Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sweet and Sour Pork #FantasticalFoodFight #CrazyIngredientChallenge

I'm very excited today.  I love when the stars align and I am able to complete 2 cooking challenges with just 1 recipe.  Today is such a day.

Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes assigned honey as our ingredient for our Fantastical Food Fight this month.

Kelly of Passion Kneaded chose the theme Sweet Potatoes and Pineapple for our Crazy Ingredient Challenge.

These are wonderful ingredients and I knew that I could combine them to make a winner of a dinner.

Earlier in the week, I had trimmed a pork tenderloin into medallions for dinner one night.  I had set aside the trimmings knowing that I could cut them into bite size pieces for this dinner.  The recipe I am sharing was just the perfect amount for the two of us.  You can easily double or triple the recipe according to your needs.

Sweet and Sour Pork

1/2 lb. Pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
Peanut oil
1/4 c. flour
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
pinch of salt
1 egg white
1/2 can (5 slices) of sliced pineapple, cut into chunks
1/2 c. of the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple
1/2 c. water
2 T. honey
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 t. soy sauce
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 small, sweet onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 1 T. water
5 mini sweet peppers, stemmed and halved (or 1 lg. bell pepper, cut into chunks)

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, water, salt and egg white in small bowl.  Add the pork and toss to coat evenly.  

Heat about an inch of peanut oil in the bottom of a wok or large skillet.  When hot, add the pork in batches, cooking until golden brown.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Discard the oil and wipe the wok clean.   Combine the juice, water, honey, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce.  Pour into the wok and bring to a boil.  Add the onion, sweet potatoes and garlic.  Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cornstarch/water mixture to the sauce.  Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring until sauce is thickened and glossy.  

Return the pork to the pan, along with the pineapple and peppers.  Cook and stir until heated through. Print Recipe

More Honey Happiness

More Super Sweet Potato and Pineapple Productions

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eating from the Pantry and Freezer.....The Weekly Menu

My freezer and pantry are out of control, you guys.  It is the onset of canning/preserving season and I have no room for all the winter provisions.  So I am going to spend this week trying to eat only from what I have available at home.  Hopefully, my only store visits will be to pick up perishables like bread and milk.

Yesterday we spent the morning finishing up two more batches of Corn Chowder for the freezer and several pints of my Pops' Refrigerator Pickles.

We were supposed to join our friends, the Greens, at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, where we celebrate Linda's birthday each year.  Unfortunately, Frank twisted his ankle on Thursday and isn't able to walk the considerable distances required for this outing.

Happily they decided to have an impromptu get together at their lake house today so we are heading over there with our Little Angel Face while her Mama goes out to enjoy a last hurrah on the jet ski. I am taking some of the corn chowder, pickles and salsa that I put up for my donation to the potluck.

Last night we went to Windsor, Ontario Canada, for an Alabama Concert at the Caesar's Casino.  We spent the night on sight at the hotel.  Of course we went early enough to get in a little gambling and dinner before the show.  It was a great evening.

Each year we plan a little get away with my brother, Dick, and his wife, Jackie.  Our birthdays are close together in August so we normally try to plan something around those dates to celebrate together.

On Thursday evening, we are joining the Benda's as they host a sunset sail cruise on the St. Clair River.  We will be having dinner at the River Crab Restaurant after the sail.

The rest of the week is pretty typical.  I will be posting for a couple of fun events, combining CIC and Fantastical Food Fight in one recipe and hosting Bundt Bakers on another day.  I will also be posting a recipe for an important event, #FoodBloggers4FL on Thursday.  Please stop by and show your support to the areas suffering the aftermaths of Irma.

Our little Angel Face turns 3 on Tuesday!! We will be celebrating her Moana themed birthday party on Saturday.  I will be serving up a Hawaiian Feast.

So here is the Weekly Menu using what I have in my freezer and pantry......Hope you all had a marvelous weekend.

