Friday, March 30, 2007

Another Confession

I don't wash my legs in the shower on a consistent basis. Obviously soap runs down my legs simply from washing using the top down method - but I don't think I have ever scrubbed my legs unless I am doing yard work (like today) or am painting (also today). Is that weird? Do you actually wash your legs?

I have never heard any complaints that my legs have an odd aroma or that they are dirty. Am I out of the ordinary? (Maybe I can justfiy this because I shave pretty consistently and I use shaving cream - which is kinda like soap right?)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cassarole and the job

I take great care in choosing the pictures I put up on my blog....teee heee heee! If only that were true. I haven't mastered the art of keeping a camera handy so I can take pictures of the stuff that I cook. However, I do take time to search for a picture that best represents what I am talking about....because really? Who doesn't like a blog with pictures? It gives you something to look at while you read. (You can thank me

Tonight I made a chicken noodle know, instead of tuna I used canned chicken. Sharon (for those of you that are new to my blog - Sharon is my newest sister-in-law) and I were talking today about looking at stuff in our cabinets and not wanting to eat it because you stare at it too long. Well, after this conversation I was determined to use the pesky cans of chicken that have been sitting in the cupboard for the last couple of months. Anyway, I made up my own recipe....again! It was macaroni, cream of mushroom soup, milk, cheese (but not too much), spinach (which I don't think I would use again, but instead use peas if they are available), corn, celery, onion (grated) and panko breadcrumbs and cheese on the top. It actually came out pretty good. I was surprised when Shawn said that he like it....amazing! I really think the panko breadcrumbs were a winner as was the thin layer of cheese on top. I can't say for sure what quantities I put in the casserole because I used the "what's in the house and what can I dump into this thing" method. I can honestly say though, out of the 29 years of my life, I don't think I have ever made a casserole. My next stint in casserole making is probably going to be something Mexican. Maybe a taco/tortilla casserole or something, who knows?

Note: In case you wanted to know...I grated the onion so it was in small pieces, cut the celery into little cubes and sweated it until soft. Added the spinach and corn to heat them and set it aside. Cooked the noodles at the same time I heated the cream of mushroom soup and milk. Then simply dumped all of it together into glass bakeware, topped it with a thin layer of cheddar cheese and panko breadcrumbs and baked it on 375 for 30-40 mins. or so. I then broiled it on high for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs a bit brown.

On the job front...I called Sierra College today since they were supposed to call me yesterday but didn't. The Dean said that they are going to offer me a class during the summer and at least one class during the Fall. I was actually expecting 3 classes during the Fall since this is what she told me on the phone a month ago when she originally contacted me, but apparently they are hiring more than one person to fill those classes (which she did not originally tell me). But hey, at least I have something right? And for that I am thankful! My class during the summer starts in mid to late it looks like I have the next 3 months off. Well, that is unless I find another job before then. :)

Blessings for today:
1). My husband - simply because he is the greatest man in the world and puts up with my crap everyday. :) And let me tell you, I am NOT an easy person to be with sometimes.

2). Family - we spent the day with Shawn's dad, brother and new sister-in-law at a tool show and then lunch. Then we all came back to the house and talked for a while. It was nice!

3). The job that I have lined up. Even though it's not what I was expecting, it's still something!

4). God - for throwing me head first into the fire...and while I absolutely HATE the fire - I will come out the other end refined and stronger...and probably a bit shinier. :)

5). My dog - because she is stupid happy all the time, even when she doesn't feel well. I have a lot to learn from her. What a cutie!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007



No word yet on the job at Sierra College. But I did hear back from the county about one of the jobs I applied for a while ago. I took a test with the county a couple of weeks ago for a human resources position and I got the test scores back. They sent me an email on the 20th of this month saying:

"At this time your score does not qualify you to be referred to the hiring department for the next phase of the recruitment process. However, you may be eligible for referral at a later date and will be contacted at that time."

