Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pot Roast, Perfect for a Cold, Snowy Night!!!

I am unoriginal it seems.

We're in the throes of holiday cooking and baking, so I'm doing all the old favorites... Thumbprint Cookies and Sugar cookies, and pies and quick appetizers....



Last night was tuna sandwiches.... the night before we grilled a frozen steak and tossed a couple of spuds in the oven....

Monday night?

I'm not even sure there WAS a Monday night, LOL! So funny! Right now we're busily doing kids' Christmas projects and lessons during the day, working at night, writing in the middle of the night, and although I loved that Myra gave us a permission slip the other day to forego the crazy of Christmas... the baking, the caroling, the decking of halls and putting up lights, etc.... I love it! Yes, I am that crazy person!!!! :)

But today I took the time to throw together a fun take on a recipe I saw first on facebook from my friend Sherrie. She's Casey's mom... You know Casey:

It looked easy and sounded wonderful!

1 Large Chuck Roast
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 envelope Ranch dressing mix
1 Tablespoon Beef base (or an envelope of beef gravy mix)
1/2 onion, sliced

Put chuck roast in big roaster.

 Sprinkle with onion, seasoning mixes and beef base.


Roast at 350° until meat is tender. Add water if necessary. 

Peel half a dozen potatoes.

Do the same to a clutch of carrots.

Cover and roast again until potatoes and carrots are tender....

While that roasts, check the snow:

Yup! Still snowing! :)  And this morning when we were talking about our favorite Christmas hymns, we checked out Cee Lo Green's "Mary, Did You Know?", the trailer for "The Bible":

This is a gripping rendition.... Just look at these faces as they watch....

Raising awareness... Over cinnamon bagels. Oh, God is good!

We're planning a day-long "Help for the Homeless" next week on Saturday. We were talking a week or so ago and the kids and I realized they really had no idea of what life is like for those who go without.... and so they came up with a PLAN...

A day outside, in upstate NY in December. Dave will make them a fire in the fire pit, we'll pitch tents to block the wind, we'll make ramen noodles for lunch and we'll spend the day cold, without our "screens" or cushions or central heating and wood stoves... and raise money for a couple of the local shelters.

Raising awareness... and helping others.

So while I'm loving stringing lights and hanging knitted stockings in tiny window panes, and listening to beautiful Christmas music, I'm also loving this amazing opportunity to shape (or ruin, I guess!!!) little lives in my care.

Oh, God is good! :)

We bake cookies... and we talk about mean King James and mean King Herod and young mothers and homeless people and twinkle lights.

And somehow it all comes together!


Oh! God is good, LOL!

Pot Roast is DONE!!!!! Pull out of oven, realize we'll be eating this for days so it better be good...

Dave dishes it up.

I wait....

Fork tender, oh, so delicious! Lots of beefy juices, great seasonings, who'd a thunk that tossing ranch and Italian dressing on the meat would be so wonderful, but it was!

And in keeping with this beautiful season, here are a couple of nighttime shots... The Nativity set spotlighted with a few bright lights behind!

 And remember Santa and his 9 reindeer, the treasure we found in Uncle Charlie's barn a couple of years back? The orphaned set no one wanted???

Santa and his sleigh and 9 reindeer, led by Rudolph!!!! How fun is this, right? Great Grandma and Uncle Charlie (Chuck) made this set. It's just an absolute pleasure to own it now (it takes one whole shed to store these guys, so I can understand why the rest of the family wasn't jumping up and down to take on the crew!) But isn't it wonderful? I love using twinkle lights as the tracers!

It makes folks smile, and that right there is reason enough to light up the dark December northern nights...

I love to make folks smile!!!


  1. A clutch of carrots made me smile. A clutch sounds like those carrots are up to something.

    I do love meals that do the work for you. Nothing better than mixing up a few spices, throwing it over the meat and into the oven, and then letting the magic happen after a few hours.

    Will have to head on our light tour tonight!

  2. Julie, I love going to see the lights! In the fall, we chase leaves with the kids... and I'm a big kid when it comes to that! In the winter, going out to see the lights is so fun! Good for you!