Dinner before Concert

Dinner at Greens

Meatless Monday
Sweet Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas

Toddler Tuesday
Mummy Dogs
Baked Beans

Osso Bucco
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli

Sunset Sail Cruise

Fish Friday
Sauteed Lake Perch
Stir Fry Veggies
Steamed Rice

Saturday, September 16, 2017

One of these days........#Winophiles

Our French Winophiles group this month asked us to share a memory of a vacation in France or a dream of where we would like to visit in France if given the opportunity, and share a wine from that memory or dream.

Now, I haven't had an opportunity to visit Europe but it is definitely on my bucket list and when I do I will absolutely be hitting some wine regions in France.

When our son from Denmark, Dian, came to visit this summer he brought his girlfriend, Helena, and their son, Joyful Jordan, with him.  While we were flying to Frankenmuth to spend the day, Dian proposed to Helena.  I shared that exciting moment with you in this post.

They intend to wait until Dian is finished with University before the wedding.  Helena mentioned that she and her father have often talked of renting a castle in Nice and that perhaps they would use that idea as a venue for the wedding. 

We, of course, would love to attend the wedding and will start saving our pennies so that when the time comes we are in a position to do so.  Should the wedding take place in Nice that would be excellent but if not we still plan on spending a few weeks in Europe, visiting not only Dian and his sister, Zoey, who also became our daughter during her stay as an exchange student but also our German son, Max, and his family.

And Provence, where Nice is located is definitely on the list of places we will be visiting.  I imagine we will make a stop in Paris.  I mean you have to see the Eiffel Tower (I guess) but that doesn't hold the appeal to my as Provence does.  Give me rolling countryside over busy city streets any day of the week.

Provence is known for it's rosé wines.  I have been having kind of a love affair with rosés from France since I discovered them in this group. I never dreamed I would like them since my experience with blush wines prior to meeting the French rosés consisted of cloyingly sweet white zin's.

I spoke last month about Whispering Angel that I truly enjoyed.  I also shared a Domaine Houchart that I served during a seafood boil.  This bottle from La Sangliere was a great hit with a light lunch of a mushroom omelet.  I took a step of faith and tried a sparkling rosé, Delighted, from a Michigan winery, Black Star Farms, and was pleased with the results.

So I was excited to pick up a bottle of Domaine Fourquette when I was at the market a couple of weeks ago.  

I find that rosés pair exceptionally well with charcuterie boards.  I also love the presentation of a charcuterie and love serving them up at cocktail parties.

When creating a charcuterie board I try to offer several options of each component.  
  • Cheeses; some hard, some soft and a blue.  On this board you find a pepper jack, colby jack, cheddar, a honeyed goat cheese, a blueberry wrapped goat cheese and a roquefort.
  • Meats; salami's, prosciutto, perhaps a paté or smoked sausage. On this board I had hard salami, prosciutto, capocollo and soprasetta.
  • Garnishes; I always offer olives and another pickle of some sort, in this case pickled beets, but any pickled vegetable will work. Pickled asparagus is a favorite of mine. I also like to offer a mustard of some sort and a jam of some sort.  I like picking up small jars of specialty mustard and jam or marmalade to have on hand for just this purpose. If you see an onion marmalade it is perfect on these boards.
  • Then you need a way to convey all that yumminess to your tummy so make sure you have a nice assortment of bread, crackers and/or breadsticks on the board as well.
Once you know what you want to serve it is just a matter of arranging it so that it is appealing to the eye because we all know that we eat with our eyes first.

Back to my wine choice......of all the rosé wines I have tried, this was my least favorite.  I find that most rosé is very nice to sip with a variety of foods but also as pleasant to sip on it's own without any food accompaniment.

I did not find that to be true of this wine which was very acidic to the point of sour.  I awoke in the middle of the night with heartburn after drinking 2 small glasses of this wine. I won't be purchasing it in the future.

