Monday, January 30, 2012

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

My New Love: Once Upon A Time



Okay, so last Sunday I discovered my new favorite show! Maybe you are already watching this, but I must share it! Especially for girls who love new twists on fairy tales. Apparently, the show started this past October and has ten episodes thus far, but I didn't notice until now. Once Upon a Time is a new series on ABC on Sunday nights at 8 pm. The show is centered around Snow White and her Prince Charming, but all the story book characters we know make appearances. Basically, the Evil Queen (her step-mother, you all know the story) cast a spell on the enchanted forest (which includes every storybook character) to send them all to our world, frozen in time, without knowing it, they live in Storybrooke, Maine where there are no happy endings for anyone except the Queen. After getting sucked into the episode last week, I decided I had to go back to the beginning. SO, I got a hulu account so I could catch up. (You can get a free 2 week trial if you google hulu promo code, or something like that.) Without gushing too much, let's just say that I LOVE this show! :) I love fantasy type shows like this and since my fav, Smallville, is no longer around, this will be a great replacement. SOO, do YOU watch Once Upon a Time? If not, I'd definitely recommend it!

 To watch the Pilot Episode CLICK HERE

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Snow White and Prince Charming


*The opinions expressed above are my own. I was not contacted by ABC or any other entity to promote this program. I just wanted to share its awesomeness so more people watch and it gets picked up for season 2...purely selfish motives on my part ;-) *

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Momma's Nachos


Okay, so here's one of my FAVORITE recipes! It's another one of my Momma's recipes from her days working at Famous Taco with my Dad before they were married. It's not your typical nacho where you pile a bunch of chips and all the toppings all on top. Each chip is individually piled with beans, meat, guacamole and sour cream. I can only eat four but my DH can eat like 12. They are so amazing! Try them!


Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can refried beans
Mexican blend shredded cheese
sliced, pickled jalapenos




Brown ground beef in a large skillet along with the onion and garlic. When it's almost done, drain the fat.


Add the spices and continue browning until the beef is cooked through.

 

Next, heat up the refried beans just to make them easy to spread. Spread the beans onto each chip. It acts like the glue to hold the meat on it.


Add the beef to each chip.



Next, top the chips with cheese.


Add a slice of jalapeno to each nacho.


Bake in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven just long enough to melt the cheese.


Top with Guacamole and sour cream. Enjoy!



To view my homemade guacamole CLICK HERE
To view my homemade tortilla chips CLICK HERE

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quilted Advent Calendar



Okay, so this is the advent calendar that I made a couple of years ago. It's quilted, sorta...I don't really know how to do the final quilting after sewing all the pieces together. Maybe one day I'll finish it. I really wanted to find an advent calendar that had meaning behind it but I also wanted it to be homemade so that it'd have that little bit more special quality to it.


I found this great pattern on ebay CLICK HERE which I purchased from a sweet lady e-seller. I say "sweet" because I lost the ornament meanings sheet two years later and she sent them to me. How great is that??  Anyway... the pattern is pretty cool because she sends you the felt pieces and the patterns for all the ornaments, complete with about a paragraph and a bible verse to go along with each ornament.
However, I really wanted to have my manger and tree as part of the permanent part so I changed the pattern up a little. I also couldn't quite grasp the directions for the pockets (which I'm sure were clear if you know how to read a pattern correctly, but I'm a novice and was quite confused so I came up with my own way. I used pinking sheers to  cut the red squares which I hot glued as well as the numbers. Also, I made the border one solid color to match the numbers instead of multiple pieces. Finally, I used blue/silver fabric for the sky, green w/ vines fabric for the tree, and a two dimensional white for the snow. I absolutely LOVE this calendar and so do my children, especially my Princess8 who loves to read now and is understanding more advanced concepts. I don't want to create a pattern on here because it's not mine completely SO if you want to purchase it check out the item on ebay (it's only 7 bucks, so pretty reasonable), or have any questions on my changes, let me know. If the link doesn't pop up then type "quilted advent calendar" and her item should come up. Thanks!


