1 rump or chuck roast
2 tsp. olive oil 
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups water
salt & pepper, to taste
3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1/2 onion, sliced
cornstarch, as needed for thickening, optional

How to make it

Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat and sear (brown) roast on all sides.  Place roast in bottom of slow cooker.  Return skillet to heat and add water, onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, and applesauce and whisk to combine.  Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

Place vegetables around and on top of roast.  Slowly pour gravy mixture over veggies and roast, being sure to get all potatoes covered with the sauce so they don't turn black as they cook.  Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours*. 

Remove roast and veggies to oven-safe serving platter, cover immediately with foil, and place in a warm oven.  Turn slow cooker to HIGH and whisk in some cornstarch mixed with water to thicken the gravy.  Cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened.  Serve with roast and veggies.

*I don't always get my roast ready in time to cook for 8 hours, so I usually cook it on HIGH for two hours or so and then reduce it to LOW for another four.