The best mashed potatoes you will ever eat! (and a side of apple cinnamon pork)

 

Wow! I finally have a second to sit down. With my dad being in the hospital the last few weeks, my life has been a mix of work and spending nights with him. He’s had two rounds of chemo treatments (both were 7 days straight) that will hopefully put his acute myeloid leukemia (subtype: M2) into remission. Its been a rough road with lots of ups and downs and this morning dad got a preliminary report from the doctor saying he may be able to go home in less than two weeks. He hasn’t looked so happy in a while. I know he can’t wait to get better and go home. His friends at church miss him and even a few have some questions about what to expect with chemo treatments. One has a daughter who will need chemo soon. It breaks my heart to hear of kids with cancer.

Speaking of kids and cancer…. I almost forgot. This past weekend was Penn State’s THON.  If you  don’t know what THON is, you are in for a treat. It’s a massive year-long fundraising effort done by college students that culminates in a 46-hour no sleep, no sitting dance marathon. All the money goes to the Four Diamonds Fund which helps kids and families of kids with cancer and just happens to be the largest student-run philanthropy in the world!  There is a place in my heart forever for THON. I danced as a student and it was one of the hardest most rewarding weekends of my life. Seeing the faces of the kids who’ve been helped by the fundraising (which helped them get treatments), is one of the best feelings in the world.

Penn State THON 2014 Results

Since it’s a fundraiser, each year the students create a promo video to help spread the word. The executive director of THON said this at the end: “We always say that the greatest dance marathon will be the one that we won’t have to have. Until then, until all childhood cancer is cured, we will keep dancing, keep THONing and keep fighting for the kids.”

Awwww….

Since my dad got diagnosed with leukemia, I’ve become obsessed with finding foods that are high in antioxidants (foods that can help prevent cancer from forming or spreading). Lots of foods that I thought were high in antioxidants were broccoli, cranberries, oranges, and any of the green veggies. Interestingly, when I did a search for “antioxidant foods” I found a top 20 list on WebMD.com that had some items that surprised me, like artichokes, pecans and various beans. But, things like broccoli and green veggies were not on it. Hmmm…. Maybe they are just not as potent as the other items.

Russet potatoes were on the list, however, and I love using these for mashed potatoes. Another one on the list: Granny Smith apples. I made the apple cinnamon pork marinade with these apples. Actually, I made the meal before I found the WebMD list, so I didn’t even know those type of apples or potatoes were high in antioxidants. The things you learn on the web. :)

I’ve never made a pork marinade before and I was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The pork was juicy and tender and really went well with the apples and cinnamon. I have to say it was definitely boyfriend-approved, too!  He didn’t speak while we dined, which usually means he’s busy devouring something yummy.

Recipes for both apple cinnamon marinated pork and creamy mashed potatoes are below.

I know my dad would love these mashed potatoes and once he gets better, I’ll make him a heaping plateful!

Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Marinated Broiled Pork with Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Apple Cinnamon Broiled Pork

Apple Cinnamon Marinated Broiled Pork and Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Apple Cinnamon Pork Tenderloins (Marinated)

Perfect, juicy, pork tenderloins baked in an apple cinnamon marinade.

Ingredients

  • 2 sliced or cut pork tenderloins
  • 3 small-medium granny smith apples (golden delicious work wonderfully, as well)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup oil (I used olive oil, but any vegetable oil will work)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cidar vinegar (or white wine)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Chop apples in to small peices
Put thawed pork tenderloins in a medium or large ziplock bag
Add apples, garlic, (olive) vegetable oil, cinnamon, salt and vinegar to the bag
Seal bag and gently toss it around to cover the pork with the marinade
Store bag in fridge for 4-12 hours. The longer it marinades, the better.
When ready, place pork tenderloins and marinade sauce in a glass (pyrex) or metal square cooking pan (at least 2 inches deep)
Poor 1 cup of water in the pan and place in oven
Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until meat is a tan color (not pink) on the inside

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

The best creamy mashed potatoes you will ever have!

Ingredients

  • 6 small russet potatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ranch dressing (I used ranch dressing, but dried ranch dressing powder also works)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinches pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz. cheddar cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander (this is optional, but I think it really gives it a special something)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Dice potatoes and boil for 10 - 15 minutes, or until soft.
chop cheese and garlic into small pieces.
Once potatoes are boiled, pour into strainer.
Put potatoes and all other ingredients in a large bowl
Mix well until ingredients are blended and potatoes are smooth. Serve and enjoy!