What’s Up?

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What’s up in the garden? Not too much going on yet, but we did have our first grilled veggies a couple of nights ago. We are getting zucchini, yellow squash and a couple of beans and snap peas. Yum! I can’t wait until we hit full production! The kids are already moaning about zucchini overload…zucchini in bread, pancakes, cookies, meatloaf, taco meat, spaghetti sauce etc. etc. And, my favorite, grilled veggies.

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We planted wheat grass for the chickens and they’ve been enjoying it greatly. The other benefit to the wheat grass is that the long rows of lush, green growth make the garden look a lot more successful ūüėČ
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Callie, the helpful garden doggie…

garden 3A couple of days ago, Donald, Callie and I were out in the garden, admiring our tiny¬†asparagus (asparagus? asparagi?)¬†spears, when suddenly, Callie leaned over, grabbed one of the beautiful green sprouts between her teeth and yanked the entire thing out of the ground. Gasp! Groan! Oh, the horror! Considering how long it takes for an asparagus plant to produce, I don’t think they’ll have much of chance with Callie around.¬†Our sweet Callie, an asparagus murderer?? We think that she actually might make a good vegetarian because of her daily apple-core eating habits- her fondness of gophers might get in the way though ūüėČ

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A bug I actually like having in the garden! Stay tuned for more garden updates, hopefully we’ll have more to report soon!

Kalua Pork

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I got this Kalua Pork recipe from my aunt and now it’s (almost) world famous. My friend’s husband, a man of few words, said that “This pork is insane.” The ingredients are a little strange, but the yumminess of the finished product makes up for it.

Don’t be tempted to buy a pork loin instead of the pork butt- the extra fat on the pork butt keeps it really tender. Plus you’ll remove the fat after cooking anyways. A friend told me that pork shoulder is the same as pork butt- but I don’t have a confirmation on that, so I’m not exactly sure.

Pierce and slash the skin of the pork butt and place in the crock pot, fat side up. Pour liquid smoke over the top and sprinkle on the salt and garlic power.

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Place the two bananas, unpeeled, on top of the pork butt, fat side up, and cover.

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Cook on high for 8 hours. Yes, the bananas are supposed to be black and disgusting- don’t freak out- everything will be better in a few minutes ūüėČ

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Remove the bananas and the extra fat (so much more appetizing, right?)….

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and shred the meat.

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This pork is so delicious and tender- it doesn’t last very long around our house. We normally make tacos with the pork,

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But we’ve also used it for pork sandwiches (with Rudy’s¬†barbecue¬†sauce, straight from an amazing little hole-in-the-wall¬†barbecue¬†place in New Braunfels, Texas).

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Kalua Pork

4-6 pound pork butt

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons liquid smoke

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 whole, unpeeled bananas

Pierce and slash the skin of pork butt and place in the crock pot, fat side up. Pour the liquid smoke over the top and sprinkle on the salt and the garlic powder. Place the two bananas, unpeeled, on top of the pork butt, fat side up,  and cover. Cook on high for 8 hours. Remove the bananas and the extra fat, and shred the meat.

What Was I Thinking?

For some reason this week has been particularly grueling in the workout department. It could be because I stayed for a second torture session, I mean boot camp session on Monday. Or, it’s just that I’m getting so old my body just isn’t recovering the way it used to. In any case, today, when I got home from torture session #5 for this week I could barely walk. So what did I decide to do? Clean out an upper cabinet above my oven. You know the one? Where everything you never really need or use gets shoved up there and because the cabinet is high and deep, you just sort of forget about it. Well, that is the one I decided that I MUST clean out today. It required me getting up and down on the chair so I could dig out all the treasures in this cabinet! Ugh!

cabinet 1Seriously, this ALL came out of the one cabinet. I didn’t even recognize most of it…

cabinet 2A perfect example of the junk that got stuck up there…so many lids, so few jars! It’s worse than losing just one sock.

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Jordan got such a kick out of this one: the rosy mug without the saucer (I found the shattered remains deep within the cabinet) is a Happy Birthday mug that has a wind-up music box inside. Seriously, Happy Birthday is printed on the side and the teacup sings. When would you ever need a singing teacup? I guess though, it could come in handy for a stage production of The Beauty and the Beast ūüėČ

cabinet 3Travis said that his “life was made complete” when he found out that we own a milkshake maker, and all Jordan had to say was “What!?! How come I’ve never heard of this??” I foresee many milkshakes in my future…

Despite the copious amount of ¬†junk unearthed, I was able to find a whole box of stuff to donate to our church’s rummage sale, and obviously I also re-discovered some treasures.

cabinet 5Ahhhh…the beautiful sight of an empty cabinet is so worth all the pain I experienced clambering onto the chair countless times.

Bruschetta Chicken

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This chicken dish has to be one of the easiest recipes ever! ¬†It takes ten minutes tops to prep and yet it is so tasty and good. ¬†Jordan admitted the other day that she wished that she has requested it for her birthday dinner. ¬†Seriously? ¬†I was shocked that she liked it so much. ¬†We live in the middle of nowhere and can’t even get pizza delivered, but this is almost faster than delivery!

The ingredients are a bit unusual – but it so easy and yummy, it’s worth trying.

Here’s what you do:

Pour dried stuffing mix into a bowl, add the canned tomatoes, water and garlic…

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and stir until combined.

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Place chicken pieces into a lightly sprayed 9×13″ baking dish; sprinkle the chicken with the basil and 1 cup of cheese.

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Top with stuffing mixture.

Bake at 375* for about 25 minutes and then top with the last cup of cheese and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

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Watch to be sure that the topping doesn’t get too brown.

Obviously we failed in the self-control department…I couldn’t even wait for Jordan to take the picture before digging in!

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Yum!¬†We serve with our famous Parmesan pasta, but with the stuffing on top, you really don’t need an additional starch. ¬†It would be great with a salad and some veggies and crusty bread! ¬†Enjoy!

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Bruschetta Chicken

1 14.5 ounce can of Italian diced tomatoes, undrained

1 6 ounce box of stuffing mix, I use Stove Top

1/2 cup water

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces, or the tenderloin pieces

1 to 2 tsp. dried basil

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian blend cheese, divided

Here’s what you do:

Pour dried stuffing mix into a bowl, add the canned tomatoes, water and garlic and stir until combined.

Place chicken pieces into a lightly sprayed 9×13″ baking dish; sprinkle the chicken with the basil and 1 cup of cheese. ¬†Top with stuffing mixture.

Bake at 375* for about 25 minutes and then top with the last cup of cheese and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. ¬†Watch to be sure that the topping doesn’t get too brown.

This recipe originally came from kraftfoods.com.  I made a few tweaks over the years.

tags- chicken, main dish, easy, tomatoes, stuffing