Another week down and as I go through my Happiness Journal (one that I received as a free gift thanks to Manduka), from what I would typically describe as a boring week was actually full of fun and activity. Writing down your schedule, things you look forward to, good things that have happened, and things you are grateful for each day are a great way to keep track of the positive so you don’t get lost in all the negative. As I reflect, one of the best things that happened this week was volunteering with a local DC charity called Martha’s Table with a couple of my yoga teacher peers. We went and baked nearly 150 peanut butter oatmeal muffins to be handed out with dinner for the homeless.
Seva is the Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service”. As part of our yoga teacher training, we are required to complete a minimum of two hours of seva. Often times, we as a society get so caught up with our desire for outcomes that we perform actions solely for the sake of the outcome. Working ourselves into the ground for a promotion just so we can have a job title or pretending to be something we aren’t for more Facebook likes. Does the end truly justify the means? Sometimes it is rewarding to take a break from expecting a certain outcome and just do something because it feels right – doesn’t necessarily have to be volunteering, but do something that makes you feel right. The upside to volunteering though is that you put action behind your words or beliefs and make your community better in your own way. Don’t like something? Work to change it. Just posting constant status on Facebook really isn’t going to generate much change, but actions can.
So..yeah…back to food. Hahaha. Since we celebrated President’s Day this week, I wanted to make something from Back to Basics that was unmistakably American. Ina’s Pot Roast and Baked Potato sealed the deal. Nothing screams “AMERICA” more than meat and potatoes and leave it to Ina to bump up the flavor on both. OF COURSE, I made changes. Has anyone paid attention to meat prices? Some beef roast at Trader Joe’s is like $14 PER POUND, and Ina’s over here wanting me to get like 5 pounds. Nah, I’m good. No wonder people become vegetarians. I stuck with about 1 pound on this and it did make quite a bit. I recommend scaling back the meat because the vegetables and sauce help fill out the recipe and it cooks in less time. 😀
The recipe calls for leeks which I know can be difficult to find, so if you can’t find them, you can easily just use onions because that is exactly what they are. Think of them a giant spring onions, just make sure you cut them in half and wash them out in the center really well as dirt can get trapped in there. Also, you’ll want to remove the really dark green leaves. They are tough and not very flavorful, if you can find ones like I did that are already trimmed, even better because that work is done for you!
For the sauce, I used Winc’s Altre Mon – a red wine from Spain. It’s very rich and has a lot of soft berry flavors. It kind of reminds me of a Merlot to give you some perspective. I learned in a recent wine tasting at a local wine shop that Spanish wines make for great value right now. I started paying some attention to it in the stores and most wines from Spain are sold cheaply. I’m not sure whether it has to do with import/export laws or possibly that Spain doesn’t carry the same mystique when it comes to wine like Italy or France, but hey, I’ll take it. I actually enjoyed drinking it after about 20 minutes of letting it aerate in my glass so it was perfect for sipping while the pot roast cooked away. If you’ve never tried using red wine to braise meat in, you are seriously missing out. It adds a great depth of flavor when combined with beef/chicken/veggie stock. You don’t really know that it is in there, but the sauce just tastes more savory (make sure to stay away from sweet wines otherwise the sauce will turn out sweet – ew).
To go along side the pot roast, a simple baked potato worked out very well. Ina whipped up a mixture of yogurt and sour cream to top hers, but I simplified it and it tastes just as good. Plain yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic, and chive is all you need to make a delish (and relatively healthy) topping for your potato…add butter if you want.
Well, that’s it for this week folks. Enjoy your weekend and try out that pot roast this weekend as the leftovers are great for lunch during the week 😀 Ciao!
For these recipes, I recommend the following items: