Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

This Slow Cooker Kalua Pig recipe has been passed on to my husband from his friend's Hawaiian family. The pork in this dish is absolutely divine, smoky in flavor, tender and juicy, while the crunchy cabbage adds a nice texture. Even better, it only takes five ingredients and a slow cooker to make at home.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

The first time my husband said he was making me Kalua Pig, I cringed. I've never been much of a pork fan, and using the word "pig" in the name of my entree totally grossed me out. However, we were still newly dating and my man was cooking me dinner, you better believe I was going to eat it.

What I didn't expect was to LOVE it. This dish is frequently made in our house. One, because it's easy; the slow cooker does most of the work, and two, because it is ridiculously delicious.

Kalua Pig is considered a Hawaiian dish. The original recipe for this Kalua Pig was passed down to my husband from a friend, whose family happens to be Hawaiian. We only recently started adding shredded cabbage to our version of the recipe when we got a taste of the crunchy goodness while honeymooning in Hawaii. Kalua Pig + dining with an ocean view = heaven. If you ever go, hunt down this dish at a local restaurant.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

So let's break down this recipe. It's only five, yes 5, ingredients: pork roast, liquid smoke, sea salt and cabbage, plus rice for serving. Boom! That's it. I promise everyone in your family will fall in love with this seriously simple, ridiculously easy, absolutely delicious recipe.

The liquid smoke is what gives the pork roast all the flavor. After 12 hours of cooking on low in the slow cooker, your roast will literally fall apart. As we all know, pork and salt go hand in hand. A tiny bit of sea salt goes a long way, add some cabbage, heat and dinner is served.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig
Because of the 12 hour cooking time, and the need to chill this recipe to separate the fat, meat and liquids, make sure you plan this meal ahead. We always cook our roast the night before we want to eat it.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Printer Friendly Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 13 hours
Yield: 10 servings

3 lb. pork roast* (we use whatever is on sale; butt roast and pork tenderloins work well)
3 tablespoons of liquid smoke*
1/2 - 3/4 tablespoon of sea salt*
2-3 cups shredded Napa cabbage (add as much or as little as you prefer)
6 cups of steamed white rice

Step 1: Place roast into the base of a crockpot, and pour the liquid smoke over the roast. Cover with lid, and cook on low for 12 hours. (Again, we cook ours overnight.) After 12 hours of cooking, carefully pour the juices into a glass bowl, cover and store in fridge. Place the ceramic crockpot bowl and the roast in the fridge to chill. Make sure to place a trivet beneath the crockpot on your refrigerator shelf.

Step 2: After the roast has completely chilled, about 6-8 hours, remove the crockpot and bowl of juices. Skim the fat off the top of the juices, and discard the fat. Using your hands, or two forks, shred the roast, discarding any large pieces of fat. This step is easy, but messy. Keep paper towels and a trash bag nearby to limit the mess.  

Step 3: Once all the meat is shredded, place it back into the crockpot, cover with the reserved juices, add the sea salt and heat on high for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, shred your cabbage. After 30 minutes of cooking, add the shredded cabbage to the crockpot, stir to combine, and heat another 30 minutes. While the Kalua Pig is cooking, prepare your steamed rice. Once the meat is heated through, serve hot on top of fresh rice.

*If you buy a larger roast, note that the ratio of liquid smoke is 1 tablespoon to 1 pound of meat.

*We typically add just under 3/4 tablespoon sea salt, and add more to taste if desired. You never want to over-salt your meat, best to play it safe and add more if you feel that it needs the flavor.

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Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fancy Friday: Vol. 1

Friday Friday will feature a list of things that have recently caught my fancy. I hope you enjoy vol. 1. 

Honestly, I've been feeling very inspired this week, and I wanted to share that inspiration with you. I compiled a list of things that have caught my fancy here recently. Get it? Fancy Friday.  :)

Friday Fancy Volume One

From food to pens, wanderlust to random videos, I hope you get some inspiration from this very list.

