naturally. Also, it appeared the store had moved things around during their recent renovation and she couldn’t locate the aisle with the denture cream for her husband. The bagger was dispatched, and I completed the sweater for my mother and went on to a hat for Rick which was finished by the time she returned. Now there were four people behind me. The rather bored looking store manager watched the goings on from behind the customer service desk. Finally, my eyes boring through his head, he sauntered over and removed all my items already on the belt to a check out area two aisles down and checked me out himself. They need to consider renaming the customer service department something more appropriate, say….. the “We Really Don’t Care, We’re Getting Paid Whether You Are Happy or Not Department”. As I was leaving the manager offered me a free coupon for a cup of coffee at the Starbuck’s on the way out. Coffee in hand I noticed the woman was still at the check stand mouth moving as I left the store.
This is the same store where on my last visit the lady in the deli department gave me trouble with my lunch meat. Lunch meat need not be a difficult order. Rick likes his lunch meat cut thin for sandwiches. I asked the rather put out looking lady behind the counter if I could please have a half a pound of peppered turkey sliced thin. Reaching under the counter to the pile of turkey already sliced, I stopped her saying that the precut meat was too thick and she would have to cut it fresh. From the look on her face one might have deduced I’d ask the woman to go out in the back, chase down a nice bird, wring the poor thing’s neck, cook it and slice it in thin slices. Next I was told it would shred. I suggested we dial one up from shred and give that a try. Leaving it on shred she held up a piece of mangled meat nodding her head as if to say I told you so. I said, once again, “One up from that should work”. Seriously? Now I’ve gone from being in a delightful mood to somewhat less sunny over a piece of processed fowl. She repeated it would probably still shred to which I responded, “go ahead, I feel lucky”. Good Lord. Give me the slicer and I’ll do it my damn self.
I try to be nice. I really do. If I want me turkey sliced thin at $8.99 a pound, PLEASE CUT IT THIN!!!!!! Sorry.
This is the perfect comfort food to soothe my ruffled feathers. I had a lb. of ground lamb, a lb. of ground beef, and some leftover mashed potatoes. Hmmmmm. Why not? I found I really liked the mix of the lamb and beef. As a note I usually precook my carrots slightly in the microwave to ensure they are cooked through.
Lamb-Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Mashed Red Potatoes
4 red potatoes, skin on, large cubed
2-3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped chives
1 Tbsp. butter cut in pieces
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and continue on low boil until potatoes are cooked. Mash with potato masher. Add butter 1 Tbsp. at a time. Using hand mixer whip on high speed until potatoes are fine. Add sour cream, milk and seasonings. Whip until smooth. Stir in chives Set aside.
1 carrot, chopped fine
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. ground rosemary
1/8 tsp. mint leaves
Preheat oven to 375
Place carrot in microwave for 2 mins. on high.
Add carrot, pepper, onion, garlic lamb, beef, salt and pepper to large skillet. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Return to pan. Add flour. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 min. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue on simmer for 10 mins. stirring occasionally.
Spray 2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Spread meat mixture on bottom of casserole. “Ice” with mashed potatoes sealing all edges. Place butter pieces around top of potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 50 mins. Cool for 5 mins. before serving.