Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops – Life In The Lofthouse

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops – Life In The Lofthouse.

The weather is getting warmer and Summer is right around the corner, so I have found myself looking for Summer-friendly (read: oven-free!) meals when doing my menu planning. Summer meal planning is difficult, however, when you don’t have 1. a BBQ, or 2. a microwave. I began perusing the internet for inspiration and came across this little gem from Life in the Lofthouse. We made these pork chops tonight for dinner and they were tender & juicy. Next time, however, I need to remember to marinate them earlier (I remembered this step at 4pm so we ended up eating 2 hours later than usual) and I think I will double the seasonings to intensify the flavors. A nice, quick, simple dish the kids devoured; you should check it out.

Blessings,

C.

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Writing 101, April 2015: Day 8

Prompt: Go to a local café, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

Twist: write an adverb-free post.

I used to work here. In fact, I was once a manager. The smell of the coffee, burgers, and fries still causes me slight anxiety when I walk in the door, while the headsets the staff are wearing bring back pleasant memories of friendly banter among co-workers on a slow night.

I find it interesting how one’s perspective changes over time. I loved working here, in the beginning. I remember when I first applied for the job. We still lived in Winnipeg and had just decided that we were going to re-locate (again) to a new province; this time to Prince Edward Island. I began perusing the job banks online to see what I could apply for afar, much as we had done when we found our new apartment.

Moving on…

I acquired the job easily and had a nice rapport with the District Manager when he interviewed me upon my arrival on The Island. I began training and loved many aspects of the job, which came easily to me given some of my previous employment. Of course, as with anything in life, there were difficulties, too. One of the biggest came in the form of a long-term employee who was in a position of supervisor. I remember clearly the second day I was here she made me cry and I almost walked out on the spot. Sometimes, thinking back, I wish I had have walked out then. I wonder how different things would be now?

But I digress…

I left on well enough terms, but was beyond glad when I extricated myself from the franchise. I was miserable and only becoming more miserable every day that I stayed.

That was almost exactly a year ago.

Now I come here all the time.

I love this place as an establishment that wants to take the money I want to spend consuming things that surely are not good for me. They are located just a short walk from my home which makes getting here easy. I love to come and sit while I enjoy a coffee. Maybe read a book. Or even just people watch. I like to watch the staff, rather than the customers. There are only a few staff members here that I know anymore. Most of them have moved on, since the huge upper management change that occurred late last Fall. It’s easy to see, though, who the new, fresh faces are; who the ones who are not yet jaded are.

Like the mousy-haired woman behind the cash register taking orders with a smile and saying her “script” to perfection, not one word missed. She is friendly, her uniform is pressed and clean, and she is pecking at the keys on the computer apologizing with a sweet, “I’m sorry, I’m new,” when she makes a mistake. A large number of the staff are picking at their uniforms or making weird faces out of boredom as they wait for each new order to come in.

When I first got here, the restaurant was almost empty, with only a couple of tables sat with patrons. Now it is started to fill up as Dinner time approaches. Some of the customers are familiar and I give them a slight nod as they pass on the way to their tables. Others are people I have never seen before. But that’s no unusual because we live in a tourist town and the warming weather is drawing more visitors.

Some things never change. The garbage receptacles are still piled high with discarded trays and overflowing with garbage. I have yet to see anyone come out to the floor to take care of, as they are supposed to every 15 minutes, or so.

I lie. Some bored teenage boy who obviously does not want to be here just came out and picked the trays up. I wonder how long it will be before the garbage is changed?

I love people, and I thought I would miss working here when I left, but I have to say I don’t. Not a bit. I have run into the DM several times since leaving and have been told each time that I am welcome to come back any time I want, but I don’t think I ever will. It’s just not my cup of tea, as they say. And as I watch people pile in to gorge on french fries, burgers, and chicken nuggets for dinner, I am going to head home for my own husband-cooked dinner of roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots.

Blessings,

C.


I chose to not incorporate the Twist today. I am too far behind, and it is stressing me out. I know it shouldn’t, but it is, so I may come back and do the twist on another post another time.

Writing 101, April 2015: Day 7

Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue.

Alice opened the fridge and stood there, trying to decide what she wanted for her snack today. Hand on her hip, she thought to herself how you’re not supposed to leave the fridge door open while you think about what you want to eat. That’s what her mother had always told her while she was growing up, anyway.

