Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend Sharing



Here are a few things I want to share with you:

  • We got 5" of snow last night, and while it is lovely, I woke up desperate for something summery and sweet.  Enter Blueberry Boy Bait from Smitten Kitchen.
  • Design Mom is moving her family to France for a year!  I'm so excited to watch how their adventure unfolds.  
  • I am obsessed with kitchen remodels.  I LOVE the butcher block countertops used in this kitchen.  Inexpensive, and I think it looks clean and modern. 
  • I am totally making this today!
  • I have been obsessing about boots.  I know, Spring is coming soon (is May soon??), but I've been thinking about thesethese, and these.  Where's my winning lottery ticket??
  • Sad stories on Young House Love, but good reminders for backing up data and keeping critical documents safe.  You just never know.  
Enjoy your weekend & stay warm, wherever you are.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Indoor Pulled Pork

Fun fact about me: I love barbecue.  I don't love TO BBQ, I just enjoy eating it.  I don't know where this came from, but really who doesn't love smoked meats?  And in keeping with the spirit of being a giver (because that's what I am you know, A GIVER), I am going to share with you an E-A-S-Y recipe for delightful pulled pork.

BBQ purists, beware.... I didn't say this was authentic, or slow-roasted, or Memphis-style, or any other particular barbecue adjective.  It IS easy, tasty, and my kids eat it.

Indoor Pulled Pork
from Cook's Illustrated

1 cup plus 2tsp Salt
1/2 cup plus 2TBS Sugar
3TBS plus 2tsp Liquid Smoke
1 boneless Pork Butt (about 5lbs), cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup Yellow Mustard
2TBS ground Black Pepper
2TBS Smoked Paprika
1tsp Cayenne Pepper


  1. Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3TBS liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container.  Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate fro 2 hours. 
  2. While pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2tsp liquid smoke in a small bowl; set aside.  Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2TBS sugar, remaining 2tsp salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. 
  3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork.  Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture.  Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping.  Roast pork for 3 hours.  
  4. Remove pork from oven; remove & discard foil & parchment.  Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well-browned, tender, and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (about 1 1/2 hours).  Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.  
  5. Using two forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces.  If desired, toss with BBQ sauce and season with salt & pepper.  
Chef's notes:  
  • I buy pork butt at Costco.  Yes, you buy 15 lbs. of it, but it's boneless, and the cost comes out to about $5/ meal.  
  • I have used all yellow mustard, and a mix of yellow and Dijon.  Equally good.  
  • The spice mix is H-O-T.  I backed off everything, especially the black pepper, & was much happier with the outcome.  
  • Once you uncover the meat to finish cooking it, watch carefully.  I only roasted it for another half hour & it was perfect - moist, tender, and so flavorful.  When I cooked it for the full hour-and-a-half, it was dry and tough.  
  • I serve this with Brioche Buns from Annie's Eats. SO GOOD.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Day in Pictures


7-8am
Prep for school, walk to school. 


8-9am
Cuddle, play, Dora, dishes, internet


9-10am
Trains, snack, stories, laundry


10-11am
Clean, stories, dishes (yes, more dishes), laundry


11-12pm
Brioche buns



12-1pm
Play, Oven roasted pulled pork


1-2pm
Laundry, laundry, laundry


2-3pm
Pick up Sis



3-5pm
Just Dance throwdown


5-6pm
Dinner!  Pulled pork, brioche buns, mac & cheese, corn


6-7pm
Get ready for Book Club


7-9pm
Book Club!


9-10pm
Drive home, kiss sleeping kids, PJ's, b-e-d

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quilting


The long awaited quilt is finished.  I only bought the fabric 18 months ago.... and started it last January.  I am a girl who will not be rushed, OK?

Honestly though, I have never been more challenged or more proud of a craft project.  From choosing the fabrics to deciding on a pattern to troubleshooting the multitude of problems I came across, I did it all myself.  I had it half quilted last Spring, then let it languish through the Summer (It was too hot to wrestle all that fabric).  I conjured up additional delays in the Fall (I was busy!) and into December (It's CHRISTMAS, I just can't right now).  I finally sat down and finished the quilting, then delayed a few more weeks due to binding intimidation.  At long last I found a tutorial that allowed me to knock it out in a week!  I am not a seamstress or a quilter, but I think it looks pretty good.

I used a Disappearing Nine Patch pattern, with sashing to increase the overall size of the quilt.  Although I love it (as does the recipient who is excited to receive it on her 7th birthday), I don't think I will attempt another quilt until I have a machine that can really handle it.  My little Brother did a good job, but was a tiny bit overwhelmed at times.  Much like its operator.  In the end, we both won.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fighting the Power

After a horrible, awful, no-good, very bad Monday, Tuesday dawned with hope and light.  

