Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pork Chops with Maple Apple Acorn Squash

I'm not going to lie.  I did not make this meal up on my own.  This was a meal that evolved because I ended up getting three acorn squash from my local CoOp.  So, I googled recipes on Acorn Squash until I found one that sounded kid friendly.  This ended up being an amazing meal.  Now, if you've never hacked your way into a winter squash, be warned.  Have a sharp knife, some upper body strength, maybe some chain mail, and 911 on speed dial for when you finally break through the other side of the gourd... through your hand.  Did this happen to me?  No, but we own Pampered Chef knives.  :D  Sorry, I digress.  I have cut and pasted the recipe from the Whole Foods website, making changes where need-be to make this allergy friendly for our home.


2 medium acorn squash (Obviously I used three)
2 cups chopped tart apple (about 2 medium) (I used 3, and the Honeycrisp variety is PERFECT)
3 tablespoons soy free margarine, melted* 
1/4 cup maple syrup* 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil* 
6 (about 1 pound) thin-sliced boneless pork chops, seasoned with salt and pepper 
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into thin slices 
1 tablespoon chopped (or dried) thyme


Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove pulp. Place cut side down in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.  Combine apple, butter, maple syrup and cinnamon; fill squash with mixture. Continue baking 25 minutes or until acorn squash is tender. When the squash is almost done, heat oil in a large skillet and brown chops about 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove and keep warm, add onion and thyme to the pan and sauté 8 to 10 minutes until soft and golden brown. Serve over pork chops alongside stuffed squash. 

No Bake Cookies!

I saw these cookies (sorry no pic, I FORGOT) on this blog and thought, "Well, what have we here, I must make these so that we can eat them!"  I will say that they do take a bit to cool (think fridge) and that even if you eat the mixture while it's still hot you're being healthy because, hey, it's OATMEAL.  I'm going to give you my version of her recipe! Enjoy!

Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
1/2 C Palm Oil Shortening (We use Spectrum brand here)
2 C Sugar
1/2 C Almond milk
4 Tbsp Cocoa
1/2 C Almond butter
3 1/2 C Quick cooking Oats
2 tsp. Vanilla

Add the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop onto wax/foil paper. Let cool until set. 

T-Shirt Fabric Flower

I found this lovely little tutorial on making fabric flowers for embellishment purposes.  Needless to say, I was intruiged:  looks easy (check), something I'll use (check), AND already have the materials laying about (DOUBLE check).  So, of course, if you want direct instructions follow her link.  She has great pictures and wonderful step-by-step instructions.  However, I will offer my advice.  In order.

#1 - the first set of flowers I tried to cut out (9 at a time) didn't work.  I ended up having to scrap the WHOLE thing and was kind of mad I wasted the fabric.

#2 - the second set of flowers I made I cut them 2 at a time (fabric folded in half) and I was able to get 9 flowers out of one sleeve of an old "holey" t-shirt sz L.  OBVIOUSLY the last flower I cut when I unfolded the fabric.

#3 - I used leftover upholstery fabric instead of felt for the backside.  It holds up very well.

#4 - if you are using thinner t-shirt material you WANT to use tacky glue.  End of story.  You will cry otherwise.  Also, you can always go back and add more hot glue - a drop will do you at first.

#5 - fluffing the flower probably is the hardest step, seriously.

#6 - I'm going to attempt to put the flower I used and the circle I used up for people to download should they want.  Your call.