Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

11 04 2010

If you missed my guest post on Trading Up Downtown, you can read it here!

Tootsie Pops! 

Random fact: I only like chocolate tootsie pops, which most people tell me are the only ones they won’t eat.  More chocolate tootsies for me!

How are you?  How was your Sunday?

Mine was glorious and relaxing.  Just the way I like ‘em!   It felt so refreshing taking the whole day for me, as opposed to worrying about the blog.  The once-a-day post was definitely a good idea by me.  [Insert pat on the back]

It also felt so good to have a day off from P90.  My biceps are so sore from the Kenpo workout yesterday.  I’m talking sore.  It felt great to have a day for relaxation and I can’t wait to get back at it tomorrow!

I woke up early (obvi!) and got right down to business.  I started some laundry, cut a pineapple and put on a big pot o’ joe for myself.  Mr. KD doesn’t drink coffee.  Crazy, I tell you!  Crazy!

By the time 7 rolled around, I was ready for some eats.  I knew I wouldn’t be eating again until after church (at least 12:30ish), so I wanted to make a filling breakfast.  I got to work on a frittata with caramelized onions.  I started with one egg and one egg white, which I whisked with some hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and dried chives.  I placed it in a skillet and loaded it with the leftover onions from Friday night’s pizza.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: caramelized onions make EVERYTHING better!

Just before it was done, I added some goat cheese.  Sorry, Gracie, but I’m in love. 

To balance out the savory frittata, I had something sweet on the side: a whole wheat english muffin with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter and half of a banana.

Together:

Ketchup and Frittata sitting in a tree…

Hazelnut butter is dessert like.  So different than other nut butters (in a good way).

As I was enjoying breakfast, I dabbled in a new guilty pleasure of mine: On the Case with Paula Zahn.  This can be found OnDemand under the ID channel.  Paula is a reporter, who interviews and investigates viscious crimes.  I find entertainment in anything that scares the life out of me.  I’m a freak.  What can I say?  I should have been a cop except I’m the least intimidating person on the planet and hate guns.  So, scratch that.  I should have been a police consultant.  Yeah.  Something like that.

Before I knew it, it was time for Mass.  When I left, the weather was rather ick.  It was cloudy and not very warm.  When I emerged an hour later, it was so sunny!  And, the temps had to have been in the high 60′s, low 70′s!  Due to the change in weather, I got home and told Mr. KD that we had to get out of the house immediately.  He was on board and suggested going out to lunch.  I asked him what he was in the mood for and as soon as I heard, “A big salad”, he had no further say in the matter.  In the blink of an eye, we were off to The Chateau, so that I could have the exact salad I had Friday at lunch!  So, so yummers.

Before the salads arrived, I snacked on a piece of bread.  And, yes, it is white bread.  There are two white breads that I can think of off the top of my head that are worth the empty calories: this one and the rolls from Bertucci’s (My favorite in the whole world.  I would survive on them alone if I could).  Generally, I’m able to pass up white bread, but I have a hard time resisting here (hearty, grainy bread is a whole ‘nother issue).  I can even pass on the breadsticks from the Olive Garden, which I know are a lot of people’s favorite.  They just don’t really do it for me anymore, but this bread does. 

The crust is covered in sesame seeds and the inside is just so fluffy.  I topped mine with half a butter packet, some parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. 

I ordered my salad the same way I did on Friday: Balsamic vinaigrette with marinated turkey tips.

Bacon + Red Onions + Juicy Turkey + Gorgonzola Cheese + Dried Cranberries = SO MUCH LOVE!

This salad is so filling!  I ate every last bite this time. 

After lunch, I wanted to go on an “adventure”.  Yes, I am five years old.  Mr. KD was all ready to drive around with me to explore an area we live near.  Do you guys have any intersections where you always go one way and wonder what’s around if you go the other way?  Or is that just us?  There is one intersection in particular that we only go right at.  A left turn leads to the bordering town.  There could be a good restaurant there for all we know!  I must figure this out soon!

On our way to said adventure, I was stupid enough to remind Mr. KD that he needed fertilizer for the lawn.  He got all excited and proclaimed he needed to get it immediately.  Really?!?  Was that necessary?  To make matters worse, he told me we were going to Benny’s because they had the best prices.  Benny’s is a home, garden and outdoor center that sells items at discounted prices.  You can buy a sprinkler, patio set and bicycle all in one place. 

And, guess what?  I hate it.  I hate it even more than Home Depot.  Now that’s saying something.

I have distinct memories of being a kid and my dad dragging me in there after work to buy god-knows-what.  It still smells the same to this day, which is a mix between bicycle tires and bug spray.  I despise it and it makes me want to throw a tantrum.  Told you I was five.  I don’t care if the prices are reasonable.  I’d rather pay double the money to stay away!

