Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020 Sure it's Spring!

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Quick post today,

Remember when I said, I never uncover my flower beds early? In fact I have had a war with perennials, piling leaves on them, and then having them poke their naked selves out anyway.

Midwest Gardening April 15, 2020

This photo is Saturday, our last cool but nice day. I took some quick photos just to document Easter.

Midwest Gardening: April 15,2020

A few of the garden ornaments were placed out. The leaves keep blowing away. We transplanted a few herbs, and some day lilies. 

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020

This is all I did in the front of the yard for Easter, I guess my heart wasn't in decorating. And, these are hardly thoughtfully designed. We have so much wind here, planting an entire bush is the only way to go. Hubby removed the bench that was here, and put up a shelf. We need to repaint the front (southern exposure) of the garage this Spring.

Midwest Gardening:April 15,2020

Our front porch tin pail has some faux forsythia in it for color, and our sparkly bunny sits in my wreath from last year...the pillows have faded to a nice spring shade. I have covers ready for later. This porch is so sunny and always windy.

THEN, after freezing temperatures for three nights we woke up to SNOW! 1-3inches across Chicagoland, the ground was white everywhere, this photo was taken at 11:30 am, after 4 hours of sunshine.

Fifty-four cars piled up on the Kennedy this morning at 5:45 this morning due to heavy snow falling and unseen black ice. Many cars were totaled, it look like a bumper cars gone wrong...luckily no one was seriously injured.

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020


Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020 can't rule out having freezing temps, it is 32 at noon with a 25 degree windchill. UGH! The greenhouse was 44 degrees at 6 am. Thats with full 1500 watts going at high. At 12:30 pm today it is hovering at 70, with the heater going. I think wind is a big factor, we realize we still have leaks.

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020

Back to our vigorous perennials, I know I mounded these up on Monday---our Hollyhocks, some daylilies, and something else. to the right. Hopefully the leaves helped a little. But they grew more and pushed them off. I wonder how many bees and helpful insects are burrowed under all that?

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020

Day Lilies are pretty tough, the Daffodils to the right haven't bloomed yet.

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020

Just for FUN, we have one bird feeder on the front porch, and the birds throw seed everywhere, but we enjoy watching them. Squirrels aren't shy here, at all... I rapped on the window to get him to turn around.

Midwest Gardening: April 15, 2020

He was too busy visiting my sisal squirrel, which apparently likes to pop out of the tub of faux flowers. Or maybe he is feasting on the seeds, too. 

LOL, Happy Spring?! 

Thank you for any and all comments.
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Monday, April 13, 2020

Easy Pantry Pot Roast Sunday Dinner.

oldnewgreenredoI brag about my cooking in my bio-description and then rarely post anything. Mostly because I don't work from recipes anymore, at least not for the family, and only occasionally for company.

During the stay at home order we are digging in our freezers, and trying to use the 'oldest' items first. Hubby came up with a big beef roast for Easter dinner, and some chicken legs/thighs for me.

OUR Pot Roast, today---just with what we have from the freezer and pantry.
Why not use a recipe--especially now? Because, we have to be I have offered some alternatives as we go along here. I have done all of the suggestions at one time or another, so feel free to wing it, yourself.

Today, I used a

3# beef roast, the more marbled, the tastier it will be.
Generously sprinkle meat with a garlic/pepper based steak seasoning-your choice. If you like it on a hamburger, it will be great on your roast.

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce or one of your choice.


Deeply fork the roast all over, and season in a low pan. Dribble the Worcester or your favorite sauce on it, turn over and repeat the dry seasoning and sauce. Cover with foil and leave at room temp for 1-2 hours or in the fridge overnight.


This was a pretty long piece of meat, so I used my griddle with two burners working on HIGH.


Definitely had a good sizzle going. Do every side until it is seared all over, even the edges. 


My favorite splatter lid.
While this is searing you can prepare the vegetables. 


3 onions cut in quarters
5-6 stalks of celery cut in hunks
6 potatoes cut in sizes that will bake in 1 1/2 hours.

Reserve 1/2 the celery and 1/2 the onions, but use
pan spray on the rest and store at room temperature, covered. This will keep them from drying out and discoloring. Or, you can leave in salt water also.

This will keep them from drying out and discoloring. 

The thick piece now has a good sear, which will keep the juices in. Move the  meat into a lidded roaster or heavy lidded oven pot.

Meanwhile, lower heat on stove,


Add to griddle/frypan

1/2 cup of any wine---(bottom of your bottles is fine or, 1 cup of cider, or beer)
1/3 cup of catsup or a tomato based sauce. (The sugar content in this, will help with carmelization and adds an extra kick of flavor.)
1/2 cup of water

Bring liquids to boil to deglaze pan, scrape all the goodness of bits and pieces up. Add one half of the celery and onions on top and sides of the beef. and then pour the deglazed liquid on top of the beef in the roaster.


This should be enough liquid to start your roast with, you can always add more.

Cover roaster and put in oven at 325 degrees for one hour.

Check  to see if there is enough liquid. Add more (water with wine, beer or cider if needed.) Bottom should be completely covered. 

Roast one more hour, covered.


Now add your room temperature vegetables. You can see the spray sitting on top.

(Normally I would add a mixture of zucchini, peppers, fresh tomatoes, or parsnips/turnips depending on the season, but our fresh stuff is depleted.)
Vegetables will add lots of liquid, great for gravy. I baste the vegetables when I put them in the roaster for seasoning with the juice, which is already a rich brown.

Season to taste or baste with pot juices. TASTE juice if you aren't sure.
Roast covered until done (1 1/2 hours) (I upped the temp to 350 at this point, but watch your liquids.)
If you must fuss with it, you can baste the vegetables again, but every time you open the oven, it takes LONGER.

Remove vegetables/meat to platter or dish and cover and keep in oven at 200 or under. Fork test, all the veggies are carmelized to a beautiful gold. Since it was just us, I skipped the large platter and used a pan.


Taste the drippings in roaster for salt/seasoning, adjust. Place on top of stove, reduce to increase flavor and bring juices back to boil. I added a cup of water to the bottom of my pan for gravy. The seasoning was perfect as it was.


Add 1 Tbsp of either cornstarch/flour/or arrowroot to a 1/2 cup of water and dissolve. Slowly add to the juices in the roaster and cook. Repeat until desired consistency is reached. I figure 1Tbsp of cornstarch per 1 cup of juices. (I ended up using 1 1/2 TBsp of flour for this gravy. An immersion blender makes quick work out of the gravy.

Health Tip: By putting juice into a fat reducer measuring cup, you can pour off only the broth (basically vegetables), leaving the fat in the cup. 

Serve and enjoy!

If you are working/ QUICK COOK: Sear meat on stove top, throw everything in a crockpot on high for 1 hour, and then low all day! Remove meat and make gravy on stovetop, at night.

Hubby said this is the best roast I have ever made, and we have been married for 51 years! 


Thank you for any and all comments.
Finally I am able to reply to comments by using Chrome. So all you Mac users who have upgraded to Catalina---this might help the glitches on Safari  and Blogger!