Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Autumnal Christmas

I am going to be completely honest here. I WANT desperately to be the person starts Christmas shopping every year in August. I want to spend lots of time considering and searching for the perfect gift for each and every person on my list. Unfortunately, this usually doesn't happen. Summer is just so... hot. You can't think about Christmas time then! Then fall comes and there's football all Saturday that hinders me from hitting the malls and shops.

But this year is different. With the girls coming at the end of October/beginning of November, and the adventure that will follow, I don't imagine I'll be doing a lot of mall walking in November and December. So I have badgered our friends and family and I have gotten gift ideas from almost everyone on our current list (by almost, I'm calling out Greg and Blair!). We still have to wait for the name drawing at Thanksgiving for both sides of my family, but still, I'm excited about getting such an early start.

In this spirit, I want to showcase two sites that I have loved using the past few weeks when searching for gift giving inspiration. Of course there are the usual suspects: for everything and etsy for the cute, artsy, homemade options. Both of these are great sites, but honestly, I get incredibly overwhelmed and rarely find items that I didn't go looking for. The newest site I found just today through another blog is Kate's Paperie. This site not only has beautiful stationary and paper products, but also just some fun stocking stuffers. The site has a "gift giving" tab that gives 7 categories of gift recipients to help focus your search. Another more eclectic site is Uncommon Goods . "Eclectic" does not even touch the massive variety you can find there. Just go.

How is your Christmas shopping going? Have you at least made your own list?

Monday, September 13, 2010

StarSearch: Pediatricians

I am on the quest for the perfect pediatrician. Today was my first step into the world, and I'm a bit excited. I have 2 meet and greets scheduled with two doctors at two different practices. Both are within 10 miles of the new house in Delaware, which is exciting, but neither have privileges at our delivering hospital. What does this mean? It means that they won't meet the babies until they're about a week old and the random pediatric person at St. Ann's will be the one checking and discharging the babies. Not a big deal to me, really, b/c I'd rather have the pediatrician(s) close by for the next few years than have one for the (hopefully) short hospital stay.

I have a fun list of questions for the meet and greets. Any input on the questions is wholly welcome!
1. Are you willing to support us with an alternate vaccination schedule?
2. Are you "twin friendly?" Meaning: will you do joint well visits? or at least make an attempt to schedule back-to-back appointments?
3. Do you have separate waiting rooms for well patients v. sick ones?
4. How likely are we to get same-day sick appointments? By what time of day do I need to call to get a same-day appointment?
5. Do the doctors in this practice rotate, or will we always see you for the well visits? (I realize sick visits are an entirely different animal)
6. What are your after-hours/weekend procedures? Are there charges for calling after hours?
7. How does this practice handle doctor vacations? Do you stagger them? What do you do around major holidays?

Now it really feels like we're in the home stretch! Dealing with the hospital post-birth plan (I don't really have a birth plan b/c there's no telling what's happening with twins. My OB at least knows I want as little intervention as possible), finding pediatricians, and getting excited to get the nursery established in the new house is making it all set in!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Neave is the Emily of 2015

We've gotten a bit of flack from various people about our name choice for Baby B. Ever since I went to Ireland in 2008, I've loved the name Niamh (pronounced Neave; rhymes with leave and weave) and Scott has, too. Long story short, when I visited a school outside of Dublin, I encountered a girl named Niamh, and found her name to be original and exciting.

Fast forward to now, and we want to name our 2nd girl the anglicanized version of Niamh. We realize that our daughter's name would never be pronounced correctly using the old Irish spelling, so we settled on the very British way--Neave. We continue to get feedback-- some of it not so nice.

I am proud to announce after some research today that in 2001, Niamh was ranked 6th in baby girl names in Ireland (it's currently ranked 18). To compare, in 2001, the 6th most popular name in the US was Sarah. SARAH. So, just realize that Neave ISN'T weird! It's the Irish equivalent of Sarah.

And we love it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moved on; in a new process

So last week was a little nuts, and I never got around to updating what happened with the house situation.

