Have I ever told you guys what happens when the cockatoo gets her haircut? It is the most ridiculous thing and endlessly amusing to me.

The husky doesn’t recognize her. And, you know, the first time it happened I thought it was just because she was a puppy and hadn’t lived with us long. But now, over a year later, it stills happens every single time. So Clementine got her haircut yesterday and all night Penelope was growling at her and wouldn’t let her near the food bowls.

After a day or two, she stops acting up and I never know if she finally realizes that it’s actually Clementine or if she just accepts the fact that an impostor has moved in.


I made one of my family’s favorites the other day and decided to finally share it with you guys. Swedish Meatballs! I have the worst time getting sour cream to melt completely into sauces which is why you’ll always see spots in any sauce I make with it. But it doesn’t make these meatballs any less delicious! I love love love them! My husband calls them “meatball stroganoff” and stroganoff is his favorite meal ever so I guess it’s a compliment.

Don’t skip the jelly! Sounds weird but the teeny bit of sweetness it adds is so delicious with the otherwise savory dish. I can never find the jellies the recipe recommends so I usually go with blueberry.

One year ago: Brownie Pudding
Two years ago: Farfalle with Bacon and Endives
Four years ago: Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients

1 large onion, grated (or very finely diced)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup milk
4-5 slices of bread, crusts removed, bread cut into pieces
2 eggs
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
For the sauce:
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream
Salt
2 to 4 Tbsp of Lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sauté the grated onion in the butter over medium-high heat until the onions soften and turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the bread pieces with the milk. Set aside for 15-20 minutes, or until the bread soaks up all the milk. When it does, pulverize the bread in a food processor and pour it into a large bowl.
  3. Add the cooled onions to the bowl of milk and bread. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients—eggs, ground pork, ground beef, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, pepper. Using your (clean) hands, mix well for about 2 minutes until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to measure out the meat for the meatballs. As you form the meatballs, set each one aside on a sheet pan or plate. You should get 40 to 50 meatballs.
  5. Heat 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, reduce the heat to medium and add some of the meatballs. Do not crowd the pan. Work in batches, browning them slowly on all sides. Be gentle when you turn them so they don't break apart. Do not cook the meatballs all the way through, only brown them at this stage. Once browned, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan, setting them aside so you can make the sauce with the remaining pan butter.
  6. Start the sauce. (Check the pan butter to see if it has burned. If the butter tastes burnt, discard the butter and replace with new 6 tablespoons.) Heat the pan butter on medium until hot. Slowly whisk in the flour. Stirring often, let the flour cook until it is the color of coffee-with-cream; this is a classic roux.
  7. As the roux is cooking, heat the beef stock in another pot until it simmers. When the roux has cooked until the color of coffee-with-cream, slowly add the hot beef stock a little at a time. Everything will sputter at first, and the sauce will seize up and solidify. Keep stirring and adding stock slowly, and it will loosen up and become silky.
  8. Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are completely cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  9. To finish, remove from heat add the sour cream; mix well. Either add the lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/02/13/swedish-meatballs/

2

Can we talk TV for a minute? I have to get this off my chest.

My husband and I finished Breaking Bad last week. I’ve heard so much about it over the past few years so I just knew we were going to love it. We kind of hated it. Well, we hated the first 3 seasons. It took us 3 months to get through them. I finally got really into it in the last episode of the 4th season. Like, really into it. Like, WE HAVE TO WATCH ALL THE EPISODES RIGHT NOW into it. And then when we finally made it to the very last episode? That everyone said was perfect? That everyone said they cried over?

It was stupid. And I hated it. And I wish I’d never even started the show.

Ugh. It was like LOST Part 2 for me. Super frustrating ending where nothing was really wrapped up.

I’ve given up on TV. Except I’m currently marathoning The White Queen (again) because I’ve been sucked into The Cousins’ War book series by Phillippa Gregory (again).

We really loved these Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing though. I tend to avoid recipes that call for ranch in places that ranch wouldn’t typically go. But this one appealed to me because the ranch is blended with green salsa and I am obsessed with green salsa. Plus cilantro and you guys know I’m also obsessed with cilantro.

The pork is slow cooked in a sweet and spicy mixture and was perfectly delicious on it’s own. My husband is really weird about tacos – he only likes ground beef with taco seasoning in his tacos – but he loved this and the next day he mixed up a bowl of just the pork and dressing and had it for lunch.

One year ago: King Cake Cupcakes
Two years ago: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three years ago: Banana Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Four years ago: Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

For the pork:
2 to 3 pound pork roast
3 cups Coke
1 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
For the dressing:
1 cup salsa verde
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup cilantro
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup sugar
For serving:
tortillas
shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Place pork in the slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, whisk together Coke, brown sugar, garlic, diced green chiles, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Pour over pork. Cook on low for about 8 hours or until the meat is easily shredded. Shred and place in a large bowl. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the cooking liquid over the shredded pork and stir.
  2. To make the dressing, put all ingredients in a food processor and process until the cilantro is well chopped and distributed.
  3. Serve in tortillas with cheese.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/02/10/sweet-pork-tacos-with-cilantro-ranch-dressing/

5

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese is the Paleo answer to everyone’s favorite pasta dish. 

