Now see, this is what I was talking about


Just the other day, I was mentioning that a weight loss diet should include avoiding most food that comes out of a box. I did not yet know that this abomination of a product existed. Now, pay special attention to the fact that this “Beef Stroganoff” includes a “creamy cheese sauce” that is “made with real cheese.” Let’s just leave aside for the moment the potential nastiness of cheese that doesn’t require refrigeration.

Here’s the ingredient list to Paula Deen’s Stroganoff recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Cooked egg noodles

Notice something? No cheese. The can of soup is suboptimal but alas almost standard in American casserole cooking. Oh look, here’s a similar recipe from the Campbell’s Soup Company!

Here’s what Betty Crocker thinks goes into Stroganoff:

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin steak, 1/2 inch thick
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups Progresso® beef flavored broth (from 32-ounce carton)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Hmm, no cheese there either. Points to Betty for using broth as the base for the sauce.
Ok, what about Epicurious:
  • 1 2 1/2-pound piece beef tenderloin, well trimmed, meat cut into 2x1x1/2 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 pound small button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup canned beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Ok, crème fraîche instead of sour cream. Still, no cheese.

And just to round out the entries, a less Americanized version:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, sliced into thin 2-inch-long strips
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Pinch dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces white wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Hey, you know what’s missing from that recipe?? Paprika! Ok, just kidding the answer is cheese.

In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article on Stroganoff, you’ll find sour cream mentioned 5 times and cheese mentioned zero times. Anybody who eats this boxed concoction and then orders the real thing in a restaurant is going to have a big surprise! Whatever this stuff in the box might be, the one thing I am sure it won’t be is Beef Stroganoff. Heck, I’m not really sure it’s food.

In Closing: assassination; special; chicken; payrolls; and FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH!

Diet Research? It must be January.

Yes indeed, it’s the first week of the year, and that means millions of Americans are trying to shed between 5 and 500 pounds. Some scientists were even willing to stick their necks out there and say fructose is a culprit in weight gain (a culprit not the culprit). Check the archives and you will find me many times saying that every weight loss diet that works requires drastically reducing if not altogether eliminating added sugars.

So Loyola University wants to help you out. They’ve got what they think are the top 4 reasons diets fail. Let me save you some reading:

  1. Underestimating calorie intake (e.g. eating too damn much)
  2. Overestimating activity and calories burned (e.g. imagining that an amble around the mall is just like a 5 mile run)
  3. Poor timing of meals (the dreaded “starvation mode“)
  4. Inadequate sleep (having a job and other responsibilities)

Really? I’m on board with reasons 1 and 2, although I see them as two sides of one coin. But do they really think that sleep is a bigger issue than unrealistic expectations in the first place, or diet plans that are for whatever reason unsustainable? Do they think that eating at the wrong time is truly a bigger issue than unsupportive friends and family who –subtly or openly — undermine the dieter’s efforts?

Want to lose weight without torturing yourself? Try eating reasonable portions of real food: plenty of veggies; adequate protein; no sweets, no crap that comes out of a box, no food-like chemistry sets. Hey, it’s no dumber than the other diets you’ve tried over the years.

In Closing: free classes; Downtown Vegas and F15; maybe now somebody will ask banks to follow the law pretty please?; Onnabugeisha; ha!; conform or be called a terrorist; Malala; why oh why did Texas give him a second term?; more employment data than you probably want; somebody inform Scalia that 24 is not a documentary; the estate tax is not a wealth tax, it’s a wealth moving into the hands of someone who didn’t actually earn it tax; it turns out you need facts before you can figure out what to think about them; well that’s gonna have conservative panties in a wad; the Romney Loophole; is anybody surprised by this?; and I think Brent may have been playing Black Ops 2.

Music Monday: Happy New Year


In Closing: My new favorite blog; disgraceful; AC saves lives; damned if he doesn’t sound reasonable; no deal may well be better than a bad deal, but it doesn’t matter because there will be no vote tonight; yeah, that does sound kinda dumb when you put it that way; Baby Boomer Nuns; they wouldn’t be there if they could farm it legally; we never had a chance; even a broken clock is right twice a day; and somebody must write a sci-fi epic based on this picture.

Getting Organized

Like many people, I’ve got stuff that must be done: bills to pay, people to see, floors to clean, you know the drill. And like many people, I find it’s easy to let things slip away if I don’t stay organized. I’m a big believer in “to do lists,” because it’s easy to see what you’ve done and what needs to be done. However, it’s easy to let the chaos of your everyday life spill over into your list.

