Tropical Pork Pineapple Kebabs- SRC

Another month is wrapping up so it means it is Secret Recipe Club time! How is this summer flying by?!?! It is crazy! At least it has been jam packed with great food, lots of fun with family and friends, and some awesome adventures. It just makes me wish summer was so much longer.

 

 

This time I had the blog called Without Adornment by Bean. The blog is packed full of gluten free recipes, as well as other allergen free recipes. This is perfect for someone with allergies, as well as anyone who just likes great food. I immediately saw her Tropical Pork Pineapple Kebabs and knew they would be perfect for a satisfying summertime dinner.

 

The original recipe was just a guide with the ingredients, and not the amounts used. I generally cook that way so I liked that there was freedom to have my own stamp on this recipe. I added some soy sauce to the marinade just so it would not be too sweet for my liking. I also had zucchini in the fridge so I added that to the kebabs too. I served this with some rice that I prepared while Price grilled up the kebabs. Totally loving our new grill, this summer, and this recipe!

Beans recipe was gluten free which I respect because for a while last year I ate gluten free and enjoyed the process and felt better from it. Anyway, I did add the soy sauce for flavor but it does wheat so if you want this to be gluten free just be sure to use a gluten free soy sauce. Or you can use Worcestershire Sauce which is naturally gluten free instead of the soy sauce and has 80% less sodium than soy sauce.

Tropical Pork Pineapple Kebabs

Serves 4

Ingredients

For Kebabs

  • 1 pound of pork tenderloin cut into 1″ cubes
  • pineapple cut into 1″ cube pieces, approximately half a pineapple
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1″ x 1″ pieces
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
  • 8 oz whole white button mushrooms

For Marinade

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, known as sambal
  • 1 cup of diced pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

Process

  1. Soak 10 wooden skewers for at least an hour before using them.
  2. Prepare the marinade first by combine all of the marinade in a bowl or large plastic bag. Mix thoroughly and then add the pork pieces to the marinade. Store in the refrigerator while the meat marinates for at least 1 hour minutes.
  3. Once skewers are soaked and the meat is marinated, thread the pork, pineapple, pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. Repeat the series twice and end with a piece of pork.
  4. Grill the kebabs over medium-high heat. Using a basting brush, brush the kebabs with the marinade each time you turn the kebabs grilling each side.
  5. Cook the kebabs until done with an internal temperature of the pork is 145 degrees. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

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Secret Recipe Club

Check out my previous Secret Recipe Club Posts:

June: Cheesy Garlic Knots

May: Berry Brownie Torte

April: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

March: Sauteed Green Beans with Lemon and Almonds

February: Fried Pickles

Jan: No SRC postings

December: Shrimp Sriracha Stir Fry

November: Vegetable Enchiladas

October: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Check out the rest of the reveal day posts!



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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

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7.26-29: Weekend Recap @ BSP3

leave work early | my dad arrives to stay over | show my dad around the house | Price comes home (softball was canceled) | go to Santarpio’s for pizza dinner | stop at grocery store | make macaroni salad | bad before 12.30am | up to finish packing for BSP3 | say bye to Dad | drop Price off at work | leave for PA @ 8.45 | drive and drive and drive | arrive at hotel | grocery store, liquor store & CVS run | Rita’s ice | Kita arrives | start of BSP3 | won a Kitchenaid stand mixer at Friday night gathering | watch Olympics at hotel | bed | up early to get hair supplies for Heidi braids | BSP3 all day | discover left car windows open & everything is wet from the storms | Olympics & then bed | waffle breakfast to end BSP3 | leave PA | Shake Shack lunch | back home!!! | relax with Olympics

 

 

 

 

Baked S’mores Bars

Baked S'mores Bars

So I don’t really like S’mores.

Don’t hate me!!!!

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I could never understand why people liked s’mores when I was growing up. Sure I ate them as I just didn’t want to be that kid but I just didn’t get what they liked. Crisp crackery cookie. Hard chocolate. Marshmallow. And another crisp cookie. I love toasting marshmallows but the rest of it didn’t really work for me over time.

Also, I like graham cracker but I like the Honey Maid Grahams Cinnamon Crackers the best. They are sugary and extra cinnamon-y… but do you think they were ever brought along for camp fires… that would be a n-o. I always felt there was so much potential for s’mores but I didn’t know what it was… until now that is!

