Happy Thanksgiving! (better late than never?)

Happy two days after Thanksgiving!

I am happy to report that our first Thanksgiving was a smashing success! I mentioned in my last post that Kevin and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year – our first major holiday as a married couple and in the new house. And it was my first time hosting a major holiday ever, so I was pretty happy with how everything turned out! We ended up having 12 people over – smashed in our dining room between three folding card tables and a mash-up of borrowed chairs. It was awesome.

thanksgiving 1 watching Dad butter up the turkey!

I was a little nervous about the amount of people so I didn’t turn down offers of help when I got them. My sister brought cranberry sauce, a pie, and some appetizers; my neighbors graciously brought green bean casserole and another pie; my parents brought bread, rolls and a third pie; my mother-in-law bought a ham and we took care of the rest – turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn.

As usual, Kevin and I read a bunch of turkey recipes and then just sort of did our own thing. I had found a recipe for a lemon-herb-butter roasted turkey which I was planning on trying until 10:45pm the night before Thanksgiving, when my darling husband decided he wanted to brine our turkey…never mind that we didn’t really have any supplies for brining; it ended up working out pretty well! Once the turkey was brined, we nixed the lemon, made an herbed butter compote to lather our turkey in, stuffed it with an apple, an onion, and some mixed fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, and thyme – yum!) and tossed it in the oven for a couple of hours.

thanksgiving 3

beautiful!

I was worried about oven space for the potatoes until I got the brilliant idea to make them in the crock pot. I thought why not, right? My crockpot applesauce turned out so well, I figured potatoes weren’t that much different. So I looked up a few recipes online and went with it. The verdict?

potatoes

Total win! The sweet potatoes were a huge hit – I simply diced a couple pounds of sweet potatoes and tossed them in the crock pot with a apple juice, cinnamon and nutmeg and let it cook for about 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Once the potatoes were soft I mashed them up and topped with pecan halves – delicious!

The mashed potatoes surprised me as well. I diced and added the potatoes to the pot with chicken broth and minced garlic, let them cook for 4-5 hours, and once they were soft enough to mash I mashed them and added some sour cream and grated parmesan. They were so easy, and because we set up our dinner buffet style, you can serve the potatoes right out of the crock pot! It definitely helped ease my stress on Thanksgiving day!

I should have taken more pictures but I was too busy enjoying the company of good friends and family; and of course we spent a lot of our time with Baby Bear – he loves his Aunts Jen and Britt and his Uncle Will! It made my heart so happy to see him with my family – it was the first time most of them had met but within minutes it was as if they’d known each other forever!

We talked my younger sister into spending the night, and because it is a tradition in my family to avoid the stores on Black Friday (I get claustrophobic in crowds), we decided instead to bake Christmas cookies!

thanksgiving 8

Similar to the cookies we made for fall with my sister and brother-in-law, these sugar cookies are a longstanding tradition in my family. And because it is now officially the Christmas season, what better way to celebrate than with Christmas music and sugar cookies?! (Don’t worry, we’re getting our tree and decorating later today!)

It was a blast showing Baby Bear how to make the cookies, although admittedly he got bored pretty quickly. Still, I think he had fun, and of course everybody likes to eat cookies!

thanksgiving 6

me and Aunt Britt-Britt!

thanksgiving 7

getting ready to decorate!

cookie lights!

cookie lights!

I’ve said it a few times already – but it’s amazing what that little boy does to my heart. Sharing some of my favorite holiday traditions with him makes me so happy, and seeing him and his daddy – my family – fills me with so much love that sometimes I think my heart is going to burst. I may sound mushy and schmultzy but it’s true. I had no idea what it felt like to be a mom…and it’s a crazy and incredible experience.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

And now, we’re off to get a tree! Hooray!

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Apple Onion Balsamic Pork Chops

It appears that I have somewhat of an apple-onion theme going on.

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Well, maybe. Does two recipes in a week count as a theme? Really I guess not, especially when you add the fact that I don’t have any more apple onion recipes up my sleeve. At least, not yet.

