Friday, May 25, 2012

Pistachio Pork

By now you should know that I will try just about anything that involves taking a lean cut of meat and wrapping it in some sort of bready, crumbly coating. Insert topping here.  So it's really no surprise that covering pork chops in homemade pistachio butter was a big hit.

 Pistachio-Crusted Pork Chops
1/2 C shelled pistachios
1 clove garlic
1T lemon juice
1/4 C breadcrumbs
Four 1-inch thick boneless pork chops
1 large egg, beaten
2T olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.  Add pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp salt to a food processor and grind until smooth.  Transfer to a shallow bowl and whisk in breadcrumbs.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Dip each chop into the egg and then roll in breadcrumb mixture.  In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add chops and cook until golden, about 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a baking sheet coated in nonstick spray.  Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes (adjusting for thickness of chop).  Adapted from Rachael Ray.

Beyond delicious.  I could have just eaten the pureed pistachio mixture with a spoon.  There were no leftovers, always a good sign!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables

Delicious, easy summer dinner!  Gotta love a veggie-filled meal that doesn't require standing over a hot stove.

Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
2 yellow squash, sliced thin
3 zucchini, sliced thin
2T olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1T minced garlic
2T balsamic vinegar
6 oz soft goat cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 475F. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, combine squash and next seven ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl.  Toss until well-coated, adding more oil and seasoning if needed to taste.  Arrange in a single layer on a jellyroll pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until squash is browned, stirring after 10 minutes.  Drizzle vinegar over vegetables and toss lightly to coat.  Add vegetables to drained pasta in a bowl large enough for serving.  Crumble goat cheese over top and stir until just mixed in.  Serve immediately.
Unlike most of the pasta dishes I have tried, this does not freeze well.  the squash takes on a strange texture when thawed back out.  Eat the leftovers the week you make it instead.

Five for Friday, vol 49

1. You look super sexy doing yard work.

2. You always want to hold my hand during wedding ceremonies.

3.  You don't mind that I am a terrible dancer, and you always try to spin me.

4.  You always add movies to the Netflix queue that involve aliens or ghosts.

5. You have filled our backyard with flowers.

I love you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dear Kindle

I owe you an apology. When you were first released to the world, you and your other e-reader friends, I scoffed. I mocked. I turned my little nose up and I swore that I would never buy one.

I love to read and I love books. I love the smell of bookstores and libraries and the lines a paperback acquires after you crack the spines. I love turning down corners to come back and re-read great passages or quotes later. I love art work on book covers and using it to judge the content within. I love building an immense to-read list and slowly filling my bookshelves at home with my favorite volumes. When I was a little girl, I would sneak books into bed with me. It's been a lifelong love affair, one could say.

But then I started coming around to you, Kindle, slowly but surely. I have full bookshelves already. Books can be an expensive habit. Paperless books seem kind of, you know, green. Still, Kenny kept asking if I wanted a Kindle and I kept saying no. But my friends kept talking about theirs. My dad got one. My mom put the reader app on her iPad. And then my sister, the biggest bookaholic that I have ever known, did the same. I finally broke down and asked for a Kindle for Christmas.

I felt like I was cheating on books. It's just so ... Easy. The books are cheaper, some are free. You can't beat the immediate download from Amazon. My whole family shares an account, so we are building up an interesting library - which so far consists of a lot of spy thrillers (Dad), mysteries (Mom), and a bunch of random stuff (me). But that's the whole point, you know? Borrow a book. Find a new author or genre you never knew you'd like. I've always read a lot, but I feel like I'm reading even more now, thanks to the Kindle. And yes, that means real books too. I was completely sold. A huge hypocrite, but a big e-reader fan, nonetheless.

And then you stepped up the game, Kindle. When my friend Sarah posted about borrowing e-books on Facebook and I could not respond fast enough. I had no idea this feature existed and now I am SO EXCITED. I mean if you're going to borrow books from someone, it should be an English teacher and it should happen at the beginning of summer. So now I am halfway through Water for Elephants and my Mind. Is. Blown.

I take back everything I said, Kindle. I kind of love you. Sorry, Books.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five for Friday, vol 48

1. You read my blog in my voice in your head.

2. You tell me stories about things at work - trades, annuities, bonds, compliance - that are completely over my head, but you really enjoy it and understand it all. Smartypants.

3. You always create a wall of pillows around me in bed when you get up before me in the mornings.

4. I think some guys would be embarrassed to walk two small, fluffy dogs in color-coordinating harnesses around the neighborhood, but you do it almost every day.

5. You make me read to you, even in the middle of a book, just because you like to hear my voice and know what I'm doing.

I love you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I am a pretty lucky girl, you know.

I have a mother who is kind, hard-working, selfless, and supportive.  She gives incredible advice and pep talks, she will drop anything to come to the aid of her girls, and she has taught me everything I know about what it means to be a wife and (someday) a mother.

Not only that, but Kenny comes from a mother who is generous, thoughtful, and sweet.  She would do just about anything for us, especially if involves watching the dogs.  She has been through a lot, but always comes through with a kind word and a helping hand if needed.  She has welcomed me into the family with more-than-open arms, and I constantly count my blessings to have such a wonderful mother in law.

And our grandmas are pretty cool ladies too.  We would be no where without them!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five for Friday, vol 47

1. You treat yourself to extra cheese on Fridays.

2. You don't like ordering first because you don't want to get the most expensive thing at the table.

3. You make me do The Carlton.

4. You offered to fly me to KC in June to visit friends since you wouldn't be able to drive with me. And you were a little disappointed when I decided to take the train instead.

5.  You coach me through batting practice so that I don't feel so lame at kickball.

I love you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Crunchy Panko Porkchops

You know it's a good recipe for pork chops when Kenny eats his and then goes for seconds.  Maybe because I served it with mac and cheese.  We all know that mac and cheese makes everything better by proxy.  If you don't agree, then I'm sorry, we can't be friends anymore.


Crunchy Panko Porkchops
2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp soy sauce
1 large egg white
1/3 cup panko crumbs
2 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut pork chops
1 teaspoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 450F. Combine first 5 ingredients (flour through red pepper) in a shallow dish. Combine soy sauce and egg white in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dredge pork in flour mixture; dip in egg mixture. Dredge in panko. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 1 minute on each side. Place pork on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450F for 6 minutes or until done. Adapted from Cooking Light.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Gratitude Exchange

Kenny and I are trying a new experiment.  In light of this whole thing, we are playing a new game.  Kenny calls it the Gratitude Exchange.  Instead of focusing on the things that we are each doing individually, we are going to make a point to recognize the other's efforts and contributions.  Whenever we find ourselves taking note of something we have done around the house (and thinking "ugh I do everything around here"), we have to take a moment to notice something by the other, and thank them for it.

Two days in, I really like it.  It has been an epiphany for us. Such a small thing - saying thank you - can have such a big impact. We're communicating better - less snippiness, less angst, and less stress.  So far, so good.  Now I want to try it at work too.

And my husband surprised me this morning by making strawberry waffles.  I mean really.

Since its going well for us, I want those of you in relationships (or those of you with roommates, coworkers, friends, etc) to try it too, and report back. I'd love to hear your experiences.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five for Friday, vol 46

1. You get drunk on pancakes.

2.  You think my workout clothes are sexy.

3.  You saved the air conditioner from certain death.

4.  You just get me.

5.  Your texts make me giggle-snort in my cubicle.

 I love you.