Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Servings: 10 – 12

Ingredients

5 lb / 2.5 kg pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, bone-in (4lb/2kg without bone) (Note 3)

1 onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 oranges, juice only (or sub with 3/4 cup fresh orange juice)

Rub

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub in salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
  3. Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don’t worry about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the orange.
  4. Slow Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours (or 1h 30 m in an electric pressure cooker on high. If using stovetop pressure cooker, please see notes).
  5. The meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
  6. Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard the fat. Then if you are left with a lot more than 1 1/2 to 2 cups of juice, then reduce it (either in the slow cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan). The liquid will be SALTY, it is the seasoning for the pork. Set aside.

To Serve

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side – you don’t want to make it brown all over because then it’s too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
  2. Repeat in batches (takes me 4 batches) – don’t crowd the pan.
  3. Remove pork from skillet. Drizzle over more juices and serve immediately (if you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat – see Note 4c).
  4. If you are reheating the carnitas (Note 4), then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. I really recommend only making one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.

Recipe Notes

  1. If you are using a piece of pork that is not the size I use, you MUST reduce the salt accordingly. If your pork is more than 1 lb / 0.5 kg larger or smaller than the prescribed size, ensure you adjust the other ingredients accordingly as well, not just the salt.
  2. To make this in the oven, add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid. Place in 325F/160C oven for 2 hours, covered, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking.

If you make this recipe in the oven, you could skip the pan frying step because you will get a nice brown crust on your pork.

  1. Use pork with the skin removed but leaving some of the fat cap on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas!
  2. Taco Fixing suggestions: Diced avocado or make a real proper Guacamole, Pico de Gallo or salsa. Also try pickled red onion, cabbage, lettuce, tomato,
  3. MAKE AHEAD:
    1.  For overnight or up to 3 days, the best option is to shred the meat without pan frying, keep the juices separate, refrigerate, then pan fry to make it golden and reheat the meat, pouring juices over while it is browning per recipe.
    2.  To brown the meat ahead, the meat actually holds up pretty well in terms of staying crispy. It’s even pretty good refrigerated overnight – but a) is definitely better. Keep the juices separate and pour it over just before reheating the pork. You can reheat in the microwave, quickly reheat in the pan or if you have loads, in a foil covered roasting pan in the oven at 180C/350F for around 8 – 10 minutes.
    3.  To FREEZE: This holds up great in the freezer. Pour the juices over the pulled pork (pre browning) and store in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freeze in small batches for convenience. To use, defrost completely before following the recipe to brown the pork.
    4. STOVETOP PRESSURE COOKER – use a rack to elevate it from the base OR add 3/4 cup of water. Then once the pork is cooked, remove it then simmer to reduce to around 2 cups of liquid.

15 minute Cauliflower Fried Rice

prep time: 10 mins

cook time: 5 mins

total time: 15 minutes

yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

 

1 medium-sized head of cauliflower OR 1 10oz bag of pre-riced cauliflower

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 bag frozen peas and carrots

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup frozen edamame

2 beaten eggs (use scrambled tofu for vegan)

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (use tamari for GF)

6 green onions, minced

Instructions

PREP CAULIFLOWER: Shred cauliflower using the largest side of a grater OR by just pulsing some rough cut pieces in a food processor; the end product should resemble smallish grains of rice OR steam the pre-riced cauliflower according to package instructions.

STIR FRY: Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the carrots and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, edamame, and remaining sesame oil to the pan; stir fry quickly to cook the cauliflower to a soft (but not mushy) texture.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Make a well in the middle, turn the heat down, and add the eggs. Stir gently and continuously until the eggs are fully cooked. Stir in the soy sauce and green onions just before serving.

NOTES

For the sauce on top, whisk equal parts soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and oyster sauce together and drizzle it over top with sesame seeds.

Heart Pearls – Statins

In honor of February being American Heart Month, I’m sharing pearls from my conversations with family members about cardiovascular disease. Even though I am an Ivy-League trained nurse practitioner with nearly two decades of experience of keeping patients healthy, I’ve found that even my loved ones doubt my perspective until it is validated by their own medical providers, the CDC, or even (shudder) a celebrity interview.

 

“Ask for a statin,” I said to my husband.  His cholesterol had been climbing on his annual work health screening and starting a regular exercise program hadn’t done anything to bring it down.  Long-term research about statins not only shows that they are proven to reduce incidents of heart attacks and strokes, but that they also reduce the incidence of certain types of cancers.  They are not for everybody (especially women at risk of pregnancy), but my experience has shown that very few people have side effects while on statins. Those that do can usually reduce their side effects by taking a daily CoQ10 supplement  along with the statin.