Apple or orange, she thought. Which one would fulfill my hunger more?

“Pick me!” Said the orange. “I am juicy and sweet.”

“She’ll pick me,” countered the apple. “I, too, am juicy and sweet.”

“I am bright orange like the sun and will remind her of warm Summer days.”

“I am full of disease-fighting antioxidants and fibre; I will keep her fuller longer.”

“Science shows that eating me can fight liver, colon, and breast cancers.”

“Well, science says that my magnesium helps fight high blood pressure.”

Alice reached her hand out and grabbed the apple, closing the fridge door behind her.

“She picked me!” The apple exalted, followed quickly by a panicked, “she picked me!” as Alice took a big bite out of its smooth, red body.


FYI this was a BRUTAL exercise and I am not happy with how this turned out, at all. I may come back and re-do this one day.

Blessings,

C.

BabySteps Day 1

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If you take a look at previous posts on my blog you know that I am always starting things. Starting. Rarely do I finish something. Laundry, housework, hobbies, & bucket lists are always in a state of flux.

As much as this frustrates me, and it does, I can’t seem to break myself out of it. The biggest reason for this, I believe, is that I get frustrated and then I try and change it all at once and just give up because I become so overwhelmed. Frustration turns to depression and I just leave it because I can’t be bothered anymore.

I guess you could say I’ve reached this point again.

Sort of.

This time, I am trying something different and completely outside of the box – I am not giving up. Instead I am going to take a stab at things from a different angle: Baby steps.

Several years ago while in one of my frequent ruts, I came across a website called FlyLady, a website to help one get control of domestic chaos one step at a time. Now, I have to admit, I tried this once, but didn’t get anywhere. Rather than following along with the 31 Beginners Baby Steps, I looked ahead and tried to do it all at once. Can you say another instant failure? I can!

So today is Day 1 (again) of the 31 Baby Steps, Shine Your Sink, and I’ve done it! Can you see my super shiny sink in the picture above?! I know you can, obviously; but I am just so excited that I did the first step.

Ok, I’ll stop now.

I’ve made a promise to myself that I am going to do this step by step this time. No peeking ahead, no complicating things; just taking things nice and slow.

I am going to use the blog to help keep me accountable and hopefully get help from some of my readers to keep me on track when I falter. But, for today, I am done and I am not going to think anymore about all  the things that still need to be finished.

In the famous words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Blessings,

C.

Lazy Night Stir-Fry…or…Feed Me Quick!

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I love to cook from scratch but sometimes quick and easy works well, too.

We’ve had a pretty lazy day around here today. Justin had to work for a couple hours this morning and then spent the day playing video games and watching movies (The Croods). Chloe played outside with friends. Gavin played video games and tried to avoid going outside. And as for me, I blogged, listened to music, and, well, drank coffee.

I knew when I got up this morning what kind of day it was going to be and planned my dinner accordingly. I had already intended to make a stir-fry, but how I threw it together changed drastically. Instead of slow-roasting chicken thighs in the oven and then tearing the meat away from the bones to be thrown in with a bunch of fresh veggies and a homemade sauce of some kind, I chose to pull the casings off a couple sausages and brown them in a pan with a mixture of fresh and frozen vegetables and a bottled sauce. Not perfect, but tasty and on the table for three hungry mouths (because you know, they’re ALWAYS STARVING) in less than 30 minutes. This is a great dinner for using up leftovers, and any meat you have on hand will do, or go vegetarian and leave out the meat altogether.

Lazy Night Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 small package of medium Italian sausages (I used about 4 sausages, and feel free to use hot, if you wish)
  • 1 small package of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red bell peppers cut into strips
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 bottle of your favorite stir-fry sauce (I used Golden Dragon Thick Teriyaki)

Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Remove sausage from casings, and brown on a medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium-low and add mushrooms and peppers; saute 10 minutes. Add broccoli. Cover and let simmer 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until heated through. Pour in sauce and let simmer 5 minutes, or until heated through. Serve over rice.

New Shoes, Baking, Uno, & Mario Kart

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I love my kids.

I do.

