On My Plate - Fig Glazed Pork Chops and Menu Planning

I know that a lot of people plan their meals for the whole week but I'm usually the type that just wings its. 
I have several go to meals that I can put together as the mood strikes but this week I decided to try a different approach. 

I planned the entire week...Breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. I even picked a few new recipes to try out on my family.

It took me a while to get the menu together, make a grocery list and shop but I'm going to see if it saves me time in the long run.

I won't repeat the menu here but if you're interested you can see what I planned over at  A Year Of Healthy Habits.

I tried a new recipe for dinner last night. 

Fig Glazed Pork Chops

Fig Glazed Pork Chops

Super simple recipe-the kind I love!

In a large skillet brown pork chops in a little oil. About 3 minutes per side. 
Transfer the chops to a baking sheet. 
Top each chop with about 1 Tablespoon of fig jam. 
Bake at 350 till jam is bubbly and chops are done. 

I served this with sweet potatoes and green beans. 

This recipe got a 5-star family approval!

How do you handle meals?
Are you a planner or do you like to wing it?


Out Reach to the Stars (and Planets)

Several years ago my husband got in to the hobby of astronomy quite by accident. We accompanied our son on a astronomy outreach that he had to participate in for a class he was taking. Our son's interest only went as far as a good grade. My husband on the other hand found a new interest and began following the dark sky with abandon. 

We even have our own observatory in our back yard:-)

The club he belongs to is very active in educating the community and for the past year my husband has been in charge of setting up these out reaches. 

Last night we went to one of our local elementary schools where they were having a science night.

The children rotated through different activities that were set up through out the school. The astronomy club members set up their telescopes in the parking lot and as the kids came through they were able to look through different scopes that were focused on various objects in the night sky. 

My sweetie:-)

Waiting a turn at a scope

Students get a look at a 1 pound Asteroid 

There were 8 members of the club set up with their scopes. This group does 25 or more out reaches a year to the Boy and Girl Scouts, school groups, homeschoolers, church groups, etc. 

I think the thing that amazes me is how they can set up scopes that cost more money than I care to think about and they let kids of all ages use them. Even though over 300 hundred students and parents participated I never heard one complaint from the club members or one harsh word. And we know how rowdy little ones can be!

I did hear it said over and over how it makes it worthwhile when a kid looks through a scope and sees Jupiter and says "WOW!".

It was a fun night and I'm happy I could spend a few hours helping these children search the night sky. And maybe there was a budding astronomer among them!

If you'd like to learn more about astronomy and searching the dark skies check out Go Astronomy website to find an astronomy club near you.

Do you have a gift, talent or hobby that you share with the community? 


On My Plate -Strawberry Lemon Bars

One of my favorite (and easiest) ways to entertain is to invite someone over for dessert.

Later in the evening when everyone has had their dinner. The table is cleared and the kitchen cleaned. Serve a dessert that was made earlier in the day (or even the day before). Put on the coffee pot, set out the cups, cream and sugar and the dessert plates.  And you're all ready to welcome guests.

One of our favorite desserts - Strawberry Lemon Bars

These sweet and tangy bars are made just like regular lemon bars only with the addition of fresh chopped strawberries. Yummy!

Lemon Bars and Strawberry Lemon Bars

Strawberry-Lemon Bars
Pastry Layer
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature

By hand or with a mixer combine the flour, sugar and butter.
Press the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 X 9 cake pan.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Once baked let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Strawberry Layer
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 Tablespoon sugar

Sprinkle sugar over the strawberries. Let sit for 15 minutes. 
Drain the juice off and layer the strawberries on top of the baked pastry

Top Layer
4 eggs, beaten until fluffy
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 Tablespoons lemon juice (I used bottled)

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the crust.

Pop it back in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until the 
filling is set and the top is lightly browned.

Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Let cool for about 30 minutes and cut in to 1 inch pieces.

Sprinkle on more confectioners sugar if desired.

You can omit the strawberry layer and you'll have plain lemon bars. If a lemon bar can be just plain!

I hope you'll try this recipe and invite someone over to help you eat them!