Mary Beth Writes

Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get to share a meal or a chocolate egg or a PEEP with a friend or a child or a childish friend?

The lamb that Len cooked was one of the best meaty things I’ve ever eaten. I felt sorry for the sheep, but frankly, not that sorry.  If I can slow him down (I can hear him rumbling around with tools and stuff in the basement) I will ask Len how he cooked the leg of lamb. I know it was a 2-day process.

Okay. I just asked him how he cooked the meat. I am going to write what he said, and he will proof it later.  Here’s the recipe backstory: https://www.recipetineats.com/slow-roast-leg-of-lamb/

 

Obtain a hunk of lamb.  We think ours - Thank you, Pals who gave it to us! - was around five pounds.

Day before: Take about half of the lamb bones you already have in your freezer from Christmas dinner (hah) to make a broth from; bones, onion, carrot, celery, rosemary. Len used the pressure cooker to make the broth.  Cook under pressure for about 4 hours (the broth is very thick). Strain the broth and toss the now kaput bones and vegetables. 

Make a “rub” for the meat. Len used a lot of chopped fresh parsley, rosemary (from my lackadaisical urban backyard garden!), garlic (4 or 5 minced cloves), salt.  The meat has a fatty side. He put the rub on the not-fatty side, then set the meat on the fatty side in the bottom of a glass cake pan, and then covered it with the pan’s lid. This sat in the fridge close to 24 hours.  The house smelled like a garlic farm which is okay for us because we love the stuff. (We had no vampires in the house at all Saturday evening) If you don’t like the smell of garlic, you should find another recipe…

Sunday morning Len flipped the meat so that the fatty side was on top. He poured a couple cups of the strained broth into the glass cake pan dish, creating a ‘several inches deep’ puddle for the meat to sit in. (The rest of the broth is frozen in containers in our freezer, yum...) He set the oven to 350 and cooked it about an hour, and then turned the oven down to 300 and slow-roasted it 4 more hours.

Then, about half an hour before we ate, he took the dish out and transferred the meat alone to a rack on a metal pan (so the meat didn’t touch the pan).  He put it back in the oven at 400 degrees to brown.

Meanwhile, he took about a tablespoon of butter and melted it in a heavy metal pan, then stirred in about a quarter cup of flour.  Whisk to break up the lumps.  Then he tried to put the juice from the glass dish, which was a mixture of broth, rub and meat drippings into the pan with the butter.  This wasn’t easy; he tried a turkey baster, then a gravy separating pitcher, then back to the baster.  The problem was the solid pieces in the juice kept getting stuck.  He says, “I should have strained the juice before I tried to separate it.”  Oh, well, next year.  Gravy happened anyway.

It was falling apart on the serving platter and was amazing. We ate it with egg noodles, gravy, peas, fruit salad, bread, some Polish sausage and horseradish, and a cherry pie for dessert. Also some chocolate covered crème eggs. We were six altogether; it was a wonderful meal and afternoon.

I did not lose any weight yesterday.

About Being Seriously, Adamantly, and Incessantly Frugal

Several people responded to the story about Franc (CLICK HERE to read it!) by saying that they appreciated a person who lived frugally in order to live the life he wanted to have – not the other way around.

Those thoughtful comments got me thinking about the passive, take-it-easy side of frugality.

Yes, you can save tons of money if you do huge frugal things such as host a garage sale, call insurance companies to find a cheaper one. Get your dental work done in Mexico (I’m checking this out next time they talk crowns at me). Sell your vehicles and ride your bike. Take in borders. Make awesome projects and sell them from online sites. Sometimes proactive frugality is such a pile of work that you can’t even start it.

Here’s a reminder:  Living the Simple Life can also be “easier and now”.

Make a peanut butter sandwich for a dinner with ice tea made fast and cheap with tap water and one tea bag - and a 15-minute break to read your library book. 

Frazzled by someone or something? Go outside with the strict goal of staying out there six minutes (enough time to walk around your house or your office). That’s all. It often helps and it costs nothing.

Your chaotic kitchen looks like a 1986 cyclone hit it?  Wash the supper dishes and walk away.

One of my daughters explained this to me years ago; she was learning it in a college psychology class.

The human brain seems to live in 20-minute sections of “now”.  If you crave something badly (chocolate, booze, drugs, to shriek at someone in your family who is not living up to your standards, to stop in at Target on your way home from work to buy one thing and “just look at the jewelry”) – try to wait TWENTY minutes.  Cravings seem to unleash and re-leash in 20-minute arcs. 

Making frugal choices in your day does not have to be unrelenting steely determination. Sometimes your brain is weary, overwhelmed, or just bored. Maybe what you need is to attack one task (the supper dishes) or relax on the front step of your house, drinking a warm mug of something simple.

When we are less stressed, we consume less, buy less, and breathe easier.  Do the easy chores. Sit down. Take a short walk that won’t impress anyone. Give yourself 20 minutes off. 

All of which are ways of taking yourself and your family seriously today. You can reinvent your life - tomorrow.

Comments

Your Easter dinner sounds luscious. Would you believe , I’ve never had lamb.
Mary Beth's picture

That's crazy! You live in the country!! I will have to pester you....

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Mindful Chickens - the "It's been a while" edition

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

...

Mindful Chickens in Canada

In case you don't already know... My husband and I did a 15-day road trip to eastern Canada.  Kurt Vonnegut wrote “Unexpected travel is like dancing lessons from God.”  The plan was to visit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – but then Hurricane Dorian changed that. Stories and photos at my website. https://www.marybethdanielson.com/

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

How Big IS Grandma? Do You Need More Space?

Our internet service had been goofy all that day; the house alarm system sent a random beep to my phone at 3AM. Waking from deep sleep to “Is there a bad guy coming up the steps right now?” turned into the kind of insomnia that requires … decluttering videos. My heart stopped racing as I watched a mild woman talk about the closet in her laundry room.

How I saved Tens of Thousands of Dollars Lately and also got a New Kazoo

Just in case you thought I stopped paying attention to how to live cheap and well. 

1. For several months we have composted veg and fruit scraps - our weekly garbage reduced by half! We collect detritus through the day in a bowl on the counter, carry it out to a steel garbage can we brought from our last house. I’ve dug some of this collapsed organic stuff into the garden.

Less Lemming, More Living

Last week I posted an essay railing against our North American/western maniacal consumerism. We are so deep into climate crisis and into destabilizing world poverty caused by the oligarchy of the few.  Something has to give. Plus this: If we are living on $50,000 a year or more, we are already earth’s top 1%. Isn’t this nuts? It really is up to us to turn back this crazy lemmings’ march to the sea.

Mindful Chickens/ The "Before its Too Late" Edition 5-14-2019

Mindful Chickens   5/14/2019

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

These are things we have thought, attempted, and done in the past month to live more lightly and frugally on our City Plot of Planet Earth.

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