Monday, October 31, 2011

An Apple A Day - Apple Coleslaw and Pulled Pork Tortas

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We are very blessed to have a few heirloom fruit trees on our property - two apple trees, a pear tree and several cherry-plum trees.  The critters - big and small - hooved and winged - all love our fruit trees! After a good pruning last year,  the apple trees were very fruitful this year.  The apples themselves aren't show-piece apples, but they are so tasty and aren't sprayed with any pesticides.

I thought I'd try out some new recipes featuring apples.  This past week I made pulled pork served with apple coleslaw and apple cider!  Nothing goes better with pork than apples!

A happy customer eating his third serving!

Apple Coleslaw

4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and coarsely shredded (I prefer to julienne the apple)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon pineapple juice (optional)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I prefer Miracle Whip)
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the shredded cabbage and carrot together in a bowl with the sliced apple, and toss to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together the honey, brown sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice, and mayonnaise until the honey and sugar have dissolved completely. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

2 pork shoulder roasts
1-2 cups apple cider
1 bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce

Put the meat in a slow cooker; pour cider and BBQ sauce over meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Shred pork using a fork to pull it apart.  Serve on tasty roll.

More apple delectables on their way later this week!  Keep toasty warm with some warm apple cider.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Papertrey Ink Design Challenge: Brayer Impressions #2

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Thought I'd give the Papertrey Ink challenge another go.

I'm particularly liking the color combination of
aqua and red.  Great for just about any occassion.

This little darling is planned for an upcoming birthday.

Papertrey Ink Stamps Used: Mat Stack Collection & die, Tag It's #1 & #3
Papertrey Ink Supplies Used: White cardstock (the best card stock by far!), impression plate, baker's twine, buttons, aqua mist and pure poppy dye ink (from the new manufacturer - love it!).
Border of gifts: Martha Stewart Crafts

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Papertrey Ink Design Challenge: Brayer Impressions

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Time for another weekly design challenge from Papertrey Ink.
This week, the challenge was to use a brayer to ink over an impression.
See How-To Tutorial Video Here.

Here's my take on the challenge.
With all of the snow falling in many parts of the U.S., warm mittens and
snowflakes come to mind.

A little something for my new Send Love Today assignment.

Papertrey Ink Stamps Used: Mat Stack Collection & die, Tag It's #3, Tiny Treats Christmas
Papertrey Ink Supplies Used: White cardstock (the best card stock by far!), baker's twine, buttons, aqua mist and pure poppy dye ink (from the new manufacturer - love it!).

Has the snow hit your part of the world?  I'm still enjoying the last little bit of Pacific Northwest sunshine.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Some like muscles - others like mussels

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Image from Penn Cove Shellfish

One of the greatest pleasures of living in the Pacific Northwest
is having delicious and fresh fish and seafood right at hand.
I wasn't much of a mussel eater until I moved here and had a bowl of

Penn Cove Mussels are those to which all others are compared when it comes to taste!  Harvested by Penn Cove Shellfish in Coupeville, Washington on Whidbey Island.  So very yummy - there are no other words to describe this delicacy.

Being a Northwest girl now, I have an arsenal of recipes featuring these little devils.  One of my husband's favorites is Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Sauce simply served with crusty bread to sop up the juice and a glass of red wine.  Add to it a beautiful pink & purple sunset over the water and past the mountains and you have heaven on earth.

Simple ingredients mostly available in your pantry.

Cook and serve in a paella pan - very festive.

The recipe I use is from one of Lidia's cookbooks. 
If you don't know Lidia, you haven't had real Italian cooking
(unless of course you happen to be lucky to have
dined in my mother's kitchen).
I recommend any of Lidia's cookbooks if you want to learn
authentic Italian cooking.  She also has cooking
shows on the PBS channel.

Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen

This is my dear dad eating his second bowl of spicy mussels.
He had three bowls in total (over 4 pounds)!
He's an eating machine!  The greatest complement you can
give the cook is to ask for seconds and especially thirds!!

