Tuesday, June 19, 2012

PW's Perfect Pot Roast

New Recipe #9 (9/20)
This recipe is from my Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook.

Perfect Pot Roast pg. 120

1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots) - I cheated and used baby carrots
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead) - I didn't use wine
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Preparation Instructions

(check out the bargain for this roast... Original price 12.24, I paid 5.11... Lucked out on mark down day!)

First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (I cheated and used baby carrots!). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up. (I used broth and didn't use wine)
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Here is my roast before going into the oven (above) and when it came out of the oven (below). 

The roast just fell to pieces (above), this is what was left in the pot once I pulled out the roast (below) my first thought was the leftovers will make great soup!

Verdict: Oh my goodness good!!! I had put too much olive oil in the pot when I was browning my onions, carrots, and roast. So the whole thing was a little too oily but it was so delicious. I also made PW's Creamy Mashed potatoes. (see previous post)

Monday, June 18, 2012

PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes - Pioneer Woman Cooks # 8 & 13

New Recipe #8 (8/20)

This recipe came from my Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook.

PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes pg. 146

5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
12 tablespoons Butter
1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half (I used Heavy Cream because that's all I had on hand)
1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

 Preparation Instructions

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.

 VERDICT: I made half of this recipe. Let's face it, 5 pounds of potatoes is ALOT of potatoes for two people! I also used Heavy Cream instead of half and half because that's what I had on hand. These mashed potatoes were delicious! I made them to go along with PW's Perfect Pot Roast!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nothing is Impossible by Christopher Reeve #36 - Complete

36. Read non-fiction books (2/2) - COMPLETE!

A few months ago, I went to the library in search of books by people with paralysis. Who better to read a book by than Christopher Reeve!

Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life by Christopher Reeve

This is the information about the book that can be found on the Christopher Reeve's website.

"Book DescriptionIn Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life, Christopher Reeve, author of the bestselling autobiography Still Me, challenges readers not to accept limitations - those set be oneself or by others - but to harness our untapped resources.
Christopher Reeve has mastered the art of turning the impossible into the inevitable. In Nothing is Impossible he shows that we are all capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable hardships. He interweaves anecdotes from his own life with speeches and interviews he's give and with evocative photographs taken by his son, Matthew.
Reeve teaches us that for able-bodied people, paralysis is a choice - a choice to live with self-doubt and a fear of taking risks - and that it is not an acceptable one. Christopher Reeve knows from experience that the work of conquering inner space is hard and that it inevitably requires some suffering - nothing worth having is easy to get, after all. He also asks challenging questions about why it seems so difficult - if not impossible - for us to work together as a society. But he never preaches; he steers the reader gently, reflecting and offering guidance, not the pat answers that often characterise works of inspiration. Nothing is Impossible reminds us that life is not to be taken for granted but to be lived fully with zeal, curiosity, and gratitude. That is a powerful message in itself, but it is the messenger who gives it its full resonance."

I really enjoyed reading this book. I could understand many of the things Christopher Reeve's talked about and understand them from a caregiver's point of view.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lunch and Shopping with Carrie # 31

About a month ago, Carrie and I went on a shopping at the outlet malls in Gulfport and to lunch at Chili's. We had a good time and enjoyed our trip!

Friday, June 15, 2012

# 29 - Donate Rice

Donated 400 pieces of rice today on Free Rice.
5,400 down, 14,600 to go.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

21. Look into Masters programs - COMPLETE

21. Look into Masters programs

I'm happy to announce that on June 6th I enrolled into my first two classes towards my Masters degree.

I will be working on my Masters in Business Administration in Health Care Management!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

20. Complete needed classed to complete Bachelors degree (11/11) - COMPLETE!!

20. Complete needed classed to complete Bachelors degree (11/11)

I'm happy to say that on May 15th I finished all my classes needed to finish my Bachelors degree!!!

I am now a graduate with my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baked Potato Soup #8

New Recipe #7 (7/20)

On Christmas Eve, we had broccoli cheese soup and baked potatoes for lunch. Well some of us did, but not all the baked potatoes were ready before some of the family had to head up to church because they were helping with the Christmas Eve service and had to be there early. When we got home we had two baked potatoes left in the oven that were finally done. My dad and I set out to find a recipe online of ways to use these potatoes. We found many recipes but this one used everything we had on hand at the house. Plus by using allrecipe.com I was able to change the serving size to only use 2 potatoes and it changed the entire recipe for me. So it was a win win!! The soup was so good and it was a good snack for everyone after Christmas Eve service. A few weeks later once we were home I tried the recipe again.

Baked Potato Soup

12 slices bacon
2/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt


After I baked the potatoes I pulled everything together to make the soup.
Cook bacon, crumble and set aside. I used precooked bacon for my soup.
In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the margarine over medium heat.

 Whisk in flour until smooth.

  Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened.

 Cut up the onions and potatoes.
   Stir in potatoes and onions. 
  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.              

  Mix in bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
 Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.               

VERDICT: It was good enough for me to make twice! The next day, I added corn to the leftovers to make it like a chowder. Still Yummy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa - PW's Food From My Frontier - # 8 & 13 & 15

New Recipe #6 (6/20)

With this recipe I was able to hit on three of the things on my 101 list. Not only was I trying a new recipe, but it was from one of my new cookbooks, AND 15. Make the perfect salsa - Complete!

