Costco Recipe Challenge: Savory Pork Sirloin Tip

Earlier in the week, I mentioned that I was participating in the Costco Blogger Recipe Challenge. My team was assigned to Pork Sirloin Tip and we were tasked with slow cooking our recipes.


I love my slow cooking in colder weather, as I’m sure many of you do too, but I have to admit, I’m also a creature of habit.  This pork challenge was a bit tricky.  The cut was smaller than I was used to, and I was afraid of the pork would get too dry.  Nevertheless, I came up with a fall-inspired recipe, and one that incorporated apples, mustard and a few other ingredients that the family enjoys.



Pork Sirloin Tip
3/4 cup of mustard–I chose a spicy mustard
1/2 cup of applesauce
2 tablespoons of brown sugar or maple syrup
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sage
salt and pepper to taste
2 apples, sliced into quarters

Combine ingredients to make a paste and coat the entire sirloin tip.  Sear covered pork on medium heat on the stove, until pork has a light brown crust and paste starts to carmelize.  I chose to sear the pork first so that it would brown and not shred as much.  This step is totally optional.  Transfer pork and remaining paste to crock pot.  If there’s not enough “sauce” to cover the bottom of pork, add more mustard and applesauce.  Cook in crock pot for 4.5-5 hours on low heat.  For last 45 minutes, add apples.


This turned out to be a sweet, but savory pork dish that was hearty, but still light.  The apples made it sweet and fresh, but the mustard gave it the bold flavor that our family loves with pork.  We served it with white rice, steamed veggies with the warm apples on the side.  It was a great way to incorporate the apples we picked on our recent apple picking adventure, not to mention a flavorful way to end our week!


My kid who isn’t a mustard fan loved the dish, more than likely because of the sweetness the apples gave it.  My husband, however, said he could have used “more” mustard.  Next time, I’ll probably make a sauce from the leftover juices in the crock pot.  Everything’s better with a little more sauce!

If this recipe inspires you, be sure to check out Costco’s great deals for National Pork Month.


Want to win a Costco/Pork gift pack containing a $25 gift card to Costco?  Send me an email jen (at) nextkidthing (dot) come and tell me about your favorite pork dish!

Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post as part of the Costco Recipe Challenge.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Crockpot Cooking for the Costco Pork Recipe Challenge

Despite being MIA lately due to a variety of reasons, the kid and I have found ourselves in the kitchen more often than not.  When we’re not enjoying the last few days of outdoor weather, I love that the kid is so adamant about being helpful in the kitchen. (Well, sometimes, anyway.)  I really do feel that it creates an ongoing dialogue about not only how to cook and what we eat, but also, it keeps him engaged in food in general.  Perhaps, one day, he’ll marry a lucky lady and he’ll be the cook of the house…

Nevertheless, our latest adventure in the kitchen involves one of my favorite stores–Costco–, delicious meat and creating recipes.  In case you weren’t aware, October is National Pork Month, and of course, we’ll be cooking in honor of that. I’ll be taking part in the Costco Blogger Recipe Challenge this week.  Aside from the shopping for the challenge, I’m having a fun time dreaming up recipes for this challenge.

My group was assigned the Pork Sirloin Tip as our cut, and Crockpot cooking as our method.  I’ve never cooked with a pork sirloin tip, but I suspect it’ll be similar to a pork loin. (Here’s a helpful overview of types of cuts of meat.) As one of my mom’s frugal grocery shopping techniques, I’ve been known to buy the big pork loin when it goes on sale.  I cut it and stash in the freezer, and it makes for delicious lean chops or easy roasts and more.

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Cooking Connections Offers Insight on Picky Eaters

The other week, I participated in a great dialogue on TheMotherhood’s Cooking Connections about “Expanding Your Family’s Palate by Placating Picky Eaters.”  The hosts and co-hosts were some of my favorite bloggers, many of whom blog about food and parenting and topics in between.

There were so many great takeaways from our discussion about picky eaters, and I was sure to add my two cents about the experiences I had growing up with an extremely picky sibling.  I loved hearing other parents’ suggestions about getting picky eaters to try new foods, as I’m sure it’s something many of you have experienced firsthand.

My favorite suggestions for placating picky eaters includes eating and introducing colorful foods and involving kids in the cooking process.  My friend Carol said it best: “involving kids in the kitchen gives them a sense of accomplishment…”

Some great insight from the other participants and hosts was the effectiveness they had with the “one-bite rule” to get their kids to try a food before simply refusing it.

“Our rule is you just need to take a full size bite, chew, swallow and then say, ‘Yes, please’ or ‘No, thank you,’” said host Jennifer Leal, Savor the Thyme.

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Cooking Connections: Placating Picky Eaters

“Mama, is broccoli a treat? Because I love it.”

“Sure, honey. Broccoli can be considered a treat if you like it.”

“How about carrots?”