This was Mr. KD’s reaction to the Benny’s trip:

And this was mine:

Total grumpypants.

How can you blame me?  Look at this place:

Ugh – just the look of it makes me shiver.  I somehow managed to survive and was never so happy to see my house again.  While Mr. KD took care of some business outside, I folded a little laundry and simply relaxed.  It was great.  I even started a new book, which I haven’t had time to do in ages.  It was so refreshing!

Before we knew it, dinner was calling our names.  I got started on dinner this morning and my crock pot worked hard on it all day.  As soon as I saw this recipe on Kristin’s blog, I knew I had to try it.  I love delicious simplicity and even though I’m trying hard to cut out diet soda (I total vice of mine), I didn’t think it would hurt to use a little for cooking purposes.

BBQ Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork shoulder, cut into chunks and trimmed of fat
  • Coke Zero (or you can use any cola)
  • ~ 1/2 – 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  • Garlic salt
  • 1/2 onion

Directions:

Dice onion and place in the bottom of the crock pot.  Add pork and season liberally with garlic salt.  Add enough Coke Zero to just cover the pork.  Stir in BBQ sauce.  Set on low for 8 hours.

SO EASY!

The pork was like buttah when we shredded it.  It was unbelievably delightful!  Loved it!

I decided to follow Kristin’s dinner exactly and serve with BBQ baked beans (Bush’s..the only kind I could find without HFCS) and green beans.  Ah-mazing.

Drizzled the pork with a tad more BBQ sauce.

The beans

You want to know the best part about this meal?  It would be just as delightful in the winter as it would in nice weather.  It also makes a ton, so I’m envisioning BBQ pulled pork quesadillas or pizza in my near future!  L-O-V-E.

To curb my sweet tooth, I plan to have a mini vegan cookie from my recipe page.  I decide to bake up a batch of these last night at 9 pm.  So random.  I made half a batch and STILL got 12 cookies out of it, so when I tell you they’re bite-sized, I’m not kidding.  These things are deliciously addicting, which is why I make them small. 

 

Didn’t I say something about less desserts while P90′ing? 

Ah, oh well.  You only live once and while I’m here, I’d like to eat chocolate thankyouverymuch. 

I’m going to rest up and get a good night’s sleep tonight.  I’m loving P90 and can’t wait to BRING IT  tomorrow morning!  Have a great Monday, everyone!

Question of the day:  Are you a coffee drinker?

Not only do I love coffee, but I thoroughly enjoy coffee flavored desserts.  They make my tummy and taste buds very happy.





Switching Gears & Arugula, Goat Cheese and Date Pizza

9 04 2010

***Breaking News***  I wrote a guest post for Trading Up Downtown!  This was so exciting for me and I hope you pop over to read!  This blog is maintained by Tina of Carrots N Cake via her position with NuVal.  For all of you who are unfamiliar with the company, NuVal is a nutritional scoring system that is aiming to “invade” grocery stores nationwide.  Tina is lucky enough to work for this great company and maintains this blog as a way of showing how to live healthfully in the city without dropping an entire paycheck.  She also offers a ton of recipes featuring high-scoring items on the NuVal list.  You guys should definitely check out their website because I think they’re concept is AMAZING.  And, obviously, check out my guest post too!!!

Switching gears now…

My Raisinettes!  :smile:

Two days in a row and I’m still calling you something chocolate.  Think I’m going through an Easter candy withdrawal?  Speaking of…

I forgot to tell you that on Monday night, Mr. KD and I packed up all the Easter candy and placed it in a plastic bag.  I waved goodbye to it on Tuesday morning as it set off on the commute to Mr. KD’s workplace.  I still miss it, but know it was for the best.  Healthy living just stinks sometimes, doesn’t it?  If we didn’t give it away, I would be guaranteed to eat 3 – 4 pieces every night.  I don’t do well around chocolate.  I act like I’m never going to see it again.  It was best if we simply parted ways without hurt feelings.  Sometimes, when you love something, you’ve got to learn to let it go :wink:

Because my brain operates at the speed of lightning, I’d like to switch gears again and talk about the format of this blog.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this lately and whether or not my current format is interesting.  I’ve mentioned before that I am unsure if folks would like to see my daily food, but then I’ve considered how much I enjoy seeing what others eat, so I’ve continued.  However, Katie mentioned in her post the other day that she’s starting to change up the way she presents her blog and it got me thinking all over again.  I figure the best thing I can do is ask you, the reader, your thoughts.  Are you bored with the format?  Are there things you’d like me to address that I don’t?

