Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guiness Glazed Pork Loin

I'm baaaaack!

One year later, 3rd kid added, and a day-to-day life that does not afford me much time to think about cooking. However, I DO still pine for the desire to do it and I'm still constantly scouring magazines, the Food Network, and/or the internet for simple and yummy recipes. Emphasis on the SIMPLE!
The credit goes to my hubs for this particular recipe as we were having my parents over this past Sunday and trying to find a last minute idea on how to spice up the ol' Sunday afternoon 'roast'. He googled pork recipes and of COURSE was delighted to find one that included one of his favorite winter lagers.
LOVE that it only has 3 ingredients (well possibly 5 but I'll get to that) and if your husband is a winter dark beer drinker-as mine is- then you should have all of these ingredients on hand at a moments notice.
So here you go:

10 oz Guiness beer - bottles are actually 11 oz so go ahead & swig that last ounce while you're cooking ;)

8 oz Brown Sugar ( or less, if you don't want it as sweet)

3 oz Honey
*Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes.* This is optional if you want a 'kick', which we did. It was a nice addition but not necessary.
** Put ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, bring to a slow boil and make a Reduction.
Laymans terms: Cook the sauce down by half until it thickens a bit and becomes glazey. Remove from heat.
Set aside about 3-4 TBS of the glaze and use the rest to glaze the pork while it cooks.
We baked our loin at 275 for an hour and a half and then bumped it up to 325 for another hour. It was fantabulously tender!! (A meat thermometor reading 160 degrees internally will indicate that the roast is done) I turned the roast constantly each time I glazed it, about every 1/2 hour or so.
When the meat is done, remove from the rack and put the roast pan on the stovetop. Heat up the drippings in the bottom and add the glaze you set aside earlier. Add a "splash" of either Water, White Wine (which we used), or Champagne (do people really just have bottles of champagne sitting around? Perhaps in Europe they do, since this was an English recipe). Anyways, whisk the whole concoction together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and pour into a sauce/gravy boat and serve with the meat. There will not be much sauce but what you do have is SO Yum.
Enjoy my friends! And thanks for encouraging me to come back. It feels good and I'll try to keep up. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

(Non-Edible) Sweet-Smelling Play dough

The weather is flat out dreary and gross here lately!! That, coupled with Raegan no longer napping makes for a long day, so I keep trying to come up with activities to occupy her that don't involve T.V. (Although don't be fooled, we watch enough of that around here too...UGH!).

Anyways, I found this recipe awhile back and it's simple and fun and totally reminds me of when I was a kid as my mom always made homemade play dough with us. Ours was not the "smelly" kind like this one but it had the same underlying doughy scent which brings back so many memories.

Give it a try and you might just find yourself sitting at the table playing with it long after your toddler's attention span has moved on to something else!


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid mix. Any flavor/color you like (We chose Grape)
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 4 tsp. cream of tarter (a white powder found in the spice aisle)

  • Mix Water, Kool-Aid & Veg Oil together in separate bowl

  • In a saucepan mix the Flour, Salt, and Cream of Tarter together.

  • Slowly add the liquid to the pot, stirring together.

  • Cook mixture over Medium heat stirring constantly until it looks like mashed potatoes.

Remove the dough from the pot to cool. Once it's cool (or warm enough to handle) knead it until it's smooth and have fun playing!
Keep in a tight fitting container and it should last a long time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Seriously the best Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting you'll ever make

Okay, let's be there really anything that doesn't taste good slathered in homemade cream cheese frosting?! I might have embellished the title of these bars a bit but I doubt that if you make them you'll walk away saying that they were not some of the best you've had
Plus, they're easy to make. One of my top fave requirements for a recipe.

  • 1 cup oil (you could get healthy and sub 1/2 of the oil for applesauce..just a thought)
  • 2 cups sugar (I'm a fan of cutting down on sugar in recipes but this time I did not...use your judgement)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree ( or 1- 15oz can)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

I so wanted to post a picture of the 'final product' but as soon as they were frosted I cut right into them (to make sure they were safe for everyone else to eat) and totally forgot that I wanted a picture. After I cut a huge hunk out of the pan it wasn't quite pretty enough for a blog pic so you'll just have to trust me that they looked as good as they tasted!


  • 1- 8oz pkg. cream cheese-softened
  • 1 stick room temp. butter (I prefer unsalted and the real thing ~not margarine)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered ( or 10x for you PA folks) sugar
Mix all the bar ingredients and blend til smooth. Pour into greased sheet pan (15"x10"). I actually lined my pan with aluminum foil and then greased it and the clean up was so much easier!

Bake at 350 for approx 30 min or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
Cool bars and spread with the frosting. Good luck not consuming multiple bars in one sitting!

**Note: I like to keep these in the fridge. I think they're tastier when cold and obviously they last longer. Just make sure to keep them in a tight fitting container.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Creamy Spinach Ricotta Pasta

This post gives props to two of my good friends. First to Deb for having the recipe and making it for Brenda when Sam was born; then secondly to Brenda for making a double batch to pass on to another family and then bringing the other portion over to our house this week for an impromptu dinner visit! Thanks girls!

