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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

pork and muffins. not at the same time.

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In terms of food budgeting, today was medium.

It was GOOD because I brought and English muffin and toasted it at work (and topped with some peanut butter, which I keep in a jar at my desk. And which I do not ever eat with a spoon.)

Okay, that last sentence was a lie. :p I don't do it often though. And I don't double dip.

It was also good, because I brought my lunch and ate all of it. But then I was staaaaaarving partway through the afternoon. And when I reached into my lunch bag to grab the apple I totally thought I had brought....I came up empty-handed.

So of course I ended up at the caf and bought a boiled egg (0.55), a piece of cheese (1.00) and a medium coffee (1.50). Meh. It wasn't the craziest of snacks, but when I think that I can buy a DOZEN eggs for $3 (and water is almost free), I feel like a bit of a heel.

To be fair though, there was a strong possibility of going out for lunch, and I didn't go for it.

But Hubs is rubbing in the fact that not only did he not spend any extra $$ on food today, but he didn't really do so last week either. Meh. :p

In terms of cooking, the planned meal for tonight was pulled pork on multi-grain toast with provolone, accompanied with a quick coleslaw. I really did a lot of mods to the pulled-pork recipe, so I can't fairly evaluate the Clean Eating version. But my version was good. And super easy.

Slow-cooker pulled pork with toast and coleslaw

1.5 pounds pork (I used a centre-cut roast - you could use tenderloin, chops, or a more traditional cut like shoulder or butt)
1 cup broth
sea salt, black pepper and thyme

1. In the morning, put the pork in the slow cooker on low. Put it fat side up, to keep it moist. The fat will render slightly during cooking and keep the pork from drying out. Pour broth around the pork, and sprinkle with salt, black pepper and a good bit of thyme.
(sorry, no pics...was too crazy with Monday morning madness to take photos)

2. When you get home, take the pork out of the slow cooker (I used a 2.5 qt cooker. This recipe is best suited to a small slow cooker. If you don't have a slow cooker, you could braise the meat in the oven - at about 275F - for 4ish hours). Don't try to quick cook your pork, or it won't shred.

My pork cooked from 8 am to 6 pm. This worked for me. The fat had rendered a little bit, but when I took the pork out, I was actually able to scrape most of the fat off. It's win-win, because, as mentioned, the fat keeps the meat moist, but then you can scrape it off, so you aren't stuck eating it.

3. Shred the pork with two forks. If it doesn't shred, you've probably either a) cooked it not long enough, or b) cooked it at too high a temperature. DO NOT COOK ON HIGH.

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4. Strain the juices from the slow cooker. If there is fat, skim it off the top. You can see here that there was very little fat in mine. ***I'm assuming that if you read my blog, you're probably trying to eat healthy. If I am mistaken, leave the fat in. It will only make things better. ;)

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5. Pour the juices in a pan, and boil to reduce by half. I added about 3 T cider vinegar, 1/4 c of sherry (it was hanging out in the cupboard...nobody here drinks that crap). I also added about 1/2 t chipotle powder, to add spice and smoke.

6. Mix the juices with the shredded pork. Taste. This is a pretty 'clean' version --> in order to be to your taste, you may need to add some sweetness (ketchup, bbq sauce, honey), some acidity (vinegar), some salt (worcestershire sauce, salt), or some heat (sri racha, cayenne). I added a little bbq sauce, and then drizzled some over top of our sammies.

Coleslaw

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1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 tiny onion, chopped
1/2 t mustard seeds
1/2 t celery seeds
2 T cider vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1 T olive oil

1. Mix cabbage, carrot and onion.

2. Make dressing from mustard seeds, celery seeds (you can omit these if you don't have 'em), cider vinegar, dijon mustard and olive oil.

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3. Toss dressing with veggies. Taste and adjust accordingly (again, this is a clean recipe; you may be used to something sweeter and/or saltier).

