Daddy’s Home!

My son-in-law, Randy flies for UPS. Sometimes his trips overseas forces him to 294454_2539300167101_1972003724_nbe gone for a couple of weeks at a time, especially if he has back-to-back routes…so this year, he missed being with his family for Easter. He is very good at bidding for trips so that they don’t happen over important family events, but is not always able to accommodate every holiday.

The grandkids are also on Spring Break and he is off for a few days before his next sojourn. Since there’s no school, the kids are loving having him at home and all to themselves for a few days. Unfortunately, my daughter still has to be at work this week…so it was Daddy and Nana to the rescue.

So in honor of Spring, Nana’s Cooking Day, Daddy’s return, and Mama’s need for a mid-week celebration…we postponed our family Easter celebration dinner until he got back. Thursdays are usually my days to cook with the kids, so we planned our feast for last night.

Our menu? We decided on a bit healthier menu this year.  Normally we have the usual Baked Honey Glazed Ham, Devilled Eggs or Potato Salad, Green Bean Casserole..you know with the mushroom soup and fried onions, etc?  But we are all trying to eat “CLEAN“…meaning less processed foods and more local, organic, farm-to-table type foods.  So this year, having found a source for local Pastured Pork, we are having Roasted Pork Tenderloin.  For more information:  http://kerryg.hubpages.com/hub/The-Benefits-of-Pastured-Pork

20130404_164644_resizedRoasted Pork Tenderloin (or round pork chops as Cooper calls them) is easy and quick to prepare…no waste, very flavorful.  I purchased two pork loins about 2 lbs a piece with plans for leftovers for our dinner for 5.  The secret to succulent pork (besides choosing pastured pork) is to marinate it.  It’s best overnight, but 3-4 hours also works.  Here’s the marinade I used:

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3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, zest of one lemon, 2 T minced garlic, 1 T chopped fresh rosemary, 1 T chopped fresh thyme, 1 T Dijon mustard.  I mixed all of the above and put it into a large ziplock bag along with the tenderloins.  Marinating it in the bag (instead of a shallow dish) helps keep the entire surface moist.

To cook, preheat oven to 400.  Remove pork from the marinade and pat dry, allowing the herbs to stick to the surface.  Sear in a hot skillet (I used coconut oil) for 3-4 minutes on a side until well browned.  Place in hot oven for 18-20 minutes until interior temperature is 137.  Let meat sit for 5-10 minutes until all the juices go back into the meat before carving.  (The pan juices make a wonderful sauce…just add a bit of sour cream or mascarpone!  Yum).

To add to our feast, we chose Maple Glazed Butternut Squash…and a true spring favorite, Crunch Pea Salad. And as a special treat, Jelly Bean Cupcakes! As my daughter Lori says…it just wouldn’t be Easter without them! (See recipe from last week).

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562297_10200982609072724_255171512_nCooper loves raw peas, so he always sneaks a nibble or two.  But it is his big sister who I trust with the knife!  She is learning knife skills very quickly!

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This salad usually calls for a quite a bit of mayonnaise.  In keeping with our clean eating,  I used only 1T Mayo and added 1T sour cream and 2T Plain Yogurt.  For a bit of zip…chopped fresh mint leaves just adds to the flavor!

Besides chicken…there is probably nothing Cooper loves more than BACON.  OK…I try to find bacon that is pasture raised, not overly salted, and humanely butchered…but who doesn’t love bacon?  This just makes this Maple Glazed Butternut Squash even more yummy!

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This is such a simple recipe and soooo good.  Peel, core, and cube one butternut squash.  Place pieces on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 1-2 T Pure Maple Syrup.  Top cubes with 3-4 slices of bacon (depending on how many cubes you have) and place in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes….the squash carmelizes even further with the addition of maple syrup and is sweet and salty with the bacon on top!  It will get crispy and you can just crumble it over the top to serve!  This would also work well with sweet potato, beets, carrots, turnips, acorn squash or any yellow vegetable with a naturally sweet flavor.

Put it all together?  THE PLATE

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YUMMMMM!  And dad…he even helped with dishes!

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Welcome Home Daddy!

 

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