Friday, August 24, 2012

sweet and spicy pork...

one of my favorite things about cooking is discovering flavors that compliment each other. I firmly believe spicy always needs to be balanced with an element of sweetness so the spice doesn't become too overwhelming. I've been hearing a lot about hot pepper jelly lately so I wanted to incorporate it into an upcoming recipe.

Pork is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to cook. I like the flavor better than chicken and it actually takes much less time to cook. So the other night I decided to delve into the world of hot pepper jelly by combining it with pork. All I was missing was missing was the sweetness. I wanted something fresh with some texture to it so I created my own fruit salsa.

I combined mango, peach, pineapple and banana peppers and let the flavors marinate in the fridge for a few hours. I then poured a portion of it over the pork and let it marinate a little longer.

I then cooked the pork in a pan with 2 Tbsp of EVOO over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, until it is browned on each side and cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside. In a bowl I combined the hot pepper jelly and a little bit of lemonade to thin it out.

Take the jelly mixture and add it to the pan you cooked the pork in. Over medium heat, let it thicken, stirring occasionally. Then return the pork to the pan and coat it in the hot pepper jelly glaze. When I plated it up, top the pork with a spoonful of the fruit salsa you put aside (NOT from pork marinade). 

As a side dish (and to keep the sweet theme going), I roasted cubed sweet potatoes that I marinated in a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and served it with apple butter and brown sugar. 

Not to toot my own horn, but it was so good. The pepper jelly is SPICY but mixed with the fruit salsa it was just the right balance of sweetness and spice. This will definitely be added to the dinner repertoire around here.

Have you ever used Hot Pepper Jelly? Share your recipes with me!

Monday, August 20, 2012

one year...

one year ago today I married a wonderful man who may be the world's sweetest person. he makes me laugh, puts up with my moods and loves me no matter what.
I don't think he'll ever know just how much I love him so I am putting out there for all of the world to see.
I love you honey. Happy Anniversary!

Here's to 60 more!

Friday, August 17, 2012

friday funny...

enjoy some laughs this beautiful friday afternoon. saw it this morning on soyeahduh and couldn't get it out of my head. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

summer salad...

one of the best parts of summer is all of the fresh produce. but fruits and vegetables don't have to stay in separate corners like boys and girls at a grade school dance. mix them together, get creative! the combination of flavors will give your taste buds a welcome surprise.

delicious summer salad with grapes, strawberries and blueberries.

yesterday for lunch I threw leftover fruit salad on top of a bed of lettuce, sprinkled it with fat free feta and some bacon bits then topped it with my new favorite White Balsamic Vinaigrette. it was light, bright and delicious. perfect for a summer day.   

Thursday, August 9, 2012

girl power!

There is no denying that women's volleyball has been out of this world during the London Olympics. From the indoor team to the USA beach volleyball duos going gold and silver, they've had me jumping around my living room, wishing I could return to my college volleyball days. All of these ladies couldn't be better representatives for this amazing sport. But these two are in a league of there own. The best team to ever hit the beach and an inspiration to little (and big) girls everywhere. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

going bananas: banana bread recipe

this post is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S! no, literally it is. I don't think there is anything that could make me feel more "Susie Homemaker" than thinking that I have a taste for something (i.e. banana bread) and actually having all the ingredients on hand. That's right folks, I'm all grown up. A real, live adult here. I had the craving this morning and two short hours later, I have delicious banana bread sitting in my kitchen.

I cobbled together some recipes I found online, and here's what my final modified recipe looked like:

O'Brien Banana Bread
4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar 
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
(Walnuts are optional - I didn't use them)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
With a wooden spoon, mix butter, mashed bananas and walnuts if you're using them in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the baking soda, salt and nutmeg and mix. Add the flour and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan or two mini loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Make sure you let it cool before slicing.

My sister is coming in from LA tomorrow to visit, so I'm hoping the bread lasts long enough for her to taste!

Friday, August 3, 2012

lettuce get healthy: healthy living recipe

The Mr. and I didn't hold back in Boston. Beer, steak, burgers, seafood... beer. It was great and I don't regret one minute of it. But now we're getting serious. Healthy eating, working out, making better lifestyle choices.

For our first dinner back home, I "remixed" one of our favorite meals into an even healthier version. I took my healthy Pad Thai recipe, cut the amount of chicken in half and turned them into lettuce wraps.

I left out the spaghetti squash and cilantro and just used chicken, half the amount of peanut sauce, carrots, cabbage and spicy peanuts for the filling. The beauty of lettuce wraps is that they are instant portion control. Unlike the mounds of pad thai I can heap into a bowl, you can only add a spoonful or two to the wrap because they are so delicate.

I paired it with Thai rice with lime and lemongrass. YUM! Delicious and nutritious, and met with rave reviews from the Mister. As a big taco and burrito family, lettuce wraps are definitely going to be a new staple of our diets. Chinese chicken, tacos, and buffalo chicken would all be delicious wrapped in crisp iceberg lettuce. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I left my heart in Boston...

things have been a little quiet around here because the Mr. and I enjoyed a nice little getaway to Boston last week. I had never been before and about 10 minutes after landing, I was in love. The city is just beautiful. So historic and lush with trees and gardens. It is such a walkable city too. We only took a cab once because it was raining. I could have stayed there much longer and I'm already planning my next visit. The only bummer was that I didn't see any of the New Kids around town. Maybe next time.
Here are few pics of our adventures:

Row 1: Old South Church, Boston Public Garden, Swan Boats in the Garden, waiting for the Freedom Trail tour
Row 2: Freedom Trail guide Colonial Cal, balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time, Boston Common, carousel in the Common
Row 3: Fenway, L Street Tavern featured in Good Will Hunting, the table/booth in the Skylar scene in GWH, the bar featured in The Town (we took a Boston movie tour that took you to sites of all the major pictures filmed in Boston, do it if you go, it was so fun!)
Row 4: On the Harbor, The Black Rose Irish Pub, JJ Foley's Irish Pub (we did our own impromptu  pub crawl), Cheers!
Row 5: Harpist on Boylestown St., the back of Sarah McLachlan (if you follow me on FB you'll know I followed her for 5 blocks trying to get up the courage to say something but never did), heading out for the night, at Legal Sea Foods