Sunday Pot Roast

I hate how the weekends fly right by. I always have high hopes for my weekends and somehow house work and obligations always seem to creep in and take over. This makes my Sunday evenings more stressful as I run around trying to get things ready for the week and desperately hope to get 1 hour to myself to catch up on the newspaper or watch one of the 2 shows that I love  on Sunday nights. This weekend was no exception. Last night, I was working on the blog while trying to watch a movie with Eric, a movie that we rented 2 days ago and never found time to watch; a basket of clean laundry was waiting to be folded and I found myself wishing for simpler Sundays.

Sundays is a day that has always had a greater feeling of rest. Sunday afternoon naps are always better than Saturday ones. Movies watched on a Sunday always feel less rushed and Sunday food is always warm, delicious and satisfying.

Last week, I made pot roast for Sunday dinner and it was amazing. It cooked most of the day and filled the house with a wonderful and lingering smell; I could still smell it Monday after coming home from work! I don’t make pot roast often, it’s such a “1950′s American Sunday Dinner” and that’s not usually my style, but there is something to be said for the American nostalgia that comes with making pot roast on a Sunday. It makes me feel like Joan Cleaver (the mom from Leave it to Beaver).

I found a recipe that got rave reviews, by Ina Garten on Foodnetwork.com. Most of Ina’s recipes get rave reviews but this one was out of the park. And after making it, I fully concur.

Start the recipe by prepping all the ingredients. There is a lot of chopping. You should end up with garlic, onions, carrots, celery, leeks and fresh herbs.

 

Prep the meat by allowing it to come to room temperature before you cook it. (This will prevent the meat from being tough or chewy.) Dry the meat with paper towels and then season it on all sides with salt and pepper.

Dredge the entire cut of meat in flour.

Heat oil in the dutch oven over medium heat and brown all sides of the roast, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove the roast to a large plate. Add more olive oil to the pot and add in the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, leeks, salt and pepper. Saute for 10-15 minutes until tender but not brown.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for the herb bundle.

Use kitchen twine to tie together the rosemary and thyme and add it to the pot.

Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Place in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour and then turn the heat down to 250 degrees for another 1.5 hours for a total of 2.5 hours in the oven. The house will smell amazing and it should look like this when you take the lid off (don’t forget pot holders! the whole dutch oven will be extremely hot!).

Remove the roast and cover. At this point, if you only have a blender, blend about half of the cooking juice and stir it back into the pot. I have an immersion blender so I just used that right in the pot itself to blend all over to make the sauce smoother.

While the pot roast was cooking, I also prepared some potatoes in the Irish fashion. Simply boil them for about 20 minutes, drain the water out and put a sheet of crumbled newspaper in the top of the pot with the lid on. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. The newspaper will suck up the moisture and leave your potatoes light and fluffy! It sounds strange, I know, but it worked so well.

To serve your pot roast, slice it and pour the sauce over it on a large platter.

Serve along side the Irish potatoes.

This was the best pot roast I have ever eaten/made. The sauce was rich and thick and the meat was juicy and tender. The potatoes were fluffy and paired perfectly with the sauce. It was the perfect meal for a Sunday afternoon and a great way to start a new week with a warm, full and happy belly.

Here’s the recipe from Foodnetwork.com:

Company Pot Roast
Print
Author: Ina Garten
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 hours 20 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
  4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Top 10 Kitchen Must-Haves

This is a small guest blog I wrote for a local Lancaster, Pa DJ company, ProVolve Entertainment. These guys have been building their business a lot in the past year and asked me to put together a a top 10 list or kitchen items to register for, for engaged couples. Here’s the first look at the post I did for them, perhaps there are a few engaged people reading Red Velvet that could use this advice to!

RED VELVET Top 10 Kitchen Must-Haves

I remember when we registered for our wedding gifts. I mean, not only are you psyched to be getting married, planning a wedding, in love and sporty a sparkly new engagement ring but you get to choose things for other people to buy you! JACK POT! This is single-handedly the best thing about getting married, the worst may be when certain friends or relatives choose to purchase a gift “off the list” (especially if you can’t figure out where to return it). But let’s not think about that scenario, lets concentrate on all the wonderful things you want, actually all the wonderful thing you truly need.

