Pulled Pork with Lemon and Garlic on a Potato Herb Roll


I have been making this pulled pork for quite some time. It is one of our favorite preparations and, if there is a healthier way to make a pork sandwich, then this is it. But, the real star of this dish is the potato herb rolls that I can customize with with any herbs that will complement whatever fillings will be in the sandwich. In this case the pork is made with garlic and lemon so I used thyme, rosemary, dried parsley and onion powder to flavor the rolls.

The pulled pork could not be easier, in fact I hesitate to call this a recipe. I take a 4-5 pound pork shoulder and trim off any excess fat. It goes into a slower cooker and I add several garlic cloves, 1 large lemon cut into quarters or two smaller lemons halved. To ensure the pork is not dry I add about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of low sodium chicken stock. Thats it! It cooks on low for 8 hours or until it falls apart.

Near the end of the cooking process, I remove the lemons and garlic and reserve the latter for the sandwich. The garlic is perfectly roasted and spreads easily on the roll if you are interested in doing so-and I always do!

Of course, rolls form scratch do take a little more time and effort but are so worth it.


I use a 6 quart stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for these rolls. You can use a small mixer but note that the final dough will be about 4 1/2 pounds in weight. Most 4 quart mixers will be fine with that, but you could half the recipe if needed. I made 24, 3 oz sandwich rolls from that amount of dough, which would yield about 35, 2 oz dinner rolls. These rolls freeze very well and you could store the extra for several weeks and then refresh as needed.

You will begin by combining all the ingredients, minus the herbs into the mixing bowl and adding temperature controlled water (not shown). In my kitchen I use water at 100°F but anywhere from 80-100°F will work. Mix on low to incorporate then turn to medium to knead for 7-9 minutes. What you are looking for is what is called a “window pane”. This lets you know when the dough has reached its correct gluten development. There is no real mystery about this step. After ~about 7 minutes, turn off the mixer and pull out a small amount of the dough, it will be slightly sticky. Stretch the dough between your thumbs and forefingers into the shape of a rectangle. If the dough breaks it is not ready, the gluten strands are too short. Continue kneading. The dough temperature should be rising as well, and it will be near 77°F to 80°F when the dough is fully developed. Keep checking these two parameters. Eventually, your window pane will be strong, and transparent. Light should be able to show through the dough, without ripping or tearing, as it will be so thin it appears to be a “window”.IMG_1851

Add whatever freshly chopped or dried herbs you want and mix just until the additions are incorporated and evenly distributed.

Cover the dough and allow it to ferment until doubled (about an hour).

Now you can punch it down to degas and divide into the portion size you desire. Shape and place on a parchment lined sheet to proof until 70-80% larger in size.








Once proofed they need an egg wash and a sprinkle of sea salt. Since I was not adding salt to the pork, I was generous with this!


Bake, without steam, at 375°F for ~20 minutes or until golden brown.




These are wonderful on their own or with any type of sandwich you wish to build. The smaller dinner roll version is great with soups and stews as well.

Of course, we had pulled pork in the slow cooker! I shredded the pork and we built our sandwiches. We went with arugula and a grilled pineapple relish with candied peppers! An outstanding combination!




Let me know if you try either of these recipes!

Pulled Pork with Lemon and Garlic

  • Servings: 24, 3oz rolls
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

This Pulled Pork has no added salt or sugar. The lemon and garlic add wonderful flavor

Credit: Invisible-no-more.com


-4 to 5 pound pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of excess fat

-5 to 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

-2 small lemons, halved

-low sodium chicken broth or water

-grilled pineapple salsa


-potato herb rolls (recipe below)


  1. Place the pork shoulder, garlic and lemon halves into a slow cooker. Add broth or water to about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch on the bottom. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Near the end of the cooking time, remove the lemons and reserve the garlic for the sandwich build. Continue cooking the pork until if falls apart easily. Shred the meat with two forks and keep the meat warm in the slow cooker.
  3. Build the sandwich with a potato herb roll spread with the reserved garlic (if using), add the grilled pineapple relish, pulled pork and arugula.