I’ve got two main methods for keeping a to do list. The first is the “4 boxes” method. I take a piece of notebook paper and divide it into quarters. The first box is labeled Personal, and here’s where I write stuff I have to do for myself:

  • Take vitamins
  • Make hair appointment
  • Finish reading “Diary of a Mad Fat Girl”
  • Call Jane to set up lunch for next week

Box two is for things I do for my family:

  • Defrost meat for dinner
  • Pay bills
  • Clean floors
  • Confirm weekend plans

Box 3 and 4 are flexible, and you can do with them what you like. Perhaps yours are Work and School or Charity. If your job is pretty much the same thing every day,  you probably won’t need a box for it. I’m my own business, so I need two! My third box is Client Service, things I do for my existing clients:

  • Schedule home inspection on Crescent Canyon
  • Get purchase offer to Johnstons
  • Where are signed docs on La Palma Pkwy?
  • Update automated search for Williams

That leaves box 4 for Lead Generation/Follow-Up:

  • Get mailer out
  • Call Goldbergs
  • First meeting w Hendersons at 11
  • Floor duty 12-2

Go ahead and write it all down, but pay particular attention to stuff you don’t do everyday — unless you’re trying to build a new good habit or it’s something you tend to forget. Happily put small things down for the express purpose of crossing it off and feeling good about it.

On the other hand, if you get overwhelmed by a large list like this, I’ve got a new trick that seems to be working well. A motivational speaker came to my office and suggested writing down only the top 5 things that absolutely have to be done today. Well, it occurred to me that not much more than 5 items will fit on a sticky-note. You can stick it to your phone, inside your date book, to the sun visor of your car, to your desk, or pretty much any other place you’ll see it a dozen times a day. Ok, sometimes I cram 6 or even 7 items onto that note. They get done, and that’s the important part.

Ok, ready for In Closing?: resume; clear your search history; and we pay the bill; fat is not the enemy; inflation; the agenda; if they’re following the rules, they have nothing to worry about; and Occupy is still out there.

Breaking the Shorties

Otherwise Occupied: the OWS movement may actually be getting somewhere. It was really a bad idea to seriously injure a Marine, because they are serious about Occupy. Someone who can’t tell the difference between an enemy who wants to hurt you and an innocent that does not want to hurt you shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun. Don’t forget other ways to peacefully protest the banks.

Maybe that wasn’t a good idea: B of A is backing down from their boil-the-frog fees.

Be Sure to Double Check the Name: Attention conservatives! Even the CATO guys think medical malpractice damage caps are a bad idea. Last I heard, those guys were just barely less conservative than the Heritage Foundation.

Speaking of Cato: Cato Fellow and extremely talented magician/comedian Penn Jillette has risen to Glenn Beck’s challenge to write 10 Commandments for Atheists.

Speaking of Republicans Being Wrong: The freaking World Bank says they’re wrong about the economy. Regulation is not preventing job creation and it never did.

Not Helpful: yet more talk of a foreclosure fraud settlement proposal that gives the banks a slap on the wrists for trashing our housing values and preventing a meaningful economic recovery. On the other hand, maybe doing something about mortgage debt will help. Good luck making the banks suck that up.

Yeah, it’s the FIZZ and not the SUGARS: Teens who drink non-diet “fizzy drinks” more prone to violence. Note the careful use of the phrase non-diet instead of sweetened.

Strike: General Strike November 2. Don’t work, don’t spend money, don’t do anything taxable. If you must go to work, don’t spend money.

Now will you make a freaking MLS client that runs on Lion???:  Turns out Mac users are more productive. And that includes the time we spend finding workarounds for cludgy Windows only and MSIE only things we need for work! I’m talkin to you, Marketlinx! Don’t tell me “you’re aware of the problem” just fix it.

And Finally: Happy 125th Birthday to the Statue of Liberty.


Is that a Biblical name?

Here’s a story that made me happy and sad all at once: this week 285 girls in India were granted new names, replacing names that mean “unwanted.”  Now, I can’t imagine naming my child something like that, and I can’t even imagine allowing my relatives to name a child that. But apparently it’s common enough in India that a big ceremony was put together for these 285 girls to legally change their names. And I am glad they have that opportunity.

Unfortunately, there is precedent in the Bible. You know those kids were well adjusted too….

In Closing: many parents go online before calling a doctor; we got a really big shoe for you tonight (kinda cool, if you have room); too big to fail?; a whole bunch of stuff about OWS; “The flat tax is a fraud“; why does anybody let Santorum have a microphone?; trade-in; privatized regulation is a joke; “In other words, the growth in the amount that individuals are consuming is lower, but individuals are paying more for what they are consuming” (most of us would call that “inflation”); and a Viking boat burial.

Be aware that I’ve had a huge spam problem lately. If the spam hose continues, I will have no choice but to close to comments in a matter of days.

The Most Important Thing You Are Likely to Read Today

Hi folks. Sorry for the lack of posts. It’s been a crazy, crazy couple of weeks.

So, what are the protesters so upset about, really?

Do they have legitimate gripes?

To answer the latter question first, yes, they have very legitimate gripes.

And if America cannot figure out a way to address these gripes, the country will likely become increasingly “de-stabilized,” as sociologists might say. And in that scenario, the current protests will likely be only the beginning.

Want to know why the protesters are so upset? Here it is, with pictures. This ain’t hard. The only thing missing is the frustration of knowing that banks are above the law, allowed to continue being so big they can single-handedly crash the economy,  and they made matters worse by creating the foreclosure crisis.
Read ’em and weep. And then do something about it.
In Closing: Let women die; crazy idea; huhuhmmhuhuh; reason #128 why nobody gives a shit what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say; amen; death and taxes; free trade; and have a great week.