The House from before is no longer an option for us. The sellers didn't agree to make some of the remedies we considered non-negotiable (uh, mold in the basement!) Plus, our architect friend suggested getting out of it.

The same day we were back at the original house taking pictures for our architect friend, our realtor suggested seeing a few other homes. Well, we found a 2nd place we liked! It's significantly more expensive than the previous house, but it's bigger and nicer. There are more decorative things to do at some point (1st on the list: get rid of the granny wallpaper!!), but the house is in better condition.

We had our home inspection this past Saturday, and there are a few things for these sellers to fix, like new roofing shingles and a new hot water heater. But we're very confident in success this time around!

This house has great landscaping, so I'm reading up on gardening. I'm getting excited about plantings and I'm making some plans for the way I want to do our yard! It will be a busy and wonderful spring! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I really should stop loving this house

This is really going to just be a quick status update without much practical advice included.

We heard from the sellers yesterday. We have a list of 11 items of the 18ish that we requested that they are willing to fix for us. Now the difficult decision making really kicks in. Are these 11 enough?

Some of our larger requests, they aren't doing, except to offer us $1,000 to go towards the issues. One of our largest concerns is the damp basement and all the trouble that entails. Our home inspector considered it a major concern and suggested having a basement professional investigate the issues. The sellers had a contractor come in, and their contractor really says there isn't much to be done. His recommendation is to install a dehumidifier and do some basic tuck-pointing as needed. So I started feeling good about the situation again. It seemed like things would work out.

However, I am a lucky girl who has a resource many people don't-- an architect friend who, in the past, has worked with how to remedy old building problems. So I call him, sent him a copy of the inspection report and thought all would be ok. Turns out he thinks there are more issues than are mentioned on the inspection report. So this afternoon, Scott and I are returning with our Realtor to take some more pictures of the spaces he is concerned with so we can get a better idea of what to expect with this house.

I'll keep ya posted on how things progress from here!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Perimeter drains, exhaust fans, and handrails

As I mentioned last week, we're in the process of (hopefully) buying our first home. I'll skip the more boring details (I wrote a REALLY long post on Friday that was just way too boring, so I deleted it) of actually finding a house that we like, no, love, and making an offer and I'll go straight to the home inspection part.

This is the part of first-time home buying I didn't really know about. We all see the shows were people walk through lovely houses and find the one that just feels right to them. Then the prospective buyers make an offer, sometimes they go back and forth with the seller a time or two, and then they're "in contract." That's the easy part my friends. Today I'm just going to give a small hint into the world of being in contract on an older home.

The House (how I will now refer to the place Scott and I are in contract on) was built in 1920. The previous owners have done a beautiful job renovating the kitchen and maintaining/restoring the old, mostly original woodwork and windows. However, as is the case with all old houses, there are a few questions that popped up even as we made an offer, such as, "how long will this furnace last?," "Will this old piping still work?," "What's going on with the basement and foundation?"

So b/c of these questions, and just because it's smart, we got a home inspection (and a furnace inspection, and a radon evaluation). I would HIGHLY recommend a home inspection to anyone looking to purchase a home whether old or new. We learned so much about the house and home maintenance that even if we end up not getting this house, we're much more prepared for another process in the future.

A home inspection consists of having a qualified home inspector come to the home and visually evaluate all areas of the house. Usually you walk through with the person and they explain the issues they see, and many times give recommendations on how it should be handled (i.e., have a certified basement specialist come see this; You can do this yourself with some $6 caulk from Home Depot). Then you get The Report.

Another note for first timers: inspections cost money. And you don't get that back if the house falls through or if there are major issues. The home inspection, with termite and wood destroying insect included, cost us $360. Then we will add money for the furnace and radon inspections as they happen. More info on these guys later!

