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Perfectly Pleasant Crock Pot Cola Roast

If you are like me and can’t take the heat this is a good dinner to make so you don’t have to stay outta the kitchen. The crock pot is not the most creative kitchen tool but it has it’s advantages. Like tonight for instance, A Perfectly Pleasant (because I do not need to stand over the hot stove) Crock Pot Coal Roast!
 A one pot complete dish is just the way to go sometimes. I am making this to bring to a friends house and they need a little cheering up so I figured FOOD does the trick for me and it certainly can’t hurt, so hopefully it will do the trick for them.
This is a family of 4 so I made enough for them to sit down to a nice dinner or just grab a few bites and go.
This is another flexible recipe, you can add or adjust whatever you like and put in things you want and it will still come out great. Be creative just be careful if you are bringing it to someone you don’t always cook for…..make sure to limit the spiciness and salt so it can accommodate all taste buds! They can always add spice & salt but you can’t take it away.

WHAT YOU NEED:
4 1/2 to 5 lb roast (the rule of thumb is about 3/4 lb per person so this should be just right) I was told by the butcher that the “beef chuck boneless roast/pot roast” is the best for cooking in a crock pot, he’s the butcher so I say it’s got to be right, right?
1 lb baby carrots (cuz thats what I had and needed to use them up) or 1 lb carrots scrubbed well and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
5 All purpose potatoes peeled and cut into large pieces (go ahead and use baby potatoes or red, it’s up to you)
1 Large sweet onion cut into wedges (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 ribs of celery cut into 1 inch pieces (save the tops if you want, for garnish)
1 Can of Coke or pepsi (8oz)
1 Cup red wine (what ever you have will work great)
2 large garlic cloves minced
3 to 4 small dried bay leaves
8 sprigs of thyme (more or less to taste)
5 Sage leaves
fresh chives, parsley & thyme for garnish or whatever you have available.

RUB RECIPE: (optional)
I do a dry rub on my roasts but it is totally optional. A rub adds a lot of flavor and complexity to a roast. Just remember to go easy on the heat, it gets hotter as it cooks and hotter as it sits in the fridge…… Same with salt. If you don’t have everything just improvise with spices that you have it will work.
1 tsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp fresh ground Cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp brown sugar

WHAT YOU DO:
Rub the spice mix all over the roast.
In a pot with high sides sear/brown the roast on all sides in a few table spoons of olive oil, it will take 3 to 4 minutes per side and be sure to get the ends. This seals in the flavors and the juices.
(this is when I like to peel and cut my potatoes, it keeps me busy so I don’t keep checking the brownness.)
Place the roast in the crock pot.
Pour in the wine and the Coke.
Add the garlic to the wine/Coke juice at the bottom and give it a little stir to break it up from being a blob.
Gently add in the potatoes, carrots, celery and onion. It is not going to all be covered by the juices and that is fine, it will cook down and blend.
Tuck in the fresh herbs so they are not right on the top, they will do a better job if they are covered a little.
About 1/2 way through gently push the veggies that are not covered down & give a light stir so they are in the juice. Stir around the meat so it doesn’t break apart.

Now, although there is a lot of writing here, this is very quick and easy to prepare.
Once it is done… transfer carefully to a decorative serving bowl/platter putting the meat in the middle and placing the vegetables around it. They will be soft so scoop them out with care.
Garnish with plenty of fresh herbs like Thyme, chives & Sage.
DON’T FORGET TO CUT THE TWINE HOLDING THE ROAST TOGETHER AND DISGARD!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER TANYA. TODAY SHE IS 3 YEARS OLDER THEN ME AGAIN!

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INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS…..A Gardening Story

Yep I know it sounds weird but it is…an invasion and it is just like the movie but it’s Spaghetti Squash!!
I know you think this sounds unreasonable but, hear me out.
I decided it was going to be the best idea anyone had ever come up with in the name of a back yard garden, “i’ll build posts and run fishing line between them so the vegetables grow up them instead of out & all over the lawn” I said to my always unimpressed husband. So that is exactly what I did, well my husband did…I did watch and point and direct (he really likes when I do that). I did however string the fishing line and I might add it was no small feat!
Now….a few months ago I planted a small selection of veggies that I wanted and of course I DID NOT plant them the required space apart and I most likely put too many all together in one raised bed but I always do. I never follow the directions. “If one goes there, I bet 2 is better”, “If you take one pill to feel better, 2 is better” (Ok the last one is another story totally).

