Sugar Dish Me

"if you can read, you can cook" -my momma

I Blame the Coffee

with 14 comments

I’ll admit that I have an unreasonable relationship with coffee. It’s my sidekick. Coffee wakes me every morning. It keeps my fingers warm while I clutch my mug, wishing this old house had better insulation. Coffee keeps me company while I write. It wakes my sleepy head up early everyday and occasionally gives me a sweet iced pick me up in the afternoon. A tall cup of joe is a great excuse to loaf around a cozy coffeehouse with my sweetheart and a newspaper, and then buy the little guys fancy hot chocolate. It’s a great companion in the car (so long as your car dancing does not spill it) and a welcome distraction when you need to wander from your desk and be off task for a few. Coffee can accompany whipped cream, add ooomph to your chocolate cake, flavor ice cream, and braise beef.

Yep. It’s awesome. And it’s also my scapegoat.

I don’t need a lecture on the perils of caffeine dependency. We all have our vices. But coffee does tend to provide me with a most reasonable explanation for my sometimes out of turn behavior. Not paying attention? Not enough coffee. Talking too much? Too much coffee. I have a short fuse. I blame the coffee.

Chad and I made a quick run to the grocery store the other night. Just a milk, eggs, cereal kinda thing. It wasn’t crowded and we wove our way from the produce towards the dairy department with ease. Let’s discuss grocery store etiquette for a minute. In my world, you walk like you drive: stay to the right. If you have to walk in front of a person that’s scanning a shelf for something, you say excuse me. If you need to peruse cans of green beans but someone else beat you to it, you mind your personal space and wait your turn. If there is a woman eyeballing the shelves for healthy cereal that doesn’t break the bank and you need the corn syrup laden discount bag of garbage that’s behind her, you need to refer to rules 2 (say excuse me) and 3 (mind your personal space and wait your turn). You do not lean in behind her and her boyfriend, reaching your arm past BOTH of them like you’re leaning in for a group hug and grab your crap without saying a word. Because that woman WILL freak out on you. And then she will blame the coffee.

I make no apologies. We made it out of the grocery store unscathed, my mood greatly improved by the woman dressed as a pirate that I spied shopping the deli. Chad says he would still love me if I dressed like a pirate. And he totally tolerates it when my coffee withdrawal inspires me to loudly correct rude strangers in the grocery store. Maybe it’s because I make a mean pot roast.

But maybe not.

 Heat a little oil and sprinkle all sides of a 3 or 4 pound beef chuck roast with coarse ground black pepper and kosher salt. Over medium high heat, brown all sides of the roast and then remove it to your slow cooker. Saute onions in the drippings left in the pan until they are golden brown. Then add garlic, thyme, a little kosher salt, more coarse ground black pepper and onion powder.

 Add coffee and balsalmic vinegar and then bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute. Then add all of it to the slow cooker with the beef roast.

 Add potatoes if you like, and then cover and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Halfway through tuck carrots and celery in with the roast, recover and continue cooking.

 When the roast and vegetables are done, remove them to a plate for serving and ladle the drippings into a saucepan. Skim the fat off the top and over medium heat wisk in the cornstarch (you can add a little of the broth in a cup and mix it with the cornstarch until it’s smooth to keep the lumps out of your gravy- then pour this into the remaining drippings on the stovetop).

 Coffee Braised Slow Cooker Pot Roast


A 3-4 pound beef chuck roast

kosher salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste (I’m partial to freshly ground or coarse)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 onions, very coarsely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 cup strong coffee

2 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar

3 cups of potatoes, cut into “two-bite” size pieces

3 stalks of celery, trimmed and cut into sticks

7 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

To Make

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season all sides of the beef chuck roast with the kosher salt and coarse ground pepper and then brown it in the skillet. Remove it to the slow cooker. Add the onions to the skillet and saute until soft and golden. Then add the garlic, thyme, kosher salt, onion powder, and black pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes and then por in the coffee and balsalmic vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another minute and then empty the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker. If you are using potatoes, add them now. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. In the middle of cooking, add the carrots and celery. When the roast is done remove it to a plate. Ladle the drippings into a saucepan and wisk in the cornstarch until it’s thickened over medium heat. Serve the roast with the gravy.

