Friday, September 25, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: Bed Linens

Marie Kondo believes that a whole house tidy should progress in a certain order, starting with items that are easier to sort through, such as clothing and books, and ending with items that are most difficult, such as memorabilia.  After completing clothing and books, you are supposed to move on to paper. Well that was far more daunting for me.  I have WAY too much paper.  And it is in serious disarray at the moment.  In fact I wasted a whole day of not doing any new tidying.  Although I did finally wrap up the getting rid of process for my clothing and books.  (First load to charity done!)

Rather than bog down and give up, I chose to stay within her reasoning of going from easy to hard and choose another category that would be easier than paper: Bed Linens.  I found very little on the subject online, but there was a section in the book that basically said extra linens for guests should be gotten rid of unless you have such guests more than twice a year.  We have seven members of the family and regularly have grandparents over.  And we live where there are all four seasons, so having blankets that come out in Winter and are stored in Summer is a necessity.  On top of that, both sides of the family have strong quilting/crocheting heritages.  And we camp.  Needless to say there is a LOT of bedding in our house.  Thankfully, we are blessed with a big hall closet we call "the blanket closet".  But, it was seriously out of control:

A closer view.  That deep top shelf?  It's actually 2 shelves.

So, out it all came into one BIG pile:

I surprised myself with how much I got rid of.  I calculated how many blankets, sheet sets, sleeping bags, etc that we really needed and was able to get rid of the ones in the worst condition.  We had gifts that had served a long and useful life and could be now let go without any guilt.  Even if someone hand makes you something, if you've worn and loved it to the point that you know a charity that received it would just throw it out, it can be let go.  In the end there were 4 big bags to donate. Instead of letting the get rid of pile sit around, I tackled it right away.  Its all out in my car, ready to go.  It felt much better to do it quickly.

 I had several blankets that we don't use because they are baby quilts, antiques, etc that would belong more in the memorabilia category.  They all got their own shelf and I may revisit them later when I do that category.  But, for now, everything is much tidier!

I did not fold things the Konmari way, because I'm just not sure that would work so well with blankets and I didn't want to add more folds than necessary to quilts, which I know is bad for them.  It will soon be time to add blankets to the beds for cooler weather.  It will truly be a joy to do so from the newly organized closet!

I then went on to kitchen/Table linens.  That was quick because I don't own many table linens.  My kitchen linens were basically good towels, nasty dishcloths and extra special towels.  I couldn't get rid of any of them, but I did add dishcloths to my shopping list.

The Life Changing Magic of Japanese Tidying: Books

After skipping a day to hang out with my husband at the zoo, I moved onto Konmaring my books.  I LOVE books, but I don't have a lot of them because I also LOVE libraries and rarely read the same book more than once.  I forgot to take a picture of my books before, but suffice it to say that I got rid of over half of them.  Marie Kondo says she only has 30 books.  I have more than that, but probably winnowed down significantly more than most people do.

Books to get rid of:

I did break three of Marie Kondo's rules. 

1.  She says that a book that you haven't read, but intend to someday, is really a book you will never read.  I have 13 such books that are sitting separately on their own shelf.  I intend to prove her wrong.  
2. She also wouldn't like that some of my books are horizontally stored.  She thinks everything should be vertical.  She even stores her laptop vertically like a book on the shelf.  But, this is the way they seemed to fit best on my shelves.

3.  I am not storing all of my books in one place.  She says all items in a category should be in one place because you really don't have to travel far in a typical Japanese home to get to anything and storing everything keeps storage simple.  My home is not a typical Japanese home and the book case is on a different floor from my kitchen.  It just makes sense to store those in my kitchen.  There are other books I want to store elsewhere but didn't.  By bird field guide would, for example, be much handier near where I see birds.

My Tidy Bookshelf

Stay tuned:  I'm about to break another rule!

