Recipe: Mom's Corned Beef with Cabbage and Potatoes

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes happens to be my favorite meal. Of course, it's loaded with salt and nitrites (nitrates? who knows) so it's not exactly something to eat on a regular basis. Often restricted to St. Patrick's Day, corned beef is actually sold in the grocery stores year-round. And I haven't had any in years. So why not make some tonight?

I didn't actually follow my mother's recipe for this corned beef with cabbage and potatoes. Instead, I followed FoodNetwork's Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage, because I felt like trying the slow cooker approach. Although, technically, the slow cooker approach could also be part of mom's recipe, depending on what your corned beef packaging says ;)

Mom's Corned Beef and Cabbage
Potatoes, (Yukon Gold) quartered, enough for everyone
Half a head of cabbage, cut into wedges
1/2 Bag baby carrots
4lb Corned beef with spice packet
  1. Cook corned beef in water with spices, as per directions on the package.
  2. Add potatoes ~1 hour before the meat is done.
  3. Add carrots and cabbage ~30 minutes before meat is done.

It just so happens that my slow cooker can barely hold a 3lb corned beef, much less potatoes, cabbage, and 4lb beef. So I halved my potatoes, and placed them under the corned beef in my CrockPot, as per the FoodNetwork. And then I simmered my wedges of cabbage in ~2 cups of the meat juices for ~10 minutes after the meat was fully cooked.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Mom's Irish Soda Bread
I'll be moving this to its own post eventually, but for right now I'm stashing it along with the corned beef.
This is not a 'traditional' Irish soda bread. It's softer, therefore more edible, therefore far tastier!

4c flour
1c sugar
1 tsp carraway seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
~8oz raisins
2 Tbsp shortening
2c buttermilk

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9x9 glass baking dish.
  3. Mix up the ingredients in a large bowl, adding the buttermilk last.
  4. Pour batter into pan and cook for a little over an hour (check to make sure a toothpick inserted comes out clean).

Food Lab III

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Applesauces and Cinnamon Pear Jam from the FoodLab Workshop

The third departmental FoodLab consisted of attempting FoodInJars' Applesauce (both with and without star anise) and FoodInJars' Pear Cinnamon Jam (slow set, came out more like a sauce than a jam). We had so many apples, the host ended up also making a full batch of apple butter in the slow cooker as we prepped and jarred.

I now have a lot of preserved apples.

Working Out While Traveling

Friday, November 21, 2014

Roswell, NM: Sad Hotel Gym Albuquerque, NM: Sad Hotel Gym

You can't go on a grueling climb/hike every day of your vacation. Well, you can, but you have to specifically plan for it. And that's not how we do vacations. So I hit approximately four hotel gyms on this Arizona-New Mexico gig in some attempt to not lose all of my muscle development and fitness I've sweated for the past 6 months.

However, it turns out that not all hotel gyms are created equal. The Crowne Plaza PHX and Arizona Inn have free weights and non-slip floors on top of the usual gym equipment. The Comfort Suites and Comfort Inn, however, left some things to be desired. No matter. NerdFitness and Melissa Bender Fitness provide a quick hotel room workout, but I prefer to stick with what I know best. It's possible to do the 30 Day Shred (or any near equipment-less DVD, really) in a hotel gym without a DVD player. You just need this handy list of all the exercises and reps that I've written up below.

These cheatsheets still require familiarity with the DVD, or at least most of the exercises memorized. I've created another version with illustrations to help jog the memory, but I've found that the actual DVD provides a better, more challenging workout. When you're away from home this is better than nothing. I've only included the illustrated version of Level 3, as I feel that even without free weights, you can get a pretty serious workout from it. The other levels, not so much. Bicep curls are not so challenging without weights.

New life motto. Something is always better than nothing.

AZ-NM: Roswell & Albuquerque

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roswell, NM: Alien Zone Museum
The last part of our trip was not so near the top of the 'magical spectrum' as red rocks, saguaro cacti, white sands, and dark caverns. But it did involve a run down museum. Specifically, the Alien Zone in Roswell, NM. Because it was on our way to the Albuquerque Airport, so why not?

