“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I have spent the day taking down Christmas decorations – a job I loathe.  I’m thrilled when it’s done and my part is done, just waiting on the hubs to disassemble the trees and carry them upstairs.

That, spaghetti and finishing up the last few episodes of Downton Abbey (so we are ready for season 4 in January) will be the extent of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

Wild, I tell you. Wild.

Since we are just having good old sketti for dinner, I’ll give you the chutney recipe we had Christmas night to go with our Sage-Crusted Pork Racks (recipe coming later).  It was very, very good!

Pear Chutney

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 5 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pears in 2 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl; wipe Dutch oven clean. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add raisins, garlic, and ginger; sauté 5 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and dried crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir in vinegar and maple syrup, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in pears; cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Pearchutney

This paired perfectly with the pork!

-abp

“When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve been putting some thought into my blog – I’ve been away for such a long time.  The whole pregnancy thing has totally flipped my world around –  in a good way!

Lots of things changed for me – for a while I wasn’t able to cook (thanks to hyper-sensitive smell), I totally changed my work schedule up and I had/have a whole new list of “to dos”.  My totally patterned life was no more. I’m completely out of sync.

Also, I’m not quite as savvy as a lot of bloggers out there and it would take me quite some time to get a post complete because I wanted everything as perfect as I could make it – the prep, the pictures, the finished product and the written part.

With this being said – I felt I couldn’t get it all done, at least not the way I would want it done.  I thought about just stopping for a while and coming back to it later in life but that’s not really what I wanted to do……

So – I have decided to omit the instructional pictures and just give a finished photo – that way if I am making something for dinner that I would like to share, I can because I would not have to take all the extra time of taking several pictures of each step (nor edit them) – I could just make dinner like I normally do and take a picture before I dig in.

See that’s the thing you might not know about some blogs that I have discovered while trying to improve mine. One being – a lot of them cook solely for their blog – they prepare dinner at 10 am so that the lighting is the best for pictures, etc.  Some even have spread sheets for the week! Please take note!! – I think that is AWESOME and I enjoy them very, very much and I am very thankful that they do these things – it’s just I have realized that I do not and can not have a blog like that, they are professionals and I am an amateur – which I’m totally cool with! 🙂

I cook for me and my family like I always have and that’s what I’ll continue to do.  And I want to continue to share it with everyone but to do that, I will have to simplify a bit.

I’m just being honest with myself and you and I hope that you will continue to follow my blog minus a few pictures. (P.S. – when the baby comes I’m sure there will be another hiatus! Talk about my world being flipped upside down! :))

Thanks again! I look forward to posting more yummy food!

On that note – I present you with a very delicious and easy dessert that could finish off any meal perfectly.

Oven Baked Churros

(adapted from myrecipes.com)

  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Unfold and cut puff pastry sheets in half lengthwise, and cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Place strips on a lightly greased parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon. Remove pastry strips from oven, and dip in butter; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Let stand on a wire rack 5 minutes or until dry.

Oven Baked Churros

Oven Baked Churros

Enjoy!

-abp