Monday, February 28, 2011

Le Creuset Pork Roast!

My Dutch oven collection has been mocking me! Use us, Use us, they
seem to chant from their pretty little perch in my kitchen. And, if a certain
someone had his way, I would be using my Dutch ovens every day! 
But he hasn't had his way in quite a while, and for that I feel pretty bad. Just
how disconnected I've become from my kitchen hit me like a ton of bricks at
Costco on Saturday when I realized that I had no idea how much butter was in
the refrigerator. Do you know how huge that is? Huge! Because before beginning
my CLEAN journey last June, I always knew exactly how much butter was in
my house at all times! Please don't misunderstand, I love my new body, and I do
not miss butter for a second... But I have missed baking/cooking in my kitchen!
So after buying 5-pounds of butter at Costco... To add to the three pounds I forgot
was still in the refrigerator, I decided enough was enough and that it was high time I
cooked a proper dinner. Using one of my beautiful Le Creuset Dutch ovens, of course! 
We celebrated Valentine's Day Saturday evening with dinner at the, Twin City Chop
House and later, we took in a wonderful performance of the musical, 1776. Any way,
I was convinced he would choose the pork chops for dinner; however, the only pork
option was a chop stuffed with goat cheese, which is not his thing. So he ordered
the filet mignon on my promise that I would prepare him my own pork dish!
If you don't already own a Le Creuset Dutch oven, go buy one today! If you do own
one or eight, like me, then you know why this is the absolutely best way to cook!
I browned the roast on all sides in hot olive oil infused with crushed garlic
After the roast was completely browned, I deglazed with white wine. By the way, if you're
like me and don't drink alcohol, these little bottles are just the right size for cooking!
After all the browned bits of goodness came off the bottom
of my pan, I poured in a little mixture of honey and soy
Then I placed the roast back into the pan and let the liquid come to a big boil!
After tossing in one sliced Granny Smith apple and a whole, chopped
white onion, I slipped the roast into my 400-degree oven for 3 hours...
Until it was perfectly... Perfect! 
When he came in for a nibble, he said it was well worth the wait!
If you like to slice your pork roast with a fork, this is how you do it! 
Speaking of how you do it... You must try this, Spoon Bread Casserole! 
It, along with a baked sweet potato dotted with butter and sprinkled with
brown sugar and cinnamon completed my promised pork roast dinner!
(Please forgive me the poor quality of this
photo. It got late and I totally lost my light!)
Remember! Le Creuset Dutch Ovens... For the way they cook!

Philadelphia Cooking Creme... Finally!

I am quite delighted to have been chosen as a host for the Philly Dinnertime
Dilemma Houseparty! Why? Because in my opinion, this is a product-idea whose
time was L-o-n-g overdue. And now that it's here, I want you to know all about it! 
You see, I've been creating my own Philly cream cheese pasta and cooking sauces for
years by adding herbs/spices, milk, butter and a splash of white wine and/or heavy
cream, when I have it, to a package of Philadelphia cream cheese. I use my cooking
sauce-creations as my own Alfredo or to spoon it over grilled prawns on rice. And,
I use it a lot in making the best open-faced chipped beef sandwiches... Ever!   
But now! Now that Philly is sharing the cream cheese I use in cheesecakes, and letting
it venture beyond the smear on my bagel to launch a tasty line of their own cooking
cremes, the recipe options are endless, and my dinnertime has never been easier! 
So what about all this fun stuff you see? Well, along with lots of Free cooking cremes
for me to sample, I also received coupons, recipe guides, pads of shopping lists, and
lots of wooden spoons to share with friends. Plus an oven mitt, and a Green Pan!  
My party isn't scheduled for a couple of weeks; however, I couldn't wait to tell
you about this... I also have four extra sets of Philly goodies to share with a few
of my readers. So if you'd like to receive some of this loot, just leave a comment,
and I will select four winners at random - And announce them later this week!! 
I know you'll understand if I keep the stainless steel Green Pan for myself!
The rest of it is all yours though!
Today I whipped up a delicious dinner in just a few minutes using
the Philly Italian Cheese and Herb flavored cooking creme!
 I added chunks of a pre-baked chicken breast I picked up at the market, a
couple handfuls of steamed broccoli and some cooked bow-tie pasta to the creamy,
perfectly seasoned cooking creme. Honestly, I couldn't do it any better than Philly!
You could use any combination of veg, meat or seafood to satisfy your dinner desires! Or
use rice instead of pasta... Or skip this altogether, and go for the enchilada recipe!
 Whatever you decide to create with Philly's new Cooking Cremes...
I know you're going to Love it as much as I do!

