Alice

We eat pork chops about once a week. It was one of those foods that I first started making to stretch my budget, but then it just began to take on a life of its own. Now I love whipping up a quick apple chutney to top my pork chops.

Super quick/ easy and the tart/sweet flavor works so well with the savory of the pork chop. There's a bunch of great recipes on line. I like mine a little sweeter so I go heavy on the brown sugar and use a less tart apple.

Slice a couple apples into small chunks, add brown sugar, cider vinegar, onions, garlic, s&p, all spice, cinamon, and cayenne. I'll usually add some martinellis or another bubbly cider as well. Bring to a quick boil in a medium sauce pan, stirring frequently, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally. After most of the liquid has been reduced you can serve immediately or cool it and store refrigerated until you need it.

It'll keep up to a couple weeks actually!! I so when I make it I'll usually make extra and just dump it in a mason jar for later. Gives me a good excuse for a nice pork chop night.

For sides, you can't go wrong with taters and carrots!

Alice

Well one of the first times I got to invited to a baby shower I was suprised that they had alcohol, I mean pregnant women right?

But then I saw that they had an extensive selection of non alcoholic sparkling juices and mocktails. Which turns out is actually a thing that seems to be common at baby showers, at least that is what I learned on the Baby Cottage.

Some of the selections were nice and I actually don't drink so I was willing to give them all a go. This was actually where I also learned about San Pellegrino.

There were the classics. Ginger is good. It sounds like she is a fan of citrus which will make this way easier.

Look into different types of lemon/limeades and start playing around with different flavors. Add in some herbs and other fruits. Try to go fresh squeezed if possible. Think blueberry thyme limeade or strawberry ginger lemonade.

A great deal of the enjoyment people get from cocktails is the idea of the work and care that goes into them.

Fresh juice, fresh herbs. Using different types of sweeteners are good too, demura, agave, honey.

I really enjoyed the ghetto mocktail. I mixed 50/50 Orange and Pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine. Sometimes you've got to get fruity.

Still non-alcoholic cocktails can really suck if they end up just being fruit juice and flavored syrups. Back in college I had a boyfriend that would mix me things that made me want to puke.

A good way to avoid that is to infuse your ingredients with other flavors, which will give depth to what is essentially juice, sugar and perhaps citrus.

We use a whole bunch of infusions at my bar; apple juice works really well, we use cardamom-apple and curry leaf apple in various drinks. They're made by literally dropping the fresh ingredients into a bottle of apple juice and letting it rest for 24h.

You should also consider making your own syrups. Simple syrup is made dissolving 2 parts (Demerara, trust me) sugar into 1 part water. But throw in there some star anise or some cinnamon and all of a sudden there's another element to your non-alcoholic cocktails. Tea syrups also work incredibly well, green tea and earl grey particularly.

Alice

I just discovered Martinelli's sparkling apple cider and all I can say is that it is ooooo-sssssoooooo good! I love bubblies!

Its not too pricey either, even cheaper than a no name bottle champagne that's for sure!

I'm drinking some right now. With fancy cocktail cherries! Hooray for bubbles! I got hooked on sparkling juices when I first drank San Pellegrino, the blood orange is my favorite from them. They have a apple cranberry one that my whole family loves. We have it at holidays and special occasions and even served it at our wedding for my wife and I and those who don't drink. Great stuff!

Alice

What do you think about Romwe? I have watched them get more popular in the last couple of years and so I finally bought a bunch of Romwe stuff because... Well it is cheap. And I didn't feel like it was a big loss if I didn't like the stuff.

  • I was not paid or contacted by Romwe for this. I've just seen them mentioned on some of my favorite fashion blogs (through C/Os), so I figured it was worth a try.
  • I placed my order on 12/20 and received them today (12/29). I live in California and paid with PayPal. I received text messages from DHL updating me on the delivery time for my package. A friend who ordered the same day is still waiting - I've heard that shipping times vary a lot, so I was pleasantly surprised by the speed.
  • One thing that was hugely frustrating: Discounts do not stack. You will almost always see a retail price struck out with a sale price next to it. You can also easily find coupon codes for 40-60% off, but these take the discount off the retail price. I was pretty disappointed when I realized I had been looking at the wrong prices all along.
  • I used a 55% off coupon that I received by viewing my cart and then trying to close the window. (They had a little "don't go!" pop up showing coupon codes.) I've also heard of other people leaving items in their carts for a few days in order to get the codes. No idea if this will still work, but here are the codes I was shown. Edit: My friend tells me that the site doesn't check the price in your cart, so you can use the 60% coupon without having $189 of stuff.
  • Definitely pay attention to the size measurements on the site. They're not always accurate, but it's easy to forget that this is an Asian fashion store and being a M/L in American (or other Western) sizes doesn't translate well.
  • Overall: Would buy again!
Alice

When you get together with your friends and/or family at other times of the year or other events, what do you do?

Is it fun?

I don't drink, and precisely zero of our social events are based around drinking or dancing.

Hence the standard 'drinking and dancing frivolities' are, for us and our group, a recipe for following social convention where we all actually don't enjoy ourselves. By comparison, 100% of our social events are based around food, games, and sitting around having a good old chin wag.

As a result:

  1. Recipe for a bad time with my group: the music is too loud to talk, there's not enough food so we are all grumpy, people were antisocial to other people they'd never met before, someone got drunk, loud and obnoxious.
  2. Recipe for a good time with my group: Cards Against Humanity, other board games, dessert, people are willing to be social with each other.

Just last weekend we were at a party where there was zero alcohol. We had cornhole boards and for other people who aren't into that there was abig Jenga group.

If you have kids, maybe a kid friendly lawn game. Even a photobooth is fun.

It should be fine.

Alice

I like to cook pork chops, the falvour, the texture, and the smell all make my mouth water.

I got sick consistently doing the old, salt pepper, then thyme butter way and have also tried the sweet and sour bell pepper recipe from Gordon Ramsay.

Now I have another one I want to try. And idiot proof recipe that I found. You need to sear chops in a pan that can go in oven- add can of mushroom soup and some of that liquid beef flavoring.

If you're really feeling trashy and wanna be a fat kid add shredded cheese on top when it's almost done. I like to serve on top of dirty rice. Sounds gross but is like one of those recipes everyone's mom made around here and is delicious and it makes my husband happy.

A good old fashioned oddity that my best friend makes calls for, cornflake pork chops. There is this recipe, or like we did when I was growing up, you crush your corn flakes, season with what fits your tastes, then melt some butter or margarine and cube up the pork chops into bite size pieces before dipping them in the butter. Roll in the corn flake mixture and put on an elevated rack on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350f for about 20 minutes.

It's deliciously odd. The corn flakes toast up and they seal in the moisture. I have introduced people to them and they were shocked at the recipe.