Monday, September 22, 2014

{Back to Routine} Easy Slow Cooker Asian Pork Tenderloin with Smithfield

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with 
Weave Made Media and Smithfield, all opinions are my own

Summer's over, Fall is here, school is back in session and that means I start getting back into more of a routine in my home.  Between being a wife, mom, party stylist/designer, blogger and working a full-time job (wipes sweat from brow) I have to help manage a household alongside my better half.  One thing that makes our lives less hectic are easy slower cooker meals for dinner. 

Lately, I've been on an Asian food kick.  I love how the simplest ingredients in Asian recipes makes the most flavorful and healthy dishes.  I got to thinking how much easier it would be my Crock-Pot!  So, I made this DELICIOUS slow cooker Asian Pork Tenderloin recently and just had to share!

I headed to my local Safeway and picked up a Smithfield All Natural Pork Tenderloin and all my ingredients for my meal.  I've been trying to get my family to eat healthier and the All Natural line from Smithfield certainly fit the bill.

I used some of the ingredients found in this recipe and instead of pork shoulder used tenderloin - but you could certainly use your favorite cut of pork!  I didn't use Bok Choy cause I'm not a fan of it, if it's your thing, go for it.  Following the steps in the recipe, I mixed all my ingredients together and let my Sous Chef, The Mini Diva, assist.  One other thing I am trying to get into the routine of doing is letting the kids help prepare our family meals.  Hopefully, this will make them want to eat all their dinner (crossing fingers).

Using our trusty and well-loved Crock-Pot, I let the tenderloin slow cook on low for several hours and when it was done tossed in some scallions.....YUM!

Let me say that this dish was SO GOOD!  Only thing I would personally change if I made it again is the amount of  Chinese five spice powder I used.  Its not my favorite seasoning in the world, and I maybe could have even done without it.  However, the meal was awesome and filling.....and even Mr. Picky Mr. S. digged in and gobbled it up!

We're big on Smithfield here in our house and love us a good spiral ham and bacon!  I don't believe I've ever tried the tenderloin, but it was very tender, moist and carried the flavor of the dish very well.  This recipe would also make a fabulous dish for a Pot Luck dinner or even for a holiday buffet item.  Serve it with Jasmine rice and you will not be disappointed.  I can't wait to make this again for my family!

How are you getting back to routine?  Share your tips and ideas in the comments below. 

You can pick up your own All Natural Smithfield at your local Safeway, Tom Thumb, Randalls or Genuardi and be sure to use this $1 OFF COUPON (while supplies last) towards your purchase.  You will have to register for Just4U to get access to the coupon.

Find more Smithfield products here and follow Smithfield on Facebook


Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Do You Remember?

Many of us remember that fateful day when  the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon happened. We remember and we cannot forget. I recently watched a documentary on the attacks in New York and I promise you I choke up or cry each time. It's a day that I will absolutely NEVER forget.

I went to work early that day, and was in such a happy mood that was such a nice day.  I just remember I kept looking up at the sky.....cause it was so blue.  I saw the old men in the park outside my building sitting in their regular spots, some playing checkers...others just conversing.  I said hello to the ones who's faces were familiar and walked to the Metro. I got to work early that day about 8:30 to discuss some work concerns with my supervisor. At the time I was working in the small market radio sales department of the Associated Press Broadcast News Center in Washington, DC. I remember sitting at my boss' desk and coming up with some sort of strategy to move forward in my position. Shortly after our meeting started, a co-worker rushed into the office saying that a plane just flew into the Twin Towers. Of course, being a news organization, we stopped everything we're doing, we were THEE news so, quite naturally, we had to check this story out.

We rushed out to our company lobby to watch the commotion on the big screen tv's. I remember it was a little before 9:00 and the tower was on fire.....there was smoke billowing out and I heard myself say, "That building is going to fall." Someone responded to my comment, very dismissively saying, "Ah, that building can't's designed NOT to fall." Regardless, I was sure people were dead, I was sure that it was an accident and while it was a sad event, I remember thinking I needed to get my day started. So, I began walking back to my desk, glanced over my shoulder at the person who waived off my comment about the building falling and said again, "That building is going to fall."

