When I said in my last post that life was about to become extremely hectic, I think I underestimated a little!
I started Fall semester at GCSU last Tuesday, and I definitely have my work cut out for me! I'm taking four classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 AM - 4:45 PM, with a roughly two hour lunch break in between class #2 and #3. I'm pretty grateful for that break too, since it gives me time to catch up on any reading that I may have missed (it happens - sleep has been elusive lately, since Little Man is still teething, so I sleep whenever I can) or to get a little homework out of the way. It also gives me plenty of time to eat lunch! Since I definitely can't afford to buy lunch on campus everyday, I've started packing bento lunches. I'll talk about bentos in further detail in a later post, but for now, go check out Just Bento, a wonderful site that includes lots of how-tos, recipes, and more for packing healthy lunches for work, school, and everywhere in between. (And in case it isn't obvious from the website, yes, bentos are Japanese, which only fuels my love for the Land of the Rising Sun!)
Since I leave so early in the morning to go to school (it's roughly a 45-minute commute, depending on traffic), I've begun the habit of using my slow cooker on school days. There is nothing I want less than to cook after being at school all day and driving home on long and lonely highway 441. Slow cooking really is a gift from the gods - I can turn it on when I walk out the door and it's done when I come home. I really love my slow cooker. It's actually a hand-me-down... it was one of my parents' wedding presents! I'll probably cry the day it finally gives in to the big sleep. I mean, it is rather old. My parents have been married for... well, we won't go there.
Using the slow cooker also gives me a chance to experiment, which is what I did last Tuesday. I found this recipe at Allrecipes.com, which sounded interesting enough. I then found where a reader customized it, and was convinced that I had to try it. Here's my customized version of the customization. ;)
2 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 new potatoes, quartered
1 bag baby carrots
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
dash Worcestershire sauce
1. Arrange new potatoes, garlic, carrots, and onion in bottom of slow cooker.
2. Mix together last 12 ingredients (from hot water to bottom of list) in measuring cup or small pitcher.
3. Puncture pork loin with fork or knife in several places (this lets the "sauce" flavor the meat better). Place in slow cooker. (I had to cut mine in half to get it to fit. It might even be better to cut it into fourths so the meat falls apart when done.)
4. Pour wet mixture over pork.
5. Set slow cooker to low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
6. Serve over rice, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes (Kenny's favorite.)
I'll definitely be making this again. I might add a little cornstarch next time to thicken the sauce into more of a gravy. While I loved the carrots and potatoes, Kenny wasn't a fan. (He says that they didn't taste like carrots and potatoes - they tasted like the sauce, to which I said, "That's the point." To each their own.) I made garlic mashed potatoes for him to eat with the leftovers we had tonight. And there's still enough for me to take some to school tomorrow for lunch! Definitely excited about that.
With what little time I have left tonight, I'm going to attempt to make some more baby food for Little Man... that is, if he lets me! Teething has his sleep schedule completely out of whack, so he's already woken up twice tonight. Crossing my fingers...
- Mother Nature Mom