Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Overwhelmed by All the Different Cuts of Beef

Good Morning Friends,
If you are like me, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the different cuts of beef at the grocery store.  I wrote on my grocery list to get a roast.  Was my recipe for a Bottom Round Roast, or a Chuck Pot Roast or a Rib Roast or a Sirloin Tip Center Roast, or, or, or..........?????   Then I have a tendency to choose the least expensive and hope for the best.  There have been meals where my meat has been very tough to chew, and not because I necessarily chose a cheep cut, but because I didn't cook that cut properly.

Before I get into explaining the different cuts of beef, I'm going to give you an awesome link to Beef, It's What's for Dinner.  The link I just gave you is to their interactive meat case.  This is super cool!  You click on the grocery store meat case and it explains all the beef you will find in the different categories:  Steaks, Roasts & Ribs, Ground Beef, and Prepared Cuts.  Then you choose your specific cut of beef and it gives you the recommended cooking method followed by recipes.  I'm very impressed here with this and would encourage any of you who have questions about how to cook that cheaper cut of beef you just purchased to go check it out.  (Then need to make it into a phone app so when we are at the meat counter we could check it out quickly to help us make our purchase.  I didn't find any beef apps that I was excited about at this time.)

So here is just my brief synopsis of the different cuts of beef.


The following lists the different cuts of beef and how they should be prepared:

Brisket - The beef brisket is very flavorful and usually sold boneless. It less tender than other cuts but after cooking for a long, slow period it is a delicious tender cut of beef. It can be found corned or fresh.

Chuck - Typically is is sold in 2 to 3 inch thick pieces. It requires a long time to cook to become tender. It is very flavor filled but should be roasted in liquid to be kept moist.

Flank - The flank steak is a tasty cut of beef but it should be marinated prior to grilling or braising. Always cut a flank steak against the grain and cut it thinly.

Filet Mignon - This most tender and juicy part of the loin comes from the juiciest tenderloin area. It is cooked in small portions and is considered to be the high class cut of beef that is so tender it melts in your mouth. It is best when broiled or grilled.

•Loin - This section of the cow provides us with types of beef such as the tenderloin, sirloin,

Rib - The rib area of the cow provides us with the best cuts of beef. It is there the prime rib is from. Slow roasted prime rib is extremely tasty and is usually roasted to desired preference. This part of the cow provides us with the most tender cuts of beef.

Round - The round area holds the cheaper cuts of meat. Round roasts and bottom round roasts need to be cooked for a long time and is well suited for the crock pot. Stew meat comes from the round area as does London broil.

•Sirloin - Sirloin is from the loin portion of the cow. Sirloin steak is a larger sized steak that is flavorful and fairly lean. It has no bones and offers great value of for the cost. It is a versatile cut of meat that can be broiled, grilled or pan fired.

Methods To Cook Different Cuts of Beef


Different cuts of beef can be cooked in various ways. I have listed the types of beef and how they should be cooked.

Roasting is cooking in a uncovered pan with a dry heat. Beef cuts best suited for roasting:

•Chuck Eye Roast

•Eye of Round Roast

•Prime Rib

•Shoulder Roast

•Sirloin Tip Roast

•Tenderloin Roast

Grilling or broiling cooks the beef with high heat which seals in the juices. It is best to grill beef that has thin layers of fat within the meat called marbling. Beef cuts best suited for grilling:

•Sirloin Steak

•Strip Steak

•Eye of Round Steak

•Londoin Broil

•Bottom Round Steak

•Filet Mignon

•Porterhouse Steak

•Flank Steak

Braising is cooking beef in a covered pot with liquid so it keeps the beef moist. Best cuts for braising are less tender beef cuts such as:

•Chuck roast

•Brisket

•Rump Roast

•Short Ribs

•Bottom Round

Sauteing is a quick pan frying method using hot oil to cook beef. Cuts of beef that are best cooked this way are:

•Flat Iron Steak

•Ground beef

•Porterhouse

•Rib Eye Steak

•Cube Steak

I hope you now have at least a small grasp on the different cuts of beef and the next time you go to prepare a beef dish it is fantastic!
 
Blessings to you all and Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

This Post Links To:
Raising Homemakers

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Excellent tip to prevent a home break in

This is going around the internet and found its way to my inbox and I think the tip is a great one.

