Other | charlie on software - Part 5

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Adventures in cooking: Coca-Cola pot roast

Today I went out on a limb and tried a new recipe to make a sweet and savory pot roast. It turned out extremely well, so I felt like I would share it here:

Coca-Cola Slow Cooker Pot Roast


  •  1 3-4 lb beef roast
  • 1 can cola (350 ml if pouring into measuring cup)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • (Optional) 4-6 red potatoes
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 package either white button or baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 2 tbsp corn starch


  1. Trim roast of all excess fat
  2. Place roast in slow cooker
  3. If desired, quarter potatoes and place around roast
  4. Place carrots and celery around roast
  5. Place mushrooms around and on top of roast
  6. In a large bowl, mix cola, mushroom soup, and onion soup mix until homogeneous
  7. Pour liquid mixture on veggies
  8. Cook on low setting for 8-9 hours
  9. When cooking is complete, place a colander in large sauté pan and pour contents of slow cooker into it
  10. Strain all drippings into sauté pan
  11. In small bowl or coffee cup, mix cornstarch with 3 tbsp water
  12. Heat juices to boiling, add brown gravy mix and cornstarch slurry
  13. Wisk continually until gravy thickens

Serve beef with veggies and gravy. I added homemade mashed potatoes along with it, recipe for those follows.

Serves 5-6

Charlie’s/Emily’s Party Potatoes


  • 3-5 large russet potatoes, usually about 1 potato per serving
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 small container low fat/fat free cream cheese
  • 1 small container light sour cream
  • 1/2 stick margarine/butter (Optional) (i used orville reddenbocker fat free butter flavored popcorn topping seasoning instead)
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • (Optional) Paprika


  1. (Optional) Peel skins from potatoes
  2. Cut potatoes into approximately 1 inch cubes and place into large stock pot
  3. Cover potatoes with cold water
  4. Salt water until the salt is noticeable when tasting
  5. Heat pot to boiling
  6. Reduce heat and boil until potatoes are fork tender, roughly 45 minutes depending on potato size
  7. Drain water and return potatoes to pot
  8. Add cream cheese, sour cream, margarine, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and ranch dressing packet
  9. Beat with hand mixer until smooth and creamy
  10. (Optional) Put mashed potatoes in baking dish, top with pads of butter/margarine, sprinkle with paprika or cayenne, and bake for 20-30 minutes

This was an amazing dinner(s) for me, so maybe someone else will find it worthwhile too!


Cabo Alpha 2012 Photos

Photos from my trip to the Cabo Alpha American Leadership Academy in Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico are now posted in the gallery here.

New Thinkpad

I just received my new Thinkpad W520 laptop and the least I can say is, wow, its amazing…

  • Intel Core i7-2820QM Processor (2.30GHz, 8MB L3)
  • Dual boot Ubuntu 11.04 64/Windows 7 Professional 64
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display
  • NVIDIA Quadro 2000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory
  • 16 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory
  • UltraNav with TrackPoint & touchpad plus Fingerprint reader
  • 720p Camera
  • 750 GB Primary Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
  • 1 TB Secondary Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
  • DVD recordable multiburner
  • Express Card Slot & 4 in 1 Card Reader
  • 9 cell Li-Ion Battery – 55++
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (3×3 AGN)
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 USB/eSATA
  • 1 Powered USB
  • Dual digital microphone
  • ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3

I’ve had a blast with this thing so far, and can’t wait to dig into it more. It boots up quicker than you can believe and runs several virtual machines simultaneously with no issues at all. I plan on putting in an Intel 310 Soda Creek PCI-E SSD as soon as they get in stock on Newegg to even juice the performance a bit further. There are only two things I dislike about it thus far: 1. the size of the power adapter, its literally 3x the size of the 90W adapter that came with my T500, but that’s understandable I guess for a 170W adapter 2. The speakers are unusually quiet at full volume, even headphones are quieter than I would have thought them to be.