Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cucumber and Mango Salad with Chili-Spiced Pork

Main dish salads are a nice change for light summer suppers.  I've been having fun trying new recipes, mixing veggies and fruits with meat, poultry or fish, and tossing up something cool and refreshing for hot summer nights.  Following is a recipe I tried last night and it was a hit with everyone.  The dressing is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy with just a hint of spicy.

Cucumber and Mango Salad with Chili-Spiced Pork

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless pork chops (3/4 to 1 inch thick, about 1 lb. total)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
4 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 English cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

1. In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium. Pat pork dry and season with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon chili powder.  Cook until pork is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes, flipping once.  Transfer to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil.  Let pork rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, honey and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add mango, cucumber, and lettuce and toss to combine.  Divide salad among four shallow bowls and serve with pork.
                                                                  ~~~From Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine.

I'm linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for "Cooking Thursday."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Favorites

A book just finished -- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vorghese, and a brand new book arriving in the mail for a blog review next month. 

For the third week in a row, my husband has been traveling for work.  I always carefully mark the kitchen calendar, noting the flight times on the day he leaves and the day he arrives home, my touchstones for when the house will return to some semblance of normalcy. This week, the familiar "LV (time)" marked Monday, and my hastily scrawled arrow covered the remainder of the week up until Friday, with no note on the arrival time.  He phoned yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. To say he was on his way to the airport.  "Coming home tonight?"  Hallelujah!

Back porch conversation with Oldest Son.  Sharing with him my tears of frustration over the never-ending antics of the Girl Child.  "A teenager on steroids," I sniff.  "So, be the Mom on Steroids," he replies.

Two hundred acres of Open Space a short walk from my house.  Strolling through fields of wheat, listening to birds chattering, a soft breeze playing in the highest branches of cottonwood trees.  The sound of my feet on the gravel path.  The solitude is delicious.

BLTs and iced tea with lemon.  We live on these in the summer.

I'm linking up with Susanne and Friday's Fave Five.  Join us?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lazy days

 I was sure it had been a month since I last posted on my blog, but I see it's only been a couple weeks.  Graduation already seems so long ago!  We are now knee deep in summer. 

The geraniums are potted and thriving on the front porch.  The freezer is packed from the last trip to Costco -- meat, fish and poultry for barbque, including hamburger and brats and buns.  Also, popsicles and of course ice cream with sugar cones in the pantry.  Because what is summer without spending evenings eating dripping ice cream cones, melting faster than we can lick them, while we're all gathered on the back porch?

My mornings consist of early rising (so much easier when I don't have to be up) and an hour on the back porch, with coffee, journal and a new favorite devotional book.  The kids all get to sleep in, but not for too long as this is the first summer that all three of them have jobs!  Joe has been working full time since last fall, Luke is coaching for little league baseball camps and Emily has a job with the city as a Junior Ranger -- cleaning up parks and gardens.  Hard work, but at 14 she's thrilled to be making money!  It's only half days, for five weeks, as the city tries to give as many kids as possible an opportunity to work.

All this, and baseball and softball games and practices.  On Wednesday, I realized I had been at games or softball practices for nine days straight. Hauling the cooler which is filled with water and Gatorade and assorted snacks, and my new lawn chair that has a footrest and umbrella.

Last weekend, Emily  had a tournament in Colorado Springs and Luke had one in Denver.  So, Dan and I split up, he took the one close to home since staying in a hotel is somewhat of a busman's holiday for him. Emily and I splurged on a nicer-than-usual (for us) hotel and had a girls' weekend.  Such fun!

I am trying to savor each and every moment of this season of bright sun and outdoor time and playful days..  With the help of this book, this summer will be an exercise in living in the moment versus rushing through each day.   It's one of those lessons that I need to learn and relearn and take remedial courses. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is my morning reading, along with my favorite Oswald Chamber's Daily Devotional "My Utmost For His Highest."   I love it when something I'm reading in one reflects the other.  And I need that.  A nudge in the side and a hit over the head at the same time, as if to say, "did you get that?"

I hope to get back to posting some more, but the lazy days of summer seem to be taking over many areas of my life.  You should see the laundry room!

Til next time . . .

Sunday, June 5, 2011

18 years flew by

This weekend my family was together for the third graduation in as many weeks.  Two of my brothers and I have children who graduated from high school.  It has been a lot of fun, gathering with my family every weekend, and knowing when we said goodbye, it would only be until the next party.  We all live in Colorado, but not in close proximity to one another.  Saturday was a culmination of all the parties and we made a long weekend of it, staying in beautiful Grand Lake.  Here's a photo from the deck of the lodge:

A picture that has been running through my mind is one taken 18 years ago, when the "three amigos" were all less than a year old and we were at a family gathering.  Someone had the idea to sit them in my dad's lap.  There he sat, with arms full of infants, one squriming (Brandi), one looking slightly confused (Luke) and another posing pretty (Elsa).

And here they are today:

All three of them will be attending college with athletic scholarships.  Luke graduated first, two weeks ago.  He is actually the youngest of the three kids, by just a month.  You've heard me gush on about him a lot these past few weeks.  He will be attending Lamar Junior College this fall, playing baseball and studying Criminal Justice.

My niece Brandi (in the middle), the oldest of the three by a couple of months, graduated the next weekend.  She is an awesomely, incredibly fast runner -- lithe, petite, brown-haired and beautiful.  She will be studying business at the University of Tulsa, running track and cross country.

And this weekend, my niece Elsa received her diploma.  She is tall, blonde, brown-eyed and gorgeous. Elsa will be attending the University of New Mexico playing volleyball and pursuing a career in nursing.

They are all three just great kids and I loved being able to celebrate each one.

Just for fun, here's a photo of me with my three brothers.
Mark (Elsa's dad), Andy (Brandi's dad), me, and Matt (father of Tommy, my favorite 6-year-old). I have so many good memories, growing up with these three. And I love that every time we get together, we just keep making more.