Friday, December 23, 2011

Final Fan Appreciation Week Winners!

What a great way to end Fan Appreciation week!  Thank you to all who participated!  It was a lot of fun!

Today I chose three winners of a $10 Chilli's Gift Card!  Congrats!
My little helper, Gavin :)

I have also drawn a new winner from Tuesday's Giveaway, so check it out and see if it's you!!!!

If you know any of the winners, tell them to email me!!!!  I'll give each winner 48 hours to claim their prize and then I'll draw a new one!  Happy Holidays!

Friday's Winners of a $10 Chilli's Gift Card each: Jamie Carter(CLAIMED), Gwen Barlow (CLAIMED) and Rosanna Stout CLAIMED

Thursday's Winners of a $10 AMC Gift Card each: Amy Foley and Kim Reich Cadd - CLAIMED AND CLAIMED

Wednesday's Winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is: Tammy Pembleton Kwiakowski -  CLAIMED

Tuesday's Winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is: Maria Shevlin!!!!! (3rd Winner for being Booshaka #1 fan!)

Winners, please email me at to claim your prize!  You have 48 hours!
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fan Appreciation Week Winner's #3 and #4

If you haven't been on Facebook, then you don't know I'm doing a fan appreciation giveaway week!  Each day I will write a topic for you to post on, like, or share. I will then randomly choose a winner!  Easy as that!

Today I chose two winners!  If you know them, tell them to email me!!!!  I'll give each winner 48 hours to claim their prize and then I'll draw a new one!  Happy Holidays!

Thursday's Winners of a $10 AMC Gift Card each: Amy Foley and Kim Reich Cadd

Wednesday's Winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is: Tammy Pembleton Kwiakowski -  CLAIMED

Tuesday's Winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is: Stacy O'Neill Skinner (24 hours left before a new winner is drawn!)

Winners, please email me at to claim your prize!  You have 48 hours!
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fan Appreciation Week Winner #1 and #2

If you haven't been on Facebook, then you don't know I'm doing a fan appreciation giveaway week!  Each day I will write a topic for you to post on, like, or share. I will then randomly choose a winner!  Easy as that!

Here are our first two winners!  If you know them, tell them to email me!!!!  I'll give each winner 48 hours to claim their prize and then I'll draw a new one!  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday's Winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is: Stacy O'Neill Skinner

Wednesday's Winner of the $10 Starbucks Gift Card is: Tammy Pembleton Kwiakowski

Winners, please email me at to claim your prize!  You have 48 hours!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red Currant Meatballs

When my sister asked me to make Meatballs for our Christmas gathering, I decided I wanted to do something different!  There are the traditional grape jelly meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs and swedish meatballs.  I'm not traditional, LOL.  My first thought actually went to mint jelly, but I nixed that thought right away!  (Some of you just went, PHEW!!!  LOL)  My next thought went to Jalapeno jelly (which is delicious to cook with by the way!) but I decided that might be too spicy for the kids.  So, I went to the jelly section of the grocery store with an open mind.

Then, my eyes met the pretty jar of Red Currant Jelly.  WHY NOT?!!!  So, I grabbed two jars and stuck them in my cart!  And, that's how these meatballs came to be!

I made two 24oz. bags of frozen turkey meatballs because 1 bag didn't look like enough for a crowd and I wanted to be able to send leftovers home with my sister.  I probably had an entire "bag" leftover, LOL! We had 8 adults here and 4 kids (of eating table food age).  The meatballs got rave reviews by all!  These would be great at any party and you can use whatever kind of meatball you want....or even make your own!

*I am typing this recipe as I made it.  So, if you use just 1 bag of meatballs, just halve the rest of the ingredients!

Red Currant Meatballs

48oz. Frozen Meatballs (I used turkey because those are the only kind my sister will eat)
2 12oz. jars Red Currant Jelly
12 oz. Chili Sauce (found near the ketchup)
1/2 cup minced onions
16 oz. pineapple bits, drained

Mix together the Jelly, Chili Sauce and onions.
Add the pineapple bits and stir.