The Magic of Japanese Tidying: Clothing

Last week I heard about this book about organizing.  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo.  It has been a very long time since I've read a book on organizing, mostly because they all started to sound pretty much the same.  But this book has apparently sold over 3 million copies and been a New York Times Bestseller.  Reading it has inspired me and made me excited about decluttering and tidying my home.

 Google searches come up with page after page of people trying and applying the methods, and going into depth about what it is all about.  So, I'm not going to go into all that.  I will say that one principle of Konmari (the nickname of the method) is that you need to do it all at once to really create change and keep from reverting to old cluttering habits.  This can take up to 6 months, but I intend to measure it in weeks, not months.  And show my progress on my blog.  You start with clothes.  Gather every article of clothing from everywhere in the house.  I didn't grab any dirty laundry, but I gathered from my closet, dresser, laundry room and hall closet.  I can be organized at times, so they didn't look too bad:  This is my closet with all of my Spring/Summer clothing out and the Autumn/Winter stuff in bins that you really can't see.

My Sock drawer, however, looked very disorganized:

So, you take it all and pile it all on the floor.  This includes shoes, accessories and jewelry:

Judging everything, individually, simply based on whether or not it sparks joy made going through it all surprisingly quick.  I really could easily determine about how I felt about each item.  My husband has bought me a lot of really great clothing, including shoes.  But, there are misses that I've hung on to and worn because I didn't want to hurt his feelings.  Going through my stack of no joys allowed me to identify why there were misses.  Instead of feeling bad about my getting rid of things he had given me, he was happy because I was able to explain what I don't like (so he won't buy things that I won't like in the future) and because he really appreciates tidiness.  

End result, this is the good bye pile:

This is the final tidy closet:

It doesn't look much different, but this is now ALL of my clothing and not just for the current season.  I no longer will need to switch out clothing with the seasons.  Which definitely brings me joy!

Everything was folded and put into my dresser.  I already folded my jeans and shirts the Konmari way, but not my socks.  Her way is much tidier!

Lessons learned:  While I didn't talk to my stuff or think its alive, this method did make me more aware of each item and its role in my life.  Secondly, getting rid of the get rid of stuff took much longer than sorting or folding.  Part of that stemmed from the desire to pass it on to my daughters.  Which is a big no no according to Marie!  

Next item:  Books!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Year of the Kitchen

I've been wanting to redo my kitchen since we moved in over 10 years ago.  Oak cabinets have never been my thing, even when they were the thing.  And the dusty blue gray  laminate counter tops from the 80's are in bad, bad shape.  It was one of those situations where you don't want to do something, because you'd have to redo it to get what you really want.   So, I've been holding out.  Patiently waiting, pinning pretty kitchens, saving and paying off the student loans.  Finally, it is starting to look like the time has come.  2014 will be the year of my new kitchen!  I am set on trying to do this right and there are so many details, questions and decisions that go into a new kitchen.  I decided to write it all out here to organize my thoughts:

Living without a kitchen:

Move dining and living room furniture into family room and cover with plastic.
Move family room furniture and tv into living room.
Move fridge, old island and kitchen table into dining room for a temporary kitchen.
We could then close off the pocket doors to keep all dust in the kitchen area.
Paper plates.  Foreman grill, table top microwave (the new one to be added to the kitchen later), electric pressure cooker, crock pot, toaster, blender, waffle iron.
A lot of crockpot heat up freezer meals made in advance in the basement freezer.
Boxes to box up the kitchen.  Where would I store all of those?
I need to time this to all happen while the kids are still in school.

Who does the work: Kitchen design firm, Big box hardware store, contract it myself, or trusted local contractor?  I'm hoping for the trusted local contractor, but he's crazy busy. I feel like I need to get things planned and in order soon, so that if my favorite contractor becomes available I can be ready to go. 

Does the big box store do things like electrical, soffit removal and ceiling planking?
Can I get a plan with the kitchen design firm, but not use them?
Is a big box designer just as good, but cheaper? 

Tear Out:

Gone: cabinets, including desk area, counters, microwave/hood, bifold pantry doors and soffit.
Donate the cabinets to Restore, except what we could use in the garage and my island while a temp kitchen.

