Today has been a GOOD day! The final countdown to my son’s wedding on October 15th has begun (8 more days???? yikes!) and there seems to still be a million things to do. But today several “pieces of the puzzle” fell into place and I’m starting to feel a little more confident about the whole production. I have to say….I’m feelin’ for the mother of the BRIDE tonight. (Hi Jane!)
When that day comes for me (Hi Britta!) I’m going to need to be fitted for a straight-jacket I think! :-) Just “outfitting” my family has been enough to make me crazed (and broke!) But as of this afternoon all 6 of us have head-to-toe new duds for wedding!
The missing piece was the dress I ordered WEEKS ago from a shop on etsy.com (more on that in a later post) that I was beginning to despair would not make it here in time! But there it was….in today’s mail! And it was just what I was hoping for! BONUS! At this point I would have been thrilled with it just being acceptable. But I really am impressed with how it all turned out.
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There I go again…completely off track! Allow me to re-direct. This post is supposed to be about tonight’s DINNER! A dinner I gave about as much thought to as I do the stock market each day….which is to say….pretty much NONE. I was running out the door, late(ish) to work again and for some reason paused by our garage freezer and decided to grab a roast out and literally TOSS it in the crock pot on my way out. It was frozen solid and almost didn’t even FIT in the crock (I managed to force it in. I was late and desperate at this point). And almost as an afterthought I went to the pantry to see if I happened to have any of those little packets of dry brown gravy mix laying around. Score! I found one. So I ripped that sucker open, sprinkled it on the roast, slammed down the lid and literally ran out the door. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to DO with the roast…I just knew at least I was have SOMETHING to work with later tonight.
Fast forward to getting home about 7:15pm. Kitchen smells good. One of my favorite things about using the crockpot….walking into “dinner making itself” after a long day away. About a half hour earlier I had had the forethought to ask my husband Dave if he would throw some potatoes in a pot of water and start them cooking. Again, no idea what I was going to do with them. But as I walked through the door I had a flash of inspiration! Typically the only time we have a big roast is on Sundays, just because there is more time to devote to the whole process. And typically we have mashed potatoes too. But that is NOT a middle of the week dish I have a whole lot of desire to fix. Too much peeling, cooking, mashing, mixing, etc. Here’s where the “flash” came in. A few days ago I posted about making Peach Freezer Jam from some peaches my friend brought us from an orchard up north. BEST jam I’ve ever made! We’ve already been through one jar of it!
Part of the process of preparing the peaches for the jam is “blanching” them in boiling water for half a minute and then “shocking” them in a bowl of ice cold water. The result: the peels practically FALL off. Makes the whole jam-making project MUCH easier!
I looked at my potatoes boiling away on the stove and wondered if the same “trick” would work on my side dish? For all I know this is a common practice of more experienced cooks….but I personally had never heard of it….and quite frankly figured it probably wasn’t going to work. (See my FAIL post: Crash Hot Potatoes…Crash and Burn!)
Well, I offer photographic proof that it worked like a charm! Once again, those peels practically fell off the potatoes! And the added benefit of “shocking” them in cold water for a couple of minutes was that they were now perfect temperature to handle. I literally peeled all 6 potatoes in just a couple of minutes with my bare hands. No knife required. Feeling pleased with myself I decided to go ahead and make our version of Rachael Ray’s Smashed Potatoes which was a snap to do. Just mash, add salt and pepper, a couple tablespoons of butter, a big spoonful of sour cream and milk (to desired consistency).
After that I poured the drippings from the crockpot into a saucepan on the stove, added about a cup of water, brought it to a boil and added corn starch to thicken it up.
And in less time than my average weekday meal takes to make at the end of the day….I had “Sunday Dinner” on the table. :-)