Archive for August, 2010

August 31, 2010

Slow Cooker for busy teacher

School has officially started! I have now seen my students for 2 days and am glad to be back (even with all the start of the school year stresses). Last week we had 3 fun-filled days of school preparations and I knew that I was not going to want to cook something crazy after those busy days so I was thrilled that Giant had “picnic pork” on sale! All I had to do was put the pork & ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on & wait until dinner time (I love slow cookers & our current model was a Christmas present to Rich from his folks last year which got re-gifted to me so I could cook for him more!)

Pulled Pork in Crock Pot

This dish did not photograph as well as it tasted, but we gave it our best shot. Along with the pulled pork (recipe below) were frozen potato croquettes (from Omaha steaks – thanks dad for not wanting them) and sauteed beet tops. To make the beet tops all you have to do is wilt them down in a hot skillet with some oil & then I sliced up some beets (cooked & peeled) and threw it in last minute with some garlic vinegar and some fresh sea salt!

The recipe (as I found it on Allrecipes – with a few alterations, since I am known for not being able to follow a recipe!)…..

Pulled Pork all plated up


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 extra large onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme


  1. Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker; pour in the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion, garlic, and thyme. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours.
  2. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices
August 28, 2010

Waking up to Muffins

Having two dogs is much like having two kids sometimes! Early weekend mornings I am reminded of this more and more. When you normally get up for work during the week between 5 or 5:30 or 6 or so, the dogs (or kids) think that is normal & also like to get up that time on weekend when you really want nothing more than to just lie in bed! Well, on a recent weekend (and actually again today which is why it is 7:45 am and I have already been up for over an hour – but I guess I should be thankful for that, they let us actually sleep in!) I decided to use my time wisely and whip up a batch of Apple Cinnamon muffins. I did some searching and stumbled across this great blog by Georgia (check it out if you get a chance) and found my winning recipe (which like all great cooks, she had changes & modified from other’s ideas).

Donner & Boca

The recipe is as follows:

Apple Cinnamon Muffins (makes 12)


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples


1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine


* Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

* In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples.

* Spray paper muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and fill cups to the top. ( I skipped the “spraying cups” part since I was using paper & it didn’t need it with paper, without paper it would have though)

* For topping, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoonful over each muffin. (I hate making crumbs – mine was still “flour-y” and was just fine)

* Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

SO – these muffins were about 1/2 done as Rich blearily came down the stairs so he got some hot out of the oven (after allowing me to snap a photo or 2 as they cooled). The sour cream in these muffins was an amazing (and healthy) change to some other muffin recipes that I have used. I also cut my apples to different sizes so some almost disappeared & others gave you a nice big chunk. When this gets made again, I think I will add some more cinnamon since I love that flavor in these muffins! Then my dad came over to enjoy some. Well, Dad actually came over to help build stairs & I just happened to have yummy food – but it was all worth it because by the end of the day we had stairs from the porch to the fenced in area of the yard to let the said dog/children out, everyone enjoyed muffins, & I was all ready to bring in some snacks to the secretaries at school! 🙂

August 27, 2010

Tomatoes to Salsa

crazy-ugly-huge tomato

Salsa…. one of my FAVORITE foods – always has been & always will be (if I had to name my top 2 foods it would be salsa & chocolate, hands down… just not together – although I do have a gourmet chili-chocolate bar that I love, so maybe I could make a chocolate salsa!). When we got fresh tomatoes from our gardens (some from our garden, some from Rich’s current landlord’s garden – he has lots of heirloom tomatoes which have a fantastic taste, maybe next summer here) I just had to make salsa.

Garden fresh Veggies

Before I did anything, I just had to snap this photo of the bounty – it was too pretty to ignore. All I did for this salsa was chop up tomatoes, different heats (and amounts) of hot peppers since my mom likes it mild, I like it medium hot, dad likes it hot, & Rich likes it burn your face off… so I made two bowls to try to make everyone happy. To the tomatoes and peppers I added chopped onions (scallions), lime juice, cilantro, and some salt & pepper. I do have to say that it actually is not my favorite salsa that I have made, but the freshness of the flavors was absolutely amazing  and there were no complaints.

Bowls of Salsa

August 26, 2010

Light & Fresh Tomato & Orzo salad

The other night we went out for wings at a local bar that has a million (ok, maybe like 100+) different beers from around the world. I love going there for wings, but unfortunately it is very close to the college & therefor during the school year we almost never go because there are too many college kids (and at age 27, I already can not deal with that type of bar crowd – I’ve always been such an “old lady” at heart!) BUT – I am not posting about wings, I’m posting about eating before wings. I don’t know about anyone else, but I always eat before going for wings so I don’t eat too many wings & then get sick and things like that.

Tomato, Orzo, & Garbanzo bean Salad

We had a ton of fresh cherry tomatoes & I was browsing my favorite site: when I came across a beautiful picture for Orzo Tomato Salad from “The Hazel Bloom” who has a very real and down to earth approach to her blog which I like – so check out my inspiration for tonight at her blog and was sold! I had to run out to the store (the poor puppy had eaten the last of her dog food that morning) so while I was out I bought my first ever box of orzo (I know I have eaten it out before – just never grew up having it or cooking it, I’m now quite pleased with it though). Came home & mixed it up – cut up those fresh tomatoes, mixed in the 2 cups of cooked orzo, fresh basil & mint from outside, a can of garbanzo beans and our light dinner was ready. I let it sit out for much of the afternoon just because I wanted it room temperature & it was fabulous. Thinking I’m gonna try it again with our big tomatoes we have right now: the flavors and textures and everything in this dish just worked (entree, lunch, side, whatever) – just enjoy it!

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August 22, 2010

Fresh Stuffed Tomatoes

I promised you that you would see that goat cheese & the tomatoes again – so here we go! We had a few beautiful looking tomatoes & the goat cheese (which honestly, not sure if I will buy again – it was fun to work with and a different flavor, but as far as “exotic” cheeses go I love and would rather feta & blue cheese. I do love cheese though & was time and money allow, look forward to tasting and playing with them!).

Who doesn’t love the taste of tomatoes, mozzarella, & basil!? I can’t think of anyone. So I decided to play off of that theme. I mixed up cream cheese (less that a 1/4 of a package) some goat cheese (about an ounce or two), some 4-cheese shredded cheese mixture, diced up mozzarella and some garlic. Then I cut the tops off of the cherry tomatoes (and one larger one) & scooped out the insides. Finally just scooped some of my cheese mixture inside, topped it all with a basil leaf & plated it up with some toasted bread (the leftovers from the paninis).

cheese stuffed tomato

Cheese Stuffed tomato

The look on Rich’s face when he came home and saw this waiting for him on the table was priceless – I should have set up that shot in addition to the food. He is learning very quickly though and before even touching the plate stopped to ask if I had already photographed the plate & if he could eat!

Eat Fresh, Eat Healthy, Eat Happy!

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