Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Multi-tasking Pork Chop

So I bought a pack of pork loin chops awhile ago with every intention of portioning/freezing them, which of course I never got around to. I had to use them up today before they turned bad.  But I just wasn't content with cooking one pork dish and eating it for the rest of the week.  So today, in less than an hour, I cooked four different pork dinners.

top left: Pork Mole,  top right: Maple glazed pork with carrots and apples, 
bottom left: Creamy Mushroom pork bottom right: Balsamic Pork.

Check out my mad multi-tasking skills:

Okay, now onto the recipes...

I made these in 1-2 serving sizes but the following recipes are for full portions. I'll throw in my adjustments at the end of each recipe for cooking the smaller portions.

1. Pork Mole

This was aaah-mazing.  It's not "your favorite mexican restaurant" Mole.  But its a delicious imitation using a cheater technique for the Mole taste.

 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2  (10 oz) cans of Rotel with chiles
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1. spray or oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook for about  5 minutes or until pork is done, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet and set pork aside.  Add onion and cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and cook for about 1 minute or until spices are fragrant, stirring frequently.  Add undrained tomatoes, and chocolate. Stir and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Return meat to mole mixture and stir until hot.

This was awesome served over brown rice with a bit of fresh salsa.

For a single serving use one chop, 2T of chopped onion, a couple shakes of chili powder, one shake of cumin and a dash of cinnamon. Use about 1/4 cup or a little less of rotel and about 12 chocolate chips. 

2. Maple Glazed pork with carrots and apples.

This recipe only serves 2. And I don't really have any exact measurements.  I basically sliced one apple, and quartered about eight baby carrots.  I drizzled a bit of olive oil into a skillet over med-high heat. Sprinkled the pork with salt and pepper and placed it in the skillet.  Then I added the apples and carrots and drizzled it all with pure maple syrup.  I sauteed everything for about 15 minutes, turning the heat down to medium about half way through. Make sure to keep turning the apples and carrots or else the syrup will carmelize and burn on the bottom of them.   This one is absolutely delicious. Sweet and savory all at once.  Perfect for Fall/Winter dinners.

3. Creamy Mushroom Chops

4 pork chops
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 pinch of garlic salt or to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup of S.O.S mix combined with 1/2 cups water OR 1 (10.75 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. In a large skillet, brown the chops over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, and saute for one minute. Pour cream of mushroom soup over chops. Cover skillet, and reduce temperature to medium-low. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until chops are cooked through.

For two chops salt and pepper to taste, brown chops, add 1/4 cup onion and about 5 or 6 sliced mushrooms.  Use a couple tablespoons of S.O.S and about 1/2cup of water. or about half a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Cover and reduce temp. Simmer 20 mins or until chops are cooked through.
4. Balsamic Pork

4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 1¼ pounds each)
2 tablespoons canola oil (if preparing in oven)
Stir together garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the paste all over pork. If you like or have the time, marinate overnight. If not, no worries, it will still be great! 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat canola oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add pork, and brown all over, about 4 minutes.

Transfer pan to oven. Roast pork, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees, about 20 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board, and try to let it rest 10 minutes before slicing.

For one chop use a pinch of garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, a splash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Combine, rub over pork and brown then transfer to oven. 

Next up...the bag of frozen chicken I accidentally let thaw...all five pounds of it.  D'oh!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fell off the face of the Earth, there's nothing down there.

I've been missing in action lately. I don't really know what happened... okay I do.

I got a hold of the fifth Game of Thrones book and spent every evening devouring page after page.

And then I purchased a new "smart" Blu-ray player and discovered the glory of Hulu, Netflix and the like.

And then shortly after that I discovered The Walking Dead.

I watched the entirety of the series, seasons one, two and the most recent episodes of three within a matter of a week and a half. And because I'm terrified of goblins, ghouls, ghosts and....zombies!!!  I spent my nights huddled up under my blankets peeking out at my windows for movement or...zombies.

