Simple Porkchops ~ a recipe for the distracted cook

Broiled Pork Chops- an answer for the distracted cook

simple broiled porkchops

Yes, I am the scattered, Bridget Jones -Homeschool mom.  I've accepted it, embraced it.  (sort of)

A favorite story around here is the moment when, Sky asked me what I was planning for dinner -and I gave him this startled deer-in-the-headlights look.  I said something like, "um, dinner?" and he looked at me incredulous and said, "yes, dinner! It's not like it's a surprise to you, it happens everyday!"  So, um, yeah, I don't do well with planning ahead.

We remodeled our kitchen last year, and we put in a stove with a broiler mode.  (um, forget the story about how the old oven had a broiler function on it, but I didn't realize it) One day I tried making broiled pork chops for the family, and I knew, here was the perfect dish for the distracted, scattered cook!  Seriously, folks, pork chops take about 8-9 minutes to broil on each side. That's it!  I've played around with them a bit, and here is my family's favorite version of broiled pork chops:

Simple Broiled Pork Chops (a distracted cook recipe)

  • gather your ingredients:  pork chops (I favor Costco's pork chops) butter, fresh ground pepper, thyme, Lowry's seasoned salt
  • grease your broiler pan, so it will be easy to clean. (you'll be glad you did)
  • spread butter on one side of each pork chop
  • sprinkle each liberally with pepper (it's better with more, not less) some dried thyme and a tiny sprinkle of Lowry's seasoned salt. A hint, really, the pepper and thyme are the stars of this show.

that's it!  Put the broiler pan in the oven and broil for 8-9 minutes. Pull out, carefully, flip the pork chops over, and do the same to the other sides.  Pop back in the broiler for another 8-9 minutes. Look, a meal!

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My family likes rice with these, something green- usually steamed broccoli, and when I'm really fancy, we have hot rolls.

Seriously, this is a great, easy meal to put together on those days when you just don't have a lot of time, or those days you forgot that yes, you are in charge of the food and that, yes, dinner does need to happen every day.

What's your favorite, simple dinner to make?  (cereal does not count)


Pinterest cake -nailed it! sort of

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Our Amie had a birthday recently.  She is now Eleven-teen (ha!) and when I asked her for a cake request, she said, "not chocolate" which gave me a lot of creative leeway.  I let pinterest have its way with me....and decided to try out this recipe:

Vanilla cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting from Baby Gizmo

I make a truly from-scratch-cake about as often as the locust swarm...I'm usually a boxed-mix girl.  This cake was very, very tasty.  It was very, very gooey though.  I'm thinking next time around, I will try making little mini cakes or muffins and put the filling and frosting on top.

I realized, about half-way through trying to frost it, that I shouldn't have frosted the sides... My first thought was "Nailed it!!"   The un-frosted side is very pretty, though.

It was a very yummy cake, though very big!

The verdict?  A keeper recipe.  -I need to add a board on pinterest for pins I've actually done.

what about you, do you just pin things, or do you actually try many of them?

Friday- the view from here

 photo e37fe92b-998c-44a0-89d6-b42911533dfa_zpsdf7e42e1.jpgThis morning was kind of full, Meg had a dentist appointment and then we went to lunch at the home of some old, dear friends.  (we had a sweet time, this very large family has daughters who used to babysit for us) After lunch, we went home and sat around the table to dive into our school work.  (Except Josie, who has been sick. She worked on her Biola Star homework, but I let her off the hook for other work)

Amie and Demi did Math - because every day is Math day :D  then handwriting and then worked in their spelling notebooks- writing half of their list words in complete sentences, and then a page in the spelling workbook.  We did a grammar worksheet and then I read aloud two chapters from Don Quixote.  (I have renewed it the maximum times from the library and was hoping to finish it, but not gonna happen...sigh)  We discussed the story, I pointed out some literary facts about this classic.  After, I read aloud from A History of US Vol. 2, about Jamestown and John Smith.  Demi then used the book to complete a worksheet I made from the reading. -Amie did the worksheet a few days ago, I don't know why Demi didn't do it... ( I am forever a worksheet girl, I have realized it is just quicker to make my own...)

Meg worked on her Biola Star homework (British Lit, Chemistry and Economics) and then worked a bit on her week's work list I made up for her.  She also practiced her violin.


Sky came home from work and did some woodworking in the garage, Amie and Demi worked on their creative writing stories, Josie read and slept.  Meg studied.  I parked myself in front of the fireplace and wasted time on the internet.  We are having a cold-spell here in So. Ca, it was in the 50's today, which I cannot handle. (I know, I am a wimp)  I whined to Sky about how cold I was and then sat in front of the fireplace till it was time to make dinner. (Demi-Sky did not have lacrosse practice today due to rain)

On the menu for dinner?  Left-overs. Score!

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After dinner, I made up a batch of my grown-up oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  {they are grown-up cookies because they have more oats, less sugar and double the cinnamon and nutmeg}  Here is my recipe:  Grownup Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

We then watched Groundhog day with the kids - we rented it.  This was the first time the kids have watched it.

The kids went to bed and now I am sitting in front of the fire again, playing on the computer.  Not a bad day in homeschool land...

Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Cookies {a recipe for grownups}

Oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies with more goodstuff {like oats} and less bad stuff {like sugar}

tweaking my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe to include more bulk (oats!) more dark chocolate (for the adult palate) and less sugar had the surprising side-effect of being less appealing to my kids.  Which means, more for mom... a win-win.

The recipe:

grownup oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies


1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened  (or better- substitute coconut oil)

1/2 or 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you prefer)

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups oats uncooked

1 cup chocolate chips (bittersweet 60% cacao is perfect for this)


preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl combine butter and sugars, mixing until creamy, then add in vanilla and eggs, mix well.

