Winner Winner, Kalua Pork Dinner

Happy Friday, everyone!  I wanted to share a recipe that I asked from a friend and tried a couple of weeks ago, which is a hit at potlucks (provided the attendees are carnivores).  The best part is that there’s barely any ingredients and it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Kalua Pork

Ingredients:

Pork shoulder

Liquid smoke (located in bbq sauce section)

Hawaiian sea salt (I bought this at World Market)

Cabbage

Steps:

1) Place the pork in your crock pot, and sprinkle in some liquid smoke and Hawaiian sea salt.  I tend to like the “wing it” method when it comes to cooking, but I would guesstimate that I probably use a couple teaspoons or so (we’re not huge fans of salt).

2) Set the crock pot on low for 24 hours.

3) Shred the cabbage, and take out the pork and put in said cabbage into the crock pot.  I should’ve probably fully cleaned out all of the meat before putting in the cabbage, but I’ll do so next time.  While the cabbage is stewing, shred the pork (since it’s been in the crock pot for 24 hours, this part was super easy).  Stew the cabbage until it softens, meanwhile swatting away B’s grubby fingers from the meat as it cooks.

That’s it!  I like to serve it over rice, rice baby (dun dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun), but it was also delicious on a roll, especially Hawaiian sweet bread.

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If anyone has super easy meals like this, especially in a crock pot since it’s the best treat to have everything ready by the time you get home from work, I’d love to hear them!

Watch Linebackers, Don’t Eat Like One – Healthy Game Day Recipes

Now that football season has officially kicked off, people all over the U.S. are tuning in multiple nights a week to watch one of America’s favorite past times.  How many?  According to Nielsen ratings, though there was a decline in 2011, in 2012 there was still an average of 16.6 million viewers per televised game.  Whenever we watch with friends, the array of food tends to be fried, fat-laden, and/or nutritionally deficient.  Though I’m not immune to indulging in the delectable treats every now and then, I’m usually “that” person who usually brings something healthy when watching the game.  After scouring the internet for healthy dish alternatives, here’s some bona fide crowd pleasers that won’t make you grow into a linebacker while watching them: Click the link to check out all the delicious recipes!

How the Man is keeping me down from side income (okay, not really)

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking and baking since I think the whole process of chopping/seasoning/measuring/concocting is cathartic.  With cooking,  I like its creative aspect because you can wing it since it doesn’t have to be so exact, and love going to or putting together dinner parties and potlucks.  With baking, I like its preciseness (at least with the main ingredients), the house smells fragrant and welcoming after you bake, and I love giving them as gifts to family/friends over the holidays, packages to cheer people up, and as ice breakers when I first meet people like B’s family so they’ll like me as a “Nice to meet you!” gift.

Though I sometimes forget I have stuff baking (which has led to the occasional “Great news – the fire alarm works!” text to B), for the most part they turn out fairly decent.  I don’t have decorating down, but people seem to enjoy them:

So this past weekend, I was thinking of possible side income, and figured why not bake goods and sell them for a little pocket change here and there.  I love doing it, people seem to like it, and I bake on Sundays so what’s another batch or so to add on.  I looked on Ebay and Etsy, and it looks like people seem to do that online, but I wanted to do my due diligence first since people tend to be sue-happy and I’m pretty law abiding in general  (i.e., don’t even jaywalk).

The Governator Governor Brown signed AB 1616, also known as the California Homemade Food Act, which took effect January 1, 2013.  It allows some low risk foods (called “Cottage Foods”) to be made in residential homes and sold to the public since before, you needed a certified commercial kitchen.  I checked the list, and it looks like cookies, brownies, and bread/loaves are on it, which were primarily the foods I’d like to make.  So far, so good.

In order to do this, you either need a Class A registration, which allows you to directly sell, or a Class B permit, which allows you to directly or indirectly sell.  I would be in the Class A category, and it looks like I would need to register with my local health department (I think a couple hundred or so), take some food processing guidelines course, not required to have routine inspections, be aware of how I label/package it,  etc.  While I’m not loving the registration since, really, like $50 at most should be sufficient, it is what it is and I would hopefully make that up sooner or later.

Then, the clincher – Advertising and transactions made on the internet are okay but NOT for shipping the product via courier service/mail/FedEx/UPS. Product may be delivered by the CFO within the county only.

ARGH!  So I’m not allowed to sell and ship stuff off on Etsy or Ebay.  I’m pretty good about sending Priority Mail to my loved ones the next day after I bake so they get it fresh, so if it’s being shipped in the U.S. then I would think this is a reasonable method to sell.  But, The Man won’t let me. *shakes fist angrily*

Okay, so I know it’s for the consumers’ best interest and protection, so I get that perspective.  But I was getting pretty excited about baking lots, putting them in decorative bags and tying pretty bows on them, etc., so yeah, it’s a bit disappointing.

So what’s an alternative option?  I don’t want to sell it to my friends and family here since I already make it for them for free (I can’t have them take a bite and say, “Glad you like it… five dollars!”).  And I’m not sure how it would be to advertise on Etsy with specific instructions that it must be given in person, or maybe Craigslist.  With such a limited potential base to work with, will it even be worth the registration fee?  I mean, I’d break even this year and then have to renew registration again.