Potato Herb Rolls

  • Servings: 24, 3oz. rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

These Potato herb rolls can be customized with any herbs you would like to use to complement your meal.

Credit: On Baking, Text book, 3rd edition


-2 lb 2 oz. Bread flour

-3 oz. Potato flour

-1 oz. Instant yeast

-21 fl. oz. Water, temperature controlled 80°F to 100°F

-2 Eggs

-1.5 oz. Dry milk powder

-2.5 oz. Granulated sugar

-3/4 oz. Salt

-3 fl. oz. Olive oil

Suggested Herbs:

-1 oz. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped or 1/2 oz. dried

-2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried

-2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

-1 teaspoon onion powder

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1 teaspoon Black pepper

-Egg wash, as needed

-Kosher salt or fleur de sel, as needed


  1. Place flours, yeast, water, eggs, milk powder, sugar, salt, and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed to combine then knead on medium speed until a window pane is achieved and the dough is 77°F (about 7-9 min.). Add in the herbs and mix until the herbs are well distributed throughout the dough.
  2. Cover the dough and ferment until doubled in size (~1 hour).
  3. Punch down the dough and portion into 3 oz pieces. Shape and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Proof until the rolls are 70-80% in volume.
  5. Carefully brush the proofed rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with the salt.
  6. Bake without steam at 375°F for ~20 minutes until golden brown.




Cinnamon Apple Babka


As you well know by now, I do love to bake bread! I have been wanting to try a babka for some time and finally got around to developing this one. This is a bread that is slightly sweet and you can amp it up with more filling but we like a little less fruit and more of that bread flavor! I had a lot of apples after a recent Costco trip so I have been working them into every dish possible! This recipe can easily make two loaves, and I have included those options in the recipe located at the bottom of this post. Today, however, I decided to make a large, braided loaf and have also included that option, should you feel the need to have an enormous sweet bread centerpiece for your table!

This enriched dough begins with the making of a sponge, which is just water, yeast and sugar that has time to allow for the yeast to activate. Start by combining the yeast, brown sugar and temperature controlled water and let is sit for 30 minutes.


After blooming the surface will have small bubbles and there will be a yeasty aroma

Next add the flour, oil, salt, egg yolks and eggs to the sponge.


Knead the dough until a smooth, but slightly sticky ball forms and place in a lightly greased, large bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.


While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon and apple filling. Whisk together the cinnamon, sugar and flour in a small bowl and set aside. The most important part of preparing the apples is to extract as much moisture as possible so that your dough will not be soggy. I did this by peeling, coring and grating the apples then placing them in a double lined paper towel and squeezing the water from the apples. There is a surprising amount of water that will drain out. I did this in small batches and cheesecloth would work well, but I didn’t have any on hand, so paper towels it had to be! Place the dried apple pieces into a bowl and immediately add the lemon zest and lemon juice, tossing to coat. Then add in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Set aside until the dough is ready.


Now comes the tricky part of shaping and filling the bread. I will refer you to this excellent tutorial from King Arthur Flour on how to shape babkas. This site has all the options that I mention in the recipe with step by step instructions and pictures. At this point you need to decide if you want two loaves or one braided loaf. In either case you begin the same way, divide the risen dough into two equal portions.


Roll one portion out to about 9″ X 18″ and spread half the cinnamon apple filling over the rectangle, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the perimeter. Start with the long side and roll into a log shape, much like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls. Pinch the bottom seam and the ends shut to contain the fillings. Repeat with the second portion of dough.



At this point you may opt to make two loaves using the classic twist, or the sliced braid methods discussed on the King Arthur site and my recipe write up, I will discuss the process for making the single, braided loaf.

Begin by slicing the log lengthwise to form 4 “ropes”.


Working with the filling side up, make a plus sign with the intersection at the middle of each rope. Then repeat with the other two strips to form a second plus sign that interlocks with the first one.


Working clockwise, fold every other strip over the neighboring end, then repeat with the ends that extend but go in the opposite direction (counterclockwise) this time. Here is the  King Arthur photos for reference (they use their chocolate babka).