Well, it dawned with hope anyway.  The light came later - about 2 hours after I got up at 5am (J, we really gotta talk about these early mornings wake ups).  And the hope was coupled with RAIN.  Yes, RAIN, in the midst of a grey January morning.  Who ever heard of rain and ice together?  Michigan, that's who! And apparently my driveway had to get in on the action, as it was coated with a thin sheet of ice from back door to garage. 

Despite a slippery start, I knocked out my early morning errand, played a few rounds of Mario Kart (as Donkey Kong, per request of the 2 year old - I think he sees a kindred spirit in that ridiculous ape), and then headed out to the thrift store and one of my 3 favorite shopping destinations: The Costco.  

First, I scored a new cookbook.  $3.95.  Not bad!  I expect it to fully live up to its lofty claims, and I am already feeling very trusting towards all 350 recipes.  Maybe I should do a Julie & Julia thing and make a recipe a day for a year.  


Maybe not.  (My jeans are already thanking me).

Next, I went to The Costco.  Ah Costco, I do love thee.  Where else can one purchase a new sofa, a gallon of milk, 18 lbs. of apples, 2 dozen tennis balls, a gas generator, and a prescription for allergy medicine all in the same visit?  

(fyi, I only bought one of these items)  

But I did buy 20.23 pounds of pork.  Apparently I decided that our household was in the midst of a pork shortage that must. be. rectified.   I really think that the weather just made the idea of pulled pork sandwiches sound irresistible.  So, now my freezer is filled with swine and my belly is full of churro and hot dog.  


See, I told you it was going to be a good day.     

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Post Where I Express My Disappointment With The Month of January



January, you get a bad rap.  I'm not saying you don't deserve it, but part of it is not your fault.  Much like August, your position on the calendar is much to blame for your unfortunate reputation.  You lie in that peculiar no-man's land of time, trapped between the excitement of the December holidays and the far-off possibilities of Spring.

While you begin with a bang, it's not always of the joyous variety.  The pressure of resolutions and change and examining the imperfect are not my idea of a good time (not that I am opposed to self-review, it's just that 1/1 is in direct conflict to my feelings that this should be an ongoing process vs. a yearly one).  Mother Nature's wintery penchant for grey skies and frigid temperatures do nothing to enhance your questionable reputation. And 31 days of this drudgery??  FAR too much.  

So I mark off the days with an increasingly heavy hand, eyes glazed over with thoughts of sunny skies and Caribbean breezes.  Florida's siren song is calling... if only my lottery ticket seller/ Fairy Godmother/ Guardian Angel would hear it too.  In the meantime, I fill your days with phone calls and playdates, spicy food and woolen mittens.

And PS - I'd still rather be cold than hot, so January, you totally have the edge over August!!

Wherein I Confess That I Have Done My Blog A Disservice

While Twittering my boredom last night (or more accurately, watching Twitter pass me by), I linked through to this Salon Article.  While I most certainly do not count myself within the ranks of these Mormon Mommy Bloggers (I think the only things we have in common are contained within that title), I realized that I have been neglecting what I love most about my blog.

I frequently don't write because I feel as though there's nothing to say.  And yet, that seems to miss the point of blogging.  In it's essence, blogging is a celebration of the mundane.  And that's what the blogs named in the article do so well.  It's not that their lives are so shiny & happy & picture perfect.  They simply point out the joy in the small details of life - and they do it both well and often.

So here's to the little things, and here's to posting more regularly.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crafting Quandry

I'm trying really hard to catch up on the craft projects that have eluded me for the last year.... like the blanket that I started last January (which was supposed to be a Christmas gift for the previous year).

A-hem.

I know.  But I am trying to make up for it.  I finished quilting the blanket and just need to bind it (and am admittedly slightly paralyzed by the prospect).  I made one winter curtain & need to finish the other.  And when these are done (and not before), I am moving on to a duvet cover for J (another project that I have delayed & delayed).

Which makes it that much more difficult when I find a site like this: Make It and Love It.

So many adorable projects!  So much that looks actually....do-able!

I'm also crushing on Craftily Ever After.  She's got great, inexpensive projects and clear tutorials.  It also doesn't hurt that she's the wifey of an Oregon friend.

Go check out what Ashley and Jessica are up to and get crafting!

Must.  Get.  Sewing..... so I can do more!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

I don't do resolutions, and am feeling lukewarm about penning a set of 2011 "Goals" (aka resolutions renamed).

So instead, I give you my theme for the year:

Cautiously Optimistic

I've read much online about how awful 2010 for so many people.  I empathize, but can't say it was the same for us.  Oh sure, we've had our share of down years.  Usually it's the odd numbers for us, which doesn't bode well for 2011, but I am entering the New Year feeling..... hopeful.

This will be a year of closure and new beginnings.  It will likely contain at least one major move, and we will even reach a Major Life Milestone (or two or three).  I have no illusions that there will be some big bumps in the road, but for now, I feel calm, I feel capable, and I feel ready.

Happy New Year to All!