I am back and ready for an incredible New Year

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It has been too long and I am really upset with myself.  I blog to share with you the things that I am passionate about.  What makes me laugh, what amazes me, what I believe is beautiful and inspiring.   Blogging also centers me.  It helps me get out all the negativity so I can just be me, happy and positive.  It helps me tap into my creative soul and being creative has always centered me. I have been tired, stressed, and unhappy for the past 3 months.  I am not saying it is all because of not blogging.  It mostly is because I was surrounding myself with some negative and toxic people and environment.  But I have learned my lesson and I am aware of who I place in my world and what makes me happy.  I am very firm believer in do what you love and for some reason I forgot about that.  I actually forgot about my needs which is never a good thing.  I was basically trying to help my husband out, which manifested into helping others out that did not deserve my help, which manifested into me losing myself and I was not the positive, strong, happy person that I have grown to love.  But don't worry everyone I am back.  I am back loving the world, seeing beauty in the smallest things, and  wanting to share my love with the world.

I hate to say it the past 3 months I have not done a lot of cooking, baking, and crafting.  I told you are was in a dark hole.  But now I have started back again and I promise I will share what I love doing with you.

I did not stop cooking all together.  I of course whipped out the big guns for Christmas so I would like to share that with you today.  For Christmas I made a fabulous Porchetta, which was amazing.  What is a Porchetta?  It is a pork loin wrapped in a pork belly.  I remember about a month ago reading my Bon Appétit magazine and finding a recipe for a Porchetta.  I mentioned it to The Chosen One and told her it sounded delicious.  I forgot about the Porchetta for a couple of weeks and then when I was thinking about a Christmas menu the Porchetta appeared in my mind.   I believe it was waiting to make a grand entrance for Christmas.  Oh and it was so grand and worth the wait.  I did have a problem finding pork belly but now I know 3 places that carry it.  It was not time consuming to put together, unlike the Turducken that we do every year that takes us 3 days to prepare.  It did not call for a lot of ingredients and roasting it was short and easy.  Oh and it was so good.  The pork loin ended up so juicy because of the pork belly.  And the pork belly was bacon on steroids.  The pork belly's skin was so crispy.  Oh that crackle,  it was elevated pork rings.  I have heard that pig skin prepared the right way can be amazing.  Now I know and I will never forget.





If you would like to make the Bon Appétit Porchetta, here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 5–6-pound piece fresh pork belly, skin on
1 (trimmed) 2-3-pound boneless, center-cut pork loin
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 orange, seeded, thinly sliced

PREPARATION

Put belly skin side down; arrange loin in center. Roll belly around loin so the short ends of the belly meet. If any of the belly or loin overhangs, trim meat. Unroll; set loin aside.

Toast fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Tip spices into a bowl; let cool. Finely grind spices in a spice mill and transfer to a small bowl, along with the sage, rosemary, and garlic; set fennel mixture aside.

Assemble porchetta according to steps below:

1. Set belly skin side down. Using a knife, score the belly flesh in a checkerboard pattern 1/3" deep so roast will cook evenly.

2. Flip belly skin side up. Using a paring knife, poke dozens of 1/8"-deep holes through skin all over belly. Don't be gentle! Keep poking.

3. Using the jagged edge of a meat mallet, pound skin all over for 3 minutes to tenderize, which will help make skin crispy when roasted.

4. Turn belly and generously salt both it and loin; rub both with fennel mixture. Arrange loin down middle of belly. Top with orange slices.

5. Roll belly around loin; tie crosswise with kitchen twine at 1/2" intervals. Trim twine. Transfer roast to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

Refrigerate roast, uncovered, for 1-2 days to allow skin to air-dry; pat occasionally with paper towels.

Let porchetta sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 500°. Season porchetta with salt. Roast on rack in baking sheet, turning once, for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 300° and continue roasting, rotating the pan and turning porchetta occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145°, 1 1/2-2 hours more. If skin is not yet deep brown and crisp, increase heat to 500° and roast for 10 minutes more. Let rest for 30 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice into 1/2" rounds.


If you do make it, please tell me what you think.  I would love to hear others opinions.


Ok now to crafting.  I have to share our 2013 Christmas Card.  We all know I hand make our family Christmas Card every year.  It has been such a crazy tradition I have friends and family members wondering what it is going to look like every year  and anticipating its arrival.  

Here is our 2012 Christmas Card:




Here is our 2011 Christmas Card:





I decided I really like the infograph I did in 2012 and wanted to take it up a notch.  I also liked the tri-fold I did in 2011 but wanted it bigger.  I am also really into felt.

Our 2013 Christmas Card:

Front of card

Addison's Christmas picture

Other side of front flap

Inside: Infograph

Inside

Other Flap


Envelope liner


Sealed with wax


What do you think?  I love the way the front flap shows a portion of the flap below, just the snow and trees.   It is also embossed it with snow flakes for texture.  You open it up and you get a surprise,  a woodland theme.  Oh and did you notice the snow, trees, and deer are cut out in felt?  
The infograph is a Christmas theme that tells everyone something about each person and animal.  I love how the presents show all of Addison's diving awards.  In the middle a sweet saying from our family.  The envelopes were green with a shiny gold, red, green, and white chevron envelope liners.  And the envelopes were sealed with a letter "C" wax stamp. I just love it!  I am all about the details and honey this one had some incredible details.  This is the reason why I love paper and why I love sharing the things I create with it.  I believe cards  and notes should not just be sent around the holidays.  They should be sent whenever you want to make someone smile and remind them they are loved. 

Well, this post it making me hungry and need to get ready for diving.  Sorry again for being away so long.  I will be back soon to share more wonderful things.  

Talk to you soon,
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