Before you answer, let me tell you what my hope for this blog is.  I explained a bit of my past food struggles in my “About Me” section, so I won’t go through it again.  But, I want to drive home one point worth mentioning again: I started this blog to help the everyday, average person who is trying to make small and simple changes to be well.  I keep overusing the term “ eating unpretentious food”, but it’s my hope to show my readers that you don’t necessarily have to shop in overly priced supermarkets.  We can all be well, so long as we are making the correct decisions and moving our bodies.  Every day, I hope to convey the message that I’m just a 20-something with a busy life and 9 – 5 job, who is just as tempted by happy hour as the next person.  It’s simply all about deciding where to give-and-take.  I hope my daily food logs portray this via pictures.

Once I discovered the world of food blogs, I was so amazed and intrigued.  I read (and still currently read) blogs from vegans, vegetarians, folks following gluten-free or raw diets, etc., etc.  I LOVE reading all of this stuff.  I find it so informative and I would never knock another’s way of eating.  Everyone must find out what works for them.  But, I know myself and am comfortable with the fact that I’ll most likely never restrict something completely from my diet.  I originally thought this made me not “good enough” to start a blog of my own.  Then, I discovered Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats and she quickly became one of my favorite bloggers because I could relate to her.  A light bulb went off for me and I realized that no matter what works for you, you can always related to SOMEONE.  Kristin happened to be the person I related to most and I’m simply hoping to be that person for you, if you happen to share my eating and fitness philosophies. 

When I first started the blog, I had so many BIG ideas for it (as I do with anything I tackle in life).  I wanted to review restaurants, come up with a ton of new recipes, scour the internet for interesting articles for your enjoyment, etc, etc.  I haven’t given up on these ideas, but I certainly learned in the first week that blogging is a tough hobby when you work full-time.  While my posts might look like the same ol’ thing every day, I actually put a lot of time into each and every one of them.  So, if they’re boring, PLEASE let me know.  I would never want to put this much time and energy into something that wasn’t beneficial.  Not to mention, I only have so much time to devote to blogging every day.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am working hard at keeping my time with Mr. KD my number one priority.  I’m trying to do the best I can with the amount of time I have to blog (about an hour a night).  So, please, leave a comment or drop me an email and let me know how I can improve!  I’d love to hear from you.  I only ask that you respectfully criticize.  I’m working hard here and there’s no need to be mean, people!!

Switching…

P90X ROCKED today.  I hit up the gym for a 45 minute sweat session on the ArcTrainer.  It felt great to stretch out my legs because my WHOLE BODY is sore from yesterday’s yoga!  When I got home, we got right into legs and back.  This workout was so kick-butt.  Mr. KD and I agreed it’s our favorite so far.  I have a love/hate relationship with leg workouts.  They’re always a killer, but you feel so accomplished after.  You know how I am about that “accomplished” feeling.

And again…

I just love starting the weekend :smile: It makes food taste THAT much better!

Breakfast consisted of one whole egg and a hardboiled egg white.  Accompanying these ladies was the remainder of my whole wheat pancakes from Easter.  These things held up surprisingly well!  Of course, they were topped with cinnamon apple goodness :smile:

I think I’m learning that eating one whole egg plus egg whites is one of the best things for me.  I don’t want to overdose on them, so I’m trying not to eat it every day.  I’m just noticing that on days when i have this for either breakfast or a snack, I am so satisfied for hours after.  Now that, my friends, is intuitive eating!!

Now can we talk about lunch?  I hit up The Chateau with a few co-workers, which is the same place I got my personal pineapple pizza a few weeks ago.  Remember?  Well, it’s the first Friday I could eat meat again and I was all over one of their delicious salads.  I noticed the “Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing” was new, so I had to learn more!  This salad came piled high with spinach, red onion, mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese (yes, please!), dried cranberries (double yes!), and crumbled bacon (Jess, you would have loved it even if it was a salad!).  You could have it as-is or choose a meat of your choice for topping. This was all served with warm bacon dressing. 

I’m sure the dressing probably made this salad, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat warm bacon dressing.  So, I customized my salad with some balsamic vinaigrette and marinated turkey tip.  Oh.Em.Gee.  I’m officially obsessed with this salad and will be begging anyone and everyone that knows me to go back for a lunch or dinner date.  The sweet marinade on the turkey tips (it was teriyaki-ish) coupled with the cheese and cranberries was TO DIE.  It also had the PERFECT amount of cheese and bacon.  There was about 2 tbsp of cheese and two slices of bacon.  It was enough to get a fix without feeling like it took over my salad.  It was very filling too.  In fact, so filling that I had to leave behind two tips.  Sad, but true.

Sorry about the crappy photo.  It was taken from my phone.

Mmmmmm….marinated turkey tips.  So juicy!!

This kept me full all afternoon.  However, right before I was leaving work, I decided to snack on the banana I had brought in.

I was off to the grocery store and I didn’t want to go hungry.  Know what I’m sayin’, kids?

