Author Archives: loriw456

Oven baked pork loin

This is one of the easiest and most delicious meals I know how to cook.  I usually start with a small-medium sized pork loin, since I’m usually only cooking for 2, but the same procedure would work with larger pork loins or pork roast (except you may have to cook it longer.)  Image

Here are the other ingredients:

– Seasonings- you can use whatever you like- I use blue Tony’s Chachere’s, salt, seasoned pepper and garlic pepper

– Veggies- I don’t usually add veggies, but this time I put potatoes and carrots around the meat and they turned out delicious!

– Cooking oil

– Chicken broth and/or beef broth- I used 1 small can of each

– Cornstarch or flour (or a pre-made gravy thickener if you prefer)

– Oven-safe skillet or pan and lid (foil works if you don’t have a lid)

Step 1: Coat the meat with a healthy layer of seasoning.  This makes a nice crust on the meat as it cooks.  

Step 2: Coat the bottom of your skillet or pan with cooking oil.  I used a 15 inch black iron skillet.  This is ridiculously huge.  (We lost our smaller skillet and haven’t gotten another one.)  Use whatever size you need to fit your meat.  A rectangle roasting pan or dutch oven works well.  I’m from Louisiana so I think everything tastes better cooked in a black iron skillet, but really anything will do.  Arrange the meat in the center and the veggies around it.Image

Step 3: Cover with a lid or with foil and bake at 425° for 45 minutes.  Then uncover and bake at 450° for 15 minutes.  If you have a larger cut of meat check the internal temperature to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

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Step 4: Remove the meat and veggies from the pan and set aside.  Leave the drippings in the pan.  In a separate bowl, mix equal parts gravy thickener (cornstarch, flour or pre-made thickener) and water.  I like to use cornstarch for pork gravy.  I think started with about 2 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp water.  

Step 5: Add the chicken and/or beef broth to meat drippings and bring to a boil.  At this point I transferred the dripping to a smaller black iron skillet, but this is not necessary unless your cooking dish is also ridiculously huge.  If you used a large roasting pan to cook the meat, transferring the dripping might be a good idea if you don’t want an exorbitantly large amount of gravy.

Step 6: Once the broth is boiling, add your thickening mixture while stirring constantly.  The gravy should start to thicken up pretty quickly.  If it doesn’t thicken enough, mix up more thickener and add in the same manner.  

Step 7: Slice up the meat and add it back to the gravy (this lets all the seasonings from the crust on the meat mix in and season the gravy.)  

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Step 8: Serve over rice.  I leave the veggies separate, but if you can add them to the gravy if that’s your style.  Enjoy!

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T-shirt yarn!

I recently came across a tutorial on Pinterest for making yarn out of old t-shirts. My mind immediately jumped to the three boxes of cut apart t-shirts in my attic- the beginnings of a t-shirt quilt I started back in high school.  In fact, I had already resolved to finish said quilt this year before I get married- but what to do with all the left over fabric?  So when I found the t-shirt yarn tutorial, I was pumped!  I got the boxes out immediately and made a few balls.Image

And then I made a few more…

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And then I made a few more, and when I had made about 15 balls, I realized that I had no idea what I was going to do with all this yarn.  I tried crocheting with it, but it’s pretty thick and was a little tough to work with, so I started looking online at t-shirt yarn projects and found a plethora of ideas, including t-shirt yarn rugs, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, all of which look really cool, but aren’t really of any use to me right now.  So my first idea really came out of necessity: t-shirt yarn headbands!  I have to have my hair out of my face for my clinical nursing courses and I’m not a huge fan of bobby pinning it back, and all my plastic headbands give me a headache after a few hours, so I decided to use my new extensive collection of t-shirt yarn to make some.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Image– 3 20 inch strips of t-shirt yarn

– 1 10×1.5 inch strip of t-shirt fabric (I used some left over from the sleeve of the t-shirt)

– 1 4 inch piece of elastic (I used 1/2 inch width, but smaller would work too)

– Coordinating thread

– Needle and/or sewing machine

– Safety pin

– Scissors

My sewing machine has decided to rebel against jersey knit (which I learned the hard way when I made my first headband) so I hand stitched most of this one.  Luckily there’s not much sewing involved.

Step 1: Stitch the 3 strips of yarn together about 1/4 inch from the top.

Step 2: Safety pin the ends to something immobile (I used a pillow) and braid the strips together.  Once the whole thing is braided, stitch the bottom ends together.

Step 3: Stitch one end of the elastic to one end of the braided strip.

Step 4: Take the 10×1.5 inch strip and fold in half lengthways.  Stitch a 1/4 inch seam along the long edge.

Step 5: Using a safety pin, turn the strip inside out to form a tube (you can trim the seam allowance down to 1/8 inch to make turning easier.)

Step 6: Attach the safety pin to the end of the elastic (the part not attached to the braided strip.)  Work the 10 inch tube around the elastic until it covers the end that’s attached to the strip.  Stitch in place.  When I did this, the raw ends of the tube pretty much rolled themselves under so they weren’t exposed when I stitched it down.  You can stitch the ends under before you make the tube if you want, though.

Step 6: Remove the safety pin from the elastic and stitch the elastic to the remaining end of the braided strip.  Then work the other end of the tube over the elastic and stitch in place.

And voila!  You have a headband!

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