Place your frozen meatballs into your crock and mix with your sauce.
(I dumped half into each crock)
Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Creamy Chive and Onion Mashed Potatoes


When Ginger and I from Crock Pot Recipe Exchange started planning our Slow Cooking Through the Holidays series, we both had Mashed Potatoes on our list!  Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food!  Whether you like them creamy or lumpy, these mashed potatoes are sure to leave you wanting MORE!!!

When I go to my mom's house around the holidays, she usually has something on every burner of her stove and a packed full oven.  You KNOW something is going to boil over when you're using every cooking surface in your home!  What a mess!!!   Guess what?!  I didn't have that kind of mess going on in my house!  I used my slow cookers and my stove and oven stayed clean!

So, who knew you could make mashed potatoes in the slow cooker?!  I have to admit, I let Ginger try it first!  LOL  They worked out wonderfully for her, so I followed her lead!

A few years ago....well maybe more than a few years ago, LOL.....I helped my sister with Thanksgiving dinner and came to her with a recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes.  They had butter, sour cream and cream cheese!  Heart-stopping really!  Well, they were really good, so that's what inspired me to make these mashed potatoes.  We are huge fans of Chive and onion cream cheese here, so I knew my mashed potatoes had to include that!  They were simple and incredibly flavorful!  We all LOVED them here!  I brought the leftovers to my sister's family gathering the next day and they were just as good!  I can't wait for you to try them!

Here are Ginger's Creamy Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes too!  Don't they sound great?!  If my stomach could tolerate fresh garlic, I would be ALL over these!!!!

Creamy Chive and Onion Mashed Potatoes

4 lb. Potatoes, peeled and cubed
water (I used about 6 cups in my 3 Quart Slow Cooker)
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4 Tbsp. Butter
1/4-1/2 cup milk
8 oz. Chive and Onion Cream Cheese
1.5-2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Place your potatoes in your Crock and cover with water completely.  Add your bouillon cubes.
Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours, or until they are tender with a fork.

Drain them and as Ginger suggested, wash out the inside of your crock with HOT water.  You don't want to crack your crock.....that would not be good!
Return your potatoes to the crock.  Add the butter and milk, salt and pepper.

This is where you can either use a good ole' fashioned potato smasher or use an immersion blender (which is what I used)
Next add your cream cheese, (and a bit more milk if needed like I did until you reach your desired consistency) and mix until well-blended.
Don't they look delicious?!
They were! LOL
I kept mine on WARM for a few hours and they were just fine!
Serve and Enjoy!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Cranberry Apple Chutney

YUM-YUM-YUM-YUM!!!!!!!  You have GOT to try this chutney!  You will never buy Canned Cranberry Sauce again!  It was seriously simple to make and SO incredibly delicious!

The night I made this, I also made this yummy chicken.  The chutney was great as a side, but AWESOME over the top of the chicken!  (You'll see that in the picture below!)  This would be WONDERFUL with ham, turkey or chicken.  Your guests will be amazed by your culinary skills!

This was great warm, but also very good cold.  It would be a wonderful addition to some warm oatmeal, or even great on a toasted bagel.

I prepared everything the night before.  It makes life easier in my household.  All I did in the morning was assemble the frozen cranberries with my apple mixture.  Easy peasy!

If you think this chutney sounds good, check Ginger's Fruited Cranberry Chutney too!

Cranberry Apple Chutney

12 oz. cranberries, frozen (if you don't freeze them, you don't need to cook them as long)
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 apples, peeled, cored, diced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice 

Mix together your diced apples, onions, cinnamon, ground cloves, zest and juice of an orange, salt, brown sugar and orange juice.

I stuck mine in the fridge overnight since I was cooking it the next day.
Place your frozen cranberries in the bottom of your crock.

