Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dill Pickle Pork Chops (a.k.a. this + this = BOOYAH)

The Hungry Hubby and I are trying to do the whole super-economize/make your money work for you/"Total Money Makeover" thing recently. 

Well, we've been trying to do it for a while now, but we have really just started buckling down this week; especially since the Hungry Hubby's job is commission only (he looooves it, but we can't always assume that he's going to have an amazing month EVERY MONTH) and we need to suck it up and start making friends with the "B" word. 


So that means spending a lot of time with THIS:

Talking/writing about/planning around THIS:

I wish this was my bed. Then I wouldn't have to deal with a stupid budget.

and not spending a lot of money HERE:

can't you hear the angels singing? Isn't it beautiful?

Heavenly Father, thank you for Publix. I really appreciate having such good lighting, BOGO deals and differently-able bag boys who know the Hungry Baby's name and fight over who gets to push our cart. 

But I digress...

So because we're trying to change our ways and all that jazz, I've been having to be really creative when it comes to dinners around here. 

Like weird creative. 

For example, tonight I invented dill pickle pork chops. 
(Back off if you've heard of this before, I hadn't and now I'm basking in the glow of my brainpower.) 

So, when the pregnancy cravings began to hit this time around I totally went for the BIG JAR of Claussen dill pickles. 
(You know what I'm talking about, the good ones that you have to get from the section with the eggs and keep in the fridge. OHHH YEAH BABY.) 

The Hungry Baby and I finished off the last two spears this afternoon. (And, I guess the Itty Bitty Hungry Baby got some too? I guess I'll have to come up with a cutesy nickname for Hungry Baby #2. Hungry Baby #2 works. BOOM. I AM ALL KINDS OF CREATIVE TODAY.)

Now I have a gallon jar of pickle juice sitting in the 'fridge. 
With two defrosted pork chops sitting next to it. 




My thought process totally went like this:

HEAD: Hey, Amy, you like pickles AND you like pork.
HEAD: have to marinate pork chops
AMY: I'm not following...
AMY: ((light bulb))

So I marinated the pork chops in leftover dill pickle juice. 
I know, I'm a genius. 

I already ate mine, it was delicious. 

OM NOM NOM. This was taken about 3 seconds after I plated it. I even ate all my vegetables first.

I ate the Hungry Hubby's too. 
Yeah, I'm pregnant and I ate his dinner. 

 the plate is already dirty because this was supposed to be the Hungry Hubby's pork chop. That's right. I ate it. Whatchagonnado?Wannafightaboutit?

I'm not evil, SOMEONE'S boss is having him tag along to tonight's POISON concert.


Not this poison. 


Oh, did I happen to mention he's getting to go 

That poopy head. (Insert pouty face here)

I'm totally jealous so I ate his dinner. 
(Again, I'm not evil, I'll make some just for him later.)

and you don't even have to measure anything.
You can thank me later. 

For Dill Pickle Pork Chops you will need: 

  • 2 (or more, depending on how many people you are feeding)pork chops or pork loins
  • Dill pickle juice
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dried dill weed (haha, yes, I said "weed". It's a spice, get your giggles out already.)
  • fennel seed
  • ketchup
1. Place the defrosted pork in a baking dish; preheat the oven to 350F.

2. sprinkle both sides of each chop with salt and pepper. (Don't go crazy with the salt, the pickle juice has some salt in it already.)
3. Pour some dill pickle juice over the pork chops (but don't cover the chops, this isn't a swimming pool and we're not making pickle pork
4. Sprinkle the tops of the pork chops with a pinch of fennel seeds (again, don't go crazy. Fennel seed is potent.)
5. Sprinkle the pork chops with dill weed (hehe, I said "weed" again. lol); just a light dusting. 

6. make a squiggle of ketchup on top of each pork chop. Be fancy. Dinner is more fun if it's decorated. 

7. Bake the chops for 45 minutes. 


Friday, June 3, 2011

Hot Chocolate and Vanilla Milk (a.k.a. "here kid, drink this.")