So anyway my garden had been coming in nicely! My idea was/is working beautifully and everyone will want to do this for their garden and people will come from miles around to see the “most ingenious gardening idea ever” and THEN!………(long hesitation to make it more interesting) DUN, DUN,DUNNNNNNN (scary sounds to let you know something is about to happen)
The Spaghetti Squash started to explode! During the last few weeks it has been going crazy because of the hot, muggy weather and has been growing at NIGHT! We have been waking up to another 6 inches of plant every time the sun goes down and the squash are growing so fast the only explanation is they have a taste for blood and are secretly eating wild animals while we sleep (of course that is the only rational explanation). The long “Scouts” that the squash has been sending out have actually grabbed on to the Willow Tree branches that usually sway lightly in the summer wind and are successfully twisting and climbing up the branches toward the trunk (I think to get to the bird house and the squirrels). The Squash its self, the big one is slightly starting to resemble Herb so I think when he sleep in the tent the other night it may have started it’s transformation.(yes he actually sleeps in a tiny tent for fun and the love of the outdoors, I do not) He has been acting a little weird lately, humm I wonder???
I noticed he has ben ajif e wrjt gspofv bspoitpwoer fs;dkfv x;ck vxdvaefsdf spbovmdif a dofis a] afaw m x[dfi sadv
Hahaha Just kidding! That last part was suppose to be the squash getting me and stopping me from telling any more!
Well Im off to my garden and hopefully all the dogs are still there…Just kidding again
I’ll keep you updated on the situation as it “grows” hahahahaha I have a lot of time on my hands

Climbing into the Willow

More “attacking” the Willow

Herb very begrudgingly agreeing to pose for the face pose and the squash trying to strangle him shot at the beginning, but worth it.

Super Simple Striper

Haha! sounds like I have a lisp! My Husband is a huge fan of sea bass if it is fresh from the ocean (i guess everyone is). So when his friend stopped by the other day with a big fillet we had an impromptu Sea Food feast! It needs to be cooked right away so thats exactly what I did & here it is…..

WHAT YOU NEED:
1 large piece of White Fish this one is about 16 ozs (striper, sea bass what ever you want or is left at your door)
2 lemons
2 limes (both with skin and pith removed then cut into 1/2 inch rounds)
6 or so chives
6 to 8 pieces of fresh thyme

for topping:
1 cup panko bread crumbs (plain)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons butter

WHAT YOU DO:
Lay out a pice of NON STICK aluminum foil (reynolds makes it & it is the best)
Gently place the fillet in the center (make sure the piece of foil is large enough to close and fold like a packet for cooking)
Top with the herbs and then top the herbs with the lemons and limes (I lay them slightly over each other with one lemon piece and then one lime…and so on)
Fold over the foil and make a packet but do not make it snug on to the fish, save some room for steam.
Place on a Medium/high heat of the grill and cook for about 10 minutes
Open the foil and let the steam out (CAREFULLY) and cook another 3 to 4 minutes (its done when it is white & flaky BUT NOT DRY)

WHILE THE FISH IS COOKING…
make your topping, this adds a nice little crunch and texture to an otherwise totally soft texture and this is totally optional
Brown Panko crumbs in a pan with the butter and just as they are finishing add the lemon juice.
This takes only a few minutes and can be done while fish is cooking away.
The reason you do this separately is because the Panko will just turn to mush if you put it on while the fish is cooking.

Remove the fish from the grill with a spatula under the foil to help keep it on one piece, it is very delicate when cooked.
Take off the herbs and toss.
Spoon out a little of the juice and lemon, lime pieces to top the Panko Crumbs once its on the fish
Using a fork I just “broke off” a single serving and placed on the plate.
Top with the Panko crumbs and a little of the cooked lemons & limes, then a few snips of chives and thyme for some garnish!

Enjoy -T