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In my last post I wrote about ‘Mini Mental Me’s’ apparent addiction with ‘Thought Jenga’ and how it impacts my life.  But I also wrote about the steps that I am taking to try and counter these effects and to get and keep my life on track.  And one of those steps was to eat healthy and regularly.

So in this post I thought I would share something that I cooked up for myself 🙂

IMG_2094The evening before last I decided to cook myself a bacon and mushroom Carbonara.

And I have to tell you that it rally was so very tasty.  And also far healthier than a lot of food that I usually eat – containing fresh ingredients instead of processed stuff.

Although the picture doesn’t show it very well, as well as the bacon it contained mushrooms and scallions. (Spring onions to those from the uk)

And I was delighted with the result and the minor achievement.

So much so that I determined that the following day I would cook myself a Beef Casserole!

Getting up nice and early I had my normal cup of coffee, took my morning meds, checked my emails and updated my blog comments and then went to prepare the meal for that evening.  I was determined that I would do this and that I would get it write – despite any efforts to sabotage my plans on behalf of Mini Mental Me.

IMG_2095 Also determined that this casserole would contain fresh vegetables – something I am not renowned for eating.  I took three large carrots, two medium to large potatoes and a parsnip. And I stood and washed and then peeled them.

I then went and sat down for a while as standing for any length of time is not easy for me.  That is something else that I am learning to do.  Pace myself properly.  As one of the difficulties is that often I don’t know that I have done too much until it is too late.

IMG_2096Once I had sufficiently rested I then returned to the kitchen and diced the vegetables into (roughly) equal sizes.

I decided to sliced some of the parsnip in order to roast them separately.

I had also decided that I would be cooking this Casserole in my slow cooker and so the need to ensure that all of the vegetables were about the same size was greatly reduced.

And so – having diced the vegetables – I put them in my slow cooker and turned my attention to the sauce for my Casserole.

I had decided that I would cheat a little when it came to the sauce/cooking liquid and so had bought a packet of Beef Casserole Mix and I already had a packet of Oxtail Soup mix in the cupboard (Or press as the Irish like to call them).  And having mixed them I added these to my slow cooker also.

IMG_2097 I then turned my attention to the meat.  400 grms of prime Irish beef and I seared this in order to give it a little bit of colour.

And I then also added that to my slow cooker.

I have to be honest and admit that beef is not something that I often eat and so I thought that it would make a pleasant change.  Which, of course is why I went for a Beef Casserole instead of a Lamb Casserole.

Once all this was added into my slow cooker I stirred and seasoned it and then placing the lid on it left it to cook away slowly.

IMG_2100And it was about 20 minutes of doing this when I decided that actually I also fancied having some onion in the Casserole.

And so I took a fairly large onion peeled and sliced it.  Whilst at the same time crying a little – obviously lamenting the loss of such a proud  specimen  from my newly acquired vegetable provisions.  And added that to the mix.

And having done so I then stirred the mix one last time, replaced the lid on the slow cooker and then went back to my study to get on with some other stuff as it slowly cooked away.

And I have to tell you that whilst to most folk this would all seem like so much of a nothingness and such a normal everyday activity.  As I sat there in my office enjoying the fragrant cooking smells coming from my kitchen, I could not help but feel very pleased at the fact that I had actually gone through with my decision to cook a fresh healthy meal for myself for that evening.

And more importantly I was delighted at the fact that nothing had gone wrong and that Mini Mental Me had not managed to cause me to forget to add something, or caused me to burn the meat – or even to forget to buy the stuff that I needed for this meal.

And it was at this point when my mind (and Mini Mental Me) through out the realisation that actually this was the day when I was going out to eat at friends before prayer meeting!  Curse you Mini Mental  Me!

So up I got and I went and turned the slow cooker off, resolving that actually I would not be dissuaded by this minor revelation and that I would simply have Beef Casserole for dinner today instead.

IMG_2106And that is exactly what I did.  And to add to the dish I decided that I would even make myself dumplings to go into the Casserole.

8 dumplings to be precise.  (But only because that is how many the recipe that I had would make and I really didn’t feel brave enough to stand there and give Mini Mental Me another chance to sabotage the meal as I tried to divide quantities of flour and suet and such.

So this morning I made said dumplings and placed them in the fridge until this afternoon when – having earlier remembered to turn the slow cooker back on i order to finish of the cooking of my Casserole – I added then this afternoon just 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

IMG_2109And there you have it.  My Beef Casserole which I not only had for dinner this evening but will also have for lunch tomorrow.

Oh and this morning I also added some baby new potatoes into the mix.

I have to tell you that this was soooo good and probably the best Beef Casserole that I have had for a good couple of years now.

It is also the only Beef Casserole that I have had for a good couple of years now.  But even so, I was delighted with it.  And I really enjoyed it!



And the really good part is that not only do I have enough left over for some for lunch tomorrow but I also have enough to freeze for reheating on one of those inevitable days when my physical health is too bad for me to stand an d cook.

Which of course means one less take out or microwave meal and thus again helps with my plain to eat more healthily.

And so, as I said, whilst I know that to many this would seem like an everyday thing and nothing special, I am claiming it as a victory and am delighted with having done this.

Next step in my healthy eating plans – Healthy Homemade Soups! Something else I can cook up a batch of and then freeze and reheat when I am not well enough to actually prepare and cook myself a meal 🙂