Cooking · Food · Recipe of the Month

Kitchen Building Blocks: Ground Beef Mix

I learned to make this handy mix years ago. It is the basis for pasta sauces, meatloaves, meat balls, or hamburgers. The ingredients are simple and probably have a place in your pantry.

I’ve been known to make batches and put them in the freezer for later use. This is especially helpful when there is a sale on at the market.

All Purpose Ground Beef Mix

This is the House Mix. It has all the basics mixed in so all I have to do is add any extras for recipes.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Author Janet

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Freezer Containers

Ingredients

  • 2 pound ground beef or ground chuck The lower the fat content the milder the flavor.
  • 1 pound sausage meat remove any casings
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add egg, salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder. Beat to combine. Add meats and mix only until fully combined – do not over mix.
  • If freezing, separate into portions and add to containers. Don't forget to label the containers with the contents and the date prepared. Freeze.
  • When you are ready to use, take the container out of the freezer the day before and defrost in the refrigerator.

Notes

This is a base recipe. You can multiply it for larger quantities of ground beef.
For example, if you had 5 pounds of ground beef you would add 2 1/2 pounds of ground sausage and multiply the seasonings to taste.
If you want to check the seasonings, fry a small piece of the mixture.  Do not eat raw meat.
You can also use fresh onion, garlic or any other flavoring in place of the powdered version. Onion, celery, green peppers, and garlic can be chopped to the size you desire and added to the meat mixture in place of the dried seasonings. When I do this, I chop as finely as possible as I do not like to chew on pieces of vegetable. 🙂
Cooking · Dining · Food · Recipe of the Month

Vintage Food: Waldorf Salad

For those of us who grew up in the 1960s, the Waldorf Salad was part of the holiday menu. It was one of those ‘kept for special’ recipes that were brought out along with the other holiday staples like roast turkey, candied sweet potatoes and the like.

I recently found myself thinking about this almost forgotten favorite when I purchased some chicken salad for sandwiches. It came with shredded cooked chicken, and pecans, cranberries mixed with mayo. Delicious!

As I said, I got to remembering the Original Waldorf Salad recipe and thought I’d look it up. As you can see from the link, at the very beginning, the salad was simple, elegant and easy to prepare. It was also easy to update.

Adding sliced grapes, shredded chicken, maybe some bleu cheese changes the flavor profile and adds a bit more interest. You literally can gussie this one up in a variety of ways to make it more modern, but why? Really, the original is light, flavorful and has a nice combination of textures that will work well alongside a menu including roast chicken. I would think it might also be a nice side with a roast beef. I’d probably shy away from a roast pork as the meat might be a bit too rich. Then again, maybe not.

If you have never tried the Waldorf Salad, in any of its forms, I urge you to check the link above for the original recipe and see what you think. It might just become a part of your regular rotation – if not your holiday menu.

Let me know what you think!

Musings

I’m Thinking About An “Idea Book”

One of the upsides to having a real clear out is the uncovering of materials that are useful in many different ways. For example: A recent clear out of a corner of my office netted me a good sized three ring binder with some dividers.

I tucked it away for a while but drug it out when I realized I had accumulated a large collection of card recipes, color charts, and project sheets. What better place to put them where I could use them?

Yes, I could have left them on my computer but when you consider that in order to use them on the computer I’d have to utilize space that I would need for crafting… This worked out for me.

An “Idea Book” Can Be What You Want It To Be

I have several Idea Books. One is used to collect quilt block patterns and instructions. Another is used to keep room measurements, color choices, and ideas for design or decoration. Should I really get into gardening, I can create one for that endeavor, too.

Using what you already have is a great way to not spend any money, have a place to gather ideas, and not take up space on your phone. Until, of course, you are ready to tackle those particular projects.

Give it a try and see if it can work for you!

Classic TV · Media · TV

The Evening Routine

As I write this, it is roughly that time of the evening where I am and the hour before Midnight in London, England. I mention this because it is at this time of day, Monday through Friday, when I sit down to listen to Pumpkin FM. Pumpkin FM has several channels that cover a variety of nostalgic radio, some USA based, some U.K. based.

At this time of the weekday (night?) I sit back to enjoy the latest episodes of ‘Allo, ‘Allo and Are You Being Served?. Both of the very old BritComs are aired audio only allowing the listener to occupy hands otherwise while listening to some rather fun shows. It also allows your imagination to run a bit wild filling in the images.

