That’s it in two words.
Imagine yourself at the peak of some forsaken mountain in a faraway country, seeking the answer to every reasonable American woman’s cry of, “Where will I find the TIME?!” Now imagine me, sitting there in a cave (with my knitting and some crackers and a few good reruns of Doctor Who on a solar-powered portable TV/DVD player) all wrapped up in cool-looking robes, just waiting for you to come. Because I knew you would.
So there we are. I pause my show, put down my knitting and ask,
“Why have you bothered me just as The Doctor was explaining his Time Theory?”
Then you say, “But that’s just it- Time Theories! We don’t have enough time! What’s the answer?”
I lean forward, pull the hood on my super cool robe tighter around my old, weary face (because it’s taken you a really, really long time to find me) and utter these two words,
From out of the very sky itself, bells of victory ring out over the forgotten valley as the sun breaks through the thick cloud cover and bathes us in warm light. You face is illuminated with joy and awe and satisfaction for a moment, but then a dark shadow races across your features as you suddenly realize something…
“I had to come all this way to hear that? You couldn’t have just stayed home and written a blog post about it? It would have saved so much time!”
End of Story.
I have no idea who invented this marvelous contraption, but I bless them – a thousand times – each time I pull mine out to use, which is fairly frequent these days. I have no cool history (imagined or otherwise) to share with you about it’s origins, but I can tell you this – it has saved me time and made my life inexpressibly easier, and I think that’s just wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong – I love to cook ‘at the moment’, I truly do, but I work 3 afternoons a week which means I’m getting home almost an hour after our regular dinner time. Alex has to get up at o-dark-thirty every morning for his job and therefore tries to be in bed around 7 pm. This leaves a very, very narrow margin of time for dinner in the evening. A very narrow margin into which a crockpot can slip with ease. If I come home from work and there is a meal hot and ready in the crock, I can throw together a side of rice or pasta and a salad right quick and we can be eating in 15 minutes. Yes.
This is what we had the other night – by far the easiest, best tasting pot roast I have *ever* made, and it didn’t even need another side to go with it since I cooked the potatoes in the crock. Oh, so clever.
Pepper and Herb Pot Roast in a Crock
1-2 lbs of roasting meat (the piece I used was probably 2 lbs and we were able to have this meal twice)
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
A sprinkling of salt
3-4 lavender sprigs (I just happen to have lavender on the window sill, you could easily use 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary or thyme or a mix of both – whatever floats your boat.)
3 medium sized potatoes, quartered
2 large carrots, cut into three or four pieces (or a handful of baby ones)
In the morning, I sliced up the onions, mushrooms and garlic and put them in the bottom of the crock pot, placed the meat on top and added the water, herbs, salt and pepper. I put the top on and turned the crock pot to High. Then, I quartered the potatoes and carrots and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge. They don’t need to cook as long, so they had to wait to go in. I had laundry and other things to do before going to work that got done during the first half of the day. Before I went to work (about four hours later), I drained off the potatoes and carrots and then dumped them into the crock pot. I tried to get as many of them as I could into the broth that had surrounded the roast, covered it back up and left it on High.
I worked four hours, and when I came home – the veggies had cooked to perfection. The roast was tender and moist and flavorful – it was truly delicious. It surely didn’t taste as if it had cooked itself, even though it actually had!
So there you have it – my secret time-fighting weapon.
Aren’t you glad I didn’t go hide in a cave and make you find me to hear it?