Jun 242014
 

Over the weekend we had some house guests! Michael’s dad was visiting from Texas and my parents came down from Seattle to meet him. Unfortunately Michael’s stepmom wasn’t joining us, she was home in Texas. Michael and I have been together around 6 years now and yet it never quite worked out to have my parents come meet Michael’s dad. It took forever for us to schedule and coordinate a meeting with Michael’s mom and stepdad and they live in Portland! (You can read it here: Meet the Parents.) It just happened to work out this time that my parents were going to be in Oregon for something else at the same time as Michael’s dad’s visit. Finally!

On Sunday morning Michael, his dad and my dad went golfing together. I went for a quick swim and then came home to get ready for my mom and grandma to come over. They’d been at a party at my aunt’s house on Saturday. I fixed up a small snack-y lunch for the three of us to enjoy on the deck. It was a nice day, 80 degrees and sunny but there was a nice, cool breeze so it never felt too hot out there.

For lunch I made caprese and then put out some crackers, cream cheese and freshly smoked salmon my aunt made. It was so good! I love the fresh stuff and hers are the best. I also put out some stuffed olives and cantaloupe–just a few things to munch on.

IMG_0409

IMG_0413

It was so nice just hanging out with my mom and grandma. We talked about the wedding plans, Grammy shared some family stories I hadn’t heard before and we just relaxed. My mom periodically went out into the yard and play ball with Bella who was having a BLAST. She never gets sick of playing ball. ;)

IMG_0417
IMG_0419

The boys got home from golfing and Michael started grilling up the ribs. He’d seasoned them and wrapped them up the night before so they were all prepped and ready to go. While Michael was grilling, us girls played a game of Sequence. :) Now that was funny! My 92 year old Grandmother playing a board game… LOL

IMG_0420
I made a cucumber salad to go with the ribs. I’ve made a few different versions of the cucumber dill salad and while it’s always good no matter how you make it, I liked the previous recipe I made more than this one. Not sure why–maybe because I used fresh dill for this recipe? In the past I used dried dill so maybe that makes a different. Either way, it’s a refreshing summer salad that is really low in calories. This recipe is somewhere between 30-60 calories depending on the size of the cucumbers you use. I used three medium sized cucumbers and I also added some freshly chopped red onion–which was a good addition.

CUCUMBER DILL GREEK YOGURT SALAD

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 30-60 calories

From: http://shewearsmanyhats.com/2013/05/cucumber-dill-greek-yogurt-salad/

Ingredients

  • 4 large cucumbers
  • 4 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (substitute red or white wine vinegar if needed)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Peel, half, seed, and slice cucumbers.
  2. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Add cucumber to bowl and toss with yogurt/dill mixture until combined well.
  4. Additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  5. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=43151

I’m glad I went with a cucumber salad because it was a lot lighter than a pasta salad or coleslaw would have been. The ribs are so rich and heavy that you need a lighter side dish with it.

IMG_0407

Finally, the ribs were ready! They were pork ribs–Michael gets them at Costco. They are so good and so meaty! He did a great job grilling them. We used traditional flavored Stubbs BBQ sauce instead of the spicy (like we like it) but they were still great. I had a Ninkasi beer with dinner and we sat around the table. The first few minutes of dinner the guys were watching the last (unfortunate and disappointing) part of the US World Cup game and eating ribs so no one was speaking much. ;) The game was over and they shut it off and we had a great dinner just chatting about different things, family, travel, etc.

IMG_0427
IMG_0428

Mmmm! Nothing better than some red meat, beer and summer! After a leisurely dinner with cantaloupe for dessert (I forgot to make a real dessert!) my parents were heading back to Seattle. I got one last picture with Gram before they left. (She hates the camera.)

IMG_0432

Words cannot express just how much I cherished my Sunday afternoon. From noon until after 6pm I just relaxed and did nothing but spend time with family. I wasn’t frantically trying to check off the stuff on my never-ending to-do list, or messing with my phone, I was just present and spending quality time with people I don’t see nearly enough. I know the reality is my Grandma is older and won’t be with us forever. When I see her and see just how much she’s aged, it makes me sad. I WANT her to live forever. She’s 92 and will be 93 in December. She’s a feisty old bird!

