Thursday, August 13, 2009

Boeuf et fleurs.

(Sounds fancier in French.)

I cooked up a whole bunch of things the week before my surgery, and we're still digging down to the bottom of the freezer and enjoying some of them. This is one of the things I cooked...I got the recipe from a Pea at Two Peas, and it is unbelievably good. While it's cooking, it smells like my great-aunt Helen's house when we used to go over there for Sunday dinner when I was very little. Pure essence of pot roast, only better.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup water
3-lb. rump or chuck roast

You just plop the roast in a crockpot, pour the water and spices over it, and let it cook all day on high, or till the meat's tender. Then you shred it up with a fork and let it simmer for a few more minutes, then eat it on a nice soft steak roll.

I like horseradish sauce on mine, but Todd prefers steak sauce. Apparently some people like to put banana peppers on the sandwiches...personally, I think a pile of grilled onions and peppers would be delicious on top. You can add provolone cheese or not--we didn't.

Todd thinks the meat is too spicy, so next time I make it I'll probably just use a half-teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but I think the heat is just right. And if I can find a reduced-sodium onion soup mix, I'll use that in the future, again for the hubby's sake. But boy, is it good.

I'm feeling slightly more energetic today. My body has rebelled and refuses to sleep on its back any longer, so I've had to contrive a way of sleeping on my side with lots of pillows under and all around me. I don't think it's the greatest thing for my incisions, but I'm compelled to do it. I've never had my body wake up in the middle of the night before and force itself into a position--it's like being demon-possessed. Very weird feeling.

I have a few randomly-connected pictures to aunts put together the most beautiful bouquets for the church windows at my grandpa's funeral last week. They pulled together garden flowers and wildflowers and added cattails at the last minute, and it looked like something we could have picked on a random summer stroll around my grandparents' property 20 years ago.

Speaking of my grandparents' property, one of the items my aunt Molly salvaged from there was quite a bit larger than the odd chair or table. She took the summerhouse that stood right outside the front door and had it moved to her own yard a mile or two away.

Molly lives in an old brick schoolhouse, where my grandma and her siblings attended school, incidentally, and the summerhouse fits into her yard as though it had always been there.

She's having it painted and refurbished a little, and her neighbor gave her a wonderful old door with etched glass panels that will replace the original door. It's going to look great. But I think it looks nice, now, too. Here's how it was at my grandparents' house, painted blue to match their house:

Grandma had wildflowers and mint growing around it in the back, and rosebushes and other things in the front of it. I can't wait to see what Molly does with it!

Todd and I dropped in at an estate sale on Saturday that reminded me a lot of the sale we had at my grandparents' place last September. It was an old house with a barn where the parents had lived for 55 years, it was their large family of descendants holding the sale, it was piles and piles of very old junk that no one had thrown away for decades. And the family was Mennonite.

I had a very nice chat with the daughters, who are the same ages as my mom and her sisters, and picked up a few odds and ends. I got these three cream bottles from a whole huge box of saved bottles and decided to throw some garden flowers in them for my kitchen windowsill.

Can you see the price molded into the top of the bottle? Those were the days.