Seared Pork Cabbage Salad with Wild Orange Essential Oil

Hey everybody!!  I hope this finds you all  happy, healthy, and whole!
Things are a little crazy around the Rodgers home, which means it has been a fight for health. Those busy days, when you’ve worked ungodly amounts in one day, and the blankets and Netflix are calling your name…  Those are our weakness around here, and there have been a lot of them lately!! So if you think of us, send some prayers our way…because we want to feel good!! And feeling good starts with good food!
Speaking of good food…I have returned to the archives. And look what I found!! I so wish I was better at pictures because these really don’t do it justice…but this salad was FABULOUS!  

  
Aweeee yeah baby. This salad had it all…satisfying, flavorful protein…crunchy veggies, and a creamy comfort from everyone’s favorite green thing…avocados! And the icing on the cake…(I feel like I should not be using that phrase…the dressing on the salad?  Let’s start using that one instead, health nerds!!)…cabbage is cheap, pork is cheap…this meal is cheap!!  Hallelujah healthy for your body and your budget!! So, you ready to find out how to make it for yourself?!

Note: the original calls for orange juice.  Mr. Rodgers doesn’t do orange juice, too much sugar!  So I substituted Wild Orange Essential Oil blended with Olive Oil. The flavor was fantastic, and it is much better for you!!  My preferred brand is DoTerra. :). If you have questions on oils, leave me a comment and I can hook you up with my mom, she is an oil genius 😉
Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Boneless Pork Loin
  • 3 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper (about 1 Tbsp of each)
  • Pinch of Cinnamon (I added this for Mr. Rodgers, he LOVES it on meat)
  • 3-4 Tbsp preferred cooking oil, recipe calls for olive oil but I don’t like heating it, I believe I used Coconut Oil
  • 1 Two Pound head Green Cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C Lime Juice (4ish limes)
  • 1 Chile Pepper (I usually use Serrano) 
  • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Ripe Avocadoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 3-4 Drops Wild Orange Essential Oil 
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Cilanro Paste
  • Sale and Pepper
  • Optional: Toasted seeds of some kind, ie pumpkin seeds

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Combine cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Rub it alllllll over that pork. 
  2. Heat your oil over medium high heat. Add the meat and cook 3-4 minutes per side so you have a nice sear, making sure it is done but not super done. 
  3. Remove from heat and let sit while you assemble your salad. 
  4. Whisk the orange oil into the olive oil so that it is combined and the flavor is infused. Feel free to taste and adjust depending on how strong you want the orange flavor. 
  5. Combine everything but the meat in a large bowl (including your orange oil mixture).  
  6. Slice your pork into thin slices and lay across the top of the salad. You are ready to enjoy!!

Peectures:

  
Seasoned and ready to sear!

  
Yum!! A little spice, a little texture!

  
All the salad ingredients in a bowl…

  
Tossed and coated…

  
Sliced…

  
Topped…

  
And ready to go!! Hope you enjoy guys!!

Flavorful Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Meatloaf

Those of you who follow me regularly know that it has been just a few weeks since my first chorizo experience.  In summary?  Lifechanging.  Because I have now vowed to eat chorizo all the time.  It has a beautiful flavor, it can be used so many ways…and I looked it up…no sugar added!!  Wooohoooo!!  Can’t get much better than that!

 

So here is chorizo cooking, round two!!  This was awesome.  You may remember my fear of meatloaf, because of growing up watching shows where the wife thinks her husband loves it…but he secretly pays the kids to eat it and they all shovel it into the dogs mouth when mom isn’t looking.  I don’t know why that is so etched into my mind, but alas.  I have meatloaf phobia.  But this…oh this meatloaf!  Talk about flavor, and my husband really did love it!!  I would know because I don’t have any kids for him to pay, and there was no meatloaf remains on my dog’s fur or breath.  😉  So I will confidently declare this recipe Mr. Rodgers approved!  Though it is wrapped in bacon, so that’s kind of a no brainer.   Speaking of bacon, I ate bacon for lunch.  That’s healthy, right?  :/

Anyways, back to meatloaf!

 

This recipe is inspired by the great paleomg.com!  I had originally intended on making it almost exact to the recipe…but some of the ingredients I had bought for this recipe I some how had a brain fart and used up in other meals.  So when I got to this meatloaf I realized I didn’t have a bunch of things, so I got to be spontaneous…dig through my fridge and use whatever veggies and things I could find!  Which is fun.  Feel free to adapt it to what you have available too!  So….