I couldn't have taken 10 steps when I heard a sea of gasps and screams......I turned back to look and the second tower was hit. That's when I knew, something was wrong. I went back to the TV and watched like everyone else in horror.

My stomach sank and I rushed to my desk to check on my mother in Connecticut and other family members and friends who lived and worked in New York City.....but I couldn't get through. I tried my mother again.....NO LUCK. Then I was able to reach my close friend who, was working at the Department of Treasury which is located directly next to The White House...this was a little bit after 9:30....and as she's telling me that they're evacuating the Executive Corridor she says, 'Oh, sh*t....Oh sh*t. A plane just flew's too low....that plane is too low. I have to go, I'll call you back.' If anyone knows anything about airspace and Washington, DC, specifically the area around The White House, they know, that NO planes are allowed to fly in that air space.

My heart nearly dropped into my gut......our building was literally located a few short 4-5 blocks from the White House....what did that mean? A PLANE FLYING OVER THE WHITE HOUSE? I picked up the phone and tried my mother now she should be at work. "HELLO?" Thank you GOD, I thought to myself. As we are discussing all that was happening in New York, a coworker walked past me with the most shocked look on her face and said....'The Pentagon is on fire, it's on fire, a bomb hit the Pentagon or something.' she kept walking in a hurry. I told my mother what happened and she tells me to get out of there and go home. But what do I do? Where do I go? My best friend works in the area of the The Pentagon and was pregnant, was she okay? The Pentagon is just across the river from DC and a sudden sense of panic came over me.

I immediately went back to my friend saying that there was a plane flying over The White House....was that the plane she saw? Did that plane just fly into the Pentagon? I put the pieces together....planes are being used like bombs. Where was the next plane going to land? I took my mother's advice, grabbed my belongings to go home....rushed down the stairs, out of the building only to see the city was in chaos. People were in a panic, in shock, crying, traffic on 18th street was at a crawl, at best. I knew from the looks of everything it would take an eternity to get home....which was only just a few stops away....and wondered if was it safe to take the Metro without knowing what could happen next? Thinking, maybe I should just walk. I was so confused.....fear set in and I just wanted to cry.

A friend standing outside came up to me and said....'Just go back inside....there's no reason to get upset. If you said your prayers this morning, you have nothing to worry about.' I knew deep down, he was right. I still, however, couldn't shake the feeling of fear, panic and anxiety. I went back inside and sat down at my desk. All of a sudden, the General Manager for our division announced that no one will be going home. We were 'ordered' to stay in the building and stay safe. He commanded that we were a news organization and we had a job to do. Now, while that sounds all heroic and whatnot...all I could think about was people being in the Pentagon and the Twin Towers and how 'safe' were we really? But, I stayed, I answered phones, spoke with our members and helped get the latest updates to reporters in our news center. When my day was done, I gathered my belongings, prepared myself to go home and prayed that I would get their safely.

When I got outside, there was still a sense of fear, panic and sadness in the air. By now, we saw what else happened, we kind of knew what was going on - how it happened, there was a collective consciousness that we knew our lives were going to be VERY different. As I walked down the street towards the metro, I felt like we were living in a police or military state. There were tanks and armed soldiers on the corners of almost every block in downtown DC. That made me feel a bit more safe....but I knew it was just a facade.

I don't remember my train ride back home.....but what I do remember is walking towards my apartment, past the park and seeing the same old men in the same place still doing to the same thing they were doing earlier that morning.  I remember thinking.....they're so unaffected by all of it....Do they even know what happened today? One of the friendly faces I greeted each morning stopped what he was doing and said, "Baby girl, everything will be alright. They just want us to be scared, that's all." I don't know if he noticed the look on my face or if God was speaking through him, maybe both, but, I still remember being scared to death.

Back in my apartment I immediately went to look out my bedroom window. I was fortunate to have a top floor apartment that was situated at the top of a hill in DC.  It overlooked all of NW Washington DC and across the Potomac into VA and MD - I had a GREAT view of the city. I knew what to expect when I looked out the window....I knew I'd be able to see the Pentagon. It was ablaze. That's when it hit me. I was immediately overcome.....I held it all in the whole day and I fell apart in that moment. I cried the entire night.