Here is the Red Velvet Blog approved list of the Top 10 registry items for your kitchen.

1. Stainless Steel Pots and Pans set – Everyone needs a good basic set of pots. I recommend going with All Clad, they consistently get great reviews for even heating and life of the pot. Register for a 10-14 piece set and you’ll have these pots for life. They are an investment but don’t get sweet talked into a fancy non-stick coatings; you really only need non-stick on one frying pan for eggs and such.

2. Non-stick Fry pan- As stated above, you need one non-stick frying pan. Register for a large one so you can cook all sorts of things in it; eggs, pancakes, crepes are all great for this pan.

 

 

 

 

Seasoned Cast Iron3. Cast Iron Fry Pan w/ Lid – This fry pan is great because it holds head very well and you can move it from the stove top to the oven easily. This pan will also last a lifetime!

 

 

 

 

 

4. Dutch Oven – This pot is essential to cooking. You will use it for spaghetti sauce, soup, braising, chili and so much more. Plus it goes from stove top to oven easily.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Bakeware Set – Everyone needs the basic baking pan sizes and a cup cake pan. You want to be able to bake birthday cakes and cookies anytime you want!

 

 

 

 

 

6. KitchenAid Mixer – If you enjoy baking at all, register for this baby. It will change your life, seriously. Plus they have so many cute colors that one will certainly match your kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

7. Knives – Every kitchen/cook needs a nice set of knives. You can spend the mint on a set of knives if you want, but I recommend going middle of the road. You want something that has steel through than handle and whose handle is made of wood. You want the set to include a chef’s knife (the really big one), a santoku knife, a pairing knife, a serrated bread knife, kitchen shears and a steel for sharpening. Get a block that has unfilled holes so you can add to you knife collection later, when you see what knives you really use.

 

 

 

8. Gadgets – Don’t forget the little things. Be sure to put that ice cream scoop, measuring spoons, garlic press, can opener, turkey baster, spatula and whatever other kitchen gadgets you may want. Along with dish towels, people love to buy you a whole basket filled with these fun and inexpensive, yet necessary gadgets.

 

 

 

 

 9. Cutting Boards – If you’re going to be using your knives, you’ll need proper cutting boards to protect your counters. I like the sets of color coded plastic boards. These prevent cross contamination that can occur when cutting meal and vegetables at the same time. Red is for red meat, white is for poultry, blue is for fish and green is for veggies!

 

 

 

10. Cookbooks – No one starts out in their marriage being an amazing cook, well except trained chefs…register for a few of your favorite cookbooks so you can have some recipes ready to try as soon as you get home from the honeymoon. Guests also enjoy buying you cookbooks, they’re a good price point and they can write a nice congrats in the inside cover, so put a few on the list!

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to consider the guys at ProVolve Entertainment if you’re in need of a DJ for any type of event, they come with my personal recommendation (and nope, they didn’t pay me anything to say that!).

“Real” Popcorn

There’s a joke between Eric and I that was created by Eric’s mom, she always uses the adjective “real” to describe anything that is made from scratch or is hand crafted or requires a lot of skill; it is deemed as “real” as opposed to, well not as good. Example: cake from a mix is fine but cake from scratch is “REAL” cake or jam that you made at home and didn’t buy from the grocery store is “REAL” jam. We commonly use this terminology and always have a nice laugh, each visit from his parents includes a reference to something that is truly “real”. It’s the REAL thing!

Well, Eric’s mom would be proud of us because this weekend, we made REAL popcorn. Not in a popcorn popper and not in the microwave but in a pot on the stove. It was SO easy and tasted better than any other popcorn you can get.

All you need is a large pot with a lid, canola oil, popcorn (I got Orville Redenbocker) and butter and salt for on top.