IMG_0424

Lots of hugs goodbye and they were off to Seattle. Michael’s dad was staying with us for a few more days so the boys watched more sports (there’s always SOMETHING on…), Bella was one pooped puppy! I decided to have a little me time and read. Nice end to the weekend. :)

Share
May 232013
 

This post is about two recipes I made recently that turned out exceptionally well.

The first was a dinner made perfectly for a sunny, warm evening spent on a deck with a grill. The evening was cooling down after a record hot day and Michael had biked home from work. I got home from the gym and we relaxed outside with a glass of wine while it cooked. The side dish, Creamy Dill Cucumber salad, was really quick to make, kind of a lazy man’s tzatziki sauce.

I halved the recipe since I only had one cucumber (although it was a very large cucumber so….it might be pretty close to the recipe). Either way, my calculations make it about 160 calories for Michael and I splitting half the recipe.

Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 1 minute

Yield: 8

Calories per serving: 85-100

From: http://www.nutritiouseats.com/creamy-dill-cucumber-salad/

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place cucumber slices in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt and toss, let sit for ~20 minutes or until they lose some of their water. Remove cucumbers, squeeze and blot dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sour cream and vinegar until combined. Stir in red onion, garlic and dill.
  3. Add cucumbers and stir to combine. Season with black pepper to taste (optional).
  4. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour before serving.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=38556

I didn’t follow the directions exactly (it would help if I read the instructions first, right?) and skipped the step with the salt and cucumber. Oh well! It didn’t seem to matter. The cucumber salad was delicious and not soggy at all.

IMG_5052

I’d been marinating some chicken thighs in a store-bought lemon and herb marinade and even though it was store-bought, it turned out to be really, really good. I was happy with the end results.

IMG_5055

I definitely prefer to make my own marinades (and I’m pretty good at it) but this one was just fine and good for a work night when I didn’t have much time. The cucumber salad went well with the lemon chicken.  I think next time I’ll try it with plain Greek yogurt.

IMG_5055

Michael and I split the whole cucumber salad and it was delicious! Definitely staying in the rotation for this summer.

The second recipe was a crockpot recipe I found on a food blog. I had some frozen pork chops (from Costco) that had been cut in half so I used 4 thin pork chops instead of the 6 thick ones the recipe called for.

Easy Crockpot Thai Pork

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Calories per serving: 257 calories (not including rice)

From: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pork/easy-crockpot-thai-pork-2.html

Ingredients

  • 6 thick cut boneless pork chops-trim fat
  • 1 lg red bell peppers-chopped
  • 1/3 c prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 lg cloves garlic-minced
  • 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • FOR SERVING:
  • 1/2 c green onion-chopped
  • 2 limes-cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 c dry roasted peanuts-chopped
  • cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Grease crockpot or use a plastic liner.
  2. Place pork, bell peppers,broth, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and garlic in cooker. Cover and cook on low setting until pork is fork tender, 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove pork from cooker and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in cooker; stir well to dissolve peanut butter and blend with liquid to make the sauce. Return pork to sauce and toss to coat the meat.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls over hot rice. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts. Pass lime wedges, to serve with this wonderful dish.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=38556

It took about 15 minutes to throw everything in the crockpot and just let it do it’s magic. I did this one on a Sunday and spent the rest of the rainy day catching up on some TV shows while it cooked.

IMG_5352

I checked on it periodically and had some doubts about the pork. It was starting to look a little overcooked but I decided to just wait and see. About 30 minutes before it was going to be done, I shredded the pork, added the peanut butter and then mixed the pork back into the sauce.

The sauce thickened up nicely with the peanut butter and it smelled great! I started the rice cooker with some jasmine rice while I finished things up.

IMG_5354

I LOVED the flavors. The peanut butter was not overpowering and it wasn’t too spicy (next time I’ll add more red pepper flakes). I topped the dish with crushed roasted peanuts, green onions and drizzled some fresh lime juice on it. Everything went together perfectly. I loved how the peanut topping added some crunchiness to the meat.

IMG_5361

The red peppers were pretty decimated by the time the dish was done cooking. I might add them later in the process next time just so they don’t get so mushy. Michael loved this recipe. It’s definitely the kind I would make for a dinner party.

Using 4 thin pork chops got me about 4.5 servings total. I had leftovers for lunch the next day and it still tasted great. The pork wasn’t dried out like I had worried it would be.  It could definitely be done with chicken, too.

Both of these recipes were winners! I hope you give them a try.

Share