You will have some ends left over, just tuck them under the loaf. Place the loaf onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover and allow to proof for another 45 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and baked thorough the center.

While the bread cools mix the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, cinnamon extract, vanilla seeds and slowly adding enough milk or water to create a drizzling consistency. When the bead has cooled completely, drizzle with the glaze.





I know that there are a lot of steps for this but it is so worth it! If you are not up for the braid, then try the simple loaf shapes highlighted on the King Arthur site and let me know what you think! Happy baking!

cinnamon apple babka recipe


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Easter Eggs


When I saw this recipe for homemade Reese’s Peanut butter eggs, I knew I had to try it. Our family, like most others, love these things, and I am a huge fan of The Recipe Critic. I find her recipes to be easy and great tasting. But I got to thinking about those decorated eggs I would get in my Easter basket as a kid.

Like this one from See’s Candies


My frugal grandmother would always buy these after Easter when they were half price and gave them to my sister and I a year later as our “special treat”. Unfortunately, my memory of them, after 12 long months in grandma’s closet, was that they were not delicious, pretty, but not yummy. I decided to try to make the decorated exterior with the delicious peanut butter chocolate egg combo that we all love.

The peanut butter mixture comes together fast, it is only 4 ingredients: creamy peanut butter, powdered sugar, melted butter and a little milk.  I rolled it out just like you would a sugar cookie dough. I did not have an egg shaped cutter so I traced around a large egg to make a pattern. I actually made two templates, one larger and one a little smaller. The 24 “eggs” were placed onto a cookie sheet and went into the refrigerator. The directions state to freeze for an hour before coating with chocolate but I was going rock climbing for a few hours so I opted for the fridge.

The chocolate mix was milk chocolate chips and shortening.



The chocolate coating was perfect, great consistency and easily covered the cold peanut butter eggs. I did have some extra chocolate that I did not want to waste so I stole my son’s Oreo cookies that he keeps hidden in his room -he thinks I don’t know about his junk food stash-and dipped a dozen in the chocolate.


These were delicious! And so were the eggs, they tasted exactly like the Reese’s version!

The next step was to make Antonia74’s Royal Icing Recipe, which I used before when I made Christmas Cookies. I only prepared a half recipe which was plenty for these two dozen eggs.

I colored a portion each green, pink, yellow, blue and left some the original white. I bagged up each color and used a variety of tips for lines, leaves, grass, and flowers. I had pastel candies for decorations. It has been a while since I used my tips so it was fun to get into the decorating!














You do not need to go this extra step to enjoy the recipe, these things are delicious without the decor! They are easy to make and store-really, everyone will love these!




Three layer Lasagna

We have a crazy schedule this next week. As a family, we are all over the place! Our son has a performance one night, my husband is working two nights, we are rock climbing a couple days and we have 17 miles on the half marathon training schedule this week! We need some easy, fast, quality fuel that any one of us can just throw into the oven or microwave whenever we find time for a meal. So, I made a recipe that always delivers! It’s one that I have been tinkering with for a few years. I finally have decided that it is exactly how I want it. This three layer lasagna will feed us for the week, and it will taste just as good next Friday as it does tonight on Sunday.

There are a couple components to make before the assembly but they are simple and quick. I started with the preparation of the noodles. I followed the package instructions and intentionally under cooked the pasta as it will continue the baking process after assembly of the lasagna.


I placed the par boiled noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet and coated them with olive oil to prevent sticking. Next I started on the tomato meat sauce.

I sautéed the onion and garlic first then added the sweet Italian sausage and cooked until the pink color was gone. Then the tomato products, seasoning, and herbs were added and the mixture simmered until thickened. The final component was the cheese mixture which included ricotta, goat cheese, pecorino and parmesan. There are a total of five cheeses in this recipe!



Then it was time to assemble the final product. I like to use a larger baking dish (10 in X 17 in) and place the noodles along the short side, 6 lasagna noodle fit for each layer.


The layers are as follows: 1/3 of the tomato meat sauce, 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella, and repeat.