Totally understandable! I knew there were going to be other people who scored more than I did - I am a terrible test taker and walked out of there not feeling very confident about my test score since there were LOTS of math questions that I haven't seen in years (seriously, math is the reason why I never took the GRE to get into grad school, and it's one of the reasons why I went into Communication instead of something more technical). In fact, the ONE question I should have known the answer to I totally spaced on. It was something like what do you do, in order of sequence, in research: a). gather data b). pick a sample c). organize data d). interpret data. Obviously I know which order these come in when I am doing research - anyone with half a brain that has been through even 5 minutes of college can tell you......but the way they worded it was very confusing (I did not replicate exact wording because I think I signed a confidentiality waiver of some sort when I was there). For the life of me, I couldn't remember if A or B went first because I may have interpreted it a bit differently. It comes down to quantitative or qualitative research - of which I know both very well having done tons of studies in graduate school. But, the test did not specify quantitative or qualitative. In any case, this part of the email I got today:

Dear Ms. Perez,

Congratulations! You are invited to participate in the oral board examination for the position of (omitted in case someone from this particular organization googles the name of the position)............

The interview will be held as follows:


If you have not already provided written verification (e.g. copy of diploma, transcripts, certificates, licenses) of education and/or licenses listed to meet the minimum qualifications for this position, please bring them with you on Wednesday, April 11, 2007. These documents must be received prior to becoming a finalist for the position.

I think that this organization should explain why I was rejected last week but asked to do an oral exam this week. I don't get it. Is it possible that because I have a MA degree they are making an exception? Did they just figure out that level of intelligence has little to do with a single test....or a single degree for that matter? It infinitely bothers me when people are evaluated simply because of a test or a degree. For everyone out there....DEGREES DON'T MATTER.....A SINGLE TEST DOESN'T MATTER.....THE ABILITY AND EXPERIENCE OF THE PERSON AS A WHOLE IS WHAT ULTIMATELY MATTERS!!!!!!! I am not a test score.....I am certainly NOT a degree (and I absolutely loathe that people classify me as someone who has a masters degree). It's something I DID during a couple of years of my life, it's not WHO I AM.

Ok, I will get off of my soapbox now. :) Thanks for listening. Again, I will update you if and when I hear back from Sierra College.

Here's something odd....

I guess I should put this under a 'confessions' heading, but I don't want to think of any beyond this one. Sorry!

There have been about 3 or 4 times throughout my adult (after 18) life that I have forgotten to wash my hair in the shower. Isn't that weird? I simply got into the shower and apparently did things 'out of order'. I didn't really think that I had an 'order' that I did things in while in the shower, but apparently I do. LOL On said occasions, I get out of the shower and start to blow dry my hair and quickly figure out that I have not washed my hair. And since I wash my hair everyday I either get back into the shower or stick my head in the sink to finish said washing.

On a bit of a different note, while I was in Russia as a TL with TM one of the other female leaders 'challenged' me to not wash my hair for a day. I thought this was quite interesting because she barely knew me but decided that she wanted to challenge me to do something I wouldn't normally do. I politely declined and then explained that just the year before I was in Peru and didn't take a shower for a week which obviously meant no hair washing - - - ewwww, I know - but it was a must for the village trip we went on. No hair washing, no body washing, no face washing - ewwww! But hey, it was all for mission right? So now, living in the lap of luxury in America, one of the blessings in this great land is the ability to wash my hair and take a shower everyday. Still, every once and a while I will not wash my hair, but it's only for about 36 hours or so....otherwise I hop into the shower. :)

NOTE: As a bit of a side note, I interviewed with Sierra College this past Friday. From my perspective the interview went really well. They said that I should hear back about their decision sometime TODAY. I am praying and praying and praying that I get this gig with Sierra. Even though it's a 45 minute drive each way, I need to be in the classroom teaching. I will update when I hear something.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

***Revealing Entry***

If you can't handle the truth, please do not read this entry.

If you can't be kind, please do not comment on this entry.

If you feel the need to judge me, please stop reading my blog.

If can handle the truth, feel you can be kind and without a doubt can be supportive with no ulterior motive, by all means, please continue to read.

The last few years have been hard. As the anniversary of my dad's suicide come closer, I am reminded of his actions all over again. It seems, every year, I am reminded. It's not enough to be reminded everyday - because I think about him every single day - the anniversary comes around and hits me like a ton of bricks. Please don't misunderstand.....I am moving closer, a lot close to coming to terms with his actions....but I would be lying to you and to myself if I said that it's not one of the events in my life that has effected me greatly.

