Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Sophia helps make the caramel apples!

A friend of mine shared a link to this fun recipe a week or two ago and since I had been planning on pork chops that night anyway, I decided “why the heck not?”!

Pork and apples go together like bread and butter…the sweetness of the fruit complements the meat so very well that they’re simply a perfect match. This recipe ups the sweetness factor and was so delicious we actually had no leftovers whatsoever!

Sophia wanted to help tonight, so while I pared the apples, she measured the sugar and cinnamon. (She actually measured the cinnamon three times before she got it right and we lost some on the counter…and the floor…but she had fun.) She also had fun learning about where cinnamon and nutmeg come from and playing a bit with the nutmeg grinder I bought a few years back. Seriously, if you don’t have a nutmeg grinder, get one…the flavor difference between fresh and pre-ground is astounding.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Amazingly, my kids didn’t care too much for the sauce as it was a little too sticky (I think I overcooked it by a minute or two which with caramels makes a HUGE difference), but they loved the chops and even ate the apples which surprised me as they are quite picky eaters. This is also why you’ll notice the sauce is on the side in the picture. I didn’t feel like fighting the dinner battle for the #897th time.

We had our caramel apple pork chops with a loaf of rosemary bread from a local bakery and perfectly tender broccoli with parmesan shavings.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops
4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops (I had 7, so that’s what I made!)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
2 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)
1. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil to pan. Add chops and cook about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan to serving dish and keep warm.
2. Combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
3. Melt butter to skillet, and stir in the sugar and spice mixture and apples. Cover and cook until the apples are just tender.
4. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and place on chops. Keep warm.
5. Reduce the remaining sauce uncovered in skillet until thickened slightly.
6. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

The link from my friend | The original recipe

Happy eating!

Whoops! Domino’s gives away a lot of dough

Looks like someone wasn’t watching the pizza oven!

According to an article today from the Associated Press, some intrepid web customer discovered that the unpublished coupon code “BAILOUT” worked to get a free medium pizza on their online ordering system.

Apparently, the code was from a scrapped marketing idea, but ended up in the system anyway, most likely from an overworked, underpaid tech just trying to stay ahead of the game. Unfortunately, their premptive coding cost Domino’s 11,000 pizzas in about 24 hours. Yep, that’s right – eleven THOUSAND pizzas.

If you were thinking about cashing in on this promo, I’m sorry, but you’re too late. The code has already been deactivated, but I did want to point out one neat little feature this brought to my attention. You can order your pizza online!

pizzaguysNow, I recently did this with our local pizza place, The Pizza Guys, about 2 weeks ago. I was exhausted, Joel was out at band practice and the kids and I couldn’t decide on dinner (hotdogs, AGAIN?). We were getting in the car on the way home from errands and I decided pizza would solve the problem. I got on their website from my phone (yay technology) to get their phone number and noticed that I could actually order my pizza online! While the kids got situated and buckled up in the car, I typed in our address, selected what we wanted and placed the order. Swung by the pizza place on the way home and it was already waiting for us, piping hot. I felt like a rock star…walked in, bypassed the line of other tired parents and weekday warriors, grabbed our pies and left. I had already paid online, so there was no waiting at all.

Totally. Freaking. Awesome.

Buscaglia’s Ristorante – an ex-family favorite

Buscaglia\'s Ristorante

For more than three decades, maybe even four, my family has made the jaunt once or twice a year to Buscaglia’s Ristorante in Jackson, California to celebrate. Sometimes it’s a birthday, sometimes Mother’s Day, sometimes for other important family events like confirmations and baptisms. We’ve always considered it our restaurant of choice for really special family events.

Until May 11, 2008, that is.

When I was a kid, Buscaglia’s was an awesome little place…right on the road with this huge, beautiful stained glass window of roses and a light-up dance floor in the lounge, straight out of the seventies. The food was to die for, homemade minestrone, succulent pastas, and this amazing fried chicken that I swear I can still taste, even though they discontinued making it more than 15 years ago. The place was cozy and warm, the staff was always friendly and attentive and it really felt like you had gone to an old friend’s home for dinner.

Not so anymore.Buscaglia\'s entrance

The day before Mother’s Day, we made the trek to Buscaglia’s for dinner. All told, there were eleven of us, eight adults and three kids. Buscaglia’s recently built a new restaurant farther back on the hill from the original location, and although my parents and grandparents had been there since the new spot opened, my siblings and I had not. I must admit, I was saddened to see that all that was left of the old building was some brick pillars and foundations. The new building is really quite impressive, but the rubble at the foot of the hill made it seem bittersweet.

To get to the restaurant entrance, you have to enter the courtyard and walk up a short incline to the back of the building. When I arrived with my kids, my grandparents were talking to the waiter about getting a different table location, and although we were the first people there (the place opens at 5pm and we were there on the dot for our reservation) they refused to move us. Ok, no problem I thought…I wasn’t sure why my grandparents had wanted to move in the first place, but once we sat down, it became all too apparent. The main walkway from the kitchen to the outdoor seating was right along our table. With all the coming and going, you would expect that we would have received better service, but not really. Our drinks were a long time coming and our ordering even longer after that. By the time the waitress came with our soup and salad, our bread was long gone and she forgot my brother’s minestrone. We managed to get that rectified and about 7 or 8 minutes later, another waiter came by to ask us if we wanted grated cheese on our food…except that we were almost done with it at that point, so it was pretty silly. It took quite awhile longer for our dinners to arrive and in the meantime, the traffic behind my chair increased in pace and it was incredibly distracting for my three year old.

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