Sammiches

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multi-grain bread
reduced-fat provolone cheese slices
pulled pork
coleslaw

1. Toast bread. Top with cheese slice while still hot. Top with approximately 3 oz of pulled pork. Serve with coleslaw. I drizzled mine with bbq sauce.

Voila. This was awesome. Hubs devoured his (and then ate a plate of just pork, mixed with bbq sauce and sri racha). Lil Z thought it rocked and pounded it back.


After dinner, I cleaned up (unplanned visitors coming tomorrow) and then had to re-jig the week's menu. We're going to have company tomorrow, so rather than serve the ginger chicken soup (which only serves four and would be tight, leaving us with no lunches for Wednesday), I'm going to make a shrimp pasta carbonara dish. I have loads of frozen shrimp, a pound of bacon and some pasta. I think I"ll do a creamy sauce using shallots, garlic, evaporated skim milk and fresh-grated parmesan. It may end up short on veggies, but I think it will be good. And it will keep me on budget. :)

Last, I mixed up a batch of muffins. YES, in case you were wondering I did spend my entire evening physically in the kitchen tonight. I don't mind....it's one of my favourite places. Plus, hubs is monopolizing the TV (playoff hockey, *sigh*) so it's not like I have anything better to do anyway. :p

These muffins are from the April/May 2011 issue of Clean Eating. Pretty straightforward to make. I made a couple of modifications (shown in brackets).

Mango Spice Muffins
from April/May 2011 issue of Clean Eating

2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c evaporated cane juice (or sugar...they are essentially the same)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t sea salt
(2 T ground chia seeds (optional - they have fibre and omega 3s. I decided to add some))
(2 T ground flax seeds)

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1 egg
1/4 c oil (I used canola, CE recommends safflower)
1 c nonfat greek yogourt (I used non-fat regular yogourt that was 1 week past its due date. It smelled fine...)
1/3 c milk (1/2 c milk if using the flax and/or chia as they soak up liquid)
1 t vanilla

1 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice. Mine actually made about 1 1/4 c, just like the recipe said it would. (For anyone who does not know how to wrangle a mango, I've posted a how-to for you)
1/4 c raisins (I used walnuts instead. Lil Z gobbled all of my raisins)

2 T unsweetened flaked/shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with papers (or spray if you are a masochist, and enjoy scouring muffin tins). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cane juice, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cloves and salt (and chia/flax). In a separate large bowl, beat egg. Add oil, yogourt, milk and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

Dry ingredients:
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2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir gently until flour is moist.

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Fold in mango and raisins walnuts.

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Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with 1/2 t coconut.

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3. Bake until edges are light golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a muffin...about 16-18 minutes. Let cool in pan for five minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Voila! Brekkie for the next couple of days. The rubber duckies are a bonus. ;)

Last, I wanted to leave you with a cheap night-time snack idea. Hubs is pretty much the king of night-time snacking...and going out to pick up a $3 bag of chips at the local convenience store/pharmacy can really add up. One thing that we've found awesome for those late night cravings (besides willpower....) is popcorn. Not the scary orange microwaved sludge, but simple air-popped popcorn with a bit of butter and salt. I have also been known to mist my popcorn with a bit of canola in a pinch. This is super tasty because it's all natural (no weird chemicals) and you can control how much salt and butter you end up putting on your popcorn. Popped corn is also a good source of fibre, and you can get kernels for dirt-cheap at bulk stores. Here is hubs in action.....

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So that's my day. And now it's really late, so I'm out. Thanks for reading!




2 comments:

Jaya said...

Those are some fantastic looking muffins! For a decadent twist on popcorn, I took my friends' advice and drizzled on a little bit of truffle oil.. it's delicious! A favourite nighttime snack around here are puff orbs. Just mix/warm up any nut butter & sweetener of choice (plus vanilla, sea salt) and then mix in a bunch of puffed cereal of choice (kamut or brown rice are great) and form into little balls, freeze and enjoy! Loving your abundance of posts lately!

Leslie said...

Thanks Jaya! Popcorn and truffle oil, you say? Hmmmmm....

Puff orbs sound pretty good too. YUM.

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