 

Even small amounts of extra cholesterol can accumulate in the blood vessels over the years and lead to hardening of the arteries, so treat slight elevations just as aggressively as very high elevations. When it comes to cholesterol management, it is worth investing in your long-term health.

 

As for my husband, he eventually had a conversation with his own provider, and I had a happy-dance when he came home with a Pravachol prescription.

 

By Ginger Blake, ARNP at North County Clinic

Healthy Recipes: Simply Delicious Chili

Simply Delicious Chili

Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 1 hour  Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes*, with their juices

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing

1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice, to taste

Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, grated cheddar cheese, etc.

Instructions

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika (go easy on the paprika if you’re sensitive to spice) and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the drained black beans and pinto beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes. Remove the chili from heat.

For the best texture and flavor, transfer 1 1/2 cups of the chili to a blender and blend until smooth, then pour the blended mixture back into the pot. (Or, you can blend the chili briefly with an immersion blender, or mash the chili with a potato masher until it reaches a thicker, more chili-like consistency.)

Add the chopped cilantro, stir to blend, and then mix in the vinegar, to taste. Add salt to taste, too—I added 1/4 teaspoon more at this point. Divide the mixture into individual bowls and serve with garnishes of your choice. This chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about 4 days (I haven’t tried, but I bet it would freeze well, too).

Watch how it’s made below:

Healthy Recipes: Autumn Glow Salad w/ Lemon Dressing

Autumn Glow Salad with Lemon Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6 as a meal, 8-10 as a side

 

Ingredients

For the Salad

1 cup whole grain like wild rice, quinoa, farro, brown rice or freekeh

2 sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

a sprinkle of Italian seasoning or mix of dried basil, oregano, thyme or any other spices you enjoy

1-2 apples

¼ cup pecans, chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

For the Lemon Dressing

1 bunch parsley (about 1 cup), minced

1 small clove garlic, minced

⅔ cup olive oil

juice of one lemon (more to taste)

1 teaspoon agave (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Rinse the grains and cook according to package instructions (the ratio of liquid and time to cook depends on the grain). Prepare the vegetables while the grain cooks.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a few sprigs of thyme or other dried spices if you have some that you like. Roast for 20 minutes, stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes. When they are golden brown and soft, remove from oven and set aside.

3. While the veggies are roasting, combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake to combine. Chop the apple and pecans, set aside.

4. When the grains and vegetables are done, toss everything together. This can be done when everything is hot or when it’s cooled, although the texture will be different (heavier) when hot. Store leftovers separately (salad and dressing) if possible.

Watch how it’s made below:

Tips for a Healthy Fall

Later, summer.
It’s been real. But, it’s time to welcome back short days, crisp air and colorful leaves of fall time. Time to stow away swimsuits in favor of sweaters for apple picking. Fall is incredible in the PNW; beautiful weather, colorful leaves and fall foliage make it for a great time of year for both exercise and wonderfully fresh seasonal foods. Here are some tips to make your fall a healthy and happy one:

All hail The Great Pumpkin!
Pumpkins are more than just pies and jack-o-lanterns, they are rich with vitamins A and C. Of course pumpkin seeds are a wonderful and healthy fall treat. There are a ton of possibilities with pumpkins. Check some of these healthy recipes out:

12 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Get your flu shot and yearly check-up.
This one is pretty simple. You don’t want to be sniffling, aching, coughing and sneezing all winter long. Get your shot, keep the flu away. Schedule your appointment today by calling 509.444.8200

Boost your immune system! Hydrate throughout the day. adequate hydration has a huge impact on your immune system. Water helps all of your body’s systems function at optimum levels. Eat foods that add to your immune system with probiotics and vitamin C such as yogurt, oranges, peppers, garlic, yes even pumpkins can pack vitamin C.

Get outdoors. The bright colorful leaves on the trees add a visual treat to your walks as do the crunching of leaves under foot. What better season to put on a beanie and get active? In addition, outdoor time increases vitamin D levels, which can make you happier and improve concentration according to Harvard Medical School

Keep the treats in check. When you are stuck inside with delicious Halloween candy everywhere, it can be hard to resist eating 10 mini Snickers in a row. Don’t resist entirely, just don’t become a sugar zombie. Also, when it comes to game days make healthier choices by setting out veggies and dip instead of chips. You can also cut some of your favorite unhealthy snacks in to smaller portions.

Healthier Lunches: Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 11

These whole wheat, maple-sweetened banana muffins are so fluffy and moist, no one would guess they’re healthy muffins. They’re easy to make, too, with basic ingredients and only one mixing bowl! Feel free to add mix-ins of your choice, like chocolate chips or toasted nuts.