What is behind the soffits?  Possibly need to deal with drywall repair or drainage pipes from bathrooms above. Install prehung double doors, no lights, in pantry opening.

Single island pendant becomes two.
Recessed lights become a ceiling mount.
Undercabinet lighting
Electrical outlet in island on kitchen side.
Electrical outlet installed in upper cabinet area next to fridge for microwave.
 Charging outlet built into desk drawer?
Have electrical outlets built in for charging in cubby area?

Ceiling:  I want the ceiling planked and crown molded and painted a very light blue, like old porches. It might be a good idea to paint it blue before putting it up there. At least the sides of the boards.

Lighting:  I already have schoolhouse pendants for the island and for over the table.  I need a short one for over the sink.
What kind of under cabinet lighting?

Cabinets:  Semi-custom or custom?
Is there a good place for custom here?
What is the price difference?

Shaker style.  Inset first choice, full overlay second.

How do you determine a quality cabinet?

Maple, painted white.
Cherry island or is two types of cabinetry faddish?
Do different cabinets need different counters?


Quartz marble look alike.

12 possiblities: marble look alikes that  The possibilities: LG Hausys Viatera Cortina, Silestone Lyra, Silestone Lagoon, Silestone Helix, Dupont Coarse Carrara, Cambria Torquay, Hanstone Ruscello Aspen, Hanstone Tranquility, Allen+Roth Sugarbrush, Caesarstone Misty Carrera, Caesarstone Frosty Carrina, Caesarstone London Gray.

I want something that reads white that makes someone have to really look at it to make sure it isn't marble.  No pixelated effect.  And probably gray and beige tones. I need to try to see in person to rule out, then bring home/order samples to compare with the floor tile, current trim color and cabinet color.

Cherry wood counter in desk area?

Sink, faucet and hardware:

Stainless undermount double bowl stainless steel.    Possibly different sized bowls, with one just as deep as I can get it. I already purchased my faucet.  A brushed nickel single hole, with a separate handsprayer.  I ordered it on sale from Home Depot and they shipped it to me for free in two days.  Its a little taller than I expected and I'm concerned that it may not fit with the windowsill sticking out as it does, but DH assures me that it will.  I want brushed nickel hardware, with simple round knobs on the cupboards and cup pulls on the drawers.

Table top microwave, 1000watt, just big enough for a 9 by 13.
Simple hood for range.
Everything else has already been upgraded.

Backsplash:  American Olean 3 x 6 gloss self spacing white marble subway tile with light gray grout with unsanded grout, sealed.

Do we try to DIY?
And do we extend it onto the wall in the eat in area? Around door to dining room?
To the ceiling or just to the underside of the uppers or somewhere in between?

Ice White or Starting Line?

Flooring:  Is already a checkerboard beige and brown porcelain tile that I love.  We have extra tiles from doing it ourselves, so we could use them as needed if there is any discrepancy in cabinet foot print.

Cabinet design:
New solid wood pantry doors.
Enclose the fridge on the open side and have a cabinet that comes all the way to the front on top.
On the outside of the fridge I want to mount a framed piece of sheet metal painted with black blackboard paint.
Upper cabinet that can hold the microwave next to the fridge.  It may need to be deeper than regular uppers.
Working cabinets and a mantel like shelf area hiding the hood above the range.  We may need to do this custom.  I need to order extra cabinet paint for this purpose, but also for ding touch ups that may be needed.
All upper cabinets will go up to the ceiling, with a crown molding on top.
Seeded antique looking glass doors, in the cabinets flanking the range.
A divided cabinet next to the range on the bottom to use for storing cookie sheets, etc.
In the island I want a double base with three drawers right across from the range.  The bottom two to hold pots and pans, with moveable dividers.  The top to hold plates and bowls.
The other island double base I want a drawer on top and a cupboard with two roll outs below.
The end of the island I want a tall empty cabinet for the garbage can.  No roll out.
In the corner I want lazy susans on upper and lower like I have now.
I may want a cabinet or shelf spanning the top of the sink, but I'm not sure how that'll work with the light.
I want the sink base to have a tilt out drawer on the top and organizers inside.  Possibly the plastic base insert that Kraftmaid offers.
The final base cabinet under the microwave I want 3 drawers like it is now, with the top having silverware dividers.  I wish I had a place to put it closer to the table, but I can't figure out where.
I would love simple feet to the cabinets, but nothing with a dust collecting ledge or edge.
Decorative panels on the back of the island.
Spice rack on door of cabinet where the baking spices will go by the microwave.
I also want a drop down holder under one of the cabinets for my ipad to sit so it doesn't get all sticky while I cook.
Corbels under ends of upper cabinets?
Dividers in the drawers in my desk area.
Open shelf for cookbooks in desk area.

