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Before the weather turns warm- yes, it is STILL cold in Ohio- I wanted to turn on the oven slow and low to use my beautiful LeCreuset.

I just can’t imagine having my stove on for 6 hours in the summer. So, I’m trying to use this bad boy as much as possible now.

Pork was the dinner choice of the day.

Pork shoulder to be exact.

Pork Story #1:

Pork and I have a bit of a love hate relationship.

When I was growing up, people thought that you had to cook every ounce of holy moisture out of any cut of pork to insure that you and yours did not end up with trichinosis. I don’t even know the origin of the trichinosis scare, but it sure seemed that for the first 20 years of my life people were nervous that pigs had a high likelihood of contracting this parasitic disease and then passing it on to us.

I remember pork chops as a VERY tough and VERY chewy and VERY not delicious cut of meat.

Hated it.

However, there was bacon. If you know me at all, you know that I would leave Brad for bacon if that were legally possible.

I’m kidding, Brad!

Who would marry bacon?

That would be absurd.

Only a weirdo would marry bacon.

But it would be a delicious union.

Love bacon.

Ham for sandwiches landed somewhere in the middle of my pork chop disdain and bacon love.

The end.

Pork Story #2:

In 9th grade, every day at lunch, my friend Todd wrote and then read his very own David Letterman style “Top Ten List”.

I remember being doubled over in laughter with the random things that made their way onto that list.

One particular list that has stuck with me is “Top Ten Words that Sound Funny when Anne says Them”.

This is Anne:

All of the boys loved Anne in middle and high school, and you can see why. She is beautiful.

And she was and is fun.

And Anne has a signature dance move. You should ask her to show it to you if you know her.

However, according to Todd, there are 10 words apparently that sound funny when Anne says them.

And topping the list was the word “Pork”.

To this day, I cannot buy or make pork without momentarily being transported to my 9th grade lunch table.

The end.

Pork Story #3:

That brings us to today and to a recipe for pork shoulder.

Pork shoulder really only tastes good if you cook it slowly, over a long period of time.

Then it is delicious.

I bought a 4 lb. bone-in pork shoulder.

I am in meal-freezing mode to prepare for our little guy or gal’s arrival, so I’m making double recipes of almost everything to freeze and eat later.

So, for 2 people I would not recommend a 4 lb. pork shoulder. However, if you can only find a large cut of this meat then you must throw a dinner party.

It is surely a sign!

Start by preheating your oven to 300 degrees.

Then, on your stove top, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in your dutch oven over medium-high heat.

If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can most certainly use a normal pot or even a large skillet on your stove. Then, when our pot goes into the oven, your meat is simply transferred to a slow cooker/crock pot.

Unwrap your meat.

Pretty, non?

Take a knife and make 8 slits into the top of the meat.

Deep and wide enough for a clove of garlic to be slipped in.

Then, slip in the garlic.

See if you can find all 8 garlic cloves.

This is like a really weird and lame version of “Where’s Waldo?”.

Give the meat a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Then rub the meat with 1 1/2 T. of chili powder, and 2 t. of cumin.

Now take that garlic stuffed, and spice rubbed pork and place it face down in your hot oil.

This should sizzle and pop, and smell pretty darn good!

While the first side is searing, give the exposed bottom side the salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin treatment.

Now, we shall make a sauce.

Perhaps the easiest sauce in all of the land.

The sauce will be added to the pork shortly.

Take one small can of chipotle in adobo peppers, and pop them into a bowl or small mixing container.

Chipotle in Adobo peppers are simply smoked jalapenos. You can find them in the Hispanic foods section or aisle at your grocery store.

Then grab a can of diced tomatoes. Any style will do, but I thought that the fire-roasted version that I found in my pantry would compliment the smokiness of both the cumin and the chipotles.

Add that can to your chipotles.

Blend them up.

Back to the pork.

Give it a flip to allow the underside to brown up.

Looks good already, doesn’t it?

Chop up 1/2 of a red onion.

Or a white one.

Or a yellow one.

Or a couple shallots.

You get the idea.

Toss those in around your pork.

