Today marks eleven months that Tony passed away.  It seems forever ago and like yesterday all at the same time.  A year ago yesterday we had our last date.  I still wonder how he was feeling good enough to not only have lunch out, but go to the movies with me and hang out on the deck and sip wine while I grilled last year.  I couldn’t have imaged that a mere 31 days later my life would change forever.

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I can actually see Tony’s upside down reflection in the glass.  That’s what I miss most – just the simple things like lunch and a movie and hanging out on our deck.  So my message to you today is slow down.  Enjoy the little things.  Hug your spouse more often than you normally would.  Take time to have dinner out by yourselves.  The laundry will always be there, and you can wait to check off those items on your to do list.  Life is short.  Enjoy the simple things, because in the end, that’s all that matters.


My friend Whitney, my decorator extraordinaire, had a Halloween party on Saturday night, and I told her that I would do a chili bar.  I made my buffalo chicken chili and beef chili, and made blue cheese corn bread muffins.  I never actually took a photo of my finished food, but it turned out really well.  Only one slight problem.  I brought my Fresh Tech Electric Canner and Multi-cooker to keep the chili hot.  This is a multi-purpose machine – not only does it can, but you can simmer soups, stews, put hot apple cider in it – it even has a spigot on the side for serving hot drinks.  I had it on the highest setting for heating, but if you keep turning it to the right, it sets it into canning mode, which I obviously wasn’t doing, so the chili didn’t get very hot.  No worries, the microwave came in handy for people who wanted chili!  It was a fun time – I was the “life” of the party!”

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I loved the couple that came as red and green grapes – so clever!  Hannah ended up getting Roman a cool jacket for Halloween, although I am pretty sure she’ll have her wear it as much as possible.

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Last week I saw my friend Lisa post that her husband won a taco contest with a pork belly taco with pickled red onions and a spicy pineapple salsa.  I quickly asked if her husband Chris had a recipe for it, and before I knew it, I had the recipe in my hands.  Again, another slight problem.  No grocery stores by me sell pork belly.  So I had to sub in a boneless pork butt.  The first thing I did was mix 3 tablespoons of salt with 3 tablespoons of sugar and rubbed that all over the pork.  That was wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, then put in a ziploc bag to sleep overnight.

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That’s what the pork looked like yesterday morning.  I patted the pork dry, then rubbed ancho chili powder all over the pork.  Since Hannah doesn’t like stuff too spicy, I used about a tablespoon for the whole pork.  Then I put it in the oven at 450 degrees for the first 30 minutes.  I completely forgot about Chris’s suggestion about cooking the pork with beer since there is more fat being rendered in a pork belly, but it worked out just fine.  After the first 30 minutes was up, I reduced the heat to 225 and cooked the pork for 3 hours.  I let it cool for about 30 minutes, then pulled it and got rid of most of the fat, but saved the juices.

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The result?  Amazing.  I took some of the pork and added some of the pan juice and put it under the broiler to get some crispy bites of pork.  Paired with the caramelized pineapple salsa and briney radishes, this taco was a homerun.  Thanks Chris for the recipe!

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Want some total cuteness?  Jacob and Hannah both had to work yesterday and Jacob left Roman in his crate but not five minutes after he left, Roman started crying, and just like a baby, it tore at my heart strings and I had to let him out.  Rummy and Roman are starting to play with each other which is so cute to watch.  Roman now follows Rummy’s lead at the dinner table and will wait and see if he gets any scrapes of food.  While Roman waits patiently, um, Rummy gets a little up close and personal to let you know that she’s ready to take whatever it is you want to give her.

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And when the kids left to go to Starbuck’s last night, I had both of them sleeping on my in the living room – Rummy almost blends in with the blanket!  And Whitney, I know that’s not one of the blankets you bought for me, but I used that one because it’s from Sam’s Club and I wouldn’t care of it got peed on – we are still in potty training mode!

It’s supposed to be near 70 the next few days – love have a touch of summer like weather in November!  Off to get some steps in before work – make it a great day!