Friday, January 21, 2011

Jalapeno-Honey Pork Tenderloin

Sadly, I have no visual aids showing the finished product, and you can thank Harps & Coop for that omission.  Well, that and the fact that I was making our dinner, trying to feed two kids two different meals, and get a duplicate dinner packed up and out the door for some friends down the road.  How many hands do I have?  Yep, still only the two I started out with twenty-five (okay, thirty...) years ago.  ;)  You will just have to take my word on the deliciousness of this entree.  Mmmm, mmm, good!

The marinade.  If only smell-a-vision were a real thing!

Jalapeno-Honey Pork Tenderloin

You will need:
2 12-oz pork tenderloins
1/3 C honey
3TBSP light soy sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 TBSP fresh grated ginger
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Now get to work:
Trim the fat from the meat.  Place meat in a resealable plastic bag and set aside.  For marinade, in a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped jalapenos, ginger and crushed red pepper.  Pour marinade over meat.  Seal bag; turn to coat meat.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Drain meat, reserving marinade.  Place meat on a rack in roasting pan.  Roast in a 425 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until juices run clear (internal temp of 160 degree F), brushing once with reserved marinade after 10 minutes of roasting.  Discard any remaining marinade.  Remove from oven; cover with foil.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Couscous or quinoa would make a great match for this dish.  Or if you are like my mother, you'll pair it (and by "it" I mean everything) with rice.  Garnish with a sprig of cilantro if desired.


In case you care:
205 cal, 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 330 mg sodium, 16 g carb, 0 g fiber, 23 g protein.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time for a remodel

...of my kitchen.  (I wish!)  I don't like the look or layout of this blog.  As Harper would say, "it's yucky."  Eloquent, I know.  Gonna have to work on this space - like I don't have enough legitimately important tasks on my to-do list that should come waaaaaay before a blog remodel.  Like that's gonna stop me. ;)

Time to get back to the aforementioned kitchen.  And really, if you are looking for an amazingly good deed with which to start the year, feel free to donate new countertops, a double oven with warming drawer, range, an over-the-range microwave and backsplash to spruce up the Peelton Cafe.  Thanks in advance!

A recipe, and a blog revolution.

As I've finally given up on the idea of sleeping "normally" for at least the next eighteen years, perhaps I can return to my happy state of blogging.  Perhaps this blog is on the brink of having a growth spurt.  Or a remodel?  Whereas I once focused solely on Harper and all but completely skipped over Cooper, now we expect a little dash of this and a heaping spoonful of that.  Oh, this could really be fun for me!  (It is truly the little things for me these days!)

The following recipe is out of Fresh: Healthy Cooking and Living from Lake Austin Spa Resort.  The moment I stole borrowed this cookbook from my mother, I tabbed at least 30 recipes that I intended to photocopy; when I saw how many pages were tabbed, I decided the cookbook ought to make its permanent home with me.  My Pad Thai recipe hails from this delightful book as well.

New Orleans-style Barbecue Shrimp

You will need:
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp dried leaf oregano
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz medium to garlic shrimp, shells on
 2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C minced onion
2 TBSP flour
1/4 C beer at room temperature
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 C seafood stock or clam juice
4 TBSP light butter, cut into four pieces
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
French bread for dipping

Now get to work:
Mix the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, white pepper, thyme, oregano and salt in a bowl; set aside.  Spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium high heat.  Add the shrimp and saute just until the shrimp begin to turn pink.  Add the spice mixture, garlic and onion.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.  Whisk the flour, beer, Worcestershire and stock in a bowl.  Pour into the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Reduce the heat and add the butter, 1 piece at a time.  Shake the skillet gently just until the butter melts.  Divide the shrimp and sauce among 4 wide-bottom soup bowls.  Garnish with parsley and serve with bread for dunking.

A few minor admissions:
Since my husband and I are addicted to love, er, spice, I doubled the cayenne to 1/2 tsp.  The dish came out spicy enough to omit our obligatory splash of Sriracha, but not hot enough to hurt.  Perfect.

Also, as a SAHM of two little bits, I never know how long they will allow me to work in the kitchen before one begins screaming and the other scatters upwards of one million toys over every inch of the house.  In other words, I have to work fast and in stages.  To increase the likelihood that I would complete this recipe without completely blowing it, I prepped with a handful of small bowls.  One for the spice mixture, one for the garlic and onion, a third for the stock, Worcestershire and beer, and a tiny one containing the flour.  Whisk the flour into the liquid right before you heat up your pan, so you'll be locked and loaded when it's time to go live.

