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Our parents alone live in three different states with the closest being over nine hours away. That being said, these past five years living in Atlanta have been spent with trying to figure out how to juggle our own need to create traditions and be able to keep connection with our family. We often spend our major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas usually traveling to see family, but we’ve come to realize that we should take more ownership of the days of the year that we spend together every year like: Easter, 4th of July, and like this weekend: Memorial Day.
Admittedly, our first Thanksgiving and Christmas alone together was the first year we bought our house. Hint: we were broke, we were pooped, and we just wanted to spend a lot of time together. We both came down with some kind of awful flu during the week, had a Christmas party where we had over 30 people RSVP so we bought a ton of food and spent all day cooking, and then we had four people show up and had a ridiculous amount of left overs. We were gracious anyone showed, but it was humbling, lonely, and I wondered why we had decided to stick down roots in a place that seemed so unwelcoming.
Well, Memorial Day this year was entirely different. We decided to have a barbecue and we ended up sitting at our dinner table laughing and chatting with our friends for several hours after lunch was actually finished. It was hilarious to hear my friend’s children play on the piano in the next room and oddly comforting too because we knew exactly where they were ;). While I know that Memorial Day is about honoring our loved ones who made military sacrifices for us, it was very sweet to be surrounded by friends in our own home after how hard it was here our first few years. I think it would be kind of hard to beat this Memorial Day because I was filled with a lot of gratitude with where we are in our life right now.
ITEMS USED TO MAKE RECIPES
We bought our grill a few years ago second hand and said we would find some good times to use it. Well, it has just sat in our garage and finally we pulled it out and starting making some yummy food with it! We went to Food Lion and bought Smithfield® Hickory Smoked Brown Sugar Marinated Fresh Pork Chops. We loved that they were pre-marinated because we still aren’t that familiar with grilling and we could just focus on making sure we cooked everything right!
Well, everyone was impressed with the pork chops and I was too when I realized it only took 8 minutes of cooking on both sides for them to be fabulous and finished. There was a lot of flavor and no BBQ sauce was needed! We’re excited about trying out some of Smithfield’s other fresh pork cuts in the future with our own rub and marinade recipes; everything was very juicy and high quality! Here are some coupons to use at your local Food Lion grocer; there is a $1 off coupon for the Marinated Fresh Pork we cooked in this post :). You can also enter the sweepstakes from Smithfield!
Of course though, we didn’t have just pork chops for our whole dinner 🙂 . We made my favorite slow cooker mac and cheese recipe! It is super easy to make, pairs well with pork chops, and it is a super easy mac and cheese recipe with only 7 ingredients!
- (2) 16 oz boxes of macaroni noodles
- 1 can of 13 oz evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 32 oz cheese block (the kind you use for dips)
- Boil water on the stove top and cook the macaroni noodles as directed.
- Cube the cheese block.
- Place half of the cheese block on the bottom of the slow cooker and pour all of the other ingredients, including the noodles, on top of it.
- Place the other half of the cheese block on top of the noodles.
- Cook for 2 hours on high.
- Stir as needed.
This weekend was a real treat for us. We loved spending time with friends and their sweet kids! We’re looking forward to more BBQs in the future, and of course, inviting more friends over to enjoy everything with!