Let me tell you, at 3AM going on two nights of no sleep, the neighbor's mailbox scarily resembles a hobbling undead creature.  The rustling branches across the street is a slow moving horde of undead walkers, and that glimpse I caught of my reflection in the bedroom window at 4AM sent me scrambling under the covers (as if hiding under the covers is going to save me from the zombie apocalypse!)  But now I'm caught up with the Walking Dead and have to wait a week between episodes, giving me time to work on other things...or have a life off of the couch.  And for good measure I've limited my viewing of the most terrifying show on Earth, "The Walking Dead", strictly to Tuesday mornings. This way I can watch it from my perch on my exercise bike while doing my 40 minute cycle session, and I have plenty of time between viewing the scariness and bedtime to ward off the heebie jeebies.

So I'm back on track, organizing my craft room, working on Christmas gifts and getting my house in order.

I'm also working on a healthier lifestyle which I'll post more on in the future!

Monday, September 17, 2012


When I was a little girl my cousin told me the corniest joke ever. To this day I still remember it.

There was a mommy tomato, daddy tomato and baby tomato going for a walk. Baby tomato fell behind so daddy tomato walked back, squashed the baby and said "ketchup!"

Today I'm playing "ketchup" on #theliljournal project.  I fell behind last week while I was getting ready for my vacation so I've spent all morning working on my journal.  

Day Eight
Day Ten
Day Eleven

I skipped a couple of days.  I might go back and do them eventually but I decided to work on a couple of other projects instead.  I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings now that I am mostly caught up with the past week!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Junk Bonanza trip Fall 2012

I recently returned from a trip to Minneapolis to check out the Junk Bonanza! Recently, as in, less than 12 hours ago, so if my grammar and punctuation is less than perfect, please forgive me.   Anyway, the trip was pretty darn awesome! I’ve been to Minneapolis before but I’ve never been to Junk Bonanza.  If you’ve never heard of it you can check out what it’s about here:  

But basically it’s a junkers/flea market lovers/American picker’s  dream land.   I will admit, some of the things there were pricey, and some weren’t quite my style but it was absolutely amazing to see so much…junk… in one place!   While I didn’t buy much, the experience was great and I will definitely be back in April!

Just as much fun as the Junk Bonanza was the trip there and back.  I’m a Road Trip Junkie so of course the drive was awesome for me.  Good tunes, a bag of snacks, and the open road.  Minneapolis is a 10/11 hour drive from my hometown in South-Central Michigan.  Driving the southern route, there isn’t a whole lot to see.  But here is a brief re-cap.

In order from top left to bottom right: Gary, IN, Chicago, who cut the cheese?, Wisconsin, the only badger that's never chased me, & Minneapolis rush hour.

Then came the Junk Bonanza.  I was so enamored with everything there that I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I wanted to.  Here are a few though.

After a morning at the Bonanza we hit up the Mall of America, well, because how could you not when it’s right there? 

There was a huge scrapbooking convention going on!

I wish I would have known!  The Archivers store sponsored it so of course the one store I wanted to buy something at had a line wrapped around the cash stand. I’m making up for it today with a trip to my favorite scrapbooking shop here in town.

The night before we left we decided to bypass the aprox $20 worth of tolls through Chicago and head up through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It tacked on an extra three hours to our trip home but it was well worth it.  For someone that has been to NYC, most of the Southern states and all the way across the country to Los Angeles and San Diego,  I have never once been to the UP or even seen the Mighty Mackinac Bridge.  It seemed shameful that I was missing out on so much of my own great state.   And after yesterday I have fallen in love with Michigan once again.  Don’t let anyone tell you different, this state is Majestic!
Northern Shores of Lake Michigan
The Mighty Mac, connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas

This is an older photo but let me show you where in Michigan I am from (courtesy of my niece):

They teach us this in Kindergarten.

And because I’m in love with this, I’ll leave you with this:

I bet you have Owl City stuck in your head for the rest of the day now ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's always a good time...

Quite an uneventful weekend for me. But none-the-less, life is good. Here is what I've been up to as of late:

Still working on that #liljournalproject.

 And making gigantic messes in the process...

Being super productive at work...
Pepé the Pepper Man

Hanging with the dark side...

And enjoying the spectacular views...

On a side note I realized I've been sporting this same clothing line for 23 years now...
oh boy...
At least my nieces know what they have to look forward to...

Friday, September 7, 2012


Over at Lil Blue Boo, Ashley has set up an amazing journaling project that I've had a great time following this week and hope to be able to keep up with in the future.

We're five days in. Here's the run-down so far.

Day 1 - Non-dominant
An exercise in using your non-dominant hand to create the first page of the journal.  This was easier than I thought it would be.  A simple enough exercise to start.