Start by coating the bottom of the cold pot in 3-4 tablespoons of oil.

Add 1 cup of the popcorn kernels to the cold pot and shake them to coat with oil. Turn the heat onto medium and gently shake the pot back and forth every minute or so. Keep the lid off and wait for the first kernel to pop.

Once it pops, put the lid on and continue to shake the pot back and forth until the popping stops.

Melt some butter in the microwave and pour it over your popcorn and then season with salt.

Talk about yum! None of the kernels burnt, the popcorn didn’t taste like it was coated in chemicals and the fresh butter was so delicious. The only drawback was that 1 cup of popcorn made a ton! We had to throw more than half of it away so I think next time I’ll try making only 1/4 cup of the kernels in a little bit of a smaller pot, but not too small you need to give the kernels room to pop.

What is it about popcorn that as soon as you see it or smell it you want to eat some? Even writing this post right now I have a strong desire to go down to the kitchen and pop up some more. How about you guys? Has this post given you a popcorn craving?

I’ll never make microwave popcorn again. I love “REAL” popcorn!

Here’s how you make it:

“Real” Popcorn
Print
Author: Red Velvet
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3-4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • salt
  • salted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Pour canola oil into a large pot with a lid.
  2. Add the popcorn kernels to cold oil and shake gently to make sure each kernel is well coated with the oil.
  3. Cook the popcorn over medium heat with the lid off, shaking the pot gently back and forth until the first kernel pops.
  4. Place the lid on and continue to shake the pot back and forth until the popping slows and stops.
  5. Remove from heat and pour over the melted butter and toss with salt.

 

Colorado Getaway

As mentioned last week, we took a 5 day extended weekend out to Colorado. Eric was attending a conference for work and I choose to tag along. We stayed an extra 2 days after the conference to visit with some old college friends who live in the Denver area and had a great time catching up and exploring more of this great city.

This was not our first time out to Denver. As a tween, I came out to Denver with my family for a wedding and then we rented a car and drove all over the state to see as much as we possibly could in the 2 weeks we had allotted for the trip. I remember this trip well because it was my first time on an airplane and it was the farthest West my family had ever been.

The first time Eric and I went to Denver together, was for our friends wedding (the ones we visited). We fly to Denver, rented a car and took a huge road trip the included stops at the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, LA and back to Denver.

This getaway was a great opportunity for us to eat some good food and just relax and that’s exactly what we did. The first 3 days of the trip were spent in Golden, Colorado, where the conference was. This is a VERY small town. I walked the main street the first day and that is about all there is. It’s nestled in a valley and has the quaint small town feel with a beautiful river running through the center of town.  The two claims to fame are the Colorado School of Mines and the Coors Brewery.

We stayed at the Golden Hotel while we were there, that’s mainly where Eric’s conference was held. We didn’t get many meals together but did happen upon one of the most amazing sandwich shops. It’s called D’Deli and serves up some of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat.

Why are they so good? Well, the bread is fresh and delicious, there are endless combination possibilities and just check out their sandwich menu:

Yep, there aren’t just 5 or 7 sandwich choices, there are 30+ sandwiches on that board plus the option to make your own.

I ordered the Bellanini which included: Bellanini - Grilled Panini Style, Olive Tapenade, Pesto Aioli, Roasted Garlic, Mozzarella, Spinach, Red Onions, Roasted Red Peppers, Portabella Mushrooms, Fresh Basil, Artichoke Hearts, Feta, Balsamic Vinegar and it looked like this:

Between the mushrooms, artichokes, cheese, spinach and tomatoes, I don’t know what I liked best. It was outstanding.

Eric chose the Olympian sandwich which included: Olympian - Corned Buffalo, Muenster, BBQ Sauce, Chipotle Ranch, Fried Onions, Mixed Greens, Jalapenos, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Portabella Mushrooms

He said that the corned buffalo was some of the best meat he’s ever had.

