Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

We just spent a week in New England, freezing our butts off, visiting my family. What stinks is we both, & my entire family, ended up getting the flu. We tried to hide from it but no matter what, it came for us, knocked us on our asses & in bed for four days. We didn’t get to do too much with the 30 degree temperatures but it was great to go home, visit with everyone & catch up.

I got to meet two of my cousin’s new babies & one of my very best friends ask me to be a part of her wedding party. All & all it was a pretty successful trip.

One of my favorite parts of coming home, besides catching up with family & friends, is being able to eat at all of my favorite local restaurants that we don’t have in Orange County. (Check out my Instagram for posts from last week’s trip… & what we are eating @MeggOliver) There is my favorite burger joint, amazing Italian dinners, fabulous brunch places & of coarse… some Connecticut pizza.
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The food in Connecticut is much different than California. During the summer we are very seafood driven along the Long Island Sound. Local clams, shrimp, and even lobster can be found in any restaurant you go to. Many seafood shacks even close up for the winter before they have to resort to using frozen fish. During the winter in Connecticut most people get back to warm comfort food.

We started our trip with a topping covered pizza, was able to try out a new brewery… which was amazing… headed for Mexican & drinks to celebrate a friend’s birthday & enjoyed a beautiful brunch with friends.

When we got back from Connecticut I went straight to work for seven days straight, & with nothing in the house it was pretty rough eating take out & mall food court food for the first few days. But now we are back into the swing of things, recovered from our sickness & I am back to cooking. One easy recipe I have made a lot this fall & winter so far has been these pulled pork sandwiches. They are super easy & well yum.

My favorite part of them is not actually the meat at all. Instead I am dying over the massive amount of coleslaw I make to top the sandwich. And good news for me… Chris hates cabbage. So I make this coleslaw & literally put it on everything for a week. I top it on salads, sandwiches, as a side…anything! I love it. Try it out & let me know which you like more… the pulled pork or the coleslaw. Beware… this is a small batch recipe. The pulled pork only makes 3-4 sandwiches. But the coleslaw can go on for days.

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Pulled Pork:
1-1.5 lb. boneless pork loin
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup BBQ sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp. honey

Cole Slaw:
½ head of purple cabbage
½ cup mayo
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp pepper
1 carrot, shredded

1. Mix all of the coleslaw ingredients in a bowl. Toss with tongs and refrigerate. Allow to sit for until the pork is done and all of the flavors have mixed together.
2. Place the pork at the bottom of a crock pot. Top with all of the seasonings. Cook on high 4-5 hours.
3. After 4-4.5 hours shred pork inside crock using two forks. Cover and allow to cook on low for another 30 minutes.
4. Assemble sandwich by adding coleslaw on top of the meat on a sandwich bun.

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Almond Vanilla Biscotti

Is there any cookies better than Christmas cookies? The answer is just plain old no. There is nothing better, or more Italian, than a big old tray of cookies after dinner with coffee, espresso, & a little Sambuca or Limoncello. Ahh I love Italian family dinners.

One of my aunts does most of the cookie baking during the holidays. I think a lot of families have one person who is the cookie connoisseur, & she is definitely ours. A few years ago she made all of her nieces a little cookie cookbook & it is one of my favorite gifts I have gotten. It is such a treasure to have all of her cookies together in one place.

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Now I have been pretty honest… I not the best baker. But one of my 30 goals by 30 was to become a decent baker. I feel like everyone needs to have a little something in their back pocket as far as desserts. A dessert that doesn’t come from a box. So this past holiday season I decided I was going to perfect a Almond Vanilla Biscotti.

So I made them… probably four times. My coworkers loved them, our friends loved them & Chris’s family loved them.

Baking a single cookie three times can be a little intimidating. I wasn’t sure how it as going to come out. Hell I can barely cook a sugar cookie once & have it come out right. But these came out amazing! This weekend we are going home to Connecticut & my girlfriends & I are getting together for a little girls brunch. I defiantly plan on making these & seeing what everyone on the east coast thinks of them. Maybe I will even run some over to my aunts so I can have the professional herself judge them. Wish me luck!

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½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰ and lay parchment paper over a cookie sheet.
2. In a large bowl mix together butter and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time and beat into mixture.
3. Stir in almond and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in flour and baking powder until mixed throughout. Do not over mix. Add in sliced almonds.
5. Lightly flour your hands and divide the mixture in half. Shape the dough into two 10 in long rolls. Place the rolls e5 inches apart from each other on the cookie sheet. Flatten until they are about 3 inches wide.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
7. With a sharp serrated knife, cut the rolls into ½ inch slices. Lay the slices on the same cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.
8. Flip the cookies over and bake another 5 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Happy 2016!!

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Wow, it feels like yesterday I was writing this post, welcoming 2015. I say the same thing every year but it is honestly crazy to see how much has changed in one year. As I was writing out my Christmas cards this year I couldn’t help but see how many changes have happened to my family & friends. So many people celebrated such amazing times. A few of my cousins expanded their families welcoming babies, friends got engaged, people took trips, family & friends bought homes. I can’t help but be so happy for everyone in 2015.

Chris & I made a goal this year to focus on work in 2015 & focus on our careers. I was lucky enough to be able to get another promotion this year & truly show my strengths at work. Chris has taken his career to the next level & is working on getting his certification. We have taken fun trips & celebrated exciting times with friends & 2016 had just as much excitement planned.

Of course we will have our annual Big Bear trip with friends this spring & going to Scottsdale to start off baseball season with Spring Training. We also plan on heading to Vegas again in June to see both of our favorite singer from childhood, Garth Brooks, perform, but we will be starting the year by heading to Connecticut to spend some time with my family.

I am super excited to see where 2016 takes us as a couple & individually. I plan on making the most of the last full year of my 20s before I hit the big 3-0. 2015 was very work focused. I refocused my blog, Chris had his classes at night. Ironically this is our first weekend off together in a few months & we are both sitting at the table writing & studying right now. My goal for 2016 is to make the most of every moment & create a more sensible work life balance.

Last year when I made my goals I was very specific & the truth is, much of my goals are not what I am focusing on right now. I think last year I was finding where I wanted to be & what I wanted to do as I wasn’t happy at work & didn’t know how to take this blog to a fun & natural place. Now I am in a much better place at work, working on my blog makes me inspired & it is fun, which makes looking forward easier & exciting.

This year I know what I am focusing on… & while my personal & professional goals are very detailed, I am leaving them pretty much open as I don’t know where we will be by the end of the year. There are many changes that can happen in 2016 & instead of honing down & planning for a path I am not 100% sure of, I am going to keep my goals to myself & just simply push forward.

I wish each & everyone of you a happy & healthy New Year.

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