Hamburger Rocks

During my social media hiatus, I filled my time doing many of the things that I never had time to do. To say I was amazed at the amount of time I had wasted is an understatement. One of the things I accomplished was learning how to make hamburger rocks.

I don’t consider myself a hardcore prepper, more like a person who wants to be prepared – much like the ant from Aesop’s Fables – The Ant and the Grasshopper. For those who don’t know, hamburger rocks is nothing more than dehydrated ground beef.

In May of 2021, I made my first batch of hamburger rocks. The process was easy.

  1. Brown lean ground beef and drain off excess grease.
  2. Put the cooked meat in a colander and rinse with hot water. This step can’t be stressed enough. Rinse and rinse some more. It’s really important to remove all the grease as the grease will become rancid if not properly removed.
  3. Once the meat is rinsed, some folks put it back in the pan and heat it to remove the excess water. I chose to dump the meat on several paper towels and sort of patted/squeezed the hamburger dry.
  4. Next, I lined the dehydrator trays with parchment paper and spread the hamburger, making sure the meat wasn’t clumped. (I put one pound of cooked meat on each tray.)
  5. Dehydrate 8-12 hours (time varies depending on the dehydrator). My dehydrator is pretty basic. There’s no temperature gauge – just on and off – and I was pleased with how well it performed.
  6. Once the hamburger is dehydrated (and you’ll know if done when it looks like little brown pebbles) put in clean jars along with an oxygen absorber pack and BAM! – Hamburger Rocks!

This method will allow you to store the hamburger for 2 years although I have read that others have stored it for a longer period of time.

To rehydrate – cover rocks with hot water for 10-12 minutes.

So – today (Feb. 28, 2022), I decided to see how the hamburger held up. I rehydrated the meat and tasted it. Honestly, it tasted like unseasoned hamburger. I made spaghetti sauce with mine. It was delicious.

For all my fellow ants – Hamburger Rocks are worth the effort.

Living Her Best Life

She’s not crazy about getting her picture taken but apparently, if she can be somewhat incognito, she’s good!

Back in 2017, we adopted Nova. She had been at the animal shelter for a while. Long enough that the workers were concerned. (Apparently, black dogs have a harder time getting adopted.) She’s one of the best decisions we ever made.

Had a hard day at work? Nova is there to welcome us home. Some days, she literally howls with joy. Every day, she shows off – running from the dining room table, around the coffee table and back – repeatedly – while we cheer her on because she’s so fast!!! (Not really but she likes for us to tell her she’s the fastest! )

She always has time to love on us and to be loved on. She’s sweet and an absolute attention whore. 😉

Some days, I’m sure we rescued her. Other days, I wonder if she didn’t rescue us.

Today isn’t one of those days. My husband let Nova run around in the back yard. Unfortunately, there’s some feral cats in our neighborhood that occasionally use our yard as their liter box. Nova found the poop… and rolled in it…and my goodness – she stinks!

And I can’t put off bathing her smelly self any longer!

Living a Better Life

Some time ago, I came to the realization that over the past few years, my life had become a series of “one day I woulds…”

One day I would exercise and stick to it…

One day I would lose weight…

One day I would go white water rafting…

One day…

I took an extended break from social media – got rid of Twitter, Instagram, and signed out of Facebook for several months. It was liberating. I rediscovered reading. I cooked fresh flounder over a campfire and I hiked in the Adirondacks. I taught myself how to make sourdough bread.

I’ve committed myself to living in such a way that when I’m old, I won’t look back with regret.

My better life is a journey not a destination. It’s about the things I learn and do along the way.

Pfizer Vaccine & Me

I’ve thought long and hard about sharing my experience with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Ultimately, I decided that information is key in making informed decisions.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

On July 27, 2021, I decided to get the vaccine. The pharmacist who administered the shot, jokingly asked that I stay 10-12 minutes after the injection to make sure I didn’t pass out or that my head didn’t explode. I chuckled. After waiting the required time, I started to my car. I noticed a slight tingling in my face. As the evening wore on, the tingling became stronger and a numbing sensation set in. It would be accurate to say that my face felt “rubbery” – much like how I feel after a dental procedure when the Novocaine starts to wear off. The thought crossed my mind that maybe my head was really going to blow up.

The next morning, no improvement. In fact, my face started to swell and itch. My scalp felt like my hair was trying to crawl off my head. My primary care provider suggested that I take Benedryl which I did.

Within two weeks, my eyes started watering – excessively. Tears would stream down my face. It was hard to be productive at work as I was constantly drying my eyes. I went to the eye doctor looking for help. I was advised to try drops and hot compresses.

After a month of dealing with this, my primary care provider, whose associate had experience working with facial paralysis, concluded that the trigeminal nerve was inflamed and prescribed Prednisone. Nine days later – the symptoms had lessened but were still present. We hoped that the nerve would continue to settle. It didn’t.

Numbness has now moved into the left side of my mouth and the left side of my tongue though this is not a constant condition.

At this point, we are trying Vitamin B injections. Not sure how effective this is going to be but it’s a safer alternative than a steroid.

My eyes are still watering but thankfully not continually streaming down my face – and the area around my eyes is chapped and raw.

My face is still itchy, tingling and numb. The swelling is now mostly around my eyes, under my lips and down the left side of my neck.

I received the injection in my left arm. I find it somewhat weird that the left side of my face seems to be more affected than the right.

I’m not in pain. I am a bit depressed. Two months of a steady barrage of itching, tingling and numbness is frustrating. I’m losing hope that we’ll find something to alleviate the condition.

I’m not an anti-vaxer but I’m not willing to take the second injection as I don’t know what more it will do to me.

I’m fortunate that I have health insurance to help cover the costs of the doctor visits and prescriptions. Pfizer isn’t helping with that.

It’s been two months now and while I’ve accepted the fact that this may be my new normal, I’m angry about it. I’m certainly glad that most people who have taken the vaccine had no issues. But for those of us that did, I hate that what we are experiencing is so easily dismissed.

I share this – not to discourage anyone from getting vaccinated – but to make people aware that for some of us, there are real lingering side-effects.

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