Rockin’ Crock Ribs

I LOVE ribs. I could eat them every day if it wasn’t so expensive! A full rack lasts 3-4 meals for me, but at $13/rack, it’s a lot. And, if JI and/or Squeaks ever decide they want to eat ribs, it’ll be even more. So instead, ribs are a once a month treat. Usually I only make them during the summer, so I can put them on the grill. I was so hungry for ribs the other day that I decided to try something new, and damn, it worked perfectly. I’m pretty proud of myself!

wpid-collage_20151023132541256_20151023132654153.jpgStep one: Put the ribs in the crock pot. I had to fold mine in half.

Step two: Season liberally with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes.

Step three: Pour in two cans of cranberry pop – I used Diet Cranberry Sierra Mist!

Step four: Cook on low for 6 hours.

Step five: Transfer to sheet pan, carefully. They *may* fall apart.

Step six: Baste with BBQ sauce of your choice – I used Sweet Baby Ray’s!

Step seven: Cook at 400F for one hour. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Step eight: ENJOY!

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Deposit to the Karma Bank

wpid-collage_20151018193431029.jpgWhen I am feeling poorly, emotionally and spiritually, I will generally head back to church. Unfortunately, Catholicism and small children, especially wild maniacs like JI, do not mix. So, because I have a teeny tiny bit of disposable income, I decided to make up these packs for the homeless/needy. I have been trying to help as many people as I can lately, and so far I have bought groceries for a neighbor, bought JI the special foods he wants (instead of constantly having to say “no”), and have donated a bunch of stuff to the food pantry and women’s shelter. I feel that every good deed I do is a deposit to the Karma Bank, and will help me feel better because I see other people feeling better.

To make a homeless pack is very easy; collect non perishable food, drinks, toiletries, and anything else you can think a person might need (tampons/pads for women, 1-2 diapers, a $5 gift card to fast food, etc.). I put in 2 napkins, a spoon, pop, cereal, a juice box, crackers, floss, shampoo/conditioner, a fruit cup, bottled water, and a drink mix packet. Everything went into a gallon sized zippered freezer bag (they are stronger than regular storage bags), and wrote a sentiment on the label – “You matter to someone. Have a good day! :)”

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I loaded all the bags, eight total, into a large tote to keep in the car so that whenever I see someone on the ramp or the road, I can hand them a bag. I made them over the weekend, and handed out my first pack today. The man said “God bless you” without even looking at it… but hopefully, when he did, he was pleasantly surprised.

Easy Weeknight Pasta Meal

I had an abundance of fresh produce that was about to turn, so I decided to use it all up in one meal. I went with pasta, as it lends itself to many different flavors and textures, and is very simple to make.

wpid-collage_20150923183418149.jpgFirst, I cooked the pasta and set it aside. I used radiatori so that the ridges on the noodles would catch all the tasty goodness of the vegetables. Next, I chopped up tomatoes, red peppers, and banana peppers, and then I added a heaping spoonful of minced garlic. I tossed those into the pot I used for boiling the pasta, added a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, and sauteed until the tomatoes were just starting to break down. At this point I added some sliced black olives and a green onion. I didn’t want those to get cooked too much, which is why I added them near the end. Finally I put the pasta back into the pot and stirred everything together for a few minutes, until the pasta was heated through. I served it with a huge hunk of crusty garlic bread and a sprinkling of parmesan. Even JI, Mr. Picky, enjoyed the meal!

You can add chicken to the dish if you’re into that kind of thing, or you can eliminate the cheese if you want to make it vegan. There are tons of options for this dish!

Homemade Teething Biscuits

Squeaks started teething pretty early, much like JI did when he was six months old. Now, at eight months, Squeaks has all four front teeth! The biscuits helped him for the month he was teething hardcore. They’re chewy, healthy, and super easy to make! These biscuits don’t dissolve like rusks do, so be prepared for a little mess if baby isn’t too good at chewing and swallowing!

Teething Biscuits

  • 1 cup baby cereal (I used oatmeal)
  • 1/2 jar baby food (I used applesauce)
  • 1 ripe banana, smashed
  • Water

Combine first three ingredients; add water as needed to make a smooth, thick dough – like play dough consistency. Spread on a parchment lined sheet, and bake at 400F until completely baked through, 20-30 minutes. Let cool, cut into rectangles. You want the bars to be large enough that baby will not choke. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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