I learn something every time I make a new type of cake. I have never made the same cake twice though, so applying my lessons is somewhat of a challenge. I do have a couple more cakes to make in the coming weeks, so if some experimentation proves successful, I'll share a tip with the next round of cake pictures. Hope your week has gotten off to a wonderful beginning!
Tastē Tuesday: Last weekend we celebrated a 1st birthday for a little sweetheart in the family. I was privileged enough to provide the cake.
Tastē Thursday: This is a great, versatile pulled pork recipe. There are a few things I love about it...in the winter it is cozy and homey, in the summer it is casual and easy, it can be used as an appetizer or a main course. Hands on time is minimal, but when you bite into it, you would think that the cook spent the entire time roasting and seasoning the meat! It can be made ahead as well, so don't hesitate to give this one a try.
ALABAMA PULLED PORK SANDWICHES W/ WHITE BBQ SAUCE
adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh pepper
Dash of salt
1 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
Fresh lemon juice for desired consistency (about 1 teaspoon)
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces if you have a scale)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato (about 3/4 pound)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons light butter, melted
2/3 cup fat-free milk
Prepare sauce: Combine first three sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar. Add remaining, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar for desired consistency. Cover and chill.
Prepare pork: Cut pork in half lengthwise; cut crosswise into 2 1/2-inch chunks. Combine apple cider vinegar and remaining pork ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Add pork to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender. Remove pork from cooking liquid; shred with 2 forks. Place pork in a serving dish; pour cooking liquid over pork.
Prepare biscuits: Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine potato, sugar, butter and milk; stir well. Pour over dry ingredients; stir until a soft dough forms (dough will feel sticky). Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead lightly 5 to 6 times. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle; cut 24 biscuits with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. You'll need to cut and then re-roll scraps and cut again. Place biscuits on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove biscuits from pan; cool on a wire rack.
To assemble sandwiches, place pork and a dollop of the white barbecue sauce in between two biscuits.
*To prepare this meal in advance, make the sauce and refrigerate, bringing to room temperature if desired before serving. Biscuits can be made a day or two ahead of time as well; store in an air-tight container. Pork: cook according to recipe and refrigerate it in the braising liquid. Gently reheat prior to serving.
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Thoughts for Tuesday~ A few days ago, a beautiful spring Saturday, was one of those days when everything seemed right with the world. The birds were singing when we woke up, we had a busy day but it was full with only enjoyable activities, and at the close of the evening, we enjoyed a sunset on the back porch with two tired but happy boys and a family who had spent almost the entire day outdoors!
The only thing that wasn't right was that most of the day wasn't spent together. I had one of the little guys, my husband had the other little guy. Little boy #1 and his daddy were on the first motorcycle ride of the season. This is what little boy #1 likes to do...it is one of the few activities that he has specifically requested...his dream come true.
But, motorcycle riding is not a family affair. If little boy #2 and I had somehow tagged along it would have been a very long car ride for the two of us with a stop for breakfast and lunch...not the picture of bliss that I just described above. So, little boy #2 and I went to Gravelly Point Park, watched the planes roar overhead as they took off from Reagan National Airport, picnicked by the Potomac, and played soccer until we ran out of water and had to return home. “To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” - Jane Austen If little boy #1 had tagged along for our adventure, he would have probably gotten hot, which is quite a miserable condition for him, and very bored...quite a miserable condition for the rest of us.
This conundrum begged me to ponder our perfect day with a touch of sadness and wonder if this is how life with little boy #1 is going to always be....happiness with a tinge of hurt.
I hold onto the hope that two options will occur as we continue to travel this road. Either we find a family activity that carries us through many perfect days together as a family or we are blessed with a circumstance that we are going to experiment with in a few weeks...we have a big outdoor event in mid-May. Instead of trying to do the impossible and keep up with little boy #1 in an outdoor venue 38 weeks pregnant, a young lady is going to come with us...allowing him to have a ton of fun but dedicating a pair of eyes to keep him safe! We have always tried to go at this road alone, so it will be an adventure in inviting someone else into a family event and observing the new dynamics.
Sunday was a continuation of my thought-provoking weekend. The one continual lesson God teaches me is humility. Sunday morning started with church and a guest appearance by Christopher Duffley (http://www.christopherduffley.com/). This incredible young man was born prematurely to drug addicts. Blind due to the prematurity, spending the first 6+ months of his life in the hospital, then another year and a half in foster care, he was adopted by his aunt and uncle at the age of 2 and later diagnosed with autism. I have always felt that the hubby and I transitioned into our new life with baby boy #1 eight years ago with acceptance. Our little guy was ours, this was our road to walk and a fight we were ready to engage in. However, as I sat in my seat I looked upon Christopher's parents who purposefully and prayerfully entered into their current life, a life that already included four children, and a life that was bound to have its difficulties. Wow - yet another gentle reminder that humility is paramount. Truly understanding humility and chipping away at pride can only be done by comprehending who I am and who God is and what His absolute sovereignty means. Everything I am and have been given has been entrusted to me by God for His purpose and His glory. It really has nothing to do with me at all.
In an effort to live joyfully and purposefully, I continue my efforts to diminish the hurt and focus on true happiness - joy. “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” - Helen Keller If you have that persistent issue in your life that creeps up and brings your joy down, join me in the pursuit of true joy - choosing this true contentment, not settling for happiness, a fleeting emotion.
Tune in for Tastē Thursday in a couple of days. I have a savory, delicious, all-weather dinner to share!