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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving week shopping

What fresh produce did you buy this week? What is on your menu for Thursday?
Here in the south my menu is way out of wack. I have my favs and I won't go outside the box on special holidays like Thanksgiving (turkey), Christmas (ham), and Easter (lamb).

Onion, cucumber, apples, grapefruit (notice the large green in the back), white potatoes, yams, lemons, grapes, tomatoes, and a poblano.

Menu for the week:

Saturday/Sunday 
   Meatballs in homemade mushroom cream sauce over GF noodles, salad, and cottage cheese.

Monday/Tuesday
   Crock pot Lamb shank and white beans with onions.

Thanksgiving and day after
   Roasted turkey breast with bone, baked yam, GF dressing, potatoes with gravy, Famous Green Jello, homemade rolls, and lemon meringue pie.





Friday, October 30, 2015

GF Muffins

It is fairly easy to replace regular gluten flour with GF flour in recipes. Just find a multi-use flour you like. Since I don't bake as much my flour goes a long way.

My normal muffin recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 C GF flour
1/2 almond meal
3 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Mix this up and add:
1 beaten egg
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
3/4 C milk
Mix up. If the batter is to loose add a couple more Tablespoons GF flour.

I add various nuts to my muffins. I chop them down to bite size.
When adding any thawed fruit or fresh fruit remember to put fruit in a bowl with a tablespoon of GF flour BEFORE adding to batter. This coats the fruit and makes it easier to add to batter.

FOLD in fruit. Fill muffin tins to the full line. I like my muffins substantial.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook muffins in greased pans for 20 minute until a knife or tooth pick comes out clean.

Wine, Wine, and more TJ's Wine

Each week we buy wine at Trader Joe's. Here are a couple of our favs.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Healthy Lifestyle Living --- Step 1

I know it's hard to absorb all the information on living a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. Hopefully, breaking down this information in easy steps will help.

Sometimes it's easier to make one simple change and work on it until you feel comfortable, then attempt the next step. I will try to make each step as simple as I can, while giving you links to reputable sites so you can educate yourselves.

Because of our fast paced lifestyles and bombardment of processed food commercials many resort to prepacked meals and fast food. I understand life can be busy and time limited. Hopefully, my ideas will take very little time adding short cut tips and various cooking applications.


Step 1 "Cooking from Scratch" (2-3 times a week)

Tip:  Double or tipple your recipes and freeze meals for a later date or for lunch at work. Remember to label and date each frozen meal.

1. Make a list of easy meal recipes made with ingredients you are familiar with and can purchase in all supermarkets. 

EXAMPLES: Spaghetti, Pot Roast, Stew, Veggie/Meat soup, Scallop Potatoes with Ham, Short Ribs, Meatloaf, Salisbury Steak, Chicken Parmesan, Baked Beans.


Tip:   On a budget? Pick recipes with similar ingredients. Buy a max of two different meats/fish.

Remember READ the ingredients on any packaged product. If you cant MAKE or BUY any ingredient DON'T BUY THE PRODUCT. Find a similar one with real ingredients.

SHORTCUTS:

  • Buy  multiple canned or frozen ingredients on sale.
  • After grocery shopping wash and cut up produce you will use in several recipes. Example: Cut up onions, carrots, potatoes, and garlic for your Pot Roast and put them in a Ziploc bag. Label and date.
  • Set out non perishable ingredients the night before if you are going to use the crock pot. You can even measure the dry herbs and put them in a sealed container.
  • Organize your pantry. Label the shelves if need be. 
  • Buy dried herbs in bulk. HEB is a gold mine of bulk dried herbs for literally pennies. Refill existing containers or get fancy and buy containers and put fancy labels on them.
  • If you buy meat in bulk divide and conquer. Divide the meat, put in foil, and then in freezer Ziploc bags. Label and date.

Let me know if you have any great short cut ideas.



Sunday, September 13, 2015

First Day-Gluten Free

Okay so today is our first day of a gluten free/night shade free life.

