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Grilled Maple Thyme Pork Chops with Leek, Shallot and Garlic Risotto and Cauliflower with Garlic and Sage

[T]hat old September feeling... of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air.... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.

Wallace Stegner

So here's the thing I'm having a problem. 

This and Christmas are my two favorite times of year. I love the fall. I love the smell of burning fields, not something I really get here in Penticton anymore, but, that memory will last with me forever. I love sweaters and warm socks and soup... I love homemade soup! I love the fall harvest, I love zucchini bread, applesauce and pumpkin pie! I love cleaning out my freezer to get the next batch of homemade casseroles all labeled and stacked. I love back to school shopping. I love getting HBear a new backpack. I love labeling all the supplies. I love changing the clothes over. I love it getting darker earlier. I love the crunch of leaves and I love fall colors! 

I love my TV shows coming back, even Parenthood! 

I love Parenthood... but I have not been ready to watch it since my Mom passed. It has a major character who has cancer. She was going through all the same stuff at the same time as my Mom. My Mom and I watched it every week and talked about it the next morning. My Mom and I watched Gilmore Girls together and LOVE Lauren Graham (also in Parenthood) and honestly it is such a messed up freaking funny family that it makes my heart hurt to see it. BUT... I think I am ready. This is the last year of Parenthood and I want to see it through. So I have 22 episodes PVR'ed, I better get started lol.

Now that I'm a Mommy I love fall for so many more reasons. I love the fact that HBear is going back to school. I love that she gets super excited. I love the cute little outfits I buy for her, I love that all her programs are starting again. I love the fact that with school comes in earlier bedtime LOL.


So, here's the thing. I have two problems really, first the strike means no school. This throws my routine completely off-balance. One of my biggest pet peeves is waking up in the morning and not knowing what I'm doing for the day, don't judge.

Do you know how hard it is to not know what I'm doing next week OMG I mean seriously I know they're not going back to school, I get it... I know... it's just taking a while to sink in :(

On Tuesday HBear, SBean and I will be attending a peaceful protest. We will make our signs and march! As I have said in the past, I respect and believe that the teachers are asking for these changes on behalf of the students and their futures. BUT... at this point I just want the kids to go back to school. I want them to be able to learn with their friends. 

I am on my DAUGHTER'S side. 

A friend of mine and the lady I worked on the School Carnival with last spring, is organizing it :) If you are interested in reading more about our protest go HERE

The second thing that I'm having a problem with is it is still +33!!!! How can I wear my warm socks when it's +33 here? I am changing over the clothes from summer to fall, taking down the pool, bringing out boots and it's seriously freaking hot here! Ninja and I took the kids for a bike ride yesterday and SBean had only pants in her drawer!!!! It was +32!!! LOL 

This is really messing with my senses, my head knows it's almost September 1 and nothing is changing!!! This is the summer that will not end.  I actually have to buy SBean new sandals because she's outgrown hers and it still sandal weather! I cannot put her in all the cute little socks and runner sets that we have, oh no, because it's way too hot she just pulls them off!

So today I am giving the middle finger to summer and I am making a fall dinner :) If I don't get fuzzy socks or school then at least I will get sage, maple syrup and leeks! 

FYI I read somewhere that maple syrup is harvested in the spring... therefore technically it is NOT a fall staple. I am giving the sugarshacks the middle finger too... maple syrup tastes like fall DAMMIT!

Grilled Maple Thyme Pork Chops
Adapted from SimplyScratch

4 pork chops
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons old style mustard
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire

Preheat your grill to medium high.

In a sauce pan combine the maple syrup, honey, ketchup, mustard, thyme, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. 

Stir and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove and pour ¼ cup into a small bowl and the rest into a large bowl for basting.

Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper.

Cook chops for 7-8 minutes, basting. Flip and repeat for 7-8 minutes more, baste until the chops are fully cooked.

Once fully cooked, remove the pork chops from the grill to a plate and let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes.

Drizzle the remaining maple honey glaze over top of the chops before serving.

Leek, Shallot and Garlic Risotto

¼ cup olive oil
leeks, cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth (I used homemade turkey)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (*note to self, next time use 1/2 cup
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, chopped

Bring the broth to a simmer in a pot, keep warm.

Heat oil in a skillet and add garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds and then add leeks and shallots, cook for about 3 minutes or until leeks are soft.

Add rice to skillet and stir for 2 minutes.

Add white wine and let evaporate.

Add broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. 

Wait until each additional 1/2 cup is almost completely absorbed by the rice. 

Continue to add until all of the broth has been used, or until the risotto is cooked to desired doneness.

Take it off the heat, add butter, Parmesan cheese and all herbs. Stir to combine.

Cauliflower with Garlic and Sage
Adapted from Taking on Magazines

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into small florets
1 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika 
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Bring water to boil in a large sauce pan. Add the cauliflower florets and return the water to boiling. Cook the cauliflower for 3 minutes, until just soft, but still with a little crispness.

Drain the cauliflower in a colander and rinse well with cold water to stop cooking.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic is just starting to turn beige. Add the drained florets and gently toss to distribute the garlic and oil/butter combination. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the cauliflower is heated through.

Sprinkle the sage, paprika, salt and pepper over the cauliflower and toss to coat.

I LOVE this cauliflower! Ninja even "Mmmmmmmm"ed and he hates cauliflower! Dad said it was the best cauliflower he had ever tasted! When her plate got to the table HBear was all like "That better not be cauliflower! I do NOT like cauliflower Mommy!" but even HBear gobbled it up and even asked for more! 

SBean didn't touch it but she scarfed down the pork! Which is awesome as we have her on iron supplements right now because she refuses to eat meat. So this was a definite winner! The risotto was super creamy and tasty with all the fresh herbs. I should have used more Parm... next time :)

So... I totally gave Summer an ass-kicking tonight! Yeah, take that! I think tomorrow we deserve a beach day :)


Tracy Van Raes,  September 2, 2014 at 7:28 PM  

Great blog Kristin! :) I shall 'favorite" this one! I also love tights, sweaters and boots season! ha!

HoneyBears & SydneyBeans September 3, 2014 at 10:22 PM  

Thanks for reading Tracy! I definitely smell fall in the air these past few nights :) Enjoy!

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