Category Archives: Food

Cafe Rio Pork

When ever someone we know is in distress (or extreme celebration) we bring this dish.  And I have NEVER brought this somewhere with out someone asking for the recipe. True.  (I want to just simplify things and bring the recipe with me with the meal, but even I can recognize that social norms say that is not okay 😉

Whenever we do send the recipe along we get lots of quires for more details, but as far as I can tell it really doesn’t matter.  If you want a spicier meat, use spicier salsa, but anything you have on hand will turn out beautifully.

It is very, very easy to make and great to serve when having people over especially if it involves lots of little people, as they can pick and choose the parts of the meal they like.

1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1/4 lb per person but this reheats nicely )

1 cup brown sugar

1 jar salsa

1 can coke






sour cream or greek yogurt

caramelized onions

Place tenderloin in crockpot and fill with water until it is about half way up tenderloin. Cook on low for 4 hours.  Drain water. Cut tenderloin into quarters and return to empty crockpot.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over tenderloin. Cook additional 4 hours.  Shred meat and allow to cook in sauce an additional 30 minutes.

Serve in tacos with all the fixings with rice and beans.


My Week of (snowed in) Food In Review

We had such a good time last week with THREE snow days. This time it was pretty clear we wouldn’t be leaving the house returning to school anytime soon, and Thursday was one of my all time favorite family days. We had lots of good cooking, sledding on boogie boards, Olympics watching, Olympic recreations outside, games, eating girl scout cookies, sibling sleepovers, showing profuse gratitude for electricity, and marveling at the weather. Seriously the best.

photo (11)

Is that gorgeous or what?  Only because 1. we were all safe at home and 2. had electricity.

What didn’t happen at all was blog writing.  So I thought I would review the Olympic meals we did have. I knew if we were going to be trapped inside for four days, we’d better have something good to eat while we were at it, so we stocked up on Monday and Tuesday.

Click through to see what we thought of our Olympic inspired eats.

Continue reading

Snow Quote of All Time


I think all of living in North Carolina during a snow storm was summed up in one quote today by a Durham County Sheriff Deputy, (as quoted on WRAL). And I need to preface this with the fact that they are talking about people abandoning their cars on streets and highways during a snow storm.

“What we don’t want to see is people leaving their cars in the travel lane, because now you’ve blocked that lane for everyone behind you,” he said.”

And while I’m with you on that one, the fact we need to get that out there…?  It did take Jared over TWO HOURS to make his typical 18 minute drive home, and it sounded like some drivers out there could have used some coaching.  I started the day out expecting the same, waiting for Godot, type of experience waiting for the snow to come as we had last time.  It was impolite enough to come while we were on our way to lunch, covering the roads while we ate.  We are so happy to now be all be safe here at home, with electricity, nonetheless!  Every pitter patter I hear of freezing rain on the roof, I cringe a bit, but for now we are toasty warm and enjoying the Olympics.

Since we do have a good chance of losing power, I wanted to have a good meal ready to go I could make on my stove top (it is gas, and if we use a lighter, works during power outages)

Click through to see what we dined on. It’s a Cafe Caturra copy cat!

Continue reading

Olympic Menu Review — Borscht, yay or nay?

A little Saturday bonus. Bon Appetit!photo (9)Yay!  As I was making it I thought the directions could have been alternately phrased as such, “take the 5 cheapest vegetables in your crisper drawer, dice and boil.” It did occur to me if the little people liked it I would have a new addition to my cheap eats of all time (current winner? rice and beans) And so healthy.

Results? It turned out tasty, everyone loved it.  The lemon and salt played together so nicely.  As I was stirring ketchup into onions I had my doubts, but who I am to not follow the recipe? (hmm, me. But when I’m as far out of my comfort zone as a dish I’d never seen or eaten, I plowed ahead as instructed.)

When it was done I took three of four ladles out and used my immersion blender to puree them. I then returned the puree to the pot to make a creamier base.

Two thumbs up for a fine Russian dish, perfect for this week. I will be making it again soon.

Borscht (adapted from here)

makes about 12 servings

This would be a perfect dish to make ahead of time (say in the morning or at lunch time while the kids eat) and reheat at dinner time.  It takes awhile to soften up all those root vegetables.

2 beets

4 potatoes diced

1 onion diced

2 carrots grated

1/2 head of cabbage sliced very thin

2 cans kidney beans, including liquid

squeeze of ketchup (pretty sure this could be omitted)

1/4 c lemon juice

1 T dill

2 bay leaf

1T salt or more to taste

Place whole beets in a large pot and cover with water. Boil until easily pierced all the way through with a knife.  (it took mine 30 min — the original recipe said 1 hour)

Remove beets from water and put diced potatoes into boiling beet water. Set beet aside to cool slightly and allow potatoes to cook.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and cook onions and carrots until slightly charred. Add a squirt of ketchup and stir.

