Uplifting Work Environment or Not

When I walk into any workplace I automatically become aware of the work environment.


Company Store Source: Google photos

When walking into a retail chain store or into a small business the workers moods automatic tell me if the place has good management and if the workers are content and happy. Shopping is not one of my favorite activities, but I tend to have a more pleasant experience when shopping in an uplifting environment compared to stores where workers tend towards being sullen or struggling with a facade to create a pretense. This holds true for most of us who tend to care for others. Surprising, I have witnessed griping and oodles of discontented workers while shopping. You may come to the conclusion that the workers have a bad attitude or terrible work ethics, but many times there is underlying management and corporate culture issues involved. Even the most inspiring workers eventually become affected by these working conditions over time.  My worse shopping experience that ever happened occurred when a cashier, right before my eyes, was conduced to tears by management.
It is always a joy shopping at a certain major private corporation store where the workers display contentment and happiness. I have shopped at more than one location and have received the same happy vibes at all of the stores. This leads me to believe they have good structure and culture. The corporation claims it is a Christian run private corporation with Christian values. The corporation has received critical press in the past for some of its practices but I have never noticed any issues among the workers at any time when shopping. Part of the reason is because they pay better than average and the store hours are reasonable for both shoppers and workers but I suspect there are other environmental reasons.
All of these strikes, you see or hear about in the news seem focused on wages, but wages are really just the tip of the iceberg in worker needs. I am seeing time and time workers given working hours that fluctuate wildly. The hours do not allow for any planning of social, family time, single mother daycare and, at times, proper rest and sleep. The hours also make it impossible to find another job to fill in their income needs while working at both places. You are really considered on call.  This happens because of the software they use to plan hours and save costs.
Although, I do not find all of the supplies I need at the happy store, it is my preferred place of business. I love going to happy places.
The photo above is a picture of a company store which were not a good shopping experience for workers and I image not for the store clerks either.

Spanish Tortilla with Bell Pepper


IMG_1547We are getting lots of eggs right now with the new hens beginning to lay. Being overwhelmed with eggs has prompted me to start using and finding egg recipes. This first recipe is a very simple Spanish egg recipe. A Tortilla in Spain is a Spanish Omelette made with eggs and potatoes fried in oil.  Some like to include mushrooms and  vegetables such as spinach. I could see adding some sausage, bacon  or cheese but it is delicious simple and plain.




Spanish Tortilla With Bell Pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
1 pound potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed; ), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat
oil over medium heat. Add potatoes, bell pepper, and onion; season with salt and
pepper. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are crisp and tender, 14 to 16 minutes. Uncover,and cook off excess liquid if you, if needed. This will take a 1 minute or so.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, parsley, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and
teaspoon pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet, and stir to
distribute evenly. With the back of a spatula or spoon, press down on vegetables so
they lay flat and are submerged.

Bake until tortilla is set, 12 to 16 minutes. You can cut pieces from the pan or to unmold, run a heat resistance rubber spatula or knife around edge of skillet to release tortilla; invert onto a serving plate.

4 servings

It takes about 45 minutes to prepare this dish.





Beets, Pickled and Canned and Carrots

I have been canning again to get summer in a jar.  I am the only one here who enjoys beets, but I do can a few of the plain beets for soups and stews and canned nine pints of pickled beets. Pickled beets are great to have with salads and they also add a lot of color to a vegetable plate.

After spending some time in the garden digging carrots and beets, the canning process began. I still found some worm problems with the carrots and really never get large carrots due to the nature of my clay soil but I did grow some suprizing large ones.   The beets looked great this year. When canning vegeatbles it is best to harvest within 24 hours of canning for the freshest product.

When you can beets you have to use a pressure canner but with pickling the vinegar acidifies the beets allowing  canning with a water bath canner. Below is the recipe I used which is a basic pickled beets recipe.  Some like to have onions so I suggest going to the  NCHFP  site to prepeare that  style of pickled beets.  In the picture above you will notice the different colors. I used the same type of beets but you can see how brine really helps them keep their red color. The beet grown was Detroit Dark Red.

Pickled Beets

beets – enough to make 3 quarts
2 cups sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 t whole allspice
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water

Start by preparing jars, and get water in your canner heating.


Wash beets- Cut stems to about 2 inches, and leave on the tap-root. This
will help keep the color when you boil the beets to loosen the skins.

Skin beets -Cook beets in boiling water until skins will slip off.

This will take a couple of minutes. After two minutes use a knife or other object to scape the side of the beets to see if the peels are coming off.
Remove from water and cool in very cold water.  I run the vegetables in a colendar with cold water and then put them in a cool water bath. When cool enough to handle, use your hands to slip the skins off. I suggest using gloves to keep your hands from getting dyed. Use a knife for the stubborn spots.

Slice or chop your beets to the desired size. I usually slice othe smalled size beets and cube the larger size beets.

Prepare the pickling solution.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, salt.
Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
Pack prepared beets into hot canning jars, leaving 1-inch head space.

Cover beets in jars with hot vinegar solution leaving 1-inch head space.
Remove air bubbles with a plastic knife or other small tool.

Wipe rims clean and process according to water bath canning
directions. Process pints and quarts for 30 minutes. Make altitude adjustments as needed. See chart below.
Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time
1001-3000 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10,000 20 minutes

Yield: 6 pints.



For beets I suggest following this recipe at the NCHFP. I was not too excited when the color leached out and I am hoping that the beets will absore back some of the color in a few weeks.

Beets – Whole, Cubed or Sliced



Canned Carrots

After you get done with peeling all of the carrots it is an easy process. I prepared whole and sliced carrots depending on the size. I suggest using the Ball Recipe.