What else, what else?  Oh, I had chicken broth in my cupboard, and I subbed that for the seafood stock.  Gotta make due with what you have on hand when a trip to the grocery store with two ankle-biters in tow is out of the question.  Use whatever beer you fancy - I went with Real Ale Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, and I sure didn't mind drinking the remaining 14 ounces of it later that evening.  Cilantro pinch hit for parsley last night, too.  Forgo the garnish if you have neither available.  Lastly, I paired this with one of those time-saving microwave in 90-seconds bags of rice and beans (Santa Fe medley, if you must know) from my dear Uncle Ben rather than splurging the calories and carbs on the French bread.  Honestly, I would have splurged on the bread if I could trust myself to not devour entire said loaf before the cooking session even began.  Alas, I could not, and I did not.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Excess Accessories

Harper is currently smack-dab in the middle of a major "I love purses" phase.  A few mornings ago, she asked me if I really liked purses, too?  I immediately had a flashback to 1986.

--time warp--

I was five-years-old, and the proud owner of a pink patent pleather purse (say that five times fast!).  One random afternoon, my "friend" wrote her name, which I've since blocked from memory, on my treasured purse in CAPITAL letters with pen.  I shudder at the thought.

Suffice it to say that the inked offender was forever shunned from that day forward by the entire first grade of Crailsheim American Elementary School.  Let it be known that I did not call for the ostracization, but rather it was led by a member of the "Jennie Howe Fan Club."  (And yes, I was an -ie Jenny in those days.  Had to mix it up, you know.)

--time warp--

Whether it be cotton canvas, corduroy, sequined, leather or satin, Harper loves her purses.  That girl was born to accessorize!  And this girl hopes that girl won't get her pretty little feathers ruffled too badly if and when she finds herself in a situation like the one I mishandled twenty-five years ago.  ;)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cup o' Joe

Harper's vocabulary expands by leaps and bounds on nearly a daily basis.  Some of the words she uses stop me in my tracks, some of her sentence structures amaze me, most of her pronunciation is impressive and yet still some of her babble is incoherent.  We've got it all, folks!  ;)

This morning, for example, I trekked upstairs when I heard Harper rustling about via the baby monitor.  I walked in to find her jumping on her bed and laughing.  Twelve straight hours of sleep must really do a body good.  She bounced down to greet me before walking over to her play kitchen.  She began opening and closing cabinets with a concerned look on her face.

"Where's Harper's coffee?," she asked.

I replied that I was not sure, and then made an attempt to locate a pink or blue metal coffee cup in her cupboard.  I didn't see any of them, so I told her that we would have to look downstairs.

She then grabbed a small bucket from the top of her kitchen and began tossing its contents out left and right.  She looked up at me and said, "I can't find my milk either!"

I about lost it when she added "either" at the end of that sentence.  Such a little girl, yet such a little grown up. Either/or.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby, can I take yo' picture?

My favorite sister-in-law, Mikelle, (forget the fact that I only have one) and her boyfriend, Taylor, recently expanded their interest in photography into a full-fledged business, Heart of Texas Photography.  They were kind enough to donate their skills this past weekend to take photos of our family -- myself, Jeff, this ever-expanding belly of mine, a somewhat cantankerous 21-month old and a picture-crashing weenie dog.  Let's just say we were a handful!

Mikelle posted some of the pics on her blog today.  I can't wait to see the rest of them.  Check 'em out if you have a minute!  If you catch yourself wondering why Harper is upside down in all of the shots, it's because we started way too close to nap time to catch her interest.  We'll know better next time!

Oh, and Wrigley is seriously considering making a late entry into the world of canine modeling.  She has already booked Mikelle to do a series of head shots for her portfolio...I smell bacon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Are you there, Blog? It's me - not Margaret.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I said I would finally blog again and still weeks have passed without nary a new post.  Sorry, Charlie!  As much as I'd like to write more often, "real life" takes precedence, and let's just say that "real life" has laid it on thick lately!  Good intentions can only get take you so far... Alrighty, let's get down to biz-nass.  That's why you're here, isn't it?  ;)

* First things first.  We moved.  I have never moved quite like that before.  I've only ever been responsible for moving my own individual belongings from one location to the next - never a family move!  Can we say "stuff?"  I don't collect anything.  I don't like a lot of things around.  I purged as I packed, and I purged as I unpacked.  And still, we have stuff.  Despite unpacking all of the boxes within the first days, we're still not quite done, but most of what remains are the things that we will slowly accomplish over time.  (Except for hanging the mirror in our bedroom and the candle/art piece in the living room -- how many weeks should that take, Jeff, really?)  Oh, and replacing the dishwasher, STAT!  I may have to get back into the business of slangin' plasma with a dear friend (you know who you are) to fund my kitchen appliance replacement dreams.  Double wall oven - somedaaaaaaaay!  :)  

The best part of the new house?  Everything.  It feels likes home.  Our family will enjoy living here over many, many years to come.  I'm excited about the prospect of adding our personal touches to the place as time goes on, too.  I'm so thankful to my husband for making this a reality for our family.  He works very hard to provide for the three of us (soon to be four!), and I'll be forever grateful for his love and effort.  

