Monthly Archives: May 2013

My New Favorite Breads Are From Wegmans

At the beginning of this month, we went on a field trip to Wegmans grocery store with some other homeschool families.  It was their Eat Well, Live Well 4th Grade Tour, but we included 3rd through 5th graders.  We had a great time, learned new things with hands-on activities and ate food – best kind of field trip in my book! We sampled foods from the bakery, produce department and cheese shop.  Unfortunately, there were no samples in the fresh meat & seafood department.  :o(

Two items we sampled in the bakery were so good, I’ve been buying them.  They are the Marathon Energy Loaf (pictured on the left) and the 5 Grain 4 Seed Multigrain Bread (pictured on the right).  All of us moms who bake our own bread were so jealous that the multigrain bread was moist and not as dense as the loaves we have baked.  They weren’t giving up the secret, though.  The marathon bread has both fruit and vegetable, in addition to all the seeds.  YUM-O!  I’ve had them toasted, buttered, cream cheesed and around a delicious BLT.  If you have a Wegmans in your area, give it a try!

Easy-Peasy Pork Tenderloin in a Pressure Cooker

Read how I made a juicy, tender dinner quickly, when I didn’t have the time to use a slow cooker.

I had a 2.5 lb pork roast to cook for dinner and I really want to utilize my Nesco pressure cooker more often so I brought it out.  This one is great because of all the cooking methods it can do: steam, brown, slow cook and pressure cook.  I love that I can brown my meat in the pressure cooker so I don’t have to dirty another pot.  I wish I had thought ahead and taken pix all throughout the preparation of this meal, but I didn’t.  I actually didn’t even think to take a nice picture of the final product until the hubs was about to take his 1st bite and snapped the top-left one, but it’s a little fuzzy.  The top-right one is my plate with seconds on it.  :o)  The tenderloin in the picture is a 2nd one I have (they were a BOGO deal).  Anywho, let me tell you how easy this was!

2.5 lb pork temderloin, quartered
1 onion, quartered
2 small apples, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 C beef stock (if you don’t have, use wine, chicken or vegetable stock or even water)
Salt and pepper
If you want to make gravy
3 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp flour (you could use cornstarch and water, instead of butter and flour)

When I unwrapped the tenderloin, it was actually in two, long pieces.  I cut both pieces in half, giving me 4 even pieces that fit in the pressure cooker.  Add a tbsp of your choice of oil to the bottom of the pressure cooker and set it to “brown”.  Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and brown all sides of the pork, two pieces at a time, in the cooker.

Remove the browned pork, place the meat trivet inside the cooker, then set the 4 pork pieces on the trivet.  Drop the onion, apple and garlic cloves on top (don’t worry if some fall  through the trivet to the bottom).  Pour beef stock in and seal cooker.  Cook pork for 35 minutes.  If you have a manual pressure cooker, start your timer after it starts to jiggle.  In my electric pressure cooker, I can set the timer and then it won’t start counting down until it’s reached full pressure.

When timer is up, release pressure and remove pork and trivet; cover pork to keep it warm.  (I tasted the liquid in the pot and the onions and apple had flavored the stock nicely, so I removed them with a mesh strainer.  You could leave them in and use an immersion blender to puree them into your stock, thus thickening it into a gravy.)  Turn cooker back to “brown” and blend melted butter with flour (or water and cornstarch).  Once stock is boiling, whisk in butter/flour mixture and continue to cook until desired thickness.  Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

***UPDATE 6/12/15 – Instead of using melted butter and flour to thicken sauce, for the past 6 months I’ve taken a little of the liquid out of the cooker and added it to a mason jar.  Add a couple tablespoons of flour, screw lid on tightly and shake vigorously to combine.  Then whisk into cooker until desired thickness achieved.  I do this with all my pan sauces now!  After cooking chicken/pork/beef in a pan, I remove meat, add some flour and chicken or beef stock to a mason jar, shake and then whisk into the pan with the leftover oil and brown bits from the meat.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Great, fast sauce!

The pork fell apart nicely and was so tender!  I served it with green beans and potatoes – baked for the hubs and mashed for me and B.  If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it!

The Flexibility of Homeschooling or Honoring My Child’s Interests

I couldn’t decide between the two titles for this post, so I used them both.  ;o)  After we spent a couple of weeks on the Knights and Samurai chapter of Story of the World, B decided to do something else for a bit.  He spent the next couple of weeks reading books he likes, drawing comics for the book he’s decided to “publish” and sell and write some stories.  The freedom of homeschooling allows you to follow your child’s lead and honor what he or she needs.  B only turned the TV on during breakfast to catch up on any Phineas and Ferb episodes that had taped while he slept and then he went off by himself the rest of the day.  He reread all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Captain Underpants books and Big Nate books he had.  He wrote fictional stories in the Write Your Own Story Book by Usborne Books.  He gathered together all the comics he’d drawn over the years, corrected the spelling, organized them and created a cover for the book he wants to publish.  There are so many articles and how-to’s out there on how to get your children to read or how to instill a love of reading in children.  We’ve been blessed that our love and desire for books and the worlds they expose us to has been passed onto him organically.

There was no way I was going to deny him when he wanted to do nothing but read, write and create for a couple of weeks.  We honored his interests.  I love this boy and his appetite for learning and books and his endless creativity!  It’s amazing how much my child yearns to learn and enjoys learning when he has a say in what we learn and how much of each topic he is ready to take in.  He’s still a boy with impulses and self-control issues, who cries when he’s frustrated, who wants his parents to tuck him in a night, who dissolves into fits of giggles when the words “pee”, “poop” or “butt” are said.  But he is also mature enough to ask me if I need anything, says “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir”, runs ahead and opens a door for someone with their arms full and appreciates the difference between a want and a need.  I am so lucky and blessed to be with him everyday, to learn along side of him and guide him to become the man he is meant to be.  Homeschooling was a gift we thought we were giving to B, but we have received so much from it, ourselves.

My Little Fasionisto

Ben and I went to Kohl’s in the beginning of April because we all needed sandals for Summer and I had a 20% off coupon.  We found great, cheap sandals for all of us and, as we were heading to the checkout, I decided to “just look” at the women’s section.  I really needed some new shorts, in a larger size than last year, and since my 20% off coupon was good for my entire purchase, it just made sense to do some window shopping.  ;o)   As I was looking at capri pants, B says, “Mom, you should buy these; they’d look great on you!”  He was holding up what I thought was a skirt but, on further inspection, it was a skort.  I said, “B, I can’t wear that.  I can’t pull off a skort.”  B replied, “Of course you can, Mama!  You can pull off anything!”  What a sweet boy, filled with unconditional love!  He proceeded to search for, and find, three shirts to go with the skort he found for me.  When I looked at the bright blue shirt he picked out that matched the skort, I said, “I think that shirt color, and the skort color, are too dark for me.  Don’t you think?  This aqua shirt would go much better with my eyes.”  B replied, “Mama, you already have a shirt that color!”  OMG – he was right; he observes and absorbs everything!  So I bought the skort and the 3 shirts (pictured above) that he picked out, in addition to our Summer sandals.

When we were checking out, the cashier said, “I love how all three of these shirts go so well with this skort!”  “Thank you,” I replied.  “I can’t take credit.  My son picked them all out for me.”  “Well,” she said, looking at B, “You’ve got a great eye for fashion.”  Ben smiled at the cashier and then turned to me.  “Mama?  What do they call a male fashionista?”  A….fashionissssss…to?”  A big grin spread across B’s face.  I grinned back.  As we walked out of Kohl’s, we both felt proud of him.

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