Mr. KD informed me last night that he wanted to make homemade, individual pizzas for dinner.  I thought all day about what variety I wanted.  I decided I wanted to create a gourmet pizza with sweet flavors.  Think: figs and goat cheese.  I wasn’t sure what else I was going to do with it, but I had figs on the brain.

I searched far and wide for figs – fresh, dried, ANYTHING – and there was none to be found.  I solicited the help of the 16-year-old worker, who not-so-kindly informed me that figs are seasonal and only available around the holidays.  Well, duh!  I know they are most popular around that time, but I thought I could at least find them dried.  No such luck. 

I was stuck in the produce section to mope, feel sorry for my dead pizza idea and, consequently, think of a new combo.  I walked over the bananas and saw a package of dried dates.  I love dates and figured they’re naturally sweet like figs, so they might work.  I had the goat cheese at home (It should be a staple in everyone’s fridge.  I’m convinced of that fact.), but the pizza still needed something else, so I tried to think of all the gourmet pizzas I’ve had and loved over the years (there’s only been about 49,848,302).  A particular pizza stuck out to me that I had around Christmas.  It was loaded with figs (um, maybe the little kid WAS right?), prosciutto and arugula.   I almost bought the prosciutto, but decided against it.  I knew, however, that I had to have the arugula. 

Just today, Sabrina from Rhodey Girl Tests  posted a recipe for a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  I thought this would work PERFECTLY on the arugula, which I planned to top my warm pizza with.  I also envisioned caramelized onions on it.  This is mostly because I’m 110% convinced that onions make all savory dishes better.  I now had a game plan and was ready to roll.

This was, of course, until I got home and realized I hadn’t thought of a sauce for this pizza.  I wouldn’t have necessarily minded a no sauce pizza if I had gotten the prosciutto, but the thought of having dates, cheese and onions on bread without a sauce didn’t seem appetizing, so I got creative.  Inspired by Sabrina’s dressing, I mixed roughly (I didn’t measure, sorry) 2 parts balsamic to 1 part honey.  I then added 1 – 1.5 parts corn starch and whisked away.  I placed this in the microwave until a sticky paste was formed.  I placed this over my Boboli and then drizzle it all with more honey. 

From here, I caramelized the onions in a bit of olive oil on the stovetop.  When they were done, I placed them on my sticky balsamic mixture with some goat cheese and one chopped date.  I place this in the oven at 450 for 8 minutes.

While the pizza was cooking, I took Sabrina’s inspiration a step further to create a dressing for my arugula.  Again, I didn’t measure, but would guess it was 2 tbsp of balsamic with 1 tbsp honey.  I wisked this up and then added about 1.5 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of garlic powder.  I let the arugula sit in the mixture to soak up the flavor while the pizza continued to cook. 

When the pizza was done, I topped it with the arugula (discarded any dressing that didn’t stick to the leaves), a dash of more goat cheese and a handful of walnuts for some protein and healthy fat. 

I know this pizza goes against my more protein rule, but guess what?  I COULDN’T CARE LESS BECAUSE THIS WAS AMAZING!  I know I overuse that term, but oh my goodness.  I can’t believe that I created something like this on a whim.  From the balsamic sticky paste to the salty cheese, paired with the caramelized onions (they really made it) and peppery arugula, it was honestly SO DELICIOUS.  Let me put it to you this way, I generally stop myself at two pieces of these individual pizzas and I ate the entire thing without thinking twice.  So worth it.

The funny part about it is that I wished it had a salty meat on it.  The prosciutto would have been perfect!  Or, I’m thinking a crumbled bacon slice might be in order next time.  You guys know I’m all about vegetarian meals, but this was one time that I think meat would have taken it over-the-top!  I’ll remember that for next time because there WILL BE a next time! 

 

Look at that roasted fig!!!  I could honestly eat another one of these pizzas right now!  Thank goodness it was a small one!

Mr. KD and I also had a side of the Caesar Lite salad in a bag we like so much.

I picked up some Attune Bars at the store tonight and think I hear a chocolate mint one calling my name.  Actually, I don’t think.   I know.  There will be no pic since I’m eating it after I post, but it will be consumed. 

Okay, I think I’ve talked your ear off enough for tonight.  Have a good rest of your Friday!

Oh, and don’t forget to email me if you’re interested in becoming a guest blogger for me next weekend!  I think I already have two people line up.  C’mon!  I know you wanna :smile:

Question of the Day:  Do you like grocery shopping?

I am honestly a nut in the grocery store.  Even though I have a list, I peruse every aisle item like I’ll never see it again.  I compare and contrast labels and take my sweet time.  It’s not unusual for me to be in the store for 1.5 – 2 hours.  I know that’s ridiculous, but the time goes by fast for me.  I honestly love checking out new products!  I’m weird.  What do you want from me :wink: