Recipe Monday: Crockpot Pork and Cabbage

This is what I am fixing today! Bill is busy clearing the house so the renovations can start.  I am working my fingers to the bone and have the first night of Adult Fitness Camp at Studio Z.  Days like today and I am sure the rest of the week are days that the crockpot is pressed into service. 

Most people don't think about this wonderful appliance in the summer.  But I love it any time of the year.  Summer is a wonderful time to break this cooking method out to avoid turning on an oven in hundred degree temps!   So today we have pork and cabbage!

  • 3-4 Pork Chops or a Rack of Pork Ribs (cut up into 2-3 rib sections)
  • 1 Head of green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbs of Nature's Seasoning
  • 1 Tbs of soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs of Worchestshire sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • Enough water to cover pork
  • Season pork with nature's seasoning
  • Place pork, onions, garlic and bell pepper into the crockpot
  • Stir together the soy, worchestshire and chicken broth.  Pour over the item in the crockpot
  • Add enough water to just cover the pork
  • Cook in crockpot for 5-6 hours
  • Add the cabbage in about an hour before serving, if on low go for two hours or turn crockpot to high for last hour of cooking
I usually serve this with cooked brown rice and a salad or a fresh vegetable.  Warm bread goes wonderfully too!

Please post back if you try out any of my recipes.  And I am always open to new recipes to try out.


Our first Review -- Thank you Amber

Thank you so much to Amber at WAHM Connect for the wonderful review of the Dino and T-Rex Kid kit.  You can read the full review at her blog.  If you are a Work at Home Mom (or Dad), check out her websites.  She is a wonderful resource for all of us.

I appreciate the review both from a business perspective but also from a personal one.  Bill and I are plannig to homeschool our daughter and this review shows me in concrete fashion what can be done outside of a formal "store-bought" curriculum.  I already knew that Usborne had some great resources but to see them in action with someone I admire is priceless.

Want to know more about the kid kits ?  Check them out now.


Monday Recipe: Stewed Okra and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

It's Monday and as of this week, that means RECIPE Day!

I will post each week one new recipe that my family tried from the previous week.  We tried several this week since I was bored with what we had been eating.  They included a soup/stew with kale, sauteed kale with vinegar, my own variation on a southern favorite okra and tomatoes and oven fried chicken.  

Only one stood out as a unanimous choice as the post title states.  It is my own version of Stewed Okra and Tomatoes with Brown Rice.  I served this as a side dish with Bill's grilled venison tenderloin.  The tenderloin was marinated in bottled Terriyaki mixed with bottle of beer, crushed garlic, soy sauce and worchestshire sauce.  I will have to remember to take pictures next time! 

  • 1/2 lb okra cut into bite size pcs (frozen works fine just thaw it before cooking)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes or approximately 3 cups fresh peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of diced onions
  • 1 cup instant brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • In a dutch oven or high sided skillet, heat the oil and butter until melted
  • Saute the onions and garlic until onions are translucent
  • Add the okra and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to med-low and add the rice
  • Cover and simmer for 20 minutes
If you try out this or another recipe, please comment and let me know you tried it, how you liked it or what you might change.  I am always open to new recipes as well!


    Renovation Decisions

    It's starting!   Bill asked me to decide what I must keep out of the kitchen in order to survive cooking in the RV.  We start demolition of the kitchen this week!  One of my goals is to document the transformation.  We decided on the following over the last month ...
    713 Fireside
    • Cabinets
      • Carpenter: Scott Smoak out of Walterboro will build our cabinets
      • Style: Shaker flat panel with solid drawer
      • Wood: Maple
      • Stain: Fireside is the name from Gemini
      • Layout: Only 4 lower doors and lower cabinet bases will be 28 inches deep
    • Flooring
      • Living, Dining, Kitchen, Hall & Study: Oak flooring with variable plank sizes to incorporate what we already have and adding in larger plank size
      • Stain: Fireside which when on the Oak will be about 1 shade darker
    • Appliances
      • Cook top: Gas from Kenmore with 5 burners in black on black
      • Wall Oven: 30 inch electric Kenmore brand in black on black
      • Wall Microwave/Convention Oven combo: Kenmore brand in black on black
      • Dishwasher:  GE 24 inch black on black with utensil drawer in the door
      • All purchased through a wonderful program offered by my employer for all employees.  The program is a benefit and allows us to purchase these items at a lower cost through Sears Commercial Sales.  Thank you HP!
      • Refrigerator:  We will keep our current ones with one in the house and one in the laundry room.
    We start renovations with the contractor's crew as soon as next week but could be up to two weeks away depending on his schedule.  I will be taking the Before pics this week and posting them soon so check back often as we move forward!


    Eggplant & Summer Squash Bake

    Original recipe found on http://aubergines.org/recipes.php?eggplant=280

    I modified it a bit for our tastes including increasing the cheese and rice components as well as using Asian Eggplant because that is what we grow in our garden

    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    2 Asian eggplant (long skinny ones) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    4 medium yellow squash cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    2 medium onions chopped
    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 eggs
    3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided
    1 cup instant rice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    •  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
      • Add the eggplant, squash, and onions and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender.
    • In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, 2 cups cheese, the rice, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.
    • Add the squash and eggplant saute to the bowl and fold gently.
    • Pour mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray.
    • Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese over the top
    • Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
     We served this with a grilled pork loin.