You guys. I have gotten in the worst food habits lately. I can’t even tell you that last time I went to the grocery store for actual meal ingredients. In the past week alone, we’ve had Qdoba, McDonald’s, and Chik Fil A. It’s bad.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I put on about 10 pounds after my husband got home from Afghanistan and I lovingly call those 10 pounds my “wine weight” because I needed a whole lot of wine to survive those first few months. But then in the past couple months I’ve put on another 5 or so because of my crappy diet. Ugh.

So it’s time to buckle down and be one of those annoying people on a diet.

The Paleo diet has worked well for me in the past – but don’t worry, this blog will never be a Paleo blog – so I’m kind of going in that direction. It’s not something I can go longterm or even for every meal but I feel like going high protein, high fat, low carb is never really a bad thing.

This spaghetti squash bolognese is so good and definitely one of my favorite “diet” meals. It’s so rich that it doesn’t even feel like you’re eating something low carb. It’s got ground beef, pork, and bacon so it’s got plenty to keep it interesting.

I wasn’t a spaghetti squash fan for the longest time and then I got addicted to this Paleo Pad Thai when my husband was deployed and now I can’t get enough! I definitely recommend cooking it until it’s super soft – if it’s crunchy, I’m not eating it.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
salt & black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
3 ounces (1/2 small can) tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and inner portion of the squash, and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes—until the flesh of the squash becomes soft enough that the "noodles" start to separate from each other.
  3. Scoop the "noodles" out into a separate bowl.
  4. While the squash bakes: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Cook the onion, carrot, and celery until they soften just a little. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add the ground beef, pork, and bacon, and cook until no pink remains. Once the meat is done, add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and white wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  6. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste before removing the sauce from the heat.
  7. Serve over the roasted spaghetti squash.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/01/13/spaghetti-squash-bolognese/

 

4

I’m struggling these days with dinner. My husband is pretty strict paleo and I know the paleo diet would be good for my kids, but I feel bad inflicting it on them. I mean, I did about 5 months of paleo when my husband was deployed and well, that was enough for me. I no longer feel the need to deny myself the amazingness that is cheese. Or froyo. Or margaritas.

For the past few months I’ve been making a paleo meal one day, nonpaleo the next… and just repeating that pattern. The kids would eat sandwiches or cereal on the paleo days and my husband was on his own on the nonpaleo.

I finally figured out that all I have to do to keep everyone happy is cook a ton of meat and just use half of it in something delicious, like pasta or tacos or whatever. I am ashamed that it took me this long to figure it out.

So I made these for my kids last night and my husband had the remaining pork on a salad. The kids gobbled these up and they are complained that the sauce was too spicy but they kept right on eating.

The pork is slow cooked so it’s hands-off for the most part. At the end of the day all you have to do is shred it and roll it into tortillas with some tasty cheese. Mmm.

Two years ago: Bang Bang Shrimp
Three years ago: Funnel Cakes
Four years ago: Pumpkin Turtle Cupcakes

Pulled Pork Taquitos with Chipotle-Ranch Dipping Sauce

adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

3 – 3.5lb boneless pork loin
2 cups chicken brother
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces queso fresco, shredded (or Monterey Jack)
18 corn tortillas
guacamole and salsa, for serving
For the Chipotle-Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1 cup ranch dressing
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce + 1 teaspoon sauce

Instructions

  1. Put pork loin in slow cooker. Add chicken broth, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours. At least point pork should be falling apart. Remove it to a plate and shred with two forks.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray with oil.
  3. Wrap 6 tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for about 30 seconds to soften them. Place a heaping spoonful of pork on each tortilla followed by a spoonful of queso fresco. Roll and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat using the remaining ingredients. Spray the tops of the taquitos with oil.
  4. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
  5. While the taquitos are baking, make your sauce by combining the ranch, chipotle pepper in adobo and adobo sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/10/02/pulled-pork-taquitos-with-chipotle-ranch-dipping-sauce/

4

I realized recently that 1 pound of meat just isn’t going to work as dinner any longer in this house. Three growing boys plus a husband means this girl has been skipping dinner more often than not just because there isn’t enough! It usually doesn’t bother me but when I make something delicious and barely get a bite before it’s all gone, I get sad. And this meal made me sad.

You guys, it’s so good. I know the ingredient list looks like nothing special but I’m pretty sure I could’ve eaten this 5 days in a row without complaint. Y’all know I love pork and this pork was just spicy enough and had all my favorite Asian flavors. I’ve been hoarding recipes that call for Thai basil forever now because I’ve never seen in it stores but with my new herb garden I finally have access to Thai basil! Honestly, I’m not sure I could tell a difference between it and regular basil but it was fun to use it.

This pork is also incredibly quick to cook so it makes a perfect weeknight dinner.

One year ago: Almond Flounder Meuniere
Two years ago: Toureau de Chevre
Three years ago: Buckwheat Pancakes

Spicy Basil Pork

4 servings

Ingredients

1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 1/4 pound boneless pork chops, cut into 1-in. cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoons chili paste, like Sambal Oelek
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sliced basil leaves (preferably Thai)
white or brown rice, for serving
additional soy sauce and/or chili sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook 1 minute. Add pork and garlic to pan. Cook 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until meat is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, sugar, water, and corn starch together in a small bowl. Add fish sauce mixture to meat and cook 1 minute more or until mixture thickens slightly. Stir to coat entire mixture. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Serve over rice with extra soy sauce and/or chili sauce on the side.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/05/06/spicy-basil-pork/

8