The final layer has the last 1/3 of the tomato sauce, 1/3 mozzarella and big handfuls of more pecorino and parmesan cheese. Since all the components are already cooked the lasagna only needs to heat through and brown on top. I garnish with fresh herbs at the end.







I made a quick garlic bread to finish the meal and we were ready to eat!

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You can view the recipe by clicking on the link below, I hope you give it a try!


three layer lasagna






Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight oats are everywhere right now. I understand the appeal, set it up the night before and save time in the morning while enjoying a healthy breakfast that’s quick and easy. Personally, I like to have my oatmeal for lunch and I have the time to make it and have it while it is hot so I have not been tempted to try one of these recipes. However, the chia seed pudding dishes that have come across my Pinterest and Facebook feeds intrigued me. I am not a huge fan of pudding per se but do love chia seeds and add them to other recipes when I want to boost the fiber content or need a healthy thickening agent. So, when I saw this particular recipe I decided to give it a try, with a couple modifications.


My Recipe

3 T. chia seeds

¾ c. cashew milk (I use Silk)

1 T. Bourbon maple syrup

¼ t. Vanilla bean paste (substitute ½ t. vanilla extract if you can’t find vanilla paste)




Mix the ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

Pretty straightforward, of course the website used a mason jar, which seem to be the trendy thing to do right now. I used a regular cereal bowl and covered it with plastic wrap, and that was just as effective.


I was a little worried when I saw the texture the next day, it looked a bit gelatinous for my taste, but my concern was unwarranted as it was delicious!


I added banana, pecans and blueberries but many other additions would be just as tasty.


I will make this again for a healthy meal, but don’t be fooled by the health halo! The recipe made as written is 375 calories, after the additional topping you are pushing 500 calories, far too much for a snack, but appropriate for a light lunch or dinner.

I hope you give it a try, it’s easy, tasty and has the right amount of healthy energy to keep you going!

Nutritional info:

Calories:         375

Protein:          17g

Fiber:              11g



Ham, Lentil and Corn soup

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We were hungry last night and, of course, we had nothing prepared. So, I started rummaging around in the pantry and fridge and came up with this pile of ingredients.


We also had some leftover Honeybaked ham from Christmas dinner. I decided to challenge myself and try to put together a ham and lentil soup.


I started by heating the oil in a large Dutch oven, and browned the onion, carrots and potatoes.

soup-3I added ½ cup water, salt and pepper then covered the pot for ~10 min. Next in the pot went the chicken stock, lentils and thyme and the mix simmered, uncovered until the lentils were tender (this took about 20 more minutes)

Since my ham was fully cooked, it was added near the end just to warm through. The fresh corn was added for only the last 2-3 minutes to finish the dish.

Pretty quick and simple! And most important, tasty! This soup was even better the next day.

By the way, if you are following Gratitude for Attitude 30 day challenge, I have decided to just update the post as opposed to reblogging everyday. I was worried your inboxes would get too full after a full month!


1 T olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, medium dice

1 lb. carrots, medium dice

1 lb. Yukon gold or red new potatoes, medium dice

½ cup water

1 t. kosher salt

1 t. fresh ground pepper

4 C. chicken broth + 1 C. water

1 C. dried lentils, rinsed well

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

8 oz. cubed cooked ham

2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed, or 1 cup frozen corn


-Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and potatoes and cook until light brown.

-Add ½ cup water, salt and pepper and cook, covered, until the vegetables soften, ~10 minutes.

-Add the chicken broth, dried lentils and thyme leaves bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables and lentils are tender, ~ 20 minutes.

-Add the ham and corn for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve hot.

French- Irish Beef Stew

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Our family loves a good beef stew, especially now that the cold weather has hit hard. I love making one big pot that will feed the family for a few days and this beef stew fills both bills nicely. The reason I call it French-Irish is because we really like elements from both types of these dishes. Beef bourgeon by itself has a fantastic depth of flavor that I really appreciate with a richness that we find a little overwhelming at times. From the French side, I prefer to sear the beef without dredging in flour and instead use a beurre manié to thicken the broth. Flaming the cognac with the vegetables adds another layer of flavor that marries well with the mushrooms that are sautéed in butter and added at the end. But we like Irish stew too with its chunky vegetables, potatoes and savory Worcestershire sauce. I have spent a considerable amount of time merging the elements from both to create a hybrid of sorts. It combines all the flavor we long for from the traditional rich, French recipe, but with the earthy goodness of an Irish dish.