My daughter is sweet, funny, talented, caring, and going to be a sarcastic ball of fun as an adult. My son is also sweet, funny, caring, and talented, but all he likes to do is play video games or watch YouTube videos of OTHERS playing video games.

All three of us have ADD.

This means I can barely stand to be in the same room with them for more than a few minutes some days. This is also why I love school and cringe at the thought of evenings, weekends, and holiday/PD Day that means the kids are home.

You see, Monday to Friday I am kid-free from 8 am until 2:45 pm. During this time I can enjoy complete silence, if I want, or I can blare my music and not worry about song lyric appropriateness, I can read a whole book, I can hang out online blogging or perusing others’ blogs, I can sit down and eat a whole bag of chips (but I am REALLY trying to curb this), or I can simply sleep the day away; this is, of course, on top of doing the things that need to be done, like drinking buckets of coffee (snicker). Monday to Friday is MOMMY TIME, at least until 2:45 pm.

At 2:30 pm I can feel my muscles start to tighten and my palms begin to moisten from anxiety. By 2:40 pm I normally have a full-blown headache. But at 2:45 pm I plaster a huge smile on my face and offer a, “how was your day?” as the children come barreling through the door.

I try to be the dutiful Mom and listen intently, while feeling my head pulsing (my Tylenol or coffee, depending on which route of relief I choose that day, has not kicked it at this point) in protest. By 3 pm I have told the kids what they can have for a snack, found out what they have for homework, and assigned chores, before sending them either up to their rooms or outside to play. Anywhere but in the house where I have to hear Chloe talk non-stop, as she does (thank you, ADD), or where I have to listen to the two of them argue about everything and nothing at all.

Time to breathe for a minute.

If we have a good day, the kids will get their homework and chores done with little trouble and I won’t actually struggle with having them underfoot. But if we (Gavin & I) have a bad day, I will likely end up in tears by the end of it.

I think you get the idea, so I won’t bore you with more details…

My point is, most days I want to strangle my kids (not literally, of course, and if you’re a parent yourself you’ve been there, so don’t deny it). My ADD symptoms include not being able to handle noise of any kind unless I choose to. For example, if Gavin is playing video games, the volume has to be almost nil, but I can blast music so loud it can be heard two streets over and it doesn’t bother me.

As a result, I don’t spend much time in the same room with my kids.

I told you I was a bad Mom.

I am getting better, though, and this means we are doing more things together.

Yesterday, for example, I got up in the morning and was feeling pretty good so I decided it would be a great day to spend doing things with the kids instead of kicking them outside. I sat down and enjoyed my coffee while I planned out our day.

First we went shopping for new shoes because Chloe destroyed not only her Winter boots this week, but also a pair of sneakers. As you can see from the photos above, they love their new kicks.

Then we came home and started baking. We all love to cook/bake and they are always super excited when I get them involved, too. We made two different kinds of muffins and two different kinds of cookies. I have to admit, though, this was all from a mix. I usually bake from scratch, but Gavin had seen the mixes at the grocery store and requested them.

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Both kids took turns pouring ingredients and they loved it when I let them use the mixer. FYI, in the big photo of the above collage, I had asked the kids to smile and got the goofy face from Chloe. She loves to make faces in pictures…lol.

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Chloe licked off the beaters, but Gavin wasn’t interested, for some reason. More for Chloe!UnoApril2015

In between batches, we play Uno. Chloe kept making Gavin pick up handfuls of cards. He wasn’t very happy about it.
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I promise you that the cookies and muffins are not burnt. That’s just how they looked. I can tell you they are super tasty!

After the cookies and muffins were done, we made mini corn-dog muffins. These are delicious and perfect for a little snack, especially for after school. We had them with some tomato soup before heading into the living room to play some Mario Kart (I do play video games once in awhile).

Overall, the day was excellent! We had so much fun! We baked, cooked, played cards, joked around, and played video games. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better day and I hope we have more like it.

I don’t like it when I’m a bad Mom.

Blessings,

C.

Why Not Having a Morning Routine Makes You a Rookie

Why Not Having a Morning Routine Makes You a Rookie.

Love this article from Organizing Junkie. I recently started trying to put regular routines in place for both the kids, and myself. But I’ve taken it one step further and have implemented other routines as well. Thinking I might do a post about all of that soon. Until then, check out this post.