Man, I wish I would think to take pictures of my meals. Honestly, when I'm all finished cooking, and the food is hot and on the plate, my first thought isn't "Well, look at how nice that is. I should take a picture of it." No, instead my thoughts are more like "Someone get the napkins, forks, drinks for the boys...turn off the tv, wash hands, wipe the cat hair off the table. I'm starving. Let's eat." That's reality. I will try to take more pics, but when I do, I know that means that when I do have time to post about a meal, I'll then have to find the cord that connects my camera to the laptop, load the pics, and all that other technicality that involves adding a pic to a post. Sometimes it's just easier to report about my kitchen happenings and let you use your imagination. But, I know we're an image driven society, and even I like to take a gander at what people's meals actually look like. Pioneer Woman does a great job of that.
When I was growing up, we had a pot roast each and every Sunday. My mom would get the crock pot out and get the roast cooking before we left for church and by the time we arrived home, the roast (always a chuck roast), potatoes, carrots, and onions were ready and the entire house smelled heavenly when we opened the door. Sometimes we had company join us, but mostly it was just us, the family. I soon took the heavenly smells for granted. I watched while other families got to go out to lunch after church. I always envied the families that would go to Picadilly together. I just knew those kids were getting the cool jello and whipped cream desserts that I would have killed for as a youngster. We rarely got to go out because my mother always had the roast on.
And the roast...I really hated it. Because it was always a chuck roast, there was so much fat sticking to the meat. I'd spend most of my time trying to cut the little globs off each and every piece before I'd take a bite. And I know I did my fair share of complaining to my mother about it. When I think about her getting the roast ready in the mornings, along with getting 4 kids ready for church, not to mention that she bought the roast because it would feed the family on a budget...I cringe to think of my complaining about it. Once I was a teenager, I joined the other kids out at Dairy Queen, Rio Bravo, or wherever the youth group kids ended up. My days at the family table for lunch were few and far between.
I really didn't make peace with the pot roast until I was married. I started to crave that heavenly smell in my own little apartment, and realizing the ease of cooking in a Crock Pot for a married full time college student/part time job holding girl, me and the pot roast made amends. It also helped that I learned that there were other cuts of meat that are not as fat as a chuck roast.
I've been nostalgic lately for Sunday suppers. I've said for a few years now that I'd love to have a meal waiting on me when I got home from church and I'd love to be able to invite others to join us. It a way of feasting together...breaking bread and enjoying a day of rest. Lets face it...as a mom, sometimes it's more restful to prepare a meal and serve it than to go out to a crowded restaurant and entertain two wiggly and loud boys while trying to carry on a conversation with someone that you really want to give your undivided attention to. That's mentally exhausting. I'd like to focus on family and those relationships closest to us and ones that I'd like to develop more.
That's what we did today. Our longtime friends, Dave and Kara, joined us after church up at our house. That's a commitment since we already live about 30 minutes from church, but they live north of town as well so I don't think they minded the drive.
Instead of a pot roast, I did a pork tenderloin recipe I found online, and threw it in the Crock Pot along with tons of baby carrots and sliced onions. I turned it on high at 8am and it was all finished when we arrived home (that heavenly smell!!). I'm not a huge pork eater, but I do like a good tenderloin and I usually buy pork that's all natural (no hormones, etc.). I also planned ahead and assembled Emma's candied sweet potatoes (from the Mitford Cookbook). They only take about 20 minutes to cook so while they were in the oven I also cooked some baby lima beans, honey grain rolls from TJ's and some sweet tea. This was definitely a meal that I didn't even consider snapping a picture of...we just wanted to eat!
And eat we did! I may be biased, but it was tasty! Of course, it was a typical "southern" meal considering the amount of butter used..but hey...we eat well during the week...it's o.k. to have an indulgence day.
The pork was very tender and flavorful. The carrots were so sweet, like candy, and I think they were my favorite item of the whole meal. And the candied sweet potatoes lived up to their name. Very good...almost like dessert. I loved every bite and will definitely be making this meal again in the future. But I have to say, it wouldn't have been the same if it was just the 4 of us on a Monday night. Somehow food tastes better when you're in good company. I wonder what would happen if we all made more of an effort to have Sunday supper at home and open our doors to our friends or neighbors. Just to take it easy for a day and enjoy each other's presence. I personally think it's a great way to get relaxed and refreshed for the week to come.