Any Night Pork Tenderloin

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Many times when I think about pork tenderloin I think about barbecue, or a Sunday dinner after church, or a day when I have extra time to cook up a storm.  We don’t eat pork very often, so when we do my kids get excited.  I’m not really sure why I  don’t cook it more often, now that I’m typing that.  Pork tenderloin can be really affordable and tenderloins are usually nice and lean,  you can also trim off any excess fat if needed.  This recipe is  simple, quick, and affordable.  It’s great any night of the week.

I chose to bake the tenderloin in this recipe, but you can grill it as well.  Baking it means you can stick it in the oven, set the timer, and move onto something else.  This always works well when there are kiddos underfoot.

Ingredients:

  • 1.75 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 medium onion, halved
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (Balsamic vinegar also works well in this recipe.)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You can mix the marinade by hand or like I did in a blender.  If you choose to do it by hand, mince the onion and garlic ,and wisk the ingredients (except the pork) in a bowl.  Otherwise, toss everything into your blender and blend to form a paste.  You can taste to see if you would like to adjust the salt and pepper.  Pour the marinade/paste over the pork.

If you have extra time, you can let the meat marinate for 30 minutes.  If not, place it in the oven at this point.  It still bakes up with a lot of flavor.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Let the pork rest for 3 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

 

 

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What Am I Doing?

I was raised by a single mother. She was young when I was born. For the first few years of my life she managed to work full time and attend college full time. My hat still goes off to her because I was completely overwhelmed by motherhood, but in the end she left college her senior year.  There were many times she used her life and our struggles as a cautionary tale.  She wanted more for me and believed with all her heart that I was a smart and capable.

I loved theatre, but I was told that would be a great hobby, it was too unstable for a profession.  I should find an interest that would support me and should continue my education until I had reached the highest degree in the field.  Her goal for me was to always be self sufficient. She believed education was the way to make that happen. Graduate School and Professional School were goals I had before I even really understood what they were.

My pursuit of the right path for me wasn’t exactly a straight line, but I am sure that is true for many.  I did end up with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and considered continuing on for a Doctorate. I still think about it sometimes.  For a while my mother would ask when was I going back to school, because a Master’s degree was not the highest level.

Something happened in me when I received my infertility diagnosis.  Something everyone else seemed to be able to do so easily, I could not. It really changed my perspective on a lot of things.  I wasn’t sure about me being a mom, but I believed my husband would make a great father. It was heartbreaking.  When we finally conceived my decisions about parenting and motherhood had changed to some extent and took on a whole new meaning I didn’t even understand. Fast forward many years and now I’m a stay-at-home HOMESCHOOLING mom.  How on earth did THAT happen?

My husband and I never planned on living on one income.  We had always been a two income pursuing your passions kind of couple.  I wonder how much stress am I causing him?  He’s finally in a job he loves after many stressful years in a job he hated, but it’s come with many sacrifices.

Our entire family of five is completely dependent on him and it seems like something is always going wrong.  This is so far from our original plan and what my mother taught me.  I know lots of my friends look at me differently.  I don’t hear, “So when are you going back to work?” anymore, but there are jokes at times that don’t really feel like jokes, or reactions or comments. They won’t come out and say they think I’m crazy, but sometimes I feel it. Or maybe that’s just my paranoia.

The sad part is there are so many days I’m also looking at myself wondering too; How much money and time did I waste?  What the world God? Am I making the right decisions?  How do I know I really heard you? Are you sure it was me you were talking to?  You know I could have misinterpreted what you said.  Maybe I am just crazy?  How do you know it’s time to give up the charade?  I often feel like a fish out of water everywhere I turn. Who else feels like this?  What AM I doing???

 

Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

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We ate a lot of potatoes this past week.  Purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, and finally these mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes scream comfort and comfort food is what we go to a lot for Sunday dinners.  I don’t know what it is with kids, but mine LOVE mashed potatoes.  It is always one of those sides everyone is happy to have on their plates.

These mashed potatoes have a twist that won’t make you feel guilty for eating them or giving large heaps to your kiddos.  There is no butter or cream in these potatoes, but they are still creamy, tasty, and kid approved.  There is an extra step in roasting the garlic, but it is ridiculously easy for the amount of flavor it adds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8-9 potatoes, peeled and diced ( I used a combo of medium sized red and russets. You don’t need to peel the red potatoes)
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1/2 c. broth or more depending on texture (vegetable or chicken)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the head of garlic in an oven proof dish and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Roast the garlic in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

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Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.  Place the diced potatoes in a pot of water and boil until tender.  Potatoes are done when you can easily mash with a fork.    Drain the water from the potatoes.  Squeeze the roasted garlic from the cloves into you potatoes.