Here's the calendar with all the ornaments on it.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guacamole...the best I ever ate!!;)



Okay, so this recipe is so delicious! I know, I know, I say that about all of them. But seriously....it is. There's nothin like some fresh guacamole served with  homemade tortilla chips. May not be super healthy, but definitely yummy! This is pretty much my Momma's recipe which I've been eating/making for the past 20 years or so. I hope you enjoy it! I know I do :)



Ingredients

2 ripe avocados
1 tsp minced onion
1 T. finely diced tomato
1/2 tsp chili powder
dash cumin powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. lemon juice

So first you need to find some good avocados. This can sometimes be hit or miss at the grocery store if you want guacamole on a whim. You don't want the ones that are the nice pretty green because they are hard as rocks and you won't be mashing those babies any time soon. You want them to be dark like these. However, if that's all they have and you know you'll be making it in a couple days (not right away) then go ahead and buy them. When you get home, put them in a paper bag and they should be ready in a couple days.
So anyway, you need to get the avocados that make a dent when you gently press their skin with your thumb. You don't want it so mushy that your finger pokes right through, but you definitely do not want them to be firm either.


When you're ready to make the guacamole, slice the avocados in half length wise. Twist apart.


Use your knife to remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a bowl.


Add the spices and lemon juice. Be careful with the spices, especially the cumin. They are not meant to overpower the avocado, just add a hint of flavor. (Lemon juice is to help prevent browning from oxidation.)


Add the onion and tomato. I usually use a box grater on the finest side to grate my onions. Mash the avocados. Make sure it is completely mixed. I usually press a piece of plastic wrap all along the top to help prevent the guacamole turning brown until I am ready to use it.


That's it! Pretty easy right? Do you have any great tips for guacamole? Enjoy!





(NOT SO) Wordless Wednesday: Lady Liberty


Okay, so I was browsing through my photo albums and came across this picture. It's my Princess8 and Nephew. We travelled to NYC in November and spent some time with our Lady Liberty. The image of this woman and what she represents just gets to me every time. I just stand in awe when I look at her. Without getting too political, I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with my country... I am Patriotic to the core, BUT saddened by the way things are (have been for a long time) going...anyway...no need for political responses. The Redheaded Princess is a politics free zone...it's happier that way :) Enjoy your Wednesday....Let Freedom Ring!! God Bless America!!!
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Old-Fashioned Popcorn and Memories


Okay, so have you ever had old-fashioned popcorn on the stove? I'm an eighties kid and remember when it was 'before microwave popcorn'. Mom used to have, what was it? Jiffy Pop? Which had foil that expanded on the top? No. That's not what I'm talking about here. I mean, just some oil, kernels, salt and butter cooked on the stove-top. For me, it brings back some fond memories of sitting in front of the tv with my family (yes, my family only had one back then so we had to share, and heaven forbid we all spend time together) and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation...HA! My dad is a total Sci-Fi dork...Love ya, Daddy ;-) Actually, I liked it too, had no choice really but I honestly did like it. I can quote the opening segment to this day... Anyway...I'm getting off on a tangent...What was I talking about? Oh yeah, family memories. SO, this is something we love to do with our girls. We pick a movie and I pop some old-fashioned popcorn and we spend time with the lights off like we are at the theater. They LOVE it! and so do I. My mom taught me this method which she learned from my Gramps (who still pops it this way every night, as far as I know). What's great too is you don't get any of the garbage that comes in a bag with all the preservatives and processed butter flavoring. Just some salt is actually quite nice, so feel free to skip the butter if you prefer. It tastes so fresh and YAY! It's not a lot of calories! SOo without further adieu...here goes nothin!
(By the way, you are a part of the Redheaded Princess's first ever video tutorial...aren't y'all lucky? ;-))

A view of my 3 Princesses on movie night at "The Castle" American Girl dolls a set up ready to watch! Had to share, they're so sweet, but then again I AM partial...

Ingredients
Vegetable Oil
popcorn kernels
butter
salt

So all you need are some popcorn kernels found where popcorn is sold in your grocery store. I get it cheap at Walmart for less than two bucks for a big bag. Which, by the way, can last at least 6 months if not longer since you don't use many kernels at a time.