I would be dishonest if I told you I simply rolled over and "let God take control" of my life and forgave, and simply trusted God (I am not Polyanna). I have questioned God....I have cried to God....I have yelled at God....I have, at times, hated everything about God's plan.....all because of one man's actions. I have residual anger because I no longer have an earthly father....and anger because of his actions...not only the final action....but the actions long before his death. Part of me understands his actions and can definitely sympathize, but part of me wants to rage!!! Why have I blamed God, cried to God and questioned God? Because God dwells in the deepest part of me. Because I prayed for my father on a regular basis and had faith that God was going to take care of him. My faith meant little, because what happened did.

Am I perfect? No! 1). I let my emotions run me a lot of times! 2). I let anger get the best of me! 3). I am selfish with people! 4). I curse (sometimes a lot, but it's getting better)! 5). Countless other things I don't care to list out...because we could be here all night. The point is, is that I am NOT perfect. No one is. And this my friends is the beauty of God. The most intimate encounter I ever had with God was in 2000 - I was deep in worship at church one night and I heard God clearly say to me, "Come to me as you are. I love you." Come to me as you are.....I cried. In the middle of church, I was bawling like a little baby because God, as clear as day, told me to come to Him as I was. I didn't need to change ANYTHING - just simply come to Him. Comforting words.

In times where I have nothing left - the times when I have a heavy heart (literally HEAVY - pressure in my chest), the only thing I can do is give the part of me I am willing to let go of. Which isn't much most times. I am incapable and unwilling to come to God as I am wholly. I give what I can - and every day, every week, every month, it's a little more. As mad, sad and angry as I have gotten, something deep down is calling. God is calling - God is carrying - God is healing - God is loving me just as I am. Part of me wants to accept it - part of me wants reject it - but it's always there, calling and by the grace of God, I can hear it as clear as day.

I say all of this because someone came over the other night and pretty blatantly judged me (and Shawn for that matter) for my lifestyle - but didn't do it in a way that was loving. The person did it in such a way as to judge and condemn. I am sure this person had good intentions somewhere, but I simply cannot see the good intentions right now. This person presumes to know what I have been through - what I have seen - what I have experienced - I kindly don't think so. Until you can walk a mile in my shoes and experience the depth of hurt and anger that I have at times, please refrain from harsh judgment please. (I admit that I too have judged people - but have since and quickly learned what kind of effect this can have on people - I try my hardest not to do that anymore, but simply be loving and accepting of everyone regardless of where they are at in life).

I can honestly say that my fire for God has been burning brighter. In church this morning my heart was excited. I was excited to be a follower of God and to call myself a Christian. I felt excited about missions again and can't wait to get back out on the mission field. But, at the same time, like Paul in the bible, I am at war with myself. I choose to do the things I don't want to do - and don't do the things I should. I still curse (less than before - but still do it - especially when I accidentally stub my toe or hit my fingers with a hammer - but I am trying). But, my faults don't exclude me from loving God. I am trying my best given the cards I have been dealt in the recent few years. (Having said this - I know you are thinking that I shouldn't let my surroundings dictate how I feel or react....ummm, yeah - I know that. I am working on it and trying to find joy in the very many things that I have to be thankful for - which are MANY).

Just today I can list about a million things that I am thankful for. God has been so kind to both me and Shawn - and as a couple, God has poured down his blessings and abundance. For this, among a million other things I am thankful for just today. Tomorrow I am sure I will find a million other things to be thankful for. God is good - and it's in His loving arms that I will find sweet rest tonight.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A guide to brushing your teeth in the car DISCLAIMER----I DO NOT CONDONE THIS BEHAVIOR

Things you need:
1). Toothbrush
2). Toothpaste
3). Bottle of water - partial or full

The process:
First, open the bottle of water and dip your toothbrush into the bottle to wet it (don't crash, keep control of the vehicle). Then, put some toothpaste onto the brush(don't crash). Proceed to brush your teeth(don't crash). After you are done brushing, put some water in your mouth to rinse(don't crash). While the you are in the process of rinsing, dip your toothbrush into the bottle to rinse it off(don't crash). Once the brush is clean, spit what's in your mouth into the bottle(don't crash). Return the cap to the bottle and discard. If you have gotten to this step, you probably still have control of the vehicle....good job. Now you have nice breath and clean teeth. Feel free to proceed with your trip.