If you have a GPS in your vehicle.  Don't have the "HOME" key programmed to your exact house.  Program it to something nearby such as a grocery store so you can still find your way home from there.  According to the e-mail, someone was at a football game and had their car broken into.  The thief now had their garage door opener to get into their house and had a GPS to locate their home.  The thief knew they were at the football game and about how much time he had to break in.

Another thing.  I know you are supposed to have your vehicle registration in your vehicle at all times and these also have our home addresses on them.  This is a law that absolutely drives me nuts for the above reason.  Don't keep your registration in your glove box.  Put it in a zip-lock baggie and then tape it somewhere inconspicuous.

It is sad we have to be so cautious, but an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.

Blessings,
Nancy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do You Know What a Mind Map Is?

Photo courtesy of Text 2 Mind Map
Good Morning Friends,
Today I want to share with you a really cool link I ran across for a mind map.

Have you ever heard of a "mind map"?  Wikipedia has a GREAT overview of mind maps but I'll give you the very condensed version.

Mind maps are, by definition, a graphical method of taking notes.  A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.  Mind maps encourage a brainstorming approach to planning and organizational tasks. 

I found this great link for mind mapping that I think would be ideal for us homemakers.
http://www.text2mindmap.com/

What I think is so neat about this is we can write in some of our routine seasonal projects, such as gardening in the spring and Christmas preparation in December.  We can also fill it in with other things such as vacation plans, birthdays we will need to prep for, things to remember such as defrosting the deep freeze every 6 months, seasons in our life that are busy with little league and so forth.

If we have a long term goal we can break that goal into smaller parts and write each part to be completed during each season or month.  We can break our spring cleaning up into March, spruce up the outside of our house and yard, April wash windows, and May move furniture to vacuum behind.

It will show us vividly what will be going on during each month and season.  This way, if we are considering a new large project to tackle, we can see what months would be better choices for working on that project.

You can color code your goals and thoughts.  One color can be cleaning, another color family activities, another color spiritual goals, a color for business or even blogging and so forth.  You can use this as a way to track your progress of getting out of debt. 

There are many uses for this mind map, but I'm particularly excited about this one the way it breaks things down into seasons and months.

This map can be printed out on your computer, but I've put mine on a big poster board and have placed it on the wall in my laundry room where I can see it every day and add to it.  I see some great possibilities here.

So take a peek at the mind map and let me know what you think.  Would this be something you would use and if so how?

Happy homemaking,
Nancy

Friday, March 18, 2011

How To - Tell When You Need a New Sewing Machine Needle

Image courtesy of Create For Less

Good Morning Friends,
I hope your weather is warming up at your home as it is here for me.  We just finished a nice spring break with my family in Kansas.  It's always great to spend time visiting with my parents and the cousins and the weather was perfect!

I want to tell you about this little gem above that I found at JoAnns Fabrics.  It is a pin cushion for your sewing machine needles.  I'm having issues with getting my photos uploaded to the computer so I got this image off the web but I wish I could show you a side view of it.

So each section of the tomato is for a different type of commonly used sewing machine needle.  Then on the sides there are horizontal lines printed around the pink tomato so it is actually like a grid.  The horizontal sections are then labeled, 1-4 hours, 4-8 hours, 8-12 hours and Purchase.  You place your machine needles in the correct section of the grid so you know how long you have been sewing with a specific needle.  I've read numerous places where you should change your machine needle after 8 hours of sewing (some articles say even less).  It is something like if you have been sewing for 8 hours your needle has penetrated fabric around 750,000 times.

I used to change my needle when I would hear the popping sound as it penetrated the fabric indicating that it was getting dull or developing a slight hook at the tip.  That is too late.  A needle not working properly can affect the timing of the machine and not changing your needle often enough is one of the top reasons why machines end up in the repair shop.  I think this is more important now as most all machines have some computer parts that help regulate the timing.  (Remember my old Bernina was over 30 years old and it was completely mechanical with no computer devices running it).  I need to change my ways here and remember that my new Brother will take a bit more loving care to keep it in its best shape.

Anyway,  as I said, I got my little pink needle cushion at JoAnns Fabrics and I used a coupon making it $1.19.  Very clever if you ask me!

One final tip:  If you don't have a way to keep track of the hours you've used a sewing machine needle here is a rule of thumb.  Change it after any large project or after 2 or 3 small projects.

