Marinated Baked Pork Chops

I’m a sucker for teriyaki type stuff so when I saw soy sauce, brown sugar, and worcestershire sauce, I thought this was a shoe it for love from the Coastie House.

Marinated Baked Pork Chops

I followed this recipe to a T, minus using 6 pork chops. I only had 4.

1T Soy Sauce

2T Veggie Oil

1T Worcestershire sauce

1t lemon juice

2T brown sugar

2T ketchup

4 Pork Chops (I use boneless, center cut. Usually on the thicker side)

Pre-Baking

Pre-Baking

The recipe called to bake it for 30 mins, flip, baste, and bake for 30 mins. That would turn these into hockey pucks so I baked for 25 mins total and dumped all the sauce over it.

Overall family opinion: they were better the second day. For some reason, the ketchup was very prominent in this recipe. It was BBQ-y enough for me and I liked it but I really tasted the ketchup, which I didn’t love. We had two chops the next day and they were definitely better. We may have this again but we’ll need to tweak the receipe some.

pork chop2The upside to this recipe is that it’s packed with protein, which is a plus considering how much time E and I spend in the gym. On to the next recipe, I suppose

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken

I’m having an inappropriate love affair with my crock pot as of late. It’s so convenient and with school, Beanie, E, and work, it’s nice to come home and have a chunk of dinner taken care of.

Yesterday was one of those days. Time management was my failure and thank goodness I had something else preparing my meal otherwise I’m pretty positive my family would have starved. I went to the gym with C for her first outing, post baby, and we got a 3.11 mile training run in. While we were doing that, my crock pot boyfriend was home, ensuring my meal was cooking.

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken was the meal of choice. This is the first recipe I’ve used from Just a Pinch that I’ve used but it definitely seemed simple enough.

balsamic chicken1

Not shown: 2 lb of boneless, skinless breasts

2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 C of balsamic vinegar

2T minced onion

1T garlic powder

1T Italian seasoning

1/2T salt

1/2T black pepper

2T Extra Olive Oil

2T minced garlic

balsamic chicken2

Put the oil and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot and then layer the chicken on top of it. Put the dry seasonings onto the chicken and then dump the balsamic vinegar on top of that.

The cooking time was weird for me. I don’t like dry meat (who does, right?) so when I read “3 hours”, I thought “no way in hell am I cooking this mess for 3 hours”. I stopped it at a little over 2 and sure enough, the chicken was a little dry for me.

balsamic chicken3

Overall Family Opinion: “this is really good!”. I served it with egg noodles. The sauce didn’t thicken the way I thoought it might so it wasn’t so much a sauce as it was juice but it still had really great flavor.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs

We have a regular rotation of dinners and it seems to get a touch boring after a while. I’m always on the look out for new recipes that sound great and aren’t too terribly labor intensive to make.

I decided, for Feb, I wanted to do a various of “Julie & Julia”. Please don’t think I have any grand ideas of getting out Julia Childs’ cookbook and making Beef Wellington on a school night. But I would like to challenge myself to make 28 different dinners, not only to give my family some change, but also to enhance some cooking skills.

Allrecipes.com is one of my favorite go-to’s but I also see how people “share” a million and one recipes all over the facebook. You know the “share this on your wall so you can refer back!” posts. Yea. My mother is guilty of those but I can’t lie, I’ve tried a couple that she has posted.

Last night was Betty Crocker’s Cheese Stuffed Meatballs.

Now, I attempt to tweak recipes whenever I can to lessen the calories and make it a touch healthier. MFP has this recipe labeled as 850 cals per serving. I don’t know about you but that’s a LOT for one dinner so I needed to figre this out.