Breakfast was at the Black Walnut Restaurant. We didn't know they have a special gluten-free menu.
 I had a ham and cheddar cheese omelet with gluten free toast and a cup of strawberries.

Lunch today was a piece of gluten free bread from Trader Joe's and two slices of turkey breast from Costco. 

Tonight we had 1/3 pound grilled burger, yams, and brusell sprouts/bell peppers.
Yea, the picture shows bell pepper and two slices of tomato. That is all we have left in the house so we will eat it up and not buy anymore. The avocado spread had a couple spoons of Costco salsa. That too is the last of what we have. 


   
From the top: hamburger with avo/salsa, yams, olives, tomato, brussels sprouts/bell peppers. Amazing dinner
 I found a gluten free baking blog. Most of the time gluten free recipes have so many ingredients. This blog keeps it short and simple. After our first 30 days I will try some of her recipes.
See: Elana's Pantry

Monday, September 7, 2015

Gluten

The other day hubby was listening to Amy Myers, M.D.'s pod-cast on Financial Sense.

I have been suffering from continual inflammation in my joints now days and have been using 1000 mg of Turmeric each night and Valerian Root for relaxation. 

Since I read Amy's book I am convinced I am gluten and night shade veggie sensitive and if I continue on this road my inflammation could become chronic. Don't be afraid, the used book I bought was just fine.

Giving up gluten and night shade veggies is going to be tough. She recommends giving up three other things also, but I am going to try this first. My chiropractor once said that night shade veggies aggravate inflammation and to start taking 750 mg of Bromelain (extracted from the stem of pineapple). It's my form of aspirin, since I don't take any aspirin anymore.

Next week we will not eat any gluten products or night shade veggies for 30 days. Fortunately I am a carnivora so this wont be to bad.

Night Shade Veggies:

Potatoes (not yams or sweet potatoes)
Eggplant
Peppers (sweet and hot peppers including cayenne pepper, paprika, and Tabasco sauce)
Tomatoes
Tomatillos

I will buy Annie's Organic Salad Dressing for salads. We haven't added southern greens to our salads so I am going to try Trader Joe's Power Greens Mix. It has a combination of kale, swiss chard and spinach. I will add that to my Romaine. 

Without bad carbs I am bound to take off a few pounds. Gluten products like cookies, muffins, and such are filled with sugar. Getting rid of sugar is a good idea also. Remember, CANCER LOVES SUGAR.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Organized in a Busy Life



Even if you don’t have children life can be very busy. Years ago most of us lived closer to work in smaller communities buying our groceries at “Grocery Stores” along with a full garden. Some had chickens and other farm animals.

Today we commute with our blue-tooth, coffee commuter cup, fast food breakfast, and GPS for directions. Way to many distractions if you live where we live…close to Houston. 

Some time ago I blogged about making a grocery list from your weekly menu, including what you need for lunch, breakfast, snacks, and deserts.

Here is what I do. I make my list then specify what store I buy this and that at. I use three stores. I have a list for each store. Since we are away from our home from 7:15am to 6:00pm I try to do my grocery shopping one weekend morning. Although lately we have altered that routine by doing the majority of the grocery shopping after work on Friday, after a relaxing dinner out on the way.

Why spend any time shopping for clothes or odds and ends at, let’s say, Walmart when you can shop online for all you need, other than groceries, and pick up the items at their customer service table on the way home from work. I also order my books online from the library and pick them up or drop them off on the way home.  The Dollar General is on my route home so I stop there if I need to.

You see what I am getting at? Decide what you need BEFORE the weekend and spend a few minutes getting things on your way home. DON’T go out of your way. PLAN PLAN PLAN. This way you have a relaxed weekend. 

Because we take our lunches to work I do extra planning. I make up a large bowl of fruit salad, maybe some macaroni salad, and anything I can quickly put in a container in the morning. I also make muffins for breakfast or a quick AM break at work. This weekend I am going to start making a batch of popcorn and take that to work for snack or have that after dinner while watching a movie. Most of the time, during the week, we get things together before we go to bed so we can have a relaxed breakfast and coffee in the morning. We get up at 5:30am because we don’t want a rushed morning. I don’t eat breakfast on the way or at work.