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I saw that Amanda recently posted a recipe for baked s’mores. The moment I saw them I knew that I had to make them. HAD TO! This was exactly what I have always been hoping for from a s’more. A soft, crumbly texture instead of a crisp cookie. Ooey gooey melted chocolate. Tons of marshmallow goodness. It was all the great flavors of a s’more but in the texture of a blondie. I could stand behind that.

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These were so simple to whip up that you can make these for yourself or for your kids when they are dying to a s’more but you aren’t camping.

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I used Hershey bars for this but if you didn’t have them on hand and really really wanted these bars then just used chocolate chips. Milk chocolate chips would be better than semi-sweet chocolate chips but chocolate is chocolate so get on with your bad self and make these dang Baked S’mores Bars!!!

I’ve made these several times now and I have to say that the more fluff the better! Make sure you at least use 2 Cups. But if you want to use a bit more, you won’t be mad.

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The top will crack when you bake it but it’s okay. I swear. It’s doesn’t have to be super pretty like a cheesecake, but keep this in mind. If you are really upset about cracks then poke the top with a tooth pick a few times before baking to help reduce the cracking.

I do think it would be pretty cool to make these with some winter time indoor camping. Oh so you didn’t do indoor camping growing up? What about bring a pool (no water) into the house to watch the movie Mermaids with your mom? No… just me then. Well, I suggest you give it a try and sing and dance along to this song.

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I think you should totally have an indoors camping adventure!! It will put you in a good mood. I swear. Just like I swear that you have to make these s’mores bars!

When it comes to making these Baked S’mores Bars… be prepared to eat a lot of them.

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Baked S’mores Bars

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • approx. 10 oz of Hershey’s chocolate bars ( I used 6 1.55oz bars)
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil (optional).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  3. Sift together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the butter mixture and mix at a low speed until just combined.
  4. Divide dough in half. Press one half into an even layer on the bottom of prepared pan. Evenly arrange the chocolate bars on top of the dough.
  5. Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer. Or put into a large plastic storage bag, cut the tip off & pipe on for easy distribution.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the remaining dough, forming a piece that is just large enough to fit in the 8×8-inch pan. Place dough on top of marshmallow fluff and press down slightly.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting with a sharp knife into 16 even pieces. Wipe knife between cuts w a wet towel to make the process easier.

Our Cruise Dining- Carnival Cruise 4 night New England/Canada Cruise

Did you know that avg cruise passenger gains one and 1/2 pounds PER DAY? 

Yep! Well that is what Cruise Director Josh said during an info session on Friday morning on our first day Fun Day at Sea. Umm, excuse me? 1 1/2 pounds is 5,250 calories. An extra 5,250 a day! How the hell is that possible?!?! As I sat there in stunned disbelief I started to consider that on a cruise people would eat larger, more indulgent meals, eat more often, and drink a lot of high caloric alcoholic drinks. Well that made me immediately want to die. It actually was good to hear that as it made more much more aware of what I was ordering and made me (try to stick to) the 3 bite rule for desserts.

Here is a little run down on the meals we had in the main dining rooms. There were plenty of amazing food that we enjoyed from the buffets and serving stations for other meals but I didn’t bring my camera around for everything. I do really suggest going to the Mongolian BBQ (Stir Fry) station because that was so good… glass noodles with shrimp. yum!

 

For sit down meals in the main dining rooms there was a menu that had the standard menu items (left page) and the specials of the day (right page).

-Thursday Dinner-

Cream of Sun-Dried Tomato Soup. Must make this at home

Grilled Flat Iron Steak- Price didn’t get to eat this tonight, he had a horrible headache and went to bed. I was tempted to eat 2 dinners, but I didn’t. I swear!

Steamed fish on a bed of tomatoes & onions, a teeny tiny portion of mac & cheese, and steamed, glazed carrots. Everything about this was perfect

-Friday Lunch-

The weather was crappy and it was the first day at sea so we decided to have a long lunch in the dining room instead of the various stations on the lido deck.

 

My California roll sushi and Price’s Mongolia Hot Pot. We both loved our appetizers. The sushi roll was made with real crab, none of that imitation junk!

Shrimp and crap sandwich. Not what I expected but it was good. I did find that all of their tomatoes were not a great quality and/or under ripe and didn’t eat any on the cruise.

Creme Caramel. ‘nuf said

-Friday Dinner-

 

Must hydrate after an afternoon lying out by the Azure Lido (adult only) Pool. We split a bottle of wine for dinner. (Maybe that’s why I fell asleep during the show that night!)

Stuffed mushroom starter. This was very light and so good! Mushrooms stuffed with spinach and topped with some cheese. 