Ok folks. 
It has been a loooong year. 
Do you ever have one of those long days? You know, one of those long days that feels like it has been a whole year? 

I have had one of those years that feels like it has just been ONE. LOOOOOOONG. DAY. 
A looooong day that requires hot chocolate at the end.
(ok, ok, I know that summer is here again; and I KNOW it is like the face of the SUN outside. But I'm pregnant and I just want hot chocolate. BACK. OFF.)


The Hungry Baby is just like her Mommy. She enjoys a nice cozy drink at the end of a long day of being a one year old. 
(No, I don't spike it. Even if the whiskey WOULD help her sleep. then again...) 

What CPS doesn't know won't hurt them...just kidding. This is not my kid.

However, because I am a responsible parent (and my child already has such a HORRIBLE chocolate addiction, thanks to her Aunt Scout) I don't give her hot chocolate. But sometimes I do give in and make her a bottle of vanilla milk. Because it's her favorite. And because it really does help her sleep. 

Remember when you were little and your mom would get that instant hot chocolate powder? 
(Mine still does. Which isn't a bad thing, because SOMEONE has got to eat it directly out of the packet. I'll take that dreaded chore upon myself. Don't call me a hero. 'Tis a far far greater thing that I do...)

instant cocoa powder? what makes you say that?

I don't get the instant powder. 
The official reason I don't buy the instant powder is because the hot chocolate always comes out really thin and I can't ever make it without the powder getting all clumpy. 
(Mostly we don't get the instant hot chocolate because I would eat it directly out of the packet and the Hungry Hubby would take me to the loony bin. Oh the woe of my secret shame!)

So I learned how to make REAL hot chocolate. 
Once I figured out the chocolate, the vanilla milk just showed up. I tried some and thought "gee, this really makes me feel sleepy and cozy. OH MY GAWD THIS MAY MAKE THE OVERLY-HYPER-FOR-8-PM-AND-YELLING-IN-HER-BED HUNGRY BABY FEEL COZY AND SLEEPY.

There is a reason this book is so popular.

She did. She loved it. She was out like a light. Dairy cows be praised! 

So hot chocolate, is part of my evening routine (that is, when I don't konk out on the couch at 6pm of the sheer exhaustion that is my life).

Vanilla milk, is part of hers. 


For Homemade Hot Chocolate you will need: 
  • 2 cups of whole milk (sidebar: we are in romantic love with the milk from Working Cows Dairy, sadly, we go through almost a gallon a day and at almost $7 a pop...le sigh.)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder. 
  • Sugar (just eyeball it) or Light Agave Nectar (if you're going paleo)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Bourbon Vanilla Extract. (REAL VANILLA. If I find out you've been using "imitation vanilla" I swear I will wring your neck. that stuff is poison...sorry. Hormones.)
  • dash of cinnamon (awesome, but totally optional.) 
1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a saucepan (the one with sides) and add a splash of milk to make a paste. Use a whisk. The paste will prevent the dreaded instant-cocoa clumpy powder.

1.a. If you are using Agave instead of sugar, omit the splash of milk in this step.

2. Over medium heat (you don't want to scorch the milk, then the hot chocolate gets all weird and filmy) slowly whisk the milk into the cocoa mix.

3. When everything is well blended and the hot chocolate is to the temperature you like to drink, pour that mess in a mug and have at it. 

For the Hungry Baby's Vanilla Milk, you will need

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Tiny splash of light agave nectar (because I am not giving my one-year-old straight up sugar). A grownup might want about a tablespoon of agave.
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • sprinkle of cinnamon.
1. Whisk the agave, milk, and vanilla together in a saucepan over low heat. (Low heat for a baby, medium for a grownup.)
2. When the milk is warm, pour it into a mug (Or baby bottle, whatever. I won't judge.)
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon. 
4. Drink. 
5. Pass Out. (This junk will make you SLEEPY)