since first making this for dinner a couple months ago, it was quickly added to our regular rotation, most recently showing up last month. it has everything i love about pork tenderloin: salty bacon, sweet brown sugar & apricot preserves, zesty whole grain and dijon mustard, and perfectly juicy pork. did i mention the salty bacon?! it's killer.
ever since this recipe first showed up in food & wine over a year ago, it's been on heavy rotation in our house. the first couple times we enjoyed it as is - sweet & sour pork lettuce cups, the mixture rolled in butter lettuce - and we quickly learned that although delicious, it simply wasn't enough food to sustain all of us. so i started making variations - first lettuce cups topped with rice and then this, our favorite - sweet & sour pork with rice on top of baby spinach.
the top layer sliding ever so slightly, this is a total mom cake. i'm pretty sure the first time i celebrated my birthday with a store bought cake was when i turned 19. it was the first year i spent my birthday away from my mother and her homemade cakes. my mom recently reminded me how much my sister and i begged for a store bought cake as kids - which while i don't remember this specifically, i'm not all that surprised that it happened - and then thanked her as adults for always making our cakes. to this day, my mom's layer cakes never look the best - always a little lopsided, one layer sliding off another - but no bakery cake can compare to the flavor of a homemade cake.
last summer, virtually every friday, i would pack up dinner for the then three of us and winn, roo, and i would visit a local playground for the afternoon. jason would meet us after he got out of work around 5:30. we'd play for a bit more and when we finally decided we're hungry, spread out our picnic dinner. we spent the summer visiting a dozen or so playgrounds, getting to know our favorites and a few we won't be visiting again, and finding dinners suitable for adults and toddlers that are also easily packable, delicious, and not repetitive. it was a challenge. so this summer, i'm going to track those dinners, along with their toddler and preschool friendly versions, since i know from experience the challenge it can be to find a picnic meal to satisfy young ones and adults.
i've spent the last five days and nights alone with the baby while jason and winn were out of town, visiting grandma. like most parents, i had visions of all the things i would get done with only one child under my feet - and one that cannot yet talk! or run! or break things! visions of clothes shopping. visions of painting the now guest room in our house as a surprise to my husband when he comes home today (surprise! i didn't do it). visions of putting a sizable dent in my stack of magazines, some of which date back to 2013. visions of cooking - oh the cooking! you don't even want to see my wish list for the last two days. and i was going to do all of this plus get back on track with my half marathon training by running for an hour or so each day.
with daylight savings time now in full force and the sun setting later and later, we're making a conscious effort to get the boys to sleep earlier. which means i am on the lookout for simple meals appropriate for adults, a toddler, and a finger-foods-eating baby that can be on the table from start to finish in a max of 30 minutes. most one pot pasta recipes i've tried fit these requirements, but don't always taste great or usually, don't have enough liquid and i end up with too hard pasta and burnt sauce. not good. this one pot tortellini is not one of those meals. while the three of us gobbled it up with our forks, the finger-foods-eating baby was the clear winner: we had to cut him off after three bowls.
i mentioned early this week that we hosted some friends with little ones for an easter egg hunt and brunch last saturday morning. this carrot cake was the first dish i knew would be on the menu as my mom has made it a handful of times for various birthdays, holidays, and saturdays. it's the perfect cake for a party - it's easy, coming together in basically one bowl and no fussy layers, delicious, fitting for easter and springtime, and i felt a little less guilty letting my toddler have a piece knowing there are carrots tucked inside. oh and i've yet to meet a person that doesn't like carrot cake.
i was so so so happy this month when i opened up my secret recipe club assignment and found la cocina de leslie and six years (!!!) of homemade mexican food. why oh why has it taken me this long to find you?!
while the recipe i chose goes back more than five years, it was a pretty easy choice. we have a few good mexican restaurants near us and while i usually get tacos when we go out, whenever we get to salena's, jason and i always get the mexican flag - three enchiladas, one red, one white, one green. i stopped dead in my tracks when i spied leslie's red and green chicken enchiladas and decided that since i had made red enchiladas a couple years ago, that it was time to try green.
we were not disappointed even a tiny bit. these are so good, my almost one year old son stuffed a whole enchilada down before i could even serve myself. and then repeated it with leftovers two days later.