Monday, August 20, 2012

Crock-Pot Honey Apple Cinnamon Pork Loin

Crock-Pot Honey Apple Cinnamon Pork Loin 
I found this recipe on Pinterest and I was shocked by how easy it was! The original recipe can be found here.

Prep: 20 Minutes  Cook: 7 hours

Thawed Pork Loin, 2.5-3 pounds
3 sliced apples
Honey - Approximately 4 Tbsp.
Cinnamon- Approximately 2 Tbsp.


Slice the apples. 
Place the apple slices from two apples into the bottom of
the Crock-Pot.  Sprinkle them with cinnamon. 
Slice the pork loin into 1/2 to 3/4 inch sections.
(Use a different cutting board for the pork loin than
what was used for the apples to prevent food contamination). 
Drizzle honey into the slits. 
Place the apple slices in the slits and drizzle
the whole thing with honey. 
Put the loin in the Crock-Pot, cover with the remaining apples, and sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon.  The recipe does not require the addition of water to the Crock-Pot.  I was a little apprehensive about this, but I went ahead and left it in there without adding water.  The loin, apples, and cinnamon do make a lot of juice and it never came close to drying out the Crock-Pot. 
Cook on low for seven hours or until the internal temperature
of the loin reads 145 degrees with a meat thermometer.
Almost done! It smells delicious!
The final product!
The inside of the loin after cutting a slice off. 
We had a friend of ours drop off a few zucchini from his garden, so I thought I would use it with the pork loin. I decided to try and bake it, and it turned out pretty good! First, you will want to preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Then slice up the zucchini. I tried to slice the zucchini into even slices, but as you can see that didn't work out too well. Next, I lined a baking pan with waxed paper, then I put a thin layer of olive oil on the baking sheet. I then put the zucchini on the baking pan and used a basting brush to coat each slice in olive oil. Next I sprinkled the slices with sea salt, ground pepper, rosemary, and sage. You can probably use any spice you want on this and it would be delicious.  Next I put it in the oven for 20 minutes, then served it with the pork loin and a biscuit. 
I was disappointed that I couldn't find any nutritional info for this recipe, if I can come up with it I will be sure to post it.

After trying the loin, Adam did make the comment that he thought it was a little dry.  When serving it up for him, I asked if wanted any of the juice poured over the pork loin on his plate and he declined that offer.  However, I did spoon the juice over the pork loin on my plate and I didn't think it was too dry.

When I do this recipe in the future I will marinate the loin overnight in a honey, apple, and cinnamon marinade to ensure the loin is not dry when it is done. Another option would be to poke holes in the top of the loin with a fork and spoon the juice from the bottom of the Crock-Pot over the loin every couple of hours.

Now, wasn't that just too simple?  Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for improvement. Enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pharmacy Fact Friday

The Community Blood Center and the American Red Cross are in Dire Need of Blood Donations

There is a Nationwide shortage of blood and blood donations.  USA Today reported on July 30th that the Red Cross's national blood supply is at its lowest level in 15 years. The Red Cross attributes this shortage to severe weather and slow summer donations. Of the eight blood types, four of them only have a one day supply in stock. If donations do not pick up and the blood supply does not improve then elective surgeries may have to be cancelled.  If things get worse, then organ transplants will have to be put on hold.  Typically, individuals who need an organ transplant don't have much time to wait, so let's hope it doesn't get to this point.

What can you do to help?  If you are eligible to donate you can head over to a Community Blood Center or a Red Cross location and give the gift of life!

Who is eligible to donate blood? 
  • Individuals who are 17 years of age or older or who are 16 years of age and have a parent's consent. 
  • Individuals who weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Individuals who are in good health. 
    • A mini physical is performed before you donate to ensure you are in good health.

Facts about donating: 

  • Your blood donation can save up to three lives. 
  • You can donate every eight weeks if you give whole blood and every 16 weeks if you give a double donation. 
What are the major reasons people need blood? 
  • Cancer
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Emergencies such as car accidents and burns
Examples of how much blood is needed for theses events
  • Automobile accident- 50 units of blood
  • Burn- 20 units of blood
  • Heart surgery- 6 units of blood and 6 units of platelets
  • Organ transplant- 40 units of blood, 30 units of platelets, 20 bags of cryoprecipitate, 25 units of fresh frozen plasma. 

The above information can be found at the Community Blood Center's Website or the Red Cross's Website.  Please check out these sites for additional information on giving the gift of life!

