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Maple Dijon Apple Cider Grilled Pork Chops and Perfect Orzo

Been potty training my 3yr old. I feel like I am part of some fraternity hazing. I’m just not sure who’s the pledge & who’s the member.

Joel McHale

Something happened the other day.

Something extraordinary.

Something that has changed my outlook on life and has given me purpose for the future.

For the longest time I couldn't see it. 

The end.

It had become everyday life. How sad is that? When something that is so horrific becomes common practice?

I thought that I had made peace with that but the other day I realized there was still some fight left in me, that I could rise up and take on anything!

I looked back at the last 6 years and images flashed through my mind.

At first it was at least 11 times a day and oh the black mess!

Over the years I have seen it all. The explosions, the MacGyver changes, and OMG the SMELL!!!!!

Did I even know how to go on without them? 

Could I live without... diapers?

Over the past few months I constantly wondered, "Was it this hard with HBear?" Then I realized, it was so bad that much like labor, I had pushed the memories so far back I couldn't quite remember the traumatic ordeal.

I thought back over the past few months. The trials, the errors, the fights, the meltdowns, 3 potty charts, countless lollipops and 4 pages of stickers.

I felt lighter. Like a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was a wee bit tentative, I didn't want to feel elation until I knew it to be 100% fact.

But the excitement couldn't help bubbling up inside of me.

The first time we were out and she told me she needed to use the potty. I felt like I needed to herald. Stand in the middle of town square and shout out to all the parents out there, "it is OK! You will get through it! Your day will come and you will be free!"

When I realized we went through a full week without diapers (even on outings) and no accidents, I felt like I needed to spread the hope. 

Every morning since that day I have woken up with fear. Fear that she will forget how to use the potty and an accident will ensure. But as the day progresses my fear is unwarranted. Every night before I go to bed I pray to whoever or whatever is out there to keep us on this righteous path.

My prayer goes something like this…

Now I lay me down to sleep 
I pray to the Poop Gods this record will keep.

If she has an accident after she wakes,
Please let it be a parched river and not one of the Great lakes.

Please Dear Jesus. Allah, J-Ho...
Let this be the end or I fear the po-po,

Will come and arrest me for losing my potty addled mind,
I just cannot change another stinky behind.

I know all about relapses and dreaded regression,
Thinking about doing this all again is putting me in a depression.

Let's keep moving forward oh Higher Being,
Keep it all in the potty My Dear, all the pooping and peeing.

And now as I say this hopeful good night
Let it be known I put up a good fight.

The constant changes, the expense, the putrid smell...
I say, Fuck you diapers! Good riddance and FAREWELL!

When my family was here over Thanksgiving I made a truly fall dinner. It was really easy and tasted amazing. It was so good my BIL RAVED about it all evening! Granted that was after a craft beer tour and a few glasses of wine ;)

I promised him I would put it in the next blog but in all the fun we were having I forgot to take pictures. So I made it again last week and took pictures as I went. This time there were a few changes as we got frost the other night and I no longer have fresh chives :( so I used green onions instead. I used regular apples from the grocery store instead of delicious apples off my Mom's Cousin's trees. But still managed to use their awesome apple cider for the sauce :)

Perfect Orzo 
Adapted from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

4 tablespoons margarine
1 small onion, chopped fine (The second time I cut the onions too big, it's best if they are chopped very small)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped (I used green onions the second time)

Melt margarine  in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

In a medium pot, heat chicken stock just until it begins to boil.

Add orzo to onion and garlic in skillet. 

Stir in chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let stand, without removing cover, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted; add chives and season with salt and pepper.

Maple Dijon Apple Cider Grilled Pork Chops
Adapted from Closet Cooking

4 pork chops
1 1/2 cups apple cider (I used the the boozy stuff)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Okanagan Deli mustard (or your favorite bold deli mustard)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha (if you like it hotter add more)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 apple, sliced

Mix the cider, maple syrup, mustards, soy sauce, sriracha and garlic in a pan and bring to a simmer.

Take out 2 tablespoons and mix with the cornstarch. Add into pan.

Cook until the sauce thickens, about 2-5 minutes.

Take out a quarter of the sauce for basting.

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and grill until cooked, about 3-5 minutes per side. Baste the chops in the sauce as you grill.

Toss the apple slices into the remaining sauce and sauté until just tender but still crisp.

Serve chops with sauce and apple slices on top


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