I want to thank Lauren of The Swirling Dervish for hosting this month and Lori of and Jill of  L'Occasion for changing the theme allowing those of us not yet lucky enough to visit France to participate today.

Let's take a look at the others Memories/Dreams

Black Bean Soup in an Instant (pot) #SoupSaturdaySwappers

Today's Soup Saturday Swappers is being hosted by my friend, Amy, of Amy's Cooking Adventures.  Amy asked us to share Quick Weeknight Soup recipes.  Soups that would make a perfect meal for a family, like hers, that come September head back to school and work.  Amy is starting a new position this year, in the school where she works, as the librarian.  Congratulations Amy!!

Now you can see why she needs something that is quick, delicious and nutritious to feed her boys when they all get home after a long day.  The gang over at Soup Saturday Swappers was thrilled to help her out.  You will find all of our great recipes linked up at the bottom of this post.

Soup Saturday Swappers is a great group of foodies that gather on the 3rd Saturday of each month and share recipes based on a theme chosen by one of our members.  We love welcoming new people and if you want to join in the fun please leave a message in the comment section of this post.

I celebrated my birthday last month and got an Instant Pot that I had been asking for from my husband and sous chef, Frank.  This soup was the first thing that I made in my new pot.  I have never cooked in a pressure cooker before so I wasn't sure that bean soup in 7 minutes was really going to work.

Since it was the first foray into the realm of Instant Pot Cooking, I used a recipe from the cookbook included with the pot and followed it exactly.

While this soup cooks in 7 minutes you must still allow 10-15 minutes for the pot to heat to cooking temperature and then 15-20 minutes after the cooking for the pressure to dissipate. That being said you still have a delicious, hearty and healthy soup for your family in less than an hour, start to finish. That is pretty outstanding.

This soup was a little looser than I like my bean soup to be but the flavor was amazing.  I think I will reduce the amount of vegetable broth by 1/2 a cup each time until the soup is the consistency I prefer.

The seasoning was perfect.  I used chili powder instead of chipotle powder(using 1/2 t. instead of a 1/4 t.)  and fresh oregano.  A little salt before serving and it was perfect.

I added cheese to Frank's bowl and would have added a dollop of sour cream had I had any in the house.  Keep in mind, however, that this renders it no longer vegan nor FMD friendly.

I had mine sans cheese as I was still on the Fast Metabolism eating plan when I made this.  It was a perfect meal to work into the plan. I only needed to include a fruit serving for a perfect lunch or dinner on Phase 3.

Black Bean Soup in an Instant Pot
very slightly adapted from Instant Pot (Jill Nussinow)

1 1/2 cups dry black beans (soaked overnight)
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
6 c. vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 T. fresh oregano (or 2 t. dried)
salt to taste

Drain the soaking liquid from the beans.  Set aside.  Set the Instant Pot to Sauté setting and add the oil to heat.  Add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant. Stir in the cumin and chili powder.

Add the beans, broth, bay leaf and oregano.  Seal the pot and switch to soup setting for 7 minutes. When cooking time is done, allow the pressure to come down without using the release valve. This takes 15-20 minutes.

When pressure is dissipated, carefully remove the lid, facing away from you.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency.  Taste and season with salt as needed.  Print Recipe

More Quick Weeknight Soups

Friday, September 15, 2017

Grilled Mediterranean Shrimp Skewers #FishFridayFoodies

It's finally Friday Folks and the third Friday of the month at know what that means?  Yep, it is time for Fish Friday Foodies.

Fish Friday Foodies is a group I started a couple of years ago in an attempt to gather more fish/seafood recipes that would appeal to my husband and allow me to add more seafood dishes to our diet.  We post our recipes on the 3rd Friday of each month based on a theme chosen by one of our members.  

New members are always welcome.  Should you be interested in joining us just leave a comment on this post or email me at with your blog url and I will add you to this fun bunch. Next months theme is Fish/Seafood Pasta.......

