Speaking of new things, I finally started menu planning a few weeks ago rather than just "winging" my supper plan on a daily basis. On Sunday night I try to take a few minutes to make a plan for my week and then write out a shopping list. The time spent has totally been worth it! At the suggestion of a friend, I've started creating a "master list" on my laptop of all the meals that we eat, divided into categories. So, instead of paging through all my cookbooks at 9 pm, I've got a concise little list to refer to.
Our BIG grocery shop usually happens early in the week after dropping Micah off at school. Superstore is our grocery store of choice and I like it for several reasons:
1) I can shop for really cute kids clothing at the same time (and for some reason, discreetly adding an item or 2 to my grocery bill seems like it "hurts' less :)
2) After Silas was born, Superstore was the only grocery store with carts that could fit all three of my children (including infant car seat) and all my groceries. I consider pushing said cart up and down from the parkade my weekly work-out.
3) We get free chocolate chip cookies at the bakery. This keeps the kids quiet for most of the shopping trip, even though there is chocolate everywhere by the time we hit the check-out lines.
4) Superstore really is just the cheapest place for groceries. Period.
This week, at Erik's suggestion, we had one of our favourite slow-cooker meals. I found the recipe in my Canadian Family magazine last year (see it here) and it quickly became a staple meal at our house.
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups cola (the recipe says not to use diet, but I do anyway and it still tastes great)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks (I usually just do about 1 tsp of ground cinnamon)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano leaves (I do about 1 tsp of ground oregano)
2 bay leaves
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder
STEP 1: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker except the pork.
Of course, the recipe calls for 2 cups of cola which is just a little more than one can. Which, to my horror, leaves some extra pop that needs to be consumed :oP The kids are more than happy to help me deal with this "problem"...
STEP 2: Cut pork in half horizontally to lie flat. I try to trim off some of the really fatty parts of the meat in this stage. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to slow cooker and set it to low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. I try to baste the pork and/or rotate it in between.
STEP 3/4: According the recipe you are supposed to remove the pork from the slow cooker and separate the grease from the cooking liquid. Totally not sure how this is even possible. It says to reduce some of the cooking liquid over high heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. This part of the process has never really worked well for me, so I just take the liquid straight out of the slow cooker for some extra "sauce". (And I take heart in the fact that I tried to trim off some of the fat so then it can't be quite as greasy, right?)
STEP 5: Using two forks, pull the meat apart into shreds and mix in some of the "sauce".
STEP 6: Serve on a soft, warm taco with avocado slices and a squirt of lime.
Lately we've included our favourite homemade salsa inside the tortilla as well. SO yummy!!