“Yup. Carrots can be treats, too.”

Last week, one of our dinnertime chats went a little something like that.  At three years old, the kid questions whether or not veggies are, indeed, treats. And for as long as it lasts, I’ll to continue to advocate that veggies are treats, while simultaneously singing “There’s a Party in My Tummy,” the Yo Gabba Gabba eating anthem for preschoolers and parents alike.


Having grown up with the crowned prince of picky eaters, I’m well versed in the picky eating realm.  Public breakdowns and refusals to eat unless we had what he wanted, my older brother’s precarious eating habits never made life easy for myIMG_1383 parents. I was known to eat not only my dinners, but also my brother’s—perhaps to pacify his pickyness and to (ahem) feed my own love for food at an early age.

Whatever the case was, once I became a mom, I made it my personal crusade to try and avert the picky eating habits while refining my own eating habits.  It makes me smile when my guy reaches for broccoli in the app tray at parties before he heads to the dessert table. Now, if only every day was a broccoli-loving day…

Kids are relentless when it comes to eating, but I don’t think it should always be a battle. Tactics like involving kids in the kitchen, helping with grocery shopping, and something as simple, yet significant, as eating the same meal together as a family can help with picky eaters. My motto is, I’m not an app cook, so we all eat the same thing for every meal.  Special meals should be reserved for special days, preferably the days where someone is serving me too!

I know, I know…it’s easier said than done.

Let’s Connect with Cooking Connections

I’ve devoted a a lot of coverage lately to kid-centric food and healthier habits, but by no means does that make me an expert in this parenting arena.  I am, however, quite excited to be a co-host in tomorrow’s installment of Cooking Connections, where picky eaters will be the topic at hand. Our fabulous hosts will lead a discussion on, and I’d love it if you could join us!  The deets are below:

When: Wednesday, March 2, at 1 p.m. ET

Where: TheMotherhood – here is the link to the page where the class will be held:

And here is the registration page for all Cooking Connections classes:

What: The class I am co-hosting is called “Expanding Your Family’s Palate by Placating Picky Eaters,” and it is hosted by Jennifer Leal (Savor the Thyme), Kimberly Coleman (Mom in the City) and Kelsey Banfield (The Naptime Chef).  We will be talking about how to make meals work for all members of the family, healthy and interesting foods that kids AND adults love, and strategies for getting picky eaters to try new things.  Join us, and feel free to ask questions, share recipes or chime in with your own suggestions!

The class is sponsored by ConAgra and hosted by TheMotherhood.

My other fabulous co-hosts are:

Marla Meridith, Family Fresh Cooking
Kristy Bernardo, The Wicked Noodle
Jo-Lynne Shane, Musings of a Housewife
Dara Michalski, Cookin’ Canuck
Brooke McLay, Cheeky Kitchen
Shaina Olmanson, Food for My Family
Carol Cain, NY City Mama
Shari Simpson-Cabelin, Earth Mother just means I’m dusty
Amy Johnson, She Wears Many Hats
Stacie Billis, One Hungry Mama

I personally can wait to hear everyone’s ideas and recipes aimed to placate picky eaters.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! See you then!

Cooking Connections Launches Today

As you all know, food has become a significant part of my coverage on NKT.  The foods we eat and cook and the eating habits we display, ultimately, help our kids to make healthier choices.

For me, cooking resources on the internet and tv help me to navigate in the kitchen.  I’ve always been big on cooking, baking and eating, but online sites, magazines and shows underscore just how much I enjoy being in the kitchen.  I could seriously watch Food Network for hours and daydream about these professional cooks and chefs coming to my house to cook for me!  But good news, though these fantastic chefs can’t come to my house, but there are “real” parents who can—well, sort of!

TheMotherhood’s Cooking Connections, an awesome and innovative eight-week series of virtual cooking classes is launching today.  In this series of virtual cooking classes, “real” moms and dads will lead us in their kitchens, to help us learn more about topics relevant to parents.  The conversations, led by some of my favorite bloggers, will leverage social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and

Sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Cooking Connections is launching today, actually at 1:00 pm at the Blissdom Conference that’s going on right now in Nashville.

I love, love, love TheMotherhood and all the wonderful things that they’re doing around our community.  Cooking Connections will, no doubt, be just as successful as their other projects.  I’m excited to be participating in the cooking class that focuses on picky eaters.  “Placating Picky Eaters” will take place in a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share more about it soon.  By the way, TheMotherhood, Emily McKhann and 77Kids by American Eagle got a nod in Forbes for the inspiring Do Good Day campaign that tapped bloggers around the country to pay it forward.

Join the conversation!  Want to learn more about Cooking Connections and/or register to participate?  Be sure to sign up here at TheMotherhood.

Check out Cooper and Emily’s announcement video for even more details!

You Say Tomato, I Say Yum

With the cold weather settling in, dinners at our house are usually hearty and wholesome.  I’m talking meat and potatoes, and sometimes tomatoes and other veggies too.

