Wooden Spoon Life Hack 



I was making my world famous (ok maybe not world famous, but the butcher likes them) mashed potatoes recently and realized I never shared the wooden spoon trick with you! It’s this simple; when boiling water in a pot, put a wooden spoon on top and it won’t boil over! If you want to know why it works, then you’re reading the wrong blog…”@%€*$ Jim, I’m a blogger not a scientist!” (you’re welcome trekies in my life) But seriously, I don’t know how it works I just know it does, and isn’t that really all that matters?

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Black & Blue & Fab All Over 



I absolutely loved this taffeta Cherry Velvet dress from Gwynnie Bee. It was comfortable, flattering, and went quite well with my fella!



Don’t have a photographer handy? We didn’t need one! We took turns taking pictures of each other and then I spliced them together using a nifty little app! Technology! 

how much wood would a woodchuck chuck…

Chuck roast. I asked the butcher for a good definition and this is what he sent me…

“This particular cut of meat comes from the sub primal cut known as the chuck, an area located near the neck and shoulder area of the steer. It’s very popular as a ground meat due to its high fat content but is also delicious left whole and served as a roast. The fatty tissue, collagen, (no Botox necessary) melts for the most part during long cooking methods and makes for a delicious meal.”

Smart and funny! I picked a good one, that’s for sure! That may be the technical definition but I, however, define it as the ultimate air freshener and perfect meal on a cold rainy day like today. I decided to combine a few of my favorite recipes and flavors to make the perfect pot roast. Give it a try, I dare you. 

Beauty & The Butcher’s Pot Roast  

Ingredients

  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • Chuck Roast apx. 4 lbs.
  • 1 good sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (don’t you just love Dijon mustard? I feel it’s an under utilized condiment that adds a tangy distinguished flavor to many dishes. Not to mention the grey poupon jokes.)
  •  a handful of thyme. obviously fresh sprigs would be prefered but I only had dry on hand and it’ll do pig, it’ll do.
  •  2 cups beef broth
  • several carrots (honestly whatever you have on hand and yay! no peeling! just chop off the ends)
  • kosher salt & black pepper

* side note: you may have noticed the lack of potatoes in the list of ingredients. this was done purposely. although most traditional roast recipes call for them, I find that after cooking for such a long period of time the potatoes become mealy and mushy. that combined with the fact that I make a pretty mean mashed potato, i prefer to prepare them separately, mash them, and serve the roast atop the delicious spuds.) All that being said, add potatoes if you want, it will still be yummy.

Instructions

  •  Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven (i love my blessed discounted le crueset dutch oven! If you don’t have one then a crock pot should work too) over high heat.
  • Season chuck roast well with salt and pepper, add to pan and brown well on all sides (a few minutes a side.)
  • Remove roast and set aside.
  • Add chopped onion to drippings in pot and reduce heat to medium.
  • Sauté onions until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add balsamic vinegar, increase heat to medium-high and boil until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 4-5 more minutes. 
  • Stir in Dijon. Man I wish you could smell this right now!
  • Set roast on top of onions in pot.
  • Pour in 2 cups beef broth and add thyme. 
  • Cover and place in oven for 2 1/2 hours or until very tender.
    Add carrots and to pot and return to oven. Continue cooking until they are tender, about 30 minutes or more depending on how you like your carrots.
  • Season again with s&p, serve over a bed of mashed taters, and enjoy!

10,950 days of life and all I got was this keychain…

slideshow1 071Just kidding. I’ve gotten much more than a keychain (not that I could ever find one with my name on it but we’ll discuss that later) I turned 30 last week. 10,950 days old. Its pretty weird. Not because I’m looking at tiny wrinkles beginning to form on my face or because I found three grey hairs…ok fine those things are happening too…but mainly it’s weird because I guess in my head I’ve always viewed 30 as being an official adult. I’ve always been the baby in the family and among my friends so in a lot of ways I still feel like a teenager. Maybe its because my life is different than what I thought it’d be at 30. I thought I’d have kids right now so that’s been stinging a bit more than usual this week. Being a mom was always what I wanted to do and to see that it’s really not going to happen is hard. But overall I’m happy and truly believe that age is just a number. (Talk to me again when I turn 40 haha) So I decided for today I’d (try to briefly) write 30 things I feel I’ve learned in this life of mine and/or things I would tell my younger self. So here goes nothin’.

1. You can’t worry so much about what other people think. Just be yourself, the people who love you will love you no matter what and the people who don’t, well they’re not worth it anyway. I’m still working on this one, hence it being #1.

