Monday, February 20, 2012

Baby Food - Chicken

When I had Ella, my husband and I were saving all our pennies to buy our first home.  That's really what motivated me to make my own baby food.  Once I got started, it was hard to stop me.  One thing did though.....meat.  There was something about the thought of making my own meat for her I just couldn't fathom.  I continued to make all of her fruit and veggies, but bought the organic meat jarred baby food for her.

Fast forward 3 I am, making Gavin's fruits and veggies.  This time, when it came time to start him on meat, I decided I would give it a try.  I did.  It was SUPER DUPER easy and I can't believe I never tried it before.  I was kind of mad at myself actually!

I hope after reading through my instructions below and seeing the pictures, you'll realize that you can do this too!  It's really not hard and just think about how much money you'll be saving yourself.  Better yet, think about the wonderful, wholesome food you'll be feeding your baby!  YOU CAN DO THIS!  I'll be your own private cheerleader!  Go ! Go !  LOL

Chicken Baby Food

3 Chicken Thighs
Poultry Seasoning
1/4 cup water

Place your chicken thighs in the bottom of your crock, sprinkle with the poultry seasoning and then pour 1/4 cup water on the bottom.
Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

Remove the thighs and let them cool for about 15-20 minutes so they're easier to work with.
Remove the skin and bones, leaving you with the chicken only.

Place your chicken into a food processor.
Process it until it becomes a fine powder.

From here, here's what I do...
I place about 2 heaping teaspoon fulls into snack size baggies.  This is about 2 servings.

I take these baggies and put them into the freezer and take them out as I need them.
For us, each baggie is enough for 2 days.  I mix the chicken with Gavin's veggies in the evening.  Sometimes I get CRAZY and mix apples, chicken and veggies together!  WHOA!  I know, I know, CRAZY!  LOL  

We're actually pretty straight forward with baby food.  I don't make crazy concoctions.  Gavin gets it as is.  He's used to it and it's all he knows.  Trust me, he's not complaining!  

Again, you CAN do this!  Your baby will thank you for it!

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Peachy Pork Loin

Most of you who are my "loyal followers" know we've been using our freezer meals we've stocked up on and been using up everything in our freezer.  Well, that's how this came to be!  I had a Pork Loin in the freezer and I had a few bags of peaches in the freezer.  So, why not put the two together?!

One of my former colleagues stopped by the office at school a while back and mentioned a recipe she made with Apple Pie filling, pork loin and barbecue sauce.  I'm not a fan of apple pie filling and somehow can't bring myself to buy it.  All that sugar..........oy!  So, with the unsweetened peaches in the freezer, I figured I'd make my own version with far less sugar!

The results: delicious!  This pork was juicy, tender and the perfect amount of sweet!  I didn't have to beg my daughter to give it a try tonight either!  With the knowledge it had peaches in it, she was ALL about it!  She ate every last bite, and so did my husband and I!

Because I'm using things up around the house, I had half a jar of the Tastefully Simple Savory Peach Brandy Glaze I used in place of Barbecue sauce.  If you don't have this product, you can order it here, or you can use a nice sweet barbecue sauce in replacement.  This Peachy Pork Loin will be great either way!

I know this will be a hit with your entire family!  I can't wait for you to try it!

Peachy Pork Loin

1 2.5-3 lb. FROZEN boneless pork loin (if you use a thawed loin, you can reduce cook time by 2 hours)
1 16oz. bag frozen unsweetened peaches
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Tastefully Simple Savory Peach Brandy Glaze (or a sweet barbecue sauce)

In a bowl, mix your frozen peaches with the brown sugar.

In your crock, place your frozen pork loin and place your frozen peach/brown sugar mix over the top.

Simply pour your Savory Peach glaze or barbecue sauce over the top of that.

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

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beer Poached Italian Sausage

Keeping on our quest to save money, we're dappling in couponing.  It's something we've done before but never kept up with!  We're not hardcore....yet.  Right now, if there is a coupon for something we'd like to buy, we use it.  If there's a coupon for something we don't need, we don't buy it.  Simple as that!

