inter alia: Introspection, Pot Roast, Pickles and Richard Armitage

I’ve learned a number of important personal truths in the past week:

Over the last four days, twenty kids, ranging in age from 2-1/2 to 12 conspired to kick my ass – not literally, but the results were basically the same.  Today was the first day in a week that I didn’t spend frantically prepping to entertain and teach this group or cleaning up the carnage of said exercise.  For the past six years, I’ve headed up the K-6th grade youth programs at my church, a job that I have only recently “retired” from.  Personal Truth#1 :  if I had any doubts about my decision, organizing and implementing VBS for the final time dispelled them all.  I love these kids…I’ve watched most of them grow since infancy, but it is definitely time to pass the torch to someone new – share the wealth and all.  (I kept the fun job – I still get to take them on all the fellowship outings – all the joy and energy of kids and very little of the need to make them sit down and listen 🙂 ) 

Part of the VBS drill for my family is take out food – this week we’ve had pizza, burgers, subs and Chinese, so tonight I thought I’d actually cook a meal.  The meal du jour courtesy of Facebook was “3 Envelope Pot Roast.”  It’s not bad – IF you have no problem with MSG (3 lb roast, 1 envelope Italian dressing mix, 1 envelope Ranch dressing mix, 1 envelope brown gravy mix – 2 cups of water, 4 hours in slow cooker), but as usual with the recipes that everyone raves about, Personal Truth #2 :  I was underwhelmed.  I really love the idea of dumping a bunch of ingredients in a pot, leaving for several hours and returning to dinner, but it never seems to work out that way.   Sigh…oh well, I await the next “great” crock pot recipe.

"3 Envelope Roast"....meh

“3 Envelope Roast”….meh

As summer winds down, the vegetable stands are brimming with all sorts of garden fresh goodness.  I love cucumbers – I like making sweet and sour refrigerator cucumbers, but I especially LOVE home made dill pickles.  I bought some cucumbers at the farmers market where I ran into a friend with a big garden.  Personal Truth #3:  if you express an interest, you run the risk of becoming cucumber and zucchini dump for your green thumbed friends.  On the plus side, I had enough cukes to take a stab at making some dill pickles (refrigerator variety – I cannot be bothered with canning!)  I’ll let you know how they turn out!

My first jar of dill pickles - I'm so proud!

My first jar of dill pickles – I’m so proud!

In all of the Real Life pandemonium this week, there was a definite deficit of quality time with Richard Armitage.  I barely read anything, I only answered comments on my own blog last night, it’s probably my fault that Richard lost to Cumberbatch since I only had time to vote ONCE,  I’ve gotten woefully off my writing schedule for finishing Recovery by the end of the summer, and I’m not happy about any of it!  (Actually, I was downright ornery last night)  Personal Truth #4:  Participation in the Armitageworld fandom has become an integral part of my day…I really can detect a difference in my mood after going cold turkey for a few days.  I’m not sure what that says about me, but…

Wrap Party Candid  Courtesy of Jed Brophy's Twitter feed PS...Love the Carhartt Graham!

Wrap Party Candid
Courtesy of Jed Brophy’s Twitter feed
PS…Love the Carhartt Graham!

I do know that I’m in a lot better mood now that I’ve gotten my fix!

28 comments on “inter alia: Introspection, Pot Roast, Pickles and Richard Armitage

  1. perry322 says:

    The Pot Roast *looks* great. Very photogenic.

    • obscura says:

      Mine didn’t look bad either, but everybody dug into before I got a pic 🙂

      • perry322 says:

        I thought that *was* yours..

        • obscura says:

          I didn’t have time to doll mine up with accessories and snap before the fork banging from the dining room became a distraction. 🙂 It looked pretty much like that though. I shredded the leftovers and cooked them for another hour in the gravy…presto – “hot beef sandwiches”.

          • perry322 says:

            Pot Roast and Brisket are HUGE in my family. I have an easy, hard to believe recipe for a brisket,good also for another cut if meat. One secret ingredient and one typical ingredient I leave out.. Leftover favorites, cold sandwich on real rye with Coleman’s Hot Mustard ( made from dry) and the onion sauce I wind up with after cooking the roast or sauerkraut.

          • obscura says:

            Yum! My husband almost always turns up his nose at pot roast – he prefers dry roasted (emphasis on dry) meat. I think it’s learned behavior since his mom’s method is to throw a half frozen roast in at 500…charred on the outside, raw in the middle – I don’t get it. Beef roast at my parents’ has always been fork tender.

