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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dinner Tonight! (Or, All Because We Received a Cabbage.)

I haven't made a meal for Hunky Husband since we've gotten married.

I know, I know. The camp where we live and Zeke works provides three meals a day throughout the week, so I haven't done much cooking. Much eating, yes. But not much cooking.

Anyways, tonight there was no meal (being that it's Friday and most families leave on Friday nights...) and I had this cabbage.

Now, camp is a wonderful community. The people here are kind, caring, and generous. So generous that one of the camp volunteers gave us a cabbage. Actually, he gave everyone a cabbage. An overabundance in his garden resulted in his generosity- that, and he's just a great guy. As generous as the gift was, after he placed the cabbage in my hands, I thought, "What am I ever going to do with this cabbage?"

Answer: Citrus-Picante Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage!

Stick with me on this one. I saw the recipe on AllRecipes.com and thought it looked good, and not too tough. I did do a lot of tweaking, though, so I could use what we had on hand and so I didn't have to drive to the grocery store. I'll give you both the original recipe and also my version.

Pineapple-Picante Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage Original Recipe- Source: allrecipes.com

 1 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger root
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained, reserving juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
1 (2 pound) head green cabbage, cut in quarters and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup water

  1.  Stir the picante sauce, vinegar, ginger root, pineapple juice and cornstarch in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry until well browned. Remove the pork from the skillet.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until tender-crisp. Add the water and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cabbage from the skillet and keep warm.
  4. Add the picante sauce mixture to the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the pineapple chunks. Return the pork to the skillet and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve the pork mixture over the cabbage. 

Okay. So, here are some of my changes. I didn't have any rice vinegar, so I went with plain old white vinegar instead. No fresh ginger root, either, so I used ground ginger (and only used 1.5 tsp). I didn't remember to grab cornstarch, so I used a little flour instead, and I substituted olive oil for the vegetable oil. We had left over pork tenderloin (already cooked), so I grabbed some of that and cut it into chunks.

Then this is where things got crazy. I totally expected to find a can of pineapple somewhere in the camp kitchen, or at least a fresh pineapple, but nope. No pineapple to be found. So I used fresh oranges, some sugar, and a little apple juice instead. 

As I was making the sauce, I found that the recipe really didn't yield very much, and I know Zeke. He likes his sauces (he's that guy who gets forty extra ketchup packets at McDonalds). I ended up doubling the amount of sauce.

And, with all this going on, I didn't take any pictures. Blog sin. Forgive me. 

Citrus-Picante Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage Little Wife Style

 2 cups Pace® Picante Sauce (Mild)
  2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
4 oranges, juiced
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1 pound) cooked pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips (It would work with beef or chicken, too)
1 (2 pound) head green cabbage, cut in quarters and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup water

  1.  Stir the picante sauce, vinegar, ginger, orange juice, apple juice, flour and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on low.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in the skillet. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until tender-crisp. Add the water and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and stir as needed.
  3. Add the pre-cooked pork to the picante mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Serve the pork mixture over the cabbage. 

 Notes: The cabbage kind of acts as a crunchy noodle base to the dish, and the spicy picante sauce combats the cabbage-y taste really well. The orange gave the sauce an extra freshness. I think that this recipe would work great with any kind of meat- so that makes this meal a great one for using left over meats (grilled chicken, steak), as long as they're pretty plain, flavor-wise. I was worried that we'd have tons of left over cabbage, but it actually cooks down quite a bit; we didn't have any left over. 

Zeke's Consensus: Monthly meal! (Or whenever the cabbage crop comes in again)

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Little Wife Makes it Home!


So, I'm married! The wedding went great- everything looked beautiful, none of the fish centerpieces died, all my boutonnieres and corsages looked great, and we had a ton of fun! (More details, as well as more DIY tutorials to come!)

Photo Credit- Budget Impressions Photography

And now we're home! It was a bit of a process to get here, though...

On Monday, HH and I got back from our "honeyweekend" and opened up gifts at my parents' house. It's amazing how generous our families and friends are- we are so incredibly blessed. We got everything packed up into two vehicles (my Geo Tracker and HH's pretty red pickup, with the motorcycle on the back). I told HH that I wished we could drive together instead of separately on the way home.

We got about three miles down the road when I realized something funky was going on with the Tracker. In technical mechanic-speak, it just didn't have any zip. HH looked it over, drove it for a little, and couldn't find anything wrong with it. We decided to leave the Tracker with a mechanic buddy of HH's, and drove the truck home together. Apparently, I should be careful what I wish for!

We arrived home to a huge welcome sign on our door from the year-round camp staff (so sweet!) as well as a fruit bowl and a cheese platter! Yum! Zeke carried me over the threshold (aww), and we went to bed at about nine o'clock like an old married couple. Because we are now an old married couple.

On Tuesday, our moms came up to visit and see Hunky Husband's little brother play baseball. And also to help me unpack! Yay! Their help was SO NEEDED. It's a little overwhelming to combine mine and HH's stuff, as well as find places for all of the amazing gifts we've received! Even with the help of the moms, there's still a lot to organize and put away.

