Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guest Post - Pork Chops with Apple & Onion Relish

Happy Sunday! Is your weekend flying by too? If you still haven’t found the time to plan for dinner then check out this recipe from One Hungry Dude!

I love the flavour combination of pork and apples. There's just something about the tartness and sweetness of apples and brown sugar that compliments the saltiness of the pork so well. This is an easy recipe that requires a few staple ingredients.

Apple and Onion Relish 
• 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 4 Tbsp Margarine
• 4 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced
• 2 Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
• 4 Cloves Garlic, diced
• Zest and Juice from 1/2 Lemon
• 4 Tsp Rosemary
• 4 Tsp Brown Sugar
• Salt and Pepper, to taste
• 4 Pork Chops, with bone

In a large frying pan on the stovetop, heat the olive oil and margarine over medium.   Add the apple and onion, cooking for about four to five minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for another three to four minutes. Reduce heat by about half, add the lemon, rosemary, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and cover. Sweat the relish for about 30 minutes, stirring often, to ensure it doesn't stick to the pan. Once the mixture is soft, and the onions appear translucent, you can reduce the heat to a simmer.

While the relish is sweating, preheat another large frying pan over medium-high. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, then place in the second frying pan, searing each side for two to three minutes. Reduce the heat to about medium, and cook until done. Allow the pork to rest for about four or five minutes, then top with the relish. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

By the Batch – Strawberry Napoleons

I’m finding fresh produce to be very expensive this winter. With a one year old who loves his fruits and veggies we’re spending a fortune at the grocery store every week so I’ve started basing my purchases on what’s on sale. A few weeks ago our local store had three cartons of strawberries on for $5 so I jumped all over that. I sliced up a bunch and froze them and I made a huge batch of Toddler Smoothies but I still had a ton of strawberries leftover. Chris loves strawberry desserts so I did a quick Pinterest search and found an Easy Strawberry Napoleon Recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff. We had puffed pastry in the freezer leftover from when Chris made Beef Wellington so I gave it a try. Turns out it actually was really easy and Chris loved them! I’ve altered the directions mostly based on the fact that my pastry was the type you roll out.

Strawberry Napoleon


  • 1 roll (half of a 450 gram package) frozen puff pastry
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup Cool Whip
  • 2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
  • Icing sugar, for garnish


  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw pastry according to directions on the box - I left mine in the refrigerator over night. Roll out pastry until you have a rectangle that’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. Make two cuts across the long part of the rectangle so you have three equally sized strips. Then cut each of those strips in half on the short part. Space the 6 resulting pieces on a baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes or until golden. Place on a rack to cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk pudding mix, milk, and extract for 2 minutes; fold in Cool Whip and blend thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Carefully split each piece of pastry in half horizontally. Cover bottom halves with pudding mixture and then sliced strawberries, dividing equally. Cover with pastry tops. Dust with icing sugar.

I don’t like strawberries – weird I know – but Chris loved these. I loved that they were incredibly easy to make and the only thing I had to buy was almond extract. I would definitely make these again but will wait until we’re having people over for dinner as the pastry got very soggy before Chris could get through the whole batch on his own.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another Year of DIY Valentines

I’m so disappointed – I had Valentine’s Day projects to share but I never got the opportunity to post any of them and now the day has come and gone for another year! But I think I’ve got a pretty good excuse, Nathan turned one last week and I returned to work. It was a busy week! I’m hoping that as we get used to our new schedule I’ll find a better rhythm of posting here because I have a lot of birthday party projects I’m excited to share. In the meantime, here’s this year’s Valentine’s Day cards.

  DIY Valentine 2 DIY Valentine 2_close

DIY ValentineDIY Valentine_close

Hopefully you’ll see me back later this week!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Love Day Smoothie for your Littlest Valentine

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I’ve been thinking of ways to get my little guy in on the action. He’s too little for most of the activities I’ve found on Pinterest and, at almost a year, he’s definitely still too young for all the awesome looking desserts I’m dying to make. But, he’s just the right age for a yummy pink Strawberry Banana Smoothie! These are super easy to make and, since they’re full of fruit they make a healthy treat for your toddler -  or for you ;) I made a giant batch (multiply the ingredients below to make more) and froze it in ice cube trays for later.

Valentine Toddler Smoothie


  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (I used fresh but frozen works too)
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp honey (this is optional to add extra sweetness and only appropriate if your child is a year or older)

Put all ingredients in a blender (or a baby food processor) and blend well. You can alter the above quantities to change  how thick or thin the smoothies are, depending on your child’s ability. My son loves drinking through a straw but it’s a new skill so our smoothies were a bit on the runny side. Also, depending on your child, you can partially freeze your smoothie once blended to make it more of a slushy texture.

Serve these pink drinks up to your little ones on Valentine’s Day or any day you want to give them an extra serving of fruit!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

DIY Valentine’s Day Canvas

February is here! My house got dressed up for Valentine’s Day yesterday and I finally found some time to work on some Love Day projects. First up is a Valentine’s Day canvas made with paint and stickers. I’ve seen this idea about a million times on Pinterest and thought it was time to try it myself!

Be Mine Canvas 

The concept is really simple – put letter stickers or vinyl onto a canvas, paint over them and then peel the stickers off. I started by painting my canvas light pink and then applied my letters. Then I painted the whole thing with two coats of red. Sadly when I peeled the stickers off I discovered that some of the red paint had bled through a bit. I’m not really sure how this can be prevented but if you’ve got a suggestion I’d love to hear it. I cleaned up my letters the best I could with a small paintbrush and some of the pink paint but since it still didn’t look perfect I decided to give the whole thing a distressed look that might help it look imperfect on purpose ;)

Be Mine Canvas_texture

I couldn’t find any sandpaper so I used a nail file and rubbed it firmly all over the canvas until the pink was showing through in places. I rubbed some of the red paint dust onto the pink letters to help camouflage where the bleeding had occurred. I love the shabby end result I’m sort of glad that it didn’t turn out perfectly!

At the moment I’m working on mastering coffee filter roses so watch for that project soon!