I love getting gift cards for special occasions; it allows me to "spread the joy" over the course of the year, as I use them at my discretion or whim. ;)
This Christmas, I got some great gift cards, including two for Linens n'Things. If I was still a kid I would probably find the gift lame, but as an adult with a home and a hubby, I'm finding myself turning into one of those - you know, the smug marrieds who like to set up house and buy high-thread-count linens and kitchen appliances, both large and small.
Anyway, this past weekend my sisters Vanilla and Superstar accompanied me on a girls'-day-out shopping and feasting. :) We found ourselves with 20% off coupons at LnT, and I spotted my soon-to-be-post-Christmas-gift: a Rival crock pot/slow cooker. With both gift cards and the coupon to use, my purchase left me with a balance remaining on one of my cards (yippee!). The best part of the deal was that I also got a free mini-crock for dips or gravies.
Half of my brain did register that being excited over a new crock pot is incredibly lame in the high-waisted-mom-jeans sort of way, but the other half of my brain canceled out this thought with the rationale that, as a busy 21st century working woman, I need something that can save me some time and make me some dinner easily.
What better time than the present to initiate my new toy/small appliance into my kitchen wares collection? I did my first ever pot roast in the slow cooker today, and let me tell you, Hubbs ate it all up! Sure, he was starving, but aside from that he also raved that my roast was comparable to, if not better than, those made by other loving hands in his earlier years of life. :)
So, I am feeling very smug and self-satisfied with my wise, adult purchase and also my culinary abilities. For a girl who doesn't really cook, I did pretty well! Here's my recipe (modified from the recipe that came with the Crock Pot directions):
2.5lb beef roast
3 celery stalks
salt (hard to over salt..you have to guestimate how much you might want)
dash of sugar
1/2 cup water
Wash and cut veggies and load them onto the bottom of the pot. Next, rub down the roast with salt, pepper, a tiny bit of sugar, and some soy sauce. Place roast on top of veggies. Add about 1/2 cup of water. Turn crock pot on "high" and cook for about 4 hours, depending on how well done you want it to be.
Another thing I love and recently purchased, though not from LnT, is the Quickie HomePro Automatic Dishwasher sponge. Having owned half a dozen other detergent-dispensing sponges in the last 3 years, I have to say that this one is my favourite, and it's also cheap!
The dispensing comes easily, and it gets the dishes clean without being abrasive. It can also stand up on its own, which is a biggie for me since I have an army of dish-washing "stuff" lined up around my kitchen sink. This one at least saves space :)
Both the Crock Pot and the Quickie HomePro Automatic Dishwasher sponge come highly recommended by moi, so if you're in the mood to be all domestic and stuff, give these toys a go! :) You won't be disappointed (though you may feel really old buying these things). ;)