Saturday, November 12, 2011

little baby niece

Being an aunt is one of the funnest things ever- you experience such love and devotion to these little creatures that aren't even your own. I suppose it's the closet I've come to having those "motherly feelings" without actually being a mother.
It has been so fun watching the newest little niece grow; she changes a little more each time I see her. Her expressions are priceless and absolutely melt my heart. I've never seen a three month old smile, I mean full-fledged ear to ear smile, as much as she does.
 And quite frankly, I think she is one of the prettiest babies I've ever seen.
And again with her expressions....soo precious!

Thanks sweet sister for having babies. Keep it up please!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adventures in Cooking

Since beginning my quest to be a homemaker, I've developed a mental bucket list of things I feel like I should be able to make, and make well. I fear I will not feel as though I have arrived as an accomplished cook until I have a decent number of Southern and traditional dishes under my belt, and hopefully in my repertoire.
One of the items on my list is pot roast. Pot roast is a seemingly simple and possibly old-fashioned dish, but I love it and grew up eating it. I can't imagine living in a household where pot roast isn't on the menu at least occasionally. And thankfully since I've married into a family of cattle farmers, roasts are easily attainable and warmly welcomed on the table.
Throughout grade school and high school my family and I ate Sunday lunch at my Grandmother's house almost every Sunday. It was always wonderful no matter what was on the menu, but one of my favorites was her roast. Ohhhh it was heaven in a pan. The meat was so tender it would fall off your fork, and the carrots were so flavorful and rich they could've been a main course.
But sadly (very sadly) we can't find a written recipe for her roast. My mother remembers the main ingredients and general instructions but we have nothing in writing. One thing we do have though is her pan. She used the same pan every time she made a roast, and there is no telling how many years she used it. If she started using it when she was 30 (just a guesstimate) until the time of her death, it would be over 50 years of pot roast wonderfulness in the same pan. We were certain (and so was she) that a lot of the fabulous flavor was due in part to what she cooked it in. My sister received her pan, and when I thought about tackling the feat of making a roast, I knew I wanted to use it. My gracious sister agreed and with pan in hand, the next step was finding a recipe to follow. (You see, I almost always have to follow a recipe, I'm not seasoned enough to go blindly without one).
My old trusty friend Pioneer Woman has a recipe for pot roast, and I figured that one would be as good as any to try. Her ingredient list didn't seem to far off from what I remember my Grandmommy using. I only used a little rosemary and no thyme. I didn't have any thyme on hand, and I don't really remember my Grandmother cooking with fresh herbs, so I decided to minimize those a little.

I started with a wonderful Mtn.View Farm roast.
Thanks Bouldins!

Here is the pan. The fabulous, wonderful, ancient pan

Carrots, potatoes, onions, rosemary, olive oil, beef broth.

As per my usual, the kitchen was a mess while making it.

It looked so pretty.

I let it cook for four or five hours. It ended up not being quite as easy as I'd hoped. You see, when using a pan that is 50 or 60 years old, it doesn't work the same way I'm sure it once did. The bottom of this dish is bowed, making it rock back and forth, side to side. So as the flavors melded and the liquids cooked and bubbled, everything leaned to one side causing liquid to spill over the edges and all over the bottom of my stove. In attempts to remedy this, I made the biggest mess in my stove and the floor, and absent mindedly grabbed the hot stove rack without an oven mitt. Not smart. Very tramautic.  After a frantic call to the neighbors, my wonderful engineer step-dad non-chalantly suggested putting a piece of rolled up aluminum foil under one side to even it out. Genius. Why I didn't think of that?....who knows.
Despite the theatrics of cooking the roast, the results were out of this world! I didn't expect it to turn out as well as it did. Which further reiterated the assumption that the pan is the source of the wonderful flavor. (I couldn't have made anything that tasty without a little help). It smelled just like the Sunday lunches of my memory, and surprisingly, tasted almost exactly the same as well. While eating it I couldn't help but cry a little. May seem silly to cry over food, but the taste brought back many memories and it was so surreal to be tasting something that I never thought I would taste again. (I know, I'm too sentamental, it's a character flaw that I'm very aware of).
Jameson loved it too, but of course didn't have the point of reference to know whether or not it tasted like Grandmommy's. We were able to get a couple meals out of it including lunches, which was great!
I'm hoping to make it again soon and this time will share it with the whole family so everyone can enjoy the walk down memory lane.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


You know what I love about my husband?
Well actually I love a lot of things about him, but one thing really makes my heart go pitter-pat; how Manly he is
He likes dirt, lawn mowers, tractors, grass, bugs (well maybe he doesn't like bugs, but he isn't afraid of them either, and always comes to my rescue and kills any and all in sight), grease, oil, football, pick-up basketball, spitting, screwdrivers, hammers, work boots, and not wearing a shirt.
He is the manliest man's man that I know.
He is a true guy's guy
He is hunky and hot.
My hunky, hot husband with greasy hands and dirt on his face.
Check out the dirt on his lips.

....pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter-pat.........