Friday, July 25, 2014

Spiced Pork Chops, Mango Salad

It was a great week. 

As I was anticipating this week from the perspective of last weekend, I was not sure how everything was going to fit. I need the mad skillz of a contortionist or the genius brain of a jig-saw puzzle aficionado. (which is NOT me. I hate puzzles. Almost as much as I hate cutting.)

Blueberries are ripe for the picking.

I needed my granola. (I buy it from a store an hour's drive from my house. 2 hours, if you count there and back)

I was hanging with my friend on Monday, plus I had another meeting about the wedding I am "catering" on Saturday. (which basically involves a bit of watermelon slicing, pulled turkey reheating, broccoli salad combining plus setting up, running the buffet and cleaning up. Not much in the scope of things. But, it's the responsibility of it.)

Working on Thursday.

Brunch with the BFF on Friday-me cooking.


Tri practice on Friday night.

Ladies' meeting at church on Wednesday afternoon.

Blues Concert Tuesday night.

VBS for the 3 oldest kids Monday through Friday.

Cater the wedding on Saturday. 

Can you see why I was a bit overwhelmed?

So, I chose to pick and choose. To prioritize in order to not lose my mind.

No blueberries. This week. They will still be around on Monday. And that is when I will get them.

Combine a granola trip with a family trip to the beach. We pass the beach on the way down. It made the trip more than worth it.

Get up early for training. And go to bed early for sleeping.

Instead of being crazy, it has been a really good week. Things fit into their place, without it being like the jig-saw puzzle work of a contortionist.

I made this pork chop recipe for the Blues Concert picnic on Tuesday. I am not a big fan of fruit with my meat, so I keep these separated, but it sure looks nice together on the plate. Greens. Yellows. Porky-pink. 

This would be a great recipe to serve at a Green Bay Packers game...

I must confess I don't have any coriander, so I have made this twice without, and it was still really good. The pork chops are spiced not spicy

You can buy pork chops, or buy pork loin and cut your own chops. I usually buy the pork loin because it is a good cut of meat for a great price.

Spiced Pork Chops
1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin, fat trimmed
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander (I must confess I don't have any coriander, so I have made this twice without)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

-Preheat grill to medium high.
-Cut pork into 3/4” chops.
-In a gallon sized bag, mix the flour and seasonings. Add the pork, and shake around unit evenly coated.
-Grill chops, turning once, until the pork loses its pink color, about 5 minutes per side.
-Serve with Mango Salsa.

Mango Salsa
2 ripe mango
3 medium kiwi
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger (or a 1/4 tsp ginger powder)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

-Peel, pit, and coarsely chop the mango, and place in a bowl.
-Peel and coarsely chop the kiwi and add to the mango.
-Chop cilantro. Grate the ginger.
-Add the vinegar, ginger and cilantro to the fruit and stir well.

How was your week? What did you give up to make room for priorities?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Favorites Currently

Occasionally it is time to get back to the basics of blogging, and do a light list of currents favorites...

My favorite (this week):

Bathing Suit-Lands End Slender Suit (here) Okay, this is hands down the most flatteringly modest suit I have ever worn. The girls are completely covered, and the side shirring is very slimming. Wow! I personally prefer my white shell bead necklace with my suit.

you thought I was going to post a picture of myself in my suit?
Snort! Not hardly!

Activity: reading or writing in my backyard in the canopy created by my cherry tree branches. Peaceful. Breezy. Relaxing.

Author: Susanna Kearsley. (here) I mentioned her a while back on my current reads list. I LOVE her writing style and the genre she is dipping in. Her books are fiction, and most are set in modern day with a storyline that also is happening sometime in history.

Splendor Falls bridged now and Medieval times. Firebird was set in France and St. Petersburg in the early 1700s following the story of Jacobites there. Shadowy Horses had a storyline in Wales in Roman times.

She also includes lines of poems by famous poets for in the beginning of each of her books. Awesome!

I am on my fourth title by her, which is all my library system carries. I maybe will do the (almost) unthinkable (for me) and purchase her kindle only books.

Bean Snappers: these four...

Indulgence: M&M McFlurries. What can I say? I love M&Ms on/with ice-cream. I love how the chocolate kind of freezes. Delicious.

Deal: My new bicycling gloves. Brand new. Cost-$22. Cost to me-$0. Plus, more than any of my biking gear, these make me look like I know what I'm doing. It's an optical illusion. But, a nice one.

and, how do you pose your hand in a picture? Awkward!
Recent gift: this colander. From a dear family friend. She gave it to me this spring and I thought in my heart, "ain't nobody got time for a colander!" I always strain things via a tipped pan lid. Well, this beauty has sat atop my fridge, and because it is so handy and convenient, I have used it a ton! It is the perfect size for draining a pound of noodles. Who woulda thought?

