Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Something different: Chipotle-Grilled Pork Tacos

I am a big fan of food.  Eating it, reading about it, cooking it, reviewing it.  You name it, I love it.  So tonight when I was cooking one of my favorite go to recipes, Chipotle-Grilled Pork Tacos, I thought "Why haven't I put this on my blog so everyone else can enjoy it too?"


I like this recipe for a few reasons.  First, it came from an America's Test Kitchen magazine full of recipe cards for 30 minute meals.  It really is fast and there is very little preparation or clean up.  Second, it's healthier than my usual taco fetish.  When I eat tacos, I do it up right.  Beef, sour cream, avocado, lots of cheese, and of course a fried tortilla, and tons of calories!  This version of tacos is a little healthier in that the tortillas are charred on the stove, the pork is lean, and there are not a ton of extras.  Third, this recipe is very pantry friendly.  I keep the pineapple and chipotles on hand in the pantry or freezer (chipotle in adobo freezes really well in a ziploc bad and you can get enough to make this recipe 3 times from one little can!), I buy pork when it is on sale and freeze it, and I usually have some variation of the other ingredients in the fridge.  The recipe calls for green onions but I have substituted shallots, red onion and yellow onion without issue.  As for the pork, the recipe calls for pork tenderloin and it works great, but it can be pricey and usually a whole tenderloin is too much for me and the hubby.  I regularly substitute boneless center cut pork chops that I buy in a bulk pack.  They freeze well, defrost quickly, and taste great in this.  Fourth, its economical.  If you shop smart (and I'm not even good at it) you can easily feed three people for about $10!  Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, the husband really likes these.  They are a regular request.  So without further ado:

Chipotle Grilled Pork Tacos
Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Chipotle-Grilled Pork Tacos
From the June/July 2008 Cook’s Country
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained and chopped 1/4 cup
juice reserved
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 (8 oz) bag coleslaw mix
3 scallions, sliced thin
salt
2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 to 2 lbs total), sliced in half lengthwise
12 corn tortillas
1. Whisk mayonnaise, pineapple juice, cilantro, garlic and chipotle in a large bowl; reserve 1/4 cup mayonnaise mixture. Add pineapple
chunks, coleslaw mix, scallions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to bowl with remaining mayonnaise mixture and toss to combine
2. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt. Rub with
reserved mayonnaise mixture and grill over hot fire until browned all over and meat registers 145 degrees; about 6 minutes. Transfer to
cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
3. Grill tortillas over hot fire until lightly charred, about 15
seconds per side. Slice pork thin, arrange on tortillas, and top with
coleslaw.
Serves 4
Note:  These are very tasty served with a little cheese and some lime.


Give them a try and let me know what you think.  I'm eager to hear your reviews.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekly Challenge #55

This week the Diva's Challenge was to use the logo from the Moebius Syndrome Foundation as our string for our tile.  The Diva's son has Moebius syndrome and she is trying to increase awareness.  January 24th is Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day and she is encouraging everyone to wear purple of some sort to increase awareness.  

As for the tile, I decided to print out the template she provided and transfer it to a tile using some pencil lead and an embossing tool.  I thought that this tile cried out for simplicity so I decided to just focus on two tangles, Limpet and Flux.  I really love the result!

Tangles:  Limpitz, Flux
Also, the Diva's blog has been nominated as 2011's Most Fascinating Blog in the teaching category!  This is a very exciting honor and I am doing everything I can to ensure a win.  Voting is taking place until January 26.  I would really appreciate if you would go to the link here and vote for iamthedivaczt.blogspot.com.  There is no signing in, no answering bunches of questions, its just one click and your done.   Thanks so much!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Purple Haze

This week the Diva decided to challenge us with a little bit of the color purple.   It has been a while since I mixed it up with some color so I was up for the challenge.  I considered using pens but didn't think I had enough options in my arsenal, so I thought about using my watercolor pencils but then realized they were in the car.  And the car was outside (where else would it be?).  And outside it was cold.  And inside it was warm.  OK, no watercolor pencils for this one!  A few weeks back I purchased a set of Angora watercolors and thought this might be a good time to break them in.  Now, I know only a little about color theory, and even less about watercolors so I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants.  I started by creating some overlapping circles.  I then used my water reservoir paint brush (I love that thing) to paint one of the circles using a true purple from the palette.  From there I just put a whole lot more purple on the palette and began adding one color, then painting the next circle.  I then added another color to the previous mixture and painted another circle so that all the circles were just variations of that first purple.  I waited a few moments for it to dry and then tangled and shaded it. 