Anyway this is my opinion. It has been working for us. Hopefully soon we can just retire and raise those chickens, farm animals, and garden again. Sip our glass of wine on our porch before bedtime. Going back to basics is still our goal. Heck, it may be at the age of 65, but who cares.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nachos

Years ago before I knew about healthy eating we used to go to Costco and buy that large can of Nacho cheese. Or even worse the block of yellow cheese on the grocery store shelf. OMG how could I have done that.
"If you cant make or buy the ingredients in any food you buy, DON'T BUY IT"

A long time ago I posted a pic of my homemade Nachos.

Since it is so hot outside we decided to make Nachos with what we had in the house.

No Meat Nachos 2 servings

I made a cheese sauce:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter, add 2 tablespoons flour. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add 1 cups milk. When heated it will be thick. Add enough milk to make a medium thick sauce.
Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, or any yellow cheese you might have.
Cook on medium heat until all the cheese is melted.

Put a thin layer of tortilla chips on a plate, put some cheese sauce over them and add as many layers as you like. Top with sliced olives, salsa, and sour cream. You could add avocados if you like.

Here is a previous picture of Beef Nachos I made earlier.
NO BOX MIX HERE.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blueberry, Banana, Pecan Muffins

Recipe:

Combine:
1 C white flour
1 C wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 C brown sugar
2 tablespoons oats
Mix thoroughly

Add:
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
3/4 C milk (more it the mix is to thick)
1 beaten egg
1 banana  (Put banana in a bowl. Use a fork to squish it up)
1 C fresh blueberries
1/4 crushed pecans (toast ahead if you like)

Spoon into muffin pan. Cook at 400 degrees for 22 minutes.

If you wanted to sweeten this up a bit combine: powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mixture should be thick. Drizzle it over the muffins.



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gyro Time

We love our Gyros. I use lamb only, no beef.

1-3 nights before make the Tzatziki Sauce.

Grate 1/3 English cucumber (less seeds), 1-2 cloves of grated garlic, 1/2 C Greek yogurt, squeeze of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon dill, and salt and pepper to taste. If it is to thick when you use it you can thin it out with milk.

Saute onions in olive and some butter until light brown. Add grilled or cooked lamb (lamb and beef if you prefer).

Warm pita bread or good flour tortilla.
Add: meat and onions, lettuce, tomato, Tzatziki Sauce, and Feta Cheese.
 Eat it like a burrito. Pull the bottom up and close the sides. 




Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three Day Weekend

Thank you Governor Abbot for the extra day off. I took this opportunity to complete all my chores I normally do on Saturday. This made Saturday, Fourth of July, an a actual day off. Time to watch Wimbledon Tennis matches and BBQ some burger/corn/squash.
It was a hot one today. With the air conditioning going our TinCan stayed about 79 most of the day.
Tomorrow I will make a fruit salad, tuna salad (for sandwiches), and chicken pasta salad for next weeks lunches. This time of the year hubby is to hot to eat anything heavy for lunch. Fruit and veggies with some pasta salad is good enough for him along with LOTS of water.

Dinner was a burger cooked on the BBQ with a slice of tomato, bacon, and guacamole slathered on both insides of the bun rather than mayo.  Along with the burger we had corn on the cob (very sweet), and grilled yellow squash.
Dessert was strawberries with home made whipped cream.




 Later, with my wine, I did Wine Aerobics.
 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14 Recipes

As usual, I make our lunch side dishes on the weekend. 

Meals:

Red Potato Salad

There aren't specific amounts of ingredients for this recipe I just boiled 8 large red potatoes (keeping two for hash browns) and keeping the skins on, add cut up dill pickles, dill, salt, pepper, and mayo. I top this with sliced hard boiled eggs.


