Thursday, February 28, 2013

Honey Crunch Pork Chops

I'm posting this recipe so that I will not forget the modifications I made to it.  This is not my own orginal recipe but you can find the original here. I'd made the recipe a couple times, but I thought the sauce was weird and missing something.  I really wanted this recipe to work--I mean fried pork chops, c'mon! With a little trial and error, I feel I discovered what was missing, and it made all the difference!


Honey Crunch Pork Chops (Serves 6)



Ginger-Honey Sauce

1 tbsp Vegetable oil
3-4 garlic cloves; minced
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger; grated
1 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In a medium sauce pan heat oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic just begins to sizzle.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Return to heat and reduce temp to low and bring to a simmer.




Chops

6-8 boneless loin chops
11/2 cup flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper
4 eggs
vegetable oil

Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper.  In a shallow dish stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate shallow dish whisk eggs until frothy.  Dredge chops in flour, then egg, and then flour again and set on a cooling rack set over a sheet pan to rest. In a large skillet add approximately 1/2 inch of oil and heat over medium high heat until a drop of water splashed into the oil sizzles.  Gently place 3-4 chops in the oil and fry 4-5 minutes on each side until coating is golden brown and crunchy.  Remove from oil and place on a sheet pan covered with paper towels.  Repeat with remaining chops.  Once chops are fried and drained, serve with ginger-honey sauce spooned over the top.

I served the chops with this yummy asian coleslaw and sesame ginger dressing.




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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paying it Forward--It's a Giveaway!

A few weeks ago my friend and fellow blogger, Katie at Blessed with Full Hands, had a giveaway on her blog.  To my delight, I won!  The giveaway represented four of her "favorites" and my package arrived last Friday.  Tucked inside was a gift card to Dunkin' Donuts, representing her coffee love; a bag of delicious organic dark chocolate, representing her love for dark chocolate and from her favorite discount grocery; and a very cool hand-made acacia bead necklace; representing a favorite charity, Visiting Orphans.


Getting packages in the mail is fun--especially packages you didn't pay for yourself and that someone else hand picked to send to you.  I so enjoyed Katie's giveaway package that I'm going to pay it forward to one of my readers here.  To enter, just leave a comment in the combox describing the best surprise you've ever received in the mail.  This giveaway will be open for one week at which time one winner will be chosen randomly to receive a package of some of my "favorites" in the mail. Good luck! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, February 25, 2013

Coming Fashionably Late to the Party and a Book Review


Just recently, I've become a Downton Abbey lover.  Better late than never.  I managed to watch seasons 1 and 2 via Netflix and PBS.com before season 3 aired, plus I managed to turn my sister into a downright Downton addict.  She admits to watching all 3 seasons now more than twice! Now I'm all caught up and going through withdrawals.

I gave up my iPad addiction for Lent and have replaced my web browsing and game playing during naptime with good old fashioned reading--and that without the instant gratification of my Kindle Reader!  I picked up Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey to give me that Downton fix.  I loved every word.

The book is written by the current Lady Carnarvon of Highclere Castle, which is the castle Downton is based upon.  She is a very entertaining writer and managed nicely to combine the history of the castle, it's inhabitants, and the times with fashion and drama.  Lady Almina married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon in 1895 and the book follows her life as Countess at Highclere.  Almina was a truly fascinating character.  Born the illegitimate daughter of Sir Alfred de Rothschild, he settled a very large amount of money on her prior to her marriage to Lord Carnarvon that solidified the solvency of Highclere and the title for generations to come.  She was fashionable and socially impeccable, but also very active politically and later as a nurse in the hospitals she opened during World War I first in Highclere Castle and later in Bryanston Square in London.  Her husband became famous in his own right when he and Howard Carter made the most magnificent discovery of ancient Egyptian artifacts in King Tutankamen's tomb in 1922.

Although the author claims the book is neither a history nor a novel, it reads as both.  An extremely fascinating and easy read, ideal for any Downton-ophile. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Process of Becoming Pope

I took this from another blog. It does miss the spiritual element to the whole business, but otherwise it is clever and informative. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ballet Critic

This last weekend I took the girls and two of their friends into Salt Lake City to see Ballet West's performance of Cinderella.  We got all gussied up and had a wonderful time together.  After the
performance, we seemed to have a general consensus regarding our feelings about the day. I'm afraid to say, the ballet critic came out in me.

