Apple and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions and Apple Cider Sauce

Standard

We don’t eat turkey in my house.  We do a ham each year at Thanksgiving so Karly and myself decided rather than take part of the stuff off we’d do our own pork off.  BUT I didn’t want to make up a ham so close to Thanksgiving as my husband and I would just be finishing the first ham when Thanksgiving finally rolled around.  So I went scrounging through my porky recipes to try and figure something else out that could be served at Thanksgiving or at least feels like a “fall” dish.  I think I succeeded.  Inspired by my husband’s like of the stuffed pork chops from Trader Joe’s and my own like of caramelized onions and sauces, I created this dish.  You know it’s a winner when my neighbor who is a vegetarian stops by and says dinner smells good and reminds her of fall.  Then I informed her it’s a pork dish and she responds, “Might be worth trying it still.”  Yup, winner winner!

Food Card-- That's What She Crafted

I started with cutting up my apples and onion.  Diced onions went straight into the hot pan while the diced apples waited on the cutting board, and the slices of apples and onions waited their turns in bowls.

We are bacon snobs here in my house.  This bacon is home cured and smoked.  Don’t have time for that?  Thick cut bacon from the store works just fine.  4 slices please!  I like using my handy cast iron weight to keep things flat.

Onions nice and translucent and soft and in go the apples.

Onions and Apples-- That's What She Crafted

After the apples start to soften remove from heat and move mixture to a bowl.  Add a slightly beaten egg and chicken stock or broth.  Mix.  I forgot to leave out bread and forgot to toast it a little before I started so I baked my bread for a few minutes.  Oops.  Crush and tear up the bread.  Chop the crispy bacon.  Fold into the mixture making sure the bread soaks up all that liquid.

I don’t know about you but I can never find chops to the thickness I want without having to track someone down at the meat counter.  I bought a pork loin and cut my own slices (and froze my extra slices for another day).  Score the fat to prevent curling while cooking or trim it off.  Then create the pocket.

Stuff!  There’s lots of stuffing left so I took the extra and put it in an 8×8 pan.  Baked at 350 for 30 minutes and added the meat drippings when the chops were done.

Stuffed!-- That's What She Crafted

Back in the same pan I used for the onions and apples.  If I didn’t mind waiting on the bacon I could have done this dish all in one skillet.  Alas I didn’t want to wait and cooked a few things at the same time but 90% of the stovetop work was done in my trusty cast iron skillet!  Medium high heat, a tablespoon of olive oil, and NO TOUCHING for 3 minutes= browned perfection.  Repeat for my second batch.  Apparently I forgot to take pictures of the chops in the pan, whoops! Heading to the oven!  Don’t forget to cover!  Now to make the toppings!

Browned and ready to go in the oven-- That's What She Crafted

Hey look it’s the trusty cast iron again caramelizing the onions.  1 tablespoon olive oil and lots of stirring.  It’s worth it I promise. 20 minutes later browned goodness.

And time to pull out the chops!

Resting----That's What She Crafted

Apple slices turn!  Cook until they just start to soften.  Add the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Then add the apple juice and spices.  You could substitute real apple cider here too if you wanted.  Simmer.

Apples simmering--That's What She Crafted

Pork Chops!  Assemble!  You can just go with a plain stuffed chop.  Or you can dress it up topping with the lots of onions, apples, and spoon on the sauce.  If you cooked up the extra stuffing you can serve it on top of the stuffing too so it catches all those yummy juices.  Side salad or some roasted veggies and you’ve got a nummy meal!

Plain stuffed chop--That's What She Crafted

Topped stuffed chop--That's What She Crafted

Apple and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops
with Caramelized Onions and Apple Cider Sauce

Ingredients:

Stuffing
4 slices of thick cut bacon
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½  large onion diced
1 large apples diced
3 slices of old bread**
1 egg slightly beaten
2/3 cup chicken stock or broth

Pork Chops
4—1.5- 2 inch thick cut pork chops
Apple Bacon Stuffing
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Toppings
½ large onion ¼ inch slices
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1  apple ¼ inch wedge slices
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup apple juice
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

** Leave the slices of bread out on the counter for 24 hours or if you’ve forgotten lightly toast the bread and leave it out for an hour or so.  You want dried out crusty bread so it absorbs the moisture.