Our home inspection report is 30 pages long if that tells you anything about our house. We then waded through the report with our realtor to make a list of all the things that we are going to ask the seller to fix before we buy the house. We have roughly 29 items which need to be addressed at some point. Some of these we will expect the seller to repair; others, Scott and I can do them at a later date. Our next step is to submit this list to the sellers and then negotiate again on which items they MUST do. We do have a few non-negotiable fixes that we will pull out of the contract on the house if they are not remedied.

So please keep thinking and praying for us as we discuss things with the sellers and hopefully get a house to move into before these girls are born!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oh, Life

Wow, my life has changed in the past few months. It's been hard to even think of having time to write this blog. In addition to the twins growing, and us being 10-12 weeks (hopefully!!) out from their arrival, we found out about 3 weeks ago we were moving from Upstate NY to Ohio. We got here on Saturday after a whirlwind week, really, of pulling together movers and such. With this move, we have decided to buy our first home. It is exciting and crazy and fun. We're currently in contract on a really cute house that would be the perfect place to start our family!

So, with all the life changes that have come about, I think it's about time for a blog change. It's still about what a woman lives on that isn't bread. And it will still include some healthy recipes that I use here and there. However, I plan to also talk about home (from the first-time buying experience to decorating and pulling the place together in a short time before the girls show up), love (raising two little girls and being married to my amazing husband), friendships (and finding them!) and even some religion occasionally.

Tomorrow is a busy day of meeting with a nurse to discuss and learn about pre-term labor symptoms and then going to the new house for a furnace inspection. My plan is to spend some time on Friday blogging about the first time home-buyers experience thus far!

Have a wonderful Thursday, friends!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Hello, all.
So as you can see it's been months and months since I've posted a recipe. I apologize for this, but there's a reason!

When I started the weight loss journey, is was not only b/c I wanted to lose some weight (who doesn't, really), but it stems from having PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome) and wanting to have a baby. I was told by my doctor that without losing weight, there was no way we were going to get pregnant.

Well, guess what? It worked!!! I am currently 13 weeks along with twins. Many of you already know this through facebook and such, but those of my 'followers' who aren't on facebook may have wondered where I disappeared to.

With the twins, I'm having to eat VERY differently that Dr. Malone's diet. In fact, I'm eating about 2500 calories a day. It's a little daunting and it feels crazy! But I'm enjoying my whole wheat crackers and sandwiches (sorry!).

I'm not sure what this pregnancy means for the blog. I go back and forth with wanting to continue to post recipes occasionally while pregnant, even if it does include carbs and just not wanting to think about what I'm cooking at all (I've had some morning/noon/night sickness). With 2 babies arriving in October, I'm not confident that I will have a ton of time to post things here. We'll see. Just bear with me!

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops

Man, do I love a good pork chop. I don't know if it's the Southern in me, or what, but anything made out of a pig (except the feet, and probably chitlins...), I'll most likely love it. Growing up, our chops were always lightly breaded and pan-fried. But now that I'm grown up, and in the Great White North, I'm pulling out the indoor grill pan. Have you ever used one of these? Let me tell you, It saves my life. A dear friend (Arnie) gave me a Calphalon panini pan, that doubles as a grill pan for our wedding (you can find them at Target, or at least you could then), and I use it all the time. So if you're looking to put together a wedding registry, or just work on accumulating more great kitchen items, a grill pan is definitely on your list!

So back to this recipe. I saw in Cooking Light this month (more on Cooking Light in another post) a little blurb about what you can do with apricot preserves. Not that apricot preserves are normally at the top of my diet list, however, I was recently gifted some Smucker's Simply Fruit apricot preserves. These have NO SUGAR whatsoever. It is sweetened using fruit juices. So, when you're dying for some jam on your Ezekiel bread, grab the Smucker's Simply Fruit preserves. They're great. And they are the inspiration for this recipe!

I served it with some roasted asparagus, because I'm tired of green beans. Hope you enjoy it!