          • perry322 says:

            The brisket we make is usually dry roasted, covered, though it has a paste on it and lots of onions which produce liquid. But it’s slow roasted at 300-350 for half your lifetime.

          • obscura says:

            Covering it is the issue for my MIL. I love her dearly, but she is cooking challenged 🙂

  2. Servetus says:

    I am so with you on this. Every second that I spent away from writing was a second of irritation. I know this was extreme because the previous week was so intense, but I need to write and communicate!

    Glad you’ll be back.

    • obscura says:

      Part of the problem is I have to physically leave the house to find brain space to write, and with kids home, that is challenging.

      • Servetus says:

        Totally get that — hard for me to write at home, too — because there’s a bed and a tv.

        I’m told pork chops are great that way, too.

  3. Servetus says:

    I personally think the way to make a pot roast in the slow cooker is with Campbell’s French Onion soup and several root vegetables. 🙂 Fantastic for venison, I don’t know why it wouldn’t work for beef.

    • obscura says:

      I will give it a whirl…sometimes I just need to have the convenience of the crock pot meal.

      • Leigh says:

        Try French-style pot roast, estoufade de boeuf: put into the slow cooker two diced onions and the roast (eye of round works great); drape two slices of bacon over the beef and tuck a bay leaf under each; add salt and pepper, and two teaspoons of dried thyme; pour a half bottle of red wine over the top and cook for 2.5 hr on the high setting or 4 hr on the low setting, until the beef flakes when tweaked with a fork. You can add carrots in the last 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the meat, the bacon, and the carrots; pour what’s left into a large saucepan. Thicken the gravy with a little stock and flour mixed well, or use a brown gravy packet. Serve with mashed potatoes (instant is fine).

        • obscura says:

          That sounds really good….next time I can afford beef! (Seriously $4.50/lb for a chuck roast? WTH!). I have tried to pass every incarnation of instant potato past my husband over the last 15 years, and he can always tell. (He and my son both seem to be “super tasters”) Consequently, I’ve become a master of the mashed potato.

          • katie70 says:

            Don’t buy beef and bacon on the same trip, with bacon at almost $5.00 /lb. Why because people might make more BLT’s?

  4. katie70 says:

    Why is it the picture seems to look better than the food at times. Good luck on the pickles, I am no good at making pickles other than Bread and Butter, then I am the only one to eat them (it’s got to dill in our house). Last year when son1 was jobless he made some pickles and they turned out great, so why he bought that big jar of pickles last week with his still in the basement I never know.

    My daily summer fix seems to be late, there is one thing for school,it’s free time before they are home.

  5. Leigh says:

    I, too, have found writing and Richarding are essential to my day.

    • obscura says:

      And for me, not all writing is created equal…I’m finding a huge positive energy source in creative writing, where the prospect of academic writing still is giving me the chills! The various other Richard media are also a needed component – like a well balanced diet 🙂

  6. guylty says:

    Interesting to read that you (and Servetus) find yourself out of sorts when you cannot write about RA. With two weeks of enforced internet-absence behind me, I had the opposite reaction. I found it hard to get back into the swing. Maybe that is because I write for a living? Or because I am slightly more visual than verbal, and I can get all the quality RA time I need by just ogling. While I love reading all the blogs, I personally hesitate to voice my own intimate thoughts in the shape of a blog. (The *ooof*s are different – they are cerebral rather than coronary…) There’s always that niggling little voice that says to me “Who gives a fuck what *you* think”. I never think that about other blogs – only about mine. Weird.
    Anyhow, I hope that you’ll find some time for Portering around. And for more exploration on ancient Armitage here.

    • obscura says:

      I’m finding that writing is only one component, but I am definitely more verbal than visual. Reading fan fiction is big too. That doesn’t mean that I don’t spend a fair amount of time gazing at images though – in fact, what I’ve found is that blogging s like a “one stop shop” some days. I am writing and paging through images to illustrate. Ta dah! Minimum daily requirement met!

      Summer is always chaotic for me because I don’t have a set schedule (this summer was worse than usual) and that upends my Virgo equilibrium in the worst way. I’ll take a moment here to thank the calming effects of Richarding for keeping me from violence against my constantly bickering children! (Another side effect of summer). Props to all stay at home moms out there – I was clearly not cut from that cloth!

      There will be at least one new chapter of Recovery and some Ancient Armitage too! I’m baaaack! 🙂

      • guylty says:

        Can’t wait!!! Have jzst discovered that I can connect to Rep of Ireland internet on South side of holiday house, while North side connects to UK internet. Ha! What a metaphor!!!

  7. Joanna says:

    Yummmm 😀

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