Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dinner Guests

I'm trying hard to get intersted in cooking again.  Okay, maybe not interested, but at least DOING it.  Enough with the fly-by-my-seat meals.  Nothing like kicking it by inviting guests over.  Since I'm just doing good to be awake these days and cooking I decided to keep the table setting super simple.  At least it wasn't paper plates.  I'm telling you people no dishwasher = too many dishes too often.

Rabbit trail warning::  okay, so that's our table with one leaf ready for only 3 extra guests.  It won't be long before there will be 5 of us at the table and we'll probably need one leaf all the time.  Look at the dining room below with how it's normally arranged:

Everything is strategically arranged so that we can move around the table, not with ease, just move period.  So, we've begun scheming about how we might make our space wider/more usable.  We have some ideas.  One being building/buying a low, long bookshelf seat to put in our living room to replace the bookshelf in the dining room + providing extra needed living room seating.  Two being a long narrow square table with benches.  It seems like this might help us better use our space.

Some narrow tables I like/am inspired by:

from home sweet home by Danielle Dole Cross

from furniture by Steph Garvey

from My Style Pinboard by Valori Pagone

from homefront by Sarah Goldschmidt

from Laundry Ideas by Kim Glover

Some plans for a narrow table:

from For the Home DIY by Keri-Anne Connew

Anyways, on withte house plans.  Back to dinner.  I made my Mom's delicious Italian Pot Roast recipe.  Which looks greasy in this picture...but tasted good.

2-2 ½ pounds beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1 can (6 oz) Italian-style tomato paste
1 tablespoon Sucant (sugar)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 can (14 ½ ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 package (8 ounces) hot cooked wide noodles

1. In a large skillet brown roast on all sides in hot oil.
2. Transfer to any size Crock-Pot.
3. In a large bowl combine all ingredients, EXCEPT roast, oil & noodles
4. Pour over meat. Cover & cook on Low 10 to 12 hours (after 7 it is done) or on High 5 to 6 hours.
5. Discard bay leaf.
6. Cut meat up and serve over hot cooked noodles. Serves 8.

I also tried my hand at some gluten-free bread.  We are going on a gluten-free "adventure."  Jason seems to have a gluten allergy so we're exploring new recipes.

I made this dough into focaccia bread, another favorite recipe learned from my mom. 

Gluten free brownies:

Dinner turned out pretty good and the company was even better.

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