I know I’ve probably admitted this before, but I’m not a fan of hiding veggies.  While the sneaky route may work for many families, over here, I’m a big believer in doing what you can to expose the good stuff and see where it gets you.  Kids will surprise you.


Tomatoes are an ingredient I’ve found myself including in recipes lately, more often than not.  We all know there are healthy benefits to tomatoes, but specifically, they’re a great source of fiber, Vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene, not to mention they’re said to be good for your heart.

And in the height of sick season, I’ll take all the vitamin C and antioxidants we can get.

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Sesame Street Rolls out Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget

‘Tis the season for  joy, giving, graciousness…and eating well.  And by eating well, I mean making healthier choices, and helping others make healthier choices, too.

To further underscore the importance of healthier eating among families, Sesame Workshop announced that they’ve partnered with UnitedHealthcare and The Merck Company Foundation, to roll-out  a new outreach program, Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget.

At the Capital Food Bank in Washington, DC, celebrity chef and author, Art Smith, joins Elmo in a healthy and affordable cooking demo during the unveiling of Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. Photo credit: Gil Vaknin/Sesame Workshop

Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget, part of the company’s on-going Healthy Habits for Life initiative, is a free bi-lingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach program designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food.

According to Sesame Workshop, Seventeen million American children—nearly one in four—are food insecure, meaning they do not receive food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.  Of these children, more than half (9.6 million) are under the age of six, which is all the more reason to help spread this message.
As the country’s economic status continues to take its toll, the number of young children confronting food insecurity continues to increase, as do the subsequent effects on children’s health, school performance, growth, and development, Sesame Workshop said.

As part of this outreach program, 400,000 Food for Thought resource kits will be distributed through UnitedHealthcare, The Merck Foundation and other key organizations including National WIC association, Feeding America, Head Start, Meals on Wheels and other key organizations. The initiative will also include two public service messages promoting trying new foods.

I hope to do my part by continuing to share healthier eating and snacking ideas for kids, including ways to eat well on a budget.

Snack Nation: Package Your Own Healthy Snacks

In case you haven’t heard, apparently, we’re raising a generation of constant snackers.

As Wendy Sachs recently wrote in the Huffington Post, “From cleverly packaged organic cookies to crisp 100 Calorie chips, we offer snacks as distraction and entertainment.”

Those prepackaged snacks are so easy to grab and just throw in a bag when you’re on the go…or to alleviate meltdowns. I’m guilty of it, too.  No judgments here!  But on a different note,  just because it’s organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s that great of a snack for the kid, especially if they’re having tons of it, all day long.

A lot of kids are devouring those prepackaged snack foods, which are high in calories and low in nutrients, as pointed out in a article.

So, why don’t we nip these bad habits in the bud, and go for a healthier, old-fashioned route: snacks that we package ourselves?

Grapes, cheese and crackers

Instead of grabbing for cutesy prepackaged and highly processed “fruit” snacks, why not put together fresh fruit and add a little protein like low-fat cheddar cheese?

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Yum Food & Fun for Kids: New Resource for Food Revolution

Magazines: I know many of you love them as much as I do.  There’s truly nothing like flipping through glossy pages and indulging in feature stories, cool products and advice columns.  In my case, I’m always looking for inspiration, whether it’s for writing, design or to just shop.


On one of my recent trips to Target I found a new magazine called Yum Food & Fun for Kids.  Always, in search of new ideas on how to improve my efforts in the kitchen and at the dinner table, especially where the kid is concerned, I think this new publication fills a void at the newstands.

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Taste of the Rainbow and a Jiggly Pot of Gold

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  On this day best known for leprechauns, luck of the Irish and green beer, celebrating with kids often includes a lot of creativity.

One of my favorite family magazines, Disney’s FamilyFun, features a great range of ideas for St. Patrick’s Day crafts and goodies, which are perfect for kids of all ages.  In particular, I eyed a couple of ideas that would be great for dessert on the luckiest day of the year!

If you know me, you must know I love cupcakes.  So of course, I have to share about the Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes, just one of the fun St. Patrick’s Day themed recipes that’s featured in FamilyFun.  The Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes make a colorful dessert idea.  All it takes is cake mix, some food coloring, a few bowls to separate the colors and a little patience to pour and layer each color into the cupcake pan, and voila, you have your Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes.

And if cupcakes aren’t your speed, there are many more St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipes to choose from, including St. Patrick’s Pot of Gold, which is lemon-flavored Jello served in limes, or rather, emerald pots.  Again, it just takes a little more effort cutting and preparing, but this pot of gold is a festive way to celebrate with the wee leprechauns!


If you guys do any St. Patrick’s Day recipes with the kids, please share them!  I love to hear all the green, gold and Irish ideas.  Also, be sure to check out FamilyFun for recipes and craft ideas that are fun all year long.