Fancy Friday: Volume 1

  • Sharpie Pens - Who else puts office supplies on their Christmas lists?
  • Stuffing in a freaking bundt pan - Who'da thunk?
  • M&M Cookies - Can't. Kick. The. Craving. This recipe from Picky Palate is good. 
  • Copper Cookware - GOREGEOUS! I want it all. Here is a reasonably priced set.
  • This pie dish - First saw it on Sally's Baking Addiction. Love the pretty edges.
  • Plaid scarves - How stunning is this one at Nordstrom Rack? I saw it on La Petite Fashionista (fashion blog you should check out). 
  • Cape coats - So chic and vintage. I recommend this cape from Nasty Gal. It won't keep you warm in the snow, but you will look adorable. That's all that matters, right? My high heels say "yes." 
  • Goat cheese - Creamy, rich and delicious. I really want to try this penne, butternut squash and goat cheese recipe
  • Pitch. Freaking. Perfect - Ahhhh! Can't wait for this movie. Did anyone else recognize Flula in the trailer? If you don't know who that is, you HAVE to watch this hilarious video.
  • Munich & Prague - Dave and I are adventuring there in December 2015 for their Christmas markets. I might burst from excitement, that or the dangerous cocktail that happens when you mix my excitement with my impatience. 
  • Other movies I'm excited to see, from Disney, Into the Woods and Cinderella. Heck ya!
  • Cake. Batter. Cookies - Trust me, just make them. Sally (Sally's Baking Addiction) can rock a cookie. 
  • All things pumpkin - I know, you're probably thinking "still?" But, it's fall. I love baking with cinnamon and pumpkin. I can't get enough. Have you tried my Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Cookies
  • Damn Delicious - I know I have said it before, but this girl is awesome. I'd pinned some of her recipes before, but seriously, her photography is incredible and her recipes are easy and unique. 
  • The Skinnytaste Cookbook - Christmas present? Yes, please! 
  • Funny cat videos - When you have a bad day, just give these a watch. 
  • The Originals on the CW - A guilty pleasure. I never miss an episode. Bring back Rebekah!
  • White kitchens - This white kitchen's backsplash is stunning. 
  • AND lastly, Kathryn Elise Studio - A friend recently launched her website and it is just gorgeous. It made me feel very inspired. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Things & Pumpkin Pasties

Are you in need of some Thanksgiving inspiration? I've compiled a few Thanksgiving tablescapes that I like and shared the plan for our Thanksgiving menu + the recipe for these delightful Pumpkin Pasties. Pumpkin Pasties are like pumpkin hand-pies. They are wonderfully spiced, crispy on the edges and they melt in your mouth. 

The Pumpkin Pasties recipe can be printed here, or you can scroll to the bottom of the page.

Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties

Holy cow! You guys, Thanksgiving is only one week away. I'm hosting for the first time ever, in our tiny little duplex's kitchen. Eeek! Is anyone else hosting this year? I just want to share some of the thoughts, plans and inspiration I have had in my head for the last 6 months.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Homemade Cinnamon Chip Bread

Sweet, yeast bread with nuggets of cinnamon scattered throughout. This Homemade Cinnamon Chip Bread is delicious and great for breakfast or a snack. 

slices of cinnamon chip bread

I. Love. Bread. But seriously you guys, this bread. Oh my. I ate a good 2/3 of the loaf by myself. It was so moist, lightly sweetened and just so darn delicious. The bread was still warm when I took this shot (above). Mmmm...I can still smell and taste it. Heaven.

Would anyone else want to join me in starting a Carb Lovers Anonymous group? I think I have a problem. Every time I think about a meal, my brain instantly goes to carbs.
"What will my carb be?"
"I'm having a salad for lunch, I'm going to need crackers."
"I had rice for lunch, is it ok to have pasta for dinner? Yes,"

Maybe instead of a support group I should just start a Bread of the Month Club. I bet there's tons of men and women who crave carbs as much as I do. I bet Dr. Oz has something to say about my carb cravings, but I don't want to know what it is.

Loaf of Cinnamon Chip Bread
The dusting of flour on top of the loaf is from the kneading process. Don't worry, it didn't dry the bread out.

But back to this Cinnamon Chip Bread. Just make it. Please. I know that for some, breads are intimidating, but I promise they are not hard. Patience with the yeast is the biggest part to successful breads and rolls.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs

Straight from the stories, Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs added the perfect whimsical touch to a party, and look like they came straight from Honeydukes. The candies are easy to make and the box template is free! Hand them out as party favors, your guests will love them. 

Close up of chocolate frog

November means endless hours spent watching the Harry Potter movies. Who else looks forward to those ABC Family marathons in November and December? If they aren't on TV, my sister and I play them in the evenings. No matter how many times I've seen the movies or read the books, they never get old. When we lived at home we would make beds on the living room floor, take over the TV (Sorry Dad!), and watch movie after movie.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eat Local: Longboards Wraps & Bowls

A little Asian-infused Hawaiian flair makes Longboards Wraps & Bowls a standout in Kansas City. Their "surfer" style cuisine is downright delicious, and put them on our list of favorite restaurants in Kansas. 

