Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Keeping Warm in the Snowpocalypse

With winter storm Leon moving in, I needed to make something hearty for dinner tonight. Enter, chili verde. My pressure cooker is my kitchen best friend in the winter, and it cooked tonight's dinner up nice and fast. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can cook this in a regular stock pot, it's just going to take a bit longer. And, I highly recommend you go get a pressure cooker. ;-)

pre-marinated pork loin - approximately 2 lbs. - I used garlic and herb
tomatillos - approximately 1 lb.
20 oz. jar salsa verde
1 bunch of cilantro
1 medium white onion
4 cups water + 1 tbsp. chicken boullion OR 4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. olive oil

Quarter the onion, and all of the tomatillos. Remove all of the leaves from the cilantro, discarding the stems. Toss the vegetables and 3 cups of water into the blender, and blend to smoothie consistency.
Cut the porkloin into 4 or 5 chunks. Heat olive oil in pressure cooker and sear pork pieces, once seared, pour in blended vegetables and salsa verde. Use the remaining cup of water to rinse out the salsa jar and pour that in as well. Lock down the pressure cooker lid and put on the regulator - OR - if using a regular pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer.
In the pressure cooker, 2 lbs of pork should take about 40 minutes to cook. In a regular pot, more like 90 minutes.
When done, break up the meat and serve. I served ours with a dash of lime juice, sour cream and diced jalapenos.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Further adventures in no-bake

So I am sure most people are familiar with no-bake oatmeal "cookies".  They are usually misshapen lumps of chocolatey, peanut buttery, oatmeal yumminess.
I can remember gobbling them down at holiday parties and family reunions when I was a kid. Today I tried a variation on them - the oatmeal scotchie no-bake.
I found the recipe here at Shugary Sweets. I did make a slight change - I only had 3/4 cup of butterscotch chips, so I made up the other 1/4 cup with semisweet chocolate chips. The kids are scarfing them down, and while the recipe does call for a LOT of sugar, these things are also packed with fiber.
I am still looking for a way to make these healthy, and have yet to find it. I have tried subbing honey and agave syrup for the sugar - no good. They fell apart... although, it was pretty good on top of ice cream.
I have also tried subbing coconut oil for the butter, but it separated from the sugar and created a giant mess. So, if anyone knows a way to make these nuggets of awesomeness healthier, I am all ears.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

No-bake in the summertime

It's hot. It's June, in North Carolina, and it's hot. And it is only going to get hotter.
Just before school let out (yesterday) I got to work looking for some activities I could do with the girls. I decided that this could be No Bake Summer.
Making no-bake items like granola bars and such is a good kid activity - let the grown-up deal with the cooking and cutting parts, let the kids stir and squish.
I just finished making a batch of no-bake brownies. I did these by myself, the girls were worn out from the pool earlier. I started with this recipe that I found on Pinterest, and was originally posted at Domestic Rebel. I made a few changes to suit the troops. The Man isn't a huge fan of peanut butter in anything but a classic PBJ, so I  subbed peanut butter Oreos for the Nutter Butters. The rest of the recipe remained the same.
No-Bake PB Brownies
30 Peanut Butter Oreos
1 King Size Butterfinger
1 bag Peanut Butter Chips
1 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Pulse cookies and candy bar in food processor to fine crumb.
Line an 8x8 baking pan with foil and mist lightly with cooking oil
Melt chips in a double boiler or microwave safe bowl.
Add the condensed milk to the melted chips, then begin folding in the cookie crumbs a bit at a time.
Press the dough into the baking pan and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes until set.

The original recipe said to store them for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
As previously mentioned, this is June, in the South, and we live in a 73 year old house with pretty hinky air flow. So I opted to store mine in the fridge. If you choose to do the same, do your teeth a favor and let them come up to room temp before you eat. :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teh blahs, I haz dem.

So, I really suck at this whole blogging deal. And really, most everything right now.
I punked out on the strawberry cook-off. I didn't feel my recipes were quite where I wanted them to be, so I didn't enter.
This month has been busy. May is always busy. Mother's Day, four birthdays in the family, including daughter-the-elder, and at the end of the month she has end of grade testing. So much all at once. When June rolls around I can finally take a breath again.
Until then, blog posts will be hit or miss, so bear with me. ;-)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's festival time!

Years and years ago, there was an annual strawberry festival held in the town where we currently live.  I can't find information about when the first festival was, but I know it was being held as far back as the 1930's and ended sometime around 1971 or 1972.
It really was a big deal here, and in 1937 was even attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt! She wrote about it in her "My Day" newspaper column. June 12, 1937 and June 14, 1937
This year is the third for the resurrected Strawberry Festival here in Wallace.  The first two years I participated along with the local art guild and had craft items for sale. This year, since I have been busy with the kids and working on the house, I am entering the cooking contest instead.
I have decided to enter the Salads/Entrees/Appetizers category with a traditional strawberry spinach salad. I have devised (what I think to be) a rather agreeable strawberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing - and I don't even like vinaigrette.
I am also entering the dessert category. For that I have decided to do a peanut butter and jelly bar cookie with homemade strawberry jam. I did my first test run today, and while I found the flavor good, I think the texture leaves something to be desired. On the whole, it wants to fall apart. The jam did not thicken sufficiently, and left the whole bar too moist.
Still, it tastes really good and would kick butt with some vanilla ice cream.
If all goes well with the Strawberry cook-off, I think I am going to enter the one in the Blueberry festival as well. It's in June, in the next town over.
I will post recipes once I have worked out the kinks. Stay tuned...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Z-day... not so much

My husband works at a nuclear power plant. Yes, he is Homer Simpson, stfu. We were just discussing nuclear reactors and both realized that their very existence causes the whole "Zombie Apocalypse" scenario to fall apart. Think about it. For whatever reason most of the population has been wiped out or zombified. The handful of survivors that remain are too busy surviving to be like "Hey, the power is out pretty much everywhere. Perhaps I had better get my ass to the nearest nuclear power plant and monitor the reactor so it doesn't go critical."
So really, about a week after the world turns into a zombie smorgasbord, it won't even matter, because the whole planet is going to go kablooey anyway.
Problem solved.