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Add the remaining 4 Tbsp. olive oil, parsley, broth, salt, and pepper.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or whip with a mixer. We had these alongside our pork tenderloin and Honey Balsamic Kale.

Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw is another quick side dish.  It’s even faster if you buy the pre-shredded cabbage and carrots, which I did this past week.  This recipe is a little lighter because it is not too heavy on the mayo.  You can also use Miracle Whip and it still tastes great.  The taste is just a little sweeter, so you may want to use less honey.  This same dressing also works really well with broccoli slaw.

We love the crisp crunch of coleslaw as a side for burgers, barbecue sandwiches, and even fried fish.  Although, that’s really the Tennessee guy I married. New Orleanians generally like a good potato salad with our fish, but that’s another recipe for another day.

Ingredients:

  • 1-16oz. bag of Shredded Cabbage and Carrots
  • 1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder

Place the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the mayo, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and onion powder.  Stir until well combined and add to the cabbage.  Stir until all of the veggies are covered in dressing.  Serve and enjoy!

Conviction

A few nights ago, my heart was convicted during evening devotions with my older kids.  The devotion was taken from Exodus 16. The reading was about the Israelites in the wilderness. They were complaining against Moses and Aaron for leading them to the desert to starve.  The Lord heard their complaints and decided to send manna and quail.

As I was talking with my children, I asked if it reminded them of anything or anyone.  My oldest immediately admitted it reminded her of herself and how much she has complained about our move to Georgia.  I had to confess she was not alone.  I felt God speaking to me about my own complaints.  I have often thought of our move to Georgia as my desert place, and in that moment I felt the burden of my groaning.

In verse 8 Moses tells the Israelites, “Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.” OUCH!  I’ve spent the last couple of years complaining against my husband for bringing us here and the losses I felt we’ve endured.  God is really the one who brought us here, so my complaints have actually been against him. Wow! Did that make me pause.

Just like he provided for the Israelites needs, he has done the same for us.  He has provided and continues to provide new friends.  He has allowed us to continue homeschooling, and provided medications and special foods for my children.  Many things we never needed before he has provided and more.  We have not lacked in one need, yet I have complained incessantly about our new life here.  I have complained about HIS path and HIS plan for our lives instead of being content and thankful for his grace.  Worst of all, I have led my children down the path of discontentment instead of demonstrating gratefulness.

Even as God provided for the Israelites again and again, they failed to follow his instructions. Boy, that sounds familiar! He told them only to gather enough for their daily needs.  Some gathered more and found the next day that it had spoiled.  Seeing this the Lord responded, “How  long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions?” (Exodus 16:28)

How long will I refuse to change my attitude?  How long will I refuse to submit myself to the Lord’s instructions and my husband’s leadership?  How long will I refuse to forgive?  How long will I refuse to respect?  How long will I refuse to trust?

God has made it clear many times that I must change.  “The Israelites ate manna…until they came to a habitable land;…until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”(Exodus 16:35)  They struggled a long time.  Lord, I’m tired of fighting your way.  I want to be at the border of my Canaan.  I know you have a Promised Land for me, if I will follow you and your commands.

Thank you for these words.  Here I am again asking for forgiveness.  Your ways are not my ways.  Your ways are so much better.  You have shown me that so many times.  Help me to release all the fears that have kept me from following your instructions.  I’m convicted. Now, I need to do something about it.

Turkey Burgers

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My son didn’t want me to give away his Turkey Burger recipe.  He said it should just be saved for him.  That is a picture of his plate with his loaded burger.  Notice the Avengers cup in the background.  This is my nod to him and his sweet possessive spirit.

My husband’s a beef guy, but sometimes I can get Ground Turkey on sale at a really good price.  Sometimes we make meatballs or spaghetti, but who doesn’t love a burger?  Combined with Sweet Potato Fries it made a fun Saturday night dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire  sauce
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1-2 eggs, use 2 if you have the leaner turkey

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and form into patties large enough to fit your buns.  Cook over medium-high heat on a greased griddle.  Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until you see the meet brown.DSCN2059

Enjoy with your favorite burger toppings.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Broccoli

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This side is too simple not to make!  Roasting the broccoli gives it this sweeter mellower taste.  It’s tender, yet retains a little of the crunch.  Two of my children will often just eat the florets, but when I roast broccoli they gobble up the stems and all.

Ingredients:

  • 1.75-2lbs. fresh broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the broccoli into manageable pieces. Grease a foil lined baking sheet or line with parchment.  Spread the broccoli on the sheet in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat the broccoli completely.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.