Chicken/Pasta/Bean Salad

The same with this recipe. No real amounts just add what you like.
Mine includs: Can of chicken in water drained, 2 Cups cooked pasta ( whatever you have around), 1/2 can olives sliced (I buy the big can and slice them myself), salt, pepper, can of drained garbanzo beans, 1 teaspoon sugar, enough Italian Dressing to coat pasta ( I use Paul Newman's dressing because he does not use high fructose sugar), and a couple tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese.



 NOTE: I COOKED THE PASTA AND TWO EGGS IN THE SAME  POT.  Put the eggs in at the beginning and add the pasta when the water starts boiling. They will be done at the same time. The eggs are for the potato salad.

Anti-Pasta Salad

Hubby loves this for lunch. It's easy. I cut uncured slices salami into pieces, add black olives, several Peperoncinis with a splash of it's liquid, a pinch of sun dried tomatoes, and a couple tablespoons of Italian Dressing.

 Meanwhile, the ribs are marinating. Lots of ancho chili powder and grill seasonings. Three sections will give us 2 dinners and 2 lunches.


Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

Yes, that is hubby's fingers. He is in charge of tasting. This is strictly what hubby loves. It's a dish from his past in the mid west. Equal parts of sugar, white vinegar, and water. Add thinly sliced English Cucumbers, thinly sliced sweet onions, and salt and pepper to taste. This time I used three cucumbers. It won't last long.


Later on this evening after hubby grills the Ribs I will make Coffee Cake adding crushed macadamia nuts. 
Because our Tin Can gets hot this time of the year hubby will put our portable oven outside on the table to cook the Coffee Cake.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tamale Pie

This recipe is in memory of my Nana. We had Thanksgiving Dinner at her house most of the time. She would cook a giant turkey in a roster oven she put on top of the wash machine in the laundry room. After that dinner came a lot of turkey type dinners. One being Tamale Pie.
Each time I make this dish I think of my Nana.

Tamale Pie 4 servings

Saute 1/4 diced onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil for a couple minutes. Add 1/2 bell pepper and one minced garlic clove. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Add a small can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 C of kernel corn (I use Trader Joe's roasted frozen kernel corn), diced cooked turkey (as much as you like), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 can of whole olives. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook or 15 minutes until flavors combine.


In small pot add 1 cup water, 3/4 cup corn meal, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Cook and stir until thick. Add 1 tablespoon butter.

Divide cornmeal. Add half to the meat mixture and combine.
Spray an 8x8 cooking dish with vegetable spray (I use olive oil spray) and add meat mixture.
Top with the remaining cornmeal and spread it over the top in a crust type layer.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes with foil on top. Take foil off and cook for 10 more minutes.

Sorry I keep forgetting to take pics. I think you get the gist.

Memorial Day BBQ

I know most of you are grilling outside today. NOAA says rain today, but we are going try to sneak in some cooking on the BBQ.
Today it's ribs, turkey breast, and Whole Foods all beef hot dogs (the dogs are a bit pricey but well worth it).
Also hubby will grill veggies for tonight's dinner and I will boil the corn.

While making a delicious meal for today we are gearing up for the week of dinners and lunches as well.

1. This morning I cooked about 15 corn tortillas in my George Foreman Grill. These will be evening snacks with good healthy Costco salsa.





2. I also made a Chicken/pasta salad with Paul Newman's Dressing, can of olives, celery, chicken, pinto beans, and shaved Parmesan Cheese.I add a tablespoon of sugar and a shake or two of basil and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.


3. Corn/black bean/fresh salsa with grilled corn, black beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, cumin seeds, lime juice, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Try to keep the tomatoes and jalapenos the same size as the corn and beans.


4. Blueberry muffins are a must for our mid day snack and breakfast.


5. Yesterday I made a double batch of waffle mix with toasted pecans. I'll add blueberries to these for breakfast and topping it with real maple syrup.

I long for retirement days where I don't have to plan for the week. Maybe just eat a veggie dinner straight from our garden. Hubby said when he was a kid sometimes they would eat a dozen ears of corn, cucumbers, and sliced tomatoes for dinner.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

A couple quick recipes

I have cooked Tuna Steak before because it's so darn easy and fast. This time I added an Asian Noodle recipe. Hubby said I out did myself with the Asian Noodles. He likes his food spicy so I added some sriracha.