This was the first recipe I tried from Pioneer Woman's Food From My Frontier Cookbook.

Restaurant Style Salsa pg. 92
You can also find the original post on PW blog.

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • 1/2 whole Lime Juice


Preparation Instructions

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.
Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

VERDICT: This recipe makes a HUGE batch of salsa. You can see in the picture above that my blender was full to the TOP! The salsa was good however it had a little too much bite for me to sit and eat a ton. I'll definitely try the recipe again but I think I will use one original Rotel and one mild Rotel. We were also not able to eat all the salsa before going out of town so I put some of it in the freezer. When thawed the salsa still had a good flavor, but it was very watery. So if I do have to freeze it again in the future I'll make sure to use it for recipes that have salsa mixed in or use it as a marinate for meats.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From my Frontier by Ree Drummond #12

Cookbook # 7

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond

After getting and loving Pioneer Woman's first cookbook I knew I wanted the her newest one when it came out in March.

When I find a good book, or product, on Amazon I want I'll send a link of it to Colin. Every now and then he will surprise me and get it. This is one of those occasions where a package arrived at the door for me!

When I get new cookbooks I sit down with these skinny post it notes and mark the recipes I want to try. Let's just say I have a ton of little post it notes sticking out of the side of this cookbook!

I'm looking forward to making many recipes from this cookbook. You can read pioneer woman talk about her cookbook here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blackberry Cobbler - Southern Plate Recipe - #8 & 13

New Recipe #5 (5/20)

Here is another recipe from my Southern Plates Cookbook.

Blackberry Cobbler pg 69

  • 2 C Berries, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt stick of butter in oven proof casserole dish in oven while mixing ingredients. Place 1 T margarine on top of berries in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 cup sugar over berries. Stir. Heat in microwave for 1 minute so that sugar begins to melt.

 Mix together 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar until blended. Pour in 1 cup milk and mix until blended.

After butter is melted, take casserole out of oven and pour batter on top of melted butter. Pour berries on top of batter. DO NOT STIR! Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over cobbler.

 Place in 350 oven and cook for 55 minutes or until golden.

We ate ours with Ice Cream. That's the way you are suppose to eat it right?

Verdict: It was oh so yummy! I let it cook 55 minutes and the top got a little too golden brown so next time I will cook it a shorter time and check.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken and Dumpings - # 13 & 8

New Recipe #4 (4/20)

This recipe is from my Southern Plates Cookbook.

Chicken and Dumplings pg 244
You can also find the recipe here on her website

  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth (feel free to use water with bouillon cubes added) I used the chicken broth from cooking the chicken and froze the extra broth for later use!
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1-10 count can Pilsbury layers biscuits
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour

Cook chicken breasts in approx. 4 c. of water (I added enough water to cover the chicken and a little) until fork tender, about 45 minutes. I then shredded my chicken with my mixer!

Place broth in medium to large sized pot. Stir cream of chicken soup into gently boiling broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Pull biscuits apart into three layers. Dip each layer into flour and then tear each layer into three pieces and drop into gently boiling broth mixture. Do not stir biscuits a lot, or they will cook up, only gently push dumplings down into broth as they float to the top. Cook about ten minutes after last dumplings are added.

 Add shredded chicken and turn on low until ready to serve. (I added the chicken before the dumplings based off the recipe in the cookbook, although, I think this is a typo because it tells you to add the chicken before the dumplings and after.)

VERDICT - Oh my goodness good! We ate almost the whole pot in one sitting! Only thing I would do differently is more dumplings or less chicken. I used 3 very large chicken breast and it was right at too much chicken for my taste. Although the cookbook says it is 8 servings I would say it is more like 4. Also, if you were making this for more than 4 people you would need to double the recipe at least on the dumplings and liquids.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Less Mess Baked Bacon - #99

This less mess baked bacon idea came from Martha Stewart.

This spatter-free technique puts the "bake" back in bacon.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, then lay the bacon strips flat, making sure pieces do not overlap.
 Turn the oven to 400 degrees.  Put bacon in. Do not wait for oven to preheat.
 Bake until crisp and browned, 15 to 18 minutes, or desired doneness, rotating the sheets once.
 Transfer strips to a paper towel to drain.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sweet Apple Chips - # 8

New Recipe #2 (3/20)

I usually try to make sure the things I PIN on Pinterest have an original post to go refer to but this one didn't.

Here is the Pin on my board...

These are the instructions listed on the post...

Sweet Apple Chips

Ingredients: 2 Small Apples (cut into thin slices as shown above) 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 F and place apple slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges start to curl and brown a little bit. Set out to cool, and enjoy!                                       

VERDICT - When I see the word Chip I think crisp and crunchy. I made two pans of these, one roasting for 15 minutes and the other for 30. Neither batch got anywhere cripsy, but Colin liked them all the same.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans - # 8 - Pinterest Recipe

New Recipe #2 (2/20)

I love Pinterest! This is one of the many recipes I found and actually tried!

The original recipe and post can be found here on Real Simple.

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound trimmed green beans
  • 8 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds)


Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. 

Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans.

 Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.                             

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

VERDICT : It was good but too strong on the lemon side for us. I used half the amount of chicken for us and only used 5 potatoes because that is all I had but didn't think to reduce the lemon. Lessoned learned! I will try this recipe again using less lemon next time!