If you are wondering why I posted this, I will surely tell you. I went to the Bay Area yesterday for the majority of the day. On the way home I needed to brush my teeth....I don't like yucky teeth, especially on a 3 hour drive. So, I brushed my teeth on Highway 5 through Stockton. :) Mmmmm, I love clean teeth while driving. (I know I'm quirky, you don't have to tell me that). Have a good day!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Food Fetching

Sometimes I don't sleep too well and last night was one of those nights. Shawn woke up and was playing with his cell phone to see what time it was at o-dark-hundred......3am, and of course, this was the very thing that woke me up. About a half hour after he woke up to check his watch, he sat up and looked at me. I asked him, "what's going on baby?", and he promptly responded, "There's lots of food fetching going on". I obviously questioned him to see if I had heard correctly, and he repeated, "There's lots of food fetching going on". Of course I thought this was hilarious (and when asking him if he remembers this later on this afternoon he confirmed he had no idea what I was talking about). Hmmmm, maybe I've been experimenting in the kitchen a bit too much lately...what do you think?

Monday, March 19, 2007


I do this every single time I need to get something done. Procrastinate. I thought that as I got older I would no longer do it....but, much to my dismay, I still do it. What am I procrastinating you ask? Thank you for asking! I have had about 3 weeks to prepare a short 10-15 minute lecture that I will be giving on Friday. This is almost a working interview, meaning, it is an interview that a college wants me to prepare so they could see my teaching abilities first hand. I am heading down to the Bay Area on Wednesday to meet with my thesis adviser so he could give me a bit of feedback so I don't completely make a fool out of myself which means my lecture has to be completed in it's entirety. It's also an opportunity to see some friends and pick up some things we can't find up here in P-ville (like the frozen yogurt we love soooooo much!!! It's actual yogurt that is frozen, and tastes like yogurt...mmmmmm, so good and really low in calories). I will be picking up a few half gallons of the stuff to keep in the freezer...and if we need to, we will vacuum pack it to keep it fresh for a while.

In any case, I have waited three *(&$#*%^&#@*$ weeks to do this, and now I need to get it done in two days. Now, I shouldn't be complaining too much because I can probably do it in a couple of hours, but just the research of it has taken me about 4 hours this morning. I still haven't prepared the lecture/activities yet...and that bugs me. I want to get this done, but at the same time I have lots of other stuff to do around the house today.

Why am I still typing you ask? I don't know.....I already told you I have a problem!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What did you do today?

So here's what we did today. We ripped out a wall and flooring in our downstairs kitchen. Now, the kitchen area is the same room as the downstairs living room or red room as we like to call it. Tearing out the wall and floor and of course clean up took only a couple of hours from start to finish. Now we are almost ready to paint and put new flooring in the downstairs room...WOOOHOOOOOO!!! I can't wait until that downstairs room is done.

(This pic was taken before we bought the house in November 2005)

(This pic was taken about 10 minutes more wall or nasty dirty floor)

Thanksgiving is long over.....but....

As you probably know, I am searching for a job due to our recent move 3 hours away from the place where I spent the last 20 years or so. I no longer have any business contacts, no academic contacts, and friends are few and far between. Sometimes I feel completely lost...but all in all I feel blessed. I know that this was a necessary move for us to take, and it will all work out in God's timing. I know that sounds so Christianese, but it's kind of true. There are so many things I am thankful for:

*The friends that remain, and of course family.
*The gift of being able to get out of bed and walk.
*The house the we were able to buy.
*My husband, even though on occasion he drives me crazy (but I always remind myself that I drive him just as crazy at times).
*The gift of new things. New house, new town, new opportunities.
*My doggie - because I know she is in pain just like me a lot of the time (her arthritis, my back), yet she is stupid happy even though her hips bother her.
*The ability to pay for bills.
*The opportunity for entertainment when we feel like going out.
*The continuing information we find out about our house...that's it's built extremely well. :) (This is a double blessing since we bought the house 'as-is' because we knew this is where God wanted us).
*The vision that my husband has about the house....knocking down walls, floor plan etc....
*The party we are able to have in June (June 2nd to be exact....and if you are in the area, please stop by), I will be turning 30
*The opportunity to interview for jobs even though I may not get the job, at least I am getting better at interviewing. :)
*The job that God has for me....even though I may not know what it is, He does, and really, that's all that matters right now.
*Many many many other things I am thankful for.