This month, I am hosting and chose the theme of Grilled Fish/Seafood.  It is still grilling season here in Michigan for a few more weeks and I intend to get as much grilling in as possible.

I marinated the shrimp in a lemon/olive oil mixture flavored with garlic and herbs. Refrigerated them for an hour before placing them onto skewers to grill.  I made 10 shrimp per person, you can use more or less depending on the size of your shrimp.  You will want 4-6 oz. of shrimp per person.

The shrimp only take minutes to cook, about 2-3 minutes per side, as soon as they turn pink remove them from the heat.

These shrimp were juicy, tender and delicious.  The flavors were bright and wonderful.  I paired the shrimp with a rustic pasta primavera with a spice arrabiata sauce.  They complemented each other perfectly.

Frank and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at home after a busy, stressful week.  We toasted to his health, happy that medical science can so quickly and easily heal a broken heart, or at least a clogged artery.

Make sure you stop by and see what everyone else is grilling up this month.  You will find links to all the others following my recipe.

Grilled Mediterranean Shrimp Skewers
serves 2

8-10 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T.dried Italian Herbs
1/4 c. good olive oil
juice of 2 small lemons
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the garlic, herbs, olive oil and lemon juice.  Pour over shrimp, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Remove from refrigerator and thread half of the shrimp onto 2 metal skewers or wooden skewer that have been soaked in water while the shrimp was marinading.  

Cook over high heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, until shrimp turn pink.  Print Recipe

More Great Grilled Fish and Seafood Recipes

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Baked Brie with Honeyed Apples #ImprovCookingChallenge

Improv Cooking Challenge is a fun group started by Nichole of Cookaholic Wife.  Nichole provides us with two ingredients each month and sends us off to create our best recipe containing those ingredients.

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This month the ingredients are honey and apples.  So very many ideas flooded my mind.  Honey and Apples is such a wonderful flavor combination and can be used in so many applications, both sweet and savory.

I decided to use mine in one of my favorite appetizers.  I was having a small dinner party and wanted something for the guests to enjoy with cocktails while I put the finishing touches on dinner.

I had picked up a wheel of Brie last time I made a Costco run.  I like to have it on hand because it makes a great appetizer.  It is quick and easy and very impressive.  You can top it with whatever you have in your pantry or refrigerator.  Our son is a jam maker and gifts us jars of jam whenever he makes them.  They are the perfect topping for brie cheese.

But today's challenge was all about honey and apples.  I grabbed two tart apples from the refrigerator and sauteed them up in some butter with cinnamon, nutmeg and honey.  

I baked the brie for about 10 minutes, removed it from the oven and poured the warmed apples over the top.

I served it up with baguette slices but it would work equally well with crackers or even additional apple slices. Look at that ooey gooey goodness!

I'm anxious to see what everyone else made with honey and apples. How about you?  You will find links to their recipes right below mine.

Baked Brie with Honeyed Apples

1 wheel brie cheese
2 tart apples, peeled and diced
1/2 t. cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 T. butter
3 T. honey

Place the brie onto a glass pie pan and bake in a preheated 350* oven for about 10 minutes, until softened but not oozing out of the seams.

While brie is baking, melt the butter in a skillet over med high heat.  Add the apples, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Cook and stir for a minute, then add the honey, continue to cook and stir until the apples are tender, only a minute or two.  

Remove brie from oven and pour the warm apple mixture over it.  Serve immediately. Print Recipe

More Awesome Apple and Honey Creations

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apfelpfannkuchen #BreadBakers

I love learning about other cultures through food so when Stacy of Food Lust People Love and owner of the Facebook group, Bread Bakers, needed a host for this month, I gladly volunteered and chose the theme International Breads.

Image result for international breads

I set up the event and shared a list of breads and their origins, that I found on Wikepedia, for inspiration.  We have bakers from all over the world in this wonderful group so we often get bread recipes from their individual countries.  I thought it might be fun to expand our horizons and make breads from countries other than our own.

