Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slow Cooking: Pork Dishes

Pork is another favorite of mine for the crock pot. It's easy and slow cooking it makes for a nice, tender meat. My family devours the pulled pork, and it a favorite of their teen friends too. I love the Mexican version with taco spices, but don't make that as often.

The other meal that I don't have a recipe for is slow cooked pork loin. I simply place the pork loin in the crock pot, season with salt, pepper and garlic. It's cooked on high for 5-6 hours. It's very easy and doesn't dry out in the crock pot.

BBQ Pulled Pork

5 lbs. pork roast
1 1/2 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 18 ounce bottle barbeque sauce
hamburger buns

Place the porch in the crock pot, and season with the dry spices. Place on the lid and cook for 6-8 hours until the roast is tender and falling apart. Remove the roast to a bowl or plate. Remove all but 1/2 cup or so of the liquid. Discard or save for another use. Using a fork, remove any fat from the roast. Place the meat back into the crock pot, shredding with the fork. Add the bottle of BBQ sauce and cook on low for another 1/2 hour. Serve on buns.

Variation: Instead of adding BBQ sauce, add 2 packets of taco seasoning and the water called for. Mix into the shredded pork, cook for the 1/2 hour longer, then serve with tortillas and additions such as salsa, cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Slow Cooked Pork Chops

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled, chunked
3-4 carrots, sliced (or use baby carrots)
1 medium sweet onion
5-6 pork chops (boneless or with bone)
1 can cream of mushroom soup or French onion

In bottom of crock pot place potatoes, then carrots and onions, then top with pork chops. Pour soup over top. Do not use water. Cook on low heat 8 to 10 hours. Serve with noodles or rice.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Pork

2-3 pounds cubed pork (boneless chops work great)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup white or cider vinegar
1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tsp. ground ginger (mix into the juice)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve)
2 green peppers, cored and chopped

Combine soy sauce, juice, and cornstarch with the brown sugar. Place the pork into the crockpot and stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on high for about 4-5 hours. Add the tomatoes and peppers, cook about 15-20 minutes longer. Serve with white or brown rice.

On OFL we have an article on using herbs with pork:


Sunday, January 22, 2012

When to Start Seeds Indoors

I'm sure you've been getting seed catalogs since December as I have, and it's time to make decisions on what, if any, seeds you'll start indoors. If you don't have a lot of space, one packet might be more than you need. If so, partner up with a family member, friend or neighbor and swap seed packets once you've taken out what you need. Below are suggested times for starting various flowers, herbs and vegetables. Use this to give you an idea of what you may want to sow indoors this year.

-Lisianthus takes up to 17 weeks indoors...it has beautiful blooms in white, and various shades of pink, lavender, or deep purple. It's also known as Texas bluebell, Prairie Gentian or simply bluebells. Gerbera daisies also need a lot of time to grow, and should be started in January.

Early February:
-geraniums, pansies, violas or wax begonias

-onions, leeks

Mid February:
-impatiens, larkspur, fountain grass, lobelia and stocks


Early March:
-coleus, dahlia, gazania, heliotrope, petunias, rudbeckia, snapdragons, verbena

-broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, head lettuce

Mid March:
-bells of Ireland, candytuft, cleome, pinks, hollyhock, African marigold, nicotiana, phlox, salvia, statice, strawflower, sweet alyssum

-peppers, eggplant

Early April:
aster, babys breath, bachelor buttons, balsam, calendula, cornflower, four o'clocks, marigolds, morning glory, nasturtium, moss rose


cosmos, sweet peas, zinnias,

Obviously I didn't include all flowers, herbs and vegetables in this list. I tried to get the most popular plants included. I do have to say that there are flowers I always sow outside without fail as soon as the heavy frosts have left. They are: nasturtium, morning glory, calendula, bachelor buttons, sunflowers, and zinnias.

This should give you an idea of which seeds you can start indoors and when you need to do it. I've also blogged on previously on seed starting: