Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet and Sour Crockpot Pork

Yes, it is that time again - Monday!  Which means New Recipe day around here.  Thankfully, this weeks recipe was also a success!
Sweet and Sour Crockpot Pork

Serves 4-6

5 boneless pork chops
1 Tablespoon oil
1 can (15 oz) crushed pineapple (with juice)
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon quick-cooking Tapioca *
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Hot, cooked rice

In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil on both sides.  Drain fat.  Transfer to crock pot.  In a bowl combine remaining ingredients (except rice); mix well.  Pour over pork chops.  Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.  Serve over rice.

Yes, in the picture it looks really "saucy" but I found that it wasn't once we dug down into the rice. 

* I did not use quick-cooking tapioca.  It is used in this recipe as a thickener but when I priced it at the store a box did not fit into my weekly budget.  I used cornstarch instead.  I have a feeling that the tapioca would have made the sauce even thicker but it seemed fine with the cornstarch.
* I love crock pot meals that require very little work - I'd prefer not to even have to brown meat (whats the point in using a crock pot if you have to cook first?) but find that I like pork browned first so you get that nice crust. 
** I served this is with freshly steamed broccoli and garlic bread - it was VERY yummy!!

** This tasted very similar to sweet and sour pork; Chinese style.  The difference is that the pork is not breaded.  I have another recipe that tastes exactly like Chinese food but it calls for a lot more sugar so I think I prefer this one!  You could lightly bread the chops in flour before browning them to give them more of that specific flavor.

31 in 31 - Day 20

This is a face you seldom see . . .little Nate.  He is never serious, never!  If the camera is out, he is grinning from ear to ear just waiting for his picture.  If I"m not pointing the camera at him he comes racing from where ever he is at to get his picture taken.   How could this NOT be the picture of the day?

Teaching the Little Ones

I find it kinda funny how God brings things into your life at just the right time.  Since Josh was born, I had been searching online here and there to find a "curriculum" to introduce and incorporate in our day.  I never found anything.  I'm sure at the time God laughed and said "You want to add something ELSE to your day?" Now, when I actually have the time to write lesson plans, create teaching helps and actually "teach" - I have found a fantastic website.  We will be starting "school" after Labor Day.  (Even Nate!)  Now, don't panic - I'm not trying to get my kids reading by the time they are two or push them through school; instead this curriculum is a precursor to the author's older curriculum that is designed to help kids learn their letters.  Each plan covers two weeks and the majority of items (especially for Nate's age) are things you just incorporate into your daily routine.  She covers all topics - Literature (reading the same book every day for a week - kids love repetition!), Bible - a new Bible verse or, for the younger ones, a Bible story based on a rhyme, each week,  Nursery Rhymes, Speech and Vocab. (explaining every day things at bath time, meal time and play time), Indoor Games (for the 1 year old), Classical Music to listen to, Singing Children's songs, Exercising, Arts and Crafts (age appropriate) and even a foreign language. Plus sign language, Nature Study, Musical Exploration, Puppetry and Art Appreciation for the 1 year old.  The babies also get some baby massage thrown in!  Her suggestions/ideas/plans are so simple and just over all great ideas.  Plus - all of her lesson plans are free.  Yes!!!  Free!!  She gives ideas for literature but I am picking books off our own shelves and incorporating them; I got books from the library to help with some activity ideas, and I also plan on checking out the recommended book for Art Appreciation from the library as well (if I don't have it).  Most of the music you can find on youtube (either playing it that way daily or finding a CD to play) I also plan on "substituting" a Children's Worship CD in place of some of the lullaby's - especially for Josh since he loves music so much.  (He is shaking his booty to Jaci V. as I type this LOL)

I am starting Nate right out at the 8 month level but have decided to start Josh at the 18 month level for no other reason than it looks fun and will carry us through to March.  Than I'll move on with this same curriculum through Sept.  I may continue to use this or, I've also been looking at another curriculum to start with him a year from now. I believe kids should be kids - they will be in school for a long time - but we have alot of hours to fill at home and this particular "help" gives some awesome ideas and direction to use with kids.  Plus as with everything - use what you like and ignore the rest :-)

Feel free to check it out :-)