2. My name is cool and I’m glad I didn’t change it to Melissa or Kristen like I promised I would do as a kid. Even if I couldn’t ever find a souvenir keychain with my name on it. Laura, Loren, even Laurie but hardly ever a Lori. Still wouldn’t mind being Claudia though, that was always my pretend name when we played house. Maybe due to my love for the Babysitter’s Club?

3. Love will come to you when you least expect it. I wasn’t looking for the Butcher but I knew after two weeks I was going to marry him. We are as perfectly matched as two imperfect human beings can be and I love him with all that I have.

4. You WILL turn into your mother. But in my case, it’s not such a bad thing, I think she’s pretty cool. Oh, and she really was right about almost everything. But don’t tell her.

5. The voices in the drama at the convention are pre-recorded. Seriously, it took me a few years to figure that one out.

6. Math is hard and most of what I learned in school I’ve never ever ever used. Not that I’d remember it anyway. If you put a long division problem in front of me I’d laugh in your face.

7. Don’t whine, people don’t care for it.

8. Check your pockets before you put your pants in the hamper. The red lipstick vs. jeans debacle of 1994 still haunts me every time I do laundry.

9. Speaking of laundry, don’t forget to empty the dryer vent, the house could burn down. I’ll never forget, mainly because my dad literally had a neon sign reminding us of this fact hung above the dryer.

10. In your car where the gas gauge is there’s a little arrow next to the picture of the gas tank. This tells you what side of the car the tank is on. Mind blowing.

11. Be kind. Not only will it get you nominated “friendliest” in your high school yearbook but it’s just the right thing to do.

12. When you try to save people, sometimes they just end up bringing you down with them.

13. I wish I was as skinny as I was when I thought I was fat. True story, it’s not just something funny on pinterest.

14. Firm handshakes are important.

15. Read. Read Little Women and cry when Beth dies (spoiler alert), laugh with Ramona Quinby and Amelia Badelia, and go on adventures with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

16. If you were daddy’s little girl then marry someone just like him and he’ll treat you like a princess.

17. Beets were gross then, and they’re still gross now.

18. Sometimes the thing you want most in life isn’t what you get. But make the best of it and know that soon all your desires will be satisfied.

19. Value old friendships. There’s nothing like talking to someone who just knows your story and there’s no explanation needed. But know that new friends can become old friends too if you let your guard down. Those girl scouts don’t just make delicious cookies, they also say, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.’

20. Writing is therapeutic and reading your old diaries is both funny and extremely embarrassing.

21. Try and memorize more scriptures than movie quotes. Still working on this one…

22. Food is love. Be hospitable and it will bring you joy.

23. Be careful about playful teasing and sarcasm. Sometimes it’s not as funny as you may think and it can hurt people’s feelings. And if you can dish it out, you better be able to take it.

24. ALWAYS keep a pocket knife in your purse, you have no idea how often it will come in handy. Thanks dad.

25. Don’t touch curly hair when it’s wet, just don’t.

26. Just say “no”. Not like in the D.A.R.E. program at school (obviously that’s important too) but know your limitations. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should and sometimes people will take advantage of your talent and/or kindness.

27. Grammar and spelling are important. If you don’t know the difference between “to” and “too’, then people will think you’re stupid. I’m sorry but its true.

28. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean people want to hear it. However, you are entitled to have one and tactfully express it, but don’t force it upon others.

29. Treat others how you want to be treated. Just because it’s not the way you would do or feel doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different. Respect that and be yielding to others, especially your loved ones.

30. Life is full of really crappy stuff but it also has a lot of great stuff too. Focus on the great stuff and find something to laugh about every single day.

the moist maker

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Remember that friends episode where Ross freaked out about his leftover thanksgiving sandwich someone stole from the fridge at work? He excitedly described each component Monica’s famous sandwich saying, “You see my sister makes these amazing turkey sandwiches. Her secret is, she puts an extra slice of gravy soaked bread in the middle; I call it the Moist Maker.” It’s a really funny episode. Ah, if only I could recall scriptures and math equations the way I do movie and television quotes. Anyway, I have a “moist maker” secret of my own. Have you ever made a batch of cookies and then the next day come to find them rock hard and dry? Enter the moist maker, a humble slice of bread! Put a piece of bread in with the cookies and they steal all the softness from the bread and stay fresh and moist while the bread is left dry and toast-like. (side note-if your toasters broken this could be a good solution to make toast!) It even works for rice krispy treats. I’m sure there’s some very scientific Alton Brown explanation for the process but all I care is that it works! Last night I made these yummy lemon cookies and before I sealed up (what was left of them, they’re pretty addictive) for the evening, I added a piece of bread. This morning I found deliciously moist cookies and a dry piece of bread. Try it out! Oh and yes, I’m back, so quit your whining!