Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mom was right....

....again. I sure do get sick of her being right.

I remember her warning me several times, when buying ground beef, to never get anything less than 85/15. I have always listened to her, more out of habit than anything. Last night, though, I was in a hurry, and 80/20 was conveniently packaged in a five-pound roll. What difference can 5% make, I thought. I tossed it in my cart and went on my way. Today, as I browned it up for Runzas (recipe to follow), I learned what 5% difference is--the difference between just enough fat to brown nicely and a disgusting pool of grease. I have never drained my ground beef after browning it, but I did today. It was truly disgusting. Never again. (I shudder to think that I nearly bought 70/30, because it was so much cheaper.) Clearly, some things are worth the extra money.


*if you're not from the midwest, you've probably never heard of Runzas. Runza is a regional restaurant chain. And their trademark item is delectable!

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 c. shredded cabbage (about 1/2 - 3/4 of a head)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 c., I suppose)
2 cans of crescent rolls

Brown the hamburger. Remove from pan and sautee onion and cabbage in the drippings. When cabbage is limp, return hamburger to the pan, adding the mushroom soup. Stir well to combine. Open one can of rolls; spread the rolls on the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan, pinching to join the perforations. Spread hamburger/cabbage mixture on top. Top with cheese. Top with remaining can of crescent rolls. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

(It's probably not going to win any awards for healthfulness, especially with a can of condensed soup as an ingredient, but it is tasty, and a pretty decent replica of the real thing. Leftovers freeze nicely.)


While shopping, I was also horrified at the price of potatoes. A five-pound sack was $4.46. I can't remember exactly what it was two weeks ago, but it was, at most, half of that, if not less. Per pound, it would have been significantly cheaper to buy a ten-pound sack, but I know we could have never used them all in time.


I don't think I have her in my links list, yet, but my friend Amber is always a source of inspiration for doing things the "green" way. It was she who convinced me to switch to reusable tote bags at the grocery store (and when I realized how much easier they were to carry, I was upset that I hadn't converted sooner!). And today, she brings up another great issue: paper towels.

I recently stopped buying paper towels. I wish I could say I was doing it for environmental reasons, but it's mainly because I'm cheap. Ryan (my husband) was using paper towels for everything. I'm the first to admit that there are things for which paper towels are very handy. Ryan, however, was using them--dry--to wipe off Darren's hands after he ate and to wipe down the highchair. Dry paper towels don't do so well wiping off sticky stuff. And if you're going to get them wet, anyway, then why not just use a dish rag? We were going through monumental amounts of paper towels. I finally decided it was ridiculous to continue throwing away money like this; I just quit buying them. I honestly expected him to say something, but it's been over a month now and nary a word. I won't lie, there are times I miss them, but it's maybe once a week that I wish I had a paper towel (and it's usually when I want to kill a spider or something). In general, though, I don't mourn the absence of paper towels in my life.

I'm definitely taking baby steps, but I like to think that I'm helping to make the world a greener place.