Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jan '06

Look, Ma! I can cook a roast!!!

oven roast

Yesterday we had company for dinner, and we were planning to have pot roast cooked in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots on the side. That is, we were planning to have pot roast until I accidentally bought an oven roast instead.

I got the roast from the high-class grocery store Wal-Mart, where the roasts have pictures of pots and ovens to clearly distinguish one type of roast from another.

(I have to admit…I didn’t realize there was a difference until I noticed the pictures.)

I thought I was in the crock pot section of the roasts–I checked the pictures and everything. The pot roasts didn’t look all that appetizing (arm chuck roast? yuck). And they were all large, around three or four pounds. We were just feeding four people and didn’t want leftovers.

Suddenly my eyes lighted on a beautiful triangular roast called tri-tip sirloin. My mind instantly backtracked to our most recent trip to Tucanos, the amazing Brazilian restaurant, where tri-tip sirloin was my favorite meat selection they brought to our table. Either that or top sirloin. In any case, I knew the tri-tip had to be good, and I wanted dinner to turn out good. Plus, the meat was only 1.70 pounds–perfect for four people without much leftover.

It wasn’t until I got home and proudly pulled my tri-tip from the Wal-Mart plastic bag that I noticed the label had a picture of an oven, not a pot.

Have I ever cooked an oven roast before?


Heck, I’m not even that good at making pot roast, and with that all you do is dump the meat in a pot with water and turn the thing on for eight hours.

That’s when I started worrying. John will tell you that I’m a worrier, and, as I always say, John is never wrong. I worried all through the sledding party on Saturday afternoon and dinner on Saturday night. I worried all through sacrament meeting on Sunday and my Sunday school lesson (which I taught!) and relief society. I came home from church worried and scoured the Internet for needed insight on how to cook a tri-tip sirloin in the oven.

I learned that tri-tip is an oven roast because it requires dry heat to cook properly. If you cook it improperly, like with moisture in a crock pot, or overcook it, it can turn out tough. Appropriate cooking methods include grilling, broiling, or roasting (in an oven, like the picture on the meat label indicates).

In addition to worrying, another talent I have, especially in times of possible calamity, is praying. I wonder if anybody else has ever said eight prayers in a single morning for help to figure out how to successfully cook a tri-tip sirloin oven roast. I may have been the first.

In answer to my prayers and nervous Web surfing, I found a recipe for a savory herb rub, and I read about six cookbooks to figure out what temperature the roast needed to cook and what type of pan to cook it in (about 350 degrees, and a shallow pan covered in tinfoil).

We pulled out the roast at 6 p.m. and checked it (I made John do this, I was too worried).

It was done!

And, I’m happy to report, it turned out tasty! John gave it rave reviews, which is really saying something, since he’s a bit of a meat connoisseur.

The secret seems to be in the herb rub I used. So I share it here for all fellow wannabe successful oven roasters.

Shannon’s Basic Oven Roast Recipe

1 beef tri-tip roast (approximately 2 pounds)

1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. savory
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Heat oven to 425ºF. In small bowl, combine seasoning ingredients. Press seasoning mixture evenly into surface of beef roast.
2. Place roast, fat side up, in a shallow pan lined with aluminum foil (a cookie sheet or other baking pan will work). Do not add water or cover. Roast in preheated 425°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes for rare to medium.
3. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for rare or 155°F for medium (I used an instant-read thermometer, which you only insert after you pull the roast from the oven). Allow roast to stand outside the oven, tented with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Roast will continue to rise in temperature to reach 140°F for rare and 160°F for medium.

If you want to roast potatoes with the beef, you can cut up potatoes or other vegetables (carrots, squash, whatever) and coat them in oil and herbs. You can use the same herb mixture you used for the roast, if you want, and just add some oil to help coat the veggies. (Or you can buy a pre-made herb mix from the store for the veggies.) Then place the veggies around the roast and cook them with the roast. Once you remove the roast from the oven increase the oven temp to 475 degrees and continue cooking the veggies 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

It turns out good! Honest! I can swear by it now, since I am a successful oven roast maker!

Jan '06

Day Dreaming…

This time of year I can’t help but think of the Caribbean and a vacation. Part of it is that it’s January and snowy outside. I may also be influenced by my assortment of desktop background photos from the Webshots “Beaches” collection that I stare at for eight hours daily.

Right now it’s a lovely white-sand beach with bright blue water splashing over stones on the shore. It’s obviously warm and comfy there. I can practically feel the sun on my bare shoulders.

The picture just changed, and how it’s an empty hammock strung between two palm trees overlooking the ocean. It’s dusk, and looks so peaceful.


This picture isn’t from Webshots, but–ahhh…don’t you just want to be there, right now?

I sure do.

Jan '06

I’m a Youngin’


This month I started attending a step aerobics class in Springville. It’s unlike any step class I’ve ever joined, mostly because it’s actually a combination of step and jazzercize. It’s fun, though, and really convenient since it’s just three minutes from my house.