We walked into Longboards Wraps & Bowls, and walked straight into the back of a line. The place was packed! As we neared the window to place our order, panic set in. Where would we sit? There was not a single table or chair open in the entire dining area. Fortunately my husband has hawk eyes and nabbed us a table the second a poor family's tooshies left their chairs. The panic and wait were well worth it because Longboards is one Kansas City restaurant you don't want to miss.

Longboards hang loose sign
I think this sums up the essence of their atmosphere. Hang loose, my friends. 

Has anyone else tried Longboards Wraps & Bowls? This place had been on my restaurant list for a very long time. I first became aware of Longboards after I saw a trending story on Facebook about Hillary Swank visiting the joint. After reading their menu, I jotted it down and stored it away in my file of "must-try" restaurants in Kansas City.

Unfortunately, it took some time before I got a taste of their laid-back food, but they finally opened a new location in Mission, KS, and Dave and I hopped on the opportunity!

Longboards' Cabo Grilled Wrap
Meet the Cabo wrap.

About their food, their wraps are LOADED. Like, Chipotle-size loaded. You can get grilled, hot wraps, or cold ones. We opted for grilled, but my bets are that either way, they are delicious. The ingredients are fresh. I would know because their restaurant has an open kitchen and I could see the refrigerator stacked full of tubs of fresh, chopped veggies.

The wraps were bomb. E-specially that Cabo Chicken wrap. It doesn't sound fancy (chicken, guacamole, pepperjack cheese, pico de gallo, rice and chipotle ranch), but holy moly does that thing taste awesome. My husband ordered this, and I wound up eating more of his than I should have. :)  Luckily he loves me and shares better than I do.

I wanted to go for something more Asian inspired, so I ordered the grilled Teriyaki Chicken wrap. It was definitely delicious too, but maybe a little on the saucy side. Teriyaki is one of those sauces that can get too runny and it soaked in to the wrap, making it a little soggy. I guess that just means eat faster, right?

If you visit, our friends who dined with us also highly recommend the grilled Thai Chicken wrap.

Now that I have you drooling, we can move on to the sides. And let me tell you, I am one picky person when it comes to potato salad. I haven't encountered many that I love, or even like, except for my momma's. Longboards knows how to do potato salad. In fact, it's a Garlic Potato Salad. Garlic anything is great, but this potato salad was super great.

Garlic Potato Salad

And lastly, I have never been so in love with a chip. These. Are. Awesome. I tried to find them online to share with you, not order more for myself. Just kidding, I looked to order some for myself, but had no luck! Wah! If someone finds these, let me know, mail them to me, anything. I just want these chips. I guess I will have to go back to Longboards and buy out their stock.

I give you, Sweet Maui Onion kettle chips. Cue the Hallelujah. These are crunchy, sweet and salty, and just darn delicious. Even better, they go perfectly with your wrap of choice.

Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Chips at Longboards

Give Longboards Wraps and Bowls a try. They have three locations: Mission, KS, Liberty and North Kansas City, MO. I will be going back for a yummy noodle bowl, chips and many other options on their menu. It's a great place for lunch. Mahalo, Longboards!

Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins

Crispy on the edges, moist, tender and sweet on the inside, plus the lovely crunch of walnuts, these Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins are scrum-diddly-umptous! Warm leftovers up for the perfect breakfast on a cold, fall morning. 

Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins
The brown sugar makes the muffins extra golden-brown colored.

I have to thank my friend Journey for challenging me to come up with a not-so-ordinary zucchini muffin. You might want to thank her too; because of her, this muffin recipe was born. After falling in love with some muffins at Sweet Tomatoes, she requested that I create a recipe for something with a little "crunch." Well, I happen to like challenges. So I embarked on this zucchini lead quest to create something divine, full of texture and flavor, and...I conquered.

After writing that line, I have Jay-Z's Encore playing in my head. "I came, I saw, I conquered." Maybe, because I like to work out to the Jay-Z and Linkin Park Collision Course album. Maybe, because I like to stay stuck (musically) in the 90's and early 2000's. Anyways, moving on to the muffins.

Bitten Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffin
I couldn't resist and nabbed a few bites of these fresh muffins while shooting some photos.  :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pineapple Stir-Fry Sauce

This tangy stir-fry sauce spices up your favorite stir-fry, or can be used as a marinade for your meat. With a hint of pineapple and brown sugar, plus savory garlic and soy sauce, this sauce is perfectly sweet and flavorful.

