Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm Alive!

Saturday shortcuts

One of my favorite things to do is set my crockpot in the morning and return home in the evening to amazing smells coming from just my few minutes of prep work. And if that couldn't be better, the bread machine is also set to finish just before we are ready to sit down. Mmmmm!
When the weather is cold and rainy, it's down right expected in my house! Today I'll be at a tea party so this is what's for dinner.

I usually always chop up my veggies within a few days of buying them and have them ready in Ziplock bagges for the weeks' menu so when I get home from work, the less prep time the better! If I don't use them up by the end of the week I freezer bag the left over chopped veggies for occassions like a crock pot meal. It doesn't get any easier to go from freezer to crockpot and I don't even get my clothes dirty before leaving for work! ha ha Well today will be no exception. You can customize with whatever veggies you prefer but for my Beef Pot Roast I like potatoes, carrots, pearl onions, celery, corn, chopped garlic and to help make a easy gravy I'll also add a can of condensed soup like Cream of Mushroom. The seasoning packet above does the rest for the flavor of spices.

I remember a couple of years ago my friend Erin and I talked for an hour on the topic of different cuts of meat. I know, only someone who likes to cook would do such a thing. The best diagram I ever saw was from Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on Food Network. I printed out the diagrams with the helpful hints and kept it in my purse for about 6 months until I had it memorized. I'll share some of it with you below...

"Select the Right Cut of Meat..."

Pot roasting is a great technique for less expensive, tough cuts of meat, such as those from the shoulder and neck, arm, or hip and leg. These sections are typically fattier and therefore more flavorful, but they're also tough because they contain more connective tissue than more expensive cuts. Cooking tough cuts slowly in a flavorful liquid melts the fat away and breaks down the tough connective tissue, resulting in fork-tender meat. Beef pot roasts generally come from the chuck (cut from entire shoulder section, between the neck and arm). Brisket, rump roast, and top and bottom round are a bit leaner than chuck and suitable for pot-roasting as well. Leg of lamb and pork shoulder roasts will also work. Whichever meat or cut you choose, look for a roast that's well marbled. The smaller marbling creates smaller pockets of fat, contributing to a moist and compact roast. Avoid roasts with large ribbons of fat, as they will yield a greasy, misshapen, and fatty pot roast.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A shawl perhaps?

Progress of the Toilet, The Stay; created in 1810 by James Gillray, that depict a young lady being dressed by her maid.

The more I watch regency era movies, the more I am attracted to the shawl wraps that the women wear. They are so feminine and pretty but I realized they can also serve the same purpose as my blanket that I curl up into too. I'd love to find a shawl/wrap that I could use and wear daily... hmmm will have to keep my eye keen to that.
I've also noticed in these movies that everyone has such good posture. I just made the comment this week at work that my back was aching because of my poor posture of sitting at my desk all day. Of course the women wore corsets but the men too stood up straight... perhaps it was the way their coats were cut? Hmmm?

Okay if we're going to talk accessories, I would love to have that Red Jezebel Parasol that actress Hayley Atwell as the character Mary Crawford in the recent 2007 TV adaption of Mansfield Park... gorgeous! Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good picture of it but this is the scene.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tonight (Sunday) is Part 1 of Pride and Prejudice!

At last, for the next 3 unedited Sunday nights will be devoted to the screenplay by Andrew Davies, Pride and Prejudice (1995)! In my opinion, it is the definitive adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel. Today is a buzz of activities and parties devoted to celebrate P&P in America. Oh how I wish I were going or even hosting one myself!

The basis of the story is this... Mr. Bennet, a genteel country rector, has five daughters and a wife with a singular ambition: to find them suitable husbands. It won't be easy though, as their dowries are not large. The arrival of two rich, young bachelors in the neighborhood, Charles Bingley, and his friend Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, leads to the possibility of a promising union between the Bennet's eldest daughter Jane and Bingley. The Bennet's second daughter, the witty Elizabeth, seems less impressed by Darcy, who is also hardly tempted by her. Ultimately, Darcy's interest in Elizabeth grows, but is then rebuffed, leaving both romantic liaisons seemingly in ruin. Months later, an unexpected encounter between Darcy and Elizabeth ignites interest on both sides until a Bennet family scandal puts the future in peril. Darcy holds a secret about the scandal, but can he now make it right and show his love for Elizabeth?