First, pour maybe a tablespoon of oil in a pot just to coat the bottom. This makes enough for my family to each have a serving. Use a bigger pot if you want more. (Note: Use a bigger pot, don't just add more kernels, it'll overflow the pot and lift the lid. I've found that if you fill the bottom with kernels, usually whatever pot you use will be full of popcorn when finished) Turn the heat to medium high.

Next, sprinkle handfuls of kernels so that they are one kernel deep in the oil. Put a lid on and wait. Don't go too far! You'll forget...trust me. When the popcorn begins to pop. Shake the pot back and forth until the kernels stop popping. Pour in a large bowl and sprinkle with some salt. Toss some butter in the hot pot and remove from the burner so the butter doesn't burn. Pour melted butter on the popped corn and go make some family memories!

Check out my video below for a short video demonstrating the process.



Crocheted Blanket with Variegated Yarn


Okay, so this post will be short and sweet :) So this is a pattern I LOVE to make for my friends who are having babies. Initially when I made this blanket, I didn't realize how big it was. BUT, I am so glad it is. It takes a little longer to make than a baby size blanket, but what is nice is that it's a blanket that can grow with them. This particular blanket in the picture is one I made for my parents to match the quilt I made them a couple years ago. I love to use the 100% cotton yarn Sugar n' Cream. It has a heavier weight to it, which I love. I discovered that Walmart has larger skeins of this type of yarn whereas your typical craft stores usually have smaller ones. Another thing which is great is that it has the same stitch all the way through, so it kinda becomes 'mindless' so that you can watch TV without really being able to mess it up too much. You don't have to be super focused. Yay :) Hope you enjoy the pattern!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ



Okay, so I LOVE this recipe for pulled pork. I can't remember where exactly I got the rub recipe,  but it's so delicious. And, of course, I use my own Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce (though you can use your favorite) with this. It's super simple. You just make the rub and put it in the slow cooker before bed, and then 'pull' the pork in the AM and let it cook on low. Hope you love this as much as I do.

Ingredients:
2 T. chili powder
1 T. onion powder
1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
5 lb boneless pork butt, shoulder, or picnic

Directions:


1. Mix together all of the spices and rub all over the pork.


Place in a larger slow cooker, add 1/2 cup water and put the lid on. Cook on low for 10 hours. I usually will put it in at 9pm and the next morning at 7am I will pull the pork.

Remove pork from the slow cooker and set aside to cool.

There will be a lot of juices left. Strain (if desired) or pour liquid into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Using two forks while the pork is hot (and switching to your fingers once it's cool enough to handle) 'pull' or shred the pork. Discard the skin and any fat. They always say that the best tools for the kitchen are the ones God gave ya, your hands. I completely agree. When you use your fingers to pull the pork, you can feel the fat much better because of the texture. Just pull all the meat off the bone and discard the waste. Place the pulled pork back in the slow cooker.

Skim the fat off the top of the juices. My mother in law told me that a trick her mother in law used was to put the juices in the freezer as your are working on other parts of the meal. The fat will harden on the top making it easier to scoop out. I haven't tried this yet, mainly because I forget about it till I'm already skimming the fat :-/, but one day I'll let you know how it turns out.

Mix in the two cups of BBQ sauce with the juices.

Pour mixture over pork and toss to coat. Replace the lid and cook on low for 2 hours. (I've let mine cook longer and it's done fine)

Next, serve it on a plate with a side of coleslaw OR make sandwiches with coleslaw on top. Let me tell ya, these are AMAZING! Just try it...and don't forget to put the slaw ON the sandwich. Enjoy!



**A Storage Tip**

I use this method for SO many things. It works so great! Just portion the pork into individual servings in plastic disposable cups. Place into freezer until frozen. Cut three slits in the cup with some kitchen shears and pull the cup away. Toss into your plastic recycling. Place the frozen individual blocks into a large gallon freezer bag. To heat, just put on a microwave safe dish and microwave for 2-3.5 minutes, stopping halfway to break it up and stir.

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