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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple Cider Brine Pork Chop

I know this has graced the Lonely Girl Recipes in the past, but it's worth posting again here. I'm so excited to get these juicy, tasty little pork chops in the crock pot tomorrow!

I just cooked up the brine and the pork chops are already soaking up the salty goodness. Tomorrow I'll cut up potatoes, carrots, and celery to line the bottom of the crock. Then the pork chops, and the best part.... sauer kraut on top! I usually pour unfiltered apple cider into the bottom to add extra flavor and juiciness.

Did I mention, I can hardly wait? Without further adieu...

Combine in sauce pan...

1/2C cold water
1/4C kosher salt
1/4C packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp whole cloves

Bring to a boil, stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in...

1C unfiltered apple cider
1/2C ice cubes

Cool completely. Pour over pork chop (I'm using two thin ones this time) in a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight or up to 12 hours. Turn bag occasionally.

When ready to cook, drain brine. Add pork chops to crock pot and cook according to manufacturer's instructions. Pork chops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°. I have a small 1 quart crock pot with only on/off setting and I would cook this 3-4 hours.

I can hardly wait!

Traditional Fall Chemical Burns

After a late breakfast following a late halloween party night, I grabbed a rag to clean up. Because I'm crazy, a simple task like wiping off the stove can quickly lead to an all out cleaning fest.

My thoughts turned to my first apartment and my very first stove and the day I realized the stove top lifted up. It was a whole new world of crumbtasticness that hadn't been seen in over a year. And I diligently restored the old olive green appliance to just like new. Well as close to that as you can get with a rental property stove.

Today it triggered the memory of the baked on greasiness which had been building up in my stove. It occurred to me that fall is my stove cleaning time of year. Since my falls in Wisconsin in my very own home included preparing a Thanksgiving feast, I wanted to show off a clean stove. Not that any of my guests would care as much as I do about something like that.

Despite having no Thanksgiving preparation in my stove's future, I decided there is no time like the present. I've already undergone round one and the chemical burns in my lungs from said round. Round two went slightly better with a fan in the kitchen window blowing the chemicals out at my neighbors. Why do I never remember that until the chemicals are stinging my face and coking my airways?

Anyhoo, hopefully those chemicals are cleaning up the residual residue as we speak. Who knew a sparkly clean oven could make a girl so giddy? It almost inspires me to cook up a little storm in there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Sign Of A Birthday

On my way back from Minnesota I caught this sign at a truck stop somewhere in Iowa. Just when I swore that I would never make it out of Iowa alive, this sign appeared to let me know I would survive to see another birthday.

1023 is everywhere you look if only you're looking for it. I tend to notice when I glance at the clock and it is exactly 10:23. Or am I drawn to look when the time is 10:23 because it is my birth date?

Either way, I knew my birthday was on the horizon. I didn't yet know the epic proportion of this year's celebration, but I would soon find out.

October Adventure

Now settled into October and after a few weeks spent at home, I was back on the road. I headed north to Wisconsin to paint for my parents and hit up the local best restaurant ever. I'd highly recommend the Freighthouse in La Crosse for your next pretend birthday. It is always delightful.

From there I continued West into Minnesota for a wedding reception for the lovely couple I was so lucky to see wed in Florida. It was a long, long drive as the wind whipped across the plains. I arrived to find my hotel room on the main floor, right between the back door and the pool and right next door to a party room.... A kids party room.
Luckily when I arrived I had just enough time to get ready, grab a drink at the neighbor's hotel, and catch the shuttle to the reception. The driver was super friendly chatty and rumored to smell like cows. I would stash away his "advertising" business card for later.

I had a fabulous time at the wedding reception with humorous company and entertainment, delightful food, and even a little Dazy Head dancing. Who could ask for anything more from a wedding reception? I believe they throw the best weddings.

I got my revenge on the partying neighbors with a little after bar in my room followed by a late morning awakening. Well I actually got up early when housekeeping tried to break into my room, but took a nap after that until check out time.

I rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes, and shoved everything back in my suitcase in time to meet my parents for a dog exchange and new tire birthday present unveiling at a truck stop. Joy!

It was a long, long, even longer drive home through Iowa on that sunny, hungover Sunday afternoon. I was so happy to arrive back in Springfield safe and sound and spend a little quality time making out with my dog and the couch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finally Fall!

After a month of traveling the countryside, I returned home to Springfield to settle into fall.

I was finally feeling the mojo. I started craving chili and squash and apple cider and knew it was time to decorate!

I stowed away most of the beachy summer decorations (some of them made their way to my office to tide me over during the winter). I dusted off the mantle and pulled out gold chargers to corral plants and papers, rescued deep orange chinese lanterns from the basement, and added grasses, nuts, and seed pods for the finishing touch.

Pumpkin bowls and a pumpkin soup tureen perch on the dining room hutch while a spaghetti squash chills in the fridge and pork chops and apple brine wait for their turn in a sour kraut crock pot supper.

Ahhhh.... It's my favorite time of year!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Oh how I've missed you blog!

I was hacked and spammed and deleted almost a month ago and just got my blog back. This has been a lesson learned in backing up. Let this be a warning to you all. Back it up babe! Hopefully I'll have time to do that in the future as well.

I'm still crazy busy. Still crazy. Even more so after celebrating birthday month with nobody to share it with. I may still get a few of those stories in, but for now.... more work and Halloween on the horizon!


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