Add your apple/spice mixture to the cranberries and stir.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
Turn to HIGH, remove the lid and cook for an additional hour to thicken.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Brown Sugar and Honey Ham

A Ham in your Slow Cooker?????  OH YES!!!!  I'm here to tell you folks, this is the way to go!  It was perfectly cooked and might I add, DELICIOUS!  It was the perfect balance between sweet and salty.  I'm not a fan of salty ham.  No, seriously.  When I go to parties and I find out they are serving ham, I sometime cringe.  To make this ham extra special, my "secret" ingredient was the ground cloves.  It added that little extra "something" to this ham and it was awesome!  You're going to love this!

I wish I could give you some idea of how stress free my family Christmas Gathering was because I decided to utilize my slow cookers!  It was so peaceful in my house.  No running around, no slaving over the stove, no changing oven temps, no food burning, no was wonderful!

So, make you Holiday gathering stress-free too!  This is the PERFECT ham for you slow cooker!

If you're looking for something a little bit different, try Ginger's Asian Inspired Spiral Sliced Ham!

Brown Sugar and Honey Ham

1 6-8 lb. Boneless Spiral Ham (DO NOT get a smoked Ham!!!!!)
1-1.5 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2-3 Tbsp. Honey

Mix together the brown sugar and ground cloves.
Place about 1/4 cup of this mixture in the bottom of your crock.

Place your ham on top of the brown sugar mixture, flat side down.
Drizzle honey over the top.

Pat the rest of your brown sugar mixture all over the ham!

Cook this beauty on LOW for 4 hours. 
 You may want to baste it a few times the last hour or so.  
Don't over cook your ham! It's already cooked, we're just heating it through.  You don't want to serve a dry ham!
Slice and Enjoy!

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Sweet Acorn Squash

I had no idea Acorn Squash really even existed until my father-in-law served it to me years ago!  Ever since then, I've been making it for my family.  We're all big fans here!

Acorn Squash is so good on its own that it really doesn't take much to make it even better!  HOWEVER, I've found a way!  You're welcome!  LOL  And really, this couldn't get ANY easier.  You will WOW your family with this one with very little effort, I swear!  So, get them eating their's the recipe for you:

P.S.  You can easily double this recipe, but we didn't want leftovers and I was using my 2.5 Quart Crock from my duo, and no more would fit! ;)

Sweeet Acorn Squash

1 Acorn Squash, cut in half, seeds removed.
2 Tbsp. Butter, divided
2-4 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided

Cut your squash in half and remove the seeds. Poke some holes in it with your fork so it can absorb some of the extra yumminess that's about to go in it!

Cut a slice off the bottom so they sit in your crock level,.

Put a slice of butter in each.

Sprinkle each with brown sugar. Get the rims too!

Place them in your crock.

Cook on LOW for 7-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
When they come out, they will look like this.

Break it up and mix it right in the skin and serve it!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Winner of the Crock-Pot® Triple Dipper™ is..............

Ginger and I had a great time partying with you yesterday!  We know the holidays are a busy time, so we would like to thank you for participating in our Second Virtual Crock Pot Party, whether you submitted a recipe, or just checked them out!

I peeked at a few of the recipes last night and they all sound SO good!  I can't wait to look at all of them!

I am SO excited to announce the winner of the Crock-Pot® Triple Dipper!  What an easy and fun way to way to entertain!  So, the winner of the Triple Dipper is......
Tammy from Best of the Veg!
She shared her Loaded Sweet Potato Soup.
Congrats Jessica (Opps!  I said Tammy the first time!)  Go here to claim your prize!

Make sure to check Ginger's blog for the winner of the Crock-Pot® Cook & Serve Cooker!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wildtree Wicked Good Slow Cooker Sauce Pork Shoulder

When Tammy from Wildtree asked if I would like to try some of her products, I jumped on the opportunity!  I can't believe I had never heard of Wildtree before!  They offer SOOOO many incredible products.  I, or course, chose to try the Wicked Good Slow Cooker Sauce (for obvious reasons!)