The recipe starts with marinating the beef in the bottle of wine, garlic and bay leaves. The red wine imparts a beautiful mahogany hue to the meat.


The next step is to brown the bacon, I like mine nice and crispy. I use an 8 1/2 quart Dutch oven that has a large surface area that facilitates the browning and searing process.fi-bacon

While the bacon is cooking, I begin the process of drying all the beef so it will sear properly. Remember to keep the marinade! Don’t throw it away, it is important later on.


While the beef is searing in several batches, I prep the vegetables and garlic for their turn in the pan.


The beef is then removed to rest with the bacon for later, and the vegetables go into the pan until browned. I like a lot of caramelization on both my meat and vegetables, so I spend the time needed to get the color I want.

Now is the time for the cognac. If you are not comfortable with this step then it is not necessary. I have been out of cognac and skipped this step in the past and the stew is still great. But, I would encourage you to try it at least once to judge for yourself. It really does add a wonderful flavor and the flame kiss on the vegetables is hard to get from searing alone. If you are worried, turn off the heat then add the cognac and stand back during the ignition. Once lit remember to turn the heat back on! I have made that mistake before.


Once the flames die down, it is time to deglaze with the reserved marinade. The recipe calls for 2 ½ cups, which is just about all of the marinade. Scrape up any brown bits (known as “fond”) over high heat. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add in the reserve bacon and seared beef and bring to a boil. Lower the temp to a simmer, cover and put into the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until all vegetables are fork tender.

While the stew is in the oven, prepare the beurre manié and the sautéed mushrooms.

Combine 2 T of the butter with the flour to make a paste. You will be able to add as much or as little as you like to thicken your sauce to your liking.


Use the remaining 2 T of butter to sauté the mushrooms and set aside.

When the stew is ready place it on the stovetop and add the beurre manié, sautéed mushrooms and peas. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer for ~15 min.


I like to serve this with rolls brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with thyme and fleur de sel.


I hope you give this one a try and please let me know what you think! Every recipe can be improved upon and I would love your feedback!


2 ½ lbs good quality chuck beef, cut into cubes (~ 1 ½ inches)

1 750ml bottle of red wine

3 whole garlic cloves, smashed

3 bay leaves

1 T olive oil

8 oz. apple wood smoked bacon, diced

2 yellow onions, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes

1 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes, halved or quartered

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ c. cognac, if using

2 ½ c. reserve marinade

2 c. beef broth

1 T tomato paste

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1 t. fresh thyme leaves (or ½ t dried thyme leaves)

1 T kosher salt

2 t. fresh ground pepper

4 T room temperature unsalted butter, divided

3 T all purpose flour

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 10oz. package of frozen peas


Place the beef in a large bowl and cover with the bottle of red wine. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cover the bowl. Refrigerate over night.

The next day, preheat the oven at 250° F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon and reserve for later.

Remove the beef from the marinade (save the marinade!) and pat dry completely. Add salt and pepper to taste and sear the beef in the bacon fat in small batches. Do not crowd the pan, take your time and sear all the sides. Remove the beef and store it with the bacon for later.

Add the onions, carrots and potatoes to the pot and allow to brown for 15 to 20 minutes, or until your desired doneness. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the cognac, if using, carefully stand back and ignite. Allow the alcohol to burn off. When the flames die down deglaze the pan with 2 ½ cups of the reserved marinade. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the reserved beef and bacon, and any accumulated juices from the pan into the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and put into the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the vegetables are fork tender.

When the stew is done in the oven place on the stove over medium heat. Combine 2 T of butter with the flour to make a paste. Add the beurre manié in small batches by stirring into the stew, it will begin to thicken immediately. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining 2T of butter. Add the mushrooms and peas to the stew and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Season to taste.