2. This One

This one, no matter the circumstances, is able to bring a smile to my face and joy into my life.

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Weekends at the cottage are a time for dividing cooking and clean-up duties.  One night the Husband and I cook, and my brother and his wife clean up and we switch the next night.  Tonight, the Husband and I were on cooking detail.  I don’t think there is anything better in the whole world than being in the kitchen together (ok maybe if the kids are in the kitchen with us and helping out . . . that’s pretty much perfection).  And the cherry on top tonight?  We made a recipe that we used to make back in the day, before kids, when we had dinner parties with friends.  The kind of dinner parties that could stretch late into the night because no one had to get home to babysitters/nannies/in-laws.

The recipe you ask?  Well, it’s Gourmet’s Island Pork Tenderloin.  We made it without the Tobasco tonight so the kids could eat it as well.  And the best part of this dish???  Using the leftovers, as a side, or mixed right in to some scrambled eggs.

And of course, the best side for the pork??  Ginger coconut rice.  In fact, the rice, with a generous spoonful of the sauce from the pork poured over it???  Just make it.  You’ll be in heaven.

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Ginger Coconut Rice

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • chopped green onions (the green parts only)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil and add in the grated ginger on medium-high heat.  Stir until the ginger is fragrant.
  2. Add in the water, coconut milk and rice and stir to combine.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir.
  4. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the rice is cooked.  I am rather unorthodox about how I cook my rice, I will lift the lid of the pot and stir it all up, checking on how much liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from the heat once the rice is cooked to your preferred level of doneness – garnish with the green onions.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Laugh

So, I was up at 4:30 this morning.  To work on a spreadsheet.  For our vacation.  Not a spreadsheet on what to pack (I did that last week), and not a spreadsheet with a general itinerary (that was done months ago).  Nope.  A spreadsheet outlining everything that I have planned for us on each day of our vacation.

And as I finalized the formatting and hit print . . .

I laughed.

We are visiting the most magical place on earth, and here I am, STILL trying to plan exactly how, when and where we will have magical moments.

And then there were tears.  I thought I was supposed to be letting go, surrendering to what is, what could be, what will be, enjoying the moment.  And yet I can’t stop planning what we’re doing (and what we’re going to wear while we’re doing it) on our vacation.

Then there was frustration.  Really, have I not absorbed any of the stuff that I’ve been reading/talking/blogging about lately?  Did I not learn from the post where I talked about “over-planning killing magic”????

So I did the only logical thing I could do.  Set my son up with a lego set, set up daughter up with a bin of magnatiles (her current obsession), and gave myself a time out to stop, to think, and to compose myself.  And while in that self-imposed time out (really, I was putting away laundry . . . but it was a few quiet moments to myself to think), I got back to that place of laughter.

Really, it’s time to stop taking all this so seriously.

“To laugh at yourself is to love yourself”
-Mickey Mouse

And on that note, I’m going to smile my way to the gym, where I’m sure there will be lots more laughs.  And after that . . . well, I’ll do my best to keep on laughing.

Speaking of which . . . I made a fantastic dinner last night.  It was super easy, took next to no time to prepare, and the leftovers taste even better.  So here goes . . .

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Applesauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 pork tenderloins

4 apples (I used 2 granny smith and 2 honey crisp – use whatever you have in the fridge

1 shallott, minced

1/3 cup maple syrup

3tbsp butter

3tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper, cinnamon to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Heat a large cast iron or oven proof skillet on medium/high heat.  Add the olive oil, making sure the bottom of the pan is well oiled, and add in the pork tenderloin.  Let the pork brown on each side (about 4 minutes per side).
  3. When the pork is browned, remove it from the pan and add in the butter, and turn the heat down to low/medium.  When the butter has melted, add in the shallot and apples.  The pan will still be hot, so turn the apples frequently so they don’t burn – they may get a bit browned, but that’s ok.  Once the apples start to get soft, add the pork back to the pan so that it is resting on the apples.  Now pour the maple syrup all over the pork.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and let the pork cook until it registers 145 on a meat thermometer (or until it is just barely pink when you cut into it).  This took about 12 minutes for one of my tenderloins and about 20 minutes for the other.
  5. Once the pork is cooked, the apples should be nice and soft.  Serve by slicing the pork and putting a heaping spoonful of the apples over the pork.

Kindness Part II

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness since our little study of Cinderella last week.  It’s a theme that came up again Peter Pan over the weekend, and it’s a theme that seems to pop up in a number of the stories we’ll be looking at over the next few weeks.

Earlier today, a friend commented on my post saying that if he “had to choose one character trait to instil in (his) children, it would be kindness”.

I agree completely.

But how do we do that in this day and age where it seems that the more competitive you are at something, the better you are as a human; if you’re out to win at all costs, what room is there for kindness?

For now, the Husband and I can model kindness to our kids in how we treat each other, how we treat them, and how we treat others.  And I can only hope that the lessons the kids learn from watching us now, and from our talks about the power that can flow from being a kind person, will last them into their teen years . . . . and beyond.

Now, while I’m on the subject of kindness, I practiced some kindness towards myself yesterday.  As much as I wanted a less hectic after-school schedule this year, it seems like we’re getting home even later from programs and lessons than ever before.  Family dinners are important to the Husband and I – we both grew up eating as a family each night – and prepared meals from the grocery store don’t exactly fit into our health-ier eating plan.  Which means I’m finding myself having to get more delft at menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.

This week, I accepted that we don’t get home from the little one’s dance classes until about 5:45.  We generally eat at 6.  Which leaves me 15 minutes to get a meal on the table . . . So, thanks to a little inspiration from a friend, yesterday morning saw me bringing out the crockpot and “making” dinner at 7 in the morning.  When we ran in the door at 5:45, all I had to do was get the broccoli steaming (I had it prepped and ready on the stove) and we were ready to eat at 6.  Perfection!!!

Everyone enjoyed this dish.  It is basically pork tenderloin with homemade applesauce all cooked in one pot!  I served it with a side of broccoli – next time I might serve it over pureed cauliflower.  It would be good with mashed sweet potato too!

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Apples

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

2 pork tenderloins of approximately the same size

2 cups bone broth (aka chicken stock – I use my own, but you could use a low-sodium store bought stock)

4 apples peeled and cored (you could leave the peels on if you are short on time)

1 onion sliced

Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Use a bit of butter/olive oil/coconut oil to grease the bottom of the crockpot
  2. Put the sliced onions in the bottom of the crockpot
  3. Lay the 2 pork tenderloins on top of the onions.
  4. Throw the apples in over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the broth over the pork.
  6. Put the lid on and simmer the pork for about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

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