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops
  • 1/4 cup Smucker's Simply Fruit apricot preserves
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 healthy dashes of ground white pepper
  • 1 dash of ground ginger
  • 1 dash of garlic powder
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • kosher salt to taste
1. Preheat your indoor grill pan (or regular grill) to medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together all ingredients but the chops.
3. Wash the pork and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt.
4. Brush one side of pork with the apricot mixture. Place that side down on the hot grill. Brush glaze on other side.
5. Grill chops until done, about 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Continue to baste with glaze while chops cook through. You may want to turn the chops more times than typically, so that both sides get glazed.

Carb options
Corn muffins always seem to go well with pork for me, but this pseud0-Asian glaze would also taste great with some steamed rice.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things I Want to Eat v. Things I WILL eat

Substitute this: For this:

meatloaf with Kraft mac lower fat/no bread meatloaf
& cheese and corn muffins with sweet potatoes and
green beans
cookie dough ice cream 1 CarbSmart by Breyer's
chocolate & vanilla bar

burrito with rice, beans, pork,
cheese, sour cream, guac. etc. huevos rancheros

grilled cheese sandwich piece of Ezekiel bread with
reduced fat cheese toasted
without butter

steak and potatoes marinated flank steak and a
(lots of potatoes) baked sweet potato

General Tso's chicken ginger pork w/ string beans

fried catfish with corn not really sure b/c I don't
bread and collards at Hattie's like unbreaded fish. Ideas?

breakfast cereal oatmeal w/ dried cherries

cupcakes ?????????

chocolate chip cookies small piece of very dark chocolate

pasta with any cream sauce chicken in a light-cream-mostly-stock-sauce?

***I apologize for the formatting issues with this post. I've been trying to fix it for about 20 minutes now to no avail. I really need to meal plan and get to the grocery store, so it shall have to wait another day. Thanks for understanding :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turkey Cutlets in a mushroom sage sauce

So I had a craving for turkey last week. But I didn't want a Thanksgiving-y turkey, and I obviously wasn't going to roast an entire bird for just Scott and me. I thought of doing a tenderloin or breast. But while at the grocery store, I came across some lovely turkey cutlets. This is the perfect option! They're thin (and can be beaten thinner) so they will cook fast. They can be browned quickly to seal in flavor, but then simmered in a sauce to finish cooking. There would be no dry turkey in our house tonight!

Well, last week got away from me, so I didn't actually make these until last night. I've been obsessed with sage lately (notice this is the 2nd post in a row where sage plays a leading role!) and I had some left over. I didn't want to replay the citrus notes from the chicken recipe and with the cold wintry life I'm living, I wanted something warm, cozy, earthy. Bring in the mushrooms!

I served this with some skillet blistered green beans. Yum. Enjoy!

Turkey Cutlets in a mushroom sage sauce
  • 4 turkey cutlets
  • flour, salt & pepper, and one egg (beaten) for breading (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • about 8oz (can use more) portobello mushrooms, sliced and preferrably a little past their prime (not slimy and bad, but with dark spots on them already... they cook to a really delicious flavor!)
  • 1/2 a small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2-2 cups of chicken stock (low sodium, 98% fat free, all that jazz)
  • 1/4 cup light cream (or heavy if you can take the fat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl oil around in pan so the bottom is evenly coated. While oil is heating, put cutlets in a freezer sized zip top bag and bang with a rolling pin until uniformly about 1/2 inch thick. If breading, go ahead and put cutlets in the egg, then dredge in flour, s&p mixture for a very light coating. If not breading, sprinkle both sides of cutlets with salt & pepper.
2. Place cutlets in oil and brown both sides, about 4-5 minutes each side. You do not want them to cook through, just get golden on both sides, and leave some yummy turkey bits on the bottom of your pan. When cutlets are browned, remove to a plate and set aside.
3. Add a little more oil to your pan, and allow to heat up.
4. Add onions and mushrooms to hot oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and dash of black pepper. Saute until onions are tender and translucent and mushrooms are cooked through, about 8 minutes. It may be more or less depending on the thickness of your mushroom slices.
5. Add chopped sage to mushrooms and onions, and stir together for about 1 minute. Sage should be aromatic.
6. Add chicken stock and cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes. After this time, check to see if sauce is thickening. If still very runny, add a little cornstarch mixed in water and allow to simmer another 5 minutes.
7. Add turkey cutlets back to pan and nestle in the sauce. Simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes, or until cutlets are cooked through.