After 3 days in Golden, we moved over to Erie, Colorado. Erie is close to both Denver and Boulder and is also close to the airport. The first night there, we went to one of the best restaurants we’ve eaten at in a while. Linger is a restaurant whose menu is made up of elegant versions of street food and is housed in an old mortuary. Yep, you read that right I said mortuary. They take the theme far enough to make it cute but not far enough to make it disturbing. Your water is served out of a glass bottle that looks like it use to be filled with embalming chemicals

Your menu is on a steel clipboard. Your check comes on a toe tag and the whole place has an industrial feel to it.

The food is ordered in small plates and many dishes are meant to be eaten with your hands. Between the four of us I think we ordered about 8 dishes and if course some cocktails. I love small plates because then you get the chance to try many different things during one meal instead of only 1-2 things.

Eric and I shared the mushroom barley soup. The mushrooms were earthy and delicious and the soup was served over a doughy dumpling filled with cheese! (Forgive my extremely dark iPhone pictures!)

Next, we shared Mongolian BBQ suck buns, which were my favorite. The BBQ sauce was sweet and tangy.

Next we moved onto the Strongbow Cider Mussels with Garlic, Thyme, Celery,  Grain Mustard,  Maple  Drizzle  & Grilled Spicy Cheddar Bread. They were almost better than my mussels. I found myself really enjoying the maple and mustard flavors with mussels; flavors I had never before considered together.

Next came the sesame BBQ tacos which were made with Kobe short ribs. These looked great but something about the sauce on them didn’t sit well with Eric or I and neither of us finished ours.

Finally came glorious dessert. All of us were very full by this point in time and decided to split one dessert between all of us. We choose the Italian Coffee & Donuts, powdered sugared donut holes, served warm with expresso chocolate mousse that has some sort of lemony goodness on top. The lemon was a bit strange but also added a lightness to the mousse. Amazing.

These were the two best meals of our trip and we had a wonderful catching up with old friends. We already can’t wait for our next trip to Denver and the new food we’ll get to try!

TGIF

Happy Friday to all!

Not much happening over here today, except some snow on the way tonight and some hearty meals planned for this weekend. Squash soup, pot roast and hot toddies to name a few! I’ll be back Monday with info on our Colorado escape and some Winter recipes that will warm you up.

What about you guys, any big plans for this weekend for tasty food or snow related activities? Here’s hoping we get enough snow to sled!

I hope this photo gets you excited for some snow!

 

Colorado Birthday

It’s been 1 week since my birthday and I think I need to fill you all in on how we really celebrated. Eric had to attend a conference for work in Golden Colorado and I decided to tag along on the free hotel stay, so SURPRISE! we went to Colorado last week!

We left on Wednesday night and flew straight to Denver (don’ t you love direct flights?!) and then hitched a ride with some other work guys from Eric’s company to our hotel in Golden. I was fighting a nasty cold for the first few days and got to spend 2 glorious days laying in bed in my hotel room ordering room service and taking multiple naps as I watched free HBO. Best 2 days I’ve had in a while and they were exactly what the doctor ordered. Eric was busy attending conference sessions and making presentations.

So where is Golden Colorado? It’s in the surrounding Denver area and is a small college town. The Colorado School of Mines is located there along with the Coors brewery. This is the main street:

After about 3 days in Golden, we headed closer to Denver where some friends from college live and they were nice enough to let us stay with them for 2 nights. It was so nice to catch up with them and a little strange to think that college was over 5 years ago…time sure flies!

Anyway, the trip was great and we are finally getting back into the swing of regular life again. The trip was also the reason the blog has not been quite as active this week, things just got crazy.

Next week, I’ll fill you in all all the food and fun from Denver complete with more pictures and travel suggestions.

PS – Anyone still following Top Chef?! We caught up on last week’s episode of restaurant wars last night and watched the latest episode with Charlize Theron and Eric Ripert! The food last night was incredible, the best they’ve had all season. And I was happy to see Beverly go home, she was working my nerves with her kitchen etiquette. How about you guys? What did you think? 