If you remember, please pray for me. I have a test with the county tomorrow morning. It's for a a Personnel Analyst position, a job that I really want....but then again, I only want what God has in store for me.

To follow up with the pizza competition, we made pizza the other night again (no more pizza for a while, thank you).....and Shawn, his brother and I tested both pizza's. The vote was 2 to 1.......they both like Alton Brown's recipe better since it crisped up on the bottom nicely. But, they did say that Justin's recipe had better flavor. I agree with them, but I think taste is more important than a little crispiness. I still haven't asked if I can post my brother-in-law's recipe....but like I said, Alton Brown's recipe is available on the Food Network website.

Until later......

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Preliminary Pizza Results Are In!!!

So, Shawn and I have eaten pizza for the last three or four days. Ugggghhhhh, I am so sick of pizza. The bright side though, is that I have kept up with the exercising to counter balance my pizza consumption. I bet that you don't really care about my exercising though do you? You just want to know which recipe won right? Ok ok are the you will notice from my blog below, there were three different doughs that I used to make pizza.

1). Store bought bread dough that can also be used for pizza. I give this a meager 4/10. This is because it's plain dough, not really meant for pizza, but meant for high production and pretty much should be used for white bread.

2). Alton Brown's pizza dough recipe. This was a really good recipe. I liked it very much. It had a good flavor to it for the most part, and had I not been closely comparing three pizzas back to back, I would have said this was a perfect pizza dough. It cooked up nice and crispy on the bottom, but not too crispy and chewy in the middle, which makes for a great pizza. Overall I give this recipe about an 8.5/10.

3). Justin's recipe (my brother-in-law). He used to own a pizza place, so I'd say this guy knows his pizza! This dough had great flavor. You could taste the depth of the crust and the flavor was not flat at all (which, after tasting all of the pizza's, Alton Brown's was a bit flat after comparing the pizza's back to back.....sorry A.B. .......I love your show, think you are brilliant in so many ways....but my brother-in-law's dough was a bit better this time around). This dough rose a bit better overall, had a great consistency and overall had a much better 'mouth feel' than the other two (ha ha ha....'mouth feel' if I actually know what I am talking about). If there was one improvement I would make with this pizza though is the crispiness of the bottom crust. After cooking the bottom came out a bit soft. I like a pizza with a tiny crunch on the bottom. Don't get me wrong, I DO NOT LIKE crispy pizza, I like it chewy, but the bottom has to 'feel' like it's cooked when I bite into it. I think if I tweek the temperature and cooking time a bit, this will correct itself perfectly. As the recipe stands now, I give Justin's recipe 9/10.

I know, I are probably thinking.....

1). Did she cook them the same? Yes. Same temperature, same time.

2). Did she use the same pizza sauce? Of course! Justin's recipe for pizza gosh...sooooo good!

3). Did she use the same toppings? Duhhhh! I used the same everything.

4). Was there any difference in the pizza's except for the recipe? To my shame, yes. I prepared one for cooking and Shawn prepared the other. This is the factor that could have affected the outcome of the pizza's. So, in order to make sure the pizza's are the same, Shawn and I are going to invite his brother over tomorrow to make the pizza's. Jonathan used to work at a pizza place preparing pizza, so we are going have him prepare the pizza's with the same amount of dough, sauce and cheese. Then we are going to cook them together and do one more retest. I would like to test them again, and get the opinions of Shawn and Jonathan as well, then I will post a final result on Tuesday (or Monday if I feel up to it).

In addition, if I can get permission from Justin, I will post the recipes up here. If not, then I am sorry, those recipes will go with me to the grave (although, you can find Alton Brown's recipe on the Food Network website). Until then.....

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The competition continues

I'm taking it to the next level!!! Over the next couple of days I will be preparing a pizza cook-off in my kitchen. Yes, that's right, I've lost it! I will be making a very involved Alton Brown pizza dough recipe, a recipe my brother-in-law has graciously shared with me (thanks Justin), and the last recipe is not really a recipe at all, but a store bought frozen pizza dough. There is another dough I would like to try though. I have gone to Trader Joe's a million times over the last 10 years or so and have noticed that there is pizza dough in the refrigerator section that looks mighty tasty (and thanks to my sister-in-law Sharon who has tried it and gave it good results, I may go and purchase some to test out), but I will have to leave that for another day.