If you have never seen, let alone listened to, these shows, please note they are vintage 1970 or 1980 shows that are more parody and farce. Please keep that in mind. 🙂

If you need to learn more, or have a refresher, check the following links:

‘Allo, ‘Allo

Are You Being Served?

Check out the schedules for the rest of Pumpkin FM channels. Among the variety of programming you will find comedies, serials, variety shows and a collection of crime dramas There is something for everyone.

Enjoy!

P.S.: If you are interested in actually watching these shows, check out imdb.com who will have the latest places to watch.

Musings

Slowly But Surely

I put in my order for my new calendar this week. It doesn’t seem possible, but we are already halfway through 2021.

As I looked through my current calendar I couldn’t help but notice how few weeks, let alone months, are left. Lots of holidays to plan for. A return to school. A look forward to better weather.

This year has been interesting in some ways, dull in others. In other words, not much different than other years.

Over in the Vernacular Society, Paige has announced that the community will be focusing the next couple of months on canning. We’ve already had sewing, baking, and hostessing sessions. I must admit that I’m not so interested in some as I am in others but I do enjoy the variety.

My crafty bloggers/vloggers are embarking on holiday projects. I know that some find it odd to be dealing with cold weather holiday preparation in hot summer months, but some things take time to bring to fruition.

I’ve a couple of vloggers who are working on home renovation projects. They have had learning curves to deal with along with the satisfaction of successful results.

I’d love learn what you are up to as August moves into September. Are you thinking ahead to the holidays? Let me know.

Movies · One of My Favorites

One of My Favorite Films: ‘Gladiator’

Rome, in one form or other, has been a part of my life for the better part of thirty years now. I consciously began my appreciation of Rome via the computer game Caesar III. That came about because of a version that arrived already loaded on a new computer. I still play it.

Later, in 2000, I finally got a chance to see a couple of films I’d heard about in actual theaters. While I enjoyed ‘Fantasia 2000’, it was ‘Gladiator’ that captured – and held – my attention.

Side Note

I need to step aside here for a moment to let you know that when something “captures my attention” it usually leads to an obsession that can last for years, involves lots (and lots) of research, and becomes a part of the fabric of my life in some way.

Now where were we? Oh, yes.

I’ve had a life-long fascination with the mechanics of creating film, theater, TV, and other forms of entertainment. It truly is an art form that can evolve to fit the need at the time. Ridley Scott makes amazing movies. The film is the result of years of experience tied with high tech graphics, top of the line performances, and a story that is both compelling and thought provoking. Not to mention a soundtrack that is one of Han Zimmer’s best.

The Story

In a nutshell, ‘Gladiator’ is the story of a Roman General, Maximus, who is at the top of his game. He is chosen by the current emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius, to succeed him. Something Maximus doesn’t want and Marcus’ son Commodus, definitely does not want.

Commodus is so adamant that Maximus does not replace him, he murders his father and, when he takes the role of emperor and Maximus walks out on him instead of vowing loyalty, has Maximus’ family murdered and the general sent off into slavery.

What happens next is one of the best epic stories of the last 20 years. If you haven’t seen it,

You can find out more about the film by clicking here.

Rome was the first city to hold 1 million people. Ever.

To get a better idea of what Rome was and the impact it had on the world, check out this article from the Britannica: Click HERE

The idea of Rome, just like the idea of Greece, has been a part of most of our society and culture for millennia. These cultures have informed many of the choices and decisions made when we developed our own societies and cultures.

There is a lot of learn, absorb, integrate as we watch ‘Gladiator’. The film is one of those rare gems that allow us to glimpse a lost world and recall a time when things were very different, and very modern, to the world we live in.

At the end of the day, ‘Gladiator’ is a film that resonates on many levels and is worth taking the time to watch.

Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: The Silver Pigs

My latest obsession:

The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The majority of my reading these days is via Audible.com. There is nothing like being read to. LOL!

That being said, I have been looking for a new book for quite a while, having been stuck in a Sherlock Holmes loop (Stephen Fry reads the entire canon.) or indulging in some mythology. Recently I sat down and started going through the Audible Plus catalog hoping to find something – anything – that caught my interest. And wouldn’t you know who popped up? Falco.

It is a rare treat to find an author who can put the reader/listener right smack in the middle of the world of their story. I would use the term ‘worldbuilding’ in a broad sense because the world in this case is Ancient Rome, a place that many of us have a slight knowledge of. Toss in a captivating story, interesting characters, and a reader (Christian Rodska) who voices the characters perfectly.