Directions:
Stuffing
Brown the bacon until crisp.
While the bacon is browning, heat the oil to medium heat and then add the onions.  Cook until soften and translucent then add the apples.  Cook until softened.
Move the onions and apples to a medium work bowl and add the egg and chicken stock.  Mix.
Crush/rip the bread slices to large crumbs and mix into the onion apple mixture.
Roughly chop the bacon and add to the mixture.

Pork Chops
Heat oven to 350
Create a pocket in the pork chop by cutting through the middle leaving ¼ to ½ inch of space along the edges.  Also if you are not trimming off the fat make sure to score every inch to inch and a half along the fat end to prevent your pork chop from curling.  Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
Stuff the pork chop using the stuffing you made earlier.  You can use toothpicks to help hold everything together if needed.  You will have leftover stuffing.  If you desire you can grab a small baking dish and bake the leftover stuffing at 350 for 30 minutes.
Using a skillet heated to medium high heat, depending on the size of your skillet heat 1 TBS oil for cooking two chops or 2 TBS for all four chops.  Brown on each side for 3 minutes. (Repeat for the second two if you are having to do it in batches)
Move chops to 13 x 9 dish and cover.  Bake for 20 minutes or until pork registers an internal temperature of 145.
Uncover and let it rest for several minutes before serving.

Toppings
Heat 1 TBS olive oil in pan at medium heat.  Add onion slices.  Stirring frequently allowing the slices to brown and caramelize.  If onions are sticking to the pan you can use a little of the apple juice to help deglaze the pan.  This will take 15-20 minutes.
Remove onions from the pan.
Adjust heat to medium low.  Add apple slices.  Cook until apple just start to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add maple syrup and a touch of salt (pepper too if you want).
Add apple juice, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and simmer for 3 minutes.
Serve the stuffed pork chop topped with lots of caramelized onions, apples, and cider sauce.
This main dish would pair well with almost any roasted vegetable!

 

Happy Eating!
Viever

Meat Buns Anyone?

Standard

So I don’t know about you all, but one of my favourite things to do with leftover turkey, or even chopped up chicky boob is to make stew and after a meal or two of stew I find everyone is getting a bit bored of that…  So then I take that stew and turn it into meat buns!!! I LOVE meat buns! Who doesn’t? They are fast, easy, a full meal in the palm of your hand.  (hehe).

So here is a quickie “how to” on making meat buns.

First thing I do in the morning is set a batch of dough off in the bread maker, I use my usual bread recipe by the way. Just be sure you set it on the dough cycle!
twsc meat buns (9)

Get out that gorgeous chicky stew you have made (recipe was up in the previous post)

twsc meat buns (8)

Now take a ball of dough, not too large, and spread it out to flatten in your hand – I use my hand to flatten (ish) it. No need to break out the rolling pin.

twsc meat buns (1)

A tablespoon or two of stew in the middle. You want a good amount but not too much or else you will have your bun break and the stew will try and escape.

twsc meat buns (2)

Fold the bun edges into the center, opposite ends together until your  stew is covered.

twsc meat buns (3)

Then I kinda mush the center together lightly to make sure it is all nicely covered.

twsc meat buns (4)

Turn it over and make sure your stew is contained, see, all nice and pretty. It is ok if yours are not pretty… They will still taste good.

twsc meat buns (5)

This next picture is to show you the dangers of over stuffing the meat bun. (lol! oh the things I write… I am killing it!)

twsc meat buns (6)

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, until they are nicely browned 🙂

twsc meat buns (7)

When I make these up I usually cool them off, bag them, and then pop them into the freezer straight aways. Perfect for meals on the go! So grab a ball in each hand and head out the door in confidence! You will have an amazing lunch on the go! Now go brave those malls and tackle the Christmas shopping!

Jenn

Tiny Turkey Hands

Standard

My little boy is currently in a crafting/coloring frenzy phase.  Any time his sister isn’t around he breaks out his marker and asks for paper.  He loves creating little “projects” or “systems” as he sometimes calls them.  Many times during one of the two naps V still has during the day he and I will create something.  Whether it’s just plain coloring in a coloring book, creating a story, or making something for dessert he’s always a happy boy with the one on one attention and some sort of product to show his daddy when he gets home.

This week I decided to base our project off of something I did as a first grader.  So a LONG time ago I remember getting to make up my own stationary using our thumbprints to create little animals, I specifically remember making a pig.  I believe this stationary was then given to my mother as a mother’s day gift.  Anyway with all the turkey crafts out there that involve cutting which S really isn’t all that good at yet I thought this could be a cute way to make up some pictures and maybe make a card to send to the grandparents.

