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Overbudget & Stoup-id

March 23, 2010

Not sure what happened at the grocery store yesterday afternoon. The Boy & I ran in to get a few quick things for dinner. I wasn’t sure if I should make pizza or a stew, so I got ingredients for both. Apparently, I got a few other items since the total bill was $71.74. Normally, I wouldn’t have cared, but this whole bathroom remodeling currently has me 10% over budget (I honestly thought I’d come in 50% under budget, so this just hurts more!).

Current Cost of Remodeling Teeny Tiny Bathroom
Tiles 174.28
Sink 84.88
Paint 59.25
Wainscoting 84.26
Light fixture 99.97
Toilet 141.90
Painting tools 63.99 (brushes, paint pan, spackle, white ceiling paint)
Tools & other
miscellaneous items 205.24
Faucet 79.00
Mirror 99.00
New door frame (1 side only) 14.99

Total 1106.76

Sadly, I expect that the costs doesn’t end here as the bathroom is not yet finished. The Boy tells me it’s okay because some of the tools are one-time costs and I can probably use them again. And after whining about it to him, my friend Dan told me that as long as the room makes us happy that I shouldn’t worry about it, especially since “everyone goes over budget”.

This is one of the proposed wine labels for Dan’s dad’s retirement party a few years ago. Much to my disappointment, Dan opted not to go with this version.

(Dan’s opinion doesn’t really matter – kidding!- but I needed an excuse to post this wine label.)

As a result, I felt horrible about going 147% over what I intended to spend at the grocery store yesterday. Ironic as I ended up making a stew one of my college roommates used to make. Way back when, we ate typical college food (pizza, booze, pasta, booze, sandwiches, whatever went into the deep fryer, booze, etc.) and were far from being useful in the kitchen. But one day, my roommate Chris did something unthinkable: she called her mom for a recipe. She went to work in the kitchen (actually, she did most of the peeling and cutting on the couch while watching one of her choice shows on WGN with an occasional visit into the kitchen to check on the broth) and ended up with a vegetable beef stew or what Rachel Ray might call “stoup” (a cross between a stew & soup). To my collegiate palate, it was freaking good. And although my tastes have evolved, I find myself making a version of this about once a year. It’s somewhat of a baby blanket that I can’t seem to put away – nor do I want to. The Boy was surprised to learn which roommate gave me this recipe (he knows who the cooks are) but genuinely enjoys this stew and eats it happily with French bread. I hope you enjoy this too. And if you end up spending $71.74 on this recipe, well then the name of this recipe is as fitting for you as it is for me!

Stoup-id Beef Vegetable

48 oz can tomato juice
28 oz crushed tomatoes (keep the can to measure water)
1 lb ground meat (it was beef back in college, it was turkey last night)
3 cans of water (I cheated and used 2 cans of water and 1 can of wine last night)
3 boullion cubes (I used 2 vegetable and 1 beef cubes)
5-8 carrots, chopped into 1” chunks
1 bunch of celery, chopped into 1-2” chunks
6 large potatoes, cubed
2 cups of frozen corn

In a large stew pot, bring tomato juice, crushed tomatoes and stock to a boil. Add the ground meat as one piece to the liquid. Bring heat down to a simmer. Add bouillion cubes and let simmer for an hour.Stir occasionally.

After an hour, break up the meat and add the root vegetables (carrots, celery and potatoes). Simmer for an hour or until vegetables are soft. Add corn. Cook for another 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy as it is, with egg noodles (which is how my roommate ate it) or with some crusty bread (as The Boy does).

As I’m writing this, I’m wondering if adding a couple of bay leaves would work here. Probably . . .

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