Did I enjoy the book? Let’s just say that I have inhaled the first four books in less than a week and I’ve also picked up the Official Companion book. Oh, and Number 5 is waiting for me.

For whatever reason Simon Prebble took over the reader duties from Christian Rodska in book two. I have no complaint with this as I’ve been a Prebble fan for years. It was a touch jarring at first because Mr. Prebble brings a bit more of a posh tone where Mr. Rodska’s interpretation fits the down and out Falco. Overall, I like them both.

If you like a good mystery. If you like interesting characters. If you are a bit of a history buff or if you are just curious about Rome. Check out these books. I wouldn’t be surprised if you discover that, like a certain potato chip, you can’t read just one.



View all my reviews

Musings

August? Already?

For a year that at times felt like it would go on forever and then switch to moving at warp speed, 2021 has been quite a ride.

I should state here and now that I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I’ve ridden on more than a few, survived, didn’t spent a lot of time or money at the chiropractor’s office and am more than happy to avoid them going forward. 🙂

In my corner of the world, we’ve experienced a very late Summer. Temps in the high 90s and low 100s usually arrive late June to early July. Somehow this year things were very different. Whoopee! /s Yeah, I’m not a fan of heat, either. As I write this, temps are edging closer to 100 and the humidity…is irrelevant at this point. It is miserable outside.

Speaking of outside, the Geraniums are still lush and green with no evidence of ever producing a flower. The tomato plants, however, are a different story all together. The one Large plant has 5 – 6 blossoms with 2 small green tomatoes. I honestly don’t know who is more excited, me or the plant. LOL!

In the meantime, I’ve been studying up on Ancient Rome along with some side forays into 18th & 19th century England. As a kid who grew up with quarterly specials covering a wide variety of non-entertainment programming, I find the process of uncovering this material interesting and worthwhile. Especially when you come across a book series that checks all the boxes. More about that later.

As you might have noticed, we are undergoing a bit of a renovation around here. I’m thinking it will be a slow but steady exercise in updating and upgrading. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Musings

Pardon Our Dust!

As promised, the renovation of the OrangePlaidCat has begun! First up was an upgrade with the theme which has been an adventure. Not a bad experience, just one where there were Lots of Options and attendant confusion.

Readers – Heads Up!

It seems that there have been two separate feeds: The first was the original extended feed and the second was the direct feed (orangeplaidcat.com). Please check to make sure you are signed up for the latter.

Updating your feed will ensure that you get the latest posts. Can’t be missing out there, right? LOL!

Looking Forward

I’m planning on adding recipes to the site and am also looking at attachments that you can download. I experimented with that over the Holidays and it seems to have worked properly.

I’m looking at the Gallery and possible updates. The 2021 Garden Adventure photos have lived over on MeWe.com because there was space there. I might bring back a few or continue with new ones. (Note: The biggest tomato plant has two – count ’em two – buds as of today!

Speaking of recipes, I’m looking at adding craft or card recipes. Some bloggers have incorporated something similar into their formats and I think it could be a great addition here. I might expand it as I explore other crafts. Quilt projects, for example, might work well with that format. We shall see.

Last But Not Least

Never least. To all of you who have added me to your regular read list – Thank you! I can not begin to express how much I appreciate your sticking with me.

As always, please be sure to click on the “like” button if you enjoy a post and spread the word with your friends. We always enjoy company around here!

In the meantime, pardon our dust! 🙂

Musings

Breakfast Options

A Look At The Norm in Other Countries

I love breakfast! I can go full blown with eggs, toast, marmalade, bacon, sausage accompanied by a luscious cup of coffee. Alternatively, French pastries or just good toasted bread with butter and jam or jelly make a wonderful way to ease into the day.

A couple of my regular YouTubers recently posted on breakfast and I thought that both brought something interesting to the table, so to speak.

I do have to say that Cheryl and Mr. What’s For Tea had some wonderful meals, but the beans and toast always brings a smile to my face. As an American, these are basically Pork ‘N Beans – a favorite in my home although I’ve never had them for breakfast.

If you have not already done so, be sure to check out all of the recent videos in France. This one, however, just makes my mouth water. It has all my favorites!

While everyone has their particular favorites, I feel it is important to experiment every once in a while. You never know what you are missing, right?

What’s your favorite breakfast?