Podcasts: Art of Simple (here) and How They Blog (here). I am newly converted to the wonder of podcasts. I listen to them mostly when I dust my house, and I listened to them last week when I sewed. Basically I listen when I am doing a task that doesn't require my full attention. I like the Art of Simple Podcast because I like the host, Tsh Oxenrider. She has a heart for simple living and for travel. These podcasts are about 30 minutes long, which is a perfect length for most tasks.

How They Blog is hosted by Kat Lee. She interviews bloggers about blogging and life. I particularly liked her interviews of Laura Smith, Erin Odom and Denise Hughes. Laura Smith sounds like a kindred "set and accomplish goals" soul. Erin Odom mentioned something about scheduling FB posts for 3:00 a.m. which I have been doing and it has sky rocketed my exposure and traffic. Denise Hughes had some great tips on the nuts and bolts of writing.

Bling: This sterling silver flower ring. So, I paid nothing for the gloves. I paid $2.11 for this ring. Original price-$35. It was 75% off, plus I had $10 in Kohls cash. You can't beat it! It's been a great value because I have worn it every day for the past month...

Thrift Find: this beauty. I don't know why it caught my eye, but it did. Blue glass. Probably holds 2 gallons. I have no idea what I might use it for, but it was one of those things that you buy now and contemplate later. One word-gorgeous!

What's on your favorites list this week?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Unapologetic World View

So, if you know me very well, you know that I am unapologetic about most things. Because I'm right about most things. Not everything. But, like, 99% of things...

I jest.

Whether I am right the majority of the time or not, I am confident the majority of the time. Loud and proud and all that.

(un)Shockingly enough, I am pretty confident and unapologetic of my worldview.

Simply put-worldview is how you view the world. (Rose-colored glasses is a worldview.) It's the overall perspective from which you see and interpret the world. Your world view is your filter.

Through what lens are you looking at culture, people and events?

Worldview is very important. It affects how you think, and thus how you act.

How do you view this world?

My worldview would fit into the Biblical worldview category. I try to see culture, people and events the way God sees them and Scripture portrays them. I try to fit culture with the Bible, not the Bible with culture. It is the difference between looking through the big or small ends of the binoculars.

And even though this worldview is not in the vogue currently, I will not apologize for it.

Five unequivocal filters in my worldview are...

God is good-all the time. And He is accomplishing good in believer's lives all the time. Circumstances may be rotten, but God is good. (Mark 10:18)

Jesus Christ is the (definite article) Truth. (John 14:6) Jesus Christ is unchanging. (Hebrews 13:8) Therefore, truth is unchanging. Truth is absolute. A truth is something that is true for all people in all situations. Truth is not subject to popular vote, majority opinion or democratic process. Truth is still true even if it is only held and believed by the minority. (the world was still round even when scientists said it was flat. What they believed didn't change the truth)

The Bible is God's Word. Because God cannot lie, then the words contained in the Bible are truth. (Hebrews 6:18)

Every person ever born was born a sinner,(Romans 3:23) and thus needs a Savior.

Jesus Christ died a criminal death on the cross, to fulfill the punishment and pay the price of sinners' sin. (John 3:16)

It only follows that these foundational beliefs shape how I view the world.

When I don't understand something in the Bible, I don't ever question the truth of the Bible.

When culture contradicts the Bible, I err on the side of the Bible. Scripture is right, thus culture must be wrong.

When I go through tough circumstances, my anchor of hope is that God is good. I may not be able to see the goodness in the midst of the trouble, but this assurance keeps me getting up in the morning.

When I meet with people whom I disagree with, or whose life choices/lifestyle I disagree with, I am able to evaluate those choices, etc. by the Bible, and agree or disagree, but also still love the person, because they are a soul for whom Christ died. Because God loves them. That's the truth.

Our world does not appreciate my worldview. The educated would call me brainwashed. Many Christians would call me a bigot. The cultured would say that I am ignorant. They'd tell me that the only reason I believe this book of fairy tales is because it was what I was taught as a kid.

And, I would have to agree that my upbringing definitely shaped my worldview (as did your's). But, that, in and of itself, does not make my world view wrong.

Everyone has a worldview. What's your's?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why I Don't have a Post Today (again)

Aka...a day in the life-summer version

Yesterday my alarm chirped (literally-it is set to crickets) at 4:45. I got dressed, drove to the pool, swam a mile, and took my first shower of the day.

Mr. Hippie and I then headed to our local bagel shop for our Monday morning weekly scheduling and prayer meeting.

By 7:00 I was home, starting breakfast for the kids and throwing in the first load of laundry.