So, it’s back to the drawing board, I guess.  It was a good learning lesson, at least, and I do like the bill’s premise since it promotes fresh eating rather than packaged stuff made on factory lines.  I told it to my boss and she brought up the thought of maybe I can write the registration and any transport fees as a tax write-off, so maybe that’s a possible route if selling person to person?  And when I disappointingly told it to B, he advised maybe selling at the Farmer’s Market – I looked it up and it looks like there’s a Vendor seminars for it, so maybe I’ll research that (update: you’ll need consumer liability insurance and it’s getting too complicated with start-up costs, so don’t think I’ll be going this route).  I’ll look into it some more and see what I come up with.

If anyone in Cali was thinking about this, here’s the bill: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB1616

Food I’ve had the good pleasure of stuffing my face with recently (or, oh, so this is how I gained 5 lbs. with a quickness)

I thought I’d share some foodie experiences that I’ve had the gluttonous pleasure of eating the past couple of weeks.  Most loved ones know the best gift to give me is time and talk over a meal, so there was plenty of that as I caught up on baby, wedding, job, travel, and relationship news… as much as I like FB because I’m able to keep in touch with updates, there’s nothing like a good heart-to-heart, face-to-face!

B thinks my penchant for food picture taking is quirky, but has learned to accept it (kind of) just like I’ve accepted his computer gaming ways (his updates to me of what’s going on in said game… not so much).  The ribeye was delicious but too fatty for my taste (being a carnivore newbie, I didn’t know it was marbled in it, oops) and I definitely had some food hangover/remorse and heartburn since I’m no longer a spring chicken, but thankfully it’s still sweater season so I can hide any repercussions for a few more weeks.

Weekend with the fam

This past weekend, B and I went to Palm Springs to hang out with my family.  We only get to see each other 3-4 times a year all together, so it was fun spending time, gossiping about other family drama, making fun of each other (a family past time, though we say it lovingly), and of course, eating.  My parents rented a place with a kitchen, so I offered to cook dinner on Saturday night to help with meals cost but still trying to do so on a budget.  I made this guacamole recipe which is always a hit, shrimp enchiladas for my dad the pescatarian, and pot roast with wild rice.  The two main dishes don’t match, but it’s the two dishes that I make really well so I wanted to make them.  My mom ended up making Chinese chicken salad and my sis-in-law brought fruit tarts from a French bakery, so it ended up being a little United Nations dinner, anyway. 😉

I had the potatoes, carrots, wild rice, broth, and spices at home already, but with the rest of the ingredients I spent around $50.  I thought that was pretty good for a family of 6, especially since there were leftovers for B and I’s dinner tonight.  For a late snack, my parents, bro, and sis-in-law surprised me while I was watching a movie with B with this delicious red velvet cake from Nothing Bundt Cake (my bday isn’t for a couple more weeks, but we won’t get to hang out so this was pretty cool):

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It was so incredibly delicious and I’m pretty sure the walkway to Heaven’s gates is lined with these delicious cakes (plus I got to take home half!).

Besides the dinner, I didn’t spend much this weekend since B offered to take his car.  The fam mostly just hung out and enjoyed one another’s company, but here’s some cool pics from the commute to and from Palm Desert when we took two separate routes:

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and Gong Xi Fa Cai to anyone who might celebrate Lunar New Year!

SD Restaurant Week – Donovan’s Steak and Chophouse

It’s Restaurant Week in San Diego, where a group of restaurants all over SD have a fixed price usually at $20, $30, or $40, for a three course meal.  Save for birthdays, my bf and I don’t tend to go fancy-eating and usually opt for $1.50 bbq pork slider nights at the local dive bar or Denny’s after Sunday morning workouts.  However, I absolutely love going with my girlfriends as 1) they’re as big of foodies as I am and 2) it’s fun catching up with them!

The particular set I went with were my roomies in college and whom I’ve known for practically half of my life.  We picked Donovan’s, an upscale steak house in La Jolla that’s comparable to Ruth Chris in that it’s well over $40-50 for the main meat dish, and sides are extra (let alone appetizers and dessert)!  So at $40 for a three-course meal, it was definitely worth it:

After tax and tip it was definitely a bit pricey (the staff were amazing so, knowing what an ass-job waitressing can be, I definitely felt they deserved a great tip), but I cherish catching up with my girls what with everyone’s busy lives and kids for some.  I cut a bit off than what I would usually spend in that 1) I just had water and no wine, 2) I could only eat half my dinner so the other half served as dinner (well, night time snack) for my b.f., and 3) I would usually go for multiple days for Restaurant Week and I’m limiting myself to one (which makes my gluttonous heart very, very sad).  Overall, I’m so glad I finally got a chance to try Donovan’s out (no view or beautiful scenery like most San Diego fine dining restaurants, but the food was worth it all on their own), and I’ll for sure go back again when it’s on my b.f.’s dime! 😉  Just kidding (kind of).

Paella? Pa-e-yeah!

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While I distract myself from both 1) thinking about lunch (that’s still three hours from now) considering I devoured my breakfast after my run this morning and 2) justifying to myself that I should break the race part of my resolution and sign up for a marathon, I will reminisce about eating this amazing seafood paella dish at a Peruvian restaurant called Inka Mama’s.  There’s none in San Diego, but since I have a lot of family in the O.C., I try to stop by one of the three located up there when I visit.  It’s family owned and the owners are so personable, which is a nice bonus since I love and give my support to the mom and pop’s places as much as possible.