Let me tell you how easy this product was to was SO simple.  I literally took my pork shoulder, put it in my slow cooker, poured some sauce over the top and added carrots for color!  EASY!  What busy mom doesn't want that kind of convenience!  This sauce has a tiny bit of a kick to it, but it will definitely please all!  My daughter asked for sauce to dunk her pork in and LOVED it right out of the jar!  (My husband and I did too, by the way!)

I had the chance to try some of the oils and dips from Wildtree as well.  They were all incredible.  By July of 2012, Wildtree will be 100% organic!  Isn't that wonderful!  You can be sure you're providing a healthy meal for your family when using these products!

Here's how simple this recipe is:

Wildtree Wicked Good Slow Cooker Sauce 
Pork Shoulder

2.5-3 lb. Pork Shoulder - FROZEN (if you use thawed, reduce cook time by a couple hours)
1/3 cup Wildtree Wicked Good Slow Cooker Sauce
2-4 carrots, cut into sticks

Place your pork shoulder into the bottom of your crock.  Place carrots around it.  Pour the sauce over the top.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 3-5 hours.

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Winter 2011 Virtual Crock Pot Party!

Ok Slow Cooker Fans!  It's PARTY TIME!

Please read carefully

Ginger and I are very thrilled to be co-hosting another virtual crock pot party since the first one was so successful. We're extremely excited to see what new slow cooker recipes you have to share with us today.

It seems as though Slow Cookers are all the rage right now!  Well, we already knew how awesome they were, but we'll let the new comers think they've thought of something great!  What better way to add to your recipe collection, then to have a Virtual Party of ALL slow cooker recipes!

Here is how it will work:
  • Starting at 12:01 AM EST on Friday, December 16th you'll be able to share the link to your crock pot recipe. It will last until 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 16th. Plenty of time for everyone that wants to share their crock pot recipe to pop on in and do so.
  • Not only will you be able to share your recipe through the inlinkz widget provided below, but feel free to share your recipe in the comments below or on the facebook fan page .
  • PLEASE make sure that it's your very own crock pot creation that you're sharing. We just want everyone partying nicely :o)
There will be prizes given out on Saturday. They were graciously provided by Crock-Pot®.... along with the new Duo Cook & Serve Cookers given to Ginger and I.
  • Make sure your name is easily found (for example, don't use anonymous when leaving a recipe in the comments section) so that we can let you know if you're a winner (Two winners will be chosen after the party is over and announced on Saturday. One by Ginger and one by myself using

Submit your crock pot recipe below. Please make sure you're linking directly to your recipe and NOT a home page. Also, make sure you're putting the name of the recipe, NOT your name. Here we go!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Modern Alternative Mama Cookbook Review

When Modern Alternative Mama, Kate, asked me to review one of her cookbooks, I jumped at the chance.  There are so many myths about food and what is good for you and what is not.  Kate breaks it down for you and gives you great info about what is REALLY good for you!

It was difficult to choose from her list of cookbooks, but I decided to review "Real Food Basics: Family-Favorite Recipes.  Real-Food Style."  All the recipes have short lists of ingredients and are definitely things that would be considered "Family-Favorites" like Kate says.

Choosing a recipe to make wasn't too difficult!  They all sounded wonderful!  I chose the Chicken Marinade so I could cook the chicken in my slow cooker! :)  Did you know making your own marinades are SUPER easy?!  Kate gives you a super simple tip in her cookbook on making your own. This marinade was wonderful.  My chicken turned out super tender and incredibly flavorful!  It was seriously perfect! Did I mention how incredibly easy it was to make this?  It literally only took maybe 5 minutes.  My family really enjoyed it!

Kate has graciously agreed to let me share the Chicken Marinade recipe with you!  Yay!

