Super Easy Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Every woman has her go-to recipes when guests are coming over, as well as a short list of easy busy school-night dinners, holiday dishes, and family favorites.  This dish meets every one of those criteria.

Dress it up, dress it down.  Like a pair of jeans - casual with a tank top and scarf, ready to wow with boots and a little sparkle.  That's this recipe.  Serve it up quick for family when you're pressed for time, or on china when friends come to call.





Peppercorn-Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4-5, double for guests

Ingredients -

5 TBS. coconut oil

3 small sweet potatoes (or ten red potatoes), thick slices or cubes

1 /2 white onion, long strips

1 bunch asparagus, 2-3" segments

Trader Joe's Peppercorn-Garlic Pork Tenderloin

(Regular grocery stores have their own variations on this theme.  The important thing is "pork tenderloin".  Take a few extra home and store them in the freezer.)


Heat up that cast iron skillet your Mother-in-Law gave you last Christmas.  Get the coconut oil steaming hot then brown that tenderloin, 2 minutes each side.  Next, add onion wedges and potatoes next to the meat.  Coat them in the oil, and transfer skillet to 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until internal meat temperature hits 170 degrees.  I often throw asparagus on top for the last 5 minutes.


This dish is complete in and of itself.  No need for a side dish!  Though a salad and some crusty bread never hurt anyone.Oh... and pears too.  Pears are fabulous this time of year!


Do try this recipe and let me know if it becomes one of your staples.

Eat up,




Newlyweds with a side of Chicken Salad

There's a bit of a story here before you get to my favorite Chicken Salad Recipe.
Read on...


We stopped attending our Sunday school class at church about a year ago, we just didn't feel that it was where we were supposed to be.  We kept the boys in their two hours of Sunday School fun, but stopped going to our second hour.   Instead we purposed to sit together in the cafe, and earmark that time to really connect with one another - about the deep-down soul stuff we'd been carrying over the course of the week, or piling up over the years of our marriage.


It was an incredible blessing on so many levels.  Primarily, it took the edge off of anything that burdened me throughout the week.  I'd relax at the thought, "Sunday's coming!  Matt wants to know my heart.  I can share what concerns me today... on Sunday."  Within this safe place, we started sharing with more courage and listening with more grace about all the issues in our marriage, our parenting, our individual dreams and struggles.  It was a safe time, a loving time, a healing time.


Then the day arrived when we stopped coming to the table with an intense need to be heard.  It's like all the build-up from the first 12 years of marriage had been worked through and we were communicating well and loving one another intentionally again - Not just on Sundays but throughout the week as well. It just took six months worth of Sunday mornings to get us there.


Now there we sat, across the green patio table, him with a breakfast sandwich and me with my cup of tea, just smiling because we had nothing left to work through.  And he said, "So what do you want to do now?"  I shrugged, and noticed how light my shoulders felt.  It was then I remembered an announcement in the church bulletin that morning about a newly marrieds group just forming.  Sure we weren't newlyweds, but we felt brand new on the inside.  So I opened up the Sunday program and showed it to my guy.  He shrugged his own unburdened shoulders and said, "let's go."


And so, after 13 years of marriage, my husband and I walked into a class for newlyweds.


We walked into the small classroom 10 minutes late, and half a dozen young couples looked up.  I noticed immediately how close they sat to one another.  We waved awkwardly and sat down.  They were halfway through an ice-breaker, where everyone shared the song they'd chosen for their first dance together at the wedding.  So much laughter.  Then it got to us and Matt  stuttered, 'uh... it was by George Straight I think, yeah?"  "Yeah," I affirmed, "and we danced the cowboy cha-cha."  Crickets.


Then the young girl who was leading the class with her husband stood up and explained how the class would stay connected via an iphone app, and I turned to Matt and whispered, "this isn't our generation... and I think that girl baby-sat for the boys when she was in high school, like three years ago!"


After class we chatted with the couple upfront, turns out Nicole had babysat our boys, and they told us how they'd been hoping and praying for a mentor couple to join them.  And there we'd been, sitting together on the patio wondering, "What should we do now?"


The answer came easy, "Absolutely."