Health hint: Allergy season is upon us. We eat spicier food during this time to combat congestion.

Tuna Steak with Asian Noodles (2 healthy servings)

Actually these  noodles were just the thin spaghetti noodles.
Cook as many noodles as you intend on adding to this dish. When cooked I had 1 cup

Add 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil to a large pan. When hot add:
5 green onions sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 sliced red bell peppers
1 tablespoon graded fresh ginger
6-8 slices mushrooms
1/4 minced serrano pepper without seeds
Cook until onions are softer
Add:
2 teaspoons lite soy sauce
1/4 C peanut sauce
4 tablespoons water
2 cups chopped cabbage (not shredded to small)
Cook until the cabbage wilts but is not gooey
Add:
Noodles
I added some small tomatoes at the end and just headed them through.

While the cabbage is cooking down put the Tuna steaks on your grill ( I use my George Foreman grill)
Put olive oil on the tuna and sprinkle with Asian seasonings on both sides or make your own.
Tuna cooks fast so watch it or it will be dry. I cooked ours about 4 minutes on one side and 2 on the final side. If you press on the tuna and it feels firm TAKE IT OFF.
Serve with Asian Noodles.
I had left over tuna for the next day. I served it over a salad with veggies.


We are big fans of a good spicy Caesar Salad. The Outback Restaurant has a decent Caesar Salad, but my dressing is way better.
You could make the dressing and croutons the day before.

I start out by making the dressing a head of time so it can set a bit letting the ingredients blend.

My Caesar Salad Dressing

Add:
1 can of anchovies and the oil. (I didn't say this was a diet-type recipe just fast)
3 heaping spoons of mayo (lite if you like or with olive oil if you like)
2 LARGE cloves of graded garlic (chopping leaves chunks)
Pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
Milk to thin it out.
I used my immersion blender (a food processor would do also) and blend until smooth
Set aside.
I made my own croutons, but you could buy them.
Croutons

Toast left over bread (not dark just barely toasted)
Rub a garlic clove over the hot toast and cut into chunks
In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons butter and bread chunks. Cook until crisp. Set aside.

Caesar Salad with Salmon

Cut Romaine lettuce in chunks and divide between two plates. Put lettuce in a large bowl and add 2 large spoon fulls of Caesar dressing. Mix and coat. (I find this easier than just putting dressing on a salad)
Put lettuce back on two plates
Top with shredded Parmesan cheese, croutons, and salmon.
Again I grill my salmon with salt, pepper, olive oil on my inside grill. Let sit while you assemble the salad
Sorry about the sideways pic. I put the salmon on the side so it doesn't melt the cheese.
Don't forget a good glass of TJ's wine.



How many Veggies did you buy this week?

I know I harp on buying produce and hopefully some of you have started to eat more real fiber. 
Here is something I did not know about. Next time you buy store bought bread look at the ingredients. You will see that they add vitamins back in the bread. All the vitamins in the processed grains disappear within 72 hours. All you have left is fiber, which is good I might add. Even if a store makes bread in house, how long has the flour set there? My goal is to buy the whole grains and use a hulling machine to make any grain products. Hulling only what I need for the next three days.

Remember we take a lunch to work and use veggies for snacks. I have an addiction to "Laughing Cow" cheese. I use celery stock to dip in this soft cheese for my 11am snack.
So here is my weekly purchase.


Some of this produce was bought at a local farmers market in Alvin, TX. It is called Frobergs.  This large tomato, lemons, green beans, jalapeno, oranges, grapefruit, onions, yellow squash, beets, red potatoes, and yams. The rest was bought at a local store here called HEB. Corn on the cob, celery, and skinny carrots (they carry a organic brand and these carrots are so very sweet. I usually buy my organic carrots at TJ's, for $.99, but we didn't go there this week. HEB's are $1.29. I will keep buying these skinny sweet young carrots).

