Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bacon and Onion Pork Chops

My mom used to make pork chops this way when I was growing up (without the bacon though) and would make the broth into gravy afterwards.  I remember really enjoying it, and recently thought why not take it up a notch with the bacon, the end result in the words of my husband "out of this world!".  So with that I bring you Bacon and Onion Pork chops.


4-6 small pork chops
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 cup chopped bacon ends or bacon
sea salt and pepper

In a large skillet or frying pan cook your bacon ends until nicely browned and crispy, remove and set aside, leaving the grease to brown your pork chops in.  Pat dry your pork chops and add them to the pan, add a generous amount of sea salt and some pepper and brown on each side over high heat (usually takes a few minutes).  Then turn heat to low and add the sliced onion and about 2 cups of water ( what you want is enough water to be even with the pork chops). Make sure all the onions are in the liquid so they can cook well, you may want to check the onions part way through the cook time and move them around a bit so they are sure to be done.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of your pork chops.  The lower and slower the better, makes for tender pork chops.  Serve with the onions, and some of the pan juices and then top with bacon crumbles.  Very simple, quick, easy and a huge hit!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.  
Chopping Bacon Ends

Just 5 ingredients and water!

Pork Chops nicely browned

Browned and topped with onions

Ready to eat with some grilled zucchini and sugar snap peas.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Beef (or chicken) Enchilada Recipe

I stumbled upon this recipe for Echilada sauce through Facebook a couple of weeks ago.   It came highly recommended and once I made it and tasted it I understood why!  It was a huge hit with everyone in our family, I actually made two different Enchilada sauces on the same night so we could do a taste test.  One of the recipes was very time consuming, which for me would put it in the special occasions category, I do not have much time so quick, easy and few ingredients are my motto.  I was very relieved when the results from our little family taste test came in and guess what?  The Easy Enchilada Sauce was by far the tastiest! We all loved it and I think you will too, in fact I would double it just to have extra around for eggs, topping Spanish Cauliflower "Rice", chicken, etc.   All credit goes to Healthy Living How To for this wonderful sauce, I have made a few very minor changes, like adding more beef broth and omitting the olive oil.  For her complete Recipe please visit here. 

There are two options as far as what to wrap it in, you can wrap it in cabbage leaves or make a batch of my Crepes which work great as coconut flour "tortillas".  They are really yummy in the enchiladas, but are more work, so you may want to make them ahead and refrigerate them.  I usually make my crepes really small in a small pan, so I would make them bigger for these.

Enchilada Sauce

2- 6 ounce cans tomato paste
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp organo
4 TBSP chili powder (for a spicier sauce substitute some hot chili powder)
1 tsp sea salt

In  medium saucepan, combine all the above ingredients.  A whisk, works well to incorporate it.  Then over medium high heat bring to a boil and then turn down to low and simmer for about an hour to really deepen the flavors.

Beef Enchiladas 

2 small onions chopped
Crepe/"Tortilla" Enchiladas
1 diced pablano pepper
2 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup Enchilada sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 large head of cabbage and/or crepes/"tortillas"

red onion
cheese ( if you do dairy)

In a large skillet brown your ground beef, onion, pablano, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook until your ground beef is nicely browned and the onions are softened.  You may need to drain off some of the fat at this point depending on the fat content of your meat.  Then add 1 cup of Enchilada sauce, cumin and chili pepper and simmer on low.  
If you are using cabbage leaves, now would be the time to start a large pot of water boiling and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Core and peel the cabbage leaves carefully.  Once the water comes to a boil, add the leaves and remove from heat, let them sit for 10- 15 minutes and then remove one at a time to a clean dry towel and dab dry.  Then fill with some meat filling and fold/roll up.  Before placing it in a large glass pan place a small amount of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Then place the rolled enchiladas on in the pan and repeat the process until it's done, sometimes it takes me more than one pan to fit them all.  Then top them with addition Enchilada sauce, if you do dairy now would be the time to add some cheese before you place it in the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees, for 25 minutes.
Serve with your choice of garnishes and enjoy!  We love to have it with some Spanish Cauliflower "Rice" topped with Enchilada sauce.