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

I used:

4 Sticks of Polly-O Mozzerella String Cheese (freeze for about an hour before using), cut into enough chunks for the number of meatballs you have

1 lb 80/20 ground beef (I find the less fat, the drier the meat and I don’t enjoy dried out ground beef)

1/2 C Parmesan Bread Crumbs

1T Minced Onion (I prefer the taste of the dried minced onion when I don’t have a fresh onion in the house)

2t Garlic Powder

1 whole egg

I mixed all ingredients together in  a bowl and made sure to distribute the dry ingredients.

meatballs 2

Out of the pound of meat, I was able to get 11 meatballs, each weighing 1.6 oz.

meatballs 3Take the cheese and stuff it into the meatball. You might need to cut more off the chunk to make it fit properly

meatballs 4Seal the meatballs around the cheese, as best you can. This definitely kicked my ass.

meatballs 5Bake at 350* for 10 mins and check them. I checked them at 10 mins and they needed a littler longer, in my opinion. I learned the hard way — next time I will be baking these on a rack with a drip pan underneath. I also learned that I need to work on sealing my balls (pause for *snickers*) because the cheese was oozing out.

meatballs 6

Case in point — oozy cheese.

Overall Family Opinion: “they’re good”. I agree with E, they were a little bland so I definitely need to beef up the seasonings within the actual meatball. I also think sealing them better and then putting the balls into the sauce would be helpful too. This will be put into the rotation and eaten again. It definitely didn’t take forever to make so it’s convenient for a weeknight meal.

January can suck it

Eleanor Roosevelt said:

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Ain’t this the truth!

January and 2014 is off to a bang up start. Pneumonia, Beanie not wanting to sleep, the dog is just a mess in general, work is picking up, E is working a lot. We’re all dealing with madness in the Coastie house but at least we’re all on the mend.

I’m halfway through my English class and about to start a Political Science class on 3 Feb. I decided 2014 was the year to finish my degree. I won’t be complete with my Bachelors but I’ll have finished my Associates Credits by Oct. This means I start a new class every month and am taking two classes per month. How much fun does that sound like?? Yea, I’m not raising my hand either.

Pneumonia had kept me down for about 3 weeks but I think I’ve finally kicked it. I wasn’t able to run for those 3 weeks and when I tried, I thought I was going to die so I (for once) followed the doc’s orders. I’m back on the dreadmill again and have a new Half Marathon in sight. Since, obviously, I didn’t have enough going on 😉

Race The Runways 2014

Race The Runways 2014

I was lured under the pretense of it being a flat course so I’m willing to give it a whirl.

Honestly, for a while, after reading many blog posts about people running races, I started to feel down on myself about my performance on the Baltimore course. I finished in exactly my goal time (3 hours) but I was feeling down about it. I walked a lot, I took the water breaks, my stomach wasn’t feeling it, etc. But then I read an article about how Baltimore is one of the tougher courses out of a lot of races all over the country. And I actually met my goal. So I broke up with MapMyRun and I refocused. I downloaded Nike+ and got on board with their (FREE!) coaching plans and now I’m well into Week 3 of training and, while I’ve had to do all of my runs on the treadmill, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I run to finish, not to win. I’m not running to win the world and all that jazz. Truthfully, I run for the medals because they’re pretty 🙂

I read a post about a girl who admitted to cutting mileage off her race during one of those Hot Chocolate 15Ks. I applaud her for putting herself out there and putting herself on blast but my main question, why bother? If you aren’t going to run for you and you aren’t going to finish strong, why bother starting at all? Running isn’t a sport that has hand outs. It’s all you. You don’t have someone to pick up your slack. You can’t expect someone to be all “YAY! YOU DID IT” because you didn’t. I get that some people legit can’t finish a race, for whatever reason. But if you aren’t going into the race with the intentions of doing your best and finishing strong, don’t waste your money. It doesn’t affect me, obviously, just merely an observation. I had to giggle because the whole tone of the post was defensive and attacking. Your readers aren’t the ones that did anything wrong, lady. You admitted to not finishing the race, yet you still allowed yourself to obtain a FINISHER mug and prizes.

I haven’t decided what resolutions I want to do in the upcoming months. Last year I did pretty well with sticking to them. I completed almost all of them. I failed at the Photo A Day challenges but that’s the norm. I didn’t fair well with the NaBloPoMo challenge but I’m thinking I might try that again. It’s funny. I love the write but I’m having a tough time at learning up to write correctly. My English class is teaching me this and I think I much prefer to remain uneducated, in that sense. Maybe another NaBloPoMo will help with that (doubt it).

