Pork Tenderloin with Kale & Browned Butter Risotto

Sounds good, eh? I didn’t take pictures, but here’s the skinny:

1 pork tenderloin
salt, pepper
1 stick butter
2 T olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced (I used a red one)
1 T minced garlic
1.5 cups arborio rice
5 cups broth (I used water and Better Than Bouillon)
A crap-ton of kale, chopped roughly

Preheat your oven to 375.

Now first thing’s first: Brown your butter. I implore you. It will make your kitchen smell great. It will be beautiful. You will love it. To do that: Put the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, swirl the pan a bit. It will get a little foamy, and then you will begin to smell this wonderful nutty aroma, and it should begin to turn golden (keep swirling). Once it is a light golden brown, turn off the heat, and you can put the butter in a bowl or ramekin (and use that pan again for kale in a bit).

Next, put your pork in some kind of oven-safe dish. I used an old broiler pan thing I found at a garage sale, which worked great. Put the pork in the dish, and toss on some salt and pepper. Take a spoonful of the browned butter and put that over the pork. Toss it in your preheated oven. I recommend sticking a thermometer thing in it, if you have one. We have an electric thermometer thing. It dings when there’s stuff (stuff = pork getting to 145).

For the risotto: In a dutch oven or 4ish quart pot on the stove, add olive oil and diced onions and cook them, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to become just a little less than opaque. Toss in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.

Now you’re going to pour in the arborio rice. It’s possible you can use any kind of rice for risotto, but arborio is the kind that gets creamier, I think. So put that in the pot with the onions and garlic, and cook it for about a minute (no liquid yet).

Pour in enough of the broth to cover the risotto and stir. Once that liquid is soaked up, do that again. Stir it a lot – that’s what makes it creamy. Continue until all the broth is soaked up and the rice is tender. If the rice is not tender and you’re out of broth, use some more. Or use water. Liquid is important.

While that’s cooking, pour a little broth in the bottom of the pan you used for the butter (which is now empty), and pile in the kale. Use the broth to wilt the kale. You want it a vibrant green. Stir a few times and once it is uniformly wilted, turn off the heat.

So – now you’ve got wilted kale, and you should have a pot of tender risotto and a cooked pork tenderloin (don’t forget about it – and when it’s done, let it rest under some tin foil while you finish the risotto). Stir in the kale and any liquid from the pan. Make sure the kale is evenly distributed, and then pour in the browned butter and stir that in.

Et voila! Incroyable! Pretty delicious. If you have a dairy-free person in your house, omit the browned butter. Use a bit of olive oil on the pork loin, and the risotto will still be delish without the butter.

Eat well, friends!

Almost-Good-For-You Mac and Cheese

It’s been, uh, quite a while since I’ve posted anything, so I thought I would give you this tasty little nugget of a recipe.

Almost-Good-For-You Mac and Cheese 

1 small or 1/2 large acorn or butternut squash (I used acorn)
1 lb. pasta shapes, i.e. nuggets, elbows, rotini
2T butter
1ish T flour
2ish cups milk
3ish cups shredded cheese
1t salt
Other spices to taste — I used nutmeg and cayenne and black pepper – tasty!

1. Cut squash into large chunks. Place it in a covered ceramic dish and microwave for 15-20 minutes, until squash is thoroughly steamed and is soft. When the squash is cooked, very carefully scoop out the meat into a small bowl.

2. Meanwhile, start your pasta. You know, boil water, salt it, cook that pasta, and whatnot. When it’s done, drain it.

3. Make a roux: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Whisk in flour until you have a nice little paste. Slowly, SLOWLY add in the milk, little bit by bit, until you have a what looks like Elmer’s glue.

4. Add a few good spoonfulls of the roux you just made and then mash the squash with a fork or potato masher. Make sure there aren’t any big chunks, then pour the mashed squash back into your roux. Mix well. Pour your cheese in and mix that up too. (I started with 2 cups, but it wasn’t cheesy enough. Just trust me and go for 3.)

5. Mix in the pasta, and if it has cooled at all, rewarm. You can mix your spices in now too, to taste. You could also bake it if you like that baked mac and cheese style.

This recipe is nice because the squash lends just a little sweetness and texture, but you can still hide it pretty well. It turned out to be a tasty meal!

Eat well, friends.

