Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

On August 7, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus


We are on vacation in Michigan enjoying not going out for every meal, so I’ve been making quick, easy vegetarian dishes that help us enjoy vacation even more.  Eating good, healthy food helps too.  This salad is a great example of something easy to make with just a few ingredients.

This morning was the Northport Farmer’s Market where I found some great purple kale for this salad and the bread too!

Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 
Serves 4

1 bunch purple kale
1 apple, diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Chop kale into thin strips and place in bowl along with the diced apple and red onion. Meanwhile heat a saute pan on medium heat with the olive oil in the pan. Add the pine nuts and sugar and let it cook for a couple minutes just before they begin to brown. Remove from heat and add to bowl with kale.

To make the dressing combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup in a bowl and add the olive oil a couple tablespoons at a time whisking each time to combine.  Continue until all olive oil is added and then season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you are good with the mix. If too acidic, add some more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the kale salad and mix to coat.  Serve with some fresh bread.

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Gaming In-App Purchases and How to Prevent Them

On January 13, 2013, in Family, Featured, by Chris Baccus

I hate — emphasis on hate — games that use In-App Purchases (IAPs) especially games targeted at small children.  It’s been a vicious sneaky way for app developers to make some big money before parents wise up to what is going on while an innocent child doesn’t fully understand what they are doing to mom or dad’s credit card.

The latest story dealing with this sick tactic comes from The Guardian, “Parents told to beware children running up huge bills on iPad and iPhone game apps.” I’m sure it won’t be the last either.  With rapid adoption of tablet computers – many predict tablets will outsell laptops in 2013, this issue will grow.  It is far easier to give your toddler or young child a tablet to play on than say your home computer or laptop.  Tablets are light and easy for kids to understand using simple touchscreen motions. For instance, my two boys understood my iPhone at age 2, a similar type of interface as my iPad.

So what should you do as a parent?

Here is my approach:

  1. Try to avoid any game that is designed around In-App Purchases (IAPs.)  There are many great games that don’t use this tactic and I deplore it as a parent when buying a game for my child. So try to avoid games that use this.
  2. Change your iPad (or similar device) settings to not allow in-game purchases.  Here is a screenshot of that setting from my iPad 2. It is in your Settings application.  Go to General –> Restrictions –> (Enter your Restrictions Passcode) –> In-App Purchases setting and turn it to “OFF”

Do #2 regardless. This will block any in-app purchases without a password.

And please don’t get me started on all the manipulation from Disney’s Club Penguin. Genius game design though as a parent I find it repulsive.

Here are the screenshots for changing your In-App Purchases setting to off on an Apple iPad:

Step 1: Go to the Settings application and find the General setting

Step 2: Click on the Restrictions setting:

Step 3: You should be prompted by a password request. If not, please set a 4-digit passcode:

Step 4: Set the In-App Purchases setting to OFF:


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Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce

On September 23, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

This week’s #SundaySupper is all about apples as we celebrate the beginning of Fall with an Autumn Apple Party. Immersing ourselves into the apple theme we decided to spend Saturday at a couple apple orchards near San Bernadino about a hour and 20 minutes east of Pasadena.  Our first stop was Snow-Line Orchard where the boys watched donuts being made and tried about 15 different types of apples at the sampling table.

We stopped there to do u-pick raspberries since they didn’t do u-pick apples.  Sadly, by 1pm they had ran out of raspberries to pick so we enjoyed some donuts and drove down the road to Riley’s Los Rios Ranch. Riley’s was a lot of fun. The boys loved roaming around the rows of apple trees finding all kinds of varieties to pick.  We mostly ended up with some beautiful red delicious and granny smiths.

We brought home 5 pounds of apples, a pint of apple cider, and homemade caramel dip. Yes it’s a good weekend.

After a fun afternoon of apple picking, it was time to start cooking. I stopped by a store for some Calvados (Apple Brandy) and picked up an organic pork tenderloin at the market. I had some collard greens, sweet potato, and bunch of freshly picked apples to begin the night’s feast.

I paired this dish with a couple sides.  The first was some sauted collard greens.  Just chop some greens and slice half of an onion into thin half-moon.  Add some olive oil to a saute pan cooking the onions for a couple minutes then adding the greens and cooking them down for about 5-8 minutes. Toss a few times during cooking to mix the onions and greens together. You’re done.

For the second side, I chopped up two sweet potatoes and one apple into small cubes.  Tossed them with a handful of raisins, olive oil and salt and pepper .  Bake this in an oven proof casserole dish at 450 degrees for 30 minutes while you make the main the course.


Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ “steaks”
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in medium heat pan. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes.  While cooking pound the pork tenderloin “steaks” using a meat tenderizer, salt and pepper the pork and add to the pan.

Cook about 3 minutes on each side where the sides of the pork brown just a bit.  Don’t crowd the pan and set aside some of the tenderloin in a bowl.

With some pork tenderloins in the pan, add the apple brandy to the pan and if you feel daring ignite the brandy with a match after it heats in the pan for a second.  The flames will surge so be careful. Let it cook for a moment with the flames then carefully cover the pan to put out the flames. Cook the brandy on medium-high heat letting it reduce by half.

Once the brandy is reduced by half add the heavy cream and cut up apples.  Let this cook stirring together bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it cook for about 3 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

Serve the pork with the sauce and sides.

For more Sunday Supper Autumn Apple recipes checkout the following:

Soups, Salads, Starters and Breads

Main Meals




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Sweet Potato & Apple Rice Bake

On February 20, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

If I was a vegetarian this would be my main dish for Thanksgiving. Add some green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and I’d be perfectly happy with a turkey free day.

The flavors in this dish are so beautifully combined that every bite puts a smile on your face.  I adapted this recipe from a Butternut Squash & Apple Rice Bake recipe from the blog Running to the Kitchen. I swapped out the butternut squash for sweet potatoes, switched the cannellini beans with navy beans, and used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries. I’m sure keeping everything as the recipe says is amazing too; it’s just that I went with what I had in my kitchen.

So feel free to make some modifications just be sure to keep the integrity of the dish by using similar flavors.


Click here for the full recipe: Butternut Squash & Apple Rice Bake.

What to do with a Dragon Fruit? Will It Blend?

On August 4, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

I was at Jimmy’s Food Store, an Italian market in downtown Dallas, picking up some pancetta for another recipe and noticed a peculiar, yet beautiful pink fruit. It is called Dragon Fruit and sold that day for $3.99.

I bought one unsure what I would or could do with it. It was definitely an impulse, novelty buy and something I’m sure my 5 year old twin boys would find interesting especially with dragon in its name.

After a couple days of letting it ripen, it basically behaves like a mango so you feel the firmness of the fruit to determine when it’s ready. I decided to finally put it to use with my VitaMix (sorry BlendTec for borrowing your Will it Blend nomenclature while using your competitor.)

How’s it look? It looks like someone threw Docker’s khaki pants with poppy seeds into a blender. More importantly how does it taste? It’s better than it looks. The flavor is good, nothing great. Dragon Fruit doesn’t really have that much flavor. It almost tastes like jicima, sweet but muted.

If you want to experiment with something new in your smoothie, Dragon Fruit might be what you are looking for. Just don’t expect to be blown away.

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

1 orange, peeled and halved
1 dragon fruit, peeled and halved
1 banana
1/2 apple
1 cup ice

Add items in order and turn on VitaMix at speed 1 and rapidly turn to 10 then switch to high speed power and blend for 45 seconds.


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