I was recently introduced to some new craft porn:

pumpkinbanner2013_ShadowA bunch of ladies that I follow on IG have started the “Once Upon a Time” Sampler and I decided to get in on the action. You pay a one time fee and, every month, you will receive a new .PDF that contains the pattern for that month, along with a list of supplies you need. I figure why not resume yet another hobby 😉 Plus, it’ll look good in Beanie’s room. At least until she tells me she hates it all and makes me redecorate.

Here’s to finishing January strong and having a happy and healthy Febuary!

NaBloPoMo – Nov 8th

Day 8: What have you learned so far about daily blogging?

I’ve learned that I have a lot to say and no idea how to say it. I’ve also learned that I don’t read very well. I admit, I’m a skimmer. I’m One Of Those.

Seriously though, daily blogging has opened my mind and made me think about more than just my own personal problems and the bullshit that I deal with at work. I’ve learned that it takes some time to actually sit down and write words to paper (or in this case, types the words to the screen) but it’s like a mind exercise. It gives me something to do now that I’m not allowed to run. I also like reading other people’s answers to these prompts.

I started blogging as an outlet, I never intended it to stick but I have to admit, I sort of like it. I like that I have my own journal of sorts and people can choose to read or they can choose to keep moving. I’d like to continue this, or at least blog more than once a week. Fat chance of that happening LOL

I’ve come to realize, I thrive on being challenged every so often. I like the Instagram “#photooftheday” challenges. I’m digging this daily blogging thing. I don’t see it being continual because my ADD will kick in before long and you’d just get letters, nothing really making sense. It happens.

Now if only I could keep up with my daughter’s email acct… I’d better get on that. It’s been over a year. ONE WHOLE YEAR since I last wrote Beanie a letter. I guess we’ll go ahead and throw in a few more dollars to the jar for her therapy fund. *sigh*

NaBloPoMo – November

Dee posted about a NaBloPoMo and I’m all “wth is this” and she says “it’s a blog thing”. I’m all for it. Apparently I can’t get enough challenged packed into the month of November. I’m already doing this Instagram Photo of the Day challenge and the #30daysofthanks bit on FB (yea, the girl who hates hashtags – i hashtag the shit out of everything. I conformed. I’m hanging my head in shame)

Anywho — Dee posts about this and I start reading. First mistake. Second mistake, thinking I can possibly keep up with this. But I figure, since TA hasn’t been approved and the SWE is next week, I have the time so I’m going to give it a whirl.

After reading about what she told me, I find this webpage from BlogHer about the contest. It seems pretty thought provoking and interesting. Today’s prompt:

If you found one million dollars in the morning and had to spend it all by nightfall, what would you do with the money?

Well. This ought to be fun.

For starters: I’d drive the 45 miles to Augusta and buy a coffee from Starbucks. We’ll call that $5

– $999,995.00

Next: pay off all of our debt. I know this sounds cliché but it’s true. It would be nice to be able to get up and not have to balance the checkbook and worry about moving money and making sure ends are being met. I’d love to be able to hand over the cash for our credit cards and vehicles and give the companies the big, ol’ middle finger.

– $899,995.00

I’d buy the cars of my dreams. I mean sure, the Jeep Liberty does the trick but it’s not my dream car. Straight to the dealership and buy a Tahoe, for the winter time, and an Audi S5 for the summer trips. The Tahoe would fit all the kids I’d be planning to have, since my debt was paid and I could afford them. The Audi is for when mama needs to get away. Fast.

$799,995.00

I guess I’d buy E a car or two, as well. I know he has his heart set on another Subaru STI. He had one when we first found out I was pregnant and it wasn’t a bad little car, but it wasn’t the most suitable for a child. Although the exhaust did a fantastic job of putting her to sleep.

$760,000.00

I’d pay for the rest of my school. I want to be able to have my degree by the time I retire and, considering I’m going one class at a time, due to TA, it’s going to be a tight fit to finish in 7 years.

$660,000.00

Finally, I’d buy a Bed and Breakfast in Key West. I adore that island. It’s my favorite place to go and unwind and relax. At least, with a Bed and Breakfast, I could make some money back.