Broiled lobster and shrimp with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I heard some people swapping out the shrimp to get some steak instead- wow!

 

Melty chocolate cake and a carmel apple napoleon. The chocolate cake was insanely rich and the portion was insanely large. I honestly think they should make it half the size, which is what we had and that was pushing it. The napoleon was great and will be easily recreated at home.

-Saturday Breakfast-

Just as the woman next to Price said ‘No, thank you. It’s too early for a drink.’ I ordered one for us. That is just how we roll. It was 8.10 in the morning.

Worst eggs benedict that I have ever had. I had a side of hash. I ignored at as well as I was so turned off from the meal in general. At least that meant I had room for a great lunch in Saint John.

-Saturday Dinner-

ah-MAH-zing french onion soup

Penne with shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels. This reminded me of penne al la vodka, but with very fresh sea food.

 

We always ordered different desserts so we could always have a taste of each other’s. We shared the date and fig cinnamon cake with rum raisin ice cream and a diet lemon cake.

-Sunday Dinner-

 

My starter: Maryland crab cake | Price’s starter: small portion of the grilled chicken breast over pasta with a mushroom cream sauce

I did not like this as it had olives- which the menu did not say. I picked out all the olives but I could not get past it to enjoy it.

Orange souffle with a vanilla cream sauce. This was the after pic. 

I give a lot of credit to the chefs and staff on board for preparing and serving such wonderful dishes. I’m proud of myself when I can cook for a party but I can’t imagine cooking for THOUSANDS of people. Amazing job.

Long Weekend Cruise: Boston to Saint John, NB – Carnival Glory

We recently went on our first cruise together (my 3rd cruise). Originally, Price and were supposed to go to Greece for 10 days back in March but that trip fell through at the beginning of the year. It was a huge disappointment as it was totally out of our control, but serendipitously everything else fell into place resulting us getting our first house. We felt that we still needed a little vacation so we began looking around and found a great deal on a 4 day Carnival cruise out of Boston that would take us up to Saint John, NB. A fun, quick trip up to Canada was just what the Dr ordered! 🙂

Long post… I know… but I hope it helps anyone looking for information about taking a Carnival Cruise in New England and Canada. 

Embarkation Day (Thursday)

We each took a half day so we could head over to the port early on. Plus I had to buy a pair of sneakers before we left. After a quick T ride to South Station and then a Silver Line bus to Cruise Port and we were quickly breezing through the lines to board the boat. Everyone was really friendly as they ushered us through security, checked us in, and gave us our cards that act as our room keys, security to get on & off the boat, and our debits cards for anything we purchase on the boat. 

  

Before we knew it we were dropping off our bags in the room and running up the Lido deck to enjoy the views.

 

I was completely and utterly loosing my mind every time a plane came in for a landing at Logan. There is just something so fun and amazing about their power and I love knowing that people are going on or returning from an adventure. (Unless of course they are on a bussiness trip).

Prior to leaving the port we went back to the room, changed into our bathing suits, went on a tour of the spa, went through the safety drill, and went back to the spa for a raffle.  Sadly, we didn’t win any spa services so we high tailed it back up to the decks to wave bye to Boston and enjoy the sun on the Serenity area. Unfortunately, we went opposite ways when we left the spa & couldn’t find each other for a while so I just grabbed a lounge and enjoyed the music, sun, and time to relax.

 

Price did find me so we hopped into a hot tub and enjoyed the whole novelty of being in water while being on a boat. dorks. Serentiy started to clear out as people went to the first seating for dinner so we were able to get a hammock and relax for a bit before we had to get ready for dinner.

 

Tall ships were arriving for the Fourth of July celebration so we saw a few coming into Boston as we left.

This happy towel animal greeted as when we came back to the room. We headed off to dinner and that is when things went poorly for Price who started to battle a headache. He didn’t make it through dinner since he went back to the room to lay down. I went to the duty free shop and paid though noise ($12) for a small bottle of Tylenol for Pricer. (Remember to be prepared so you don’t have to pay so much too!) Thankfully he woke up feeling fine the next day 🙂

Fun Day at Sea (Friday)

There are Fun Days at Sea which is just when the ship needs a day to travel to get to the next port. Our cruise has 2 Fun Days at Sea, which were the days that brought us to Saint John and then back again to Boston. The daily ‘Today at a Glance‘ brochure that is provided in your stateroom outlines all the activities to available to participate in. We decided to generally keep our days relaxing so we didn’t do a whole lot, which was just perfect!