A month of thankfulness

Well friends, I am terrible at doing anything on a daily basis. Especially blogging. The truth is: I’m very thankful. I’m so very thankful for my friends and family, and especially, for my husband. I’m thankful for his new job, and I’m thankful that he makes dinner when I get home late.

A Week of Thankfulness

What a week. It was break for the students at my college, which luckily means I can sleep in a bit on work days, but also meant I was doing a mailing by myself, sans student worker. Anyway, the kiddos come back Monday, so it’ll be much louder in my office from here on out.

1. New Castle episode
2. An incredible small group
3. That all the panna cotta got eaten
4. Netflix instant while I was folding letters ALL DAY
5. A nice email from a friend I haven’t talked to in a while
6. Lunch with friends
7. Jitters’ Italian Philly sandwich. Yum.
8. Brinner!
9. A quiet office
10. A church community who cares about our city

1. Chili cook-off at work
2. That my curry chili came out pretty perfectly (but I didn’t win)
3. Friends at work who helped me fold letters during staff chapel
4. A very caring husband
5. Netflix streaming (yes, again)
6. A lovely date at Cibon with my super-hot hubs
7. A relaxing evening
8. The Scrubs series
9. A quiet office
10. That I finished my mailing on time!

1. Trash to Treasure event at school (I picked up some sweet stuff for free!)
2. That my building didn’t burn down (When I got to work, the fire alarm had been set off by some workmen)
3. Having friends at work I can visit when there are firemen inspecting my building
4. A successful trip to pick up baking supplies
5. A successful cake baked
6. Movie night with my hubs (Super 8 was great!)
7. That my husband made dinner while I had band practice
8. Band practice
9. A great series ending to Scrubs (end of Season 8. Yes…I bawled through pretty much the entire episode)
10. A good cry

1. Getting on the scale in the morning and being 3 pounds lighter. Progress!
2. Free lunch at work — indoor picnic with friends!
3. Getting out early to pick up my boss at the airport
4. That my raspberry ganache filling finally set enough in my cake
5. That frosting is also cake spackle
6. Getting my MK boxes in the mail (it’s like Christmas! even if it’s not all for me)
7. Getting all my MK orders dropped off and getting to say hi to friends in the process
8. A hubs who will run errands with me
9. That the cake I was working on worked out ok  (picture below)
10. That the hubs made dinner again so I could work on the cake

1. A super-productive day at work
2. A boss who likes me
3. The Accounting department at school (they are seriously wonderful)
4.  Lunch with friends
5. A good ham sandwich
6. A gig playing with friends
7. Genny Bock on tap
8. Fried green tomatoes! (my mouth is watering just remembering them)
9. Friends who freaking rock
10. Being able to be part of the RIT IV community once in a while and seeing friends there (Ok, that was two)

Been a good week! Here is the cake I made (it’s based on Annie’s cake design) — guinness chocolate cake with raspberry ganache filling and fondant:

Photo borrowed from Rich (Happy birthday!)

Feeling better

1. Being mostly able to swallow
2. Feeling well enough to work most of the day
3. A quiet office
4. Netflix streaming
5. Enough time for a power nap
6. Date night!
7. Delicious seafood
8. Feeling really spoiled by my husband
9. Good conversation with my sexy husband
10. A night of relaxation and fun

1. A husband who helps me clean the house, even when it’s for an event I’m hosting
2. A clean house
3. A friend who gives up her time to help me as I begin my MK business
4. A really fun skin care class with a friend I haven’t seen in a while
5. Finding a cute outfit to wear
6. A little downtime with my hubs
7. Games
8. Family
9. Feeling better
10. Really good times laughing with friends

1. Friends who care about me
2. A church community who prays for each other
3. My family, dysfunctional as we are
4. A husband who cares about me and lets me cry when I need to
5. Good conversations with the hubs
6. Groceries
7. Upcoming Downton Abbey finale (although let’s be honest, I don’t want it to be over…)
8. A second job that’s flexible and profitable
9. Time to relax
10. Clean sheets

Have a good week, people! Stay healthy.

Some more tens

I got super sick this week. Wednesday morning I woke up at 2am with a throat the size of Wisconsin and feeling so hot. I went into work for a few hours, but luckily my boss sent me home. I napped and watched a lot of tv and now I’m feeling a bit better. ANYWAY, Tens Time.