Pineapple Stir-Fry with Chicken Sausage

Asian dishes are among our favorite to cook. We LOVE anything flavored with soy sauce or teriyaki, and can never get enough white rice. Stir-fry dishes are a staple in our house, however it had actually been a while since we had made a stir-fry, I think we were trying to be good and lay off the rice, but we just wound up making pasta based entrees instead. We. Love. Carbs.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pick Six: Favorite Food Bloggers

Saturday mornings. Nostalgia sets in as I remember the days when I used to watch Saturday morning cartoons at my grandma and grandpa's (hi, Grandma!) house. My sister and I would spend the night and stay up late eating and watching/shows on what seemed like a gazillion channels.  (They had satellite and we had basic cable.) Saturday morning was THE best because grandma would make pancakes or biscuits and gravy, or both, if that's what we wanted. She would extra-fry the bacon, to the point of almost black, which is just how I liked mine too. Then we'd watch cartoons. However, she always liked the "boy" cartoons like Transformers and X-Men. Don't get me wrong, I love them, now.

Flash forward to my life now. EVERY Saturday, starting in August, you will find ESPN's coverage of college football on in our house. I love football, but I love my husband more. From the moment he wakes up, he turns on football, and it makes me smile. Fortunately he isn't glued to the TV the entire day. He's missed watching many games so that we could go to a birthday party, or antiquing, or anything else I plan for us to do. But during the season, Saturdays are almost like a holiday for us; we celebrate our teams' wins, our rivals' losses, and the fact that we can literally watch football from dawn to dusk.

SO, in the spirit of College Football Saturday, I give you our first Pick Six.

Six of our favorite food blogs. This was really stinkin' hard to narrow down. I clearly have a love for food, and it's like these other women who love food share a part of my soul.

The women behind these blogs do some seriously amazing things. I tried to pick a few bloggers who are very popular, a few somewhat popular and one you may have never heard of. I hope you check them out and enjoy!

Eat It Kansas City: Shanley writes about restaurants in the Kansas City area, reviews food and shares some of her own recipes. She's cute and fun to follow. Her blog is also a great way to keep up on food happenin's in KC.

Sally's Baking Addiction: Baking is my favorite. Thus, Sally stole my heart. I love her fun photography and enthusiastic personality. She is a sprinkle lover, which means her blog is adorable.

Averie Cooks: Averie's recipes are very "everyday." They are delicious, and something you could easily  make. I've pinned many of her recipes for weeknight dinners, etc. Plus, she has a cookbook all about peanut butter. Uh, we were meant to be friends!

Damn Delicious: On this blog you will find "simple ingredients" and "elegant dishes." I'm always truly inspired by the recipes that Chungah puts together. She is creative and fun in the kitchen. Her recipes are also easy to create, which makes cooking them doable. My favorites are her Asian dishes.

Gimme Some Oven: First, the name is just so cute, and Ali really seems to be a genuine person. Her photography is stunning and full of vibrant colors, and her recipes are unique. She also shares personal and professional posts, which I really enjoy. What's even better? She's local!

Joy the Baker: Joy's photography skills are incredible. Just take a look at her blog and you will see. She is also a very talented baker, but it's her humor that I love most about her blog. The marketer in me really loves her branding too. It's so subtle, but present. You know it's Joy when you see a photo. Make sure you check out her podcasts too.

Homer Simpson Donuts

Mmmmm. Doh-nuts! These Homer Simpson Donuts are adorable and delicious! The cakey doughnut is light and fluffy, while the glaze adds extra sweetness. Each bite is full of vanilla flavor. 

Homer Simpson Doughnut

Is it doughnut or donut? Neither! It's doh-nut! Let me start by saying that I have no idea what made me want to make Homer Simpson donuts. I have been craving donuts, I had sprinkles in my cupboard and wanted to make something fun and cute. Pink + sprinkles = fun and cute, right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Butterbeer Blondies

These rich and chewy Butterbeer Blondies are flavored with sweet butterscotch chips, rum & butter extracts and brown sugar. They have the most perfect crispness on the edges, with a soft and chewy inside that literally melts in your mouth. 

Butterbeer Blondies

If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of anything and everything Harry Potter. I have been wanting to throw a Potter themed party for a long time, and this last weekend I finally did! Our Harry Potter Halloween Party was a huge hit. It was a blast dressing up, but I may have had more fun creating the decorations and treats. My friends will understand. Love you guys!

Butterbeer Blondies up close

These Butterbeer Blondies were my absolute favorite treat of the night, and I don't even like butterscotch. Obviously I had to try one of my creations, but I couldn't stop at one. I'm still snacking on these blissful Butterbeer flavored brown sugar bites. A blondie has the texture of a brownie, chewy, gooey, crispy edges, but uses no cocoa and a brown sugar base. The consistency of this recipe is divine. Like perfect. I will forever use it. I found the original recipe on the Food Network site, but had to throw in rum and butter extracts to achieve the Butterbeer flavor.