I went to Jane Austen's World today and found this great chart! One of the hardest concepts for today’s readers to grasp in Jane's novels is what exactly was 4,000 pounds of income per year in 1810? What do these numbers mean today? For us living in the USA, we should multiply these figures by two to derive our dollar amount.

Put on a pot of tea and tray some treat and... Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hmmm, what to do.... Chores or Read?

I joined a book club recently via my blogging community of friends and we just started our first book titled... Mr. & Mrs. Cugat; The Record of a Happy Marriage. By Isabel Scott Rorick. To get the book, I first tried my local library but no luck so I bought the book off of Amazon for a cheap $5... perfect for my lockdown budget right now. It arrived just in time too. A beautiful old hardback with yellowing pages and darling illustrations. I had never heard of the book before and rightly so because it was first published in 1937! So Nancy Drew that I am, did some research to learn more about it. Anyone ever see the old 1942 movie "Are Husbands Necessary?" It's story was the basis from this book and was the basis for a radio sitcomdone by Lucille Ball before her I Love Lucy days. If you would like to join the book club, link over to join us. Here is her book image above so you'll know you have the right post when you scroll down.

And if that weren't enough reading, I've also begun my bible study of Beth Moore's A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place. Taken primarily from the Book of Exodus in the bible, Beth's teaching will take you on a fascinating journey into why God would chose to live in a wilderness tabernacle, made by human hands. The DVD was recently taped in Beth’s home church in Houston. If this studdy sounds familiar to you, it should because it was the very first published bible study that Beth did more than 10 years ago but this time she revised it for a new generation and contains all new video footage and exciting new graphics. Regardless of whether you did this study years ago, you’ll find A Woman’s Heart well worth another visit. I admit I was skeptical before I started this study. It focuses primarily on the construction of the tabernacle, one of the parts of the Bible I have neglected because it can get boring IF you don't understand what you are reading. Thankfully teaching is Beth's gift because she brings an inspired understanding to this subject. There are an amazing number of correlations with the New Testament, especially in the sacrificial life and death of Christ. She also draws meaningful comparisons between the Old Testament tabernacle and our lives, as the tabernacle of God now dwells within us. If you have done some of her other studies, the daily homework in this one will take you a little longer than usual because she is teaching you the history of it. And I love history! That being said, it is a wonderful study. I highly recommend you also view the DVD series along with the workbook as it takes your study time to a whole new level. I bet after watching the DVD you'll start talking in your own Texas drawl and declare Beth your new best friend... she just hasn't met you yet! ha ha

Friday, February 8, 2008

Peculiar Friday

It has been a stressful week here at my house so there has been little time to post, although to have a mental escape today I found this fun little thing to do at another friend's blog. Have some fun today and click on the link provided to get your own title too!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Lady Janeen the Abrupt of Goosnargh on the Carpet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cool Sunday

This is so cool! Watch this video of what I will call human "Art".

So what is everyone up to today? We are watching the game and eating a scaled down version of our traditional menu because it's just us today. Right now I've got my famous cookies in the oven and the house smells like a bakery! Well it will until I make the chili in a few hours! ha ha

Don't forget to watch Jane Austen Regrets tonight at 9pm on PBS Masterpiece Theatre/classic! See my video post from the other day for a teaser of what's to come! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tag... I'm it!

I've been tagged! I'm supposed to tag 4 other people to play but not quite sure how to do it via this Bloggin' method. So, if anyone wants to play along - please do so. It's fun!

4 favorite movies ~
Somewhere in Time
Pride and Prejudice
Anne of Green Gables Triology
White Christmas

4 places I've lived ~
With my parents
With roommates
By myself
With my hubby and kids

4 shows I watch ~
KRON 4 morning news
American Idol
Dancing with the Stars
Disney (I've got kids)

4 people who email me ~

4 favorite drinks ~
Vanilla Cream hot tea
grapes from Tuscany

4 favorite eats ~
Ice Cream

4 places I'd rather be ~
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Local Tea House

4 things to look forward to ~
Watching my children grow up & graduate
Watching my children marry the love of their life
Being able to play with my grandchildren
Enjoying retirement with my hubby