This recipe actually started as somewhat of an accident. (I feel like I say that a lot – is it just me?) I kind of wanted to make pork chops with apples and onions and so I threw a bunch of stuff in a pot, Kevin added a bunch of stuff to the pot, and it turned out to be pretty delicious! Except that the next time we tried to make it we couldn’t remember what we used and so we had to start over from scratch. Whoops.

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Admittedly it’s not the most appealing dish I’ve ever made, but trust me when I say that it’s 100% delicious. The apple + onion + pork combination is a total win, and when you add a couple tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar and a shake or two of red pepper flakes it’s the perfect symphony of sweet, tangy, and a kick in the mouth.

Pork happens to go really well with sweet, tangy, and a kick in the mouth, don’t you think?

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

As good as this tasted for dinner (we served it with roasted kabocha squash and sweet potatoes, delicious), I took leftovers in to work the next day and it was even better. Particularly when I paired it with – are you ready for this? – sauerkraut. Holy Yum.

(For those of you who haven’t experienced the beautiful culinary marriage that is pork and sauerkraut, you need to remedy that. Stat.)

And speaking of work – I had to take Kevin’s truck to work last week – guess who totally ROCKED backing that beast into a teeny parking spot in the garage??

awesome park job | eatwriterunrepeat.com

THIS GIRL!! Yes, I took a picture.

But I totally ducked every time I drove under one of those clearance signs because I was certain the truck wasn’t going to make it.

Sigh.

APPLE ONION BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS

serves four

INGREDIENTS

4 bone-in pork chops

2 onions, sliced

2 apples, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup aged balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)

1/4 cup white wine

2 tsp cinnamon

red pepper flakes (optional)

salt and pepper

coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat 1-2 tbsps coconut oil in a heavy pan. Add pork chops and apple cider vinegar and brown on both sides. Remove from pan.

In the same pan, add apples, onions, cinnamon, and red pepper (if using) and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. (Don’t cook them until they are soft just yet – only until they start to brown up!) Remove from pan.

Deglaze the pan with a healthy glug of white wine, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the pork and apple-onion mixture back to the pan. Add the balsamic, lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

apple onion balsamic pork chops | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Apple Onion Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Breakfast makes me happy.

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I used to say that breakfast was my favorite meal, but admittedly that was when my favorite breakfast food was pancakes and I’d make breakfast-for-dinner at least once a week (pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Done.). I can make a pretty mean stack of pancakes if I do say so myself, but once I started eating paleo…I stopped eating pancakes.

Sad face.

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

So breakfast may not exactly be my favorite meal anymore, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. I make it a point to eat a full breakfast every morning so I don’t dive headfirst into the office snack drawer halfway through the morning. I’m fortunately enough to have a husband who loves to cook AND makes me breakfast while I’m getting ready for work in the morning…isn’t that awesome? (And sweet and thoughtful and INCREDIBLY convenient.)

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

As nice as that is though, I still enjoy making breakfast with him when I can – and sometimes if I’m really sneaky I can make breakfast FOR him!

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

That’s where these sweet potato hash browns come in. We’ve made them before but without apples or onions, and one morning as I was making breakfast for Kevin I just…decided to toss them in.

Best. Idea. Ever.

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I’m a huge fan of onions, and I love the extra sweetness the shredded apple gives the potatoes. Mixed with a hint of cinnamon and chili powder you end up with a crazy sweet-spicy-somewhat-savory-side (hello, alliteration) that was absolutely made for your eggs and bacon!

Breakfast is served!

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com

APPLE ONION SWEET POTATO HASH BROWNS

serves: two

prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 15-20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 sweet potato

1 apple

1 onion

chili powder to taste

cinnamon to taste

salt to taste

coconut oil (approx 2 tbsp)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grate your sweet potato and apple (a box grater works best) and dice your onion.  In a bowl add your sweet potato, apple, cinnamon, chili pepper and salt and toss to combine. In a heavy skillet, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sautee until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add sweet potato/apple mixture and stir to coat everything with oil before evenly distributing your hash browns in the skillet. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, flipping occasionally so as not to burn your hash browns. Note: Be patient. I am terrible and wanting to constantly stir everything, and if you don’t let the hashbrowns set and cook they won’t get brown and crispy! Walk away for a few minutes if you have to, but resist the urge to stir every five seconds!

apple onion sweet potato hash browns | eatwriterunrepeat.com