By the way, it's totally fat-free (HA!) and seriously delicious. It was a hit with (almost) my whole family (Crazy Syd does not like pasta).

1 lb rigatoni
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes with basil, onions and garlic
1 cup fresh chopped onions
(Brenda used dried flakes but I think 1/2 of a chopped real onion would be great. 1 cup seems like a lot to me but if you like a strong onion taste~ go for it!)
1 box (10oz) frozen chopped spinach
2 1/2 cups jarred Alfredo sauce
1 1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. olive oil

1. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray (I would probably separate this into 2- 9x9's in order to have 2 meals; one to eat and one to pass on!)
2. Cook pasta following package directions in salted water and return to pan when cooked and drained. Stir in tomatoes and chopped onions
3. Thaw spinach completely and squeeze out moisture. Transfer to bowl. Add Alfredo sauce, ricotta, garlic salt and pepper, stir to combine.
4. Add all together and transfer to baking dish.
5. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil into crumbs. Sprinkle over pasta.
Bake at 425 for 20-25 or until golden and bubbly.

**NOTE: Brenda added finally chopped grilled chicken to this recipe and it was fabulous! I highly recommend the addition and I really don't think it matters how much you add - use your judgement.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall = Apple Crisp Love

Okay, everyone probably has a favorite Apple Crisp recipe but Brad (and I) happen to think that "my" recipe is the bomb and since I just made it Saturday and it was gone by Sunday I think that's a decent indication that it's pretty darn good.
So, if you DON'T have your own recipe give this one a try:

Mix Together:
6 Golden Delicious apples: peeled & chopped into chunks
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
5 Tbsp. Flour
Spread in 9x9 or 8x8 pan sprayed w/ PAM

Topping- mix together and sprinkle over apple mixture:
6 Tbsp. Melted Butter
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Oatmeal (not Quick Oats)

Bake @ 350 for approx 40-45 min

Serve with good quality Vanilla Bean ice cream (we prefer Breyers)
and heated caramel topping drizzled over all if you prefer!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

E-A-S-Y BBQ Crock-Pot Chicken

Well, I know it's Fall when I suddenly have the overwhelming urge to haul out and dust off the good 'old crock pot! I'm sure I'll be posting many more c.p. recipes over the winter months but I thought I'd start out with literally one of THE easiest favorites that I make. As usual, I can't take credit for this recipe and I can't even remember who first passed it on to me but it's always a hit (even Raegan will eat it) and I love that I always have the ingredients in my house.
Okay, are you ready? Grab your pens, this is complicated!

Chicken parts on the bone (We buy Thighs & Legs at Costco but use whatever you like). Use as many as you need to feed your family and/or have extra.
BBQ sauce (We are Sweet Baby Ray's fans all the way, but again, use your fave)
1 can of Coca-Cola (or Diet Coke, or Pepsi, or Coke get the idea)

Whew! Did you get all that? =)

Thaw chicken parts and pull the skins off if preferred (we prefer it). Spray crock pot w/ Pam and line bottom with chicken. I usually salt & pepper them first but that's up to you. Cover chicken parts with BBQ sauce (S. Baby Ray's is thick so I just cover the tops and smear it around; they don't have to be drowning in it). Pour about 1/2 can of soda over everything (I usually use as much as is needed so that it almost covers the parts...again, there is no right or wrong just use your judgement.~ Go crazy and use the whole can if you want!)

Drink the rest of the can of soda and set the C.P. for 8-10 hours on low heat.

When chicken is done pull out the parts, separate the bones and discard, place chicken in serving dish and spoon sauce over top. If there is extra sauce -there usually is- it's fabulous on mashed potatoes. And for as easy as this recipe is, you'll have plenty of time to whip some up!

** You can totally use regular chicken breasts instead of chicken parts. They're just as tasty.
** I've found that if you use Diet soda instead of Regular, the sauce might be thinner so you can try to thicken it up to a gravy consistency by whisking in some flour if you prefer thicker "gravy" for your potatoes.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Easy Pesto Appetizer

This is a borrowed recipe from a culinary professor (acquaintance/friend) who did an Uppercase Living Party for me last week. I had my own open house tonight and since it was so easy and delicious at her party I figured a repeat for mine would be good! I seriously had a very hard time walking away from the dish during the evening~

3 ingredients:

1 1/2 bars cream cheese ( I used 1/3 fat)
1 jar pesto
1 1/2 cans petite chopped tomatoes (or you could use fresh in season!)

Spread cream cheese in bottom of 9x13 glass pan or corning ware dish
Spread pesto to cover (you don't have to use the whole jar)
Spread chopped tomatoes over top to cover (I did not go to the edges)

Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly

Serve with any cracker variety you like. I used the Pretzel Thin Crisps from Costco. YUM!

*You could certainly adjust/downsize this recipe to fit a smaller pan if needed.