2015 We bid You Adieu

Yet another year is about to fade into memory. We pause to take stock, to look back and reflect for a moment on all the passing year has bestowed – the good times, the sad moments, the adventures, the pleasures and most of all the blessings from above both large and small.

I am thankful for my loving family. My guys are the best – allowing me to experiment in the kitchen and sample new dishes from around the world. Most of all, they wait patiently to be fed as I snap away with my trusty camera. Blog photos first, consumption second. There have been a few bombs along the way – but then aren’t mistakes simply a learning opportunity? Burnt Offerings – When Things Don’t Go as Planned is a great example of lessons learned.

I am grateful to my fellow bloggers and readers. Your feed back has been terrific – and your shares have been a delight. I have learned so much – especially from those beyond America. Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to glimpse into your lives and view the world around me with a new prospective. It does not seem to matter where we live or how we live (fancy or simple) but that we live. Deep down, life, love and laughter are the unbreakable threads that bind us together.

One of the things I have enjoyed most since creating my little blog way back in 2014 are the research projects that have gone into some of the postings. Why we do the things we do? How did a particular dish evolve through the years? It is fascinating to learn the customs and traditions of people and places beyond my own. There is magic in learning.

As 2014 drew to a close, I did what so many of us did that year, I shared the top posting among readers (you can check them out at 2014 Has Been A Hoot! Thank You One and All). This year, I thought I’d share my favorites of 2015. These might not have been the top hits with the most reads, but they are the ones that hold a special place in my heart.

Farewell 2015 – with one final look back, I am eager to dash into 2016 for I know life (with all its struggles and heartaches) is filled with magic and God’s graces.

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JANUARY: Cheater’s Chili To Rocks in the New Year

This simple “cheat” chili will be making an appearance again on New Year’s Day 2016

Cheater's Chili (4)

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FEBRUARY: Golden Perfection Oven-Roasted Capon

I’m picking up another of these delicious birds before they are all gone for the season.

Capon Chicken (1)

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MARCH: Filipino-American Pork Chops Adobo Style

I am proud of my heritage and my crazy, mixed-up roots.

Pork - Pork Adobo & Lumpia

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APRIL: Classic Ziti Bake with Italian Sausage

This is great because it travels well for pot lucks and will easily feed a hungry crowd.

Baked Ziti 1

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MAY: Portuguese Marinated Surf and Turf on Rosemary Skewers

While I never did plant Rosemary in the back yard, I still have high hopes for doing so. If you haven’t had foods grilled on Rosemary Skewers, you don’t know what you are missing.

Portugues Beef on Rosemary Skewers  & Marinated Shrimp (1)

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JUNE: Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Jack Daniel’s Grilling Glaze

Okay, so there was only one post for the entire month of June – bridal season keeps us busy. Oh, but what a delicious steak!

Rib-Eye with Jack Daniel's Glaze

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JULY: Boozy Bourbon Meatball Appetizers

It was a real toss up between this and 4th of July Flag Cake. For deeply personal reasons, the meatball appetizers won out.

crockpot meatballs 3

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AUGUST: Ranch Chicken with Butter-Cream Sauce

Don’t you just love it when an old, trusted recipe inspires you to create something new?

Ranch Chicken with Butter-Cream Sauce (1)

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SEPTEMBER: One-Dish Chicken Supper with Potatoes and Gravy

Oh to simple pleasures and fond childhood memories!

Chicken - One Pot Chicken Dinner 02-24-2012

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OCTOBER: Halloween Fun with Everyday Snack Foods

Kiddo and I had a great time “playing” with our food. And these snacks must have been good – there wasn’t a spider or broom stick left!

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NOVEMBER: Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Baked Potato Soup

This was another tough choice. My favorite labor of love was all the planning and research that went into The Pleasures of Afternoon Tea. It’s a long read filled with all sorts of yummy delights. However; soup won out not only because it was delicious but because I have begun a new love-affair with the simple pleasures of soup for supper.

Baked Potato Soup

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DECEMBER: Brown Sugar Pecan Glazed Pork Tenderloin

For whatever reason, I seem to do my best in the kitchen in December. Perhaps it is the magic of the holidays and a deeper connection to the things that matter most – family.

Brown Sugar Pecan Glazed Pork Tenderloin (6)

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On a final note, I wanted to give a special “Thank You” to a few special people who have inspired me the most in 2015 through their beautiful blogs, wonderful recipes and touching stories. Please stop by and let them know just how marvelous they truly are.

mommermom She sews, she cooks and most of she shares herself openly with others.

Tux His pictures are awesome, his approach to life uplifting and his recipes are TDF. Be sure to check out his rendition of RED VELVET CAKE WITH ERMINE ICING. I made this for Thanksgiving, just to get a jump on the Holiday season, and it was delicious.

Tasty Eats With great recipes, tips and always quick with words of encouragement even when things go wrong in my kitchen.

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Filipino-American Pork Chops Adobo Style

Wow – February went quick! I feel as though I have been MIA – only 11 new posts for the entire month. Sure, I could use “February is a short month” as a valid excuse, but come on – two days short. Three, if you look at the months February is sandwiched between. Still, I could have done more . . . life just got away from me. Thank you all for stopping back by just to check up on things – your visits are always welcome.

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. As I write this post, my mouth is watering over the thought of these yummy pork chops. Sadly, I realize won’t be cooking them up anytime soon. That doesn’t mean I can’t share the recipe with all of you.

Although we grew up eating Filipino Pork Chops, I didn’t cook them myself until high school. There are certain “firsts” that just stick with you – first kiss, first dance and the first time you cooked for a boy. Yep, this is what I made, along with some green beans and sticky rice. My parents even let me set up a cozy table for two in the living room and kept my siblings out, although I can still hear the snickering – especially from Brother Dear. I sometimes think the reason God created little brothers in the first place is to torment big sisters.

True Filipino Pork Adobo is usually made with pork belly or hunks of pork. The cooking method is the same, it’s the cut of pork that makes this “American” rather than a true Filipino dish. Center cut, or leaner pork chops work best. The flavor is wonderful. Some people prefer theirs with a thinner sauce. (Which is how I grew up eating them). Now I cook the sauce down, much in the same way a wine-reduction sauce is created. The flavors are more intense.

Filipino-American Pork Chops Adobo Style
4-6 Thin Cut Pork Chops
1 Medium onion, cut into thick wedges
1 Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips
3/4 Cup Soy sauce
1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
3-4 Tablespoons Vinegar (Red or White will give a bit of a “bite” – Balsamic will lend sweetness)
1 Cup Water
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1 Bay leaf
2-3 Garlic Cloves, quartered
1 Green onion, chopped for garnish if desired

Cut root end and top from onion, then peel outer skin. Cut onion in half lengthwise, thin into thick slivers. Set aside until ready to use.

Cut top from bell pepper. Core and wash inside and out. Cut bell pepper into long thin strips. Set aside until ready to use.

Season pork chops with fresh ground pepper. Brown pork on both sides in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar and water to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add bay leaf and garlic to pan. Place onion and bell pepper slices on top of pork chops.

Cover and simmer 30-45 minutes or until pork is tender. Remove chops, tent to keep warm. Turn up the heat, cook until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes longer. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Pour sauce over chops and serve. If desired, chop a little green onion for garnish just before serving.

Serve with sticky steamed rice.

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A great addition to any Filipino plate would be to serve along side Lumpia. Here’s the link to my family recipe Filipino Egg Rolls – Lumpia. Just remember, Lumpia need to be made at least a day or two before serving to allow egg rolls to fully freeze before frying.