Please, if you can, donate blood today, or in the next few weeks!  It is a rewarding experience!

See it's not so bad, I'm still smiling!

Adam was an overachiever and was able to
donate two pints of blood. 
Adam's donation took about 25 minutes because
it required the use of a machine to collect
a double donation. At this point he is eyeing
the Oreo's on the refreshment table. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Kansas Wheat Harvest 

This video is of our good friends, the LaRosh's, and they farm near and around Osborne, Kansas. This year they harvested approximately 1,900 acres of wheat and this video highlights what wheat harvest is like on a Kansas family farm.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day to just sit and watch this video.  Take in the scenes; the sunrises, sunsets, the rolling hills, the thunderstorms, the late nights, and the family working together to harvest the crop that feeds the world. Enjoy, and if you ate today thank a farmer!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cubed Steak Parmesan

At our house cubed steak is one of the cuts of beef that just doesn't get prepared too often. Right now we are getting down to the bottom of the freezer with our meat selection as we are trying to use up all of last year's beef before we get another one processed. This means we have several packages of cubed steak left to eat. 

Cubed steak is a tougher cut of beef, and it can be difficult to dress it up in a way that is desirable to the taste buds. Cubed steak is usually taken from the beef round primal cut. I wanted to know why cubed steak was so tough, so I did a little research and found out the reason for this. I found this information from Premium Gold Angus Beef:

"Knowing the part of the carcass from which a retail cut is made is  a good indicator of the relative tenderness of the cut, and can help in deciding which method of cookery to use in preparing the cut. For example, the shoulder is a highly exercised part of the animal, and contains greater amounts of connective tissue. A cut from te chuck is not expected to be as tender as a cut from the loin or rib, which are not as heavily exercised, and contain lesser amounts of connective tissue.  Likewise, the beef round is heavily exercised and therefore not expected to yield tender retail cuts. It is also important to note that the more tender cuts usually cost more, so the primal cut name can also be helpful when making economic decisions."

Graphic taken from Culinary Arts

 I came across a recipe the other night that called for cubed steak and it looked promising.  The recipe was cubed steak parmesan, and it was delicious!

The original recipe can be found at  I made a few modifications to the original recipe to cut down on the salt content.

Prep Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time:  45 minutes  Ready in: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Nutritional Information: 
Calories- 458
Calories from Fat- 259
Total Fat- 28.8g
Saturated  Fat- 10.3g
Cholesterol- 166mg
Sodium- 1250mg (this is the content from the original recipe.  I opted to not add any extra salt to this recipe, so this amount will be lower).

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
(the original recipe calls for a 1/2 teaspoon of salt here, but I opted to delete this ingredient because you get enough salt from the cheese and the Saltine crackers)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/3 grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 (4oz) beef minute or cube steaks
8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 1/4 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano, divided 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a shallow dish, stir together the flour and pepper.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and water with a fork.  In a third bowl, or shallow dish, mix together the cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and basil. 

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Dredge the cubed steaks in the seasoned flour, dip into the egg mixture, and coat with the cracker crumb mixture. Place them in the skillet, and fry just until browned on each side. Arrange steaks in a single layer in a greased casserole dish. 

3. Back for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.  Heat a pot of water to boiling for the spaghetti. Once it is boiling add your desired amount of pasta and cook until soft. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the tomato sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of oregano, and garlic powder.  Spoon over the steaks when the 25 minutes are up.  Top each steak with mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese; sprinkle remaining oregano over the top.  Bake for 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted, and the sauce is hot. Place the steaks and sauce over the pasta and enjoy!

Bon Apetit!!

All of the ingredients. 

Flour,  and pepper mixture. 

Crushing the Saltine crackers. 

The Saltine crackers, parmesan cheese, and basil. 

The line up. Coat the meat in the flour mixture, then dip in the
egg and water mixture, then coat in the Saltine cracker mixture. 

The steak after coating in flour. 

Next dip it in the egg. 

Last layer- coat in the crackers. 

Place in the hot frying pan with the vegetable oil. 

Brown both sides of the steak and place in a casserole dish. 

Meanwhile, mix the tomato sause, sugar, oregano, and garlic powder.

Cook the spaghetti while the steak is baking. 

Pour the tomato sauce over the steak and coat with mozzarella cheese. 

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 

Add a vegetable and a glass of milk and you've got an inexpensive
and tasty meal. 

Maybe I can get Adam to do the dishes.....
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