Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • ¼ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cans beef broth

Directions

Place meat in largest mixing bowl.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Pour over meat and stir to coat meat with flour mixture.

Stir in the onion, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and paprika.

Transfer to slow cooker. Add Worcestershire sauce and beef broth.

Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, or high for 4-6 hours.

Notes

Consider using one of the cans of beef broth to help transfer spices that are stuck to the bowl.

Second attempt had a lot of fat get transferred to the frozen portions. Next time, let the stew cool before packaging and skim off the fat.

Potatoes should be less than a cubic inch after dicing for best texture.

PDF::API2

PDF::API2 on MetaCPAN

This is a Perl distribution I use heavily at work, so I adopted it back in 2010 after the previous maintainer decided to abandon it.

Mostly, my goals are to continue to ensure backward compatibility, gradually improve the code, and fix issues that come up.

It’s a challenge of a project to work on, for a variety of reasons:

  • Some of the code goes back to the early 1990s. I’m pretty sure I remember seeing a comment from 1994 in one of the files. That roughly coincides with Perl 5.0, for reference, and I definitely got the sense that the module was already established by then, so it may even predate Perl 5. The coding styles (there have been multiple developers) aren’t exactly modern.

  • The documentation is limited, which means that users have had to figure out how it works from the code, which means that changing the code has a higher likelihood of breaking existing applications.

  • The existing code does almost no input validation. This leads to things that happen to work but shouldn’t, which subsequently break when the code gets fixed or cleaned up.

  • Objects aren’t being used, so any change to any data structure will probably break existing applications.

  • There was no test suite, just some undocumented example scripts, some of which didn’t work any more.

  • It’s a fairly popular module, quietly generating or processing PDFs for many businesses around the world as part of critical applications.

Don’t get me wrong – I like this library a lot, and have few complaints toward any of the previous developers. Most of the time, anyway. Tinkering with it lets me stretch and grow my Perl skills in a different direction than I do at work.

Printer

For most people, a Brother black-and-white wireless laser printer is the printer I recommend.

As of this writing, the Brother HL-L2340DW is the specific model I recommend (I own a slightly older version).

If you also need scanning or copying, get a Brother DCP-L2520DW or a Brother DCP-L2540DW. The latter printer includes an auto-document feeder for a few dollars more, and is sometimes on sale for the same price (or, as when I bought it, less).

Don’t buy a color printer

For most people, color isn’t worth the added cost, hassle, and consumables.

Photos can be printed for pennies (well, a dime or two) on-demand at most drug stores. This is less than you’d pay for just the consumables on an inkjet printer, never mind the actual cost of the printer, paper, and dried/unused ink.

Color documents can be printed at any office supply store, and most workplaces will let you use their office printers at a discounted rate or for free.

If you print in color more than occasionally (e.g. for a home-based business), I’ve been happier with the quality of HP color laser printers than their Brother equivalents, but don’t buy the cheap ones – you end up paying much more for toner when you do.

Laser vs. Inkjet

I don’t think there’s any scenario that would lead me to recommend an inkjet printer for a home or small business. If you don’t have the volume, the ink heads will clog, and if you do have the volume, the ink costs will be higher than you’d pay for toner.

Chili Mac

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ cup green pepper, diced
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes, 14oz
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, 14oz
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • cheddar, grated
  • sour cream

Directions

Brown ground beef with onion and peppers in saucepan. Drain.

In large pot, combine ground beef, tomatoes, and spices.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Begin boiling water for macaroni.

Cook macaroni.

Drain macaroni, then add to chili.

Cook for 5 minutes.

Serve with cheddar and sour cream.

Notes

Recipe can easily be halved or doubled. Doubling will require a larger pot.