  3. I am seriously gonna try this recipe, Ruthy!!! It sounds delicious....thanks!
    Merry hearing what you and those kiddos do!!

    1. Jackie, I don't even know who to give credit to because it came across my facebook feed... I added the onion and turned the brown gravy mix into "Beef Base" from Tone.... but oh my gosh, it's marvelous. Leftovers tonight and I'm EXCITED!!!!! :)

  4. Another recipe to try. I too am seriously going to add this to my grocery list. THANK YOU!!!

    1. Tina, so easy. And if you throw in frozen stew mix instead of peeling fresh potatoes and carrots, we gain like TWENTY MINUTES. You understand how we can re-appropriate that twenty minutes, LOL!

  5. I love that you rescued Rudolf and his crew! And I love this pot roast recipe!

    I just had pot roast last night at our church Wednesday night supper. It was the best I've ever had! So one of the men at our table (who agreed with me) went to ask how it was prepared. It was roasted with a packed of Lipton Onion Soup mix. So yummy! I bet yours tasted just as good. Love those soup and dressing mixes!!

    1. Was supposed to say PACKET of Lipton Onion Soup mix.

    2. Missy, so a similar thing! The Lipton soup is beef-based, so you've got the beef and onion flavor there. The Ranch dressing mix surprised me, but it worked great. You wouldn't have known it was in there, the broth was rich and brown and wasn't creamy, but the flavor was amazing!

  6. looks yummy! I had a brief moment of panic til I saw you added carrots and potatoes! those are just required for a beef roast!
    hope the kiddos don't get sick doing their homeless fundraising! :-( one of my cousins and her kids (the youngest was still a baby - not even walking yet maybe a few months old) did something similar with her church...they showed up and slept in boxes so the kids (and adults) would know how the homeless feel and homeless moms with babies and little kids - dont' rememeber all the details but not sure if they did the entire night her husband and mom were worried about the baby getting sick I think but the Dallas area wasn't super cold then though it does get some cold temps.

    ok tune out if don't feel like reading - long thinking out loud about giving tree and stuff...I think my church is gonna change up it's giving tree next year :-( I heard them talking about it in the hallway yesterday when I went up to help with wrapping and odds and ends and asked the woman I came to help and she said there are too many families refusing the help because of pride. she said a lot of the Hispanic familes with the dad in the picture didn't want to take 'charity' so they were thinking of doing something like a store where people buy the stuff and they put it in the store for the families to purchase really cheap instead of wrapping it and giving it to the families as gifts. not sure how that will go over but I guess the important part is that families who need help get it and no one's pride should suffer just because some of us love buying gifts for 'our' family or 'our' kids. sigh. I hate change :-( a friend of mine told me last night that her church had clothing for adults people would donate so when someone had an interview they could get gently worn or new interview clothing but so many refused because of pride so they did a 'store' type system and said they loved it because they weren't getting something free but weren't having to spend a lot either. I think with me never having been in this positon I don't really identify or think of the issue of pride. I think back and remember my mom being sorta weird about stuff at garage sales (I'd want a shirt and she'd not want me getting it) but she and my dad grew up with nothing barely food to eat and had hand me down clothes all the time. and I know from a conversation at a church breakfast a few months ago that a LOT of members of my church have no idea at all about how some people don't have money for basics! seriously. a lot of the members - esp the older ones - are fairly well off and always have been. others not so much but they're pretty much the minority. actually me being single and childless is the minority too! but they finally got away from bicycles and electronics this year (and some were apparently griping at the ones in charge for doing this horrible thing because they always bought bikes and wanted to keep buying bikes) but they said parents and common sense prevailed- bikes were hard to pack in a car with 3-4 kids and boxes of food and gifts and electronics were no good after the batteries died because they couldn't afford batteries. at breakfast that time a guy was saying some families hadn't picked up their stuff and I said maybe they didn't have transportation and he gave me alook like 'what?' and I said not everyone has a car free on Saturdays to go to a party and pick up a bunch of boxes...I guess he thought everyone has a car that's reliable and unlimited funds for gas and that no one has to work on a Saturday or a Friday night...
    Susanna who wants roast now but must first type in numbers to proveI'm not a robot(by the way I typed in the worng numbers the other night and it still let me post LOL!)

