Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Apple Sage Sauce

Party in my mouth! That is the best description of this recipe!! I asked Scott tonight: "so why do people go out to eat?" This kind of yummilicious is hard to find (at an affordable price) in any restaurant! I served this with cubed potatoes and green beans - both helped balanced the rich flavor from the pork sauce. I think this recipe could work just as well with a boneless butterfly chop - key is to no overcook!

Click HERE for an easy to print (easy to read!) PDF file!

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Apple Sage Sauce

  • 1 Tsp table salt
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound) -cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1/3 Cup apple cider
  • 3 Tbl applejack or brandy
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tbl unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbl FRESH sage leaves, Minced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, -and cut into 12 slices
  • 1/4 Cup heavy cream
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of pork slices. Heat oil until shimmering in heavy-bottomed pan, at least 10 inches across bottom, over medium-high heat, swirling pan to distribute oil. Working in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear medallions without moving them until brown on one side, about 80 seconds (oil should sizzle, but not smoke). Turn medallions with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until meat is mostly opaque at sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about 80 seconds. Transfer pork to plate and tent with foil.
2. Melt butter in pan in which pork was cooked over medium-high heat, swirling to distribute. Add apple and onion; saut until apple starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Add cider and applejack or brandy; boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spatula to loosen browned bits, until liquid reduces to a glaze, about 2 1/2 minutes. Increase heat to high; add stock or broth, sage, and any accumulated pork juices; boil until liquid reaches consistency of maple syrup, about 3 minutes. Add cream; boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium; return pork to pan, turning meat to coat. Simmer to heat pork thoroughly and blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pork to serving plate and spoon sauce over meat. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recipe: Cheesy Southwestern Meatloaf

I must first admit I have never been a BIG fan of meatloaf. I had my fair share of the midwest version with simple salt, pepper and onions. It was nothing but a hamburger back in the days of growing up. The only part that made it really enjoyable was the creamy mashed potatoes (and oh how I wish I knew how my mom made 'em lump free!) and buttery corn.

Since we buy our beef in bulk once a year, I am searching for creative beef recipes across the board. For the last couple of years I have somewhat enjoyed a simpler version to the recipe I am about to share - but after having this, I don't think I can ever look back .. even though the ingredients are about doubled. It's well worth the effort!

Some secrets to the success of this recipe tantalizing your taste buds are...
A little sour cream, in addition to the eggs, helps keep it moist
The ground corn tortillas help bind it together similar to bread crumbs. The corn flavor is much appreciated!
Brushing the loaf with salsa gives it a sticky glaze.. yummie!

Cheesy Southwestern Meatloaf

Serves 6 to 8

Use either medium or hot salsa for the glaze. Ground pork adds tenderness and sweetness to the meatloaf, but you can use 2 pounds of ground beef if you prefer.

1 cup prepared salsa
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 (4-ounce) can green chiles , drained and finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated pepper Jack cheese
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Combine salsa and brown sugar in small saucepan and set aside.

3. Tear tortillas into small pieces, grind in food processor or blender until they resemble cornmeal, and transfer to large bowl. Add beef, pork, sour cream, eggs, chiles, scallions, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, and mix with fork until evenly blended. Turn mixture onto foil-lined baking sheet and, using moistened hands, pat into 9 by 5-inch loaf shape. Brush with 1/4 cup salsa mixture. I split the mixture into 2 loaves for faster cooking - eat one, freeze the other!

4. Bake for 40 minutes. Scatter cheese on top and continue baking until center of loaf registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

5. While meatloaf cools, simmer remaining salsa mixture over medium-high heat until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Slice meatloaf and serve with salsa mixture passed separately at table.

CLICK HERE for the PDF of this recipe
This recipe hits a Yummilicous rating of 8 in my book!
Thanks again Cook's Country!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Memorable MomentZ 2/16/09

Crazy week. But.. that record is broken isn't it?! I am starting to feel like a poster child of the commercial or cliche of how time flies by! There is never a dull moment and it's rare I feel rested - and I certainly am never caught up! This week's post is going to be short .. cause well, I'm feeling that way. The evening started out well ... took the girls for a sauna, read several books to both of them and though COOL they are both going to go to sleep at the same time! WRONG! Here I am 1 hour later and I have been up and down the stairs 6x for Caroline. Potty.. thirsty.. booboo on her toe.. UGHHH. This is not typical of her (these days anyway), so each time I felt obligated to respond to her full fledged cries. The drama just drains me... so tonight, I have not many memories to share!