Whew!  It feels good to get that all out of my head!  Have I forgotten anything?  Oh yeah, the budget.  I need to plan an itemization that includes first choice and second choices, so I can keep this whole thing under control financially.

Monday, December 30, 2013

10 Principles of Using and Rotating Your Food Storage

10 Principles of Using and Rotating Your Food Storage
FIFO- First in, First Out.  Eat your oldest food first.  Use it or Lose it.
Date your long term food storage. 
Plan for the physical rotation.  Rotating shelves, in the back and out the front, use from left to right, or put the new stuff behind the old.
Make space in your kitchen to store food storage items.  Easy access makes a difference!
Use your food storage in recipes and meals you already eat.
Find new recipes which use food storage.  Food storage cookbooks or websites and blogs are great sources.
Plan to cook with your food storage.  Make it a routine to incorporate food storage into your meals every week.
Ask what can you do to make using a food more convenient?  For example, beans can be cooked in bulk and then frozen to be used more quickly.  Or buy a pressure cooker to cook them faster.
Store a variety of foods so you have more options in using them.
Learn substitutions such as using pureed cooked beans for a portion of the fat in baking.  Cooked beans for butter, pureed with a bit of water for oil.  Or replace a portion of meat, such as adding oats to meatloaf or refried beans to tacos.  Or replace the meat entirely with seasoned black beans. 
Try New Things!  Make your own yogurt, granola, mixes, grow wheat grass, cook wheat berries, etc.

Using Food Storage Recipes

Using Food Storage
Dry Milk
Orange Julius
In a blender, put 1 cup ice cubes, 1/3 c non-fat dry milk powder, capful of vanilla flavoring, ¼ c sugar.  Cover all with oj.  Blend till ice is fully incorporated.  Can add a couple bananas or handful of berries.  If they are frozen, omit the ice.

Banana Milk
2 bananas, fresh or frozen
1 capful vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar or a squirt of honey, optional
3 cups cold water
½ c, plus 1 T non fat dry milk or 1 c instant dry milk
Blend in blender till smooth.  Chill unless frozen fruit used.

Magic Mix from
2 1/3 c powdered milk
1 c flour
1 c. (2 sticks) room temperature butter or margarine
Mix thoroughly with wire whisk attachment in mixer.  Store in fridge.  (Fits in a #10 can)
White Sauce using Magic Mix
Whisk 2/3 c magic mix into 1 c water and stir and heat over medium heat till it thickens. 
Pudding Using Magic Mix
½ c sugar
1 c magic mix
2-3 T cocoa, optional
2 c water
1 t vanilla
Mix dry ingredients well.  Stir in water and heat and stir over medium heat till it bubbles. Beat in vanilla.  Cover and chill.
Homemade Yogurt (4 ½ hrs)
½ c plain yogurt with live cultures (can reuse your own yogurt in the future)
3 c, plus 2 T nonfat dry milk
Run 2 qts plus 1 c jars in dishwasher with lids (can be pre used, clean lids.  We aren’t sealing them.)
Fill large crock pot with hot water, set on warm
Pour 1 qt water into large pot. Wisk in dry milk.  Wisk in another 1 qt water
Heat milk to 185-195 degrees F on 5, takes about 20 min.  Stir occasionally over 150 degrees.
Pour back into measuring bowl, set in sink of cold water halfway up handle and cool to 50 degrees C or put in fridge to cool for about 15 min
Pour ½ c milk into 1 c glass measure, add enough plain yogurt to reach 1 c.  stir well
Stir yogurt mix into rest of milk.  Ladle into jars and tightly screw on lids.
Lower jars into crock pot of water.
Let incubate 4 hours.  Water should be 50 degrees C.  Over 55 will kill good bacteria.