Carb options
This sauce is really delicious, so you may want some crusty bread to soak up the sauce. OR, on my packet of sage, there was a recipe for sage biscuits. They sound amazing to me. If you make them, mail me one.

PS: still no picture. I tried to take it on my cell phone's camera, and I can't get it off the phone! Grr!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lemon Sage Roasted Chicken + a BONUS recipe!

Wow. I'm already getting behind on my goal to post 2 recipes and 1 information/support/rambling a week and it's only January 16th! It's ok, I'm cooking more, I'll get better! I shall press on toward the goal!

As I've stated here (and facebook) before, when in doubt for what to cook for dinner, I roast a chicken. I love pretty much everything about it: the juicy, flavorful meat; a golden, crispy crust (skin... you shouldn't eat it. But just one bite fulfills my roasted chicken fantasies!); and leftovers. How I love roasted chicken leftovers. They're perfect on a simple salad for lunch, great to throw into a simple chicken pot pie, a nice topping on a homemade pizza-- I could go on and on. So for today's recipe, you shall get 2 in 1. A new chicken recipe (I try not to get into a rut with the same roasted chicken EVERY time) along with a Chinese chicken cabbage salad for the next day. Enjoy!!

Lemon Sage Roasted Chicken
adapted from Health Magazine
  • 2 lemons thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 (6-pound) chicken
  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • bunch of carrots (depending on how many you want to eat, and if you want leftover veggies), washed and chopped in equal sized chunks (about 1 1/2-2 inchs)
  • bunch of mushrooms (chopped into chunks equal to carrots)
  • bunch of broccoli (yep, I said it. You're roasting broccoli. Trust me.), chop these evenly with other veggies, too.
  • any other root veggie you want (Think parsnips and turnips. I do not recommend potatoes), chop.
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. In roasting pan, place all chopped vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Using hands, mix veggies until ALL are evenly coated with oil. You don't want any dry spots. Dry spots won't taste as good.
3. Remove giblet and all that jazz from the chicken cavity. Place chicken on top of veggies in roasting pan. Use your fingers to make some space between the chicken meat and skin on top of the breast and cut a slit between the leg and thigh areas to get your fingers between the meet and skin of those areas. Rub all meat with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Place 6 lemon slices and sage leaves under skin of chicken, distributing between breasts and thigh/leg areas. (if you have a large chicken, and use more than just 6 slices, that's ok.) Put remaining lemon into the cavity and maybe a couple sage leaves if you have them. Brush about 1 tsp of olive oil over skin of chicken.
2. Roast for 45 minutes, then check to make sure skin isn't burning. If skin is already golden brown, cover with aluminum folk. Roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the chickens thigh (away from the bone) reads 165. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Carb options
could be served with a potato of your choice (mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato "casserole" would be beautiful and delicious, I think) and/or a dinner roll.

Chinese Chicken-Cabbage Salad with Peanut Sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 bottled thai peanut sauce (this can have a lot of sugar in it. So if you can't find a sugar free version, make your own using smooth natural peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, white pepper and ground ginger.)
  • chopped napa cabbage (about 2 cups per salad)
  • shredded carrot (a few pinches per salad)
  • 1 green onion (green and white parts), sliced (more if you're making several servings)
  • left over roasted chicken.
1. Whisk together rice wine vinegar, olive oil, and peanut sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Toss together cabbage, thinly sliced, shredded carrot, green onions, and chicken in a large bowl, or in individual serving dishes.
3. Pour peanut dressing over the salad, and toss together until evenly coated.
4. Season salad with black pepper and some black sesame seeds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thai Hot and Sour Soup

This recipe tastes as though it's straight from Surin of Thailand, my favorite restaurant back home in Huntsville, AL. It's a great soup to warm the soul, without feeling heavy afterwards. The taste is light and refreshing; plus, it's from Cooking Light, so you know it's not bad for you!
Scott RAVED over it.