* Harper la-la-loves her big girl room.  Her room is upstairs aka "Harper's stairs."  Hey, if you want to lay a claim to something, let it be known!  Her room is near completion minus a few finishing touches.  If you can call painting the entire room a finishing touch, then you're one of my kind!  I'm thinking chartreuse....thoughts?  A horizontal magnetic stripe across one wall is a must.  Who doesn't love magnets?!

* Cooper's room - it's coming along even more slowly.  The colors being used are white, brown and orange.  Think Texas-themed, but not over the top.  I need to pick a paint color.  I hope Sherwin Williams is ready for this girl!  My plan is to work on his room this week...I'm feeling inspired (slash pressured) by the baby shower on Saturday celebrating his upcoming arrival.  Let's strike from history the fact that Harper's nursery was literally done within days of learning her gender.  Ah well...we'll get 'er done!  Or "him" done, rather.

* Speaking of Coop, we're now at 33 weeks (and 3 days if you're counting, like me!).  He is movin' and groovin' more than ever.  According to, he probably weighs around four pounds by now, and is growing like a weed -- as evidenced by my protruding belly.  I have gained sixteen pounds myself, and I'm thankful that none of it has settled in random places like my earlobes or ankles.

I'm excited AND nervous to meet him.  What will he be like?  How similar or different will he be from his big sister?  Maybe he will be a July baby instead of August?  While he is officially due on August 6th, Jeff and I both think he'll arrive between mid- to late-July.  I've talked to my doctor about inducing on August 2nd if he hasn't already arrived by then, but I'm sure we'll talk more about that as the weeks progress.  One can only hope!
* Current Harper-isms:
     -"No, Jeff!"
     -"I know, Mommy!" (Her tone adds extra flair to that one.)
     -"Shake your body" (While dancing.)
     -"Go, Harper!  Harper did it!"  (When she is proud of completing a task.)
     -"Harper is drawing. Harper is coloring with crayons."  (Sentences are coming on strong to quite strong.)
     -"Harper is sad, sick, happy or _____." (She is really starting to communicate her feelings to us, though at 
       a basic level.  What a difference that makes in our lives!  She also loves speaking in third person.) 
     -"This is 'licious.  Harper-licious!"  (Her version of delicious.  I laugh every time.)

* "I love you."  I've been waiting a long, long time for that one.  Seriously, I've prompted her at every possible occasion and got nothing.  Nix. Nada.  She uses it sparingly, but I've gotta respect her for it.  Oh, and I can't forget the other day when I told her I love her, and she smiled and replied, "I know, Mommy."  When I repeated the story to Jeff, he reminded me of how eerily similar of a response I gave when he first told me those same three words.  :)  What is that old saying about the apple and the tree?  Yeah....
    Well, that about covers it for now.  I've purposely left out details about Harper's most recent teething experiences, our Memorial Day trip to Abilene, swim lessons, her recent lack of sleep (and our own) and volunteering for four days straight for the Starburst Junior Golf Classic among other things.  I didn't want to risk inducing complete and utter exhaustion by mentally reliving any of those particular moments!  We are already knee-deep into a busy, busy summer.  June is rapidly coming to a close - how is that?  

    If you've made it this far without developing a headache, then I am impressed.  Until next time... later gators!

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    I'll scream if you touch my ice cream

    Like her Mommy, Harper does not care to share her ice cream, especially when her Daddy tries to steal bites in a less than stealth-like manner.  

    After an untold number of kids' meals, I finally remembered to pick up the complimentary ice cream cup after she finished her sammy.  Apparently, it piqued Jeff's interest, too!

    Frantically waving him off... 

    On the lookout...

    "No, Jeff!"  
    Seriously.  He was "Daddy" until he started messin' with her ice cream!

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Hug it out

    Dear Blog,

    I miss you.  I miss us.  I miss who I am and how I feel when we're together.  We can't keep going on the way we have been.  I know this is no way to treat someone (er, something) you care about, and I promise to make it up to you.  How about we meet for coffee tomorrow morning and get things back on track?

    Please accept my humble apology, and let us work past our current troubles.  Together we can make it work!  Until tomorrow...

    Your ever so sleepy contributor,