Pictures of the girls' tonight after sauna... wearing their new PJ's from Godmother Stacy on Valentine's Day.

Speaking of Valentine's Day... I hope everyone had a wonderful Hallmark day! My husband showed his true love and creativity in his presentation of a present this year! He claims he used the good ole duck tape because he wrapped it while I was sleeping on Vday morning... humf. I was not terribly impressed - April Fool's yes, Valentine's Day? NO! lol

And inside.... a very cute necklace :) It matches the tattoo I have on my hip .. back when I got certified in scuba. I do love it ... thanks honey! xo
So football has past.. and here it is NASCAR Season again! yeahhh!! We had a small get together for the Daytona 500 on Sunday - it was awesome to visit with old friends *grin* I sure miss getting out to visit like we use to. Maybe this summer will change that!
So the Daytona was a disappointment this year I should be excited since I won in the pool we had, but there is just something that sux about the winner being called because of rain. It's like the Super Bowl ending ending after 3rd quarter. It's just wrong!
So .. I am looking forward to the season ahead! Maybe this year I will actually get to go to a race again! I am wayyy overdue! Go HENDRICK's MOTORSPORTS! Jeff and Jimmy are my boys..

Monday, February 9, 2009

Memorable MomentZ 2/9/09

Boy what a crazy time. Every time I turn on the news I hear about thousands of jobs being lost. And now the President that promised Change and encouraged everyone to have Hope is scolding the country for questioning his proposed bill and ideas. Bipartisan is a thing of the past and power of Presidency seems to be changing the persona of Obama himself. His once controlled, eloquent speeches are now filled with words of crisis and catastrophe; one of the many tactics he said he would not deliver. One of the saddest things I am seeing is that my future grandchildren will pay fo this administration's mistakes. It's devistating. We were promised "no ear marks, no pork" .. and weeks later he lies in front of the television that this stimulus contains none. Pelosi made a solem swear in a live interview herself. It's sad they continue to put so much effort in the blaming game - maybe that is their tactic to distract American's from what they are really doing. Because the fact of the matter is, most tax paying - or more importantly - voting American's do not care about politics. I was that person once upon a time and I will never turn back. I strive to succeed .. and the stronger government becomes, the less likely I will make my dreams come true. Now I'm quite sure there is a Liberal reading this ... ready to call me greedy or uncaring. Sorry - not going there. I give to charities.. of my choice, and I do not think the Government should force my hand at that. Wealth distribution only enables the lazy.

The speech President Obama gave tonight was pathetic. The first 8 minutes was demanding - with him looking side to side, nearly shaking his head. Delivered well .. only because of his precious teleprompters. Then.. the questions came and torture began. Surely even his voters were embarrassed at his performance once he had to think of his own answers. His lack of experience was obvious. The "umm's, err's" and numerous other cliches he chosen were beaten into the ground. Several reporters asked what reassurance he could offer the American people. He answers were so long drawn out, that I forgot what the question was.

It's going to be a long 4 years ahead. George W. Bush was a terrible speaker.. and spent money like a drunk sailor - but tonight, Obama made him look like a genious!

The stimulus (or Porkulus as many conservatives like to call it) bill is a joke. Will tax payers wake up and smell the roses before it's too late? The clock is ticking. Educate yourself if you haven't yet. Check out The pork is so thick ... no knife will cut through it. Dems are trying to scare everyone to move it through FAST, before the vast majority find out what is actually in it. Money for STD's in the bill ? Only one example - that will NOT stimulate our economy, it only lines the pockets of the lobbyists the Dem's have a debt to pay to.

Ok.. enough of that - that is if I havent lost you! So you are wondering WTF .. this isn't my typical Memorable MomentZ is it?! Well.. I couldnt help myself. I could go on .. and on, but I will save that for Facebook or Twitter for now! :)

I will close with some special pictures taken at the park yesterday. It was the first spring like day, so the park was more like a zoo!

I'm telling ya ... it was a zoo!

Oh and here is a fun pic ... first time the girl's figured out the sit and spin TOGETHER! :)

UPDATE... thanks to all for sharing your opinion on my hair style! I had it cut and stayed with the bob angle - really no other choice considering the length in the back. Now Caroline and I are twins :)

So the question is .... does Sophie look like me, at all? I don't think so! She's a Becker hands down :) Just look at this red hair and fair skin - not the genes of a Rajala!