You are here when you wake up…

 

 

rain clouds and fox news… kill me!

After breakfast and a nap, I went to the information session that the Cruise Director Josh hosted to let passengers know what is going on around the ship.

 

I went to a foot analysis seminar. It was focused on a set of orthotics from Good Feet that they were selling but it actually was really interesting and informative. We did imprints of our feet and that would tell us about our ‘foundations’ and how that could relate to any pain we have. Well my imprints showed my right foot is flatter than my left, which could relate to my issues with my hip on my right side. hmmm… should prob see a DR about that…

After lunch, the weather started to clear and the sun came out so we got our bathing suits on to enjoy the day. We heading out on the Lido deck and saw an ice sculpture being carved away at.

 

Thankfully, I grabbed some seats quickly so we spent the afternoon laying out by the Azure pool. After getting too hot we would just take a dip into the pool and then layout again. Oh, and we would sip on pina coladas as well. My kind of vacation!

Rib-bit!

 

Friday night was the Captain’s Dinner night so it means getting dressed up. Apparently that memo did not get to everyone as there were 2 winners for the night. One guy wearing plaid (not madras style) cargo shorts and a polo with some graphic on the back and the other guy who wore jeans and an orange hoodie. (Overall, orange hoodie guy won as we saw him wear that for the rest of the cruise)

soooo good!

After dinner we went to one of the on board Broadway/Vegas style shows called ‘Livin’ in America’. It was good but I dozed off a bit since we enjoyed a bottle of wine with dinner and all the afternoon sun caught up with me. Instead of walking through the ship to get to the elevator bank to take us to Riviera Deck we went up and walked along top. Very cool as it was really foggy.

Saint John, NB (Saturday)

As with all ports, you can book an excursion through the boat to have something secured for the day. We didn’t plan on booking a tour through the cruise line and after having the info session on Friday our initial feeling is that we would not. Saint John is not a very large city and if we can handle 8+ miles in NYC on a typical visit we could handle Saint John. And if we felt we wanted to go with a tour company we could easily book a tour just outside the port, where a lot of companies set up. In the end we just figured we would wing it and we are glad that we did. w

I highly suggest putting something in your window so you can spot your room when you get off the ship. It’s silly but a lot of fun to figure out where you are in the massive ship.

 

When we got off the ship I was handed a rose from a member of the chambers of commerce. I manged to safely hang on to it the whole day 🙂 Also, one of the tour guides was really helpful as she provided us with a map of the city and explained how to get around, if we didn’t take a tour. We would simply have to walk a few blocks and then could follow the pedestrian trail of Harbor Passage towards Reversing Rapids.

There was a look out along Chesley Drive and that was out first real glimpse of the Reversing Rapids.

Reversing Rapids with Irving Paper and Crow Island. Truthfully, I was really disappointed to have the paper mill right across from the park, and therefore in the photos. It was annoying but watching the rapids pick up pace in the hour we were there made the whole experience worth it. The birds would drop down into the water from the island, ride the current for a bit, and then fly back up to the island and repeat the process. It looked like they were having a blast on the rapids.

The funny thing was that our intent was to book the zip line at the falls but once we got there we decided not to do it. It was not like what we expected with it being out in the open, not really over the rapids,  and having such short runs between the platforms. So we decided to save our money and plan on going zip lining again in the Berkshires.

 

A muskrat (I think) came about 2′ from Price. It came up the embankment and just waddled around for a bit eating the grasses.

 

After leaving the park we following the map along the route the tour buses take along Douglas Avenue. There were so many beautiful houses along Douglas. And then we turned on to Main Street which gave us the perfect shot of the Saint John sign (above). We did get a little lost at one point as Main Street became a bridge over Rt 100 and there was no sidewalk anymore. We figured out we had go down to Hilyard St, which became Paradise Row and then take the Somerset Street Bridge over Rt 100. That brought us right into the older area of Saint John and by the cruise ship.

 

Old City Market was nice to walk through.

 

And after strolling around a bit we decided to have lunch in Saint John. They were getting ready for the Canada Day festivities so there were bands playing on a stage in Market Square. We had lunch at Lemongrass where I had Thai Fried Rice and Price had a Chicken Pad Thai. The service was great and the food was good but the time it took for the kitchen to prepare simple dishes was unreasonable. At least we had a beautiful day with  some live music.

 

After our trip I figured out we walked over 6 1/2 miles that day. It was tiring but a perfect adventure together. We got to experience Saint John at our pace and get plenty of exercise doing it. We came back to the ship and spent the afternoon relaxing in the Serenity area of the ship for a while and then got ready for dinner and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

 

And dinner was always very entertaining. Shooooow Time!