Take your chipotle in adobo and fire roasted tomato sauce and pour that into the pork party.

Now add about 1 1/2 cups of water.

And for the heck of it, I threw in a chopped up jalapeno.

I actually was just rooting around in the fridge trying to decide if anything would be right for this recipe, and this lonely jalapeno called out to me.

I could not deny the call.

And 2 of the tiniest bay leaves ever.

If they were larger, I would have only used one.

Pop a lid on it.

And into the oven it goes.

Or into the crock pot it goes (on low).

For 6 hours.

I peeked in at the pork after about 4 hours of cooking, and I poked at it with some kitchen tongs.

This is a highly technically advanced culinary move.

It was still not falling apart which meant it wasn’t done cooking.

The meat will FALL APART when done. Without trying.

No knife needed. Not even a butter knife.

After 6 hours, this is what it looked like:

The meat had completely separated itself from the bone which is a great sign that the pork is ready for you!

I went to grab a large hunk of the pork with my tongs, and it fell apart.

Perfect!

It was the perfect consistency for shredding.

Remove the bone from the mix, and toss it.

Then pull out all of the pork.

Use a couple of forks to shred this pork to pieces.

I have a massive aversion to fatty gristle, so I take a little longer than most to make sure that I won’t be biting into any fatty chewy nastiness.

I put about half of our pork into an air-tight freezer container to be thawed and reheated some day after baby arrives.

For freezer meals, I always include a label with the contents, the date that I made the food (don’t really want to eat anything older than months), and then the number of servings.

For dinner, we decided that spicy pulled pork tacos were the only way to go.

One of our favorite restaurants in the city, Nada, does a killer carnitas taco.

And they crisp up their shredded pork before you get it on your plate, so I did the same.

You can totally skip this step if you don’t care about crispy pork.

Put a t. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Throw in some pork.

Toss a flour tortilla over your flame to warm it and char it ever so slightly.

Then add your special sauce.

I made this sauce by taking all of the juice that was left in my Le Creuset after removing the pork bone and meat. I used my immersion blender to blend the saucy mixture of red onion, jalapeno, chipotles and tomatoes.

Then I threw a healthy tablespoon of the sauce on the pork while it cooked.

Transfer the pork to your tortillas with some cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

Give it a squeeze of fresh lime (another Nada trick) to brighten up all of the flavors.

And there you have it.

It is not the tidiest plate, so don’t judge me.

However, I was drooling at this point. It was all I could do to just snap a picture before diving in!

Or if you are like me, and you prefer the smaller (and decidedly more delicious) corn tortillas, you can make your tacos in those.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Pork Shoulder. Try it.

You’ll love it.

Promise.

Hump day is here. Woop!

XO,

Leah

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Welcome to this edition of “what I know for sure”. I have stolen this idea from Oprah’s magazine, O.

In this edition, I will share with you a mind blowing and life altering truth that will undoubtedly change the way you view life.

This is my vow to you.

So, here we go.

What I know for sure:

Goat Cheese is delicious.

Adding goat cheese to nearly any dish makes that dish even more delicious.

The end.

I don’t know about you, but just sharing that universal truth has given me a new level of mental clarity.

I feel alive and refreshed.

Knowing that, without a doubt, goat cheese is always and ultimately good… I feel it is my responsibility to now share a recipe that incorporates the delicious creamy cheese of the goat.

So, it has been a while since we have talked about the weekly quiche.

Yep, I’m still making them. And yep, I’m still eating them.

And yep, they are still making my life.

Get out your quiche pan. Or a 8-9″ pie or cake pan. Really anything circular will work here.

I’m flexible.

Give it a spray with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Get out some asparagus.

We know and like each other right?

Can we talk for a minute about asparagus?

Asparagus has many many fine qualities. It is crisp and delightfully delicious.

It is full of potassium, folate and Vitamin A which are all thought to be anti-aging vitamins.

It is said (at least by one random website promoting the health benefits of asparagus) to be an aphrodisiac. Want to know why? Well, apparently it has psycho-physiological aphrodisiac qualities because of its shape. Yep, that’s what I said.

It’s shape.

