Spring comes maddingly (is that even a word??) late here to the Great Northwoods of America! Why, it's mid-April, and we still have snow on the ground and NO green little buds blooming on the trees. But it is supposed to be warm-ish and rainy over the next week, so that should help expedite matters, doncha think? I took Wee Willie on a nice long walk this morning, and was SO SO grateful to NOT be wearing my snow-stomping / no slipping hiking boots; instead, I wore my super duper New Balance running shoes, and boy were my arches happy! In fact, I felt so energized that I ran inside, grabbed my camera and snapped some encouraging signs of early spring, right in my own front yard. Can you see them? The teensy tinsy green buds, underneath the dead and dried leaves of my Daylily plant? Look closely for the magic:
And this is our Red Leaf Maple tree--we planted it oh, I dunno, 3 years back, and it's doing so well! Those pinkish branch tips mean new growth!:
Here's our front lawn, looking across the street towards our neighbor's house. The snow is finally melting off of it, but we can't walk on it yet to pick up sticks and such--waaay too squishy:
And this one's gotta be my favorite--check out the delicate fern that has once again survived our harsher than harsh winters--peeking out from underneath the snow:
Do you know what else makes me happy in the Springtime? Pretty organic carrots and little red potatoes and sweet yellow onions! Big Daddy is such a meat and potatoes kinda guy, so I think I'll whip up a Sunday Afternoon Pot Roast with those vegetables on the side, just for my man!:
I know, I know, there's only 2 of us in the house, but Big Daddy LOVES to take leftovers to work, for his lunch, and he also loves to fry up leftover potatoes for breakfast, with eggs, so that's my rationale for the big dinner. Well, that and the fact that it just smells SOOOO good cooking, like a Sunday afternoon should smell, in my book! Talk about your ultimate comfort food.
To start, I take a large boneless Chuck roast and sear it well (after rubbing on salt, pepper and paprika) on both sides, in about 2 tblsp. of olive oil in a big Dutch oven:
Then I cut up washed potatoes and carrots, and also some yellow onions--I never peel the potatoes or carrots, as really, most of the nutrition is in the peel!:
Then mix the stewed tomatoes, beef broth, ketchup, mustard and Worchestershire together. Surround pot roast with chopped vegetables, then pour the tomato mixture over all:
Cover and bake for about 3 hours, or until meat is super tender. You can easily make a gravy from the pan drippings; just skim off most of the fat, then mix together some corn starch or flour with cold water in a jar, and add to drippings you've brought to a boil on the stove. Stir until desired thickness and season. Look how pretty this dinner looks, displayed on a large platter! (sorry it's so blurry--I think it's because of all the steam on my lens):
Here's the recipe:
SUNDAY AFTERNOON POT ROAST
2 1/2 to 3 lb. boneless Chuck roast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tblsp. olive oil
6-8 large red potatoes, quartered
8 large carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
3 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 16oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tblsp. prepared mustard
1 tblsp. Worchestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub meat well with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a lid. Brown beef well on both sides. Surround with chopped potatoes, carrots and onions. Mix tomatoes, broth, ketchup, mustard and Worchestershire in a bowl. Cover and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours; or until meat is fork tender. Serve on a large platter.
WHAT I'M MOST GRATEFUL FOR TODAY:
*I'm grateful that vacation is less than a week away!
*I'm grateful that I can give Wee Willie a bath these days without him jumping out of the tub, covered in dog shampoo!
*I'm grateful for the luxury of reading great books; truly a joy in my life!