Chicken Marinade
(From "Real Food Basics: Family-Favorite Recipes.  Real-Food Style.)

Juice of 1 Lemon (or 2 Tbsp. of another acid, like Apple Cider Vinegar - which is what I used)
1 cup of water (or as needed to cover the chicken)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped (I used Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic in place of this)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sea salt (I used Kosher Salt instead because I don't have sea salt)
1/2 tsp. thyme (or basil)
1/4 tsp. sage

Here's how I did it since I make everything in my slow cooker!  
Mix all ingredients together right in your slow cooker.  

Place 1-2 lb. of chicken into your Crock and the marinade.  (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)

Let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.  
The next morning, place your crock into your slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Now, ready for some GREAT news?!  One of my lucky readers is going to WIN a FREE copy of Real Food Basics!

To Enter:
  • Click here to visit Modern Alternative Mama. and view the table of contents.  Tell me which recipe you would most like to make by leaving a comment below here on the blog.  (This is mandatory.) Be sure to leave your email address along with your name so I can contact you if you are a winner!

This giveaway will end Sunday, Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  The winner will be picked through and will be contacted by email on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011.

If you don't want to wait and want to buy this book now, I have more exciting news for you!  We have a special coupon code for 25% off the book!  All you have to do is Click here to visit Modern Alternative Mama. and type in the code CROCK25 at checkout.  This code will expire 12/23/11.

Good luck!

The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I was provided with a free copy of the cookbook to review, but was not compensated in any other way for my opinions.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

December 2011 Virtual Slow Cooker Party Announced!

It's almost time for another Virtual Slow Cooker Party with our good friend Ginger from Crock Pot Recipe Exchange!  The last party was so much fun, so we can't wait for you to be a part of this one!

Get those yummy recipes ready and come join us on Friday, December 16.  The linky will open 1 minute after midnight and stay open for 24 hours for you to add your recipes.  Don't worry, if you don't have a recipe, you'll still be able to see lots of great recipes others post!  Fun for all!

See you all there!

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup


When I announced to my husband that I was going to be making a Butternut Squash Soup, he said "Oh, goodie!"  (In a very sarcastic tone, of course!)  My husband is the type that orders the same thing every time we go to a restaurant and never ventures out.  Boy, was he glad he ventured out today!

First of all, this soup smelled INCREDIBLE as it cooked today!  My belly was growling every time I walked into the kitchen.  This soup was super simple to put together.  Nothing has to be finely chopped or look a certain way because it all just gets pureed in the end!  It's kind of fun to throw rustically chopped things in and just walk away!

I think you'll enjoy the creamy and smooth texture of this soup.  It's thick enough to feel hearty (and to stick to some great bread you might want to dip into it!) but thin enough to slide right down your throat and warm you up from the inside out!  It was naturally sweet and savory all at the same time.  It was PERFECT accompanied by some nice sour dough bread.

This would be a FANTASTIC addition to you gathering during this Holiday Season!  Your family will be amazed at the fancy soup you made by scratch!  So, go ahead.....IMPRESS them!  You won't be sorry!

TIP: Don't use a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner with this soup like I did if you will be using an immersion may end up with bits of plastic in your soup.....just sayin'! ;)

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

1.5 lb. butternut squash, cut into chunks
1 small onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 small sweet potato, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ginger
3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream or half and half

Peel your butternut squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds.

Next chop it up into 1/2"-1" cubes and place them in your crock.

Add you onions, carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, salt, pepper, bouillon cubes and water.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

Using an immersion blender, puree your cooked ingredients. (If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the contents of your crock into a blender.  Blend them with a thick towel over the top of your blender, so as not to have hot liquid explode on you and then return the contents back to the crock.)

Take about 1/4 cup of your pureed soup and mix it well with your cup of heavy cream.  This will temper the cream and keep it from curdling.
Pour your tempered cream into your soup and mix well.

Serve with some Sourdough Bread.
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