6/26/11

Super Easy Crock Pot Roast Beef

Two weeks ago, I made French Dip sandwiches.  I didn’t, however, snap any pictures so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

I’ve actually already blogged about French Dips and Burger Dips.  You can read about those here.  What I wanted to do was talk about the super Easy Crock Pot Roast Beef that I used to make the French Dip Sandwiches.

A lady named Mary (I’m sure she has a last name but I no longer recall what it is or if I ever even knew it!) posted about this roast on an email loop about 11 years ago. 

So here’s Tess’s adapted and used frequently over the years “recipe”

  1. 1 roast--- 3 to 4 lbs is what I prefer so that I might have left overs.  I’ve done this with chuck roasts, pot roasts, rump roasts.  Any roast that you would use to make a “pot roast”.   Think cheaper cuts of meat that need to cook long and slow.
  2. about 1/4 –1/2 cups Soy Sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos as a soy sauce alternative.  It has less sodium and is gluten free)  I put in more than 1/4 cup usually less than a 1/2.  This helps “beef up” the beef flavor of the au jus
  3. water to make at least 2 cups   (I put the Bragg’s in a 2 cup glass measuring cup and then I fill i the rest of the way with water)
  4. Garlic (fresh minced, or powder as much or as little as you like)

 Put roast into slow cooker, pour over water/soy sauce and add garlic.  Cover, cook on low all day (about 7-8 hours depending on your slow cooker).    If you need more liquid you can add another cup of water.   

When the roast is done, I slice/shred it and put it back in the crock pot while I finish the rest of the meal.  This helps keep the meat nice and moist.

I use the above roast recipe as a base and I can turn it into the following:

  • French Dip Sandwiches--- serve sliced meat on toasted hoagie/sub rolls or any other sandwich roll you like with the au jus for dipping.  Add a salad and maybe french fries and you have a crowd pleasing meal.  (This is what my daughter wanted for her birthday.  Brownie Sundaes for dessert.. Yum!)
  • Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches--- the old fashioned kind that you can in an old dinner or cafeteria.   You’ll need to turn the au jus into gravy.  (see below) Pile roast beef on to slice of bread (I like using store bought white bread because of the memories).  Top with another piece of bread, if you want, or don’t (I don’t).  cut in half diagonally.  (It must be diagonally LOL) spread the two halves apart a bit so that you have room to add mashed potatoes.  Pour gravy over “sandwich” and potatoes.  Serve with salad and steamed veggies.  Comfort food.
  • BBQ Beef sandwiches—sometimes I have enough meat left over from the French Dip to do this and sometimes I just plan on making these.  If I am planning to make BBQ I use less soy sauce/water as I don’t need it for au jus or gravy.  I just need to for moisture and flavor.   I usually do this from left overs.  I store the left over sliced/shredded meat in the au jus.  When preparing the BBQ Beef,  I remove the meat from the au jus and place in a sauce pan.  Add my family’s favorite BBQ sauce and heat through.  Serve on hamburger buns.  Excellent with my baked potato salad.
  • Last but not least,  I sometimes serve this just as a “nice roast beef dinner”   Sometimes I through carrots and potatoes into the crock pot for a traditional pot roast and sometimes I’ll serve it as sliced roast beef with mashed potatoes.

So there you have it.  One roast beef “recipe” many meal options!  Oh the gravy?  You want to know about the gravy?

Making Gravy from the Au Jus:

I use corn starch to thicken.   I put about 2 cups of au jus into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.   In a small glass measuring cup (or jar or bowl) I mix about 1/4 cup of cornstarch with just enough water to make a smooth pourable paste like mix.   When au jus is boiling, I put cornstarch/water mix into the pan while whisking.   It should thicken fairly quickly.   Reduce heat and simmer a couple of minutes.  You may want to adjust seasonings such as adding salt or pepper.   If you want it to be a darker brown add some Kitchen Bouquet.

So what will you make with the roast?

6/24/11

Wrapping up the Crew Year with a Blue Ribbon

I had an amazing. blessings filled year with the TOS Review Crew for the 2010-2011 Crew year.  The crew year ended at the end of May and we finished with an awards ceremony of sorts.

The TOS Review Crew voted for their favorite vendor/review product across several categories.  Our lovely Crew Leading Cruise Director Brenda, tallied the votes and awarded this ribbon:

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to the winners.  You can read about the categories and see the official winners by visiting the official TOS Crew Blog here.

I thought it would be fun to share my family’s Top Ten  List with my blog readers.   I kept track of which products we really loved and came up with a TOP TEN list.  