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 8 oz Chorizo (that is about the size of one large “link” in the set of two I get at my store)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 C Flax Meal
  • 2 Carrots, Chopped
  • 1/4 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Celery Heart, Chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 4 Slices Bacon, Cut in half
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Optional: Chipotle Mayo to Garnish (I would have done this if I had time to make an approved mayo that Mr. Rodgers can eat, but I was in a hurry!)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350*
  2. Take all of your meatloaf ingredients (except the bacon and the mayo if you are using it!) and combine in a bowl.
  3. Dump this mixture into a loaf pan and form evenly.
  4. Lay the halved bacon across the entire top of the meatloaf, tucking it in as well as possible.
  5. Cook for about an hour and 15 minutes, then broil JUST long enough to get some crispiness to your bacon.  Broilers burn things FAST so watch it the whole time!

And bam!  You are ready to go with a meatloaf that husbands around the world will adore!! 😀

Let’s see some pictures!

Chorizo Loaf 1

Get your beef and chorizo!

Chorizo Loaf 2

Add the rest of your meatloaf ingredients (minus the bacon!).  Combine well!

Chorizo Loaf 3

Form it into a loaf pan.  Look at how it is marbled with the different meat colors, I love it!

Chorizo Loaf 5

Lay the halved bacon over the whole top surface of the meatloaf, tucking the edges in as well as you can.

Chorizo Loaf 6

Cook for an hour and 15 minutes or so, then broil just a few minutes to get crisp bacon!

Chorizo Loaf 7

Ahhhhhhh isn’t that just the best?!  I could go for some of that right now!!

 

Okay, so here are a few photos from the lovely Mr. Rodgers.  He was SO excited about this meatloaf that as I grabbed dishes and things to set the table, I turned around to him snapping pictures on his phone saying things like “Look at this steam!  You have to capture this before it goes away!!  LOOK at this!”  🙂  His enthusiasm made me so happy I just had to share some of his steam pictures…please forgive the slight clutter in the back ground!

image (3) image (7) image

Do you see the steam?!  🙂  Isn’t he just the cutest?!  And of course he WOULD take a picture with a guitar in the background.  😉

 

So there you go.  Yummy, healthy, paleo, Mr. Rodgers approved meatloaf with butt kickin flavor!  😀 😀 😀 😀

 

Chorizo Butternut Black Bean Soup

How’s that for a title, eh?!  And that isn’t even mentioning the leek, or cabbage, or garlic…this soup is just CRAMMED with good stuff.

 

This soup also makes me laugh.  You want to know why?  Well…it came out of this beautiful book (I don’t think I’ve showed you this one yet, also from my favorite store 5 Below…which means I probably paid $4 for the thing!)

 

100 Best Fresh Soups

(If you are interested in it and don’t have a 5 Below, it’s on Amazon, I just checked!)

Anyways, back to my laughing…you see, I SAY this recipe came out of that book…but it was originally Sausage and Red Cabbage Soup…with potatoes and black eyed peas and cream…

Then one thing led to another…and now it is nothing like the original!  But I must still give credit, because this beautiful soup never would have happened without the inspiration of this lovely little book!

It started with the potatoes… Mr. Rodgers can’t have potatoes!  My first thought was “Well, I can just use sweet potatoes…wait!  Mr. Rodgers can’t have sweet potatoes either…what is kind of like a sweet potato???  Butternut squash!  We’ll try that.”  Step one in the transformation.

Then came the black eyed peas.  They are probably fine…but the husband has a specific list of what beans/legumes he can and cannot have…some are “eat every chance you get,” like black beans.  Some are “in moderation,” like chick peas.  So I just wasn’t sure about the black eyed peas, I’d hate to make something he couldn’t eat, or would be a bit of a compromise.  So I decided what the heck, I have a pantry full of black beans, we’ll use those instead.

Then I went to 3 or 4 stores looking for sausages without sugar or corn syrup or dextrose…NOTHING!  So annoying!!  But I grabbed some chorizo for a meatloaf recipe I will make later…NO SUGAR!  Hmmmm…I’ll use that for my soup too!

Then I went to add my almond milk instead of cream…and it was expired.  I guess this will be a brothy soup.

