Tag Archives: Citrus

Pineapple Porkchops + Being in the Moment

31 Dec

My thoughts are all over the place. I planned on talking about Christmas and the New Year and all sorts of big, exciting things. But I spent last night waking up screaming from a series of nightmares, and it’s got me all jumbled. The BF is also a little jumbled after being jolted awake by my screams. Way to send 2012 out with a bang, right?

I went back to yoga yesterday after a long three-month hiatus. After a billion chatarangas and a few too long utkatasanas (a.k.a. chair pose, a.k.a. my misery), I was zoning out in child’s pose when our instructor started talking about being in the moment. She had a New Year’s theme, talking about how we make resolutions and spend too much time indulging today with the plan to work out tomorrow. And while an occasional indulgence is no problem — of that I’m a firm believer — it’s still important to be in the moment and be intentional. Stop making plans and just do it, you know?

I thought that was a great lesson, but what really had me thinking this morning was her comment to ‘be in the moment and stop planning.’ Bear with me as I pull all this wandering back together.  I remember having a few nightmares when I was a kid, but they really started in earnest about halfway through college. I realized that any stress I try to ignore during waking hours pop up as nightmares in my sleep. (Denial has long been my strongest defense mechanism.) So after a nightmare, I talk it out, trying to cope with whatever stress triggered it, rationalizing the nightmare away. This works great… when the nightmare is triggered by some specific stress.

I spent today’s early morning hours trying to figure out what triggered last night’s bad dreams, and I couldn’t come up with anything. I want to find something so I can deal with it and banish it, but I can’t. And it had me realizing that sometimes, plans don’t work. My standard coping plan isn’t cutting it. So instead I just let it be. I had a couple nightmares, I can’t explain it, it is what it is. I just laid in bed for a few minutes, letting the fear subside and my heart stop pounding while the BF held me, and then I told him about the dreams. Then I got up and made myself a cup of tea and started along my day. There’s nothing else to figure out. No matter how I plan or rationalize, I had some nightmares, and I will have more. Instead of worrying about it, I’ll accept that, and just be.

Now, I don’t know if I can ever stop planning. Most of my control issues manifest in planning everything and needing to know what’s going to happen next. But even if I can’t stop planning, I can at least try to be in the moment and be intentional.

So right now I’m in this moment — a cup of tea, the fire going in the living room, and this here blog. Then I’ll spend the day focusing on my moments as a cook up a bunch of freezer meals to last the next few weeks.

Yes, I just planned to be in the moment. So sue me.

And since I feel like I should share something aside from my personal issues, I’ll go ahead and throw in this recipe for Pineapple Porkchops. The BF made it for dinner the other day. I was quite impressed — it was pretty tasty.

Pineapple Porkchops

One-Skillet Pineapple Porkchops, adapted from Eating Well

3 Tablespoons apricot jam (or pineapple jam or orange marmalade)
1/2 cup+ pineapple-orange juice, divided*
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
4 fresh (or canned) pineapple rings, cut 1/4″thick
2 teaspoons butter
4 boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine jam, 3 tablespoons orange juice, ginger, and curry powder in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Measure 1/3 cup pineapple-orange juice into a measuring cup and set juice aside.

Heat butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Immediately turn them and sprinkle the other side as well. Cook the pork until browned, turning occasionally, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the reserved juice to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until pork is cooked through, 2-3 more minutes. Transfer to plates or platter and keep warm.

To the hot pan, add the pineapple slices, reserved sauce, and a little more thyme. Cook until hot and bubbling, stirring constantly, about 1-2 minutes. Spoon the sauce onto the chops and pineapple. Serve with rice.

* Use any combination of orange juice, pineapple juice, or similar juice to reach the necessary amount. If you use canned pineapple, you can use the juice from the can and top it off with orange juice. We used pineapple-strawberry-orange juice, because that’s what we had in the fridge.

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Citrus-Fennel Quinoa with Chickpeas

15 May

I made the healthiest dinner last night, and with all the citrus in there, it must have been jam-packed with vitamin C. And good thing – the BF was sick 2 weeks ago, then I was sick, and now he’s sick again. We apparently could both use a vitamin boost. As with most of my dinners, I found this original recipe online from thekitchn.com, and then I edited based on my own tastes. And also based on what I had on hand and what was cheapest at the grocery store. Instead of the original couscous, I swapped quinoa, since I already had some of that. And instead of lemon and orange, I went with lemon and lime, because those were on sale at the store. I made a couple other small edits here and there.

I started off with one lime and one lemon. I used a microplane to zest each of them and added that into a medium sauce pan. Then I juiced the lemon and one half of the lime into a large measuring cup. If you don’t have one, try this handy citrus press from Pampered Chef – it’s amazing. If you don’t have anything fancy to really get all the juice out, you may want to add another lime or lemon. I topped off the juices with enough water to make 1 1/2 cups liquid and added that to the sauce pan. I finished it with 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and cooked over high heat. Once it started boiling, I poured in 1 cup quinoa, covered the pan, and reduced the heat to a simmer. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t dry out.

I heated 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. I added 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks (about 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick). I cooked those about 10-15 minutes. Then I added 1 can (15 oz) drained chickpeas and the juice of half a lime. The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, but I didn’t have any, so instead I added about 1/4 teaspoon “French herb blend” and 1/4 teaspoon lemon garlic blend. But just add whatever you have that sounds good. Last, I finished it off with a couple handfuls of baby spinach. As soon as the spinach cooks down, it’s ready!

What did the Garbanzo say to the waiter? "Chick, peas."

Similar to rice, the quinoa is ready when the water is absorbed. If you’re ready to serve and there’s too much water, let it cook for a few minutes with the lid off. I served the chickpea/fennel blend overtop the quinoa and it was subtly delicious. If you’re looking for a kick-in-the-mouth flavor, go somewhere else. But if you want to appreciate subtle flavors delicately balanced throughout your meal, this is it. Also, this is super healthy, unlike the block of cheddar cheese I’m currently snacking on.

Dinner time!

We enjoyed some tzatziki sauce and pita bread as a little side dish. As a side note, I figured out a super easy way to enjoy this Greek yogurt dip whenever I feel like it. I ordered tzatziki seasoning blend from Wildtree, a company that sells all-natural foods through a Pampered Chef-style set up. You only have to use a little at a time, so it lasts forever – well worth the price. Then I buy individual servings of plain Greek yogurt, like Oikos or Chobani, which is a perfect size for just two people. Before I start dinner, I cut up half a cucumber in tiny teeny pieces, mix it into the yogurt with a teaspoon or two of the seasoning blend, and then it’s ready. It’s delicious and it’s the perfect amount. A lot of the pre-made or store-bought versions are too big, and I usually don’t finish them before they go bad.

Gotta get some Vitamin C up in here

Anyway, the meal was great. I will probably add it to my list of stand-by meals. I thought it was pretty easy to whip up on a weeknight. Bon appetit!

Citrus-Fennel Quinoa with Chickpeas adapted from theKitchn

zest and juice of 2 limes, divided
zest and juice of 1 lemon
olive oil, divided
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks (~ 1″ long, 1/4″ thick)
1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 handfuls baby spinach

Add the lime zest, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a medium sauce pot. In a large measuring cup, combine the juice of 1 lemon and the juice of 1 lime. Add enough water to make 2 cups total liquid. Pour the liquid into the pot and cook over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 cup quinoa, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes; fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and fennel; cook 10-15 minutes.

Add chickpeas, the juice of one lime, and coriander. Stir well. Add the spinach and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook 5-10 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.

Serve over quinoa.