Each day is an opportunity for something new; something challenging; something worthwhile.
Each day is a gift.
I’m hopeful I can approach each day that way in the coming months, and ultimately, long term. It won’t be easy, but I don’t think I can live into what Christ is calling me to do if I view the morning light as more of a grim reaper instead of the blessing it really is. As a wife, a daughter, a sister and friend, I have an opportunity to share some enthusiasm and optimism with others. Even when it’s hard. I’m looking forward to seeing where that takes me this year.
Each day is a gift. And don’t you forget it, sister.
One of the other promises I made to myself was to try to cook at least one new thing every week. I like to try new things in the kitchen, but it’s easy to get stressed, bogged down and fall into the old familiar. Or, I try something that’s so complicated I end up crying on the floor covered in flour begging for takeout. That’s why I’m going to make myself keep things simple, but new. It could be a new smoothie, a side, an entree, or God willing and the creek don’t rise…a dessert.
The day one dish? Pork with Hoppin’ John – one of my mother’s best dishes. The recipe and photos are below, and I’ll tell you what – this should be eaten always, not just on New Years day. It was delicious and actually extremely easy!
Pork Roast with Hoppin’ John Stuffing
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tbs. vegetable oil
- 1.5 cups cooked long-grain rice (I used Uncle Ben’s and threw a little more rice in the mix – the seasoning packet worked out well too)
- 1.5 cups frozen chopped collard greens, thawed
- 1 (15 oz.) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup diced cooked country ham (recipe calls for half a cup, but I added a little more)
- .5 tsp. sugar
- .5 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 (2.5 pound) boneless pork loin roast (I used a tenderloin and it worked out just fine!)
Saute onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Add the rice and the next five ingredients (through salt); stir in egg. Set stuffing aside.
Butterfly the pork loin roast by making a lengthwise cut down the center of one flat side, cutting to within half an inch of the bottom. From the bottom of that cut, slice horizontally to half an inch from the left side; repeat on the right side. Open the roast and place between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Flatten the roast to .5-inch thickness with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Spoon 1.5 cups stuffing evenly over the roast, leaving a .5-inch border. Roll up the roast and tie with a string at one-inch intervals. Place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 11×17 baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees. Reheat the remaining Hopping John and serve with roast. Yields about 8 servings.
I’m telling y’all, this was incredibly easy and it looks so fancy when it’s finished. Plus, it tastes delicious! I served this with roasted butternut squash and finished the night off with some simple mini cheesecakes. See recipe here. (It makes 18, so I ended up freezing 12 of them) Looking forward to breaking those out soon! :)
Here’s hoping for a great 2014 full of enthusiasm, growth experiences, awesome memories and tasty food. And, here’s hoping I can pause as often as possible to soak it all in.