Birthday Soup

Last Thursday was my birthday. We don’t normally do a whole lot to celebrate birthdays; it’s not that birthdays aren’t special but we don’t do anything over the top. I like to eat good food and of course a delicious dessert rounds out the day. Sometimes we go on a day trip somewhere to celebrate or plan to attend a concert and I always get to choose a nice restaurant for a good meal. I like to use the phrase “birthday week” followed by “birthday month” to really stretch out the celebrating and milk a few special things out from my birthday. Typically we choose to do something special together instead of buying gifts and Eric’s birthday is about 1 month after mine so we try to plan a special weekend away together to celebrate both.

I do always celebrate in a more traditional way with my family, though. We have a standing tradition to all have a family dinner complete with cake and presents on a weekend close to the birthday. My dad’s birthday is 2 days before mine so we have always celebrated together which is fun. This year I got a great new cookbook that I’ve been wanting for awhile from a restaurant down in Asheville, NC called the Tupelo Honey Cafe.

But the best gift I get is something that I’ve been getting every year for the last 10 or so years; its my birthday soup. As a kid, my grandma used to make this amazing and soup, beef macaroni. It’s simple and delicious and makes me feel safe and warm and remember life when it was simple. It’s basically just, a complex rich beef broth, macaroni noodles, beef pieces and carrots. 

I mentioned how much I liked this soup years ago, and my grandma showed up with a giant pot of it on my birthday. Ever since then, I get a big pot of birthday soup each year from her. It makes my birthday week so special, I eat it for dinner at least one night and then for lunch each day. Eric tries to sneak in a few bowls but he will tell you that I’ve become quite stingy about my special soup.

How about you guys, any birthday traditions that make your special day even more special? Got a favorite birthday cake or dessert?

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

The other week, I found myself craving lasagna. Lasagna is not a dish that I make often, I think I’ve made it a total of 4 times, ever. It’s one of those dishes that is delicious, yes, but it feeds an army so when you’ve only got 2 people to feed you need to be prepared to eat it for about 2 weeks after for both lunch and dinner. It also takes time to make between assembly and baking time so it’s not usually a good weeknight recipe. All the same, I wanted it and I wanted it now. I decided to look up a new recipe and found one by Barefoot Contessa using turkey sausage that sounded great.

To start, cook the onion for 5 minutes in hot oil over medium-low heat and then add the garlic, cooking for another minute.

Add the turkey sausage (with the casing removed) and cook, breaking up with the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and spices and cook for another 20 minutes to thicken.

While the sauce is thickening, the recipe calls for you to soak the lasagna noodles in hot water to soften them. I was able to find fresh sheets of lasagna noodles in the section where they keep the fresh pasta at the grocery store so I skipped this step. I would assume you can also use the no-cook noodles if you want.

Now, mix together the cheese mixture.

It’s time to assemble the lasagna. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Start by covering the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of sauce.

Add a layer of noodles.

Add a layer of the cheese mixture.

Now repeat the layers 2 more times and top with a layer of sauce and parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Slice and serve with garlic bread.

The sausage added wonderful flavor and a little bit of heat to this recipe. I’ll definitely make it again and its perfect for those of you who don’t eat red meat out there!

Here’s the recipe from foodnetwork.com:

Turkey Sausage Lasagna
Print
Author: Ina Garten
Prep time: 50 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
  3. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  5. Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Baked Oatmeal By Let’s Meet for Lunch

Here is the first guest blog post by Dana from Let’s Meet for Lunch. Find out more about this new partnership on this post.  Without further ado, here’s Dana:

BAKED OATMEAL

I hated oatmeal for a solid 16 years of my life. For those same 16 years, my mother pushed me constantly to eat it. On cold, wintry mornings before school when I came downstairs sleepy-eyed asking, “What’s for breakfast?” she would reply, “How about oatmeal?” “But Moooooooooooooommmmmm!! I don’t like oatmeal!” Every time I tried it, it tasted like mushed up gooey nastiness with little flavor.