The Legal Stuff: All of the give-away goodies I received as well as the Philly cooking creme I used to create this dinner recipe was provided to me Free, as a blogger-member of Houseparty.com selected to host a Philly Dinner Dilemma party. However, the opinions about this product are my own. And, if I didn't love it, you'd know about it!

GIVE-AWAY IS CLOSED!
I put your names into a cup and pulled out the following
winners of one each of the Philly Cooking Creme goodies
I received for my party. Instead of 4, I pulled six names
because I'm a push-over that way... Winners are:

Bea - I know you live in Spain, but I'm willing to ship to you any way!
Mom to C
Gollehon5
Gina
Just Jennifer
Mynde

Winners have until Thursday at midnight, EST
to send their address to: jcbridge@aol.com

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spoon Bread Casserole

I made it back into my kitchen today! I've been so disconnected from it for months...  
 Not because I've lost my passion for cooking and baking, and certainly not because
he prefers the hot dinner buffet at Whole Foods... But because I've been totally
obsessed with my CLEAN program, working out and loving the results!
But last night I made a promise... I promised I would prepare a proper Sunday
dinner, and finally whip up that old southern classic, Spoon Bread Casserole
I've never heard of it before... However, it
paired beautifully with my proper Sunday dinner!
I think you'll love it! Just follow this Recipe and then
add a pinch of cinnamon, drizz of honey and a spoon!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hum...

It wasn't until we walked out of Costco that we realized our mistake...
No... The pool chemicals didn't fit in the trunk, nor did the 15-roll paper
towel pack. It was a trick... But somehow we managed to make it work!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies for our Troops!

A dear friend of mine has a sweet daughter who is a Girl Scout. A wonderful Girl
Scout who gave up her Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago to stand in
front of a Walmart selling cookies she asked people to donate back to our Troops
As in, our Troops! As in, our Ranger and his
battle-buddies who are currently deployed
This week I mailed several care-packages to Afghanistan, and filled them with
all those wonderful Girl Scout cookies donated to the Ranger and his buddies! 
 Make no mistake... They all love Girl Scout cookies! And, we love and
appreciate Renee Bryant, and the other sweet girls of Troop #41099
I used to be a Brownie! And, this is the uniform I wore in 1974...
Back before Girl Scout cookies, back before Troop numbers
were 5-digits and during a time when 666 was just a number!

Mini-Me!

When I was seventeen my parents bought me a 1980, Limited Edition MGB
convertible. And I loved it more than I loved Bjorn Borg... Which was a lot.
Trust me! The plan was to love it forever... However, two years later, and
only three short months after my dad went to the considerable trouble
to ship my MGB all the way from Monterey, California to Virginia
where I moved after getting married, some despicable inhuman
being stole it! You can read all about that experience here 
  The MGB wasn't my first convertible though... Here I am with mom at eight months
old in my first convertible. Yup! I blame my need to feel the wind in my hair on my
parents! And, what about that super-safe infant car seat!? Airbags? What airbags!   
 I have been looking to replace the convertible stolen from me for 25 years now...
And this week... I did!
I'm a Cooper, it's a Cooper. It's a no-brainer!
It's also my first not-white vehicle in 17 years! I've owned two Jeeps, One Isuzu
Trooper LS, a Land Rover Disco and now an Expedition, and all of them are
white. I've been shopping for a white Mini Cooper - But when I found this
one, which has everything on my long list of must-have's, I decided
color was something I could compromise. Besides, I kept my
Expedition, so there's still a white truck in the driveway!  
Why did I keep the Expedition? 
 Because I'm a Costco shopper, while my Cooper is more of a sample-size shopper!
By the way... If you're in the market for a Mini Cooper to call your own, I am
happy to recommend my sales advisor, Stephen Lane at Hendrick Mini in
Charlotte, North Carolina. Stephen is a Mini Cooper fanatic who is on his
third Mini Cooper and he's barely out of college! Driving with Stephen
was an education, and after his sales manager agreed to my low offer,
Stephen went out of his way to fill my new Mini with lots of goodies!  
While I wrote the check and finished up with the paperwork guy, the man I love was
busy in the dealership gift shop... Because he left this for me to find in the trunk! 
 I'm still not sure how this pod is a key but I'm just going to go with it!

Big thanks to Stephen Lane at Hendrick Mini. Thanks to you, I'm back in a convertible
I truly love... And, thanks to the 6-speed turbo, I'm back to having passengers
sitting next to me that sound like they're riding a horse... Whoa! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We got an address!

We received an e-mail from the Ranger, and it included an
address. Which means that operation, Care-package is in full swing!
Bing and I have been very busy wrapping and packing this evening. I
think Bing's like me... He would make the trip to Afghanistan if he could!
But that's no place for our Ranger... Let alone his sweet puddy-cat! 
I'm predicting a banner revenue quarter for the United States post office!
However, this is still one package that's staying right here with me!