Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

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Pepper Lover’s Peppered Beef Roll

I have grown quite fond of my little ceramic pot since I found an old 1970’s crock pot cookbook at the thrift store. Last week we enjoyed Pork Chops with Oranges and now this week we salivated over Peppered Beef Roll. I have not had […]

Halloween Mystery Dinner Menu

Art Work: Celebration of Halloween by Ryan Conners The Witches Tavern Beverage Blood Spritzer – Cherry Fizz Appetizer Eyeball Soup – Tomato Soup with Cheese Tortillini Or Grave Digger Bones – Bread Sticks Main Dish Shrunken Troll Heads – Stuffed Acorn Squash Or Stuffed Hobgoblin […]

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Oranges

One day while I was snooping through a local thrift store I found an old paperback entitled “Slow-Crock Cookery” dated 1974. I love old cookbooks especially those produced by a local church or organization. It looked interesting enough to spend the $.25 cents on. This little book was well worth the investment. It has become one of my top 5 favorite cook books.

Pork Chops with Oranges makes for a lovely dinner on a fall evening. Pair the chops with a baked sweet potato or use it as a stuffing in Stuffed Acorn Squash. Pork Chops with Oranges can be made in the oven using a dutch oven or casserole. Bake covered at 300 degrees F for the time listed.

6 lean pork chops, 1-inch thick
1 (6-oz) can orange juice concentrate
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (8-oz) can mandarin orange segments

Sear chops in a skillet over high heat. Place chops in the slow-cooker.

Combine orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, salt cinnamon, allspice and pepper. Pour over pork chops. Cover tightly and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.

Arrange oranges over the pork chops for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Serve over a baked sweet potato or brown rice.

Makes 4-6 servings

— Replace the orange juice with 1 cup apricot jam and add 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.

Family Togetherness: Sunday Family Counsel

Photo: property of Lily Jane Stationery With the start of school also means the addition of all the extra curricular activities. Household schedules can become pretty hectic. Sunday Family Counsel is a way to meet up with the rest of the family to plan the […]

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed acorn squash is a fun way to present a delicious meal. The kids squealed in delight to see a “pumpkin” on their dinner plate. You can use hulled out squash or pumpkin to serve your favorite grilled meat and roasted veggies in. Acorn Squash […]

October Resolution: Face the Lion- Accomplish a Difficult Task

Photo: “Dandelions” by Kitchen Table Medicine,

Source: Courtesy Photo Bucket

I am a horrible test taker. To this day I get sweaty palms and start to second guess myself. I learned in college that the answers to the tests were not straight out of the book as the teacher would profess but their own version of the answer. I am a hands on kinetic learner. I knew back then it was difficult for me to process information spouted out at me from the chalk board. So I always chose to sit in the front row and took almost word for word notes. At home I would faithfully read the text book and dutifully did my homework. I could explain the where and why verbally but once I sat down with a scantron in from of me the lights went out.

I was venting to a friend of mine I worked with one day. She was older than I was but from the first time we met we became fast friends. It was like we were soul sisters. We must have known each other in a previous life. She gave me the best advice. With a big smile on her face she told me, “You have to face the lion before it can become a dandelion.” The following Monday I marched into my professor’s office to see if he could help me figure out what I was doing wrong. I was really scared of the man. Talking to him was a difficult thing for me but I faced the lion and he actually was nice. He encouraged me to take notes then write an essay on the pages I read. An assignment I gladly took on in hopes of scoring higher than a C.

With the final exam approaching fast, I geared myself up. I sat in my usual front seat, took detailed notes (he actually gave us the test questions and answers), then went home and studied. I read the book, took notes and wrote and essay. I memorized the test questions and answers he gave us in class. A funny thing happened on test day. I was perplexed as to how I should answer several of his questions. For you see, there were two correct answers. One, I was certain I had read in the book; however, there was another answer straight from the professors list of questions and answers. I went with the professor’s answers and received my first A. Hallelujah!

