Grilled Cider-Marinated Pork Chops

Cider Pork Chops

We ate these pork chops at a picnic table in the Adirondacks, watching the sun rapidly descend.  It was there one minute, at just the right angle to send us running for our sunglasses, and no more than 10 minutes later, it was hovering behind the tree line, just out of sight.

We each took a pork chop, piled our plates high with the last of the summer squash and some roasted potatoes, and popped the champagne.  As we toasted the end of vacation with champagne in mismatched wine glasses, we exclaimed that we’d try to make the trip happen again next autumn.

I don’t have much more to say about the pork chops.  They were delicious, with just a touch of sweetness from the cider.  But every time I think about them or what story I might tell, I come back to vacation, and you’ve already heard me wax poetic about that plenty.

So, just promise me you’ll consider making these, okay?  Before the sweet overlap of grilling season and fresh apple cider season is done. Deal?

Deal.

Cider Pork Chops 2

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Grilled Chicken with Pecan Pipian Sauce

ChickenPipian

I’m all out of sorts lately.  Between century training, blogging, freelance work and planning for the Healthy Living Summit, I feel like I hardly have any time for myself.  Up until this past week, our weekends have been so busy that I’ve been squeezing in all my long rides on work days. We’re at least now in a position that Dan and I can shift our long training rides to the weekend and ride together, which is helpful.

Don’t get me wrong; I love everything I’m doing workout and work-wise right now.  I wouldn’t cut anything out, even if I had the option to do so. But I often feel like I am running from one task to the next, from training ride to coffee shop to doctor appointment (okay, I’ll happily cut those out once we have my thyroid under control!), rarely slowing down until bedtime.  Dinners have been rushed affairs. I throw together whatever we have, or run in and out of the house while Dan mans the grill, trying to multitask along the way. It isn’t exactly relaxing.

So this week, I’ve been making a concerted effort to slow down, at least at dinnertime.  I give myself a few tasks – make the main course, prep the side dish, transfer the frozen blueberries from cookie sheet to labeled freezer bags, make the cookie crust for a friend’s birthday cake (I’m making her this one, for the record). And while I’m in the kitchen, all I’m allowed to do is focus on those tasks and listen to some music or a podcast.  Maybe wipe down the counters or put some dishes in the dishwasher while I wait for something to come to a boil. And that’s it.

I’ve found this to be totally calming and mind-clearing.  When the stove is on, I can’t feel pressured to go out and run that errand or go edit those photos, because I can’t walk away and risk burning dinner. I can focus on chopping and sauteing and simmering and podcast-listening, and push all other thoughts aside. My to-do list is completely on hold. And after dinner, I’m finding myself holding on to that relaxed feeling, opting to watch TV or read with Dan, rather than pulling out the laptop and crossing a few more items off my list.  The to-do list can wait until tomorrow.

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