Daggone good pot roast recipe

potroast

Delicious Pot Roast

I found this Many Meals Pot Roast recipe a couple of months ago on one of my favorite recipe websites, allrecipes.com, and we absolutely love it. I made it today and my youngest had three helpings. She doesn’t even weigh 20 pounds yet, so hopefully that tells you something about the deliciousness of the recipe. The recipe meets my criteria because it has few and simple ingredients, most of which you probably have in your pantry/fridge right now:

  • beef chuck roast
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • diced tomatoes
  • beef stock

This is actually a sponsored recipe so I was skeptical at first, as I am of all sponsored things online, but after reading the reviews, I decided to try it. I did make several changes including only using 1 pound of meat, half an onion, 3 carrots, 3 celery strips, one can of tomatoes and stock as needed. I cooked the meat in oil like the recipe says, pulled the meat out and put it in the crock pot, then added the veggies to the pan with tons of spices like basil, thyme garlic powder, and parsley, as well as the salt and pepper. I added the stock and tomatoes to get the yumminess off the bottom of the pan, brought the mixture to a boil then poured it all in the crock pot on top of the meat. I cooked it 3.5 hours on high, then cut it down to low for about 2.5 hours. So six hours total cook time in the crock pot. We serve this meal over egg noodles and have yet to have leftovers. I will have to double or triple the recipe next time so we can freeze some.

Photo thanks to allrecipes.com.

Cake for all!

birthday cake

Delicious homemade cake

My youngest turned 1 on Friday. She also took her first steps the week of Christmas. It makes me feel old knowing she is growing up. Things are getting easier though, she is starting to eat many of the same things we eat. I won’t have to cook separate ‘mushy’ food for her anymore. I will have to cut back on the spice though, I tend to make things too hot for children. But, back to the point of this, cake! I made the youngest a homemade birthday cake and icing. It was insanely delicious, and used only simple ingredients, so it was perfect. The tradeoff was that it was tons of work, and made a huge mess. The cake uses Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, and the icing is mostly sugar and butter, um, 5 cups of sugar. I can’t think of anything better, honestly. We used white icing and covered it in pink sprinkles, because that is what you do when you have girls. My house is vomiting pink. Anyway, just thought I would share this delicious recipe with you guys, in case anyone needs a special cake recipe.

We are staying in this year for NYE. Things have been so busy and hectic over the holidays, it feels nice to stay home and do nothing except raise babies. Maybe next year will be more exciting. Happy New Year’s Eve Ya’ll!

Muffins, muffins, everywhere

Yummy muffins

I’m into homemade muffins now. Not sure how it happened. I think I got a hankering for them when my vegetarian friend mentioned cooking muffins all the time in, “We don’t eat animals. We just eat food.” Anyway, I don’t care how it happened, I’m just happy it did. Making muffins, along with running, has pulled me out of the funk from yesterday, I think it made me realize that Christmas is just around the corner. YAY for the holidays!

Yesterday I made raisin brain muffins – weird, but right for some reason, especially if you add butter on top. And then today, my oldest and I made blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries (I left off the topping in the recipe and they are still awesome). Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive, they are so delicious. I’m having to limit us to two muffins per day though. Otherwise, they would be gone by nightfall.

Meat – a five step plan

After watching Forks over Knives, the food documentary I mention in my last post, I realized that if we are going to continue eating meat, then first – we need to limit the amount we consume, and second – we need to know where it comes from. My family and I took an hour of our time this weekend and went grocery shopping together at Whole Foods. One of the reasons I chose them is because of their Animal Welfare Standards, and because they rate their meats based on Steps 1-5. You can clearly see, from the step rating, how well the animals were treated before making a purchase. And yes, it is more expensive than the meat at the grocery store, but we will be eating less, which will save money. Plus, the health of my family is worth the extra cost. So here we go. I have no idea if this is something we can maintain, or will replicate every weekend, but we are going to try. This weekend we bought some pork, steak and turkey; my husband cooked it all on the charcoal grill; and my job is to parcel it out in our meals throughout the week. We are already to Thursday and doing great. We still have about half of the meat left.

Some bonuses from this:

  • I don’t have to shop alone, or hurriedly with one kid who is bored
  • I don’t have to cook meat, I never liked that part anyway, plus I’m not very good at it
  • I don’t have to choose each and every meal we consume, my husband helps make choices on what we eat, and sometimes the kids choose, too!
  • We spend time together as a family
  • Free cheese samples!