Lots of things to make for next week. Here is my plan: Potato salad, fruit salad, apple/walnut muffins, and coleslaw.
I better get going....after laundry, of course.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Another week's menu

I wont post the pictures of the fruit and vegetables I wash every week. Most of them are the same. Seems I have finally gotten pretty tired of just apples and carrots for my mid day break at work. I now am hooked on "Laughing Cow" cheese. I dip celery stick in this cheese. Fortunately it is only 1 Weight Watcher point.
I do still need to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables/fruit a day.  As you age interior organs just don't work like they did when you were young. Over time eating processed foods, dyes, pesticides can put a strain on your whole system.
Yes, I do preach to some of my fellow employees, but it is important to keep yourself healthy because older age is JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

We bought two prepared meals this week as I am trying to catch up on some of the projects I have been working on. These prepared foods are from Trader Joe's and I can either make or buy any of the ingredients. That's the key.

Here is my weekly menu:

Saturday we had leftovers from dinner out Friday night. We went to the Western Steakhouse in Rosenberg. As soon as we got our meal we put half of it in a to-go container. If you wait until you are half way done you WILL pick on it. So half of the baked potato and meat was eaten Saturday night.

Tonight is Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles. We bought some sweet corn so that will be our veggie. I will have an apple for desert. Of course a glass of wine and small square of dark chocolate is a must.


Instructions: 

Heat large frying pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil

Add 1/4 C chopped onions cook for 4 minutes then 1 medium minced garlic

Add sliced, against the grain, beef strips. The amount depends on how much meat you like. Brown the beef. Add 1-1/2 C water or beef broth and cook for 30 minutes until beef is tender. 

(On the side mix 1/4 C cold water with 1 1/ tablespoons either flour or cornstarch. Mix until the lumps are gone)

While the beef is cooking boil your favorite noodle. I use egg noodles.
Add 2 tablespoons ketchup and as many sliced mushrooms you like.
Cook for 5 minutes then add the water/cornstarch mix.
Turn off the heat and add 1 C sour cream.

Pour over egg noodles. 
Serve with cottage cheese and a salad


Sunday, April 12, 2015

This weeks menu and recipes

Another time saving day. I am getting ready for a drizzly week.

As usual I wash all my produce. I added organic celery this week. I bought laughing cow cheese and will use celery for the dipper.



The easiest way to get a bang out of stew meat is cut it up yourself. Thank you son for the best knives in the world. I felt like I was cutting butter instead of meat.
We also added Trader Joe's salad for our Saturday lunch.

Cut meat in small cubes and put in frig.

Cutco knives are amazing
Now for the weekly recipes:  I have made chicken/pasta/bean salad before and also tuna. Here are the picks and recipes.

1. The bowl is for Chicken/pasta/bean salad. So far I cut up celery, black olives and added drained rinsed pinto beans.
2. The oblong container is for tuna salad sand. Celery again and cubed Trader Joe's sweet pickles (no dyes in these pickles. They use turmeric).
3. The orange bowl is for hubby's antipasti salad. Olives so far.


1. I added chicken cubes. 2. Add two drained cans of albacore tuna. 3. Add cut up uncured salami, cubes of your favorite cheese, and pepperchinis.


1. Add pasta and shaved raw cheddar cheese (you can use Parmesan), 1/2 C Newman's Italian salad dressing (high fructose free dressing), salt and pepper to the chicken/pasta/bean dish.
3. Also added 2 Tablespoon Newman's Italian dressing.


1. The salad is finished. 2. Added 2 hard boiled eggs and mayo then mixed. 3. Added 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano.
Add salt and pepper to taste over all dishes.
I scoop tuna salad with crackers or celery sticks for lunch.



I am ready for the week.
Next I will brown the burger for my Favorite Taco Salad. Later brown the beef cubes for my crock pot beef stew, later this week, adding cut up spuds, onions, carrots, and beef broth.
Tip: add spuds, carrots, and onions with browned meat and store in ziplock bag. The night before I put crock pot on the counter with the spices I will add and the carton of beef broth. Easy Peazy. Set on low and off to work.