It’s the little things

I had a productive and busy day today. I got up at 7:30 to take the dogs out and decided to stay up so I could turn my slow-roasted pork into chili.

Then, I set out to tackle the bushel and a quarter of tomatoes I picked up on Friday. I ran for six hours on Friday going to various farm stands, butchers and the grocery store and got nothing done on Friday. I had quite the list to tackle today.

First, the chili. I shredded the pork, syphoned off the extra liquid in my crock pot, then returned the pork to the crock along with chili beans and cranked up the heat.

Then, I set out to deal with the tomatoes. I started by putting the firmest of the tomatoes on cookie sheets, sprinkled them with extra virgin olive oil and salt and set them in the oven for a slow roast. Then, I tackled the rest of the tomatoes. I blanched them, peeled them and put them in stock pots to cook down.

Once the tomatoes were all chopped up and in pots, I made the meat for cabbage rolls and then set out to make them. I got the rolls made and in the roaster, covered them with cabbage and tomatoes and stuck them in the oven (after taking out the oven-roasted tomatoes). I put the tomatoes in a bowl and stuck them in the fridge to bring them to a temp I could work with. Meanwhile I did a ton of dishes that I needed to dirty all over again and I par cooked and cut down two dozen ears of corn to freeze.

So, it was a Godsend when my guy texted and offered to take me to one of the new Japanese steakhouses for dinner. See, after spending seven-ish hours with food, the last thing I wanted to deal with was feeding myself. We had a fabulous dinner, visited Harbor Freight & Tools and came back to my place. I was so grateful to not have to worry about feeding myself. Sometimes, it really is the small things.

Oh, and the dogs? Well just look how all my hard work tuckered them out.

Scoop curled up in the sun

Cody prefers to sleep on the couch

Speaking of that Japanese steakhouse: It’s owned by the same people who own my favorite local sushi place, Sakura. If you haven’t heard me talk of it, this is my favorite roll there, the Spice Girl

Yep, those are Pringles (TM)


Despite illness, weekend proves productive

I felt it coming on Wednesday night. The scratchy throat and sniffling. By the time I went to bed, it was constant sneezing. I called in sick Thursday, knowing I had to be at work Friday. I lasted at work until about 2.5 hours before my day typically ends. By Friday night that ick was moving into my chest and I was feeling dreadful. Not only was I looking at possibly being laid up, but I was going to miss Fort 4 Fitness, a four-mile walk I signed up for months ago. I even had to cancel breakfast plans for later Saturday morning because I had a fever.

Despite the sickness, life goes on and, being single that meant I had some chores that HAD to be done including grocery shopping and cooking. So, I made my list while I lazed around on the couch and vowed to get in and out of the grocery store ASAP on Saturday. I did, with most of the fixings for pulled pork and beef vegetable soup.

I was too ambitious for how I was feeling, but I was also frustrated that one of the ingredients I needed, chili sauce, has high fructose corn syrup in it. I don’t care what the corn lobby tells you, I don’t believe the body processes it the same as sugar. So, I set out to make my own chili sauce, which I think I did a pretty good job on. And, with that, I cooked a butterflied pork tenderloin from Gunthorp Farms in ginger ale with onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. When it was done, I shredded it, removed most of the fat and added the homemade chili sauce to return to the pan and then cook for a bit longer. It was good, I was shocked.

Pulled pork sandwich after the meat was done

If there’s any interest, I can try to post a recipe (or general direction) for the homemade chili sauce. I was particularly inspired to find an alternative to a product with HFCS by an interview I did early last week with Cleveland boy and celebrity chef Michael Symon.

(And, we won’t go into how ridiculously excited I was to interview him, but you can get a clue if you listen to me in the interview. Ridiculous!)

After getting my cooking for the week going, I set out to put up the living room curtains I bought. I have a 10 foot wide by 9 foot high patio door that faces the west. That means in the summer from mid-afternoon until nightfall, I have the blazing hot sun beating down on my apartment, making it a sweatbox. I decided on the curtains late this summer, and after shopping with my sister on vacation, I became motivated to buy them. Well, today, Monday, was the first sunny day since I put up the curtains (the energy-saving kind) and I’m happy to say they work. They kept my living room temperature at a tolerable level so I didn’t have to crank on the air when I came home. I’m glad, because I love having the windows open in weather like this (early fall).

Here’s some new fun

We all get spam. Sometimes, the free email hosts do a far better job of keeping it out of our way than the companies we pay. To celebrate the spam that makes it through the filters, a couple friends and I present you Spam and Cheese.
Feel free to email us your spam at You can find us on Twitter @spamandcheese1.
And, our first spam post won’t disappoint, GO, check it out.