Monday, December 26, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Chipotle Pulled Pork Soft Tacos

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The day after Christmas and a day that I am so, so thankful for my crockpot. The boys come back from their dad's today after spending yesterday with him and his family. I love having them back, but we're always on the worn out side of things! What better then than tacos that can cook away in the crockpot all day and all I have to do is serve up the deliciousness while we relax in front of the tv with a movie?

Chipotle Pulled Pork Soft Tacos:
4 to 5 pound pork shoulder roast/butt
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced into rings
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon chipotle chili powder
3 Tablespoons honey
1 cup orange juice (about 2 oranges, or you can use bottled)
1 cinnamon stick
2 limes, juiced (to add at the very end)
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves (to add at the very end)

Suggested toppings:
corn tortillas for serving
4 cups finely shredded red cabbage
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated cheese
2 avocados, diced


Rub salt and pepper on all sides of the meat, and brown in olive oil on the stovetop in a large skillet. Using kitchen tongs, place the browned meat into your crockpot. Using the same skillet, caramelize the onion and garlic until transparent and remove from heat. Whisk in the coriander, cumin, chipotle chili powder, honey, and orange juice. Pour this mixture evenly over the top of the meat. Toss in the cinnamon stick.

Cover, and cook on low for 10 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Shred meat completely using two large forks and stir in fresh lime juice and cilantro leaves.

Serve in warmed corn tortillas with your desired toppings.


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Monday, December 19, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Chili Verde

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Does your family have a favorite winter time meal? For mine, it's without a doubt, chili. Every once in a while though I like to mix it up and instead of a "normal" chili (as in what my kid's expect), I do a chili verde.

Chili Verde:
4 pound chuck roast, or pork shoulder/butt
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 (4 ounce) can diced chilies
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
10 tomatillos, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sage
1 Tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves


Trim any visible fat from the meat, and place into your crockpot. Add diced bell pepper and onion. If your tomatillos have the leafy-outer skin left on them, take the skin and stem off, and dice finely. Add them to the crockpot. Pour in the contents of the diced chili can and the tomato can. Add spices. Stir a bit to get the spices down the sides of the meat. Add chopped cilantro to the top.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, high for 6, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.

Serve with rice, corn tortillas, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream and some refried beans.


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Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: Lucifer's Harvest

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Lord Gilbert Talbot must provide soldiers for Prince Edward's battle in France. He wishes his surgeon--Hugh de Singleton--to travel with the war party to tend any injuries. Among those on the road is Sir Simon Trillowe, Hugh's old nemesis, who had once torched Hugh's house.

Finding himself in the same war party, Hugh resolves to watch his back in the presence of the knight, who is still holding a grudge. But it is Sir Simon who should not have turned his back....

When Trillowe's body is found, many suspect Hugh has wreaked revenge on his adversary. To clear his name, Hugh must once again riddle a reason for murder.
Sometimes there is nothing better than to get lost in a good book and this book provided me just the escape that I needed. I've only read one other book in this series. After reading this one, I'm going to have to try to figure out why that might be.

While this book only clocks in at 148 pages, that isn't a bad thing. It's the perfect size to tuck into a bag or to curl up with on a cool evening. While the author uses historical terms in the book, he also provides a fantastic glossary at the start of the book so you won't be lost among strange words you may have never seen before. As for the story itself, it moves along at just the right speed and while I had figured out parts of the mystery, parts of it took me by surprise. As a mystery lover, I appreciate this. Books where I feel clueless or far too smart just aren't as much fun to read.

My recommendation? Pick up this book or heck, the entire series! This book stands perfectly on its own, but I highly suspect that you'll enjoy the entire series and with those cold winter nights ahead, why not build up your books to be read by the fire pile?


I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Carnitas

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I cannot wait to use this recipe this week! It's always a favorite, super yummy and lovely to come home to the smell of!

2 pounds pork shoulder
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 large orange)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 large lime)
7 cloves garlic (whole and intact)
1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup beef broth
corn tortillas
sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado (optional)


Use a 6 quart crockpot. In a small bowl, combine the salt and cumin. Rub mixture all over the pork, then place into the slow cooker. Add whole garlic cloves. Squeeze on the citrus, and pour the beef broth evenly over the top.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the pork shreds quite easily with a fork.

Shred meat fully and serve on warmed corn tortillas with desired toppings.


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Monday, December 5, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Asian Peanut Butter Pork

9:08 AM 0 Comments
How do you feel about peanut butter in entree style dishes? For me, it was a no go but I'm slowly coming around. I'm always a little bit proud of myself when I break out of a misconception of that peanut butter only belongs in desserts!

Asian Peanut Butter Pork:
1.5-2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 onion, sliced in rings
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional garnish)
1 lime, cut in wedges (optional garnish)


Use a 4-6 quart crockpot. Put onion slices into the bottom of your crockpot. Add the pork on top. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, and peanut butter. No need to stir.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-6. 1 hour before serving, flip the meat over in the crockpot to allow the other side to soak up the sauce. Garnish with chopped peanuts, and serve with lime wedges


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Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: The Illustrated Book of Sayings

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From the author of the New York Times bestseller, Lost in Translation, come this collection of 52 artistic renderings of sayings from around the world that illuminate the whimsical nature of language.

Ella Frances Sanders's first book, Lost in Translation, captured the imagination of readers with its charmingly illustrated words that have no direct English translation. Now, the New York Times-bestselling author is back with an illustrated collection that addresses the nuances of language in the form of sayings from around the world. From the French idiom "to pedal in the sauerkraut," (i.e., "to spin your wheels,") to the Japanese idiom "even monkeys fall from trees" (meaning, "even experts can be wrong"), Sanders presents sayings that reveal the remarkable diversity, humor, and poignancy of the world's languages and cultures.

To say that I love this book is an understatement. There is absolutely nothing that I dislike so I can't even do my usual the good, the bad, the summary. It's all good! I love the illustrations and how the author compares these incredible sayings from around the world with ones that I recognize from my own vocabulary. I've even used some of these in comments and posts around social media. In the time that I've had this book, I've found myself picking it up and reading it again and again. I don't think it's ever going to grow old. If you have a language lover in your life, this would be the most amazing gift. Seriously. It's one of my favorite things right now.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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