Saturday, April 10, 2010

Autumn Roast


This crock pot roast recipe combines a succulent roast with onion, sweet potatoes, strong beef broth, and surprising spices.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 boneless roast (2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered (enough for 4 to 6 people)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules or beef base
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour) combined with 2 tablespoons cold water, optional (for gravy)

PREPARATION:
  1. Trim roast.  
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown roast on all sides.  
  3. Place sliced onion in crock pot; top with peeled and quartered sweet potatoes.
  4. Place meat on vegetables. 
  5. In a small bowl, combine the water, beef bouillon granules, celery seed, cinnamon, and pepper. Pour over roast. 
  6. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 
  7. Remove beef and vegetables to a serving dish and keep warm.
  8. Skim fat from juices and serve with the beef and vegetables. 

FOR GRAVY (optional)
If desired, pour juices from the crockpot into a pan and bring to a low boil.  Add cornstarch/water mixture and stir well.   Cook on medium-low until thickened and bubbly. Serve with roast and vegetables.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Date night In--Mad Libs

Remember doing Mad Libs as a kid?  They were pre-written stories that were missing some of the parts of speech and you had to fill them in and then read the silly story.

Go to the store and grab a pad of Mad Libs and spend a date night filling them out.  Perhaps wager who can have the funniest, sexiest, grossest, etc., story!  (We always bet back rubs).

Another option is to make your own story (do this if you want a steamy version).

Here's a sample Mad Lib:

If I were to go on a perfect date, I’d love to take ______ (date’s name) to ______ (city name). We would begin our evening by going to a _______ (adjective) restaurant, where we’d eat lots of ______ (food) and ______ (food). Spending the evening ______ (“ing” verb) at ______'s (date's name) ______ (body part, something similar) would definitely top off the best time together. For dessert, I want to take ______ (date’s name) to the fun ______ (place). There, we’ll jump on the large red _______ (noun) and I’ll buy him/her the ______ (adjective) present, such as a ______ (adjective) ______ (noun).
You know, it’s amazing how dating someone so ________ (adjective) and ______ (adjective) can complete me. I’ve always wanted a man/woman who had a large ______ (noun) and who wants to ______ (verb) with me. Our night would end ______ (adverb) with his/her ______ (body part) on my ______ (noun).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Things I love--Right Hand Rings

When I graduated with my Master's degree Matt got me this delightful, dainty right hand ring.  It had a diamond in it for every five years I'd been in school (which was 20 years total at that point!).  I loved that ring and pretty much never took it off.

Sadly, I had a viscous run in with a door (door 1, hand/ring 0) and my lovely ring was destroyed.  We tried to take the ring back to the jeweler but it was going to cost more to fix the ring than it cost to purchase it.  And to make matters even worse, we weren't in a financial position to fix or buy a new one.  :(

Three years later I'm still bummed about not having a right hand ring. But we still aren't in a place where we can drop $500+ on a ring.

But I still web-dream.  My criteria: simple, under-stated elegance, dainty and not a bank-buster.

Here's my newest crush.

This Everlon beauty looks pricey but is totally affordable!  What I really love, though, is that it is two-toned just like my wedding ring!  

**sigh**

I love right hand rings (especially this one).  Matt, you're reading this, right?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What I Think About--Sandra Bullock

By now you've surely heard that Sandra Bullock and Jesse James are having marital problems.  


Have you even been cheated on or betrayed?  If so you probably know how broken and humiliated Sandra Bullock must feel right now.  I've been there and I can honestly say that what she's going through must be so much worse.  Why?  Because in the name if entertainment, the rest of America is standing by with baited breath waiting to hear the sorted details that are breaking her heart.  (I know there are those who'll say, "she's made her living by being a public figure" to which I'll reply, "she's made her living by being professionally--not to be confused with personally--public.")


Is something wrong here?  


Of course it is.  Our obsession with being in-the-know when it comes to other people's personal lives is disconcerting to me.  Does it make us feel better to know that our lives aren't as crappy as theirs (or that their lives are as crappy as ours)?  Why are we so obsessed with celebrity gossip?


So what do I think about Sandra Bullock?  I think I need to pray for peace, healing, and restoration of her heart.  


What do I think about her marriage with Jesse James?  Nothing.  It's none of my business.


Anyone else feeling a bit convicted about gossip?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Lemons

With the huge movement towards all things green, I wanted to share my favorite natural cleaner--lemons!


  • Lemon juice dissolves soap scum and hard water deposits. 
  • Lemon juice cleans and shines brass, silver, and copper.  
  • Lemons can scrub dishes and hard surfaces. 
  • Lemon juice can eliminate the garlic or onion smell.
  • Lemon juice mixed with baking soda creates a wonderful paste to clean tile grout.
  • Lemon juice cleans and sanitizes your dishwasher (run 1/4 c. lemon juice through an empty dishwasher).
  • 1/4 c. of lemon juice in the washing cycle will brighten loads that can't be bleached.
  • When lemon juice is mixed with olive oil it can even polish wood furniture and cupboards (1/4c. lemon juice to 1/2 c. olive oil).
  • When you are done cleaning with a lemon, you can chuck it into the garbage disposal and release a heavenly citrus smell in your kitchen.
See, lemons are miracle workers!  Now you don't have to wonder why grocery stores sell them in 5 pound bags--Nuts like me buy them to clean!

I've posted this before but here is how to get the most juice out of your lemon (and other citrus fruits!):

  1. Put the fruit on the counter and put your hand over it.  
  2. Roll the fruit around pressing with your hand.
  3. Now pop the fruit in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Cut and juice! (If you want to squeeze the juice into a bowl, don't cut it in half.  Just cut a small slit and squeeze).



Monday, April 5, 2010

Nichole's Closet Make-Over

Nichole is a "WTMIM?" reader who was inspired to organize and offered to share her photos.  Yeah!  I love this!

Here's a bit of a note she sent to me:

After seeing your newly organized laundry room I was inspired to organize my hall closet. In addition we had company this weekend, and in the middle of the night one of them needed some medicine.  These are very close friends, and when we opened our house to them we wanted them to feel at home, and that means in the middle of the night too.  My dear friend could not find any Tums for the life of her.  Poor thing; she was miserable. In addition to that it has been driving me nuts!  So I have included some before and after pics. Now my closet it more organized and I feel so much better.  Sometimes when I am having a bad day organizing something makes me feel like I have some sense of control over things in my life.

Ah, that last statement makes Nichole one of my kindred spirits!

Here are the photos!

BEFORE


AFTER


LOVE THOSE LABELS!



I'm sure we can all agree that Nichole's result is AWESOME.  Good job Nichole and thanks for sharing.

Some tips:

Consider rolling towels and stacking them in a pyramid or placing them in an awesome basket.  It looks very decorative (and some argue it takes less space but I'm up in the air--I just like how it looks and I'm not opposed to decorating closets).





If you have an organization success, take photos and send them to me!  I'd love to highlight you and give you a much needed high five for your hard work!