Comfort Food: Hearty Pot Roast

Two weeks into the  move and we’re still not completely finished. We did have a short reprieve once we finished putting all the stuff from our apartment away – but on Monday Kevin’s stuff was delivered from his place in California, which started another bout of moving, unpacking, rearranging and organizing.

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The good news is that we are starting to create a home!

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Kevin and I busted our butts on Monday to empty what we could of the PODS pod we rented for the move. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the pod before we started to unpack – it was literally packed to the brim. It looked like the world’s most complicated game of Tetris. The upside is that we were able to unload everything except the heaviest items – we enlisted some help from the men in our Bible Study to come over on Tuesday and help with that. But everything else, including our sectional, most of Baby Bear’s bedroom set, and half of Kevin’s bedroom set (not to mention the boxes and boxes of various other household items) were taken out and (mostly) put away on Monday. Now we have a completely empty pod and a houseful of stuff that just needs to get put in its place and we’ll be done!

We survived the ordeal with only one minor setback:

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Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t bad – as you can tell from the picture, it’s a patch job from some previous occurrence (I’m guessing the incident involved moving heavy furniture, as the scene of the crime is on the landing between staircases) and it’s an easy fix, so I’m not worried about it.

In the midst of all this, we’ve still had to eat, and given by the state of our kitchen, cooking something elaborate has been out of the question. Which is where I need to give a shout out to my second best friend: the dutch oven.

We all know that my first best friend is my crock pot.  What’s not to love? You throw some meat and veggies into the pot in the morning, turn it on high, and when you come home from work your house smells like heaven and dinner is served! But coming in a very close second is my dutch oven – particularly this one that I got as my one and only wedding present. It is pretty much perfect in every way, and it’s quite similar to the crock pot, except it doesn’t take as long to cook. In the case of this pot roast, it does require a bit more labor, but we still only used one pot, which is a win in my book!

comfort food - hearty pot roast

Out of all the quintessential comfort foods out there, pot roast is way up on the top of my list. I have very fond memories of my mom’s pot roast growing up – although admittedly, I liked the carrots and potatoes more than I liked the meat. But just the smell of the meal when I came home from school was enough to send me into food euphoria. I still get tingles when I think of it.

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This pot roast is a bit different than the one I grew up eating. For one thing, my mom used to cook it in a covered roasting pan in the oven, while Kevin and I use the dutch oven on the stovetop. Also, we use copious amounts of red wine in our version, whereas my parents substituted beef stock. But however you prepare it, sitting down at the table with a steaming bowl of pot roast while it’s pouring rain and freezing outside pretty much makes everything better.

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HEARTY POT ROAST

serves: 6

prep time: 20 minutes

cook time: 3 hours

INGREDIENTS

3 lb beef chuck roast

1 bag carrots, chopped into one inch pieces

1 bag new potatoes

4 onions, cut into quarters

1 bottle red wine

herbs de provence spice blend

salt and pepper

coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Add your onions, cut side down, to the pot and brown, about five to seven minutes. Set aside. In the same pan add your carrots and cook another five minutes, until carrots start to caramelize. Set aside. Meanwhile, season your roast with salt and pepper. If necessary, add another tablespoon coconut oil to the pan and sear your meat on all sides before removing from pan. Deglaze the pan with one cut red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape off the brown bits. Return the meat to the pan and add another two cups wine (about 3/4 of the bottle total). Drink the remaining glass of wine if desired. Season with herbs de provence spice blend, cover, and cook for approximately two hours. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan and cook an additional one hour.

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Lost Rhino Brewing Co.

So last Sunday after church, The Man and I were driving down the road, fully intending to go home and begin tackling our to-do list, when all of the sudden I noticed a sign for “Lost Rhino Brewing Co.” I casually commented that maybe possibly we could check it out.

The Man turned off the road so fast my head is still spinning. So much for our plan to tackle our to-do list!

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I had never actually heard of Lost Rhino until a friend recommended it a couple of months ago. (At a wedding in Northern California, no less!) So when we randomly saw the sign we couldn’t not check it out! It took us a few wrong turns to find it – it’s located in an industrial area of VA and doesn’t look like what I would picture a brewery to look like…although I’m not really sure what I did expect a brewery to look like! (Although I guess, to be fair, it’s a Brewing Company and not a Brewery. Are they different? I should probably google that.)

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We decided that we’d each do a tasting and split them. A typical tasting is five 5oz glasses for somewhere around $9.00 – you can’t beat that, right? So originally we would have tasted ten beers…except that the girl doing the pours accidentally poured too many – so we ended up tasting all thirteen beers at no extra cost! Win!