And have coffee after dinner.

  Recipe adapted from Eating Well.


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

January 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Haha! Enjoyed your writing, the photos, in fact the entire post very much!! I am more of a tea drinker but it’s about the same when it comes to caffeine issues. I get headaches midday if I haven’t thrown a hot cup of tea down my throat first thing in the morning!

    Totally agree with you on the etiquette for supermarket shopping. Particularly the wait-your-turn part. Even if I feel like a plonker waiting there. I tend to pretend I need something else closeby!

    The coffee part is intriguing, never heard of this before, but it makes sense. Thanks for sharing :-))


    January 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    • Thanks! In case you can’ t tell I have no patience for people that think they’re exempt from common courtesies… glad I’m not the only one 🙂 This potroast takes on the flavor of one made with onion soup mix, but the coffee gives it a richness and you can adjust the salt (unlike with the pre-packaged seasoning). I started toying with this when I was looking for more heart healthy variations of my favorite recipes. So glad you enjoyed it!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      January 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  2. Loved it! Especially the pirate part. One time I saw a lady with a ridiculous hat and ran to tell my husband to check it out. Unfortunately in new wedge heels on wet floors. Yep, i made a spectacle, fell right down…. You have to tell your loved ones about that stuff. But more people probably got to go home and talk about the girl in crop pants and wedges sprawled on the floor between the bananas ans iceburg… Oh, well.


    January 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    • Hahahaha 🙂 I’m laughing with you, I promise. I trip on imaginary cracks in the sidewalk and stumble in heels more often than I should admit. Do you ever wonder how women in movies can run full speed ahead in 4 inch heels? It’s like a total modern mystery.

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      January 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

  3. Perfect timing with this recipe; I just bought a roast today. I usually use the ‘onion soup mix’, but will definitely try your recipe this time! I’m so with you on the grocery store etiquette. Also the ones that stop and talk to someone and completely block
    the aisle drive me nuts!!

    Pam Wolfe

    January 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    • Pam I need a “like” button for that last part. People that pretend they don’t see you while you try to patiently wait and they have social hour are right up there on my list. In my head I crash them with my cart. I hope the pot roast turns out well for you!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      January 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

  4. I’ve never had coffee (like a cup of straight coffee) before. I have had it in these fancy schmancy iced drinks but never plain. Hmmm…..I think this recipe is interesting. I don’t mind coffee in food at all. I think it would intensify this flavor or the beef so I’m giving this recipe a thumbs up! I’d definitely dig in and eat this up!

    Simply Tia

    January 30, 2012 at 12:21 am

    • Thanks for the thumbs up, Tia! Also… thumbs up for the fancy schmancy iced drinks with coffee. I’ll have two, please.

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      January 30, 2012 at 7:24 am

  5. I have the same relationship with coffee. I rely on coffee. On some days, coffee is my best friend. I am glad I am not the only one:)


    February 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    • You are definitely not alone there. I’m just sorry Starbucks wasn’t MY idea.

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      February 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      • Starbucks is okay… but there is nothing like a strong cup of french press coffee. OH MY WORD! It’s the best 🙂


        February 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm

  6. […] The Liebster Award is for blogs with 200 odd subscribers (I have tried to track it down to where it started but its like trying to find the needle in a haystack!). Both these awards are given by one blogger to another. Isn’t that a great idea? Pass it forward. It comes from the wittily wonderful Heather at Sugar Dish Me. This lass is sassy and a mean cook to boot. I’ve been following her excellent blog for a while now and always chuckle reading her posts and dream away reading her recipes. And this girl means it when she says that there are rules of etiquette for grocery shopping. […]

    Award « The Patterned Plate

    February 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

  7. […] one up. I shuffle into the kitchen and start the coffee (coffee is always #1; if you doubt that, read this). The lamp beside the couch flips on and I call out to Andrew, my oldest son, to get up. He has […]

  8. […] thanks to all of you that read my rambling nonsense thrice weekly and decide not to judge me when I freak out at the grocery store. Hugs to those of you that did judge me and then kept it to yourselves. Because sometimes I’m […]

    Gratitude « Sugar Dish Me

    September 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

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