And there you have it.  Soup transformation.  I was so nervous because of all the changes…but this soup was BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t even describe how great the flavors worked together, and how comforting it was!  And I have to tell you…the day I made this was just the best day ever!!  I will tell you more about it in my pictures!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Leek, Sliced (I had never used a leek before!  Life changing!  YouTube will show you how to cut them if its your first time!)
  • 6 C Chicken Stock
  • 1 Small Butternut Squash, Cubed (About 1 lb)
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo (or more…it was enough, but I might add more if I make it again to be more “paleo”)
  • 1/4 Large Red Cabbage, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it!

Note:  I used the chorizo in a way I am sure it was not intended, but I loved the outcome!  If you prefer to use it as a ground meat, feel free to brown it up before hand and add it back in right before the broth!  I wanted larger bites of meat, so I cooked it like you would a dumpling….and it worked!  I was so excited!!

  1. Prep all your veggies!  It’s easiest to have them all ready in bowls so you can dump as you go…but if you prefer to chop as you go that’s up to you!
  2. Melt your oil/butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes, until starting to get tender
  3. Add the leek and cook another 3 minutes or so.  Doesn’t it smell good?!
  4. Stir in the broth, add the butternut squash.  Now comes my crazy chorizo cooking method.  Since it came in a tubular shape, I cut it into small bite sized pieces and dropped it into the soup like dumplings and let it boil!  And it worked!  I was left with little chorizo bites throughout the soup!  Yay!!  Some oil from the chorizo will rise to the top of the soup…if this bothers you, use a spoon to remove it!  I left it though and it was perfectly fine.
  5. Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Stir in your red cabbage and black beans and cook 5-10 more minutes until the cabbage is starting to get tender.  Check your squash and make sure it is tender (but preferably not falling apart).  Spoon into bowls and top with some fresh cracked pepper!!

 

 

Peectures!

 

Chorizo Soup 1

The great gathering of the ingredients!

Chorizo Soup 2

Prepped and ready!

Chorizo Soup 3

Sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes, add leeks and repeat!

Chorizo Soup 4

Add broth…

Chorizo Soup 5

If you’re curious, this is how I cut my chorizo…just little bite size pieces…

Chorizo Soup 6

Add squash and chorizo and simmer for 20-25 minutes…

Chorizo Soup 7

Look at that beautiful color that comes from the chorizo!  Since I had never used it I did a little research, and that red color is from the peppers they use!

Chorizo Soup 8

Add cabbage and black beans, gently stir in, and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but the squash is not falling apart.

Chorizo Soup 9

Bam!  Scoop into bowls and serve!

Chorizo Soup 10

See my little chorizo meat balls?  Delicious!!

Chorizo Soup 11

I was so pleased with how the flavors played off each other…not to mention all the great textures!

Chorizo Soup 12

Yummy.  I’m sad it’s gone now.  Didn’t last long.

 

 

And now you get to see why I had the best day ever.  You know the first part…I adapted a recipe, took lots of risks, and it was successful!!  Great feeling already!!  Not only that, but I had been instructed to sleep in by my fabulous husband so I felt rested (it’s amazing you should try it!).  Then the sun came out and I got to lay in the grass near my flower bed, eat yummy soup, and spend time with my sweet Jesus.  Lately I have really been trying to cut back on the movies and tv shows, and spend more time just “be-ing.”  Having real moments, be they productive moments, thoughtful moments, “connected with others” moments (I’m bad at that one, Lord help me!),  prayerful moments…let me tell you, it’s only been a few days, and already I notice a difference.  My home is full of peace when I focus on abstaining from distractions and instead just “being.”  You guys should try it.  Aim for moments like these:

 

Chorizo Soup 13

I don’t know why I ever forget how good life can be when you stop to enjoy the weather (all kinds,) to enjoy a good hearty meal, and to talk to my Creator!!  Speaking of…wanna see some of the lovely flowers I got to enjoy on this “best day ever”?

 

Chorizo SOup 14

Pink!

Chorizo Soup 15

Stripey!  I love how full the stripey ones get!

Chorizo SOup 16

And my beautiful sunflower, the only one that has bloomed so far…she’s a survivor…broken nearly in half and still grew up from the ground and bloomed!  There’s gotta be a lesson in that!!

 

Okay, forgive me, this blog is getting way too long.  I will bid you goodnight…I hope you love my soup, and feel inspired to enjoy it in quiet, undistracted peace!!

Crackers, Cheese, and Marshmallows…and Bacon (Cheat Treat!!)