Cafe Rio Luncheon for 90 people

I recently oversaw a luncheon for 90 people.  We served a Cafe Rio style meal.  Thought I'd share my planning notes:

Tables and chairs set up during the week- round tables with seating for 90 people.  Rectangular tables in a line down middle for the food.  5 round tables on each side. 9 chairs per table.  Small table for dirty silverware and a garbage can near door by kitchen
Round white Tablecloths
Paper products: dinner plates, dessert plates, cups, napkins
Decorations: We did a spring theme with forced yellow forsythia and turquoise/robin’s egg blue.  I placed a round blue place mat in the center of each table, topped with a paper doily.  A bunch of fake forsythia was put inside an overturned wine glass.  On top of the glass was placed a votive candle and the stem was tied with a blue ribbon.  Next to the glass was a white ceramic bird.  The center of the serving table had a blue vintage table cloth and a large arrangement of forced forsythia in a white ceramic pitcher.

Dessert: Mini Cheesecakes
Beverage: Water with lemon slices

Café Rio Sweet Pork Style Salad
Salad Ingredient Assignments

Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork
Café Rio style Chicken
Cafe Rio style creamy Cilantro Dressing
60 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips and deep fried and lightly salted 
7 large heads of Romaine lettuce (not hearts), washed and torn 

Cafe Rio style Black Beans
Rice with Cilantro and Lime 
Pico de Gallo (can substitute salsa)
Chunky Guacamole
6 bags of Cheese, Mexican blend (4 c per bag) 
80 Flour Tortillas 

Items on serving table in this order: Tortillas, cheese, beans in crock pots, rice, meat, lettuce, pico or salsa, guacamole, dressing, tortilla strips.
Cheesecake already sliced on plates on dessert table.  Water pitchers on tables.  


Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

16 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained, or 25 cups cooked black beans (about 6 ½ lbs dry)
1 c garlic, minced
¼ c, plus 1 T, plus 1 teaspoons  cumin
2 c olive oil
2 46oz cans, plus one 11 oz size can of tomato juice
2 ½ t salt, or to taste (using low sodium tomato juice will affect this)
2 cup chopped cilantro, optional

In a non stick pan, cook garlic, cumin and olive oil over medium heat until fragrance is released. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add beans and 2 cans tomato juice.  Cook down, if needed, for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid is absorbed and evaporated. Add more tomato juice, if needed,  and salt to taste.
Stir in chopped cilantro when ready to serve.

Mexican Rice with Lime and Cilantro (Prepare 4 batches)

Can prep and have cook in ovens that morning.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups rice
6 cups boiling water
3 chicken bouillon cubes worth of granules
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 T lime juice
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water. Spray or oil a 9 x 13 inch cake pan and pour in the 3 cups of dry rice. Sprinkle on the cilantro, butter, chicken bouillon, sugar, and garlic. Add boiling water and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 1 hr, 15 min. Fluff with a fork and stir in the lime juice before serving.

Pico de Gallo

16 seeded and chopped tomatoes
4 small onion, about 4 cup chopped, white or sweet variety
1 bunch chopped cilantro
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
¼ c lime juice
4 cloves garlic, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Best if made at least one hour before serving.
Store in fridge, but let come to room temperature before serving.