Cabbage Leaf Enchiladas with Spanish Cauliflower "Rice"

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

What Is Kombucha and what do I need to start making my own?

This is PART I, in what will be a series of posts on Kombucha.

Kombucha is an effervescent, fermented tea which is full of antioxidants and live bacteria.  Kombucha has many alleged health benefits (there hasn't been enough research to substantiate), for myself I have noticed increased energy, improved digestion and I feel it also helps with my immune system.  When I run out (which happens occasionally) is when I really notice the difference it makes.
  • increases energy
  • aids digestion
  • helps with constipation
  • Probiotic, helps fight overgrowth of Candida 
  • helps detox the liver
  • high in antioxidants
  • glucosamines aides in joint recovery
  • Alkalizes the body
  • Boosts your immune system
  • contains B vitamins
There are 4 necessary components needed in making Kombucha, tea (Black, Green or Oolong), sugar (regular white sugar or organic sugar, NO honey or other substitutes), water, and a SCOBY.  

A Healthy Scoby
What is a SCOBY?  SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast and is the essential ingredient for fermentation.   The SCOBY is what gives the Kombucha it's healthy bacteria.  It actually eats the sugar in the fermentation process, which is why you never want to let your Kombucha ferment longer than 4 weeks.  If it goes past 4 weeks the SCOBY will run out of sugar and your SCOBY will become unhealthy.  A typical fermentation is about 10-14 days and can then be bottled.

If Kobucha is new to you I suggest purchasing some from from your local Natural Food Store and trying it first.  It's best to start out slow, about 4-6 ounces a day for the first week, allowing your body to detox and adjust.  Then you can increase your consumption.  Be sure to up your consumption of water too, the water will help flush the toxins your body is releasing thanks to the Kombucha.  I will caution that the store bought Kombucha does contain caffeine, so drinking it in the morning would be best.  I make mine decaffeinated at home so we can drink it at any time of the day and so the kids can enjoy it too.  The brand I suggest is Synergy and the flavors I like best are, Cosmic Cranberry, Gingerberry or Strawberry Serenity.  One reason I suggest trying it first, is some people will love the taste and find it very refreshing (like me), others however, will not.  It actually was not love at first taste for me.  The first time I tried it I really didn't care for it, then a few months later I tried it again and loved it! that you've tried Kombucha and like it, what do you need to start making your own at home?
  • 1 or 2 gallon glass open mouth jar ( I like these jars from Target )
  • Black, Green, or Oonlong tea bags (my preference is black tea)
  • SCOBY (from a friend or from Cultures for Health online)
  • Sugar (either white or organic)
  • 2-4 cups starter tea or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Clean t-shirt or other loose knit fabric to cover the jar with
  • Large rubber band to hold the fabric in place
  • Plastic or wooden spoon for stirring

Anchor Hertitage Glass Jar 1 gallon ($7.87) or 2 Gallon ($14.19) 

Tea Bags

A healthy SCOBY from a friend or from here.

Organic or regular white granulated sugar

2-4 cups of starter Kombucha or Apple Cider vinegar

small piece of clean t-shirt material or other loose weave fabric.

Large rubber bands

Wooden spoon for stirring 
Sometime before the first fermentation process is over you will need to gather the following:

  • 4-8 (30-34 Oz) flip top bottles (depending on whether you use the 1 or 2 gallon)
  • small mouth plastic funnel for filling the bottles
  • Cheesecloth 
  • glass measuring cup or plastic ladle
  • fruit juice, or fresh fruit and fresh ginger if you like
Here is the type of flip top bottles I suggest, these were at Costco this winter, but the health food store and the Grocery outlet have similar ones.  Or you can order empty bottles online.

Bottles with yummy Contents, works out to about $2.50 per bottle.

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