Chipotle-Spiced Pork: 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes

Friends have been asking me what they can make for dinner since they often get in a rut and need new ideas. I know they want recipes that are simple, light and tasty. I love using thinly sliced pork loin chops often because they cook so quickly and are so versatile. This simple version of Chipotle-Spiced Pork has only 5 ingredients, and they are super flavorful (and pretty too)! If you’re making some for the kids, omit the chipotle, and add additional lemon pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice (unless they like spicy foods). Be sure to check Pork Loin recipes on Readers Digest

Decorating Christmas Cupcakes with Kids

My daughter, Leigh, and her friend Eloise have been at it again in the kitchen decorating Christmas Cupcakes. They did an amazing job, once again. They started by researching what cupcake designs they wanted to do with a few bottles of icing and some holiday candies and sprinkles. They created these fabulous cupcakes below completely on their own. This is great holiday craft idea to do with the kids and kids’ friends, and it’s so easy and inexpensive to do. Enjoy their talented creations below:

Thanksgiving Dessert: Cranberry-Pomegranate Granita

My kids are obsessed with Italian ices, frozen treats and popsicles. I thought, “Why not create a Thanksgiving dessert that would be refreshing, tasty and one that they would go wild over?” I started with Cran-Apple juice (which is their favorite), added some POM pomegranate juice (my favorite) and ginger-ale (everyone’s favorite). It came out great, and it was an instant hit. What a fun idea for Thanksgiving or anytime during the holiday season or year!

“Birmingham Restaurant Week” Review

Last week was the first annual Birmingham Restaurant Week, and I was so fortunate to participate and contribute to Birmingham Magazine’s blog “Good Taste”. My first stop was Jinsei which offers some of the best in sushi and cocktails in town (see the Blackberry Mojito below).  For appetizers, they offered a choice of the Tempura Fried Green Beans or Edamame. For the entree, it was a choice between Kadoma Tuna (pictured above) or Kobe Wrapped Asparagus and the Red Dragon Roll or Shachioko Roll. The dessert was “Baby Bites” from Pastry Art located down the street. This was a great menu, and Jinsei is one of my top picks in Birmingham. Jinsei is located in Homewood in Soho Square. The phone number is 205-802-1440. They are open nightly at 5:00 p.m.

My second stop was Franck Stitt’s Bottega Restaurant. His incredible menu included a choice between appetizers of Wild Mushroom Soup with Porcini Oil or Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata, Grilled Onion and Roasted Peppers. The choices of entrees were Rigatoncini with Fudge Farms Pork Sugo or Chicken Saltimbocca with Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Sage and the dessert was “Franks Favorite Cake”. The food was incredible along with impeccable service (and bread-see below). Bottega is located at 2240 Highland Avenue South, Birmingham , Alabama. The telephone is 205-939-1000. Dinner is served 5:30 pm  to 10:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday.

FYI-one of our favorite parts of the meal was the bread (see below)

My last stop was Rojo which has one of the most casual outdoor and cool atmosphere’s in town. Some people even bring their dogs to dine outside. The indoor atmosphere is eclectic with a full Latin and American menu, great beer and wine selections, and of course, sangria. The menu started off with their Salsa Trio Appetizer which included their House Salsa, Black Bean Salsa and Pineapple Salsa. The second course was Chipotle Pork and Mushroom Burrito served with a side salad (which is huge). For dessert, it was their Chango (pictured below) which they called a Fried Cheesecake. Rojo is located at 2921 Highland Avenue next to Clay Scott Artworks Gallery (which I love). Rojo is open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m to 10 p.m (serving brunch on Sunday). Their bar is also open late.