Chunky Guacamole ( make 2 batches)

9 avocados, not too ripe-peeled, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
3 large fresh tomato, chunked, or 6 romas
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
¼  c, plus 2 T lime juice
6 cloves minced garlic
3 jalapenos, seeds removed and finely chopped (optional or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chopped avocados in a bowl. Slightly mash a few of the avocado pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the lime juice. Mix together and put in serving bowl.  Smooth the top and pour lime juice on top.  Do not stir in lime juice till just before serving.  This should keep the guacamole from darkening.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till serving time.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork, 60 servings
For roasting meat:
23 lb Pork Shoulder*
1 T onion salt
fresh ground pepper
5 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
20 oz Coke, not Diet, coke zero is supposed to work

For sauce after roasting:
20 oz diced (mild to medium) green chilies
48 oz canned red enchilada sauce
3 1/3 cups light brown sugar
40 oz Coke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in 4 large crock pots.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast. Cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan. Discard.
Place meat back into crockpots or into large metal pans, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess.  I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Tip: If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. You preheat the roasters at least 20 minutes before adding the meat, to reduce scorching. No hotter than 325, well-covered, and as soon as it reaches 180 in the middle, turn down to 180. Again, timing depends on amount per roaster and temp of meat at start, as well as how saucy it is, allow at least 3 hours. Turn down if it reaches temp before 3 hours.

Fire Grilled Chicken (20 servings)
10 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 bottles zesty Italian dressing
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
6 garlic cloves, minced
Mix all together and marinate as long as you can stand to... a few minutes to overnight. Grill and slice. This has a really good flavor.

Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing, make 4 batches

2 cups mayonnaise (not light)
2 cups sour cream
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, washed, stems removed
3 tomatillos, quartered (remove outer paper-like skin)
2 stems green onion, green parts
1 garlic clove
1 jalapenos, seeded
2 T lime juice
salt to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon
Place all ingredients in a blender or use a hand immersion blender and blend until smooth.
Store in refrigerator.  Keeps in fridge for about 10 days.

Smaller Portion Recipes

Pico de Gallo

4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, about 1 cup chopped, white or sweet variety
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, optional
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Best if made at least one hour before serving.
Serve at room temperature.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

For roasting meat:
13.5 lb Pork Shoulder* (yield approx 6 1/2 lbs cooked, fat removed, shredded pork)
2 teaspoon onion salt
fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
1 can or approx 12 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper, not Diet

For sauce after roasting:
3- 4 oz cans diced (mild to medium) green chilies
1-28 oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cans or 24 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If making a full recipe and using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in a large heavy roasting pan or crock pot.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast.
Cover tightly with foil, so no steam escapes. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open oven. Turn oven to 200 roast for 2 more hours. Alternately, Place the pork into two large crock pots. Follow directions, except cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan.
Place meat back into roasting pan, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess. Visualize the icky barbecued meat in the frozen section at the grocery. I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Yield: about 35 servings.

-*Important: Make sure to buy Pork Shoulder or Pork (Boston) Butt.  Pork Roast or Pork Loin does not have enough fat to produce a product that will shred properly. I like Pork Shoulder best for this recipe. A large Pork Shoulder can be found at Costco for approximately $2.00 per pound.
-This recipe may also be used as a taco filling or for burritos.
-If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. Heat up in oven or on stove top at low heat.
-This recipe freezes well. When I have leftovers, I freeze the meat and drain off the sauce. When I want to use the frozen meat, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight; then place the meat in a pan on top of the stove. I make fresh sauce but only prepare 1/3 of the recipe above.
-If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time.

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

2-15 oz cans black beans, (drain one can, don't drain the other)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-11.5 oz can tomato juice
salt ( kosher or sea salt) and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a non stick pan, cook garlic, cumin and olive oil over medium heat until fragrance is released, about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic.
Add beans, cook down for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid from the beans is absorbed and evaporated. Add can of tomato juice and seasoning to taste.
Stir in chopped cilantro when ready to serve.
Yield 8 servings