My quest to chase the lion was not yet over. I felt cheated. I thought what if every test I took that semester I actually scored higher. According to the book I was right. I was not about to let some arrogant professor fail me. So once again I marched into his office and explained to him my discovery. He was not happy to be told that he was wrong. The following week when the grades were posted I got an A in the class. “Once you face the lion, it will become a dandelion.”

I use the same mantra with my children everyday. The little guys can become frustrated with everyday tasks that we take for granted. Simple actions such as putting on a shirt can drive them into a tantrum. I do not accept can’t in my house. Yoda tells us, “there is only do or do not, there is no try”. If you cannot do it you can ask for help. Accepting defeat and whining about it is not an option. There will be many things we cannot do in life. As long as we can stand there and honestly say that we did our absolute best then we have nothing to whine over. If we never made the attempt, however; how will we know that the lion starring back at us is nothing but a dandelion?

This month’s resolution is to accomplish a difficult task. Think of things in your life that seem overwhelming or that you would like to change. Think of things you have been wanting to do but have not felt up to the task. Seek out help to overcome this burden or research ways to master the problem.

–If you are shy that could mean breaking out of your shell a little.
–Write down your biggest fears and come up with ways to overcome them. Make it your new goal for the New Year.
–Accomplish a task that you have been afraid to do or keep procrastinating.
–Learn that new hobby or trade.
–Take a risk as long as it does not hurt anyone or result in negative consequences.
–Learn to live within a budget to get out of debt.
Host a dinner party.
–Simplify your life and home.
–Reconnect severed ties with family.
–Stand up to peer-pressure. If you do not feel good about something stop participating.
–Break off unhealthy relationships.
–Go back to school.
–Stand up to a bully.
–Be positive.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

The week after Autumn Solstice the soccer league voted to cancel soccer practice because it was too hot. I wanted to make Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread but the grocery store did not carry cans of pureed pumpkin yet. While I was trying hang up a […]

October Website Review: On Being Frugal

This month’s website review covers several websites. I am sure there are thousands of fabulous sites that offer the latest in coupons and deals. These are just a few of my favorites from this year. I use them all. It takes me about an hour […]

Saucy Lemony Mushroom Chicken

Lemony mushroom chicken is a quick 30 minute meal. You can jazz it up by adding a few tablespoons of capers or cilantro. You can even omit the mushrooms.

In this recipe you will learn a simple technique called deglazing to make the sauce. Deglazing is used a lot in cooking to create sauces/gravy or to add rich flavor to soups or meat. You know that crusty stuff on the bottom of the pan from grilling meat? The stuff you can never get off? When you add liquid to the hot pan you can easily scrape the bits of charred meat off. This is called deglazing. This broth that is formed is chocked full of amazing flavor that will transform a flavorless soup into something mouth watering. Deglazing is also the first step in preparing gravy for Thanksgiving dinner. Once you conquer deglazing feel free to play around with the flavors by adding different types of juices or cooking wines. Try butter and garlic for a garlic sauce with roasted veggies.

4 chicken breasts, purchase the thin fillets or fillet two thick chicken breasts
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Sautée the onions until translucent about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sautée until soft about 7 minutes. Remove the onions and mushrooms.

This next step is optional. If you dredge (meaning to coat) the chicken in the flour now then you do not have to add flour when making the sauce.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour until they are coated well. Add oil to the pan if necessary. Place the chicken pieces in the skillet; cook over medium heat until no longer pink in the middle about 3 minutes each side. Remove from pan.

Add chicken broth or wine to the hot pan scraping up the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan. If you did not dredge the chicken in the flour add 2 tablespoons flour now, whisking until completely dissolved. Continue to cook the sauce over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Place the mushrooms, onions and chicken back in the pan and toss. Serve over noodles or other favorite grain or with roasted vegetables or squash.

How to Sear Roasts and Stew Meat

Is pan searing meat really worth it? You bet cha! Pan searing is vital when cooking roasts or making beef stews. First the high heat creates a wonderful caramelized brown crust that gives the meat a nice texture. Second the left over burnt bits in […]