Of course, I look like this while I'm unpacking...

Lucky Zeke!
Yeah, right.

And I've been doing lots of laundry....

Again- yeah, right. 

Today, I'm taking a break from the unpacking, at least for a little while. Which kind of makes me feel like I'm not doing enough... but I need a little transition time, you know? Pretty soon, I'll be looking for jobs and working on name-change stuff... so I'm taking the morning off.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wedding Hiccups

Five Days To Go!

Here's a list of things that haven't gone as planned so far...

1.  One type of our beautiful centerpieces (see below) were made by Zeke- he's so handy! Unfortunately, I went to the store and bought, and then pre-lit, fifty tea lights that were a tiiiiiiny bit too big to fit! Apparently, tea lights are not one standard size.What? Who knew?!? And given that we live in a small town, our options for tea lights were a little limited. So we put out the word over church e-mail, and viola! Smaller sized tea lights!

(And, as an extra note, Walmart's tea lights come in different sizes depending the packaging amount. For example, the fifty-pack tea lights were too big, but we later found out that the twenty-four pack has the right sized tea lights. Same brand and everything! Crazy.)

2. We're having the reception at a church. We need 20 tables, which is just fine according to the janitor. The church just got new tables! But only 16 of them. And they're not sure where the old tables are at the moment, but when we find them, we'll just use 4 of the old ones.

3. Another of the centerpieces will include goldfish (and please, if you have a moral problem to using goldfish as centerpieces, understand that they'll be very well treated, and there is a home waiting for them after the wedding). However, the local store where we planned to get the fish is OUT. No goldfish to be found. They're getting them in on Wednesday night, and we're all going to pray that there are enough.

4. The caterer just called me. We're planning on grilled burgers and chicken as the entree, with a toppings bar, salad, green beans, and cheesy potatoes. We are going for a picnic-in-the-woods-by-a-pond vibe. Well... they don't have a grill. We can rent a grill from another place around town for an additional fee....

Um, wait. You said that we could do burgers but you don't have a GRILL?? I'm going to have to pay extra to rent a grill, on top of what I'm already paying for the food? AND I have to hunt down a grill (called one place already, they no longer rent out their big grill because of a lawsuit ...)?

It's either that, or we'll just have to have the meat cooked at the caterer's site and transported to the church. It's only a couple minutes away, so that might work...

Ugh. Five more days. Then I won't have to worry about any of this any more!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Budget Bride- DIY Corsages and Boutonnieres

Remember the tutorial about making fabric flowers? Wondering what to do with 'em? Well here it is! I used my fabric flowers to make boutonnieres and corsages for the groomsmen, dads, moms, grandparents, and other important people in the wedding. Here's how to do it!


    -Flower (the ones you made already!)- for the tutorial on these, click here!
    -Needle nose pliers/Wire cutter
    -Greenery (two small sprigs- I actually separated these from a larger bunch- more bang for the buck)
    -Floral Tape
    -Beaded wire (pre-made), or other little pretty thing (hair clips work well, or buttons... get creative!)

Step One: Add Greenery


I left a long wire on the flowers, because I didn't know how much wire I would need in the end. To add the greenery, I pulled little sections off of my bigger sprig. The leaf sections of my fake greenery have a hole in between the leaves- perfect to string onto the wire! I used two leaf sections for each boutonniere. Push up the greenery to meet the flower, so it looks like this:

Step Two: Add Beaded Wire (Or whatever you've decided to add)

 No matter what you want to add to your flowers, make sure that it has a long part to allow you to attach it to the overall piece. In my case, I used jewelry wire and beads, twisted them into a strand, and left a long tail of wire so I could attach them easily. It's really up to you and the style of your wedding what you'd like to use.

I then took two of the pre-made wires and lined them up on either side of the flower, making sure to keep the greenery pushed up towards the flower.

 Using floral tape, I taped around the base of the flower, wrapping the tape around both the flower wire and also around the ends of the beaded wire. This kept the greenery in place as well. Hold the flower tight as you do this so nothing slips out of place!

Continue to wind floral tape around wires about an inch and a half. This keeps everything more secure, and also makes your finished "stem" a little thicker.

Step Three: Trim extra wire

 You'll end up with quite a bit of extra wire at this point. I liked having lots of extra because I think it made wrapping the floral tape that much easier- more to hold on to! But I didn't like the look of the super-long stems.

 First, I cut off the unwrapped extra wire with my wire cutter.

Then, I bent the remaining wire up toward the flower, making the "stem" the length I wanted.

 I covered the entire stem with floral tape to hold everything together. Make sure to cover any pointy edges- no one wants to be stabbed with a flower!

Step Five: Prettify Beaded Wires

By this point, with all the taping going on, my beaded wires were pretty squished together. Using my fingers, I spread them out to each side of the flower again.

Then, I twisted each wire into a curl around my finger and pulled them gently to spread out the curl.

All Done! You can wrap the stems in ribbons, adorn them with sparkles... it's up to you! Be creative- they'll look beautiful and everyone will be impressed.

See? Beautiful!

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