Teaching Writing Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

2   Classroom Management Software by LanSchool

Online Reading Program from Reading Kingdom

4 8th Grade Math and Geometry from TenMarks

5 Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek Level 3 from Greek N Stuff

6 Song School Latin from Classical Academic Press

Online Music Lessons from Kinderbach

8 225 Title E-Book Bundle from Yesterday's Classics

9 Wits & Wagers from North Star Games

10  Online Fitness and Heath Program from Gotrybe.com

I’m looking forward to another great year!

6/12/11

Furry Family Members

I love my cat.  Really I do.  I love both of them.   I just don’t love the fat cat at 3:30 in the morning. We have two cats.  They are littermates.   We adopted them as kittens when they were 3 months old and we’ve had them for nearly nine years. 

These are not the first cats that I’ve had, nor are they the cats I’ve had the longest.  Boots, my childhood companion, lived to a very old age of 20. My family adopted him when we was two and he lived in parent’s house for 18 years.  George and Lacy, like Boots and every other cat I’ve come to know, have their own personality.  Their own little quirks that both endear them to our hearts and frustrate me to no end.

Most cats do not like books.  Books, you see, steal the attention of the human and the cat, who only wants the attention of the human when the human is otherwise engaged, must do whatever he (or she) can do to interrupt the reading human.  Lacy is no exception to this cat book rule.  She will not put up with your reading a book.  She will jump into your lap and pester you to pet her.  She will consent to allow you to read silently if you pet her at the same time and you mange to keep the book out from under her body.

Reading aloud means that in addition to paying attention to the book, you are paying attention to other people and Lacy will do everything she can to get between the reader and the book.

George, however, is the exception to the cat book rule.  He likes books.  He likes to be read to.  In the afternoons, when I pull out a book to read aloud to the girls, you can be reasonably sure that George will make an appearance.  He won’t try to distract the reader but he will find someone’s lap and attempt to take over all available space.  So while one cat fights to stop the reading, another cat settles in to do some listening.   George also comes to visit in the evenings when Honeybear reads aloud.  I’ve also found him curled up in the lap of Tailborbear while she reads aloud to him (and only to him!)

Let’s go back to the not loving the fat cat at 3:30 in the morning bit.  On more than one occasion I have been awakened by a furry head butt to my chin followed by a rough wet tongue licking my cheek.  Why does this cat insist on getting attention in the middle of the night?  He’s not content though to just shove his head into my chin or lick my cheek (yuck!) but he lays on me!  He’s huge and he sits on me!  <sigh>  I really don’t mind him laying on my feet at night.  I kind of like the heater aspect when my feet are cold but stay off my shoulder, arm and chest thankyouverymuch!

Tess, the sleep deprived cat toy.

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6/3/11

Book Review: The Final Summit

Recently, as Booksneeze Blogger, I had the opportunity to read The Final Summit written by Andy Andrews and published by Thomas Nelson. This book follows The Traveler’s Gift, which I have not read yet.

From the Publisher:
David Ponder is back. This time the fate of mankind is in his hands.

Final Summit Cover

This is mankind’s last chance. Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent humanity hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship, and it consists of only two words.

With time running out, it is up to David Ponder and a cast of history’s best and brightest minds to uncover this solution before it is too late. The catch? They are allowed only five tries to discover the answer.

Readers first encountered David Ponder in The Traveler's Gift. Now, in The Final Summit, Andrews combines a riveting narrative with astounding history in order to show us the one thing we must do when we don’t know what to do.

My take:  Though I had to consciously suspend my disbelief and consciously choose to over look a few things with which I disagreed, I enjoyed this book.  I have not read the previous book and was delighted to discover that The Final Summit can stand alone.  It is not necessary to have read The Traveler's Gift before reading The Final Summit.

David Ponder is a successful business man who has applied what he learned as a Traveler.  It has been many years since the night the Archangel Gabriel introduced him to the concept of the 7 Decisions.  Gabriel comes to David once again but this time it is not for his own sake but for the sake of all Humanity.  David Ponder represents Everyman and will head the summit that seeks to answer the one question “What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?”, with a two word answer. 

I was discussing this book with a friend of mine who has also read the book.  She described the book as a self help book in the guise of a novel.  I have to agree.  Andy Andrews does a wonderful job of using the story to teach the reader the several important principles. I am having my teenage daughter read the book as I think she will benefit from reading about these principles.  I plan on reading this book again and maybe I’ll even use the study guide found in the back of the book. I enjoyed The Final Summit so much that I plan on reading The Traveler’s Gift.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255