Fig Beef Picadillo
What a night!
Have you ever stayed up WAAYYY too late doing something useless? I know you have. Obviously I have too. It’s funny, because I used to be the guy who thought that all of that staying up late business was just silliness. “What’s the point, if you’re not going to be doing something you won’t regret?” I used to ask. I would stay up late reading a good book, or for parties. Even occasionally for video games. But there was no way that I used to get caught up on Facebook all night, only to severely regret it the next morning.
Ahh, how things change… Tonight I sat down to write this very post. I settled into my chair and started to think about the ways that I wanted to introduce my latest delicious meal. “I’ll just take a minute, poking around on Facebook, while I collect my thoughts” I said to myself. I almost wish that I actually did used to do that, so that I would have developed some coping skills to help ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me now… But it did. Before I realized it, it was well past midnight. “What am I doing?!?” I thought to myself, standing up and heading toward the bedroom immediately. Amusingly, I actually settled in bed before I realized: “Well, I’m already up this late anyway, and I still haven’t done a single useful thing with all of this time… I may as well complete my post. Because there’s simply no way that I’ll manage it tomorrow morning…” So, here I am, writing to you.
I miss writing my posts. I miss your correspondence, questions, comments, and helpful hints to keep me on track with my goals, and to help me find some answers for you all. I miss having something that I am so excited to share that I just can’t wait another second to get home and start writing! That passion that filled me has dwindled a bit, and I want it back. No, I’m not worried. Passions wax and wane; I’m on a waning cycle right now, but my passion for sharing my food will wax again, and I will be just as filled with exciting, hopefully wonderful, and occasionally terrible recipes to share. Yes, I do have a few “don’t do it this way” posts up; and if you look hard enough, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of my mistakes directly!
But for now, I’ve been bogged down in all the worst ways with work, and my other required extracurricular activities. Work has been a bear lately, as you likely noticed from my last post 2 weeks ago. I come home at the end of the day with barely enough energy to make it to the couch before I collapse. And it takes me what seems like hours (but is likely 15 minutes or so) just to muster enough energy to cook dinner. As much as I love being inspired, having wonderful, crazy, and delightful meals at all times, well, creativity simply doesn’t flow when you are so exhausted that you forgot to replenish your sea salt, 3 shopping days in a row! I know, it seems crazy coming from me, right? Well, rest assured, it feels just as crazy to admit it. But it’s the truth: the world has got me down. Not down in the dumps; not filled with negativity. I’m still a spirited, happy person. But the world has managed help me pile enough on my shoulders that I just don’t have anything left at the end of my days.
Perhaps I should write my posts on my lunch break? Or in the mornings? Or perhaps I should work some of this weight off my shoulders, so that I can allow the passion to build to a boiling point once again.
Well, from one person beaten down by the weight of too many commitments to another, here are a few things that I use to (circling back to the top here) keep myself on task when my mind simply cannot help but wander:
1. Do not eat anything with sugar in it after 8:00 PM.
If you’re anywhere near as tired as I am these days, you simply won’t be able to stop. So don’t start. It’s much easier to not eat that stuff than it is to take a few bites and then stop. You don’t need it; so don’t use it!
2. Drink your coffee as half-caf.
This is a trick that I’ve been using for a while. If you know that you’re going to need a second cup to get yourself through the day, spread out the caffeine. Have that first cup in the morning as half-caf, so that your next cup of the day (also half-caf) can be relatively stress free. You’re not drinking more caffeine, you’re simply spreading it out; having some of it later in the day. But you’re doing it while still enjoying the full cup of joe, and all the feel-good that goes with it!
3. Try to get in a really light workout at least twice a day.
This could be a challenge. Here’s what I’ve been doing to maintain my sanity: I’m doing some squats, a plank, and some push-ups every morning. Nothing serious; it doesn’t break a sweat, and my total “workout” time is less than 10 minutes in the mornings. This doesn’t mess up my morning routine at all. But it does get my blood pumping, and it could be the difference between managing to make it all the way home to the couch, and falling asleep on the bus. I know we’ve all done that, right? But that doesn’t mean that we want to, does it?
Then, after the morning mini-workout, I can go to work knowing that I’ve at least done something to keep myself healthy. If I manage to sneak out for a mid-day workout (yeah, right… not lately!) that’s just great; otherwise I get in a good one after work or on the weekends. That mini-workout has done wonders for my sanity! At least, I think it has…
4. Take a walk at lunch time.
There is literally nothing you can do which will be a better stress-relief than walking at lunch.
5. Set short-term alarms.
If you know that you’re going to be letting your mind wander for a bit; set a 15 minute alarm on your cellphone. That way, your phone will remind you that you need to get back on task. Mind-wandering done, you can get back to what you were doing. Who knows; maybe less mind-wandering during the day could actually help you end your day earlier, and win back a few of your otherwise lost hours?
6. Set short-term goals.
Today, I will accomplish… That’s a mid-term goal in my mind. When I’m energized and ready to rock-n-roll, that’s fine. It’ll get done. But when I’m a low-energy, barely getting by kinda guy, that’s too far out. I need to set a mid-morning goal, and check to see if I made it.
The above 6 things are what help me keep on task, and stay sane throughout my ridiculously busy work days. Hopefully they’ll help you a bit too; and if they manage to get you home in time to throw together today’s Fig Beef Picadillo recipe, well, even better!
Now: on to the food!
- 1 lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
- 6 large Green Figs, chopped
- 2 large Carrots, chopped
- 6-8 Crimini Mushrooms, chopped (also work with white button)
- 1 cup Celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Bacon Grease
- Spices: Turmeric, Sea Salt
- Optional Spices: Italian Seasoning, Paprika, Chile Powder, Basil, Oregano
- In a large skillet or cook pan, add the ground beef and bacon grease and cook on a medium temperature (about 4 out of 10), covered.
- As the pan heats up with meat inside, start to chop the figs first, then the carrots, mushrooms, and finally the celery.
- Add each ingredient as it is ready, stirring each of them into the beef thoroughly.
- After 20 minutes of total cook time, add the turmeric and sea salt, again stirring thoroughly.
- Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!