There was a coupon for Italian Sausage and it sounded good to both my husband and me!  Of course, I wanted to try and cook them in my slow cooker, because that's just what I do!  I knew they were going to need some liquid, so beer it was!

These were very good.  My husband wasn't too impressed with my choice of beer (Blue Moon Winter Lager,) but that's the beer that came out of the little bar refrigerator when I reached in this morning!  He said it would have been even better with a sweeter beer or even white wine.  I agree.  It was good, but depending on the liquid you use, it would totally change the flavor.  The sausage was SO tender and juicy though!

All in all, this is a VERY QUICK and VERY EASY meal ANYONE can throw together!

Beer Poached Italian Sausage

1 pkg. Sweet Italian Sausage (or whatever you like.  My pkg. had 5 links, but I probably could ahve used 2 packages for the amount of liquid I had.)
1 12oz. Beer

Place the sausage into your crock.  Pour the beer over the top.
Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Working Girls Design, Inc." GIVEAWAY!

Tonja and Jodi from Working Girls Design, Inc. posted this awesome picture, made just for me, on my Facebook Fan page a couple months back!  It was totally unprompted and SUCH a very nice surprise!  I truly appreciate them thinking I'm a "Crockstar!"

Here's a little background on the Working Girls; The Working Girls brand is a collection of art and copy chronicling the life of women.  From pregnancy, marriage, menopause, raising teenagers, divorce or widowhood, no subject is left untouched.  The brand is the creation of Las Vegas artist Jodi Pedri and writer Tonja Steele.

Their entire collection is online at  Please visit and take a look at all the awesome product they have!  If you'd like to join them on Facebook, you can click here.

When the opportunity arose for them to sponsor a giveaway, I jumped at it!  They sent me a collection of their super fun items!  YOU TOO could have a chance at winning this super fun collection!  Please enter below through Rafflecoptor.  Good luck!

This contest ends at 12:01a.m. on 2-18-12.

*The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.  I was compensated with a complete Working Girls Inc. Collection as pictured above in exchange for hosting this giveaway.
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This Week's Plan 2-12-12

My little baby boy is going to be 11 months tomorrow!  I cannot believe it!  Where has the time gone?! For those who have been with me for the past year or more, it doesn't seem like I had him that long ago, does it!?  Oy!

Our "money diet" is going really well!  We're very proud of ourselves for controlling our spending the last 2 weeks.  We are keeping on!  So, we'll be using some of our freezer meals and using what we have in the freezer/pantry and buying as little as possible at the grocery store.  :)

I've made a plan for the next 2 weeks, but it may change slightly, as it usually does.  At least I have an outline and it will be easy to move things around as I need.  My grocery list this week is pretty short and I'm hoping next Sunday, I'll only need to buy milk and bread to get us through.  Yay us!

So, here's This Week and Next Week's Plan:

Monday: Vegetable and Lentil Soup (freezer meal)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Peachy Pork Loin

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Saturday: Quiche - not slow cooker

Sunday: Tacos - not slow cooker

Monday: Beer Brats

Tuesday: Simple Chicken Thighs

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Shredded Pork Tortilla Soup 

Friday: WINE and CUPCAKE TASTING!!!!! Pizza for the Ella and my parents!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Pork Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, Celery and Onions

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apricot-Glazed Wings

I was a little skeptical about these as I was throwing random ingredients from my fridge/pantry into these.  But, you know what?!  These were amazing!  You know the Bourbon Chicken they hand out samples of in the food court at the mall?  They tasted a lot like that, just with a whole lot less fat.  (No offense if you own one of those places!)  They were fallin'-off-the-bone-finger-lickin'-good!!!!

These wings would be an amazing appetizer at your next gathering.  Everyone will wonder what in the world you used to make them taste so good.  You don't have to tell them ;)  Enjoy these!!!!!

