Thursday, February 22, 2018

Awesome Life Friday #149

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

And now the best part of Awesome Life Friday -  the FEATURES!

Flamingo Toes // Lets Be Adventurous Glitter Globe Banner
'This sweet Let’s be Adventurers Glitter Globe Banner is easy to make up and it’s such a fun way to show off your love for travel and adventure!'

Of Faeries & Fauna // Forest Fairy Crown
'I took my youngest granddaughter’s wonderful impish personality and her love for forest faeries as my inspiration for this DIY fairy crown.'

The (Mis)Adventures of a Homesteadin' Mama // Easy to Make Baklava
'The other night, my hubby surprised us all with a dessert that the country kids had never had before. He whipped up some yummy baklava! It was so yummy, the youngest country kid snitch a second piece when no one was looking.'

Try It - Like It // How to Needlefelt a Cute Nome Home
'The first time I ever needle felted, I was on vacation and found a small inexpensive kit at Daiso, a Japanese Yen Store. I made a duck. After that, I was hooked...'

The Bearded Hiker // Chicken Adobo & Black Bean Tacos
'You guys know, I love me some tacos.  I love easy.  And I love cilantro.  If you don’t dig cilantro, these chicken adobo and black bean tacos are not for you.  Please leave now.'

The Kittchen // Why You Should Visit Lapland in Winter
'I first visited Finland in May 2016, and I fell in love with the country. Ever since my trip, Charles and I talked about going to Lapland in Winter to see the Northern Lights.'

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Simon's Chocolate Protein Birthday Cake #FireflyFeast

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This month's Fandom Foodies theme is Firefly/Serenity, hosted by Fictional Fare - I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon's all-too-short series, so I had to get in on this.

In the Firefly episode “Out of Gas”, Kaylee makes Simon Tam a big birthday cake to celebrate. Unfortunately, she couldn't get a hold of any flour, and it's mostly protein, well, essentially what they just had for dinner. But she tried to make it as chocolate-y as possible!

Earlier this month, I celebrated my own birthday, and decided to make my own version of Simon's birthday cake.

Now, because I am not wandering the known 'verse, getting my hands on flour is actually pretty easy. Shiny!

But in the spirit of the episode, I decided to try my hand at a new type of protein rich frosting, made from tofu!

Here is my interpretation of Simon's birthday cake, with a little homage to Kaylee's favorite fruit!

Simon's Chocolate Protein Birthday Cake

2 ¼ c all purpose flour
1 2/3 c sugar
¾ c softened butter
1 c dark cocoa powder
1 ¼ c whole milk
1 ¼ t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t vanilla
¼ t baking powder
2 c dark chocolate chips

Chocolate Protein Frosting (see below)

Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease bottom and sides of a Bundt pan.

Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer for 3 min on med/high speed. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the pan.

Bake for about 50 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Protein Frosting
1 package soft tofu
powdered sugar to taste (I used about 2 cups?)
½ c dark cocoa powder

Mix tofu, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar until everything is a smooth, frosting texture. 

Spread frosting on cooled cake. 

For an added Kaylee touch, you can put sliced strawberries on top like I did!

Don't forget to head over to Fictional Fare to see how other bloggers are sharing their Firefly inspirations!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blubarb Pork Tenderloin #FantasticalFoodFight


It's time for another round in the Fantastical Food Fight, where bloggers get together to create a dish using the challenge ingredient.  For February, the challenge was RHUBARB!

I'll admit I had no intention of participating in this one.  I have, I think, eaten rhubarb once, in a strawberry-rhubarb pie which was good, but not anything I was ever tempted to recreate.

I had no idea when it even came into season - I assumed around the same time as strawberries due to the frequency of that pairing, but it turns out that late winter/early spring is Rhubarb Season, at least in some areas.  Maybe?  Rhubarb confuses me.

Even if I could find it, this wasn't going to be the month for me to try it - rhubarb is very tart, which means it takes a lot of sugar, I'd assume, and we're not eating more than tiny amounts of sweetener this month.

Add to that that about all I actually know about preparing rhubarb is that it looks like celery but definitely isn't, and some part of it is poisonous to eat, and I have very little idea of which part. (I believe it's the leaves, but the idea is intimidating.)

So, I let this month go, thinking I'll just leave rhubarb to the professionals.

Then, while I was enjoying a gift set of jams I'd received from Blue Owl Preserves (reviewed here), I impulsively set aside the jar of Blueberry Rhubarb Jam.  I could do something with that!

It didn't take me long to decide what - I just looked over my upcoming menu plan (don't you love how very organized that makes me sound??  It is all lies.) and thought to my self, 'Self? What would this jam be good with?"  Self answered - pork tenderloin!

Easy enough - I used  the jam to make a glaze for pork tenderloin, and it turned out to be flavorful, tart and delicious!

You can, of course, use any variety or brand of jam you have available, but if you enjoy rhubarb, I highly recommend Blue Owl Preserves with its fresh Colorado grown fruits (as a side note, if you use the discount code RCH, you can take 10% off).  This variety, affectionately nicknamed 'Blubarb', tames the tartness of the rhubarb with brightly sweet blueberries, but still packs a delicious punch. The combination used with the pork reminded me a lot of a good cranberry sauce.

'Blubarb' Pork Tenderloin
serves 4

1 pork tenderloin
2 tsp. olive oil
seasoning to taste (I used Penzey's Florida Seasoned Pepper)

2 Tablespoons Blueberry Rhubarb Jam
1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 425F.
Coat the tenderloin in oil, then season well, patting seasonings so they stick.  Set in a rectangular baking pan (you may want to cover with foil, for easier cleanup).

Bake tenderloin for 20-25 minutes.  The internal temperature will be 145F when it's done - check with an instant read thermometer.

While the pork is baking, combine the jam and vinegar in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Let this simmer gently for a few minutes to thicken.  If desired, some fresh blueberries would be wonderful, simmered in with the sauce.

Remove the sauce from heat until the pork is nearly done.

Spoon sauce over pork, spreading to cover, and let the pork cook just a couple more minutes to set the glaze.

Remove from oven, and let rest at least 5 minutes before cutting into medallions.

I served this with baked sweet potatoes and a large salad with blueberries to start.  The glaze was intensely flavorful and the tartness of the rhubarb took center-stage.

Pork tenderloins are a great way to get a reliably delicious meal on the table quickly, and I will be happy to serve it this way again - still leaving the rhubarb preparation to professions, of course!

This link up is only for Fantastical Food Fight entries - but I'd be delighted if you share your links with Party in Your PJs or Awesome Life Friday elsewhere on this blog!