While I am not officially leaving The Chopping Block for good through this holiday season, whenever I start a new job, it feels like a new chapter.  Obviously I have mixed emotions about what’s in store for me.  I’ve absolutely loved the irregularity of my jobs since I quit – from the farmers market getting up at 3:45 in the morning, to not having to be at TCB sometimes until 5:00 p.m. at night!   Now having to get up at a particular time every.single.day I hope I don’t resent it, but such is life.  I have to appreciate all the good in my life!  When I woke up yesterday morning, this was my view through my bedroom window.

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That tree was so tiny when Tony and I moved in over 15 years ago.  I still haven’t put bird seed into our bird feeder – that was Tony’s job and one that I have not picked up since he’s been gone. 

While I had a list of stuff I wanted/needed to get done before today, I tried to soak up the weather, and my last day off of work for who knows how long.  I opened all the windows first thing.  So weird to have temps in the mid-70s in Chicago in November!   If the leaves on our tree weren’t that color I would have thought it was a day in late May!

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I went and bought my monthly train ticket.  $216 for the month.  I lease my car, so I think my mileage will thank me after all the driving I did all summer and fall.  Although I did negotiate a higher mileage rate and just hit 24k miles and have up to 48k for the next 14 months, so I know I won’t go over.  I didn’t fix breakfast until I got back.  Just a quick egg/ham/cheese/spinach sammie on a Kaiser roll with fruit on the side.  Breakfast came in at 10 smart points.

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I then ran more errands:  got my eyebrows threaded at Walmart, bought a new lunch box because I threw my old ones away thinking “I’ll never need these f-ing things again!”, filled up the car with gas.  When I got back I was all set to go on a long walk, but my blood sugar was only 72.  Waaaaah.  So I made lunch, but because it was low carb, didn’t raise my blood sugar that much.  I had ground sirloin in the fridge and made baby Buffalo burgers and topped them on a romaine lettuce salad with carrots and cucumbers – my dressing was Frank’s hot sauce and Ken’s Steakhouse light ranch dressing (best dressing out there in my opinion!) and this whole bowl of food was only 7 smart points.

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So while the temps feel like summer, once it hits late October/early November I am all about braised meats and comfort food.  My store had chuck roast on sale for $2.99 a pound, and I cannot pass that up.  I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pot roast.  I actually love the fact that she serves her pot roast over mashed potatoes.  Love.  You guys will be so proud of me, because knowing Jacob was going to join in this dish (Hannah ate mashed potatoes and carrots) I used onions!

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Even though I knew these were going to stew for a few hours, browning the veggies and meat prior to the braise gives such a depth of flavor in the finished product.

This was how the beef looked after two hours – one hour before it was actually done, but this picture was taken before the sun went all the way down. 

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You could really add any veggies you want to this – if I had any mushrooms I probably would have added those as well.  But the best decision I made was adding Hardcore Carnivore rub to the gravy!  I scooped out 3/4 cup of the pan juice and added it to a skillet over medium high heat.  I added 3/4 teaspoon of the rub to the pan sauce, then mixed a tablespoon of water and teaspoon of cornstarch together to thicken the gravy, and poured that over my dinner:  4 ounces of pot roast (5), 1 cup mashed potatoes (5) carrots and celery and I am calling my pan sauce 2 smart points just to be safe.  It was weird eating this when it was still 70 degrees outside, but comfort food at its finest.

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Gah to the awful kitchen lighting, but I guess I’ll have to get used to it for the next few months.  The meat was so fork tender you didn’t even need a knife and the kick from the Hardcore Carnivore rub in the gravy really tied this meal all together. 

So my breakfast and lunch are packed.  My outfit is already laid out and I guess it’s time to get this show on the road.  Here’s to the next Chapter – wish me luck!