Ingredients

1/3 cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

2 eggs, preferably at room temperature

1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)

1/4 cup milk of choice (almond, soy, coconut, dairy)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or other granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

Healthier Lunches: Easy Whole-Wheat Veggie Wrap

Use whichever veggies you have on hand to fill up this veggie wrap. The avocado and hummus help hold the wrap together—and provide heart-healthy fat and fiber.

Ingredients

1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla

2 tablespoons hummus

¼ avocado, mashed

1 cup sliced fresh vegetables of your choice (shredded carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, spinach, sprouts, lettuce, olives, onion, tomato)

2 tablespoons shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

How to Make It

  1. Lay tortilla on work surface. Spread hummus and avocado on the tortilla. Add veggies and cheddar and roll up. Cut in half before serving.

Too much screen time?

Everyone loves screen time.  Whether it is watching a movie, playing a video game, reading the news, or talking with friends, technology is at the center of all of our lives.  Media and screen time, like most things, should be used in moderation.  While technology use is important in most facets of life today, too much screen time has been linked to obesity, difficulty sleeping, problems in school, aggressive behavior, and bullying.  It is important to help your child find a healthy balance.  A few simple guidelines can help keep screen time in check for you and your family:

  1. Remove all screens from the bedroom. Kids with TVs in the bedroom have been found to watch 1 ½ hours more TV than kids without TVs in the bedroom.  TVs in the bedroom have also been linked to obesity.  Availability of internet and texting in your child’s bedroom gives them unmonitored access to anything on the internet.  Keep all screens (including your own) out of the bedroom.  Try setting up a charging station for all devices in a common area.
  2. Monitor what your children are doing during their screen time! Just like you would ask who they are spending time with on the weekend, ask who they are spending time with on social media.  It is important to teach children what is and is not appropriate to share on social media.  Also, be aware of the websites they are going to and the apps they are using.  Play apps and video games with them!  Then you know what they are doing and if it is appropriate.
  3. Make sure screen time is age appropriate and educational. Not sure if a movie or video game is good for your child? Check out commonsensemedia.org.  This website is run by a nonprofit organization that provides independent ratings for movies, TV shows, video games, and apps.  It provides you with a summary of the game or video and suggested ages for appropriate use.
  4. Limit screen time for everyone in the family. All children should spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen for non-school purposes.  Think of things you can do as a family that does not involve a screen: go for a walk, play a board game, go to the park, or read a book together.  Any activity that provides family interaction is preferred to screen time!
  5. No screens after dinner. We know that looking at a screen keeps your body from releasing melatonin.  Without melatonin you don’t feel sleepy when bedtime comes.  Sleep is important to help with mood, concentration, and learning.  If sleep is a problem for your child, try a screen fast (by eliminating electronic device use for a few weeks) to see if this helps restore a good sleep pattern.

 

Screen use is here to stay.  Help your child form good, healthy screen habits!

-Ashlee Mickelson, MD Pediatrician

Immunizations: Part of good health.

It is National Vaccine Awareness Month and that means… it’s time to talk about immunizations.

I will keep this short and sweet as we want to stay focused. Please come in and talk to a provider at any time if you have any questions or concerns about vaccination so we can discuss why they are safe and so important for you, your family and your community.

 

  1. Starting in September CHAS will have flu shots available for anyone who comes to any of our clinics. We will be here and ready to go to help keep you healthy thus If you have an appointment prior to the start of September you can come back in at anytime for a nurse visit to get your annual flu vaccination. If you are wondering “Do I need a flu shot” this post from a nurse who questioned her need for the vaccine while pregnant  may be just for you. http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/nurses-vaccinate-to-protect-families-and-patients/

 

  1. Please ask our medical staff at every visit if you need any vaccines. We should check every time you come in so we take every opportunity to keep you protected and healthy. If you don’t ask, who will? One question and 30 seconds of your time could save your life or the life of someone you love.

 

  1. For Teens- In 2014, nationally, 4 out of 10 teen girls and 6 out of 10 teen boys had not even started the HPV vaccine (Gardisil) series making them vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV. Your teenager also needs to shots to protect them from meningitis and a TDaP to protect them from tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough). Please start asking about HPV and if your teen starts this vaccine series, please remind them to finish it.

 

  1. Be a Champion! This month, I encourage everyone to be a champion for vaccine Please look up just one vaccine, any one of your choice and become passionate about it for your community. Be familiar with the results of getting such an infection and how not getting immunized can impact your community. Please go to http://www.immunize.org/vaccines/ this site will give you discussion points about each illness, pictures of what the illness looks like, and tons of resources to access so you can learn everything you need to know about vaccination. Let’s work together to make our community as safe as it can be. Please look at this resource  http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/ too as it helps you see each illness through the eyes of families and individuals affected by each preventable illness.