Capitol Theater, though quite small, is very lovely and the seating arrangements were well done, truly making the stage visible from any seat in the theater.  The ushers were kind and extremely helpful.  This was definitely a mother/daughter event and the theater was packed with dressed up little girls and their mums.

The ballet itself was very traditional, even using staging and choreography from the grand high days of storybook ballets.  The costumes were exquisite, eliciting "oohs" and "ahs" throughout the 2 1/2 hour performance.  The music was a live and performed beautifully by the Utah Chamber Orchestra.  Having a live orchestra for performances is a real treat, and Ballet West is truly blessed to have such a talented group supporting them.

Unfortunately, the dancing itself really wasn't of the caliber my girls and I are used to seeing, having seen both The Joffrey and New York City Ballet companies perform at the Kennedy Center.  There were some glaring technique issues (bent arms, lackadaisical fifth positions, to forward leaning, hopping around in turns and jumps, etc.) and Ballet West's dancers lack the beautiful extension found in Russian trained dancers.  We did see a matinee performance and often matinee casts are the second tier, but still, for such a critically acclaimed company, I expected so much more from the dancing.
The highlight of this particular storybook ballet were Cinderella's stepsisters, who, in this staging, are played by men.  Their costuming and makeup make them all the more hideous and comical. The two dancers in these roles played the pantomime in perfectly and absolutely made the afternoon.

Although we have our quibbles, the girls and I are excited to see what Ballet West will bring to its stage next season.  This mother/daughter day is bound to become a tradition. Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Worthwhile Fundraiser: For Anna to Hear

Normally, I do not post on Sundays, but this fundraiser's time is running short and I figure many of my blogging friends are using this Lent to reduce their screen time and may be saving perusal of blogs for Sundays. 

Gayly over at Quilt-n-mama is hosting a fundraiser to help Anna's family raise the funds to cover a special surgery she needs in ITALY to restore her hearing.  Anna is a precious girl, adopted from China.  They are selling very cute shirts in short sleeve, long sleeve and children's sizes to raise the funds . . . 


Credit for my coming across this fundraiser goes to Katie at Blessed with Full Hands.  I saw the t-shirts for the fundraiser and the saying on the shirts made me cry.  "Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He did for me. For I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke." Psalm 66:16-17


Who among us hasn't cried out to God for help? And hasn't he responded in amazing ways? Anyhoo, this is a great idea for a lovely little girl.  They are taking orders until February 22.

Here's the shirt I ordered. I can't wait to wear it!



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Friday, February 15, 2013

What's Been Happening

The craziness never seems to end around here.  We closed on the Maryland house yesterday, thanks be to God!  We even made a little money and are using it to pay off some small bills, put in wood floors and put in new carpet in the kids rooms.

We've been stuck by the plague once again. I had bargained the flu wouldn't strike twice in one season.  Well I bargained wrongly.  It struck twice in less than a month, the nasty bug.  Special K was down all last weekend.  Wingnut Jr. is down now and I've had the aches and a fever for the last couple days.  At least this time it doesn't seem so debilitating.  I say it's only fair to let the plague miss us next year!

My two girls and two of their friends and I are heading into Salt Lake tomorrow to catch the matinee showing of Ballet West's Cinderella.  We are so excited to have a girly day out.  If you think of it, say a quick prayer for Wingnut.  He'll be on his own with Lil' Lamb aka the Tyrant for more than 4 hours.

Lil' Lamb's godmama sent the most marvelous gift for Christmas: homemade Garam Masala--Kerela Style.  I finally got around to using it in her South Indian Chicken Curry last night.  It was so good and was a great alternative medicinally to boring chicken soup. She did a great job writing the recipe and if you follow it exactly you will get very, very close to what she would serve in her home.  It was a huge hit with the family and we had absolutely no leftovers!  I sent Mallu Mom photos of her godson chowing down.


If you use her recipe, she says it takes about 15 minutes to cook if you use boneless chicken (use thighs) and 25 minutes if you use bone-in chicken.  Also, curry leaves are hard to come by if you don't have a local Indian food grocer, so you can leave them out.  I had to do without, and I could tell it was missing some of Mallu Mom's love--LOL!







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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gearing Up

Wingnut Jr. and I went to Mass together on Sunday, just the two of us (we have sick kids again, so Wingnut and I divided and conquered).  It was nice to have the chance to talk to him a little about the homily and about his plans for Lent.  We let our children choose their own Lenten sacrifices, with a little guidance.  Our conversation went a little like the following:

Me: So have you been thinking about what you might give up for Lent this year?  You should think about making a "real" sacrifice, something that is a little hard to give up.

