Cooking, Travel and just Other Stuff

You have to understand. I come from a line of very crafty people. My sister paints, one niece can knit anything out of a ball of yarn...oh and she paints and wood carves and makes jewelery. The other niece designs things and then sews them and then my great niece...well we will just call her insanely crafty. They all have blogs where they show all of their wonderful things they do. So, that brings me here. I decided I wanted a blog too, but what to write about. I'm not insanely crafty, can't paint, don't wood carve, tried knitting-didn't work....hummm, what do I do? Well, I like to cook and travel and eat, so I thought maybe we can start there. My blog will be about recipes I've made, places I go and restaurants I eat at with a few other things thrown in along the way. I've also heard that writing is good for you brain, so I figure-as I'm getting older now-this could be a good thing. So anyway, if you find my rantings worth commenting over, I'd love to hear from you. If I post a recipe you like, please let me know, other wise you can keep your opinions to yourself. This, after all, is my blog to make myself feel better, to try and compete with my family, because I don't do anything crafty.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Company's coming....dinners on!

OK, so as a whole I do not buy cookbooks. Most of the time you spend twenty five dollars for a couple of recipes and the book sits collecting dust on a shelf you could use for something else. So last week while I was in Oklahoma I ran across this cookbook and I bought it. It's called "The Pioneer Woman Cooks". It is written by a Oklahoma housewife. She and her family live on a horse and cattle ranch. It's a meat and potatoes kind of cookbook.

The thing that intrigued me about the book and the reason I bought it was because it had a lot of recipes from the mid-west and south. Some reminded me of recipes my mom fixed when I was little. So, what's another twenty seven dollars I thought and I bought the cookbook. It is a fun and entertaining cookbook with lots of pictures. Tonight I made dinner with two recipes out of the book. Oh my! My husband's words, "I think this is the best dinner you have ever made, I know the potatoes are". I am not normally a big mashed potato girl, but these, I could have eaten the whole pan. This is NOT a low calorie dinner, but if you got company coming and you want to impress 'em, this would be the dinner. I hope you enjoy and don't forget to give me your thoughts.

Perfect Pot Roast with Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Perfect Pot Roast

3 Tblsps. olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
one 3 to 5 pound chuck roast
2 onions (cut in half from tip to root, cut off tops and bottoms and peel off skin.)
6 to 8 carrots (cut off ends and then cut in about 2 inch chunks)
2 to 2 1/2 cups beef stock
3 to 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions  and brown on both sides. Remove from oil. Next put carrots in the hot oil. Toss them around until slightly brown. Brown them but don't cook them. Remove from pan. Salt and pepper the meat and then put in pan of oil and sear on both sides. Remove and put in crock pot.

To the hot oil add 1 cup of beef stock and whisk constantly to deglaze the pan. The point of deglazing is to loosen all the burned flavorful bits from the bottom of the pot. When done pour over roast in crock pot. Add enough stock to come halfway up the meat. Tuck in the herbs so they are down in the juice and put in carrots and onions. Cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on size of the roast. Serve with Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

(Note: I adapted this recipe to make in the crock pot because it's easier using my crock pot when I work. If you get the book it tells you how to do it in the oven.)

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut in pieces
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until you can pierce with a fork. Drain and put back in pan. Add butter and mash until mixed. Add cream cheese and mash until mixed. Add seasoned salt, salt, pepper and half and half and mash until smooth. Put in a 2 quart casserole dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

(Note: I also made gravy from the juices of the roast. It made fabulous gravy. And can you really have roast beef and potatoes without gravy?)


  1. The pioneer woman also has a "little" blog, you might want to check it out.... I do want to get her cookbook because it is pretty and her recipes are good. Farm jounal has a similar potato recipe that I made for years till it made me fat! Ha ha

  2. Oh YES! You must check out Ree's blog.
    If you like her book, you'll love her blog!

    I don't have her book, mainly because her food likes to sit around my waist! ;-) And on the few occasions when I feel an urge to splurge on food, I'll go to her blog to see what I can find there!

  3. You guys already new about her and I just discovered her. Your right, her recipe calorie count is not for the faint of heart. I'm sure the two helpings of potatoes last night went straight to my rear. This will be a good having company recipe.

  4. TPW is great! I look at her blog all the time! She's also got a book out called "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels"....all about when she met her husband. She has really neat contests on her blog, too. She gives away GOOD stuff! I've yet to win anything but I'm not giving up!! :-)

  5. I love the Ree! She's awesome I've been following her blog for a few years. She was down in orlando last year and I was so bummed because it was a week night and I SO wanted to go!