Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Break OH NINER!

We are on our last day of spring break & the sun is finally shining but its windy & a little cold. 2 girls are braving it to ride bikes, the littlest angel is still in the playroom playing ponies by herself :) They have done a fabulous job playing together this week & I enjoy "vacations" to allow them to practice loving each other! It does take practice....

The entire family went to Charlotte's Remicade day this week & I am so glad they ALL got to experience it (first time for big sister Emma-2nd grade). It went smoothly, fast & so well that I am revamping my future visits to emulate this one of calm (no more Ryan, no more friends, just 1:1 & bringing just a few things that she & i can do together (or Ryan), keeping it quiet & calm seemed to make the chemo treatment go faster & still left us all with energy to have the rest of the day).
We hit BLUEPLATE for the 2nd time during spring break after the hospital to celebrate. We have discovered a favorite - only open for lunch 11-5 Mon-Fri. And I had the Thursday special of BBQ pulled pork & chatted with the owner/chef about his recipe & the ingredients. I tried to replicate because it was soooo yummy.... He has a special oven, but he helped me figure out the deets for doing it in the crockpot:

Erika's Recipe for BLUEPLATE BBQ PORK
1. Crockpot
2. Big ole Pork butt or shoulder roast (I used a 3-5 lb one / I prefer bone-in, it's more flavorful)
3. Fill Crockpot w/ 2 beers, 1 can of tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce
4. Make a rub of:
* 1 cup of brown sugar
* 2 t. anise
* 2 t. allspice
* 1 T. cinnamon
* 1 t. black pepper
5. Rub the pork in this mixture, set it in the crockpot w/ its beer & tomato friends. If you still see pork, put some more rub on the top of it as a little layer of protection!

I let this cook for 18 hours on low (I started at 7pm & let it go overnight).

I took the pork out, broke it up in a separate dish & then put all the goods from the crockpot into a saucepan on medium & let it reduce. To help it thicken up, I put the immersion blender in it & added:
* 1t. salt
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 t. allspice, cinnamon, anise (each)

This sauce reduced for about 30 minutes & then i poured it over the pork & WHA LA. I immediately froze so we could take it to Sunriver this week & share with friends so I will let you know what they say. But the BLUEPLATE owner said that he has worked on this recipe from the Jamaican restaurants he has eaten at, he likes the sweet on the pork & then he said to me, "Really, its pork butt, how can you go wrong!?"
On Friday, we headed to the coast with our friends - took them to TILLAMOOK CHEESE FACTORY which is celebrating its 100th anniversary of making amazing cheese. If you live in the Pacific NW & haven't been, its one of those institutions that you have to visit once (its completely out of the way if you are headed to the coast but worth it for the kids & free samples of products you haven't seen in the stores: ie vintage white cheddar w/ garlic).

That's cheese down there on the conveyor belts. Its all completely glassed around the warehouse for people to take self-guided tours & watch the 2 shifts of workers package the cheese.
We went with our friends: The Henry girls who were newbies, so it was fun to show them! We loaded up on goodies to bring home & then headed up the coast highway to Cannon Beach for (get your stopwatch out) I am going to say just under one hour. It was FUHREEZING!

This was the only little girl who DIDN'T get in the water.... (smart!)

See all those little piggy toes in the sand - they went numb in about 30 minutes!! Ah the beautiful Oregon Coast :) Ellie, Caroline, Emma & Leigh all got their jeans wet & we had the air blasting over 80 in the car on the way home.

Before leaving, Ellie asked, "If its so cold, why are we going?!" And I pulled out the starving children response: "Because we CAN Ellie! Do you know there are some children, in say Omaha Nebraska, who have never SEEN the ocean?!" gasp.... :)

Happy Spring!!


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

What a fun time for all, you busy ladies.

I am so glad to hear the Charlotte's treatment went smoother this time. I always think of you both. Maybe it's just too overwhelming at this stage, to add more people.

(I might have to try that pork recipe. Sounds heavenly...)

Loudest Mom said...

The pork recipe sounds FANTASTIC! I love the crock's a life saver for me. And, we have similar beach pictures :( But still had a lot of fun- Salt water taffy and ice cream help.

Barbara said...

Thanks for the Omaha plug!!!!
Great pics!