Back to the more likely and more measurable health benefits, it is a natural anti-inflamatory and the same folate mentioned above helps to prevent cancer.

BUT…

It makes your pee smell.

I have come to the conclusion that this is a small price to pay for the benefits… right?

Right.

Moving on.

Boil some water, and blanch these 1 inch pieces of asparagus. Blanching means that you are going to cook the asparagus quickly in boiling water only until they turn bright green. It should take about 1-2 minutes. You want these guys to still have some crunch.

Drain the boiling water off of the asparagus, and quickly drop the asparagus into a bowl of ice water.

This stops the cooking process, secures the bright green color, and prevents the veg from turning to mush.

Mushy veg=Nasty veg

Set that aside and chop up 1/4 of an onion. I used a red onion, but you can use any color you like. Or even a shallot.

Then chop up some mushrooms. I used shitakes because they are my new favorites. Use whatever you want. Or don’t use any. Or substitute the mushroom with some cooked sausage or bacon. Pretty much, do whatever you want.

Take those chopped up buddies and pop them into a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Let them cook down and get all browned and yummy.

Give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Now, drain the ice water off of your asparagus and toss them into the pan just for a minute.

Grab your skillet and dump the contents into the quiche pan.

Schteamy.

Now, for the goat cheese.

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Look at it, love it, embrace it, coddle it.

Then, open the package.

Put some generous dollops of goat cheese around the quiche.

Get out a separate bowl.

And grab a container of plain Greek yogurt.

A 4-5 ounce container will be perfect.

Pop the contents into your bowl.

Then, crack some eggs.

I used Organic Free Range eggs.

As a reminder, Organic Free Range eggs are the only acceptable eggs. All other eggs have a weird fishy flavor.

That is all I have to say about that.

I used 5 eggs, and an additional 2 egg whites.

Whisk it up so that it is a thick and creamy concoction.

True statement: I don’t like the word creamy. It skeebs me out.

Pour that mixture over the cooked vegetables.

Give the whole kit and caboodle a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Stick it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

You should be able to use an oven-mitted hand to give the pan a shimmy-shake after 20 minutes. If the center jiggles (like the eggs aren’t completely set), give it another five minutes. Then, conduct your shimmy shake test again.

The goal is a set center of the quiche.

Cut into that bad boy, and serve yourself a heaping slice.

I actually made my super special banana bread too. And it served as the perfect accompaniment.

That’s all for today friends.

Have a spectacular Tuesday.

XO,

Leah

Our dear friends are expecting twins in only a few short weeks. Our babies will be born within weeks of each other, and it has been such a treat to be pregnant together. Because the twin’s mama is the tiniest tot on the planet, she has been placed on bed rest until the babies make their appearance.

So, on Thursday night, Brad and I brought some dinner to their house to hang out and catch up while chowing down on a sausage and goat cheese macaroni bake. Because of the bed rest, our friends weren’t able to use their Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra tickets. So, we were the lucky beneficiaries.

On Saturday night, the main man and I

headed to Cincinnati’s Historic Music Hall.

Music Hall is easily one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks. It was built in 1878, and it is such an experience to sit in the hall and think about all of the people who have sat in the seats and enjoyed the performing arts in one way or another over all of the 100+ years of this hall’s existence.

This is what you walk into as you come in the front doors:

(iPhone photo)

And here is the symphony warming up (our neighbor is in the back row- he is a percussionist):

And check out this chandelier. It is massive, and sparkly, and breathtaking. And it weighs a mere 2 tons!

The domed center of the hall is an oil painting that is original to the hall. It depicts the Allegory of the Arts.

The evening was delightful.

After the show, we stopped off at Senate, a gourmet street food restaurant in the Over the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.

Senate has the best appetizer in the city.

Poutine fries. Oh my.

Crispy french fries smothered in soft and salty cheese curd, braised short ribs, and a gravy sauce.

(Again, the iPhone photo- I promise it looked better in real life!)

Fuh-get-about-it. Poutine fries make my life.

I ordered a lemonade to drink, and our server brought over a raspberry infused lemonade in a martini glass for me. It was the prettiest pink mocktail I have ever seen. Delicious to boot!