Well S had other ideas.

He decided he did NOT want to just use a thumbprint or a fingerprint.  What he really wanted was to do a handprint (probably because the last time we had the ink pads out we did handprints to mark 6 months for V and 3 years for S).  So I obliged and we have our craft to share:  Tiny Turkey Handprints.  Fingerprint turkeys will wait for another day.

Tiny Turkey Handprints-- That's What She Crafted

Begin with gathering your supplies.  We used kid friendly ink pads purchased at JoAnn’s (I wish I had made another trip out before we did this craft to get brown and some other colors but we made due with black, pink, purple, and orange), cardstock, scissors, and markers/colored pencils/crayons.  Baby wipes or a wet paper towels are a handy thing to have too.

Supplies-- That's What She Crafted

First decide what your project will be.  S wanted to make just pictures so I left the cardstock alone.  However this could easily be made into a card if you wanted to fold/cut the cardstock to the size you want.

For the ink, I stamped S’s hand first with the black on his thumb and palm.  Then we did each finger up as a colored feather.  First time we did it with each finger being a separate color.  The second time I started with the first segments of his fingers closest to his palm with one color, then the second segment with another color, and finished up with the tips of his fingers with the third color.  NOTE: If you are going to do multiple colors on the fingers I recommend NOT doing the thumb/palm until last AND starting with the lightest color and moving to the darkest as there may be transfer of ink between the pads as you ink up the hand.

Press hand firmly on to the cardstock.  Making sure your little one actually puts their palm all the way down too (ask me how I know this… we had a few turkeys that were just tail feathers).

Now that the hand print is done.  Quick clean up before you have handprints all over your house!  Love how clean these inks clean up!

Add an eye, a beak, and wattle (the red dangly thing).  You can also outline with a black marker to bring out the features.

Add details---- That's What She Crafted

For one of our pictures I added a background per what S asked for/told me the turkey was doing- he tried to tell me the turkey was eating some ham but then we talked about what turkeys eat so then he decided on seeds.  Then we added some of the things he was grateful for.  Insta-fridge material!

Thankful for-- That's What She Crafted

Gobble Gobble!
Viever

Chicky Stew!

Standard

Friday is our normal day to spotlight another blog or person.  However, we also know  things happen.  What happened this Friday?  Well our featured blogger has been ill for the last week and was unable to be spotlighted today.  So instead we offer this recipe for some nutritious soup that’s bound to make anyone feel at least a little better.

Get Well

***********************************************************************************************************************************

One of my favourite fall/winter meals is Chicken stew! I will use leftover turkey or even just cut up the chicken breast into small pieces for this meal. It is fairly quick and so hearty!  As per How I like things here is THE recipe, my own, made up after many trials and errors to get it how I like it!

Jenn’s Chicky Stew:

  • Chicken, Leftover turkey or chopped up breast.
  • A celery stick or two
  • A good amount of mushroom (if you like them, I love them)
  • half a butternut squash
  • half a sweet potato
  • 3 med size potatos
  • onion

Sauce:

  • a cup ish of water mixed with OXO (chicken flavour)
  • 2Tbsp brown sugar (or a touch more if you like to taste the sweet a little more)
  • Basil. I do a good teaspoon worth.
  •  Cornstarch mixed with some water for thickening.

First I want you to peel all those squash and spuds, cube and get into seperate pot. The potato cooks slowest so get those in water first and then the butternut squash and then the sweet potato. Let them boil until done.

Once you have that done, move onto the chicken and other veg.

Put your chicken (if using raw boob) in the pan and fry it up. When close to done, add the onions, celery, and the basil.  When the celery and onion are close to done add the mushrooms.

When your veg is cooked, add 2Tbsp of brown sugar and a teaspoon of oil and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring often.

twsc stew (2)

Then add in your chicken oxo into the pot and heat to just below a boil.

twsc stew (4)

Add a bit of cornstarch to water. I usually do a 1/8 cup water to 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. (ish)
twsc stew (3)

Thicken up that sauce and once it is thickened, gravy thick ish NOT pudding thick.  Add in the potato and squash.

twsc stew (5)

Give it a gentle stir until mixed and everything is nicely coated in sauce.

twsc stew (1)

And there you have it, a pretty and delicious chicken stew! Perfect for using up that leftover thanksgiving turkey you have! Enjoy! And if you make this please feel free to comment and let me know how you feel about my stew recipe 🙂

Jenn

What is your go-to fall meal?

