Making peace with fall and a Pumpkin-Free Autumn Recipe

Roasted Maple Pork Loin stuffed with Apples and Blueberries

While everyone can’t wait to talk about the crisp air and turning leaves, I’m quietly questioning why everyone seem to love this season. Although I have much to celebrate in the fall (anniversary, hubby’s birthday, Halloween and Thanksgiving) I seem to never really embrace it. With fall come super mutating viruses, crazy weather (even in SoCal), allergies, football, college football and the inevitable…winter! Treat or trick is fun for the kids and extra fat for me because I have no will power. Everything will soon die. No more flowers, no green…all will be red, brown and dead!!!!! It’ll be dark outside. Not a thing to wear because the weather won’t decide what to be; hot, cold, rainy, dry, frosty, windy????

Should I even mention the PUMPKIN everything? As much as I love the pumpkin coffee, pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin décor, pumpkin patches…it is just WAY too much pumpkin. Cooks act as if they will loose their minds if they don’t cram as much pumpkin in their recipes before the end of the season. How many people actually bother to cook with real pumpkin? It taste grosser than canned pumpkin to me.

How do I make peace with fall?

Since I can’t stop fall from coming and I can’t keep the world in perpetual, blissful summer, I’m going to embrace it (with moderation). I’ll grow fall vegetables in my garden, take daily antihistaminic, get the flu shot, buy new boots and scarves that match my tank tops, and think outside the pumpkin.

Because no food blog venting should be posted without a recipe, here is what I made today (sans pumpkin) for tonight’s dinner.

Roasted Maple Pork Loin Stuffed with Apple and Blueberries

THE DEAL: Costco had an instant rebate on Pork Loin ($2.80) yesterday on a package of 2. Each pack has 2 loins. I used 1 pack/2 loins for this recipe (I’ll freeze the extra pack.) In addition, apples are in season and on sale everywhere.

Ingredients for Maple Roasted Pork stuffing

For the stuffing you will need: 1 apple (diced); 1/2 cup of blueberries; 3 diced shallots or 1 small purple onion; fresh rosemary; 2 tbsp bread crumbs; 1 1/2 tsp olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.

On a medium fry pan heat the olive oil. Brown the shallots until translucent. Add apples and cook for about 3 minutes. Add blueberries, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until the bread crumbs absorb the juices. Reserve.

Roasted Pork Stuffing

Butterfly each loin (I could not spare more than 3 minutes butterflying the loins, so there you have it. Not pretty but works. A reminder that this shit is real!!!!!!!Real cooking!!!!) Season all sides with salt and pepper (be generous but reasonable).


You could use the “Saran warp and meat hammer” technique (aka pound it until thin) to make it flatter and easier to roll. I had limited time and wanted to get dinner done as quick as possible, so I topped one loin with the stuffing and made a “sandwich”. Then I simply tied the loins together (no tying skills required). Placed the “sandwich” in a roast pan/pyrex lined with shredded napa cabbage (To add flavor and retain moist. This step is totally optional.) Season again with some salt and pepper and finished with 1/2 of maple syrup over the top.

Roast ready   Maple over Roast

Place a piece of foil over the loin (don’t cover the whole pan, just the loin to keep it moist) and roast for 45 minutes at 360-370F. Discard the foil and roast for additional 15 minutes.

I haven’t decided yet what to serve the roasted pork loin with. I know Farro will be a great side, but the kids can’t take it. I’ll probably make a quick couscous right about before dinner time. The whole family loves the roasted garlic and herbs couscous from Near East. It takes literally 5 minutes to make and 2 minutes to disappear from our plates.


The Costco Paradox and another Sweet Potato recipe

Oh…Costco. I dread going in and I fight to get out EVERY TIME! The crowds are unbearable, the parking dance, the sneezing, the rude and the cruisers. I won’t even mention the samples because I’m a victim of them as well.  However, there’s no other place I can get a heart attack wrapped in tin foil (aka Chicken Bake. It’ll kill you) and endless organic eggs as cheap as it gets.

Costco is a paradox and I love to hate it.

Costco Healthy Dinner fix

This was yesterday’s quick dinner fix from Costco.  I’m not sure how “clean”  their rotisserie chicken really is but it’s delicious and convenient.

This pre-packed salad is so tasty, surprisingly low calorie and only $4.49.

Pre-packed kale salad

And because sweet potatoes are super food, I’ve committed to a 6lbs. bag of Organic sweet potatoes for $6.49 (seriously cheap.) The kids better start liking it because that’s a whole lotta sweet potato. I made this quick Chipotle Honey Sweet Potato Hash to go with dinner and turned out pretty good (recipe below).

Here is to a ‘Costcosized’ happy and healthy weekend!

Honey Chipotle Sweet Potato Hash
  • 2 tsp. of Ghee butter, olive oil OR coconut oil
  • ½ cup diced shallots or red onion
  • 2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes (I used the Titan Julienne peeler) or cut it into ½” cubes
  • ½ cup of diced yellow or red bell pepper (optional)
  • ½ tbsp. of chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • Salt to taste (I used about 2 tsp to star with and add some more after cooked)
  1. In a large pan, heat the Ghee butter (or oil of preference) over medium. Add the onions (and bell peppers if using it) and sauté until they became translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, chipotle powder, cumin and salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes, moving it around to cook evenly.
  2. Cook the hash until the sweet potatoes are soft but not 'mushy'. Once hash is cooked add the honey, mix and serve.
Do not cover the hash while cooking. It'll sag the sweet potatoes. Substitute honey for maple syrup for a more breakfast friendly taste. Add sausage or bacon to it! This is a really simple and versatile dish. Have fun with it!



Week 14: Still Costcoing

The Mexican Shepherd’s (Mex Shepx) pie was a sucess. Made with organic beef and veggies, topped with crumbled tortilla chips. This one dish meal will definitely make more appearances in our dinner table.

Star of the week: Green Beans with Turkey Bacon

Although our Costco trip was productive and our fridge is still full, I’ll be heading to the market later today. I’m planning to buy only extra ingredients for our week menu. Tonight we’ll make lasagna together. The kids really like assembling it and eating it!

As for the rest of the week, here is a rough menu:

Monday: Vegetable gnocchi soup and quesadillas or grilled cheese (Meatless Monday)

Tuesday: Lundberg Italian risotto with chicken and salad

Wednesday: ?

Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken Bowl with veggies

Friday: Gourmet

What’s in your table this week?

Week 13: Costco extravaganza

Week 13 menu starts tomorrow, Monday. The $210,87 worth of Costco food and food only, must cover this week and part of next weeks meals. Feature items in my fridge and freezer: Pears, papayas, organic ground beef, organic chicken breasts, organic spinach, organic spring mix salad, organic carrots, Roma tomatoes from Euro Farms (No pesticides), HUGE mushrooms, bread, more bread, Havarti cheese, Avocados, organic milk, organic peanut butter and strawberry jelly…If I could only have a Costco size fridge!

Monday: (Meatless Monday) Organic Salad and dirty quinoa

Tuesday: Mexican Shepherd’s pie and veggies

Wednesday: Pasta Primavera with creamed tofu sauce

Thursday: Left overs

Friday: Gourmet

Saturday: Bowling Alley birthday party

Sunday: Soup and Oven Bauru sandwiches (traditional Brazilian sandwich)