$0.00

Seems, to me, simple enough to spend $1,000,000. This is just my dream way to spend it, if I had to get rid of it in a day. In my reality, I’d pay the debt and the rest would be sitting in the bank so we could live off the interest when I retired. That’s just the SK in me, always thinking of saving a buck.

If YOU had to spend a million dollars in one day, how would you do it?

Crafty Snow Weekend

Oh look! {More} SNOW!

Oh look! {More} SNOW!

Yep. More snow. Again. For the third weekend in a row.

Yes I’m tired of snow. I’m tired of not being able to take Beanie outside (she loathes the snow). I’m tired of looking at this! Although it is a tad pretty. Kinda.

Beanie's wishing for Spring

Beanie’s wishing for Spring

I decided to finally get around to making the wreath that was supposed to be my mama’s christmas gift but I didn’t have the time to finish it. So I got crafty on this snowy weekend.

What you’ll need:

6 different color fabric squares (Jo-Ann’s sells fabric squares in separate, handy squares and sometimes they’ll have the packs of complimentary colors)

pinking shears

foam circle

hot glue and matching gun

knitting needle or crochet hook (I use a crochet hook)

Ravens colors, of course

Ravens colors, of course

Cut the fabric into 2X2 squares. You can rough estimate it, I do.

Craft 2

Put the rough side of the fabric over the end of the crochet hook and put a drop of hot glue on the end of the fabric

Craft 3Shove it into the foam ring. Only puncture the ring enough to set the fabric into it, do not just glue the fabric to the ring! Place each fabric square close to one another

Enjoy a nice cup of tea while you work ☺

Enjoy a nice cup of tea while you work ☺

You want to make sure the fabric is on the inside, as well, but you don’t have to go nuts with the inner portion. There is no rhyme or reason to the pattern, just pick and choose as you go.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

It’s simple, it’s nice, and you can make them for every season.

Lent is Upon Us

And funny enough, I don’t have much of a clue what that means. I’m not religious. I mean, I’ve been baptized, my husband was baptized, our daughter has been baptized but we aren’t church goers. I’m more of a CEO’er: Christmas, Easter, and Other Occasions.

But I see all of these people saying what they’re giving up for Lent and I figured, if this is a time to give something up and reflect upon why I did, might as well try it. I’ve seen all sorts of “given up” things. Anything from soda to actual food. Seriously, I worked for a guy that said he was giving up food for Lent. He lived solely on oatmeal for 40 days. He lost a ton of weight and was even grumpier than when he started but he managed to make it.

For me, I’m giving up Facebook and Fast Food.

I eat entirely too much fast food. We don’t have a ton of places to eat out at but I’ve had more than enough McDonalds and KFC so my goal is to make it 40 days without fast food. This also presents the challenge of finding things to cook for dinners so here’s hoping I can find that creative streak. Or a good recipe website LOL

As far as Facebook — I get sucked into it like it’s a worm hole. I don’t post much but I find myself getting sucked into drama that doesn’t concern me and then I start judging people and I hate that. I want to support and be supported and I’m just not feeling that lately so I’m taking a step back. I want to use this time to focus more on my family and Beanie and my schoolwork. My Ethics class is going well but there will be four essay’s before the class is done and I feel like I could use the time to throw myself into that. Plus, my Math class will be starting and I suck at Math. 16 LOOOONNNNGGGG weeks of Algebra. Shoot me now.

I will still post pics to FB since that’s how some family members choose to be in contact with us and that’s fine. It’s usually pics of Beanie and I’ve starting posting them through Instagram.

I’m also going to try and read more. I have about 8 books on my Nook, waiting to be read or finished and there is another from my beloved Stuart Woods that has been pre-ordered so I’d like to knock those out, as well.

I didn’t make any resolutions when we rang in 2013 because I suck at keeping them so I figured I’d attempt to start projects and finish them or follow through with the projects that I had already started.  January was the Photo Of The Day, there is the on-going 90-day Challenge for weight loss, Couch To 5K running program, and now Lent.

Here’s hoping…

rachelkern152

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