Funday at Sea (Sunday)

From my experience on my past cruises I knew that the pool side chairs would fill up fast as sitting poolside is very desirable for the at sea days. So, I quickly got ready once I woke up and was up by the pool by 8.15 and there were already a few people securing their seats.  I grabbed 1 pair right at the edge of the Azure pool (adult only) so we could hop in and out as we wanted. Price came up after he got ready and we then grabbed breakfast from the buffets at the Red Sailt Restaurant. From there we did a whole lot of nothing until 2.30. From laying out, ordering drinks, and taking dips in the pool. It was so nice to be forced to relax. Not like when I’m home and I get distracted from relaxing with the computer, laundry, dishes, etc.

 

My rose from the chamber of commerce started to really open up in the rock vase we purchased at Market Square in Saint John. The vases were so unique and handmade by Gary Kingsley.

 

We went back to our room to relax a bit and get ready for the rest of the day. We started to roam around the boat, including browsing the duty free shops and the casino.  And then we enjoyed a picture perfect sunset.

Most of the wait staff gathered together. I really give them a lot of credit as they leave their families for months on end and really work hard during the cruise. The trays they carry are stacked to the top and they are always running around getting you what you need. Keep their hard work that you see and don’t see in mind when you are tipping on the boat.

Roar!!!! It is always so much fun to come back to the room to a different towel animal.

Disembarkation Day (Monday)

I got up at 5.30am so I could see the sun coming up and our entry back into Boston Harbor. (If you are going to want to to sleep in & just see Boston while still lounging in bed get a room on the Starboard side of the boat.) I made it up in record time to snap photos of the sunrise at 5.35am. The sunrise and entry into the Harbor was so beautiful. I was glad that I woke up early for it. I rushed down and got Price later on when we were further into the Harbor. We then had breakfast and enjoyed the views together.

 

After breakfast we went back to the room to clear things up and get our belongings to wait on the Lido deck- an approved waiting station- for our room floor to be called. They worked from the top down so we had a bit of a ‘long’ wait but we managed to get off the boat, on to the bus, and then take 2 different T lines and I only got into work 30 minutes late. Def not bad deal!

 

 

As it was right before the 4th of July, the Navy ships part of the Tall Ships event were in the Harbor. It was so cool to see them all as we entered into the harbor and docked.

 

Overall reflection:

  • We booked our cruise early so we got to do the Early Saver deal. If you know well advance you want to take a cruise (3-5 months ahead of time, depending on the length of the cruise) then you can take advantage of this deal. We paid for our cruise in full but if you want this deal you just have to put a deposit on the cruise.
  • We also did a deal that allowed Carnival to assign the room for us. We told Carnival we wanted a room with a window and they did the rest. We ended up in Rm 1393, which I don’t actually suggest. This allowed us to save more, which is always great, but I would not suggest that you pick this room on the Carnival Glory because there is some sort of in/outtake in what seemed like under the room. It was very loud and we could feel the water rushing in/out. It was not all that bad but I would not want to deal with it on a 7 day cruise.
  • Our room steward and our servers at dinner were amazing. Our room was always clean and our servers were all great.
  • The boat was very clean. There was always staff cleaning the boat- cleaning up dishes, vacuuming,
  • The Carnival Glory was built in 2003. That doesn’t seem very long ago but apparently that is very long for a cruise ship. It will be dry docked this fall for some work. While we were on the ship we saw a segment on one of the ships channels with the architect speaking about the design of the ship. In all honesty, I think he has his head up his ass as we thought the decor was tacky and the materials and color pallet used dated the ship so much that we thought it was much, much older than it actually was. (Post cruise research revealed that he will no longer be working on the new ships. It will be interesting what see a new design team does.)
  • While staff was on point with making sure we wanted drinks, cleaning up pool side messes, serving our fantastic dinners, and taking care of our rooms, we felt that the one thing that they lacked was controlling the adult only Serenity Area and the adult only pool. I had to ask for security to come over 3 times to come over to speak to parents with their kids in the adult only areas.
  • The food was top notch on the cruise. The food selection was expansive, diverse, and located all over the ship. You could not go hungry on the ship if you tried. I could nitpick about little things- like how they served fish & chips in a basket with a napkin like piece of paper and that disintegrated all over the fish from the heat and moisture from the fish & chips – but it is not worth it to pick at little things considering the crew serves endless meals for thousands of people.