Recipe: Campfire Cone Crunchy Munchies

Standard

I don’t go on many road trips.  In fact, I hate road trips.  I get car sick, my kids scream the whole time, my butt hurts and all I end up doing is stuffing my face with food I don’t really like just to pass the time.  With that said, we’re headed on a nice 12 hour road trip soon.  Yay!  Woo Hoo! and FART!  I am not looking forward to it.  I will get sick, my butt will hurt and there’s NOTHING I can do about the kids.  They just hate the car THAT much.  It seems the only thing I am able to change is what I stuff into my face as we drive with the music of the tantrums filling our ears.  I was looking through my cupboard at all of the junk food we don’t have in there and started dreaming.  This is what I came up with:

???????????????????????????????

I call it “Campfire Cone Crunchy Munchies”.  Have you ever had a campfire cone?  I haven’t, but I’ve been drooling over this post forever. I decided to go for it and make something super tasty that could make me happy and possibly make the kids quiet down for a bit too.   Here’s the how to:

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups of Chocolate Cheerios

12 Ice Cream Sugar Cones

1 Cup of Reeses Pieces

1 Cup of Jet Puffed Mallow Bites

1 Cup of Dried Banana Chips

*Optional 1 Cup of Milk chocolate chips

NOTE: Chocolate should never be optional.  If you’re serving this at a party it’s actually NOT optional; you must include it.  However, if you’re on a road trip and don’t want to have to question later if that’s poop or chocolate on the seat of your car, omit the chocolate chips.

???????????????????????????????

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Put the sugar cones and banana chips into separate plastic bags and crush into bite size pieces using your hands.  You don’t want to use a rolling pin or food processor because you don’t want to be left with a bunch of crumbs. Besides, we’re not fancy here.  No need for crazy gadgets.  I crush the banana chips because I don’t like to have a giant overpowering chunk of banana in the mix (I’m seriously avoiding dirty jokes right here).  You can leave them whole if you wish

Crunchy Munchies Collage

Step 2: Make like a Food Network chef and put all of your ingredients into pretty bowls.  This step is very important.

Crunchy Munchies Collage2

Step 3: Mix it all up in a big bowl.

???????????????????????????????

Step 4: Eat some

Step 5:  Realize that it would be awesome on ice cream and then eat way too much

Step 6: Take a walk, son.  You just consumed like 2,000 calories at dessert.

I hope you enjoy this mix at your next party, car trip, or PMS binge.

-Crystal-

Fall is here: Perfect reason for new clothing

Standard

Fall is finally here!  Which means it’s time to break out our hoodies, long sleeved shirts, and pants.  Though being in S. California some would say we are still having lovely “summer” weather; however, there is just enough nip in the air in the mornings that I feel the need to bundle my kiddos up a little more and sip hot tea or hot coco.

In any case, S needed some new shirts to brighten his wardrobe in some of his favorite colors, blue and green.  I chose to do a short sleeved option since we layer with baby legs for arm warmers or just throw on a light jacket.  Long sleeves seem to be an issue for him with hand washing for as soon as the sleeves get wet he wants the shirt OFF!

For his shirt, I used Figgy’s Tee for Two, a pattern I have returned to time and time again.  S loves the softness of knit and I love how quickly these sew up.  I think I’ve now made 4 or 5 of them and eventually will do the dress option for V (not that she’s hurting in the dress department, I’ve yet again run out of hangers for her!).  Next for these shirts will be a bit of stenciling, I think, but that will have to be a mommy/son project for another day, after he decides exactly what it is he wants on his shirt!

Figgy's Tee for Two-- That's What She Crafted

S was also in need of a new fun pair of pants.  The kid definitely had a growth spurt over the summer as his pants he wore in the spring are now just the right length instead of dragging along on the floor.  I turned to Blank Slate’s Coastal Cargos as I made a pair in a clothing swap I participated in and loved how they came out for the other child so naturally I needed to make my own child a pair too!