It wouldn't be until years later that I would understand that my reaction that night was complete and unbearable grief of the whole experience of living in that exact moment in time. No one I knew died. No one I knew was hurt. By the grace of God all of my family and friends were safe.  I remember that day with such clarity and better than I can remember what happened just five minutes ago. It is a day that I will NEVER forget.....ever.....ever....EVER.

How do you remember 9/11? Share your story in the comments.

Feel free to print one of these Remembrance Day posters or share.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

{Blog Tour} Getting to Know You

Blogging for these past few years has afforded me an opportunity to me some pretty cool and creative ladies.  One of them is Sandra Garth.  I met Sandra though a party people forum on the Martha Stewart site and she's always just been so gracious and kind in nature.  She's got skills in the tablescape area too!  You can really see through her design and style that she loooves making a lovely dinner table for guests and family. Sandra blogs from  Sweet Sensations and Around My Table and she invited me to participate in this fun blog tour that she is a part of (see Sandra's post here).  A blog tour, how cool is that?  I don't think I've ever been  a part of a blog tour, not even once!  So, this should be fun!  Here we go!

 1. What am I working on currently on the blog?
Along with adding a few more how-to and DIY posts, I'm currently working on getting some fun posts together with a group of my fabulous party pals for the annual 13 Days of Handmade Halloween.  It's one of my favorite collaborative features and I just love me some Halloween.  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up!  I'm also getting some ideas together for football season (GO PATS!)

2. How does my work differ than others of its genre?
See....these are the kind of questions that throw me off.  I don't really know exactly how my work differs form other party girls.  I like a little mix of everything when I'm styling tables and parties.  I like trendy, fun and whimsical and a little modern.  I always admire how consistent the designs are of some of my other party friends and then I look at my style and think...."It's a little all over the place, but I like it!"  So, maybe I am just a little more versatile......that's a nice way of saying a little all over the place, right?

3. Why do I write what I do?
I love to write.  I always have.  English was my favorite subject in school and I swear to you one of my childhood dreams was to run a magazine company.  I guess in my own little way...I do have a magazine....of the digital blogging nature.....maybe not.....but, a girl can dream.  In any case, when I started blogging, I wasn't sure anyone was going to read my blog.  I just figured I'd have a good way to document what I was doing and sharing it with people who might be interested too. 

4. How does my writing process work?
When I first started....I had no rhyme, no reason....I just wrote.  Then, I started reading up on how to blog....and thought....oh, there's a way to actually do that?  Then I got all caught up in the how to's and the do's and don'ts and I hate confinement and rules.  So, I eventually broke out of that mold and just write based on projects I am working on....sharing as much as I can about it.  I try to keep a bit of consistency to certain posts - for example real party posts don't always have the same 'template' or outline as my inspired or sponsored posts. 

I am still trying to figure out ways to do DIY or tutorials that are easy for my readers and don't look like what others are doing.  I also do tend to plan what I'm going to post and what projects to work on months in advance.  Some posts make it and some don't....some you don't see for years cause of various reasons.  I am a wife and mom first, I have a full time job and I run a business.  That's a lot of hats and a girl only has so many hours in the day.  So, my process for writing doesn't have so much to do with my process  as it has to do with time management, and that is a challenge at times.

So, now I get to keep the ball rolling on this blog tour by inviting a few other blogs to the tour:

I've selected Sunny by blogging friend and homie!  Sunny blogs about delicious baked sweets and fun parties!!! She also makes yummy dishes for her family!!! Gotta make this Shrimp and Coconut Milk dish YUM!

I also wanted to share a VLOGGER not a blogger who I think is just the bees knees!  Keri Patterson of Veri Keri shares some awesome budget friendly tips and ideas on  entertaining and styling tablescapes on her You Tube Channel Veri Keri.  Keri's creativity and level of talent top drawer!  Her style is really chic and modern with a bit of whimsy tossed in.  I've featured a few of her parties on my blog before - love the cowgirl party she styled for her daughter! You MUST check her out.

(Photos courtesy of Veri Keri)

Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy reading the wonderful blogs and VLOGs of everyone that I shared today.


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