Lost Rhino has a really good mix of pilsners, pale ales, IPA’s and darker beers. We went through the tasting in order of the board.

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(Obviously the above tasters weren’t poured in the order of the board, and clearly from the picture directly above, I forgot to take the picture until after we had already started tasting. Oops.)

With the exception of select few, The Man and I really enjoyed all the beers. (We’re not IPA fans in general, and I’m not much of a pale ale fan myself – I don’t like when the beer is too hoppy).

My favorites were definitely the Holy Brew Brown Ale and (surprisingly) the Wandering Belgian IPA! I wasn’t surprised about the Brown ale as I favor some of the heavier beers but I didn’t expect to like the IPA! I also would have thought my favorite would have been the Final Glide Hefeweizen. I love me some Hefeweizen. Theirs was good, but not the best I’ve tasted. The Man’s favorites were the Sweet Spot (an unfiltered pilsner), and the Alt – a “chocolately German ale.” I have to say – that one was pretty darned good!

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The Kolsch was really good, too – I’d give it a better description, but all I wrote down on my tasting notes was “Great!” So helpful, right?

While we were tasting we perused the food menu:

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I apologize for the terrible picture quality. We ended up ordering a BLT (It was served on a pretzel roll, which pretty much sealed the deal), and a caramelized onion and something something flatbread. I wish I oculd remember what it was called, because it was awesome. It had goat cheese and bacon and potato and arugula – I know that much from the picture below! Both paired really well with the beer as well. We were tempted to also order a curried chicken wrap but didn’t want to overdo it…which was probably smart in the long run.

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All in all our spontaneous trip to Lost Rhino Brewing Co. turned out to be a huge hit, and we will definitely be going again! If you happen to be in the Northern Virginia area anytime soon you should definitely check it out!

*NOTE: I did not get paid for this post…Lost Rhino has no idea I’m even writing this post. All opinions are my own, I just wanted to share what a great place I thought it was!

Mexican Brunch

One of my favorite things about The Man being on the East Coast is cooking together. I am lucky enough to be marrying a guy who loves food as much as I do, and he’s a great cook. Plus he’s one of those people who can look at the contents of my pathetically empty fridge and create something incredible, whereas I have to plan every meal. So when The Man announced that Saturday was going to be Mexican Brunch day, I was overjoyed.

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(sidebar: we went grocery shopping and my fridge is no longer pathetic nor empty. Quite the opposite, actually. As is, I have no idea how we’re going to eat all the food we just bought.)

One thing about us – we love Mexican food. LOVE. And Mexican food for breakfast is pretty much the icing on the cake. Cream cheese icing. On carrot cake. It’s that dear to us.

I already had a beef roast in my freezer, so we pulled that out to thaw in preparation to make machaca for breakfast. I think I’ve mentioned machaca before, but if not, it’s a mexican shredded beef dish with onions, tomatoes, diced chilies, and all sorts of delicious spices. Ohmyword, so good. For some reason my machaca never turns out as good as The Man’s, so I was happy to turn the kitchen over to him.

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Just look at that luscious spicy beef! So good, I can’t even describe. Even though it doesn’t look so good in this picture…trust me, it’s darn good beef.

As with any traditional Mexican breakfast, we scrambled eggs with our machaca and served them in corn tortillas. Then we topped them with refried beans, guacamole, onions, queso fresco, and tapatio. Love me some tapatio! And of course, you can’t have a Mexican meal without beer!

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Funny story about that, actually. The last time I was in CA (before the Big Event) we went to our favorite Mexican place for breakfast. Normally we’re the only ones there but this particular visit was different – several tables were occupied. After looking around for a few minutes, sipping on my black coffee, I realized something: everyone else was drinking. Everyone. There was a table of guys in the corner drinking beer. The couple next to us had glasses of white wine and something made with tequila. Another table have several rounds of Bloody Mary’s. The Man was quick to explain that it’s perfectly normal to have a beer with your chorizo at 0900. And here I thought restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol before 1100! (At least, they can’t in Pennsylvania.) Who knew?!

I couldn’t be the only table not drinking (hello peer pressure), so we quickly ordered a Pacifico and a Bloody Mary. Totally made the breakfast.

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So of course, we cracked open some ice cold Coronas with salt and lime and served them alongside our machaca con huevos. Delish.

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machaca 4 Adding a little tapatio to the tacos…everything tastes better with tapatio.

I don’t know what it is about Mexican food that makes it so darn good, especially when half the time it looks like something…well…something not really all that appetizing. Take refried beans, for example. There is absolutely nothing aesthetically pleasing about refried beans, but holy cow I can eat a lot of them!

Have I mentioned we really love Mexican food? No?

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Delicious.