So, last night I decided I would try to recreate the Berry Lemon Mocktail.

And guess what? I’m pretty sure I succeeded.

And so today, I shall share the recipe with ya. And I will encourage you to throw in some booze if you imbibe at all. Because while this mocktail is delightful… lets be honest, a cocktail is WAY Better.

I think this recipe will end up making about 4 drinks.

Start with 1 cup of berries. I happened to have both blackberries and raspberries, so I threw them both into the glass.

Now add 1/2 cup of sugar.

And you are done!!

Drink up!

OK, not really.

Get out your muddler. Do you have a muddler? Randomly, I do. And this may have been the first time I have ever used it. If you don’t have a muddler, use a spoon or fork and mash the berries and sugar together.

Keep mashing.

Until it looks like this.

Now, let those berries and the sugar sit together and hang out. Get to know one another. For about 10 minutes.

While the berries and sugar get acquainted, let’s squeeze some lemons.

I used 3 lemons to procure 1 cup of lemon juice.

Get out a pitcher and a strainer.

And pour your berry mixture in.

Seeds = bad.

Sweet seedless berry juice = good.

On

And 1 1/4 cup of water.

Mix it up.

Looking pretty and pink!

Now, get out a glass. Fill it about half way with your berry and lemon juice mixture.

I actually am a weirdo and enjoy having seeds in my drink, so I threw in a spoonful of the seeds from the strainer.

You can certainly skip this step.

Now fill your glass to the top with seltzer water. It adds a bubble and a sparkle.

Top off your drink with a whole berry or two along with a sprig of mint.

Yum-a-lum-a-ding-dong!!

I think this would taste pretty delicious with a generous splash of vodka or tequila or rum.

So have at it!

The drink of the spring!

Happy Monday Peeps!

XO,

Leah

I have been trying to think of what I wanted to write about today.

And all I can think of this morning is how much I love my husband.

And how much he loves me.

I’m smitten.

And very happy.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

XO,

Leah

In my life, there are a few days that I would classify as truly life changing days.

My first day on my first real job.

Our wedding day.

The day we had a house fire.

The day we moved back into our restored home.

The day we found out we were pregnant.

And on Friday, March 18… we had another life changing and forever altering day.

The day our Dyson joined our family.

OK, people. I get it now. I understand the hype. I understand why they cost so dang much. This is a no-joke, life-changing machine.

Meet the Dyson D17 Animal Upright.

We are tough on vacuum cleaners. We have two dogs that shed like crazy.

A few weeks ago, we bought a new vacuum cleaner from Lowes. It was middle of the road quality, but a reasonable price. We vacuumed the one room in our house that has wall-to-wall carpet, and after vacuuming we could bend over and scrape up dog hair.

Sick.

Well, that vacuum was returned obviously.

And a short time later, we decided to bite the bullet and go for the Dyson.

Holy Mother of Pearl.

It. Is. Amazing.

I did the first run with it, and then Brad came home and had his go too.

It was a very exciting day.

Does it make us completely lame that a vacuum pretty much made our weeked?

It does?

I don’t even care.

I met up with friends for a fabulous day of chatting, shopping, eating, and hanging out on Saturday.

When I called to check in with the husband, he told me he vacuumed again for fun.

Yes, folks.

That is the power of the Dyson.

So far, it is worth every stinking penny.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Happy Monday!

XO,
Leah

Well, it has taken me much longer to get this recipe posted than I anticipated.

You see, I was in the land of Packers, cheese curd, and beer. Yes, fabulous Wisconsin.

Neenah, to be exact.

And, as you can imagine, it was as magical as one might imagine.

While Neenah leaves quite a bit to be desired in terms of dining and entertainment, it was great to see and spend time with all of my co-workers. I really work with some pretty fun and amazing people.

So, I find myself feeling rather grateful this blessedly warm Friday morning.

I thought we should discuss meat today.

Meatloaf, to be exact.

Mom, if you are reading this, please don’t be offended. But, growing up I hated meatloaf. My mom’s version included cooked green peppers. Bleck! I would try to drown the loaf in ketchup to choke it down.