Boy: Yep.  I was thinking I would give up Sweet Tarts.

Me: Uh, do you really think that is a meaningful sacrifice?  I mean, how often do you really have Sweet Tarts that it would be a real sacrifice to give them up?  And what's to stop you from choosing Skittles or Sour Patch Kids to replace the Sweet Tarts?  Do you see what I'm saying?

Boy: Yeah.  I guess I should give up all candy then.

Me: Well, that would be a bit more of a sacrifice.  You know what I try to do is to choose something that I use or have or do most every day.  Something that might keep me from becoming closer to God, even.  It might even be something which I could say, "Hey, I might actually love this more than I love God if I'm not careful."  Candy is a good choice, but you might even think about giving up video games. That would be a tough sacrifice.

Boy: Yeah. I guess so.  That would be a good one.  So I might give up candy or video games.


Thinking I had made some good progress with the six year old, I proudly told Wingnut about the gist of our conversation and then asked Wingnut Jr. again what he was thinking about.

"Yeah, I'm giving up Sweet Tarts for Lent!" he proudly declared.


Lent is tough.  It is hard to give up things we love.  I believe it has become increasingly difficult for privileged Americans to embrace the idea of sacrifice.  We have a very difficult time understanding what good sacrifice even brings.  I think, because our children know so little of suffering themselves, it is extremely difficult for them to even understand what it really is. Of course, Lenten sacrifice is not about making ourselves suffer needlessly.  It is about drawing closer to God. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thoughts

Not many may care about the thoughts of a stay at home mom regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, but here they are, nonetheless.

Of course my initial reaction was shock and sadness.  I remember vividly the day Joseph Ratzinger was hailed as the next successor to Peter.  My children still laugh as they tell the story of my jumping up and down and cheering so loudly the entire neighborhood could hear me.  As Holy Father, he has not disappointed.  I caught my single glimpse of him on his visit to the United States in 2008 with the throngs of people in DC and it was thrilling.  He will be sorely missed.

It was profoundly heartbreaking to watch as Pope John Paul II aged before our very eyes and so obviously struggled with the effects of Parkinson's Disease, and yet his very public suffering served a deeper purpose.  He showed this youth obsessed world what it meant to grow old and feeble, and although at times it was not dignified, he did it with great humility and dignity.  He showed us all that every human life is precious from it's fragile beginning to it's often fragile ending.

Yet, our current Pope chooses not to do the same.  He is a different man with a different humility.  His conscious decision to relinquish his post before his body gives out is admirable.  I'm sure it is not lost on any Catholic that Benedict chooses to step aside now, just at the beginning of Lent.  So many of the faithful will be focusing their Lenten prayer toward the end of this papacy and the beginning of the next.  New life comes for the Church, just as we celebrate the new life that comes from the Resurrection of our Savior.  May God Bless Benedict XVI and may God Bless his successor!  God's Will be done!

As a sweet aside, our six year old was very worried we would not be able to have Blue Knights on Tuesday because of the Pope's abdication.  I reassured him that all was fine and that nothing would really change.  Isn't his reaction similar to ours?  How profoundly we are affected by the news today, but in the end, God is unchanging and His Church will go on. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, February 8, 2013

Boy Genius at Work



When he was 3 1/2 years old I posted a video of him reading from a B.O.B. book.  Well, the kid hasn't stopped.  At this moment, boy wonder is deep into his third chapter book from The Viking Quest series.  He's only 6.  Have I told you how easy homeschooling him has been?  I wonder what God has in store for him? Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lil' Lamb Turns Two!

Lil' Lamb turned two on Monday.  I can't believe our baby is two already!

The kids made these adorable Angry Bird cupcakes.  Lil' Lamb was very impressed!




We discovered the idea on Pinterest and they were very simple to execute.  I think the kids did a great job!





We managed to keep him from grabbing the flaming candles and Wingnut was great at helping Lil' Lamb blow out his candles.





Lil' Lamb loves the birthday song and continued to sing it after blowing out the candles.







These look delicious!





Mmmmmm! Marshmallow bird belly!





Facetime with Oleander . . . 





. . . and on the phone with Karate Kid.  Such is the life of a large and separated family.  Still,  I loved that the girls wanted so badly to be a part of their baby brother's celebration.


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