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce
(Source: Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich)

2 pounds mussels, preferrable cultivated from Penn Cove Farms in Washington State
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved) or 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
10 large fresh basil leaves, shredded
salt to taste

1.  Clean and debeard mussels as needed.  Remember to discard any mussels that are not closed shut or do not close when tapped.
2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet - a paella pan is perfect for this dish and presents nicely on the table.  Add garlic and cook, shaking the pan until golden (about 3 minutes).  Slide the tomatoes into the skillet and stir in the oregano and red pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down (about 5 minutes).
3.  Stir the mussels into the skillet, then pour in the wine.  Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and cook just until the mussels are opened (about 3-5 minutes).  Do not overcook or the mussels will be tough.
4. Stir in the basil.  Add salt to taste.
5.  Discard any mussels with unopened shells.  Serve with crusty bread to sop up the juice.

I can hear my grandmother's voice still ringing in my ears. "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!  Mangia!  Mangia!"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cheap Eats: Chicken and Lentil Salad

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Looking for more ways to put legumes in your diet.  I try to have at least one meal per week that includes legumes.

Here is a great, simple but tasty salad using lentils.  It's great as a side dish or served as a tapa.  I used the bits and pieces left over from a rotisserie chicken served earlier in the week.

Chicken and Lentil Salad


1 cup brown lentils, sorted of debris and rinsed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup slivered red onion
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves



1. Simmer lentils in 1 qt. lightly salted water in a covered saucepan just until tender to the bite, 15 minutes. Drain.
2. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, then gently stir in warm lentils.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cheap Eats: Rice and 'Peas'

Pin It So, I'm in my kitchen yesterday wondering what to cook for dinner.
I see that I have a package of organic chicken breast (steal of a deal in my local supermarket this week) and rice in the pantry.  I'm not in the mood for my normal Arroz con Pollo, so I pull up MYRECIPES.COM (see previous post) and type in chicken tenders and rice.  Up pops two recipes  - Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Tenders and Classic Jamaican Rice and Peas ...Add a salad and we have a delicious and healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes!

Classic Jamaican Rice and Peas


  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (such as jasmine)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used black beans in my version.)


  • Combine the first 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in rice; reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat; remove the thyme sprigs and garlic, and discard. Gently stir in the beans. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Place oats in a food processor, and process for 20 seconds or until coarsely ground. Add cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pulse to combine, and place in a shallow bowl.
  • Place each chicken breast tender between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Coat both sides of tenders with cooking spray; dredge tenders in oat mixture. Place tenders on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until browned.

Have you tried MYRECIPES.COM yet? 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"I Gar-an-tee" you'll love this e-cookbook

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You may remember, back in April  I set a goal to widdle down my cookbook collection (See Post).  I'm making progress, but still have a ways to go.  One of the challenges I came across was the best means to keep the recipes I love while still leting go of the paper.

One of the solutions I found was MYRECIPES.COM (link here).  In addition, to the many cookbooks in my pantry were stacks of torn out pages from magazines, mostly Sunset or Coastal Living or Cooking Light.  At MYRECIPES.COM, you can find all recipes printed in these magazines and many more!  The coolest part of MYRECIPES.COM is that you can create your own recipe file - you simply type in your recipe and there it resides in digital cyberland, ready for you to access it at any time from any where in the world.  I've started several personalized recipe files on MYRECIPES.COM - one for all of my treasured family recipes, another for Christmas favorites, and others for various themes.  This will come in so handy when I'm on vacation or visiting family and want to cook one of my favorite specialties.  You can also create menus and shopping lists! But wait, there's more ... you can even access MYRECIPE.COM if you have a smartphone or an iPad / tablet (you lucky duck).  How handy is this when you're at the grocery store, see a sweet deal and wonder what you might make with the item and what other ingredients you need to go along with that sweet deal?!

The other great tool I'm using to keep those favorite recipes until I can populate my e-recipe file, is my Neatreceipts Scanner and the Neatworks data management tool.  This little device is the best organizing tool in my arsonal (see previous post here).  I simply scan that recipe and capture it in my computer on a pdf file.  Upload it to Google documents or Dropbox or whatever database on the Cloud that you like, and there it is - available to you 24/7 from any computer, smartphone or iPad/tablet (again, you lucky duck).  Imagine the possibilities ...  you are visiting with your grandkids and they plead for your special Monkey Bread.  Alas you don't have your recipe box with you - but you do have access to the internet :)  Sweet, tasty monkey bread is only a few keystrokes away and the kids think you are the best and coolest Grandma in the whole world!

I still am keeping a binder with all of the handwritten recipes given to me by my grandmothers, my mom and mother-in-law.  This keepsake binder is stored away with all of my other treasured memories so that the next generation will have them.

How do you store your favorite recipes?  Have you integrated the digital world into your kitchen?

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