Day 2 - Mapping out the Past
The second exercise was to draw a map of the earliest classroom you remember. I was surprised I remembered as much as I did of my Pre-school classroom.

Some tid-bits that I remember from pre-school:
  • My best friend Brian was in my class. He sat kiddy-corner from me. We've known each other since before I can remember and we're still friends today. Our families are close. He joined the army this past year and leaves for Afghanistan next weekend.
  • The bathroom had two tiny toilets. We couldn't lock the door (because who in their right mind would let four year olds lock themselves in the bathroom?)  and Tasha H would always follow me in for a chat while I sat on the potty.  I think this was the start of my phobia of public restrooms.
  • The pre-school was in a brand new church. So new that they were still doing construction as we sat at our little desks. We didn't have a playground but I remember jumping through ruts in the dirt from the bulldozers.
  • The only toys I ever played with were these huge, colorful, cardboard bricks. 
  • My dad made me write my name over and over again on a yellow legal pad one night because when I was supposed write it at school I told my teacher I didn't have a name.
Oh the memories!

Day 3 - Life's simple pleasures.
This assignment came at the perfect time.  The day before had been a real struggle for me. I had been throwing a pity party because I spent my entire day working at my family's was my birthday. My dad hadn't even remembered it was my birthday and instead hounded me over an incident that had occurred with a customer the day prior. And I had been fighting with someone close to me. Cry me a river, right?  But then this topic popped up on the LBB blog and as I sat down to the write the assignment all those bad feelings just fell away. Because really, it's the little things in life like, the perfect iced coffee, a blank canvas and a box of paints, a smile from a precious niece or a call from your sister just because, that mean the most.  I was reminded of what I often pray for, those simple moments of pleasure.  I'm still filling up this page.

Day Four – People Watching or (People Creepin’)
This has probably been my favorite entry so far.  I am constantly people watching. And a few of the servers and I at work have fun creating made-up lives for frequent customers during slow shifts.  We also get a lot of strange and scary people where I work.  As in, “can I take you to my secret campsite?” strange, or  “I am going to attempt to rip this table from the wall and throw it at you but I’m not strong enough so I’m just going to throw these crumpled papers at you and flail my arms about frantically” scary.  Oh, the late nights at the BB Lounge. (I actually work at a family chain restaurant and not a bar as the made-up name implies. Which makes these patrons and occurrences even stranger).  So anyway, I’ve been leery since this new man has been coming in the past few nights. He seems tame enough for now though. And he was also great fodder for this assignment.  I’ve named him Barnaby. And I am going to learn his story.  Because all this speculation is killing me!

And because I can't resist: My thoughts on Barnaby:
Day 5 - handwriting practice
I haven't started this assignment yet but funny enough, the other day I just watched a pretty neat tutorial on lettering over at Balzer Designs. I love her blog! She has tons of Art Journaling tips and tricks. The video is great! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Master of Distraction

Today I had every intention of working on some art journal pages to blog about.  But I am so easily distracted. 

So far I've

looked at techniques online for inspiration (decent start)
watched some funny Jimmy Kimmel videos on youtube
took a shower
put a load of laundry in the washer
changed the cat litter

Okay, so now I'm going to get started....except my workspace is cluttered and covered in faux fur remnants from a recent project.

So I cleaned my work table off.  Getting closer.

But now I'm hungry for lunch.  I go to the kitchen only to find the fridge in disarray.  How upsetting. I decide to clean it.  Only to realize afterwards that my fridge like a bachelor's fridge.

expired milk? check
hot sauce?  check
beer?  check

I manage to throw together some pasta and the last of the spaghetti sauce.

I do a bit more laundry. It's 1:53.  Did someone mess with the clock? I have to leave for work in less than an hour! I better get started!

So really I accomplished nothing on the crafty to-do list today!

But on the bright side I'm slowly knocking off items on my master list... kind of.  Here's a recent dress I made for my youngest niece.  It was going to be a pink with white polka-dots a-la-Minnie-Mouse type of dress, mentioned in a previous post, for her 1st birthday party.  But then my sister and I found this absolutely adorable pink and white polka-dot tutu at a store near her house and opted for that instead.  I still wanted to make her a dress though so here is her birthday gift!
 Now it's off to work, feeling un-accomplished.  How sad.