It wasn’t until much, much later in life that I felt brave enough to try the loaf o’ meat again.

And there is one recipe that I find myself going back to again and again. This is based on a Rachael Ray recipe from a show year’s ago.

On a side note: Rachael Ray is pretty darn annoying. However, I owe her a lot of credit in sparking my adult interest to get excited by cooking. So, thanks Rach! EVOO! YUM-O!

So, this meatloaf is actually a recipe for individual meatloaves that are cooked in a skillet instead of baked in the oven.

Here is what you’ll need for the meatloaf:

1 lb. of ground beef (I use 85/15 or fattier- that ratio means, 85% lean meat/15% fat and you don’t want to go much more lean than that

1 egg

1 handful of bread crumbs (Italian or plain) or a piece of white bread cut up into small cubes

About 2 T. of Grill Seasoning

1/2 t. allspice

1/4 c. milk

1-2 T. of tomato paste

1/2 of a large onion, all chopped up

Start by putting your meat in a bowl. Easy enough, right?

Crack yo egg.

Into the bowl.

You should probably whisk it first.

Unless you are a rebel like me.

Toss in your bread or breadcrumbs.

And then add your grill seasoning.

I am sincerely sorry that I’m not great at providing exact measurements.

Pop in your allspice.

Contrary to popular belief, allspice is not some combo of spices all ground up and combined for you.

Nope, it is an Indian spice from a tree that produces allspice berries.

Fun fact of the day!

Now, your milk.

I use about 1/4 cup.

However, more milk may be needed. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Add in your dollop of tomato paste.

Then, throw in your chopped onion.

Now, take off your rings.

Roll up your sleeves.

Use your clean hands to gently mix this all together.

You want to mix until everything is just combined. If you go nuts mixing, you can do something called over-mixing. The result of over-mixing is some seriously tough meat.

This is the point where you want to check the consistency. You want the meat to be able to form a patty, but you want the meat to be somewhat loose.

So, if the mixture seems too dry and difficult to mix add in a little milk.

If the mixture is too wet- like you can’t get it to form a patty and stay that way- add more bread or breadcrumbs.

Now, set your mixture aside for a minute.

We’re going to make a couple of quick and easy side dishes that are super simple to time correctly so that you have a plateful of food hot and steaming and ready to eat at the same time.

So, take the other half of your onion. Chop part of it into a small dice.

Chop the other 1/4 of the onion into slices.

Set aside.

The diced onion will be for our sauce for the meatloaf.

I used the sliced onion for some easy-peasy sauteed spinach.

I decided that along with spinach and meatloaf, we definitely needed a starch.

So, roasted potatoes it shall be.

Since both the meatloaf and spinach have a softer texture, I wanted something with a little crunch.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Then, chop up red potatoes to bite-sized pieces.

Give them a generous sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and 2 finely diced cloves of garlic.

Mix em up, and pop them into the oven.

Now, back to that meatloaf.

Get out a non-stick skillet, and put it on a burner over medium-high heat.

Add in 1-2 T. of olive oil.

Form individual patties (similar size to hamburgers) of meatloaf and set them into your heated pan.

Once in the pan, give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Cover the pan loosely with foil.

This cooking process will give you a crusty outside to the meatloaf, and the foil will help to cook the meatloaf all the way through.

After about 4 minutes, pull the foil off, and give the loaves a flip.

Cover them back up.

Cook for another 4 minutes.

Put the meatloaf on a plate.

And use your foil to tightly cover the meat to keep it warm while we make a little special sauce for the meatloaf.

Look at this girl.

She got a big old chunk of raw beef because of my sloppy patty making skills.

And she promptly laid down and kept her eye on me, the meat, and the floor.

Sadly, she did not get a second helping.

Now would be a good time to take a peek at your potatoes.

You may want to give them a turn in the pan to make sure they get beautifully browned on all sides.

Lets make our meatloaf sauce.

Here is what you’ll need:

Flour

Butter

Your reserved chopped 1/4 onion

Chicken or Beef Stock

Ketchup

Mustard

Steak or Barbecue Sauce

And if you are feeling crazy, some buffalo or hot sauce

Use your meatloaf skillet to make your sauce.