Monday, February 2, 2009

WANTED: your opinion

Ok.. so here's the thing. Ever since I changed my style from just plain ole boring long hair I cannot seem to keep a style. True be told it because I hate going to get it cut - especially when it costs $40-45! I've tried paying less, but end up coming home with a hack job because the stylist doesn't have a clue how to cut fine, limp hair like mine. ANyhooo... now I am with a style that is grown out and looks like crapola. I'm debating which way to go.

The style I am pimping is the first style shown below,
but longer. So in other words, it does not look that good.

This is a cute bob cut with an angle (shorter in the back). I like this style, but it now seems ever woman is getting it! This time last year I was proud to be amongst the first in town. So is it "out" already?

Plus side, looks pretty good even if I don't fix it everyday

Or do I go back to this style - bob with flip up ends. Downside, it only looks good when I curl it.

This again is a sad example of me growing out the previous style. Not so cute.

Or I can resort back to just long. I did like long hair, but the fact of the matter is 90% of the time it ends up being in a pony tail! And the other 10% of the time it only looked good the first 1-2 hours after styling it. So.. I gave in to a cut to the shoulders back in 2005.

So other than making my DH happy to have a long blonde haired wife again, I cant think of good reason to go back to this. I think it even aged me a bit.

Or.. how about I just jump back to 1989? Maybe I could FEEL young again! hehe I should have won an award for the most perfect hair!

You may be asking why not shorter yet? Well that I have a BIG problem with. My mother was not very kind to me as a child and I refuse to be humiliated ever again!

So.. what's your vote?!
  1. Bob with angle
  2. Bob with flip up (or I can flip under, but I think the fashion police would come find me)
  3. Just long - being lost in time is back in style?
  4. 1989
  5. Other __________?

Memorable MomentZ 2/2/09

Ok, so Caroline has been saying "Bless You" for quite sometime now when we sneeze. In fact she even says it to herself! But this week SOPHIE said it clear as day to me - I about dropped on the floor! She is only 20 months old ... smartie pants she is! In fact, she has become quite the chatty lil thing! Need to catch some on tape - its just so dern cute! It's amazing - over night she started talking, or so it seems!

It has become obvious that Caroline carries the same talent and desire to draw creative pictures as her mom! Enjoy her best work..Yes, that is a wall. She really thinks highly of her work because thereafter she directed me to 3 other works of art that were out of my normal view! $%@! This was crayon, so the mighty Magic Eraser removed (most) of it. I wasn't so lucky last week when she got her hands a on permanent marker - guess what, no Magic will remove that from walls!

Here is some very cute moments of my attempt to get a good photo for Valentine wishes! Caroline attempts to get Sophie to stop sucking her thumb long enough for the photo. But when she does, Caroline sticks out her tongue! So in the end C gives up and goes in for some sweet kisses for her lil sis instead! She may have had more luck if it wasn't moments before Sophie's nap time!

One evening when Caroline had a duty to perform in the bathroom I asked her if she wanted a book to entertain her.. she said yes - Boats! She wanted to page through daddy's boating magazines. Apple didnt fall far .. this girl loves water and boats! And.. take note that she is 3 yrs old and she already likes to read while she leaves a shits poop!

Sunday Caroline got her hair chopped off first hair cut
! Don't say it! I know the long blonde hair was just boo'ful, but YOU don't have to brush it everyday. I also had to put it up every single day, along with washing the food of every meal out of it. So, after a conversation with my best friend Lisa... the wild hair crawled right up my ass butt! :) I did not like it at first; nor did I plan it to be quite this short! But, my precious girl would not sit still - making it a huge challenge! Today, Monday... I am loving it! She is so dern cute whippin her head back and forth.. so I know she loves the feel of it too. She is definitely a Mini Me now! I know next time to go MUCH longer, because already the curl is coming back she use to have - so it's getting shorter by the minute!

Caroline is still loving her play kitchen (and her tea set!). Everyday she fills up her little tea pot with some water and brings a plate of snacks to me for breakfast. And most importantly delivers it with a BIG smile! How can I refuse this?!

I will close with a few of sweet photos of the girls enjoying a typical Atlanta winter day! No worries.. Sophie only gets her bangs cut these days :) Why is it that pot bellies on babies is cute? hehe
Caroline is really starting to enjoy exploring and playing in the outdoors! Makes me wish to be a kid again!