    1. Susanna, this is so understandable.

      A lot of folks don't want charity. My mother used to hide when the church folks came by to drop off the food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She'd make me or my brother Terry go to the door. The other kids were all older by then... So we'd go to the door and thank the people dropping them off.

      Embarrassment is a tough road. Accepting handouts is a tough road. So the idea of the "store' is really kind of cool!

      There are no easy answers, but it's GOOD to change things up now and again. Like you heading out for your walks... And me doing my little ten minute exercise routines about 4 times/day. We're changing things for the better personally.... and if the church has to make some adjustments, well, then that's okay! Whatever works!

    2. my friend said the store worked well for the adults so I think my church may do the store next year or combine it with the 'old way'. it's fun picking a family or ornaments and shopping with a kid's name in mind..but people's feelings are important and more people being reached is important. Virginia posted something on facebook a couple of days ago where some guy was talking about growing up on food stamps and how it can change how you are as an adult - your entire way of thinking of food and savings - language was pretty rough (which makes me want to clean mine up even more after reading that!) but really thought provoking.
      this time of year is sentimental and sad for me - I miss the days of being a kid with a generous santa clause and being shielded from knowing not all did the same. now I just wish everyone had food to eat and a decent place to live. :-(

  7. Oh, that is a FABULOUS idea!
    And something I discovered here when I was looking for a place to donate gifts for their families in need, was the list of requirements in order to participate as a "needy family". (I have to go find the flyer so I can write this down.)
    Just imagine this, as a family with no bank account or spotty employment or even illegal.
    Required paperwork to participate/ sign up for ONE free toy or gift basket:

    Social security numbers for all in the household
    Bank statements for all in the household
    Tax documents for last tax year
    List of other help received, including electric bill and phone bill assistance
    If illegal status, please notify the director at (phone number)

    Can you imagine? My jaw just dropped. So, even if you're legal, you're going to bring your SS cards for the whole family, your tax documents (if you have them), and bank statements?? WOW.

    And then imagine if you've got someone in the house who is illegal... you're going to call that number and report your own family member in order to get a free toy? I think not.

    I understand the need to keep from getting duped or for the toys to be resold... but I just can't see how this list would ever attract anyone but the most determined. And forget about pride... Nobody would want their name saved for everyone to see.

  8. Oh, Susanna, that article made me laugh! And yes, I did put a language warning on there (and so far nobody complained and it got lots of shares, even from the "nice, Christian folk") because it really raises awareness of how growing up in poverty can affect the rest of your life, even when you have money.
    I grew up going to private schools, traveling overseas when I wanted, violin lessons, piano lesson, French lessons, etc, etc. But my husband grew up in extreme poverty and that article really helped me understand a lot of his funny behavior- especially his food preferences... like that gross fake orange juice... what's it called? Sunny D-lite!! YUCK. That stuff is like sweet chemicals in a bottle, but he remembers it as a huge treat in a childhood without Christmas presents or even enough to eat.

    1. we had Tang when I was a kid and that was a treat. language has never bothered me but now that I've been making a huge effort to clean mine up .le sigh...I notice how it sounds more if that makes sense...not so much for the guy talking but thinking how I sounded and sound when I slip up you know? my attitudes have been changing the last few years..things aren't so black and white/stereotyped as they were in years past. that article put some things into perspectitve I guess- putting myself in that situation how I'd view money. it had always bugged me that people on welfare would get this huge refund then blow it on stuff instead of saving it for food and clothing but it makes more sense when he talked about it.
      anyways..I have no idea what my church asks..I know they have another ministry that gives help with bills but I know plenty of people try to scam the woman in sunday school said she used to do the signups and she remembered people showing up with cute little kids and they were requesting adult clothing when obviously thy weren't adults....and one woman had about 12 kids with her and they were neighbors and nephews/nieces when they specifically said immediate family which then meant your own kids or adopted kids or ids you had custody of...they were only doing the schools/neighborhoods close by so if the neighbors' parents brought the kids they could sign them up...don't recall anything about citizenship