Herb & Spice Rubbed Pork Loin

I tried a new spice rub tonight. I combined a few flavors I like, but honestly was taking a risk — I had no idea if they’d be good together. This is another example of me trying to be healthier – making my own seasonings instead of using store-bought, pre-packaged options with lots of preservatives.

Well, it was worth the risk!! The crust on the pork was a little sweet, a little spicy, a little salty. The pork was perfectly tender and juicy. Just look…

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The only thing I might change next time is to stud it with garlic cloves. Because, Yum! You can’t really go wrong with garlic.

Here’s the recipe for the rub:
2 Tblspn Ground coffee
2 Tblspn Brown Sugar
1 3/4 Tblspn Kosher Salt
1 Heaping Tblspn Thyme
1 Tblspn Oregano
3/4 Tblspn Garlic Powder
1/2 Tblspn Crushed Red Pepper
15 Turns of the grinder of Fresh Ground Black Pepper

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Combine in a bowl and whisk to mix

The pork loin I bought was just under 4 lbs. There was some rub left, so if you have a smaller loin, I’d half the recipe.

To prepare the pork, first pat dry with paper towels. Then, if you like, trim some fat off using a sharp knife.

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Fat adds flavor and keeps it tender, so don’t remove ALL of it.

Then begin to add the rub. I like to kind of pour it out of the bowl first…

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Then I use a large pastry brush to spread it and cover the entire surface of the pork, starting in the middle and working out to each side. Then flip it over onto or into your baking dish so the fat side is down (I used a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, but I’ve also used a glass dish). Repeat the rub process on the other side.

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After the flip, before applying the rub.

Make sure you cover all the sides as well.

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Completely rubbed pork

I let mine sit for 45 minutes or so in the fridge and then put it in an oven preheated to 350°. Bake for an hour, and then let rest for 10 minutes.

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Look at those yummy juices!

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Sliced, juicy, and tender after letting it rest

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Delicious rub! So much flavor

I’ll definitely be making this again. I served it with applesauce and steamed spinach. Nearly everyone had seconds, and I’ll use what is leftover for my Minezole soup tomorrow!

Happy Cooking!!

Whole Wheat Apple & Oat Muffins

With all that’s been going on over here, I needed a baking session to keep everyone’s spirits up – and just to have an easy, healthy snack on hand. These apple muffins are my go-to because they are so easy, quick, and healthy. I often bring them to church when it’s my turn to bake, doing a mini muffin for easy eating. The only problem with them is that they get eaten too fast! Everyone loves these – my kids, my husband, everyone at church, anyone who tries them really. They’re moist and flavorful and great warm AND after they’ve cooled. We eat them for breakfast, with lunch or as a snack. I’ve refined this recipe and use a few different options depending how I’m feeling and what OHI I have.

Are you convinced yet?  😉 Let’s bake.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 C softened butter or margarine
2/3 C sugar OR 1/3 each of honey and sugar
2 extra large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour*
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1tsp milk
1 cup applesauce
OPTIONAL:
*one chopped apple (Granny Smith is best, but you can always use your OHI)
*1 c oats
*you can substitute all purpose flour if you prefer, or even do half AP and half wheat flour.
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Start by preheating your oven to 350° and preparing your muffin tins. When I make regular size muffins, I use paper wrappers; when I make minis I just go paperless.

Cream together your butter (or margarine) and sugar (or honey). Most times, in baking, the creaming process has a lot to do with the final product. That’s why it’s important to start with softened butter.

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If using sugar and honey, add sugar first

Here is what a good cream should look like (fluffy and light and combined):
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When complete add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time.
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Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary, using a rubber spatula. I even scrape the bottom of my bowl to be sure all the butter is not stuck on the bottom. Now add all your spices and baking soda & powder.

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Measure, then sprinkle gradually around sides of bowl for better mixing

Be sure to fully combine before moving on, and scrape side of bowl if needed.

Next you’ll alternate the flour and applesauce.
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Add 1/2 cup flour until fully incorporated, followed by 1/2 cup applesauce.
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Then 1/2 cup flour, the rest of the applesauce, and the rest of the flour. Last add milk a teaspoon at a time if the batter looks too thick. (The more you make this, the more you’ll understand what the final product should be. I think because I used honey this time, it was more dense and needed a little loosening up.)

Lastly add your oats, if desired. Put your mixer on high to break up the oats, otherwise the muffins will be dry. (Add a little milk or more applesauce bifv the batter looks too thick.)
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And/or stir in chopped apples if desired. (Don’t use the mixer!)

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I actually like big chunks best. If you have toddlers or you’re making mini-muffins, you can dice the apples.

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Since I was doing regular sized muffins, I left the chunks bigger:
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If you’re making mini muffins you can dice the Apple, or leave it out altogether.
I love the apples here because they add texture, yet still get soft and warm in the oven. So delicious!
When apples are incorporated, scoop mix into muffin tin. I use a ladle to pour.
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I know many people use an ice cream scoop, but I find this harder to maneuver unless you have one with the little button to push the contents out. Even then you need the exact right size. But you can use whatever you have on hand. Maybe all you have is two tablespoons. That’s ok. Just fill them as evenly as possible so they all cook the same.

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I fill them just about to the top

Bake for about 20 minutes (mini-muffins for 15-17). They are finished when the tops look dry and are a little springy to the touch. If you’re not sure you can always use the classic test – stick a toothpick in the middle, and if it comes out clean, they’re done.
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But wait!

If you want a little something extra, you can cook a bit of oats in a pat or two of butter in the microwave (only takes a few seconds -10 TOPS!) Then stir in some cinnamon and/or some sugar in the raw. Then spoon this on top of the muffins BEFORE you bake. I do this because I feel like it’s healthier, easier, and quicker than an official strudel topping (as delicious as those are!) which is what I was going for when I first made these.

This recipe makes at least 14 muffins, though if you use apples you will probably get another 1-2 from it.
Keep in a plastic bag on the counter for up to a week. Be sure not to completely seal the bag so they don’t get too mushy.

Hope your family enjoys our favorite muffins!

From my kitchen to yours: Enjoy !