Now, a few short months later, and there's no way to describe in one brief paragraph how dear these young couples have become to us?   Matt has sincere love for the young men, and I absolutely adore the gals.  And each time I look at them, pouring over the pages of good marriage books, learning to care and pray for one another, I think how lucky they are to be building these skills so early in their marriages.  And we're learning right beside them, and shedding light on what these principles can look like over a decade in.


To celebrate the start of fall we had all the couples over to our home for lunch.  It was 105 degrees with Santa Anna winds blowing hard, and eucalyptus leaves chattering in the breeze.  That's what fall looks like in Southern California, friends.  The ladies circles around the patio table poolside with the men on the inside of our home.   I watched them through the window, loading up their plates and sitting on the orange couch with a rug at their feet that reads "family."  And we broke bread and laughed hard.




I served my favorite chicken salad recipe and they all clamored for the recipe, which didn't surprise me because it's a gem.  I say it without pride; I didn't invent this medley of fabulous flavors after all.  But I love it heart and soul, and keep Trader Joe's apricot chutney in my pantry at all times just to be prepared.


Today I offer it up to you, wishing I knew the special occasions and people you will share this with in the years to come.  But I also share it with the encouragement, to those of you who are married, to find the time you need in your busy lives to carve out a safe place, a sharing place to deal with the real life challenges you are facing.  Bless you and your husbands today.  Now go make those men some chicken salad!


The Best Curry Chicken Salad (Like Ever!)


Combine Dry Ingredients

5 Chicken Breasts - cooked and chopped

(I prefer two rotisserie chickens for ease)

1 bunch green onions, sliced

2-3 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped

3 celery sticks, chopped

1 cup raisins

2 cups cashews


In a separate bowl whisk together

1 jar mango chutney (I use Trader Joe's brand)

2 tsp. curry

3/4 cup mayo

2 tsp. lemon juice

garlic salt / pepper to taste


Prepare and Serve

Allow the dressing to sit on the countertop or in the fridge for a good 30 minutes before you toss the chicken salad and serve.  This allows the intense flavors to meld.  Also, if serving this as a main dish, you can stir in 3 cups of cooked rice.  I, however, usually serve this beside a few other salads; shown in the picture with this quinoa salad topped with avocado, and a wedge of brie to complete the plate.  


You will own your dinner guests

after serving this dish!



Glazed Salmon


The day before our wedding festivities began, my mother gave me a recipe book.  There were many more I'd open on the other side of our honeymoon, but this one came from mom, there in her kitchen, before I said "I do." I leafed through and immediately decided I'd cook for us that night.  I chose a recipe and went to the grocery store down the street.  Walking the aisles with my freshly painted toe nails, I gathered salmon, asparagus, and Basmati rice.  And when I got back to her kitchen I began to prepare my last meal as a single woman.

What a way to go out!  The salmon tasted more like candy than fish, asparagus sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and Basmati rice... need I say more?  But the whole over-arching experience, there in my Mama's kitchen, was more than a culinary success, it was a rite of passage.   So I celebrated it fully by recording the event on page 22 in "Cooking Light's Light and Easy Meals."



"8/2/01 - Wonderful!  Last dish I made as a single woman."


I didn't know it at the time, but this would become a habit of mine when gathering with family and friends around the table.  And so I write in my recipe book like I write in the margins of my Bible.  Because it's a Holy affair - this bread breaking celebration we can life.




However, you might have noticed in the picture above, that 9 years of our lives are missing there.  And maybe 9 years are missing from the margin notes in your Bible too, because raising children is all-consuming.  But time with the Lord and time with His people is paramount and so we pick our Bibles up again and our recipe books too, because both feed hungry needy people.




While I knew I walked a rite of passage there in my mother's kitchen, before walking the aisle to be his wife, I didn't know how much this ritual of cooking would become a Holy foundation of fellowship in our new life together.  So important that we took our wedding guest-book and laid it down upon our dinning room table, asking every guest to write their name and the meal we shared together that first year.