I love rundown museums. The dustier and decrepit the better. Show me what state of the art meant in the 90s, when this exhibit was last touched! Anyways, we elected to do the Alien Zone because the reviews alluded heavily to its campiness. It did not disappoint, especially not at the $3 price point.

There isn't a whole lot else to actually do in Roswell, which is surprising considering the sheer number of hotels built along the main street. Some shops adopted an alien theme, but we were expecting even gaudier. Roswell's aliens are a bit understated.

Roswell, NM: Alien Zone Museum
Roswell, NM: Alien Zone Museum
Roswell, NM: Alien Zone Museum
Roswell, NM: Around Roswell

The Nuclear Museum in Albuquerque, NM was considerably more put together. With interesting bits like the radiated Revigerator for invigerating your water. Nothing says vitality quite like nuclear water! It's interesting to compare the concept of this American Nuclear Museum to, say, the Hiroshima Peace Museum. I can't imagine Japan having a 'Nuclear Museum', much less any museum this focused on all the creations of nuclear weapons to date. In the Nuclear Museum's defense, it did indeed have a [small] section on the aftermath of the Americans dropping Little Boy and Fat Man, but nothing near as moving as the collection at the Peace Museum. I feel like the photos presented by the New Mexico museum were not enough to represent the terrible outcomes of being the first to use nuclear weapons...

After the museum, we checked into our hotel, got dinner, and then left on a airplane the next morning. I'm not a Breaking Bad enthusiast, but Jim tells me we ambled by a considerable collection of locations for the show. Albuquerque is also a bit of a college town, so there was food and entertainment to be found.

Because of this trip, we're both a lot better at spelling Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque
Albuquerque, NM: The Nuclear Museum
Albuquerque, NM: The Nuclear Museum
Albuquerque, NM: The Invigerator
Albuquerque, NM: The Nuclear Museum
Albuquerque, NM: The Nuclear Museum

AZ/NM Vacation
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2014
Sedona, Arizona, 1 day
Tucson, Arizona, 3 days
White Sands, New Mexico, 1 day
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, 1 day
Roswell, New Mexico, 1 day
Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1 day

AZ-NM: Carlsbad Caverns

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Carlsbad Cavern, pretty standard caves except they're GIGANTIC. 4,000 feet by 625 feet and 255 feet tall. A pretty intense collection of stalactites and stalagmites.

As we bought our tickets to walk down to the caverns, the ranger drilled us on where we've been. "Have you been in Europe in the past 3 years?" (Um, yes). "Have you been subterranean Europe in the past 3 years?" (Probably not). "Have you been in subterranean North America in the past 8 years?" (Maybe, but not in these shoes, this clothing, and we've cleaned the camera since then). Apparently, going underground repeatedly has an increased chance of transferring white nose syndrome to cave bats. Poor little guys.

Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad: Carlsbad Caverns, NM

AZ/NM Vacation
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2014
Sedona, Arizona, 1 day
Tucson, Arizona, 3 days
White Sands, New Mexico, 1 day
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, 1 day
Roswell & Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1 day each

AZ-NM: White Sands, New Mexico

Friday, November 14, 2014

White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument

I had no idea White Sand National Monument existed. It's even weirder that it's in this country. Sand dunes without a beach. Like a desert that's not hot. Really really weird. And awesome. The visitor's center had sleds to rent, for sliding down the dunes, but it was closed by the time we got there.

I've always kinda wanted to see the sahara. And this is likely about as close as one can get in the United States. Maybe next time, we backpack.

Endless dunes of gypsum.

White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument
White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument
White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument
White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument White Sands, NM: Animal Prints
White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument
White Sands, NM: White Sands National Monument at Sunset

Afterwards, we drove a bit to have dinner in Alamogordo and a bit further to camp for the night. At the James Canyon Campground near Cloudcroft, NM we were one of only two sets of campers. Just the way we like sleeping in a tent: nice and deserted with no loud/bright neighbors nearby.

White Sands, NM: James Canyon Campground
White Sands, NM: James Canyon Campground

AZ/NM Vacation
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2014
Sedona, Arizona, 1 day
Tucson, Arizona, 3 days
White Sands, New Mexico, 1 day
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, 1 day
Roswell & Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1 day each

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