I had the Angel Face for a few days this month and she loves to help in the kitchen.  I decided to make German Apple Pancakes, in honor of Oktoberfest, for breakfast one morning. Here she is making a well in the dry ingredients so that we can add the wet ingredients.

Oktoberfest starts in a few days, September 16th, so it was a good opportunity to share some food culture with her.  Her Uncle Max had visited from Germany last May and she instantly fell in love with him so she has some understanding of people living far away in different countries.

The batter for these pancakes are the same consistency as that for crepes but with a lot less eggs.  You combine the wet and dry ingredients and then set it aside to rest while you prepare the apples.

Thinly slice three tart apples and toss with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Saute for a couple of minutes before adding a little water and cooking until softened and water is evaporated.

Now comes the fun part. 
  1. Heat your pan, remove from heat and spray liberally with cooking spray, add a scant 1/3 c. batter to the pan and swirl to cover the bottom.
  2. Place onto a hot pad on the counter and arrange the apple slices over the batter.
  3. Pour another 1/3 c. batter over the apples and swirl to cover. Return pan to heat for a couple of minutes until edges are dry and holes start to appear over the top. Loosen with thin spatula that has been treated with cooking spray and shake the pan to make sure that the pancake moves easily without sticking.
  4. Slide from the pan onto a plate right side up.
  5. Place the pan over the pancake on the plate and (using a hot pad) flip the pancake back into the pan.
  6. Return pan to heat and cook underside for another couple of minutes.

Slide the finished pancake onto a clean plate, sprinkle with brown sugar and place in a warm oven while repeating this procedure 3 more times, adding each finished pancake onto the other with a layer of brown sugar between and topping the final pancake with brown sugar.

When the final layer is done, cut into quarters and serve.  I adapted this recipe from one found on the Food Network show, Sara's Secrets.  

This made a wonderful breakfast.  It is not overly sweet but sweet enough that no added syrup is necessary.  It would also be wonderful as a dessert topped with some ice cream or whipped cream.

Apfrelpfannkuchen (German Apple Pancakes)
adapted from Sara's Secrets by Jean Anderson and Heidi Wurz

1 1/4 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 T. butter, melted
1/2 t. vanilla
3 tart apples (I used Paula Reds)
juice of 1 small lemon
2 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. butter
1/4 c. water
cooking spray
brown sugar for sprinkling

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla.  Pour into the well of the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Cover and set aside to rest.

Peel and core the apples.  Cut into thin slices and place in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss to coat.

Melt 2 T. butter over med high heat in a heavy skillet.  Add the apples and sauté for a minute or two. Add the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until water evaporates and apples are very tender. Remove to a plate to cool.

Heat a 10" omelet pan over med high heat for 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and spray liberally with cooking spray, coating the bottom and sides.  Add a scan 1/3 cup of the batter to the pan tilting and swirling so the bottom is covered.  Place the pan onto a hot pad on the counter and arrange 1/4 of the apple slices over the top of the batter.  Add another 1/3 cup batter and swirl and tip the pan to cover the apples.  Place the pan back onto the burner, reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes, until the edges are dry and bubble holes begin to appear on the top of the pancake.  

Spray a thin spatula with cooking spray and run around the edges and under the bottom of the pancake.  Shake the pan, ensuring that the pancake moves freely, then slide the pancake, right side up onto a clean plate.  

Place the pan over the pancake and invert the plate and pan so that the uncooked side is not on the hot surface of the pan.  Return the pan to the burner over low heat and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Slide onto a clean plate, sprinkle with brown sugar and place in a warm oven or under a heat lamp, while repeating this process three more times.  Each time a pancake is complete, layer it on top of the previous pancake in the warming oven.

When the last pancake is complete, lay on top of the other 3, sprinkle with brown sugar, cut into quarters and serve.  Print Recipe

More Interesting International Breads


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to