I served this with some quick stir-fryed snow peas. Just heat some oil in a skillet on high heat and throw in the peas. Season with kosher salt, black pepper and ground ginger to taste. Stir or flip in pan until crisp.

Thai Hot and Sour Soup
  • 6 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 (4 inch) lemongrass stalk, halved and crushed (NOT optional)
  • 1/2 habanero chili pepper, minced (increase for spicier soup)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled * deveined
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Combine chicken broth, lime leaves, lemongrass, and habanero in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done (seriously, 3 minutes). Add juice, fish sauce, tomato and onions to pan; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in coconut milk and cilantro. Discard lemongrass stalk and lime leaves.

Carb Options
Serve with a small bowl of brown rice, or maybe even a few crab rangoon.

PS: This photo is from Cooking Light's website because my camera battery died and I haven't got to purchase the $40 charger yet. Hopefully tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spiced Braised Beef

Hello, my dears! Welcome to 2010!

January 1st is the traditional time to set goals for the upcoming year. I have a few holding over from last year (finish the weight loss!! 50lbs down, 30 to go!), but I've added a few, too. My goal related to this blog is to post 3 times each week. Two of these times will be new recipes (with photos, hopefully!) and one will be something else related to weight loss whether it be some exercise tips I've picked up somewhere or a spiritual link or even just a rant on my personal frustrations. As always, the recipes will be low-carb and relatively low-fat. So let's get started on the first recipe of 2010!

This recipe originated in Cooking Light back in September. However, the original recipe had about 7 Tbsp (tablespoons) of brown sugar in it. I made it in the original form for a dinner party we had in the fall, and it was fabulous! So if you can have the sugar, do it. Seriously. I will include the sugar options along with the recipe instructions. However, the spices and the slow cooked beef is delicious without the sugar, and is a great home cooked meal for your family.

I do realize that many of you don't have 3 hours to cook a week-day dinner. I promise recipes in the future will not be so time consuming. But hold this recipe in your pocket for a day that you need something comforting and delicious on a Saturday or Sunday evening or after a holiday off! Serve with a lightened coleslaw, or the Chopped Coleslaw Salad recipe following.

Spiced Braised Beef
for roast:
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (can adjust according to desired heat)
1 (3 pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (can adjust according to desired heat)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. To prepare roast, combine paprika, 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional), garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, dry mustard and ground red pepper; rub over roast. Place roast in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but it's better if you let it marinate overnight.
2. To prepare sauce, heat a large oven proof pan with a lid (Dutch oven, braiser, iron skillet with a lid, etc) over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, crushed red pepper and minced garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, water, 6 Tbsp dark brown sugar (optional), red wine vinegar, and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (if you don't have time to simmer 30 minutes, this step could be skipped if absolutely necessary). Stir in salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 325°.
4. Remove roast from bag. Add roast to sauce in pan. Cover and bake for 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Serve with sauce.

Note: Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead, just reheat before adding the roast.

Chopped Coleslaw Salad
Be sure to allow to marinate 2 hours to make the cabbage more tender.

2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/3 cup sugar (optional)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups green cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups red cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup julienne red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup sliced green onion

Place mustard seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook, partially covered, for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove mustard seeds from pan. Add sugar and vinegar to same pan; bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat; stir in mustard and salt. Combine mustard seeds, vinegar mixture, cabbage, bell pepper, and onions in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Carb options
Well, first, add the dark brown sugar! It's like a spicy BBQ sauce. So delicious. Second, this would be great with some cornbread or cornbread muffins. Also, you can go all-in on the bar-be-que idea and have baked beans and potato salad for your side dishes. Feels like I'm back home in Alabama!