Simply Anna Lisa

Hello Lovelies!

It’s time for another Featured Friday! Last week was Chris, a Dog, and a Food Blog (if you haven’t checked it out, please give him some love!)! This week I am featuring a dear friend of mine who also happens to be my husband’s cousin.

Meet Anna!

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You can find Anna on her blog, Simply Anna Lisa. Anna blogs about finding her personal happiness and discovering who she is as a person. On her blog, you can expect to find out what it’s like to be a Fur-Momma to two, four-legged, drooling fur babies. 

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My favorite thing about her blog is her witty humor and her aspirations to complete everything on her ever-growing 12 Months of Happiness list. I think this is a great concept for anyone who’s trying to bring happiness into their lives and willing to try new things. 

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Let’s show Simply Anna Lisa some love! Join her on…

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Cider Hot Chocolate– Autumn in a glass

Cider Hot ChocolateHow’s my wonderful foodies out there? Staying warm, I hope! The weather here in Eastern Kentucky just can’t make up its mind. I guess that’s what they call an “Indian Summer”, teetering from hot to cold in a matter of a few days.

I found the perfect way to warm my body when temps hit below my comfort zone (I like to stay somewhere between the 70’s and 80’s. Anything lower and it’s time for a sweater and thick blanket). If you couldn’t tell, my favorite magazine will always be the Food Network Mag. I never miss an issue! In the October issue, I stumbled on a recipe for Cider Hot Chocolate.

Ha, yea that doesn’t sound like a good mix at all. You could say I was a little skeptical. “Was”. Keyword. When I tried it, it was like Autumn exploded in my mouth. A perfect blend of fall…

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Rosemary Steak

Who doesn’t love a good cooked steak? I love steak about any way you can cook them. However, sometimes there are cuts of steak that are a little less desirable that others. In the case of our family being on a tight budget, and eating healthier, we have to go with the less desirable. So even though the cut of meat was not as good as a ribeye, this came out very tender and flavorful. I think it was because of two reasons.One: the method how it was cooked, and two: NOT overcooking the steak. So here is what I did:

 1 packaged flank steak, cut in three small steaks
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
With any steak, take the steaks out and let them sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes. As you set them out to warm, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt. You can be liberal with the kosher salt, as long as you use kosher, not table salt.
Take a cast iron skillet and turn the stove on medium high. Let the pan get really hot. Add a small amount of olive oil, about a tsp,  The oil will be begin to smoke, so put your steaks on quickly.  Sear on both sides of the steak for two minutes.
Take the steaks and put into a preheated 350 degree oven. When the steaks are placed in the oven and the door is shut, turn the oven OFF. Let the steaks set in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Take steak out of oven and slice. Plate, eat, and enjoy! This piece of meat was very flavorful, moist, and not tough at all! Please enjoy.

Stacked Fried Eggs and Corn Tortillas

This recipe is one of great flavors combined to made a delicious breakfast dish. It happens to be a simple one as well.
2 small corn tortillas
2 eggs
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup bell and red pepper, diced and mixed
1/3 of a cup of mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Greek yogurt
Non-stick spray
Take your non-stick spray and spray lightly both sides of the tortilla.  Cook tortillas in a preheated 425 degree oven until golden brown and crispy. I recommend flipping them once during cooking. This will normally take between 5 to 7 minutes.
Saute your vegetables in a pan with non cook spray on medium heat. Cook until tender. About 7 minutes.
Fry your eggs over easy. Lay a layer of the sauteed vegetables on top on one tortilla. Add 1/2 of the cheese. Place fried egg on top of the cheese. Repeat the steps again with tortillas, veggies, cheese, and egg. Place Greek yogurt on top of egg. Sprinkle sriracha over the top.
It was delicious!

Braised Pork Steaks

This was an experiment I tried and didn’t know if it turn out well or not.  Our family went on our monthly trip to Sam’s to get groceries and I found a good deal.  They had two large boston butts on sale for $20. That’s like $10 per butt! So when we got home I took one of the butts and cut it in fourths. I took two of them and made pork steaks with them.

Looking at the pork steaks I wasn’t sure of the tenderness. So I thought to myself, “How would I be able to cook these and make them tender?” Well, I found a way, and it was tender and delicious. In fact, it was some of the best pork steaks I have ever had. So here is what I did:

 4 pork steaks about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
2 cups chicken broth(we made our own)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic power on both sides of the steaks. Sear the pork steaks on each side, four minutes per side. Make sure they have a good brown crust on each side.
In a separate boiler warm chicken broth on medium heat. Add cumin, mustard cayenne and cornstarch. Pour liquid into cast iron skillet.