P.S.  My husband and I finished almost the entire 4 lbs. of wings by ourselves......oops! ;)

Apricot-Glazed Wings

4 lbs. Wings, tips removed and cut at the joint (see pics below)
12 oz. Apricot Preserves
1/4 cup Honey Catalina Dressing
2 Tbsp. Honey Mustard
2 Tbsp. Barbeque Sauce
1 tsp. Lime Juice
4 dashed hot sauce
1 small onion, minced
salt, pepper, garlic powder

You've saved yourself some money buying a package of wings that need to be cut, so don't fret!  I'll help you get through this.  It's simple.
First, you're going to remove the wing tip.  If the knife doesn't go through easily, you're not on the joint, so just move your knife over a bit.
You are going to discard that part.
Next, you're going to section the wing at the next joint like this.
Again, if your knife doesn't slide right through, move it over a bit.
You're done! Easy enough, right?!

Put your wing pieces onto a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Put them under the broiler for 8 minutes on each side.

While you're wings are broiling, mix together your sauce.  In a mixing bowl, mix together the Apricot Preserves, Honey Catalina Dressing, Honey Mustard, BBQ sauce, lime juice, hot sauce and onion.

When your wings are browned under the broiler, place them into your crock.
Pour the sauce over the top.
Use your tongs and "toss" the wings around to make sure and coat all your little wings with the sauce.
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cheesy Chorizo Dip

HOLY COW, was this delicious?!!!!  My husband and I talked about it all day and with each bite!  The sweetness of the Chorizo, the tanginess of the salsa and the creaminess of the cheese.........mmmmmmmmmmm!!!  This will QUICKLY become your favorite dip ever!  I have a feeling my husband will be requesting this dip often!!!

This dip would be perfect for any gathering you might have, or on a lazy Sunday when you're hanging out!  It's quick and easy to put together!

Cheesy Chorizo Dip

12 oz. Velveeta Cheese
8 oz. Chorizo, browned
1/2 cup salsa

Brown your Chorizo.
Spray your crock with non-stick spray and then add the cheese, salsa and browned chorizo over the top.
Cook on LOW for 2 hours of so, until melted and then turn to WARM.
Serve with Tortilla Chips.

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Easiest Ever BBQ Country Ribs

In a real hurry?  Don't have time for anything fancy?  THESE ARE FOR YOU!!!!  Seriously, you'll have them in the slow cooker in less than 5 minutes, I promise!

For how incredibly easy these were to get in the crock, they were absolutely delicious and tender!  Your family will think you performed some miracle in the slow cooker, but only you and I will know the true story! Let them think you threw together some complicated and delectable concoction!  No harm done!

Ready, set, GO!

Easiest Ever BBQ Country Ribs

Ingredients: (Serves about 4-6)
4 lbs. Boneless Country Ribs (you can use bone in too)
1 18oz. bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce (We used the Original Sweet Baby Ray's)
salt and pepper

Place your country ribs into your crock and sprinkle them with salt and pepper on both sides.
Pour half your bottle of BBQ sauce on one side of the ribs.
Flip them and poor the other half of the BBQ sauce on the other side of your ribs.  Spread it around.

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

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Teething Bling® Review

I was lucky enough to review Teething Bling by Smart Mom Jewelry.  What a cool product.  It looks like a real necklace, but is actually made of completely safe material that babies are able to "chew" on to aid in the teething process.  I was sent this necklace, but they come in MANY more colors!  It has a break away clasp (which is not comfortable for extended wear btw, but is fine short term) as a safety feature.  These are not intended to be worn by your baby, but by you, the parent.  For more information, or to order a Smart Mom Jewelry product, please visit their website here.

*I was given a Teething Bling necklace in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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February Wine and Cupcake Tasting Reminder!

Don't forget about our FIRST local event coming up this month!

Wine and Cupcake Tasting
Fieldstone Winery, Rochester, MI
Friday, February 24, 2012
7:00-10:00 p.m.
Call 248-656-0618
Tickets are selling fast, so call to purchase your ticket today!!!
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