1. A job that gives me paid sick time
2. A boss that sends me home when I’m sick
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
4. Scrubs
5. Naps
7. A doting husband
8. Theraflu
9. Netflix Instant
10. Theraflu (did I say that already?)

1. A day off
2. Sleeping in
3. A husband who worked from home to take care of me
4. Theraflu (yup, two days in a row)
5. Scrubs
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
7. Down comforters
8. A really inspiring MK Sales Director
9. Time with friends
10. Feeling good enough to have time with friends

And now, to bed. I am one tired lady.

Monday and Tuesday Tens

I know — Tuesday’s not over yet. I think it’ll be ok.

1. My hair lasting another day before I had to wash it (what?!)
2. A Target trip over lunchtime
3. A sale on tablecloths
4. Checking off several things from my work to-do list
5. Making my second Mary Kay sale!
6. Our small group
7. Panna Cotta (…seriously – it’s like creamy jello. yum!)
8. Fresh Guacamole
9. Pepto Bismol
10. Castle

1. Waking up to a lovely Valentine’s Day card from my husband
2. A husband who is so thoughtful
3. A fireplace to read near over lunch
4. The Harry Potter book series
5. Impending pork chops
6. Friends who make beautiful music for us to listen to
7. Friendly students
8. A day that is less busy than the last few work days have been
9. An upcoming week of students on break (I like them, it’s just that my office is so quiet during breaks…)
10. Purple tights

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lots of Tens

It’s been a busy few days. Lots of things going on at work, and lots more things going on with Mary Kay and other aspects of my life. Anyway, here are The Tens:

1. Good pizza
2. The opportunity to get out of the office at lunch
3. My chiropractor
4. Getting my neck cracked
5. My student worker
6. A quick work day (even if it only felt quick because of how busy it was)
7. A little time at home with my love
8. Friends to make music with
9. Enchiladas (even if we had to pay for them)
10.  Flannel sheets

1. Students who are checking out this school
2. A job that I feel like I’m good at
3. That part of my job is party planning
4. Leaving early from work (even if I had to get up earlier)
5. Cheese steaks
6. Target
7.  A whole night home with my lovely husband
8. Interesting films
9. Homemade popcorn
10. Snuggling

1. Snow (if it’s pretty and doesn’t ruin my plans)
2. A slightly less crazy day than I’d planned for
3. Girl time in the morning
4. Being able to learn from a totally wonderful woman
5. Friend time
6. Naps
7. Hockey games with my love
8. Spontaneous pizza trips
9. Snow tires (!!!)
10. A husband who doesn’t mind if I am out all day running around

1. Crazy kiddos
2. The chance to play music with some different folks from church
3. My amazing church community
4. A whole afternoon at home
5. British television (seriously)
6. A really patient husband when I am nearing meltdown
7. Panna cotta
8. The huge blanket my mother-in-law knit for us for our wedding
9. A two-hour Downton Abbey
10. A fairly restful day overall

See you soon.

Wednesday’s Ten

I won’t lie to you, I had a bit of a cranky day yesterday. But! I am still so thankful for these ten things (and probably more):

1. Sunshine
2. Good cheese
3. The ladies’ Bible study
4. The opportunity to play music with friends (old and new)
5. My husband, who made dinner
6. Pork chops with rosemary cream sauce
7. The opportunity to reach my goal of booking two more Mary Kay events this month!
8. My student worker who constantly is finishing things I haven’t even asked her to do yet
9. Flannel sheets
10. Staying up late in bed just chatting with the hubs. It’s a good time.


Monday and Tuesday Tens

1. A day at home (not so thankful for the day-long headache, but what can you do?)
2. A husband who can work from home to look in on me
3. Sunshine
4. A lunchtime walk with my love
5. Mindless television
6. UPS
7. Wonderful women in my life
8. A really supportive and knowledgeable Mary Kay sales director
9. More mindless television
10. A job that lets me take sick days when I need them

1. Sushi
2. Girl-time
3. Meetings at work
4. A wonderful community of administrative assistants and coworkers
5. Web comics
6. A flower pin to cover the hole in my sweater
7. New Mary Kay makeup
8. Feeling confident that my face looked nice
9. Honesty and openness in friendship
10. Looking forward to having a baby someday

I have a pretty great life.