Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy 31st to my Man.

Besides being President's Day, this past Monday was Zach's 31st birthday. We started off the day at Maria's Taco Express. In one word: Yummy and in two: Yummy & Affordable. This is a must go-to breakfast taco place here in Austin. Back in the day we fought our college-age contemporaries and hippies for tacos at noon on Saturday, but we've outgrown that scene and get there when they open..during the week..no crowds, just perfect : )

Birthday Boy:

His Daughter, dancing to the Latin grooves rocking the place at 7:30 AM:

Birthday Celebrations!

After dropping the Birthday Boy off at work, Ella and I had to come up with a sweet Birthday treat for the night. We searched high and low in the baking aisle and came up with this:

It is a Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix (+ chocolate chips) made into cupcakes with a cream cheese mixture. The recipe was on the back of the box and SOOOOO easy and even more DELICIOUS! I will make these again and would recommend you do the same. I have been trying to pay more attention to what I eat so that I am not overindulging EVERYDAY, but these have made life difficult. Luckily my sister and her husband dropped by for a birthday cupcake and a gift certificate for Zach. I sent them home with a couple and the recipe doesn't make much so after tonight's snack I'm only left with two. Even if I eat them both, it isn't as bad as eating the whole lot, right?

Onto other matters. I cook...a lot. I enjoy it and I love finding new recipes. I have a couple criteria: easy and good, scratch that GREAT. Did I mention EASY? Here was dinner last night and tonight and Thursday and sandwiches this weekend for a crowd: Pulled Pork slow cooked in a crock pot. Ever done it? If so, you know where I'm going here, if not, tune in. Here is the recipe:

4 lb. pork butt or shoulder bone in or boneless..doesn't matter
2 red onions (or regular, but I've only used red)
cloves (I use the already ground cloves)
BBQ sauce

Throw that hunk o' meat into your crock pot (borrow your Grandmother's if you don't have one yet). Sprinkle her with salt, pepper and the ground cloves and cover her with the sliced onions. Fill the pot 2/3 of the way with water. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. You will know she is ready because when you jab her with a fork she will fall to pieces! I throw her in at night and then sleep easy knowing that a week's worth of meals has been prepared in 5 minutes.

Pull out the meat and onions, remove any bone, fat and/or gristle. Shred it up with a fork or just your hands (I prefer my hands because you can catch any fat/gristle that is hiding). To date I've used a store-bought bar-b-que sauce to flavor the meat, but I'm leaning towards making my own in the future to avoid the "corn syrup and other icky things I want to stay away from". I found this recipe which I will likely be trying. I also found another option for cooking/seasoning the pork that I may dabble with in the future here.

You thought the super, duper easy cooking method was the climax of this recipe, but you would be wrong. Here is the list of meals you can make with it (feel free to add more if you have them):

Bar-b-que sandwiches (I like it on whole wheat buns w/ jalapenos and served messy with a big green salad and this dressing)
Pork Nachos (Zach's favorite, extra guacamole)
Bar-b-que baked potatoes (My personal favorite...I saute a little onion and veggies in olive oil to throw on top)
Tacos (Roll up the pork with some fresh salsa in a corn tortilla..YUM!)

Even with all these terrific options, I end up freezing a lot for a great weekend lunch. In this economy, you can't beat the price for a week's worth of meals.


The Meurers said...

Happy Birthday to your Zach! Oh, and we'll be enjoying some pulled pork sandwiches this evening, courtesy of your recipe. Thanks! You're such a great cook, and my family is definitely benefiting from your stellar recipes and tips :) Keep 'em coming, and oh-my-goodness post that scone recipe SOON!

The Meurers said...

You need to start another blog with all your recipes!

Lindsay said...

Hey-I'm putting my pork butt in the crock pot tonight! I'm so excited. However, I couldn't find a 4 pounder (I got a 7lb hunk o' meat), hopefully it fits in the pot, otherwise I'll be cookin it in the oven all night. Thanks so much!

Eat Your Vegetables said...

FYI: You can cut the meat in half...if you want to. I think the first recipe I used suggested that for crock pot cookin'.