Back over at the pot, when potatoes are soft but not done, add cabbage and onion, carrot, ketchup situation. Continue cooking until potatoes are done.

Slice cooked beets into small matchsticks and return to pot. (use a fork and knife — avoid touching or you will have pink fingers) Add kidney beans. Add water to keep things fully submersed, if necessary.

Add remaining ingredients to taste. Continue cooking 10 minutes longer until everything is heated through. If desired, puree a few cups worth to create a creamier broth.

Olympic Week Menu


Happy Friday!  I, for one, am really looking forward to immersing myself in Olympic coverage for the next two weeks.  G was born just after the Salt Lake Olympics, and they hold a soft spot in my heart. Laying on the couch 16 hours a day watching the Olympics, discussing whether or not Bodie was an acceptable name, good times.

We have planned an international meal each night this week to help celebrate. (for good or bad, I am really into using food to help celebrate and commemorate.  Definitely a family tradition)

Here is what we are planning on eating the next few days. I let the kids search for things they would like to make, so most of these are new to us.  Should be fun.

I typically only use meat 2 or 3 times a week so this will be quite a meatfest for us.  C should be quite happy.  When he asks what is for dinner sometimes he’ll add, “I hope it’s meat.”

Borscht I have heard of this, but never tried it. I am really into beets so we’re going for this as our Russian dish.  And of course, Russian Tea Cakes made into rings, if we can.

Sweet and Sour Chicken.  I like her website and she says this is her most popular recipe so I’m looking forward to it.

Lamb Gyro Kabobs and Tzatziki.  We looooove gyros and it never occurred to me to try and make the meat until we saw a recipes in Dolly’s new cookbook. Looking around on line there doesn’t seem to be a real consensus on which spices to use — makes me quite curious how it will turn out.

Chicken Tacos.  I first had these at Jared’s sister’s house when we were engaged, and it opened my eyes to a whole new taco world.  So good.  Fried corn tortillas, shredded chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.  I can’t wait.

English Scones The first scone I ever had was at high tea in London.  And it was memorable.  Imagine my confusion when I returned to Provo where a scone resembled an unseasoned doughnut?  We will be doing them British style this week.

Korean Short Ribs These I’ve made, and they are super good.  I am toying around with using pork country ribs because 1. I have some in my freezer 2. I have generally been avoiding beef since it makes me feel ill 😦 If you do these in a Le Cruset dutch oven as she suggests, check the meat frequently.  Mine cooks nearly twice as quickly as her recipes suggest–took me a few times to figure that out :/

What ideas do you have for international meals? Suggest away.

My Secret Weapon

Any time I can fill our plates half full of a green veggie and know it will be happily eaten – WIN.DSC_4616

I never though much about eating our broccoli this way until one of the kids came home from a friends house and said, “We had broccoli. And it was wet.” And they weren’t thrilled.

We can jam through the broccoli like pros at our house, because anything served with broccoli is a meal I feel good about (I’m looking at you, meatball subs)

Roasted Broccoli


Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 450°

Chop broccoli into bite sized pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  You want it fully coated.  Liberally salt and toss again. Spread in a single layer onto the darkest jelly roll pans you have.  Once oven has reached 450°, place in oven to cook.  Remove when bottom of broccoli is nice and golden, and edges are crispy, about 15 minutes.

Desperation Dinners


I found this picture on our computer and I’m pretty sure it’s JLD’s room service.

From time to time, I am swindled into a certain chicken establishment during lunch time.  Especially for the preschool crowd.  And I do think it is delicious (two strip kids meal — perfection).  But fast food for dinner is one thing I avoid.  Possibly because I know if I do it once, every other thing I offer will be viewed though a breaded and fried lens? And I know I can never compete on that varsity playing field.

As much as I enjoy cooking, and more importantly love meal planning, (planning anything – yes!) my batting record is hardly 100. On my very best days, (angels are singing and rainbows are beaming) I have done some/most of my dinner prep while said preschoolers much on lunch. But sometimes I need quick, and I need it now. Here are three things I have turned to that are made with ingredients I almost always have on hand.  Less time than it takes to drive to CFA, wait for your food and get back home.  No rainbows needed.


3-5 cans of beans of your choice, depending on family and appetite size.  I like, pinto, kidney and black beans for this)

1-2 can tomatoes

1 package chili seasoning (if you don’t have this on hand substitute 1 t paprika, 1 t chili powder)

1 package ranch (optional but awesome)

2 T cream cheese (optional – weird but awesome)

side salad if you can swing it

Add everything to pot (not the salad, obv) and heat to boil, simmer about 5 minutes.

Serve topped with cheddar cheese with any kind of bread you have on hand.

If you have any salad greens on hand your family will eat with dressing, double down.

I first saw the idea of using ranch and cream cheese in chili here and love it.

Click below for more ideas

Continue reading