Slow Cooker

One of the things I have observed about being a mom in the suburbs is that there seems to be a few things that separate us from our city sisters. Driving a min-van, wearing mom clogs (those who have them know what I mean) and getting yourself a slow-cooker so when you get home from whatever afternoon activity you are dragging your kids to, dinner will be ready and on the table.

So far, I have the mini-van and thanks to my friend Christy, the slow-cooker queen, I have my very own Original Crock-pot slow cooker. I am holding out on the clogs, I guess I am in denial that I truly have become a suburban soccer mom.

Most of the recipes I have tried in past with the slow cooker have just been mush. But this one came out great and couldn’t have been easier. The pickled onion topping actually took more effort than the pork, but since they can be done in advance this was a fairly easy meal to pull together.

Hail the Crock-pot!

Pork Tacos with Pickled Shallots

Ingredients

Pork:

2 lb boneless pork loin roast

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 cup chicken stock

Shallots:

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp salt

Easy Easy Salsa:
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (with garlic is best), drained
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, rough chopped
Salt and Pepper

 

Corn or flour tortillas

Avocado Slices (optional)

 

Directions

Pat pork loin dry with paper towels.  In a small bowl, combine garlic, salt, cumin, sugar, oregano, pepper, and smoked paprika.

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Rub spices all over the pork roast. Place the pork into the slow cooker and pour in the chicken stock. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

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Remove pork and shred it apart, then place it back in the slow cooker with the juices and let cook for another 15 minutes on low.

While pork cooks prepare pickled shallots and salsa.

For the shallots, blanch in saucepot of boiling water for one minute, drain in colander. Return onions to pot – add vinegar, salt and 1 cup of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Transfer to a glass jar and chill in refrigerator for several hours.

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To prepare salsa, puree tomatoes, lime juice, olive oil in food processor. Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove pork from slow cooker and assemble tacos to your liking.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: I really don’t like this corn thing but the chicken is good. I can’t hold it!

Liam: Don’t give me any of that food  (since he was little under weather I will let this pass)

Dylan: Those are not pickles! Huh? How do I eat this? It keeps falling out!

So after we deconstructed the tacos 2 out of 3 boys enjoyed this – even if they did think it was chicken….

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FARMERS MARKET

One of our favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is hit the local farmers market and get some fresh fruit and try a strange vegetable we haven’t had before. What is it about those samples that will get my little monsters to try just about anything that is offered? I literally had to swat them away like flies from the shishito peppers this week. Maybe it is the toothpicks that can be turned quickly into a mini sword to stab each other with? As long as they are lining up to eat some kale I am happy to let them have a few sword fights!
Their favorite booth hands down is the Pickle Man – we never leave without an overflowing container of pickle chips that are immediately devoured with lunch. It could be that this is the place with the most samples, but the man who runs the booth also engages with the boys and gives out pickled peppers like candy. I just stand and cringe as other customers watch with mild disgust as my boys dirty hands reach into the bin before I can stop them!
Here is an easy dish I make to get them to eat all those veggies once we are home:

Farmers Market Chili

This week we bought Lita squash, which is similar to zucchini but sweeter.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey

1 large yellow onion (grated)

2 medium Lita squash (grated)

1-teaspoon cumin

1-teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

1 can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted if available)

1 can black beans

1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)

Salt & pepper

 
Directions:
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, breaking it up with wooden spoon as it browns, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and zucchini (squeeze out excess water) and cook until most liquid is evaporated and vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin, garlic salt and cayenne (add more pepper if you desire), and stir for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans *, bring to boil. Add corn and then reduce heat and let simmer until thickens, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
* My boys don’t want to see beans or large chunks of tomatoes so I throw these into the food processor to break them up a bit. This way they know it is there but are not offended by it and won’t throw themselves to the floor in a screaming tantrum.
– Serve with tortilla chips or just add a little grated cheddar on top.
Voila! And barely a vegetable in sight!
   
And the VERDICT is:
We had a play-date and served this for dinner.  It was a huge hit and seconds were had by almost all- here are some of the comments:
Jaume (age 4 – serious Spiderman fan) – “Is there seaweed in this?” (guess I didn’t hide the Lita squash enough – but he did have 2 bowls!)
Shauna (age 5 – budding foodie) – “That was some delicious chili!”
Liam (age 3 – pickiest eater at the table) – “Take out the corn” – 2 minutes later…. “I love the corn, Mommy)
 
 
 
 
 

It’s Apple Season!

I thought it fitting for my first recipe to be something with apples. After all, it is the season. When my boys pick the food themselves they are much more likely to try it. And what better way to spend a day then apple picking with three kids who can’t sit still.

This is a ridiculously easy recipe with 2 ingredients that makes a great snack –

Dried Apples

Ingredients:
3 Granny Smith apples – Any apple will do but we prefer Granny Smiths
Cinnamon
Core apples and slice 1/4 inch thick
Oil a baking sheet and arrange apples in a single layer
Sprinkle with cinnamon

Bake at 200 degrees until dry but still soft  (approx. 2 to 3 hours)

Voila!

AND THE VERDICT IS……

Matthew (big brother age 5): Hmmm – not crunchy enough….

Dylan (age 3): Disgusting! I want more – Liam got more than me!

Liam (age 3): Yummy Mommy!