7:26 saw me out the door for a 3 mile run.

8:00 came and went, as did I. Switched out running shoes and baseball cap for bike, gloves, helmet and biking shoes. 16 fast miles.

9:05 marked the beginning of my second shower of the day. This time I put a bit more effort into my coif when I was done. Switched the laundry.

My brood and I were out the door at 9:45 for a 10:00 meeting.

We then drove from that meeting to a friend's house by the lake. We ate lunch and chatted, and the kids played and we hung out at the beach and it was an all around meeting of the minds and hearts.

So encouraging. Such a blessing.

We got home from the beach about 10 minutes to 5. I preceded to wash that sand right out of my two girls' hair. And then folded the load of laundry that was started earlier. And checked my email. And made dinner. Which only required chopping up half a watermelon and reheating some pulled pork.

But it had to be done before 6 so the kids could eat and be at VBS by 6:30.

After dinner I cleaned up the dishes, I swept the porch and dining room, watered my herbs, folded the second load of laundry (and put it away) and started a load of beach towels.
At that point in time I had a choice-mindlessly troll social media on my bed in front of the air conditioner or write a post.
I think you know what I chose...

The day finished up with a stop at the ice cream store on the way to pick up,the kids from VBS. I was prostrate on my bed in front of the ac by 9:15.

And that is why I don't have a post for today....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sewing Up a Storm...

So, last week...

I took a blogging break.

If you follow me on FB, you got the announcement on Monday morning, about the time I decided blogging was the expendable thing of the week.

See, I have an LC who is growing like a weed. And I promised her around Easter to sew her a new dress or two. We pick out patterns and fabric in May and life kept marching on. Without leaving time for sewing.

I got the dresses cut out the beginning of June. Which was huge. Because I have HATED cutting since kindergarten. (Do you know how much cutting they make you do in K? Enough for a lifetime!) So, that part of the process is always dreadful.

But June passed, with VBS, and writing, and business stuff, and stay-cation, and cousins' camp out and training, and no more progress was made on the dresses.

Which had morphed into 2 dresses for LC, plus a matching dress and pair of bloomer/shorts for Meres.

Mid July, mid summer break, mid-mid. Busy life. Still juggling. Business, family, blogging, training.

I love blogging. I love writing. It is very cathartic for me. It is also very time consuming. I spend close to 2 hours each afternoon writing posts, watermarking pictures, and editing. I spend an additional hour most days sharing my posts on social media. Three hours. Five days a week.

Do you know how much sewing can happen in 15 hours? Three dresses and a pair of shorts worth!

Both maybe could have fit into my week. But, the starting and stopping would have been a pain. I needed concentrated time.

Last week I didn't clean. I barely cooked. I didn't write. I sewed.

'Cause every yes requires a corresponding no.

I sewed zippers and I listened to podcasts.

I finished seams and I listened to my kids' movies playing.

I hemmed (and hawed) and smiled as Meres converted the closet next to me into her office.

I studied patterns and fashioned bodices and skirts, sleeves and bows. I matched seams and ripped out seams. I ironed and ironed some more.

I didn't pick up my mess every day. (The setting up and picking up is a huge part of the process, that takes time and can inhibit the sewing in the first place.)

I buckled down, and I created. I made something(s) beautiful. I did something I truly love to do, but that I don't do enough.

We all need breaks. Maybe I should have planned ahead better to not leave you all hanging for a week.

Maybe the best plan was to just seize the day. To make time where there was no time.

To put off any other clamoring urgents...

Gardening. Blueberries. Writing. Tub scrubbing. Polar VortexesHairdos...

To keep a promise to someone(s) who means the world to me...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Polar Vortexes and Pork Chops

We are in the midst of what they are calling a polar vortex.

It's rather dramatic and conjures up images of blizzards in July. In fact, it only means that we are having what used to be called a cold snap. Our nights have been in the 50s and one or two days the temps didn't get to 70. Not life altering. Well, unless you are hanging at the beach.

I think it has been rather pleasant. But, I always have been a weird one. I'd love to live in a climate that hung in the 60s and 70s during the day, dipping to the 40s and 50s at night.

It's much more pleasant for running. Really.

And for grilling.

I mean, you can grill anytime. Freezing weather. Weather so hot that you don't need a grill. Or this week's weather, when you won't actually die of heat exhaustion flipping burgers on the grill.

Or pork chops.

I grew up eating pork. I'm a pork lover. I love how the fat cooks into and out of the meat, making a succulent chunk of Wilbur. 

Pork is awesome when simply salted. But, you also can't go wrong with a rub. This pork chop recipe has a mildly spicy rub made up of chipotle chili pepper sauce and cumin, with garlic and olive oil. It adds great flavor to the meat, and pairs nicely with the simple corn salad.