I know.  It sounds cray cray.  But years of Kirkwood tradition and countless converts says it’s not.  (P.S…if you don’t know me, Kirkwood is my maiden name.!)  Growing up I would tell my friends about how we ate crackers, cheese, and marshmallows at my house…thinking it was completely normal.  It didn’t take many confused looks to realize that I was wrong.  However, I would promptly invite them over (because my parents loved to cook for my friends), we would broil up a few of these beauties….and we made them believers!!  In FACT, Mr. Rodgers himself has become a believer…and it was his idea to create this post when we were trying to decide on a treat for date night.  🙂

Okay, now a confession.  Kirkwoods ourselves are converts to this concept as well!!  I think of it as Kirkwood tradition because I have never known my family without said tradition.  However, before I was born, my dad’s sister married my uncle Nic…who I have also never known life without.  And he introduced my family to his Anderson tradition.  And the rest is history.  I love my Uncle Nic.  And I love this recipe.  It is perfection.  And now I am proud to say, this is no longer simply an Anderson/Kirkwood tradition…it is now an Anderson/Kirkwood/Rodgers tradition.  I even added a few twists.  Yep.  You guessed it.  BACON.  I figured if we were going to be naughty and eat a treat…we might as well go all out and really eat a treat haha.

Growing up, we ALWAYS made this with saltine crackers.  However, since Mr. Rodgers loves to experiment, he suggested we try it with all different types of crackers.  If we had a bigger budget, we probably would have grabbed even more.  Personally, I wanted to try this on giant Cheese Its.  But we narrowed it down to three types.  At the end, I will reveal our thoughts on all three so that you can decide what you want to try for yourself.  Or maybe you want to try them all!!  Let me know what you like best 🙂 This is a treat you don’t want to miss!!

So, here’s what you need: (For 3 or 4 people)

  • 20 Crackers (Traditionally Saltines.  We also tried with Triscuits and FlipSides)
  • 10 Slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cut in Half (Cracker size!!)
  • 10 Large Marshmallows, Cut in half
  • 5 Slices Cooked Bacon, Cut into bite sized pieces (optional)

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Prep all your goodies!!
  3. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Lay out your crackers in a single layer.
  4. Top each cracker with a slice of cheese, a piece of bacon (if you are using it), and half a marshmallow (cut side down.)
  5. Slide it under your broiler.  Leave the oven door propped open slightly and keep an eye on it constantly cause this happens fast!!  Cook until cheese is melted, marshmallows are puffing up, and the top of the marshmallows are toasted and brown.  About one minute, maybe two.
  6. EAT AND BE AMAZED!!!

So….after our experiment, here are our thoughts on the crackers:

Saltines:  Best flavor!!!

Sea Salt and Black Pepper Triscuits: Best crunch!  But flavor a little overwhelming.

FlipSides:  Most trendy!  (Pretzel is so in right now!)  But just not quite the flavor of those classic Saltines!

Try it…what crackers can you think up that would win with this combo?!

PhotoHere’s the crackers we experimented with…and our creations…

Photo (3)Half with bacon….

Photo (1)Half without!!  And now, after they hung out under the broiler a couple minutes….

Photo (4)

BAM!!  How gorgeous, melty, and toasty is that?!  You have the crunch of the cracker, the goo of the cheese, the slight crunch and salty smokiness of the bacon, and the super sweet creaminess of the marshmallow with just a little more crunch on top with the toasted top!  It’s layers!!  And again I say…it’s perfection!!  Again, we have with bacon…

Photo (2)And without!  And honestly I can’t way which I love better, because they are both so heavenly!!  I love the tradition of the original, which really doesn’t NEED anything.  However, bacon never HURTS anything, does it?!  😉  Both glorious.  And up for you to decide.

Photo (5)Pretty!!

Photo (6)Melty.  Yummy.  AAAAAH.  I told myself I would start eating healthy again today.  But this is testing my resolve.  I better end this post now.  Okaaaaay bye!

Chef of Honor: Carmen Lucero with Authentic Mexican Classics!

