Thursday, October 2, 2008

THIS & THAT - response to comments, etc.

I was reading through the comments this morning on the bird feeder giveaway (and I have to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who is commenting). If you have a moment and want some GREAT ideas for Eco-Friendly/Green ideas, just take a moment and read through them.
One of the questions I had asked was if there was anything that you would like to see in upcoming posts. There were two VERY different ideas posted. One was for CrockPot Recipes from cdziuba and the other was regarding affording to expose our children to The Arts from Mannequin, which is a cause that is VERY dear to my heart. Not only do we need to expose our children to wonderful theater, music and dance, but as adults we need to feed our artistic spirit. Whether as an observer or as a participant, being a part of the Arts allows us to escape our day to day lives and expand our world.

Beginning October 16, 2008 the Theatre Communications Group is going to be launching a Free Night Of Theatre nationwide in over 120 Cities. Reservations have already begun in some areas and you can Find a Show listed in your participating area or go to Regions to see if there are other theatres that are participating but have opted out of using the national website. Here in South Florida there are already 18 shows listed and if you're lucky enough to live in or around the NYC area there are going to be 5,000 tickets available to 100 theatres.


With winter on it's way, I think that we are all looking for hot, hearty meals to feed our families.
Whether we work, are stay at home moms, or are retired crockpots truly make our lives a lot easier. There are a few cookbooks that I really LOVE. Those by Taunton Press as well as Cook's Illustrated tend to be amoung my favorites. Here's a recipe by MaryEllen Driscoll from Comfort Food:Soups, Stews and Pot Roasts by Taunton Press.

Slow-Cooked Pot Roast with Mustard & Horseradish Gravy

2 carrots, peeled and cut in half widthwise
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, root trimmed but left intact, and sliced into 4 wedges
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf
3 whole cloves or allspice berries
1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 boneless beef chuck roast (2-1/2 to 3 lb.)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. brandy
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. grainy prepared mustard
2 Tbs. sour cream1 tsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put the carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and cloves or allspice in the bottom of a slow cooker crock. In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the broth, wine, and tomato paste to blend.
Set a large heavy-based skillet over medium high heat. Pat the roast dry with paper towels, rub both sides with the olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sear the roast in the skillet until a dark crust forms on one side, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and sear the other side, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and put the roast on top of the vegetables in the crock. Add the broth mixture to the skillet, bring to a simmer, and scrape the pan bottom to loosen any browned bits. Pour the liquid over the roast and cover the crock; don't stir. Turn the slow cooker to low heat; cook gently without lifting the lid until the roast is fall-apart tender, 8 to 10 hours.
Transfer the roast to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the contents of the crock through a sieve set over a medium saucepan. Discard the solids. Skim the fat from the top of the strained liquid (or use a fat separator). Bring to a boil and then simmer rapidly until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the brandy, horseradish, and mustard. In a small bowl, mix the flour into the sour cream, stir in a few tablespoons of the sauce, and then pour the sour cream mixture into the sauce, whisking vigorously to blend. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Meanwhile, slice the roast thinly. Serve with the gravy and a sprinkling of parsley.

Pot roast without a slow cooker:
If you don't have a slow cooker, you can still make this pot roast, just make the following modifications to the recipe. Heat the oven to 250° F. Sear the meat in a heavy Dutch oven or similar pot. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add the broth mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer. Return the meat to the pot and turn once to coat the meat in the broth. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the meat, return to a simmer, cover tightly, and roast in the oven until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours. Check occasionally to be sure the broth isn't bubbling too rapidly, and flip the meat if the top surface looks dry

Bon Apetit!

Please continue to make suggestions e-mail ( or comment on any ideas that you'd like to see in upcoming blogs. If you know of any great ways to enhance your lifestyle (even if the ideas are limited to great deals where you live), I'd love to be able to pass them along.

AND please don't forget there are only 3 Days left to REGISTER TO VOTE!
You can check to see if you're registered or fill out registration papers at:


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