Plop in 2 T. of butter, and let it melt.

Then, toss in 1/4 of your chopped onions and start to let them brown up.

Mmmmmmmm….

Now, add in 2 T. of flour.

Whisk that together.

If you are using a non-stick pan, I highly recommend using a silicone whisk so that you don’t damage your pan.

Now add in a cup of stock.

Beef stock is recommended, but chicken stock is what I had.

Start whisking.

After no time at all, this little sauce will start to thicken up.

That picture above was starting to get a little too thick for me, so I added another 1/2 cup of stock of so.

I like my gravy a little runnier.

Now, put in 1 T of Ketchup, 1 T of Mustard (I used a dijon), and 1 T. of BBQ or steak sauce.

And whisk it together.

Give it a taste. It may need a little salt or pepper. Or perhaps you’ll fancy a stronger mustard or BBQ flavor so you can add a bit more of either of those. I decided I wanted a little heat, so I added about 2 T. of Buffalo Sauce.

Once, you have the taste perfected grab your meatloaves and let them soak up some of that delicious sauce.

Turn the heat to low, and those babies are ready for you when you are ready for them.

Now, if you wanted to make some spinach… I would start and finish that at this point in the meal. The potatoes are cozy in the oven, the meat and sauce is cozy on the stove, so you will have 5 focused minutes to give to the spinach prep.

Here is the recipe.

When you are done with the spinach, pull your taters out of the oven.

Now heap some of those onto your plate with some spinach and meatloaf.

Comfort food in 30 minutes or less… that is Rachael’s promise after all.

This meatloaf is the opposite of my childhood cooked green pepper yuck memories.

It is flavorful and delicious.

Enjoy my friends!!

Have the happiest of weekends.

XO,

Leah

Ok, I’m going to make a bold statement.

The local news is the biggest waste of time, money, talent. Ever.

Seriously.

I have long said that the local news is a complete and utter joke. Other than providing 24 hour coverage when we are getting 1/2 inch of snow (yes, that is sarcasm), they really do no service.

Here is the latest example.

The city of Cincinnati is right on the Ohio River. On the riverfront, there are several boathouse restaurants. Well, over the past couple of weeks we have been getting rain. The river is rising slowly but surely. On Friday, one of the boathouse restaurants was swept (slowly) down the river due to the rising water and increasingly powerful current.

So, if you tuned in to the NEWS on Friday here in Cincinnati, you did not hear one word about the incredibly tragic situation in Japan- where the death toll continues to rise and the devastation is overwhelming.

Nope, not ONE WORD.

Instead, you did get a  play-by-play of the restaurant that moved from it’s dock to getting stuck by a bridge.

This is on the heels of having half of the news report for the past six months being focused on a local white collar murder trial while the unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya unfolded.

A woman at work said to me a few weeks ago, “I don’t really know what is going on in Egypt, but I can tell you who testified yesterday in the Ryan Widmer murder trial.”

I don’t get it.

But I am on permanent boycott of the local news.

I am breaking up with them here and now.

And no amount of sweet talking can lure me in to watching another half hour of that nonsense again.

Amen.

That’s all I have to say about that.

If you have been moved by the stories coming out of Japan and feel compelled to help in someway, please visit the Red Cross.

It is Monday.

Tomorrow, I will have the most deliciously mini meat loafs ever. For you, my friends.

I’m off to Neenah, Wisconsin. Jealous?

Look our cheese curd, here I come.

XO,

Leah

Friday morning, and the sun is shining.

Thank goodness!!

I woke up today to the news of the tsunami in Japan. It is headed to the shores of Hawaii, and my aunties, uncle, and cousins are on my mind. I am praying for God’s protection and their safety. Well, not just for them, but for everyone in the tsunami’s path.

Please keep all of the people who have lost in your thoughts today. Thanks.

Now, how to transition from that to sharing a recipe??

I guess I’ll just dive right in.

Today, I’m bringing you a perfect Friday recipe.

