On Tonight’s Plate 2

Tonight’s dinner was nothing to be proud of. Sure, the stuffing was good, but it was just modified Stovetop (a guilty pleasure for me). The sauteed garlic spinach was tasty, but nothing special.

Those wedges you see there are kabocha squash, which was new for me. I’d never heard of it or tasted it before. I often can’t pass up something new I see in my produce store, and this was one of those times. I overcooked it, so it was dry, but it still had great flavor. It really reminded me of chestnut. I’m looking forward to trying it again, and doing it right.

The big disappointment of the plate was the pork chop and apples. I seasoned the chop simply, with just sage, salt, and pepper. It ended up being bland and unattractive. Why did I not sear it beforehand? I don’t know. Most of the sage flavor ended up in the apples, which was unappealing. The apples gave off a lot more water than I had anticipated, and the pork chops ended up steaming in their shared dish. Total failure. Just like my attempt at daily blogging for NaBloPoMo. Life got busy, my husband had

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On Tonight’s Plate

Tonight for dinner I made maple and mustard glazed pork tenderloin with onions and cranberries, mashed yukon gold potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and carrots, and mushrooms sauteed in homebrewed wine. It was pretty easy and it was seriously delicious.

The pork loin was almost the star, but for me the cranberries were the real winner. It all came together in about an hour, and I was taking my time and socializing while cooking.

I used Maille Old Style Mustard, but any coarse-grain mustard will work. Please use real maple syrup, it’ll make you smile.

2 lbs pork loin
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) coarse-grain mustard
rubbed sage
cranberries
dehydrated onion

Heat oven to 425F. Heat some olive oil in a big pan. Season your pork loins with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a bit of rubbed sage over them. Sear them for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden. While they’re in the pan, put some dehydrated onions in a bit of water to rehydrate. You could probably use minced fresh onion here if you have don’t have the dry stuff. Or some onion powder. Place the browned loin in an olive oiled baking dish. Add

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Dairy Free Rice Pudding

No, it’s not exactly the same. It’s just not. But if you’re unable or unwilling to eat dairy, I think you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. And if it’s been years since you’ve had rice pudding, you may not even be able to tell the difference.

I had leftover white rice from Chinese food, so I used a quart of rice. A packed quart is 5 cups, so this made a huge batch. Do a half batch if you’d like a more reasonable amount.

5 cups cooked white rice
6 cups “milk”
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Earth Balance
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt

I used 4 cups of Silk Pure Coconut and 2 cups of Silk Pure Almond. I would have used all coconut, but I ran out. I would suggest something other than almond milk, because the almond milk has a funny color. If color is no big deal to you, go ahead and use it.

If you want to make this vegan, you could definitely use an egg replacer like Ener-G rather than eggs.

Beat your eggs into your milk. Place all ingredients except vanilla into a large pot

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I Am Not A Vegan

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not a vegan. I’m not even a vegetarian. I love meat, and I have no intention of removing it from my life. Especially since it’s been just over a year since I started enjoying seafood and I still have a lot of things to try.

That being said, I bought myself a vegan cookbook. It seemed like the easiest solution for simply creating dairy-free dishes that my whole family can enjoy while I’m abstaining from dairy for the duration of the breastfeeding. You know the wonderful thing about cooking from a vegan cookbook when you’re not actually vegan? The freedom to incorporate meat or animal products into any recipe you’d like. For real, people. If someone goes through all of the extra trouble it takes to make a delicious complete meal without meat, adding meat really takes it over the top.

Anyway, I’ve found a vegan cookbook that I really like. My whole family enjoys the dishes I make from this book. Especially when I add meat. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or just a regular meat-eating foodie, check out Appetite For Reduction. I love it, and in the next few months

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CSA Disappointment

This year we participated in our first CSA. It was a vegetable CSA, though we also got eggs. Overall, it was a whopping disappointment. Before it began I would spend roughly $30/week at our produce store. After it began I spent around $25/week. Our CSA cost 460, and lasted for 20 weeks. I’ll do the math for you, that’s $23/week. While I was happy to get organic produce, and thrilled to support our local agriculture, this just really didn’t work for me. I got too many ingredients which I had no use for and a lot of the produce was bland. The real eye-opener was when my own green bean plants were producing dozens of delicious beans and i got a small handful of mediocre beans as part of my haul from the farm. If I could grow tastier produce, with my minimal gardening experience, what was I paying for? Also, being on a rather strict budget, I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to save much money on my weekly grocery trips after having made what I felt to be a sizable investment.

We picked the least expensive CSA around. It was close to home and $300 less

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Food

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is about last meals. (Yawn, I’m so not impressed with these topics so far.)

It’s always been hard for me to separate food from seasons. Right now, all I want is apples, pumpkins, roasts, stews, and lots of savory spices. If you’d asked me 3 months ago about my favorite foods I’d have told you about tomatoes, tacos, seafood, cilantro and fruits.

In the past week I’ve made Apple Cakes from Debra at Smith Bites, though I made then in cupcake tins because I don’t do bundt cakes. (fill cupcake tins 3/4 full, bake for 18-20 minutes) I made a hearty beef stew with fresh crusty bread. Last night I made a variation on Wendi’s Cider Roasted Pork, which was only a variation because I forgot some essential steps. Still, it was fantastic. (If you accidentally marinate in just plain apple cider, rather than a brine, simply put salt, pepper, coriander, dried sage, and fresh rosemary on top of the pork before roasting. It might not be right, but it’s really tasty regardless.) I served it with Ina Garten’s Cranberry Sauce, which I had made for Thanksgiving last year and totally fell in love

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