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Lenten Resolution - Teaching Adults

Dear Friends,

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is an important day on the Christian calendar as it is the beginning of Lent. It is a time of preparation for Easter the highest of Holy Days. It is a time of repentance and prayer. Many people use this season to give up something as a sacrifice and to offer that sacrifice up to God or use this time an a manner that will grow them closer to Him. I am again teaching religion this year to first graders and I speak to them about Lent and having a Lenten resolution. Those children can come up with some thoughtful answers. "I'm going to share my toys every day." "I'm going to help my mother every day with chores." "I'm going to pray every day." Some I'm sure have heard their parents speak about what they are doing for lent and will say, "I'm not going to watch TV," "I'm not going to eat candy," and so on. I really stress to them, and to my own children that this is a time not just of sacrifice, but a time to keep Christ first and foremost in our thoughts and in our actions. It is a time to work on becoming closer to Christ and becoming a better person.

Last year I worked on truly being obedient to my husband and putting him first above myself. You know what? Our marriage is stronger now than EVER! Mike has noticed the little things I've done for him because I continued that resolution past Lent and throughout the year. He has appreciated me and my works!

I've given quite a bit of thought this past month as to what my Lenten resolution would be this year and I feel a real pulling to work on teaching adults about our Loving Savior. This is taking me out of my comfort zone let me tell you. It is one thing to teach children. Their questions are simple. It is another thing to teach adults! I'm not even sure how God wants me to do this but I am placing my trust in Him and I am going to move forward the best I can. I have been so saddened by the breakdown of families and homes in our society. With my three children being teenagers I see the hurt their friends experience coming from broken homes. I believe that faith in our Lord strengthens the home and can help prevent homes from crumbling. Faith in Jesus should be the foundation in which every home is built upon.
So every day, I'm going to pray about my resolution regarding teaching and do my best to take steps in teaching adults about Christ and asking the Holy Spirit to guide me as to where I can be of service to Him.

My desire through this resolution this year is that I pray those who have do not know Christ can in some way be influenced by me to accept Him and through Him strengthen their homes and families. It is also that as I teach adults that I too wish to learn more about Christ and His Glorious Mysteries. God loves each of us so much, I just want the world to know.

Have you made a Lenten resolution? I'd love to hear what you chose this year.

with Love and God's Blessings,
Nancy

Thursday, March 3, 2011

6 Advantages of Taking a Sewing Class

Good Morning Friends,
I am lovin' my new sewing machine and this week alone I've had three, yes THREE, sewing classes at the store where I bought it.  That store is hopping with nice friendly ladies all in the same position as me, wanting to learn more about sewing.

Now, I remember learning hand embroidery at the age of 5 or 6 on a tea towel and it was probably around the same time that my mother showed me how to make a straight stitch on her Singer.  Since that time I've sewn many things.  You might think then why would I need to take sewing classes.  I've created my own list of advantages and reasons why I'm enjoying them immensely.

1.  To teach me how to use all the bells and whistles that come on my machine.  I compare my old Bernina that had 8 stitches to our television we had growing up with a knob to turn the channel and we had 3 stations on our TV.  My new Brother has 70+ stitches and our TV has 100+ stations and requires 3 remotes to operate!  This new machine has so much more technology built into it I need classes to learn how to operate it.

2.  To teach me how to use all the presser feet that come with the machine.  My handy husband says he can do most anything around the house as long as he has the right tools for the right job and it's true.  The right tools make any job 10 times easier.  I must say, with my old Bernina I got pretty lazy about changing the presser feet and would do 99% of my sewing with just the basic presser foot.  The two ladies who teach classes at my shop have us changing the presser feet several times through one project depending on what we are doing and it really makes a difference in both ease of manipulating the fabric through the machine and the finished look. 

3.  I've had some great refreshers on the difference in needles, thread and changing the tension on our machines.  Did you know universal needles really are NOT for all fabrics?  Just the quick change to a proper needle to match the fabric can make a world of difference in the finished look.  If you are going to spend the money on fabric, patterns, and notions, that adds up, so don't use cheep thread or wrong needles that really can affect the finished look of your project.

4.  It is getting me out of the house for reasons other than grocery shopping or running my business.  This has been a refreshing change for me.

5.  I've made some new friends!

6.  I love learning new things so this has been great FUN!

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