Tangles:  Snookums, River, Tortuca, Flux,
Twilight Zone, Skeins, Limpitz, Printemps,
Ramy, Worms, Rain, Onamato, Black Pearlz

I loved all the variation I was able to get from the watercolors.  Because of my inexperience the color was a little uneven and it ended up working like unintentional shading.  I think it gives the tile a lot more character.  Now that I have gotten over my fear of working with "real" watercolors I think I might go a little bigger and try a ZIA.

What is your favorite color medium to work in?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Undine

This week the Diva challenged us to use her new tangle, Undine.   Even though I tend to lean towards the organic tangles, I really ended up liking this geometric one because it allows for a lot of tangleations and has plenty of little spaces that you can fill in.   But the real reason I love this tangle is because of the name.  It is a tribute to the Diva's husband and her Undine love for him.  Get it?  How cute is that?


And while I am on the subject of the subject of the Diva's family, I just want to make a quick mention of her son Ozzie who has an extremely rare neurological condition called Moebius syndrome.  He is one of the cutest little guys you will ever see but Moebius syndrome affects the development of the cranial nerves making him unable to smile or frown.  He also has difficulty with sucking and swallowing making it difficult for him to clear his own airway.  What would be a simple cold for most of us easily turns into a hospital stay for Ozzie.  His parents are hoping to attend a Moebius syndrome convention in Philadelphia later in the year and are in need of a little assistance to make it happen. There is a link about it here.  Even if you can't contribute I know the Diva would be thrilled if you took a minute to educate yourself about the syndrome and get the word out so we can increase awareness, and hopefully funding for treatment.  

Tangles:  Undine, Crescent Moon, Printemps,
Rick's Paradox, Enyshou, Chemystery

Now, back to our tile already in progress.  I started with Undine and then filled it with Printemps and Rick's Paradox.  Crescent Moon seemed like a natural fit and Enyshou provided the bit of movement that I felt this tile needed.  I saw this tangleation of Chemystery on someone's blog and wish I could credit it but I'm not sure where I saw it.  

Overall, I liked the finished piece but I think I need to give Undine another attempt and see what I can come up with.  What? An excuse to tangle?  Like I really need an excuse.  What did you do with Undine?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year and some alphabet soup

I hope everybody had a fabulous New Year!  The husband and I met up with some friends for dinner and a few drinks.  A pretty low key evening but just the way I like it.  Like many people I have been reflecting on the past year and making plans for the one ahead.  A few weeks ago I went to a seminar called Making Your Mind Magnificent.  The speaker Steven Campbell suggested against resolutions and instead suggested that we give ourselves affirmations each day.  Affirmations can be a tricky thing because when people hear about affirmations the connotation is not always positive.  Mr. Campbell's approach was different than what I have heard in the past so this year I will be working on affirmations instead of resolutions, but as he suggested I will be keeping most of them to myself.


One of the things I am going to try this year is to take new strides in my creativity and my art.  In order to be successful I needed to start with some cleaning.  What better way to start the new year than with a clean workspace.  I am very fortunate to have an entire craft room to myself.  Last year I had a small jewelry show and I never really "cleaned up" from it.  I have literally been opening the door for the past year and just throwing things in.  Part of the issue is that I discovered Zentangle and who would rather clean than Zentangle!  Surely not me, so the cleaning and organizing of the craft room got put on the back burner.  This week my crafting buddy Sudahlia and I decided it was time to make a fresh start and I have to say, the results were pretty awesome!

Before

Before

After

My new ribbon wall.  A few command hooks, some chain,
and a few wood dowels.  Voila!

After

Ultra organized

A clean floor.  Ahhh

Now that it is a new year and I will also be attempting to blog on a more regular basis.  I have so many ideas swimming in my head and just need to find a way to get them out in a more efficient manner.  So on that note, I want to post my response to Sue Jacobs Alphabet Soup Challenge.  Sue Jacobs, CZT , posted a challenge about a month ago titled Alphabet Soup.  The gist of the challenge is that you create tiles using tangles,  in order, that start with each letter of the alphabet.  I decided to add a few extra rules of my own to increase my tangle knowledge.  Here are the guidelines I set for myself:


  • I only used official Zentangle tangles.
  • I only used tangles that I had never tried before.
  • I had my ambulance partner Jenn (she has a great new blog called Girl Defying Gravity), pick all the tangles for me sight unseen just to make it a little more challenging. 

Here are the results:

Tangles:  Avreal, Beelight, Cyme, Dyon

Tangles:  Enyshou, Floo, Gneiss, Hazen, Ibex

Tangles:  Juke, Knase, Locar, Man-o-Man

Tangles:  Nekton, Orlique, Pepper, Raddox,
Sampson, Tortuca

Tangles:  Umble, Vitrivius, Warble, XYP, Ynix, Zander

I think this challenge probably deserves a revisit.  Next time I'm going to attempt it using all non-official tangle patterns.  Thanks for the challenge Sue!
 

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