I will also be making Justin's recipe for pizza sauce and using that on all three pizza's so the only difference is the dough. I would like to find a good dough recipe, ideally one that is super easy, but for really good, mind-blowing pizza, I am not sure that's possible. All of the recipes that I have found have a resting time of 4-24 hours for the dough. And let's face it, that's simply too much time to wait (or plan for that matter), for a simple dinner of pizza.

So, as it stands, I have borrowed a Kitchen Aid Mixer (which I can't justify buying since I would only use it like twice a year because I don't bake that often - or let me rephrase that, bake out of a box.......but, to tell you the truth, I am a great baker, just don't like to do it too much), and will be utilizing it for the next day or two to make the various pizza doughs. Once I figure out which is the winning recipe I will post the results. :)
(on second thought, since I have borrowed the mixer, maybe I will make those brownie cheesecake bars I love so much....hmmmmm, I will have to think about that one a bit more before committing to such a task.....but from what I hear, they are super easy to make).

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What do you get?

What do you get when you leave an extremely flexible dog in the car for 5 minutes and a sealed bag of beef jerky buried under the front seat? A dog that now has a belly full of teriyaki beef jerky and shreds of plastic all over the car. My dog's a beef jerky whore. Nothing more to say!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The results are in

If you are one of my many and continuous blog readers, you will know that I underwent a tumultuous competition yesterday. Yes, that's right, it was a pot roast competition with myself. And the winner is.....ME!!!! LOL If you recall, I used two recipes, one from a notable chef, and one of my personal favorites, Mr. Alton Brown. The other was a simple recipe I found on the internet. Here are the recipes:

Alton Brown:

1 (2-pound) blade cut chuck roast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cumin
Vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup tomato juice
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup cocktail olives, drained and broken
1/2 cup dark raisins
1-2 cups of beef or chicken broth (if you use the slow cooker)

Preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees F. Place a wide, heavy skillet or fry pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of meat with the salt and cumin. When the pan is hot (really hot) brown meat on both sides and remove from pan. Add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan then add the onion and garlic. Stir constantly until onion is softened. Add the tomato juice, vinegar, olives, and raisins. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by half. Create a pouch with wide, heavy duty aluminum foil. Place half the reduced liquid/chunk mixture on the foil, add the roast, and then top with the remaining mixture. Close the pouch, and wrap tightly in another complete layer of foil. Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until a fork pushes easily into the meat. Remove from oven and rest (still wrapped) for at least 1/2 hour. Snip off 1 corner of the foil pouch and drain the liquid into a bowl or measuring cup. Add some of the "chunkies" and puree with an immersion blender. Slice meat thinly, or pull apart with a fork. Serve with sauce.

Super Easy Pot Roast Recipe
5 1/2 pounds of Pot Roast
(2) 10.75 oz. cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
(1) 1 oz. package of dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups of water

Throw everything in the slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

The Super Easy Pot Roast came out very good. The meat was tender and the sauce was really good (after thickening it with some Wondra). It tasted very 'down home cookin'. Really good though. The Alton Brown recipe I didn't finish until this morning. After cooking it per the directions, the meat was tough, so after I was done with the other recipe I put it into the slow cooker and left it there for a few more hours. It was late when it finally finished cooking, so I threw it back in the slow cooker for a hour to heat it back up and finished the sauce this morning. If I do the Alton Brown recipe again I will start the recipe the same and then throw everything in the slow cooker for 8 hours instead of taking the oven step.

I know you are not going to want to hear this, but I really can't compare the recipes. The easy recipe had a steady taste, very traditional, nothing too notable....but very good! The AB recipe had some very robust flavors involved, and the gravy was sooooo good! Of course, that is, if you like really robust flavored foods. I must leave you with one other recipe was of the cheddar mashed potatoes that I made at the last minute. Here you go:

3-4 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cloves of garlic crushed
1-1 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. In another pot add milk and rushed garlic. Bring up temperature slowly so you don't scorch the milk and let sit on very low heat until the potatoes are done cooking. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add milk (you may not use all of the milk/garlic mixture, so add slowly), salt and pepper and mash with fork until smooth. Stir in cheese and butter until melted.

This recipe makes the YUMMIEST cheddar garlic potatoes EVER!!! And they are sooo easy to make.