Blank Slate Coastal Cargos, pant length-- That's What She Crafted

Now what does every 3.5 year old boy NEED in his wardrobe?  Pants WITH pockets.  S loves pockets and these cargos do not fail.  Scared of pockets and don’t have a highly opinionated preschooler?  Leave the pockets off!  I love the detailed instructions for getting a great look for the front pockets, back welt pockets, and side cargo pockets.  All are definitely kid sized and will fit those very needed items of trains, cars, and nature’s treasures (eh hem, rocks or bits of tree bark).  My only qualm with the pattern is that the pieces do not have the grainline direction included on them and the pattern instructions do not have a diagram assisting with the layout for cutting out the pieces.  However, this pattern is rated for an intermediate sewer so perhaps those skills are assumed to be had to be able to figure it out yourself, which I did pretty easily even with my “beginner” sewing status.

With this pair, I did all the lining with a bit of left over Hungry Caterpillar Dots that I had laying around still from another project.  S loves all the colors and loves the story too so it’s a win for him as well to know he has a touch of color in his pockets and along his inner waistband.  For the pants, I just bought “bottom weight” cotton material from Joann’s when it was on sale in a khaki coloring that acceptable for S’s school uniform (they are required to wear a polo top but for shorts/ pants they just request navy or khaki coloring).  Dark brown for the bias tape which makes these pants look oh so nicely finished!

I did include the roll up option mostly because we live relatively close to the beach.  S HATES when his clothing gets wet and insists on taking it all off if it does so these roll up to the perfect height to stay dry while allowing him to play in the waves as they roll up to his ankles.

Little boys always seem to get the shaft when it comes to cute patterns so I’m so happy to give my little guy something he loves: a bit of color and comfort.  And now I shall go set the tea kettle on, I think I need another cup of tea.

-Viever

Pattern Anthology

Standard

pattern anthology

I was somehow able to test not 1, not 2, but 5 of the patterns from Pattern Anthology’s new Winter Wonderland release.  I think it was a stroke of luck, because I really love these patterns!

We’ll start off with the Johnny B Good Hoodie

johnny b good

The first one I made was with a hood lined with knit.  I love the hood option. It’s such a fun twist! The second one, I made with the shoulder patches.

I did both in short sleeve and with the snow falling on the ground, you may be thinking that I’ve lost my marbles. I layer a lot, so I love that they are short sleeved and that way can still be worn when summer comes. I have found with my oldest that I can usually get almost 2 years out of a button up shirt, so I almost always make them short sleeved!

I know a lot of people may be intimidated by button up shirts, but they shouldn’t be. These were pretty easy to put together and the time part is more of ironing interfacing onto a few pieces. They really do look a lot harder then they are!

sweet bonnie

The next pattern I tested was the Sweet Bonnie Top.

I really like the vintage feel this one has. It has a zipper closure in the back , peter pan collar and gathered sleeves at the cuffs. I did make 2 of these and have a third almost finished…..

Birkshire blazer and Holly pants

The next pattern I tested was the Berkshire Blazer. I haven’t figured out the right fabric for Judes yet, but that kid is getting one for sure. Melly does an awesome job with her tutorials and again, this is one that looks a lot more complicated then it really is.

I also tested the Holly Trousers (the pink pants paired with the blazer) and I know I didn’t get a great picture of them, but they are adorable! I am just itching to make the girls the shorts version. They have tons of cute tights and I love shorts with tights in the winter.

 I am also almost finished with the other Sweet Bonnie Top that is going to match this outfit and I can’t wait to get it done! It’s going to be gorgeous!!

tree climber pants

Then the last pattern I got to test was the Tree Climber Trousers. I hate picking favorites, but these are them. The pockets, the construction, I just love everything about them. I love the fit and three piece front with the reinforced knees….LOVE! I didn’t find any fabric that inspired me in the store, so I bought this heavier white canvas material (which is actually super soft) to dye afterwards, but I can’t for the life of me decide on a color. I kind of like the white too and can slightly get away with it with him being this age. I’m not saying you can do that with every 16 month old, but with Judes personality right now, it’s doable!

Is this collection worth it?? Oh Yes. I know I will for sure be making more of each of these patterns

Now, this collection is only offered as a whole at a discount for a couple of weeks so go here to purchase the whole collection.

Only have a little girl to sew for? You can get the Wonderland Collection here. The Amaryllis Dress and Juliet Capelet are part of the girls patterns and I didn’t get to test them, but you should check them out cause they are super cute.

Opposite and only have boys?  You can buy the Winter Collection here.  That collection sports an Aviator and Trapper hat Pattern I didn’t test as well, and I WANT.

Thank you so much Andrea, Shauna and Melly for letting me test your patterns!!

– Karly