Friday, December 30, 2011

Pot Roast!!

I made my first pot roast for Christmas dinner. It was a hunk-a hunk-a chunky meat that turned out sooooo good. I thought that I would do a rub on it a couple of days beforehand, but time simply ran out. Instead, I found a bunch of stuff in the fridge, threw it on top of the meat and cooked it 'til it was done.

Yep. It was that simple; and the damned thing is going to feed us for a loooong tiiime.

Here's the recipe for the Pot Roast:
1 big chunk of beef. I talked to my butcher and found that a boneless chuck would be best for my needs. About 5lbs.
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Beef stock (enough to almost cover the meat when it's in the roasting pan/crock pot
1 yellow onion, quartered
1/2 fennel bulb, halfed
10 pepper corns
2 tsp fennel seed
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigre
1lb potatoes (I used fingerlings, but quartered New potatoes or Yukon golds would be great too.)

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350º

Rub the meat generously with salt & freshly cracked pepper. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat just until the smoking point. Add the meat and sear it on all sides until it is nutty brown (four minutes or so each side). After seared, remove the meat from the pan and set to one side for a moment.

Then, poor the beef stock in the pan to deglaze it, scraping all of the tasty brown bits off of the bottom (that's where a lot of flavor lives.) Return the meat to the pan, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Bring the mixture up to a simmer on the stove top, cover, then cook it in the oven for three to four hours. Check it after 2 1/2 hours to see where it is in the cooking process as cooking times will vary depending on the size and cut of meat that you've chosen.

Serving Instructions:
Frankly, I was so distracted by my dinner company that I have forgotten what I served as sides. Let's say that I made the most incredible sauteed greens and I baked fresh bread with my two hands that day, and that I am actually that amazing. All I know it that when the pot roast was done I served up chunks of the tender, flavorful meat and the table got quiet; a sure sign that dinner is good.

With muffled, food-filled mouths and happy tummies, Lorelei and I wish you...

Happy new year and Santé

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bad Food Blogger! Bad!

It turns out that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is an incredibly busy month for me, as it is for anyone with kids, I guess. Needless to say I've been cooking up a storm; chocolate truffles (nearly 100 of the little suckers),

scratch birthday cakes for Lorelei and her friend Klaire,

and my first pot roast for Christmas dinner. I've been so occupied with getting everything done that I haven't really reached out for my camera or my laptop to document most of it. The flurry of blog activity in October with the Jamie Oliver nod and the subsequent promotion and chatter also took it's toll.

Frankly, mama needed a break.

Anyhoo, let's suffice to say that most of the food was awesome, some of it was major foible material, and the rest of it is leftovers that will become dinner this week. Maybe I'll do a series on what to do with leftovers so that the kids (and the rest of the family for that matter, including me) don't recognize the food that they've been eating for the entirety of December. I've got my eye on the pot roast and some good cheese in the fridge. I'm thinking killer sandwiches. Stay tuned for that.


Given that I may not have a chance to post anything else until the New Year, I would like to send out a giant thank you to all of the people who have supported me in my efforts to do this blog. Thank you to all of my readers, and thank you to all of the people who have questioned what I do and who have challenged my perspective; it's been your feedback that has really meant so much to me. Because of it I now have a very solid understanding of what I want to do with this part of my life, and Lorelei and I will both benefit greatly from it.

Here's hoping that your holiday hangovers pass easily and that your New Year brings happiness, success, friendship, love, and of course... GOOD FOOD!

Be well. And really, thanks for reading.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Tuna Melt - And Some Fun News

I'll start with the fun news:

The Food-Minded Mama is now a .com!

If you have my blog bookmarked, the page will still work, but you can also use the following to get to my amazingly amazing stories, recipes, and pictures.

Fun right?

Ok, here's the Tuna Melt Recipe.

I came up with this last week and have tried it a couple of times. It's really good and is a hit with the three-year-old set.

(makes two open-faced sandwiches) 
 Preheat the oven to 375º

For the tuna mixture
1 can tuna (3oz., drained)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp diced white onion
1 tbsp capers
1 heaping tbsp grated Parmesan
Pinch of salt
Ground pepper

Dump ingredients in a bowl. Mix.

For the cheese topping
2/3 cup grated cheese (cheddar, gruyere, Swiss, or whatever you want... oooh, maybe even Cambozola. Yum! I'm so doing that next!)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Toast your bread until lightly golden. Then spread a small amount of mayo, butter, or olive oil on it, especially the edges so they don't burn. Top with the tuna mixture. Top that with the cheese mixture. Bake in the oven (or you toaster oven) for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty.

Mom's Tip
Yes this is a fork and knife sandwich. Yes you will need to help your littler kids cut it. This is a great time to spend with your kiddos and teach them about utensils. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's in Lorelei's Lunch

Getting us out of the house in the morning is becoming more and more of a challenge. The mom n' kiddo tug of war has hit a fevered pitch a couple of times this week, but I've still been able to send some tasty, healthy lunches.

Here's a couple of lunches that Lorelei took to school this week: (Mind you, she's three. If she can do it, any kid can.)

By the way, if you think you're gunna see pictures of the lunches I threw in her sack while I was feeding the cat, drying my hair, and chasing the child around with shoes and socks, you're nuts!!

Disclaimer: Peanut butter and jelly is a staple for us, so is single serving yogurt (NOT Go-Crap sugar bomb 'yogurt'), single-serve apple sauce, string cheese... in other words, easy to grab and eat foods that are still healthy.

Now, onto the good stuff.

One day this week I sent:
In one container - smoked trout and crackers with cream cheese spread on them.
In another container - apple slices
In the last container - snap peas

Another day this week I sent:
In one container - 2 fresh-baked* meatballs, cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkled with Parmesan.
In another container - fresh-boiled** frozen peas
In the last container - grapes

*After I pull our breakfast toast out of the toaster oven, I turn it to the bake setting at 450º. Then, as we eat breakfast, the meatballs bake for 25 minutes or so until they're done. I cut them to let them cool, then pack 'em up.

**I reserve some of the boiled water in the kettle for boiling the peas. I just pour some of the water into a small sauce pan (maybe 1/2" deep), salt it, and boil up the peas until done; less than 3 minutes.

When it comes to stocking the kitchen with things to pack in Lorelei's lunch, here's what I tend to have on hand:

- Single serve apple sauce
- String cheese
- Frozen peas
- Yogurt
- Cottage cheese and canned pears
- Fruit
- Tuna
- Peanut butter and jelly
- ALWAYS whole grain bread

Good for leftovers -
- Fritata
- Meatballs
- Chicken and Rice
- Smoked trout or salmon

Mom's Tip
My advice; don't over think it. Lunch doesn't have to mean a sandwich. They don't always need meat. Broccoli can be finger food.

If you would like some tips based on what you normally have in your kitchen, contact me! I'll be happy to help you make making lunch easier.