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Slow Roasted Pork & Cranberries

Well friends, we did it! We’re moved in to the new house and 95% unpacked, which is basically a miracle. We got in to the house last Wednesday, had the POD unpacked by Friday, had a lot of incredible help from some family on Saturday, and have been slowly getting into a routine ever since. It feels great to settle in a little bit and get a feel for our new home.

One thing was for sure, by yesterday I was ready to get back in the kitchen. I love eating out, don’t get me wrong, but it can be exhausting and we’ve been eating out the vast majority of the past month. It felt really wonderful to be in my kitchen with my tools preparing a meal. For the inaugural post from this new kitchen I put together an easy crockpot dish, something that would be perfect for a weeknight dinner or one of those meals around the holiday that you need to be easy but taste awesome. A combination of fall-apart-tender pork, tart cranberries, and a little brown sugar and spices, this was exactly what the changing weather called for.

As for us, we’re doing well. Kaylee is adjusting to the new house (we took her to the beach for the first time- it was great!). We’ve been a bit of a blur but I’ve been posting round-the-house and everyday things over at missELENAeous, if you’re interested in following along. Mostly we’re just happy to be reaching the end of this moving journey, even if comes biting the heels of the holiday travel season! And, I have to mention, I LOVE this new kitchen. It’s HUGE and, best of all, there’s pretty good light (which is the opposite of our last home). It’s pretty dreamy.

Slow Roasted Pork & Cranberries

1 pork tenderloin/country style pork ribs

1 bag fresh cranberries

2 cups beef broth

1 pat butter

1 cup water

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt

Pepper

In a skillet brown the pork on all four sides in the butter. Once it’s been browned combine in a slow cooker or dutch oven with broth and spices. Pour water into sizzling pan and, after a few moments, pour into the pot. Let cook on the high setting/in a medium oven for 4-5 hours.

 

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Skillet au Gratin

We did it! We moved! Monday morning we watched as our POD got taken away and then we hit the road, passing through the outer rings of Sandy as she moved over Virginia. We made it safely to Durham in record time; hurricanes aren’t good for much but they do keep traffic down. Conditions on the road and in Durham stayed manageable, wind and a lot of rain, and we were relieved to hear our loved ones in the NorthEast made it through the storm safely.

On Tuesday afternoon we finally got to meet that puppy that we’ve been mooning over since we found out she was ours a few weeks ago. Kaywinnet Lee Frye (Kaylee) was rescued from a shelter in Persons County along with her five siblings. Three of them were transferred to Triangle Pets Alive, and all three sweet little nuggets have been adopted into forever homes. We are beyond thrilled. She’s sweet and snuggly but also super spunky– she has quite the voice! We always had labs growing up and I’ve wanted a dog for a while, but I didn’t anticipate how quickly I would fall head over heels for her. She’s a bundle of love and I can’t wait to watch her grow.

Wednesday morning we headed to Morehead City, and we’ve been camped out at both the Swamp House and my dad’s house since. It’s chilly and the Swamp’s heater got knocked out during the hurricane, so we’ve been spending our days at dad’s taking advantage of the heat and internet. Dan has been working fulltime, but since I’m transitioning to freelance I’ve been splitting my time between work and puppy duty. It’s been wonderful, lots of long walks around town. This weekend we’ll hang out with my parents and then on Monday, it’s off to Wilmington we go!

Last night, before my stepmom got in, Dad, Dan, and I enjoyed what can only be described as comfort food to the extreme. Pork tenderloin and apples cooked in a dutch oven, gratin potatoes, and sautéed kale. It was exactly what I needed, a hearty meal to help welcome the beginning of winter. I might not be thrilled about the cold, but since Kaylee also seems to hate it at least I’m guaranteed to get a lot of puppy snuggles this winter.

Update: Our move-to-Wilmington date was pushed back to this Wednesday due to unexpected repairs that needed to be taken care of at the house.

Skillet au Gratin

2 cups small baby potatoes

5 red potatoes, quartered

1 cup heavy cream

2 garlic cloves

1 cup vegetable stock

1 block sharp white cheddar, cubed

2 pats butter

1/4 cup flour

2 tsp salt

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

Combine all spices in a small bowl. In a small pot combine butter, flour, smashed cloves, and most of the spices over low heat. Stir together as butter melts. Add cream, stirring in. Add stock and 1/3 of the cheese. Let simmer until cheese is completely melted.

In a small/medium cast iron pan combine potatoes and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle remaining spices on top of the potatoes. When the cream mixture is ready, pour into the skillet. Pour from the sides so as not to disturb the spice layer on top. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

 

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Grill(ed) Cheese

Currently, our tiny apartment is a maze of boxes and piles. I’m feeling claustrophobic and crazed and worried and overwhelmed. It didn’t help that I began my weekend by getting our car towed (I misread a parking sign) and ended it with the car dying in Baltimore County (which is different than Baltimore City. Baltimore City is its own county)(the car’s computer that calls all the shots is dying)(which is awesome timing).

Last weekend we held our annual barbeque, which was awesome, where we got to say goodbye to friends. And throughout the week we’ve been able to see more friends, tell them we love them, tell them we’ll visit, encourage them to visit us. But with moving, you never see everyone. And it’s never enough. On Friday I shot some newborn pictures of our dear friend’s new baby, Henry, and I knew there was no possible way I was going to be able to say goodbye to Jamie & Cheryl right there. So I made them promise to do dinner.

The problem with hosting dinner this late in the game is that most of our kitchen has been packed. And bringing new food into the apartment is not ideal. So this became a clean-out-the-fridge-and-condiments dinner. Meats from the freezers, cheeses, and spreads were all rustled together and paired with fresh bread for the first of many future fancy-grilled-cheese-on-the-grill dinners.

Apple, brie, proscuitto, and a cranberry orange jam. Grilled pork, apple butter, and cheddar. Proscuitto, goat cheese, arugula, tomato jam. Smoked salmon, red curry paste, herbed goat cheese. Thickly sliced country wheat bread. Butter spread on both sides, cooked directly on the grill.

This week we have friends stopping by each night, sometimes just for dinner, sometimes for dinner and assistance with tricky pieces of furniture, sometimes just for hugs. With each passing day we count down, our last dinner in the living room, our last meal cooked in the kitchen, our last late night with friends in the backyard. Counting down, yes, only to start a new clock on Monday.

photos via vsco cam on my iPhone 5. the mere act of editing photos that aren’t part of my work backlog is daunting, so this episode of biscuits&such brought to you by a phone camera that is nicer than my first dslr.

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