It wasn’t until sometime in my 16th year of life that I decided to give instant oatmeal a shot, and only because a friend of mine had said that it was good. (Isn’t that so typical of teenagers? Sorry, mom!) Cinnamon bun flavored? I like that. Maple Brown Sugar? I like that, too. And Strawberries & Cream?

OoOoOo… yum. After a while, it was my go-to breakfast choice, and I can still picture my mom snickering at the idea of me finally caving in to a bowl of hot cereal. Now I’ve moved on to finer oats, meaning I prefer to make my own rather than eat the instant. But don’t get me wrong, I’ll take oatmeal in pretty much any form!

This particular recipe is taken from a church cookbook. The church is one that I attended with my family when I lived in Pennsylvania before moving away 9 years ago. This recipe is one that I still love and make for myself to keep in the fridge, easily warmed up or eaten cold. It really makes my weekday mornings easier to bake this off on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week.

 

Baked Oatmeal

Recipe adapted from the Mt. Zion UCC Church Cookbook

1/2 c. oil or softened butter (I used oil. Neither is great for you, so feel free to sub 1/4 c. of that with applesauce)

2 eggs

1 c. brown sugar

3 c. oats

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking powder

 

One note before we begin. I know the ingredient list says cinnamon, but 99.9% of the time, I use pumpkin pie spice instead. Nothing against plain ‘ol cinnamon, but there’s something about the combo of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice that is just…. better. Anyway, beat those 2 eggs up.

 

You could just do this with a fork, but since I’m going to blend everything in my Kitchenaid, I started right there in the bowl.

 

Beat everything until it’s smooth and resembles caramel. Mmmm, wouldn’t that be good? Maybe another time.

 

Add all of those oats and gently combine.

 

Pour into an 8×8 glass dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.

 

 

Slice, and serve! FYI: If divided into 8 servings, each will be around 350 calories… for those of you watching that, especially this time of year. If you substituted 1/4 c. applesauce for 1/4 c. oil/butter, that would take it to 300.

 

Thanks for hosting me Marah, and thank you to all the Red Velvet Blog readers for checking out #! I look forward to seeing you all again soon!


Split Pea Soup

Last week we got a burst of cold weather after lots of unseasonably warm temps for weeks. In an attempt to soften the shock to our systems and use the leftover ham bone from our party I decided to make my first pot of split pea soup. Split pea soup was not something I ate growing up. Typically, leftover ham turned into ham and green beans, which is also yum! Eric and I love peas, they might be our favorite vegetable and I’ve been dying to try to make split pea soup for a few years.

I searched my cookbooks and online and came upon a recipe from Epicurious.com. Not only did the recipe get great reviews, but it started and ended with bacon. What could be better than that?!

To start the recipe, chop up your 8 slices of bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy.

While that’s cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients. There aren’t many, another reason I love this recipe, it’s really simple and easy.

Once the bacon is cooked, use a slotted spoon and remove it from the pot. Drain it on paper towels and set it aside for later. You’ll use it as a garnish for the soup.

Add the carrots and onions to the hot bacon fat and fry it up until soft.

Add in the rest of the ingredients, the ham bones, water, salt and pepper, bay leaf and split peas.

Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours until the soup thickens.

Take out the ham bone and remove the meat.

Add the ham back into the pot and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with crumbles of the crispy bacon.

Serve with a slice of country bread. This soup was filled with flavor and really warms you up on a cold day.

Here’s the recipe:

Mrs. Schreiner’s Split Pea Soup
Print
Author: Epicurious.com
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 8 slices bacon (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 pound dried split peas
  • 2 1/2 quarts water plus additional if necessary
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Pour off all but about 1/4 cup bacon fat from kettle and cook onions and carrots, stirring, until softened. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding 1 to 2 cups more water if soup becomes too thick, 2 hours.
  3. Remove kettle from heat and transfer ham hock with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Discard fat and bones and chop meat. Return meat to kettle and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Discard bay leaf.
  4. Just before serving, crumble bacon and sprinkle over soup.