"Sadly, the meaning of meal sharing is largely lost in the Christian community today. In the Near East, to share a meal with someone is a guarantee of peace, trust, fraternity, and forgiveness: the shared table symbolizes a shared life... For an orthodox Jew to say, “I would like to have dinner with you,” is a metaphor implying “I would like to enter into friendship with you.” Even today an American Jew will share a donut and a cup of coffee with you, but to extend a dinner invitation is to say: “Come to my mikdash me-at, the miniature sanctuary of my dining room table where we will celebrate the most sacred and beautiful experience that life affords–friendship."

 Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, 59-60


And so today I share this sweet meal with you.

Though I can't literally invite you all into my

mikdash me-at, I wish I could.

But I can invite you into the pages

of my recipe book.


Glazed Salmon


3 TBS low-sodium soy sauce

2 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS honey

1 tsp minced garlic

4 (4 oz.) salmon fillets


Preheat broiler

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.  Microwave 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds.

Place fish on a broiler pan, brush fish with sugar mixture.  Broil 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting occasionally with remaining sugar mixture.

Yield: 4 servings


 2014 - My firstborn son's favorite recipe.




Labor Day Rest - for moms

It's Labor Day Weekend, Y'all!   Time to turn up the music, open wide the windows and enjoy perfectly temperate days!  BBQ some ribs, make a peach cobbler, float in the pool, and drink homemade lemonade.  Then wake up early and pack up the car for a sandy day at the beach.  Don't forget the surfboard and shovels, or the cooler heavy laden with drinks and grapes and sandwich meat.  Then Monday let's go for a bike ride as a family and peddle till our muscles ache and our brows drip health and happiness. At least  that's our relaxing agenda this long weekend before school starts up Tuesday.


Here's the nitty gritty truth about "LABOR DAY"...

It's a laborious prospect for Moms!


All this eating and going and sand ground into the seams of our hardwood floors.  Just getting ready sends my head to spinning.  In preparation I'm cleaning house today, making sure all the laundry is done, and planning fun meals and holiday snacks!  Out I go into the garden to gather late summer roses for each table, and hang the water colors our boys have painted over this long season of fun.


watercoloring watercolors


Ironically, this day that celebrates REST takes a whole lot of work!  Can I get an Amen from the choir heading to the grocery store this afternoon ?


Be Still and Know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10


Personally I wonder if this spiritual challenge was ever intended for Moms' hearts!  But there's the spin:  The heart not the hands.  The heart, not the serving and the loving and the moving.  That can't always stop.  It's the heart.


The Heart


The heart that learns to rest in the whirling dervish we call motherhood, in the chaotic fun of holidays, in the constant roll of summertime's Yes, is the heart that gets to actually enjoy God amidst it all.  For our hands and our feet can't always be still, though stopping is so very good for us, but our meditating hearts that keep constant communication with a loving God allow our souls to rest... In Him.  Even as we prep another meal, and bring poolside a fresh picture of iced tea.


And so I offer you today, this challenge:


Be Still Your Soul!  


Let the strains of the ancient hymn lift up and renew your heart, when your hands are full of fresh towels.  Let the cease from striving message of God's Gospel rest, be manifested in your quiet heart and your joyful demeanor whilst you put graham crackers and marshmallows and chocolate squares together on a platter as the sun dips low.  And in the quiet spaces you literally find, or carefully make and take, breath in and out slowly and fully.  Right.  Where.  You.  Are.  Amidst the ones you are laboring for in love.  And lift up your heart.


It's a continual feast, this life.  I know.


And so, I leave you today with one of my favorite summertime salad dishes, received via text message from a friend of mine last Labor Day.  I share it with you here today.


quinoa salad pic



Quinoa Salad

Mix together:

4 cups Rainbow Quinoa (cooked and cooled)

1 bell pepper; yellow, orange, &/or red (chopped into small pieces)

1 bunch green onions (finely sliced)

2/3 cup feta cheese crumbles

2/3 cup tomatoes (chopped)

1 avocado (either chopped and mixed in, or sliced and served op top)

Mix together for the dressing:

4 TBS Olive Oil

2 TBS Red Wine Vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic


Add the dressing to the salad and mix it gently.  Personally, I don't use all of the dressing.

I often serve this alongside a medley of other salads, but it also goes wonderfully well with bbq chicken!

It is seriously the best!

And Best Rhymes with Rest!

So go and be Blessed!


quinoa salad