The corn salad is quick and easy, showcasing raw, fresh corn and avocado. The yellows, reds and greens make for a colorful plate of dinner.

Spicy Pork Chops with Corn Salad
1-1/2 Tbsp chipotle pepper sauce
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
4-6 (3/4”) pork chops
6 medium ears corn
4 medium tomatoes
1 avocado
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice

-Prepare grill for grilling.
-In a small bowl, stir chipotle sauce, cumin, oil, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix, and then rub on both sides of each pork chop, coating evenly.
-Place pork chops on grill over medium heat. Cover and grill, turning once, until they are nicely browned on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.
-Husk corn. Cut kernels from the corn and place in a bowl. Chop tomatoes and add to the corn. 
-Peel, pit and cut the avocado into 1/4” pieces. Add to corn. Add the lime juice, cilantro, and remaining salt and stir to combine.
-Serve pork chops with the corn salad. And additional pepper sauce, if desired

What are you grilling this weekend?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Recipe (Sweet Potato Nachos) and A Week

the last picture I will have of BMV for a while sans braces

my nephew, visiting from TX, and Freckles

my niece, Meres' counterpoint.

my bro. One of my 3 younger bros. And, I bet this is a much more flattering picture of him
than the one of me that he is putting on HIS blog...
It has been a great week. A full week.

I attended a wedding, and danced the chicken dance.

I competed in a triathlon.

I dreamed about visiting Spain in the spring and about painting my kitchen.

I visited with out of state family.

My parents took my boys for a couple nights and my girls for a different night. A house of two girls is much different than a house of three boys. ( I got my nephew on the night the girls were gone)

My boys both got braces this week. Freckles went for gold toned brackets. It makes us look like we are rich...(snort!)

It was a week of 50 cent ice-cream cones at McDonalds.

It was a week of reading in the sunshine. I read/finished two books. Longburn and Shadow Horses.

It was a week of biking in the rain. I got rained on two different bike trips...

It was a week that included miniature golf (with the boys) and Botanical gardens (with the girls).

The weather has been cooler-which means it is awesome! Sunny. 70s. Nights in the low 60s and upper 50s. Good sleeping weather.

It was the week when we crossed the halfway point between end of the last school year and the beginning of the next school year.

It finally felt like summer time should feel. Full. Good. Relaxing. Fun.
first cherry tomato of the season

Baby green beans. They will be ready to pick next week!

I have an awesome recipe for you today! Well, personally I think I have awesome recipes for you every Friday. But, this one is an awesome-awesome recipe!

Sweet Potato Nachos.

Layers of baked sweet potatoes, sausage, cheddar cheese, cilantro and black beans. Served with sour cream, salsa and chopped tomatoes. So good!

And pretty healthy too! How about a high five for the genius of swapping out sweet potatoes for tortilla chips! Not my original idea, but I am all over it!!!

Look at all that color! Natural color is good!

These really are simple. The first time we had them, Mr. Hippie made them with the kids. Each one had a job. Peeling, slicing, frying, layering.

Btw, I never buy cans of black beans anymore. They are a snap to make from scratch in the crock pot.  I will share the recipe below. It works for any kind of dry bean.

Sweet Potato Nachos
6 large sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (15.5 ounce can) black beans, drained and rinsed (or 3-4 cups of homemade beans)
12 ounces (3 cups) cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 pound fresh mild or spicy sausage

-Arrange racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch thick sticks.
-Divide sweet potatoes evenly between two sheet pans and drizzle each pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread out the sweet potato sticks into a single layer and roast in the oven until tender, about 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
-Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and move the upper rack to the middle of the oven. Heat the broiler to high.
-Meanwhile, brown the sausage.
-Transfer one tray of sweet potatoes to an oven-safe platter and top with half the black beans and half the cheddar. Top with the other tray of sweet potatoes and layer the remaining black beans and cheddar over the top.
-Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Crockpot Beans
1 pound dry beans (black, pinto, red, garbanzo, etc)
6 cups water
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 tsp salt

-Wash and sort beans, looking for any pebbles or clumps of dirt. Place in the crockpot, and top with the 6 cups of water.
-Peel and halve the onion. Place with beans.
-Crush and peel the garlic. Add to beans.
-Add bay leaf. 
-Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
-When the beans are tender, add the salt, and allow to cool.

These beans taste amazing and they take less than 5 minutes to put together. I usually make a double batch and then freeze the beans in 3-4 cups packages. 

1-1/2 cups of cooked beans is the equivalent of one 15.5 ounce can of beans.

Have a magnificent summer weekend! See you next week!