Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Taste of Summer

I have been so excited to share this recipe! I usually make it during the summer months; however, could not resist when we were experiencing the lovely spring weather. Here is the Mango-Coconut Rice served with Jerk Pork Tenderloin.

Mango-Coconut Rice Salad

1 ¼ cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup water
2 cups diced and peeled mango (about 2 mangoes)
1 ½ cup diced red bell pepper
¾ cup shredded carrot
½ cup sliced green onions
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (I like the flat leaf variety)
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground red pepper
¼ tsp. curry powder

Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a large saucepan; add rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Next, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the rice stand with the cover on for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork. Finally, add the mango and the rest of the 10 ingredients. You can serve the rice immediately or chilled. I like to serve the rice chilled in the summer time.

Jerked Pork Tenderloin

2 ½ pounds lean pork tenderloin, use two 1 ¼ pound pieces if it is packaged in two
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper or ground red pepper

Preheat grill to medium heat. To create the rub, combine the cinnamon, allspice, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small dish. Then, rub the spice mixture onto the pork loin. Grill the pork until the pork reaches 160-degrees Fahrenheit or for about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Let the meat stand for 5 minutes then slice and serve.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life in Slow Mow

No, life has not totally come to a pause. It is actually coming at me in life's normal pace. I've just given up most of my caffeine. I realized that I have been totally addicted to caffine since high school. Do you remember the first time you watched Friends? I do. Watching the cool characters converse on an over-sized couch with their over-sized coffee drinks only made me want to live in their world. So, I started drinking coffee. A little coffee soon turned into half a pot when I started high school and had to juggle morning marching band, choir, classes, cross country, student government, school musicals, school plays, directing school plays, speech contests, cross country meets, speech contests, and the list goes on and on and on. In college, caffine helped me get through mono, classes, my debu T.V. shows on the local college network, sorority life, and making it to class after celebrations from the night before. As an adult, it just help me wake up to hyperactive children I had to teach everyday after nights of studying for graduate classes or after attending graduate classes the night before. Coffee has always been my partner. In hopes of trying to conceive this summer; however, I realized I needed to give up the juice. While I have not totally given up the juice, I have cut WAY BACK. Yes, I am down to only four cups. Yes, four cups only in the morning. No soda or anything throughout the rest of the day. It really hasn't been that hard. First, I noticed I was sleeping a hell of alot better. Next, I realized a reduction in the sweaty armpit action I used to experience. Finally, I have been WAY MORE CHILL! Yes, as life throws me action I calmly can contemplate and throw thoughtful action right back. It is so cool. So, if you experience any of the above three, maybe you should cut back too. I don't know. It is only a suggestion after my realization.

In other news, more recipes to come. I have photographs of Jerked Pork Loin with a Tropical Mango-Coconut Rice to share. I just have been too chill to actually compile the recipe after the photos. So, just wait in anticipation. This is one you will want to cook over the summer!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini

Well friends, here goes my first blog-posted recipe. Many of you know that I believe every good diet consists of getting five or more servings of fruits and veggies everyday. The stuffed zucchini was an easy recipe to get in more veggies and add some nice color to your plate. The recipe can be adapted by using ground turkey instead of the lean ground beef. I used the 93%. The meal paired nicely with a side of linguine with marinara sauce. I also hope to try this recipe with eggplant. For today, here is what you will need:

1-2 spray(s) cooking spray
2 medium sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp. olive oil
6 oz. lean ground beef
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 Tbsp. seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
4 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large baking pan with cooking spray.

Scoop out the seeds from the zucchini. You can save some of the flesh if you want to add extra bulk to your meat mixture. Arrange the zucchini halves, cut side up on the pan coated with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add, 1 tsp. olive oil and heat slightly. Next, add the ground beef, chopped carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened and the beef is browned. Then, add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Cook for five more minutes. Then, remove the skillet from the heat. Cool for five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, add meat and vegetable mixture, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg. Mix well.

Fill each zucchini half with meat mixture. I used a spoon to mound the meat up a little. Finally, bake for 30 minutes or until the zucchini is tender crisp. Garnish with the mozzarella cheese.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sweet Betty

Maybe it's all the thoughts about grandparents who have passed away. Maybe it's fond memories of Golden Girls re-runs. I used to watch the re-runs while staying with my Grandma and Grandpa Duree when I was growing up. Either way I cannot help but express my excitement that Betty White will be hosting Saturday Night Live. This is a picture of the dear Betty at 88 years young. How can you not love that? The other picture is me with my sisters Erin and Amy. It was the last time we got to see my Grandma Duree back in 2006. I don't want to make this a depressing post; however, she passed away the next day. Had I known she was going to pass soon after we left, I would have stayed with her all night. Like all of my family, she was a great woman. She grew up in a Mennonite home in the early 1900's. Then, later broke free from the community to graduate from high school two years early. She went to school in a one room school house and graduated when she was sixteen! She then fended for herself and went to school to become a paralegal. While employed in Ottumwa, Iowa she met my Grandpa Duree. They married while he was training in the Air Force to go and fight in Germany during World War II. Everything is beautifully documented on their love before marriage, life after marriage during his training, life during the war, and life when my grandfather returned from the war in a scrapbook. The scrapbook is one of the few pieces she was able to give me before she passed. I truly cherish this piece of history. Funny how this all can be sparked from media regarding Betty White. Regardless, I am excited and will surely be tuning in to see Betty.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Goin' South

A week from this coming Thursday, I will be headed down to Tennessee with my mother and my sister Erin to visit my Grandpa Calderwood. Trips in the past were always filled with great joy as this used to be like our "spa trip" or summer getaway. This trip, however, is very different. My grandfather is passing. He refuses to go into a nursing home or hospice hospital because he wants to die at home. Thus, my mother, Uncle John, and Cousin Abbey have been making bi-monthly trips to his home to help take care of him when respid care is unavailable. I know this trip will be tough, very tough. It pains me to say it, but his days are numbered. I can't help but think though, of all the fond memories through the years that we have had with our visits down south. Memphis, The Peabody, the stinky papermill we have to drive past through Kentucky, the pool, running down long winding roads, and the Southern drawls are all so comforting to think about. While this trip will be one of the hardest, I know it will also create new memories. Memories my sister and I can talk about in the years to come.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Guest Blogging

Today I was asked by the creator of this blog to guest post. I am sure this will end just like Conan, with the creator offering me millions of dollars to regain control of what was rightfully hers to begin with. But enough rambling. Let's get on to the several events and happenings of this weekend.

Saturday started with a bang. Sara and I snagged some breakfast at Wendy's and then headed to Home Depot for a new bathroom faucet. The old faucet in our bedroom has been dripping for most of 2010. Not even some new parts back in January could extend the life of this faucet. Once we had one picked out, my friend Jeremy from work came over to help me install it. Well ...... that's not entirely correct. Jeremy did all the work and I assisted him. The new faucet works great and looks great too. Thanks Jeremy. Check out the pic to the left.

And most importantly, the Iowa State Cyclones got a huge victory over the #5 ranked Kansas State Wildcats. This victory was a little overdue and a long time in the making, but no one ever said being a Cyclones is easy. Congrats to the two men in the picture for their perseverance this season.

While the Cyclones were taking care of business against K-State, Sara and I took care of dinner on the new grill. This was my splurge for the spring. It makes me feel like a real man when I can cook an animal to 500 degrees. The steaks we cooked tasted great and made it feel like summer was just around the corner. Another great picture is attached.

And on a sad note, Sara was traumatized when my winter facial hair went south for the winter. She just has to get one last snap of the beard before it magically disappeared this morning. Of course the pic is added as well.