It is perfect because you can go to the grocery store today or tomorrow to stock up on the ingredients you’ll need to make a perfect Sunday Pot Roast.

Why does pot roast feel like a Sunday meal?

Or am I crazy?

You can make pot roast in either your crock pot or in your dutch oven.

I, of course, used my very beautiful Le Creuset French oven.

I would like to state for the record that 3 months past Christmas, I’m still loving this bad boy.

Start by drizzling a little olive oil into your pan. If you are using a crock pot, get out a skillet for this portion and add in some olive oil. Gradually bring your heat up to medium-high heat.

Now, get yourself a hunk of beef chuck/pot roast. Most of the grocery stores will actually label the cut of meat that you are looking for as “pot roast”.

Isn’t that handy?

I bought the smallest cut of meat available- 1.9 lbs. That is WAY too much meat for two people, but it left us with a lunch or two for leftovers. And that was lovely. 2 lbs of meat will feed 4-6 people depending on the size of everyone’s appetite!

While your oil is heading, unwrap the meat and pat it dry on all sides.

Give it a very liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper.

And then give it a light coating of flour.

The flour will help the sauce thicken later on.

Like MAGIC.

Why am I enjoying using the caps lock button so much today? It’s just not like me.

I must be feeling wild and crazy this Friday.

Place the meat into your dutch oven or your skillet and brown it for 1 minute on each side. This will help to seal the juices inside.

Now if you are using a crock pot, pull your meat out of the skillet and let it rest on a plate until you are ready to load up your crockpot.

It is time to get your veggies ready.

For 2 lbs of meat, chop up 1 onion, 2-3 stalks of celery, 1 leek, and 2 carrots.

Or cheat and grab a handful of baby carrots.

I actually like the veggies a little larger. Because they cook for a long time, you don’t want to dice these up super tiny. They will be mush by the time you eat.

MEAT!

Oh hey there.

Not much I like more than a big piece of juicy meat.

Take that however you would like to.

I’m squirrely.

From here on out, follow the same process if you are using a crock pot of a dutch oven.

Take all of your veggies and toss them into your pot.

Give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Add in 2 cloves of finely diced garlic.

How about some wine?

Oh yes! I think so.

I used about one cup of full bodied drier good red wine.

Stir it up.

Add in a 28 oz can of tomatoes. I like the whole tomatoes because they will break apart a bit when cooking. They feel more rustic. Don’t ya think?

Add in 1 cup of beef stock.

And then to punch up the flavor even more, add in one beef bullion cube.

How about a bunch of rosemary?

I implore you to buy fresh.

And some fresh thyme.

Know what? Soon, it will be time to plant the herb garden.

I know I ask a lot of you, but if you want to make the best food investment ever, plant a small herb garden.

The plants costs less than buying one bunch of herbs in the grocery store.

And the plants give and give all year long.

Warning: Mint and Lavendar will take over your yard if you plant them. I recommend using a pot for those guys.

Now doesn’t that just look like the perfect bed for a hunk o’ meat to rest it’s weary head upon?

Nestle that guy down in there.

Put the lid on your crock pot or dutch oven.

Pop your dutch oven into your oven for 2 hours or so. The internal temp should read 160 degrees.

Cook your pot roast on low in a crock pot for 5-6 hours.

This is  what it looks like when you pull it open after the marathon cooking session.

Pull the meat out. It will be fork tender.

AKA perfection.

Pull those pesky stalks out from the rosemary and thyme as well.

Now, the next part is not necessary, but I learned this trick from Ina Garten and I like it.

Scoop up some of the veggies and cooking liquid.

Use a blender or an immersion blender to puree it.

Then add it back into the pot.

It adds a creamier thicker, glorious texture.

Add your shredded beef back in.

Serve with a mess of mashed potatoes and salad with roasted pears on top.

Love to you all.

Have a great great weekend!

XO,

Leah

by Charlie Sheen

Thanks Fuller for exposing me to this delight!

Leah

Things are verrrrrrry interesting in Ohio right now.

Perhaps you have heard of Senate Bill 5? It aims to abolish the collective bargaining rights of unions.