    Monday Recipe: Silician Casserole

    This is a recipe I found while searching www.allrecipes.com for specific ingredients I had on hand.   I upped the garlic and upped the cheese.  Yes my family loves garlic and cheese!  Haven't found a recipe yet that I don't increase these two items.  Or if garlic is not called for and it is not a dessert (hmmm wonder if it would in dessert, but I digress), then I will usually add it in. 

    This is also another recipe that is great for freezing.  I made two the first time I attempted the recipe, froze one and eventually it was taken to a friend's house as a meal.  I always try to have a casserole, stew or other in the freezer at all times that can be used for a friend or relative in need.

    Why, yes.  I do live in the South and in a small town.  The cure for everything is FOOD!

    • 1 lb. ground meat
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 - 5 cloves garlic, minced ( I used 5)
    • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
    • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
    • 2 cups elbow macaroni
    • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Brown the ground meat, onion, and garlic in heavy saucepan/skillet, stirring to break up meat. Add green bell pepper when meat is almost cooked; continue to simmer until completely browned.
    • Drain meat and veggies well.
    • Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, and dried Italian seasoning and stir well to blend. Let simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors.
    • Meanwhile, cook elbow macaroni as directed on package.
    • While macaroni is cooking, combine cream cheese and milk in medium bowl. Cook in microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from microwave and stir with wire whisk until sauce thickens and blends to form a smooth sauce.
    • Drain noodles and add to cream cheese sauce along with sour cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; stir to combine.
    • In 2 quart casserole dish, place all of cream cheese mixture.
    • Top with all of the ground meat mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the mozzarella.
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until casserole is bubbly.
    • Add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to the cream cheese sauce.
    • Prepare casserole as directed, except instead of baking, chill in refrigerator.
    • Wrap well and freeze up to 3 months.
    • To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered, for 25-35 minutes, then uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until bubbly.

    4th of July Weekend

    It was a whirlwind of travel, laughter, food, sightseeing and family.  The whole family including the new addition, Chase the puppy, loaded up the van and headed north to Newark, Delaware.  We left on Thursday evening after I got off work. 

    Our weekend schedule was packed with seeing family: Uncle Jim & Aunt Becky, Cousin Jake and his family, Cousin Elizabeth and her family and Niece (Dad's oldest granddaughter) Rena.   It was good to see and stay with Beck and Jim; they have a beautiful house. 

    Meeting with Rena was wonderful; we had to fit it in with her schedule of heading to DC for drum corps parades/competitions.  Dad and I had not seen her since 2002.   So we met her at the Delaware House Service Area. 

    On Saturday,  we went sighseeing in Amish country about 45 minutes from Jim's house.  We stopped at a yard sale where Bill and I found 37 books from the Hardy Boys series.  All the books are hardbound and range from 1940 - 1955 editions.  It is not the complete set but we couldn't resist after reading the sign that said $2 a book.  Bill haggled a bit and we got all of the books for $50.  Woohoo, can't wait to start reading them to Jea.  Not only to let her enjoy books but also to reacquaint ourselves with the series.  We will also have to track down the other books in the series!  This just might entice Bill to go garage saling with me.  Oh, Uncle Jim loved telling the story to everyone we met about our purchase.

    Jake and his family drove down to see us on Saturday afternoon.  Traditional 4th fare was on the menu with hamburgers, hotdogs, and grilled corn.   Seen here are Jake and Bill shucking the corn!   The kids had a great time, playing outside in the sand and inside with the playdough!

    We also got to have a date night on Saturday, well okay, dinner out by ourselves while our daughter stayed with the three grands (Jim, Becky and Dad!)  We had wonderful tapas at Ole Tapas Lounge and Restaurant.  If you are ever in the area, you should check it out.   I highly recommend the lamb chops!  They also have paella on the menu and while we didn't have it (it states on the menu it serves 2-3), another table had it and oh my the aroma was fantastic! 

    Sunday, we went to church and then over to Elizabeth's.  There we had a great time visiting and hearing about their trip outwest to the Grand Canyon.  We also had a great meal. Do you see a theme?

    On Monday we headed out.  We drove from Newark, down through DC and over to Skyline Drive, VA.  Our goal was to continue on down the Blue Ridge Parkway but with the rain that started we jumped off at Swift Run Gap and over to I-81.  We stopped in Staunton VA for the night.  We saw some wonderful fireworks at Gypsy Hill Park.  Thank you goes out to our waitress at Shoney's for giving us the heads up on that one.   Then on Tuesday we visited Frontier Culture Museum and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. A great time was had by all.  If you have kids, the library offers a scavenger hunt and a small play area including dress up items from the 1920-1930's.  The frontier museum was a wonderful look at the houses and cultures that make up the early settlers and frontiersmen.  Jea even helped sweep in the English house.