Place skillet into a preheated 375 degree oven. Let it cook for one hour.

When I pulled these out they were so moist and tender. The broth turned into almost a thick gravy that was delicious over the top of the pork steak. It was a delightful experience.

So, if you have a piece of pork meat that you think might be tough, try this! It was great. I’m definitely doing this again!

Daddy-Daughter Date-Kelly’s Story

As Valentine’s day approaches, I try to not only do something special for my wife, but I like to do something special for our 17 year old adopted daughter, Kelly, as well.

Us as we embark on Daddy-Daughter date.

Kelly’s story is a story of being blessed.  Now this not a story of how Kelly has been blessed since she has come to live with us.  It is Kelly that has been the blessing to us, and to people all over the state of Alabama.

Kelly was raised in a small town in Alabama in a place that had no running water, no regular toilets, and no proper shelter. Her “houses” were rental storage sheds. She mentioned one time to us that she was in charge of  “the bucket”. I didn’t realize what that meant until she explained it was her job to take the “waste” bucket to the woods and dump it out.

Kelly is also intellectually disabled.  She physically has no disabilities, but intellectually struggles to comprehend and retain information.

She needed to be taught how to bathe, how to wash her hair, how to eat healthy and eat veggies. With the help of great special education teachers, we worked on teaching her strategies to help her in areas she struggled.  We tried to help her socially by getting her involved in social clubs at school and church.

In all of this, she was a sweet 12 year old girl (at the time), and was willing to do anything to please you. She did it with a smile on her face. Everyone around Kelly loves her.

Let’s Roll!

My wife and I decided to become foster and adoptive parents before we even got married.  So after we were married we went through the process in the Department of Human Resources to become foster and adoptive parents. And for a year and a half, the paperwork for us seemed to never come through. So we had basically decided to give up being foster parents. Until one day, we received a call from DHR and said they had a child they thought would be a good fit. So we expedited the paperwork and finally got licensed. Little did we know that the little girl that was a good fit would be Kelly. She was our first foster child.

We go to her favorite place, Cracker Barrel.

We had Kelly for over three years as a foster child. There were a few times we thought we were going to lose her. After three years of waiting, the parental rights were severed and there were no family members that were able to adopt her.  We had the option to adopt her, because we took the foster and adoptive classes.

This is a song that never ends for us.

Finally the day come where we adopted Kelly. She was 16 years old and was a part of our family from the first day she came through our door.  She wanted to change her last name to ours, and she has been with us since. It has even been said she favors us!

Kelly getting her favorite breakfast.

Some people have said we gave her a better life.  I believe that the lives that have been made better and blessed the most are ours and the ones she has come in contact with.  People, from all over the state, know and love Kelly. She has taught me how to be a father, learn patience, and how to give an evil eye to boys. Our lives are changed forever because of her, because she is now a part of our forever family!

She wanted some Tutti Frutti for dessert.

What is next for us? Kelly said to us not long after we adopted her, “Now I want a little brother”. We are planning over the next two years of adopting internationally from China.  We are hoping and praying we can get the process started soon.

Kung-Fu Panda 3 in the dark!

So there is a little detail on Kelly. This barely scratches the surface of the things we have experienced as a family. It seems that God put everything together for us to be together. And for that, we are thankful.

 She is actually the second adoption for us. We can leave out the other girl…

Molly. Don’t forget Molly!

Oh, and what did I have at Cracker Barrel? French toast with eggs over easy!

Fried Egg and Toast with No Butter Hollandaise

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I saw on recently on TV how delicious Hollandaise sauce looked and I said, “I must try that!” However, little did we know that this sauce is not diet friendly. Hollandaise is about 90% butter. So I did some research and found a Hollandaise sauce that requires no butter at all. I got the base of this recipe from Carls Bad Cravings. I  replaced butter with………..Greek yogurt. I know the sauce with the butter has to be good, but this was very tasty. Here is what I did:

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 egg yolks

1 tsp lime juice

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp agave nectar

In a double boiler on simmer, add yogurt, egg yolks, lime juice, and garlic. Sir constantly until the sauce has thickened. You can take a break while you are stirring, but don’t wait too long. A good way to tell if the sauce is done, take a spoon and dip into the sauce and it will slowly stick to the back and slowly run off.

Add Dijon, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the agave nectar. Mix well. Taste and season with more spices to meet your flavor.

Brown a piece of wheat bread and fry one egg. Place egg on top of toast, then put Hollandaise sauce on top of egg. Put one dot of Sriracha on top.

And there it is! My wife figured it up, and it was diet friendly! In fact, we may cook steaks on our cheat night and make some of this sauce to go on top. Can’t wait!