Tostadas with Spanish Rice!!  Ohhhh yum!!!  This is from my dear friend Carmen!!  This came about because our men were at a bachelor party doing man things, smoking their cigars (I’ll never understand what they see in those) and playing poker…and our party had long been over so we came to my little home to hang out until they were done, haha!  As we sat there chatting and just getting to know one another better, we discovered something.  We both LOVE cooking…and watching Food Network!  I was so excited to have a foodie in my house that could understand my passion!  Suddenly I realized…it has been way too long since I have featured a Chef of Honor, and I had one sitting right in front of me!  So I asked if she would sent me a recipe to feature!  She was super excited!!  These Tostadas with Spanish Rice are truly something special, because Carmen can cook pretty much anything well, but whenever she offers to cook her boyfriend and his family dinner, without hesitation they all beg for this meal!!  And now the secret is out and you all get to see what all the hype is about!!!  Try it out!!  This is also awesome because you get a two for one deal!!!  Are you read?  I’m ready!!!  Here ya gooooooo!

 

Sideote…I have heard a rumor that she also makes her own refried beans…perhaps I will have to bother her for that recipe too!!!

 

So, here’s what you need:

Tostadas

1 pkg corn tortillas

4 cups vegetable oil

16 oz can refried beans

Beef or pork chorizo

Shredded cheese

Shredded lettuce

 

Spanish rice

2 cups white rice

½ cup chopped white onion

1 tsp butter

1-4oz can tomato sauce

2 tsp chicken bouillon

4 cups water

Salt

 

Procedure: (Prepare rice 1st because it takes the longest)

 

Rice:

  1. Allow butter to melt into a sauce pan
  2. Add white rice to sauce pan to lightly brown rice
  3. Add white onion until softened and allow rice to brown a little more
  4. Add tomato sauce and water to sauce pan
  5. Add chicken bouillon
  6. Cover sauce pan and allow rice to cook on a low flame for approximately 20 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed
  7. After properly cooked, add salt to desired taste

 

Tostadas:

 

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a pan with a medium flame
  2. Place one corn tortilla into heated vegetable oil and using tongs, soak tortilla in oil and flip until both sides are brown

Place corn tortilla onto a paper towel to soak up excess oil when removed from vegetable oil

  1. In another pan, cook chorizo until a noticeable color change
  2. Add chorizo to refried beans and allow to warm up on a low flame
  3. Spread bean-chorizo mixture on a fried corn tortilla, add shredded cheese and lettuce to top
  4. Optional: Family tradition is to added salsa and/or sour cream to top of tostada

 

Beautiful recipe!!

Carmen's Food 1

 

Don’t you want to eat that right now?!  I know I do!!  It looks like something you would get at a restaurant!

Carmen's Food 2

 

Super yum!  Try it out and let us know what you think!!

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken (Cheat Meal!)

Visiting the archives again!!!  But I just had to share this with you!!!  It is a favorite!  I made it for Jay and I and we loved it…and when my boss saw a picture she whined that she wasn’t eating it.  Encouraged by these reviews, I made it for my mom when she visited from Washington…which is saying something because I wanted to show her that I’ve become a big girl and can cook well now 😉  So the fact that I trusted this recipe should say something!  We also took it to one of our pastor’s (and dearest friend’s) house.  EVERYONE raved about this.  I mean…how can you go wrong with feta, garlic, and bacon?!  Omggggg!! 🙂  Oh, and, just so you know…..this is a bit of a cheat meal 😉

Thanks to Pinterest for helping me find this gem…and to deliciously-thin.com for being a genius and coming up with it!  All I did was up the garlic amount. I tend to double the garlic in most recipes.  😀

 

Photo (7)

So, here’s what you need:

  • 6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Box Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 C Mayo
  • 8 oz Feta Cheese.  Yummmmm.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 12 Slices Bacon (Turkey, if you are attempting to be “good”)
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Pound the chicken breasts with a mallet, or put them in a Ziploc and seal (you don’t wanna squirt chicken juice all over your kitchen) and pound the crap out of it with a pan.  That’s what I usually do.  Get them even and decently thin.
  3. Carefully slice the chicken breasts long ways, not cutting all the way through so you have a sort of flap 🙂  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together the mayo, feta, spinach, and garlic in a bowl.  Make sure you don’t have a bunch of liquid in the spinach before you mix it in.  You can always use paper towels to sop some of it up 🙂
  5. Stuff the chicken breasts with your feta mixture…you may need to secure them closed with a couple of toothpicks if it looks like its gonna get messy.
  6. Sprinkle the chicken with paprika.
  7. Wrap with two pieces of bacon.  Mmmm.
  8. Place in a casserole dish, with the seam side of the bacon down.
  9. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is done 🙂
  10. Enjoy!!!!  SO good!