Harvest Pork Chops

Harvest Pork Chops :: Zim on a Whim

Please don’t ask me why these are called Harvest Pork Chops when the three ingredients it calls for have absolutely nothing to do with harvesting anything! Well, I guess if you want to stretch it a bit. This is a super easy pork chop recipe that my mother used to make when we were little, and it has stood the test of time all these years. I’m not sure where she got it from — perhaps her mother made it as well — and it only uses a few ingredients that you probably have on hand already!

Now, don’t be grossed out when I tell you the sauce is just ketchup and orange juice. I know, it sounds so un-gourmet, but after a nice simmer the flavors really connect well with each other. This is best served with some rice on the side, soaking up some of that sauce. Add a green veggie and you’re set!

You will want to use pork chops with the bone in. If you use the boneless ones, they will come out too dry. I have tried it, and even the sauce can’t help them!

If you have young children, give this a try. My kids really like this dish. {Even before they knew there was ketchup in it!} If you’re not so great in the kitchen, this is a very easy dish to whip up. Totally a beginner’s recipe. Try it and let me know what you think!

4 Center Cut Pork Chops, bone-in (medium thickness/not too thin and not too thick!)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Onion Powder
Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Ketchup

1. Trim away the excess fat from along the edge the pork chops. Season both sides of the chops with kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. (Use one that has a lid. You will need it later.)
3. Brown the pork chops a few minutes on each side. You are not cooking them through; You just want a nice brown color on them.
4. While the meat is browning, whisk together the orange juice and the ketchup until well combined. Add a little salt, pepper, and onion powder to this mixture as well.
5. Remove chops from the pan and drain the excess oil.
6. Pour the sauce mixture into the pan, and add the chops back in, coating them completely with the sauce.
7. Cover the pan and turn down the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes.
8. Serve the pork chops with sauce and rice. Enjoy!

Maybe instead of Harvest Pork Chops they should be called O.K. Pork Chops? O for orange juice, K for ketchup? Yes? No? Is this thing on?


Cool Cucumber Pasta

Cool Cucumber Pasta :: Zim on a Whim

This warmer weather has me craving cool salads like this Cool Cucumber Pasta salad. (I’m sorry to those of you who actually have SNOW on the ground in May!) It’s sweet and tangy and perfect for summer barbecues because there’s no mayo. It’s great for lunch, too.

I got the recipe from my friend Lisa about 15+ years ago! I believe she got it from a magazine, but my old, faded, and handwritten recipe card doesn’t say the source.

Here’s how you make it…

Cool Cucumber Pasta
8 oz. tube pasta, like ziti
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 medium cucumbers or 1 long hot house cucumber, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse to cool.
2. In a large bowl, stir the pasta with the oil, cucumbers, and onion.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk and pour over the pasta.
4. Chill for 3-4 hours, stirring it up a few times while chilling.
5. Stir again before serving.

*The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it sits. You will need to stir it up before serving each time as the liquid will settle to the bottom of the bowl.

If you’d like to check out another cold salad great for entertaining, check out this Fiesta Salad or this Mango and Jicama Salad!


~ Look It Up ~ Bookmarks

Look It Up Bookmarks :: Zim on a Whim

This simple and easy project came about when my son and daughter became obsessed with this fiction book series called Warriors by Erin Hunter. They follow the adventures of four clans of wild cats, with characters being a mix of good vs. bad. The clans have a hierarchy and the different cats have different positions within the clan. They have their own words for certain things; for instance a human is called a “twoleg”. I could go on and on about these books, but basically they are so interesting to my 9 and 11 year old that they can’t  put them down. They come across lots of descriptive words of which they don’t know the meaning, so these bookmarks are here to help!

When they come across a word that they don’t know, they can write it down on the bookmark and look it up later. (Because how dare they put the book down and look it up at the most interesting part!) I love that they are learning so many new adjectives!

Look It Up Bookmarks :: Zim on a Whim

The great thing about these is that they are two-sided so when they run out of room on the one side, they can flip it over and use the other.

Look It Up Bookmarks :: Zim on a Whim

I will tell you what I used and you can use what you have on hand. This is a no-fuss project and it doesn’t need to look perfect. It’s purely for function! 🙂

Look It Up Bookmark :: Zim on a Whim

I used the following:

~ Ruled/Lined paper

~ White Card Stock found at craft stores or Target/Walmart (but you can use anything that is stiffer than the ruled paper to go in between; you can even use postcards from your junk mail pile!)

~ Glue Stick or some other type of glue for paper that won’t be too wet

~ Paper Trimmer – or – Ruler and X-acto knife or scissors

~ Hole Puncher

~ Thin ribbon, yarn, or string

~ Small pencil (like the ones from mini golf), mini marker, or crayon

~ Clear Adhesive Glue Dots or hot glue gun

Here’s how I made the bookmarks:

For each bookmark, I cut two pieces or ruled paper and one piece of white card stock to 2-1/4″ wide by 8″ long. (You can make yours any size, but just remember their writing is sometimes larger than ours.)

Then I took the glue stick and evenly glued one piece of the ruled paper to one side of the card stock. (Make sure to put the glue up to all the edges.) I smoothed it out so there were no air bubbles. I flipped it over and did the same to the other side with the second piece of ruled paper.

I punched a hole in the top, about 1/4″ down or to the first blue line.

I cut a piece of ribbon about 18″ long. Then I threaded one end of the ribbon through the hole and tied a knot.

For the other end, I took a mini marker and added a few glue dots (Zots) around it toward the bottom. Then I wrapped the other end of the ribbon around the glue, leaving some ribbon to tie another knot. (If you don’t have the adhesive glue dots, a dab of hot glue with a glue gun will work just fine.) I found that just tying the ribbon around the writing instrument didn’t hold it and kept slipping off.

Now my little readers were ready to start writing down words and looking them up!

By the way, if you have children about 9-12 that love animals and adventure, I recommend the Warriors books. When mine have finished reading all those, they plan on moving on to the Survivors series about dogs!

Have a good weekend!