The class is small–about six women plus the teacher. Our instructor is an older middle-aged woman with three young grandkids and a lot of energy. I’m obviously the youngest member of the class (probably the only one under thirty) and the only one without kids to her name or post-baby fat on her hips.

Even though I knew this, the fact was made more obvious today when after class I walked to my four-door car hidden in the midst of six minivans.

They all drive minivans. The family car. Utah’s I-have-six-kids-with-one-on-the-way vehicle. (Actually, in Utah maybe that would be an SUV.)

I’ve been attending this class for three weeks and today was the first time I felt a little out of my league. Sure, I can bounce around longer than most of them and kick higher. But they all have bigger autos and families than me.

Sigmund Freud said, “If youth knew; if age could,” and I think I see the truth in that.

Jan '06

Yummy…Cat Vomit

(If the title of this post hasn’t warned you sufficiently, I hereby further warn you to postpone reading this post until you have finished eating. Or, better yet, read it now and eat later when you’ve forgotten all about what I’m about to write.)

Today I got to try out a housecleaning product that I had bought when we first got new carpet, but hadn’t used yet: Spot Shot.

Spot Shot Carpet Cleaner

It’s magical stuff. I know this because I read about it in Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean, and because today I tried it out myself for the first time.

After I got home from church today I fed Kyra, our not so little kitten (she’s almost a year old now), and then let her upstairs to romp around a bit. John was still at bishopric meetings, so I made myself lunch–a piece of toast smeared with Nutella and sliced bananas. It was delicious. One of my favorite semi-healthy treats.

I was just finishing off my last bite when a loud hack-hacking noise arose from behind me. I turned in my chair just in time to see Kyra toss her cookies…er, Friskies.

You’re likely familiar with standard human vomit. Now imagine that pinkish-orange mass dotted with non-digested Friskie bits. A colorful mess it was.

My first thought was, Sure glad I already ate my lunch.

My second thought was, Ewww. Kyra just threw up her own lunch.

I gently scooped up the cat, who was now licking her vomity paws, and put her down in the basement so I could clean up. (I was afraid she might try to explore the mess she had just created. Cats are curious, after all.)

This is where Spot Shot comes in. I wiped up the main blob with a paper towel (two, actually) and then covered the area in Spot Shot. A few dabs with a clean cloth and voila! Clean carpet.

This was our first carpet blunder since we got the new carpet, which is why it’s blog worthy. That, and it involved kitty vomit. John assures me that we’ll have many more such blunders once we have kids. Probably then we’ll have stuff in the carpet that we never even thought kids were capable of producing.

I’m telling you…cats are good practice for parenthood.

Cat Vomit Sign

Jan '06

Friday Night at the Library

Last night John and I met up after work at the Provo library where we spent a very long time browsing nothing in particular. I had to return some books, and of course you have to check the DVD section. But on a Friday night there was nothing worth checking out.

We went upstairs to browse the non-fiction. As I wandered among the sections I noticed a pattern in the organization–a very sly one at that. I walked through the women’s health section (breast cancer, pregnancy, gynecological problems, etc.)–a section where almost no guy would willingly linger, probably not even with his wife. I looked up at the signs designating the sections. Guess what was right next to the women’s health section?

Computers and technology. Guy central.

It’s brilliant, really. The husband can accompany his wife to the womany shelves and then casually slip over to the techie section next door. They can stand in the same aisle, she with her Preparing for Birth with Yoga book cracked open and he with the fourth edition of Computer Networks. She feels like he’s supporting her and he can read whatever he wants.

Brilliant, yes?

There was also the sports section next to home and garden, animals next to horror, and history next to travel. The latter is where John and I spent most of our time. He lingered in European history section looking up something about archeological artifacts, while I wandered to the travel section the next shelf over. I browsed books on central America, where someday we might take a cruise, and on England. I decided to check out Rick Steve’s Europe Through the Back Door 2006 guide. It looks like a good reference book for someday when we travel to Europe.

And hopefully someday will actually come…someday.

Europe Through the Back Door 2006

Jan '06

“New Year, New You, New Temptations”

Have you made your resolution to lose weight yet? If not, why wait? Everyone’s doing it! Jump on the bandwagon! And if you’re not sure you can do it alone, and your wallet is bottomless, then look no further than your local grocery ads, which are loaded this week with all sorts of health and diet products.

Here’s my favorite ad so far, from yesterday’s Smith’s Food and Drug flyer:

full ad

Fifty precent off of Lean Cuisine! Low fat, controlled calories, good taste.

Now look more closely.

What do you get when you buy twelve Lean Cuisines?

close-up ad

Yep. That’s right. Two half-gallons of ice cream. A gallon of sweet cream, fat, and sugar to top off your healthy Lean Cuisine diet lunch.

Granted, the ad mentions that you can get Dreyer’s yogurt or Sorbet.

But what does the ad show? Dreyer’s Grand Chocolate Ice Cream. The motherload temptation for all dieters.

Good one, Smith’s.

I have to admit—sly (or maybe just naive) as your ad tactics are, they work.

You’ve got my business coming.