Love, Loyalty and Barbecue

Okay, so the words to the salute of the state flag in The Palmetto State are actually, “love, loyalty and faith,” but we’re talking about slow cooked barbecue goodness today. More specifically we’re talking about Mr. N’s state pick for the week, South Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

We learned quite a bit about the different styles of BBQ and BBQ sauce for the southeastern coastal state, the most important thing being that BBQ refers exclusively to pork. If you want barbecued beef, it’s called “barbecued beef.” Simply asking for barbecue, however, will land you a pulled, shredded or chopped BBQ pork sandwich. And then there are the sauces which vary by region and include mustard-based sauces, ketchup-based sauces and vinegar-based sauces.

This week we chose the slow cooker method for our pork – it’s easy and convenient enough for a weekday and we love the way it makes the house smell. We also went with the ketchup-based barbecue sauce popular in the upstate and Savannah River regions, thinking that would be more up the kids’ alley.

The day before we planned to slow cook the pork, Miss A and I prepared the barbecue sauce. We used ketchup, apple cider vinegar, salt, brown sugar and crushed red pepper. 

Continue reading

Vacation *Time*

Nearly nine weeks ago I set my watch to Eastern time for our vacation to Maine, and even though we have been back for nearly six weeks now, I have yet to set it back to Central time. I just like that when I look down at my watch I’m reminded of our family trip. I know one day it’s going to end up making me really late for something (like when the time changes this fall), but for now, it makes me smile.

So in honor of the Eastern time zone and family vacations, and because it’s nearing the official end of summer, we’re going to close out our Maine recipes this week. First up, a Classic Lobster Roll.

We prepared this dish from some of the leftover lobster meat we had saved throughout the week. I know you’re thinking, “Leftover lobster? Surely they didn’t leave any uneaten lobster on their plates!” And no, Mike and I certainly didn’t leave any lobster on our plates, but Mr. N and Miss A can’t quite finish a whole two-pound lobster just yet. (Although Mr. N can come close!) So, we chopped up the leftover lobster. Continue reading

Most Definitely Edible Mushrooms

On a recent hike, Mr. N and I stumbled across a very interesting looking yellow mushroom. The always curious Mr. N decided to pick up a book on mushrooms so we could learn more about it. I think knowing that some mushrooms are poisonous was interesting to him. Unfortunately, we didn’t take a very good picture of it, but the closest we could find based on our memory was the Hygrophorus vitellinus. However, it looked a bit like the image of the Death Cap we found on this page. As long as we’re not sure, we’re going to stick with mushrooms we know are edible–Portabellos!

These portabello wraps are easy and healthy and used to be a staple in our dinner routine for those nights we didn’t want to waste many calories, but one time I put too much black pepper on them and Kristy swore them off for a while.  After a long hiatus, though, she let me make them again. They’re good, healthy, and really filling.

Continue reading

Dishin’ Up a Little Honesty

In order to dispel any myths that we’re a super family that eats, plays and loves in some idyllic Rockwellian world, we thought we’d share some of our reality. While we love to cook and are having a blast with this worldly cooking adventure, we’re not gourmands every night. After busy days spent juggling work schedules, play dates, play time with the kids, homework, working out, paying bills, keeping up the house and lawn, and finding time to fit in friends and family, there are plenty of nights where our kitchen is anything but exciting. We’re talkin’ about dinners involving chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas, easy pastas and Subway. And dad and I are on a first name basis with the local sushi restaurant owners who we visit at least once every couple of weeks.

That’s why I love this next sandwich. It’s easy, healthy, wonderfully flavorful and a great option for a fast dinner on a crazy weeknight spent trying to juggle a three-year old throwing a tantrum because you helped her put a shoe on, a seven-year old who’s plugging his ears and screaming to drown out his sister, all the while trying to put something together because they’ve let you know in no uncertain terms that they’re hungry. So here is one of my favorite, honestly easy fall-backs inspired by a sandwich I ate at Greens N Grains on a girls’ weekend to Door County, Wisconsin – The Apple Cheddar Sandwich. Continue reading

It’s Always Sunny with Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Phanatic

This meal was all ChefDad, so he’ll share this one in his own words. 🙂

Today we head to Pennsylvania for Philly Cheesesteaks, and if Ribbie and Roobarb merit a spot on this blog, surely we can find room for a true legend among mascots–the Philly Phanatic. I’ve had a taste for a Philly Cheesesteak for the last couple of weeks, though I confess to limited experience with them. We did order cheesesteaks at the old Veteran’s Stadium back in 2003, though I suspect mom was too busy taking pictures of Kyle Farnsworth to pay much attention to her meal.

The internet’s not much help for cheesesteak recipes–it seems there is no universal formula beyond thinly sliced beef, cheese and bread. Nevertheless I felt confident as I began this undertaking, as mom said to Mr. N, “He’s been to Philadelphia once and he thinks he knows how to make cheesesteaks.” Yes I did. We settled on a set of toppings–onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. Continue reading

Don’t Miss Mr. N’s Raffle Prize (or this sandwich!)

Who doesn’t love a good raffle drawing?! Mr. N loves winning raffle prizes. He recently won a paddle ball and you would have thought he won the lottery. It therefore came as no surprise to us when Mr. N insisted on doing a raffle on our blog after discovering that other bloggers also have various kinds of giveaways.

So tonight we present Mr. N’s Raffle Prize drawing. The process is simple: Leave a comment to this post with a suggestion for an up-coming Stateside cooking adventure. (For example you could say, “Illinois and Chicago Style Pizza.”) Each commenter will be entered in our random drawing and Mr. N will draw the name on Saturday, April 30th at 5 p.m. CST. You can also earn bonus entries by sharing our site with others via Facebook, Twitter, or via your own blog by leaving a comment letting us know you shared the post.

As for the prize, well it’s not a paddle ball or millions of dollars, but since Mr. N has become a big fan of slicing and chopping we found these festive pairing knives with cutting board and a colorful, three-compartment serving dish. Both are perfect for serving some fresh fruit or chips and homemade salsa on a warm summer day! Continue reading