What could be better?

Weekend Cooking Extravaganza

Out and About

Out and about, loving the outdoors

One of my runner chick friends, Stephanie Gupton, and her family, came up with this fantastic idea for working parents, or non-working parents. This “Cooking Extravaganza” idea is a fast, efficient way to cook a ton of your weekly meals, make sure those meals are healthy, plus spend quality time together. I asked her to give me the low down on how it works, mostly because I want to copy her, but also because I thought it might be a nice idea for other families who struggle to eat well during the hectic workweek.

Question: Tell me about your family’s weekend “Cooking Extravaganza”. What prompted you to start doing this, and what was the result of doing this for you, your family?

Answer: In our lives, before Abigail, Jason and I would get home from work and exercise each weeknight. Afterwards, we would make dinner together, and we always made enough for leftovers for lunch the next day at work. Both of us are really good “leftover eaters,” which was key for our “Cooking Extravaganza” to work for us.  We both are really interested in eating healthy and whole foods. I wish we ate less meat, and more local… but at this point, I think we are doing well.   After Abigail was born, and before I went back to work, I would prep for dinner while Abigail was napping during the day, be ready for a run as soon as Jason got home, to give them some alone time together, and then cook up dinner after the run.

Once I was back at work though, I didn’t want to lose a second of my dwindling time with Abigail after work by cooking or exercising, and neither would Jason.  Thus we came up with the idea of “Cooking Extravaganza,” and exercising while Abigail sleeps.  It started meekly, with just trying to cook dinner for 2 days, but this experiment quickly turned in to trying to make it so we don’t have to cook all week-long, or at least until Thursday night.

Fresh Veggies

Fresh veggies, on the chopping block

Every weekend that we don’t go out-of-town, and on the lucky ones where we get back in time on Sundays, we do our “Cooking Extravaganza” on Sunday nights.  This usually starts with grocery shopping as a family on Saturday, and then on Sunday afternoon, we pull everything out of the fridge.  We are fairly sexist about it, Jason cooks the meat, and I do the veggies/grains, but it works, and I’m not going to try to liberate it. Normally Jason grills on the charcoal grill: a fish (usually salmon), chicken (like thighs and breast meat), and some pork (chops, tenderloin, etc). But on a rainy or cold, or lazy day, it all goes into the oven/broiler. My job is to make a salad, steam green vegetables: like asparagus/broccoli/kale/green beans, make some potatoes: sweet or russet, a grain: rice or cous cous, pasta, etc.

Sometimes we’ll do a crock-pot meal: soup, chili, pulled pork, etc. Usually there is an all-in-one meal, for instance casserole, chicken pot pie, curry, or burritos. Then we just eat everything we’ve cooked for lunch and dinner for the rest of the week.  We try to pack it individually a bit so that is easier during the week as well. Abigail is getting to the age where she will help me in the kitchen. Last week she ate 10 cherry tomatoes while I was doing salad prep.

Question: Tell me the pros and cons of doing this, in your opinion. Did you feel like it was a huge amount of extra work?

The End Result

Voila – almost a week’s worth of delicious, healthy food

Answer: The pros clearly outweigh the cons here.  Sunday this work takes about an hour of Jason and I both cooking like maniacs, and then we all eat together, put Abigail to bed, and then clean up for 45 minutes. It is definitely more work than we want to do on a Sunday, but it makes the rest of the week so much easier. We heat up food for dinner, and only have to put dinner plates in the washer each night, not scrub pots and pans. We normally make it to Wednesday at least, but usually through lunch on Thursday.

Question: What do you personally do to stay healthy?

Answer: We have reorganized our workout schedule since having Abigail because neither of use want to lose any time with her. I run from 5:30-6:30 am, and Jason works out from 8-9 pm at night.  It is hard, but well worth it for the fun times with our sweet girl that we get every day.

 

The Toussaints truly make the most of their work/family life, including adding in working out to their crazy hectic schedule. It’s one of the things I love about Stephanie, she never complains about not having enough time, or not being able to find the time to do the things that are important to her. She makes it happen. What a great example Jason and Stephanie are setting for their daughter. You can do whatever you set your mind to, you just have to get up and do it!