In a smaller bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients and mix together.  Add in the oats and chocolate chips, mix together until well-combined.

use a spoon to drop rounded dough onto cookie sheets.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.



These cookies are chewy, full of bulk, not too sweet and the bittersweet chocolate-chips give you the chocolate you crave.  Bonus, they will still be around tomorrow to snack on.

You could substitute the chocolate-chips for raisins, but where's the fun in that???

Homeschool Village Garden Challenge -Link up #3

I am linking up with the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge, this is link up #3.

Things are really happening in our little garden.  Here in the photo above, you can see what our garden looked like a month ago.  A few things growing, but pretty bare...

 What a difference a month makes!  Last month our garden consisted mostly of romaine lettuce, celery, green onion and berry bushes that were flowering.  
You can see in the photo this month, we have a squash plant taking over front and left, next to it is a cucumber plant that is almost as big.  On the front right we have some bell pepper plants and then several tomato plants that have small green tomatoes.  We've got two different areas going with climbing green beans, then more green onion, garlic and two rows of corn. 

 Here are our climbing green beans.  Amie and Demi really like picking these and eating them raw, a good incentive for me to plant kids are not really into vegetables, except for broccoli.

Last month a shared a photo of our blackberry and raspberry bushes in bloom.  We now have fruit, and the kids have been out there several days, eating them right off the vines.  Amie brought me the very first blackberry for breakfast a few weeks ago, a sweet moment :)
  • Something I learned this month...that if you don't use up your romaine lettuce in a timely manner, they get really tall and bushy and taste kind of strong.  

  • A recipe I will be using when our green bell peppers are ready:

Stuffed Green Peppers (adapted from the Better Homes & Garden Cook book)

6 large bell peppers  (or two large for the parents and just stuffing for picky kids)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 16 oz canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup quick cooking rice
1/2 cup water
dash salt
dash pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cut tops from bell peppers, discard seeds and membrane.  Dice up some of the tops to make 1/2 cup full, put aside.  Cook the whole bell peppers in boiling water for about 5 minutes, uncovered.  Set them up-side-down to drain.  In a skillet cook ground beef, onion and the chopped tops until meat is browned.  Drain fat off and then add the can of diced tomatoes-undrained.  Add the uncooked rice, water, salt, pepper and worchestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for 18 minutes.  Stir in half the cheese and then stuff the peppers with mixture and place in a baking dish or pan.  If you are only making two peppers, put the extra stuffing around the peppers.  Sprinkle the other half of the shredded cheddar cheese on top, bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Serves 6.

How is your garden growing??

Shamrock Shakes -make at home

 Tuesday we headed out to the park after our studies were done.  It was a beautiful day in So. Ca. The kids, Emma-the-wonder-labradoodle and I went to the park to enjoy the day, the playground, and to walk.  We picked up Shamrock Shakes on the way.

Shamrock Shakes are a really good memory from my childhood.  I love passing on this St. Patrick's day tradition to my kids.

Yum :)

 Shamrock Shakes X 5 kids = ouch, however.  

I decided after this splurge, that maybe we should try making our own at home for St. Patrick's Day.

Home-made {easy} Shamrock shakes

2 cups vanilla bean ice-cream

1 1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon mint extract 

4 drops green food color

(doubled this to make enough for my crew) I put a banana in the first batch to make it healthy...but decided you could taste the banana too much.  It was still good, but not the same Shamrock shake taste I was going for.

The taste verdict:  Yum!

The homemade version of Shamrock Shakes was a hit.  We will for sure do these at home next year.

And happiness reigned in homeschool land
The End.

blueberry corn muffins- you're welcome

I made these all-time favorites last night to go with chicken tortilla soup.

Chicken tortilla soup + blueberry corn muffins= awesomeness!  

I will re-post the recipe for you.  Go make them. Now. You're welcome :)

I found this blueberry corn muffin recipe in a magazine, sorry- I don't remember which one. It's very easy, short list of ingredients, and a surprising mix of flavors.

Corn muffins with blueberries

1 cup yellow cornmeal 1 cup flour 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup buttermilk 1 large egg 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 cup corn kernels (listed as fresh, but I used canned) 1  cup blueberries (or more!) raw sugar (turbinado) for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place baking liners in 12 cup muffin pan

Combine flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg and butter together and then stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries and corn.

Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle with the raw sugar. (I happen to think the more the better...mmm, sugar)

Bake about 25 minutes, cool.

Easy, internet friends, and soo worth it....

Sunday rainy-day link fun

It's this family organizing hub/ blog/ list keeper...I don't really know how to explain it.
It's one central place to keep all your family planning, I mean all. You have calendar categories for each family member in a different color. You can make shopping lists, and if you forget it, you can bring it up on your phone. Don't have a smart phone?...then you can call cozi and have your list read to you! You can set up event reminders, and different types of to-do lists. It is set up for sharing, too. You can create blog-type journal posts and share them. There is a place for your photos, too. All of this is free! I didn't get it at first, but then I watched the video, which was really helpful. (click the play button next to the title "see cozi in action".)

  • And finally,

One chocolate chip cookie recipe to rule them all...

I quit making chocolate chip cookies years ago (much to my children's sorrow) because they always came out very flat and thin and had to be scraped off the cookie sheet and eaten in bits, if eaten at all. Sky dubbed them "Pangaea" cookies, because, they looked like the world's continents all smooshed together...
-Instead, I would make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (which are my favorite and always come out perfect!) But, sigh...sometimes you just want a regular chocolate chip cookie.

Barb was having the same sort of problem, until someone sent her this**recipe. Click over to find it. I made them, and they were great!! No more cookie problems here!

Final thought: I finally got a twitter account, and a tweet deck.

I have to say, I don't get it, still. I was hoping once I was doing it, things would become more clear.