I would now like to discuss the 50 reasons I believe in this bill, and then I’ll move on to the 50 reasons that I don’t believe in this bill.

Yeah, I’m kidding.

I wouldn’t put you through that.

I hear you thanking me.

You. Are.Welcome.

Rather, I invite you to shift your focus from the things of this world to Blintzes.

A blintz is basically a thin crepe that traditionally uses yeast. Normally, it is served with a creamy and sweet light cheese stuffing, and then fried up in a pan. Normal crepe toppings are piled on top.

Well, my favorite girl in the kitchen, Ina Garten, gifted me (ok, not just me- the whole world via her cookbook) with the recipe for BAKED blintzes. So, you know, you can make a WHOLE PAN of this goodness to eat throughout the week.

I saw the recipe and knew that my life would not be complete until I made these.

And now I can say without hesitation that your life will not be complete if you don’t make these.

Fact.

Let’s get started.

Preheat your oven to 350.

First we need to make the batter- that is going to be very similar to a crepe batter. I like to make crepe batter in a blender.

Why?

Easy mixing, pouring, and clean up. Boo ya.

Let us begin by adding 1 1/4 cups of milk to the blender.

And then add 1 t. of vanilla.

Note: Do not then put your ceramic teaspoon into the garbage disposal and turn in on. It will shred your teaspoon beyond repair, and you will have to duck to avoid shrapnel shooting from the disposal.

Butter time.

Add 4 T of melted butter.

And then 4 eggs.

Organic and free range. These chickens are happier therefore their eggs taste better.

Fact.

Now add 1 1/3 cups of flour.

And 2 T. sugar.

1 T. of baking powder.

Now, blend it.

Get out a 9 x 13 pan, and butter the pan.

Now pour in half of the batter (about 1 3/4 cups) into the pan.

Pop that into the oven for 10 minutes.

While that is baking, let’s make the filling.

Put 8 oz of mascarpone cheese into a large mixing bowl. Mascarpone is found in the gourmet cheese area in my grocery store near the goat cheese and brie.

Add in 3 cups (24 oz) of ricotta cheese.

I use the low fat/skim ricotta.

You know, for my waistline.

Crack 2 eggs.

Then, add 1/3 cup of sugar.

Give it a mix.

Add in 1 T. of lemon zest.

I had a huge lemon, and one lemon gave me just enough zest for 1 T. However, if you have small lemons you’ll likely need two.

Now add in 2 T. of lemon juice.

I love it when you can use the whole fruit.

Zest and juice, no waste!

1 /2 t. vanilla

And 1 t. of salt

I actually only used 1/2 t. because I’m a rebel.

Mix it up.

Pull your pan out of the oven.

It should be set, but not browned.

Pour in your filling. Spread it evenly to cover the pan.

Now, carefully add the last 1/2 of the batter (from your blender).

Pretty!

Pop that back into the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is lightly golden.

Give your poor neglected pup some love.

You both deserve it.

So, what on earth would Ina develop to take these blintzes to the next level?

Well, I’ll tell ya.

A warm blueberry sauce.

I would take a bath in this stuff.

Wait. That doesn’t really make any sense.

So, no bath.

Maybe I would bottle this stuff and drink it.

What I’m trying to say is that it is VERY good.

Get out a sauce pan.

Squeeze about 3 oranges into the pan- 3/4 c.

Add in 2/3 cup of sugar.

And then 1 T. of cornstarch (found in the baking aisle near flour).

Bring that all to a boil while stirring it.

Once it is translucent and thickened, stir in 2 pints of blueberries.

Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the berries just start to burst.

Then stir in 1 t. of lemon zest.

Pop in 1 T. of lemon juice. Stir it up, and allow the sauce to cool.

Purple and pink and thick and sweet and gooey and delicious.

And hallelujah!

Here is the fully baked version of the blintz.

Cut it into squares.

I wrapped my squares up individually so that they were easy to grab on our way out the door.

But, you know I had to eat one right away.

Topped with the sauce that was still warm and delicious.

Perfect for a week of breakfasts.

Or perfect for a party.

Or a brunch.

Or even dessert.

They are just perfect.

XO,

Leah

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