Thursday, July 31, 2014

Carolina Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Updated: July 31, 2014
Originally Published July 31, 2012

There's nothin in the world like a good ol' southern pig pickin'. It's something quite common down in North Carolina. My husband and I had one at our wedding reception 14 years ago as did my cousin who got married a couple years ago. It's nothin' fancy, just some down home cookin'.  So I decided it was time to make my own version of Carolina BBQ. Typically a pig (or two) are slow roasted in a large barrel cooker, which looks like an oil drum, for hours and hours. Then, after the pork is pulled it is served with some famous Carolina barbeque sauce which typically is apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes and a few other spices. There are a million and one versions but they all have to have that vinegar as the base. It's what makes Eastern Carolina Barbeque different. Nope, it's not sweet like Memphis Que, but has some tang and spice. Don't get me wrong..I love me some molasses-based barbeque sauce...(like my JD Barbecue Sauce) I can eat that with most anything, including potato chips. BUT, Carolina BBQ is what I was raised on and though both are good I cannot choose my favorite because they are so different. I love them both! So anyway..I was on a mission to create a delicious Pig Pickin for my Princess's third birthday party complete with barbecue, cornbread, potato salad, baked beans (I cheated and used Bush's) and cole slaw . Well, I don't know about you, but up here in PA I don't have a barrel smoker sittin' in my backyard thank you very much. PLUS, who has the time? Seriously? Not me, that's for sure! So instead I tried to adapt my Jack Daniels Memphis style Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe to a Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. Okay, now I'm going to tell you the secret in the sauce...because, if you're gonna cheat, there HAS to be a trick somewhere. The trick here is to use.....drumroll please......

                       .........Liquid Hickory Smoke. Yep, they bottle smoke. Who knew? It'sbasically water that has had smoke pass through it, then it's bottled. I can usually find liquid smoke in my grocery store. It's the key to giving the pork that smokey flavor. I know, I'm a cheat...but so what?! It tastes amazing and is less hassle! Seriously, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about Caroline Pulled Pork. Sigh....luckily I was down south a few weeks ago and got some straight from my old stompin ground...and it was delicious! I think I smell some pulled pork in my near future.

SO..without further's my tasty recipe. I love it! Hope you do too! It's got a little kick to it, but what do you expect when it calls for red pepper flakes? :)


1 T. Chili Powder
1 T. Salt
1 T. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. pepper

5lb shoulder roast or picnic roast
1 T. Liquid Hickory Smoke
3 cups divided Carolina Barbecue Sauce

BTW: Make the barbecue sauce the day before! 

1. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Then mix spices together then rub all over the pork. Sear the roast on all sides. This will give it a little more flavor and since we are slow cooking, we need to cheat as much as possible. :)

2. Flipping the roast can be tricky because it is pretty heavy so I used some tongs and a big spatula. Just be careful because it's pretty hot.

3. Next, place in the slow cooker and add 1 cup of barbecue sauce along with 1 tablespoon of liquid hickory smoke. Place the lid on and cook over night on low. (8 hours) 

4. Remove roast to a separate dish to cool slightly.

5. Using two forks at first, shred the pork. Once it is cool enough to handle then definitely use your fingers to pull the pork. You have a better feel of what is fat and what isn't that way and it is much easier too.

6. Pour the drippings into a separate bowl. 

7. Skim the fat off the top and discard. Reserve 2 cups of juices and add 2 cups of the barbecue sauce.

8. Place pulled pork back in the slow cooker and pour in the sauce mixture. Cook on low for 3 hours. You can cook longer, it really doesn't hurt anything. I cooked mine for 6 hours.


9. Here y'all go! Doesn't that look amazing?? You can serve it up just on a plate with some fixins like cornbread, potato salad and cole slaw on the side. OR you can serve it on a bun. Just make sure to pour some of the Carolina Barbecue Sauce over it before you dig in either way. Oh, and it ain't right if you don't put the slaw ON the sandwich. You gotta do it up Carolina style! The combo of textures with the sweet and the tang is what makes this sandwich most incredible. Just try it! No whining :)

I got a ketchup and mustard container set from Walmart for less than 2 bucks. I'd suggest cutting off the tip to make the spout a little larger. Have this filled with the sauce to make it easier for guests to pour sauce on the pork.

To Print the RECIPE ONLY Click Here

Monday, June 16, 2014

We're Getting a New Bathroom!

So, we've been living in our current house for about 2 1/2 years. There are five of us; one male and four females....with one bathroom. So far, it hasn't been a nightmare, because I'm really the only one who truly monopolizes the bathroom. Well, my oldest is now ten and she and my 7-year-old both have hair as thick as mine. SO.....I know we're not far off from needing another bathroom desperately. So,  my parents have come up several times and when they do, they usually stay for an extended period of time. Now, do the math...add two more adults (one of them being my dad who totally TAKES FOREVER in there ;-) and has an innate ability to go in the bathroom about 30 seconds before I really need to get in there.... ;-) love ya, Dad!)...yeah, we need another bathroom. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

{DIY} Father's Day Mugs

Alright, I know we are only a few days away from Father's Day but I just had to share what I am doing with my preschoolers. Every year I do a really cute poem with their feet prints in a picture frame, but after, I don't know, five years, I need something new. So... after some Pinterest research I sort of morphed a few ideas into one. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Cow and the Curd Is "Not Costco" {Philly}

   The Cow and The Curd
  Okay, so last weekend was the annual June Fete, a big carnival held every year in Hatboro hosted by Abington Hospital. It's something sort of like a tradition for my husband who grew up there and went every year as a child. So, of course, we have to take our girls every year as well. We arrived with our wallets loaded with an 'arm and a leg' so the princesses could each ride a few rides and play a few games. We even ate dinner in the food tent and were livin' it up. While I was there, I passed by a new culinary concoction being served out of a truck, The Cow and the Curd. Apparently, it's some sort of deep fried cheese curd from the mid-west that drives around the Philadelphia area. I stood there, rather perplexed, trying to find a description (other than "Fried Cheese Curd") or a picture or even catch a glimpse of the food being transported by hungry individuals but every time I stopped while going from ride to ride, I just couldn't get a good look. So, right before we left, being the foodie that I am and loving to try new things, especially cheese related..and who doesn't love almost everything deep-fried? (I had never had or even heard of such a thing) I was on the precipice of forking over my hard earned 8 bucks (more than the cost of my cheeseburger and cheese fries combined, mind you) for a small portion of an appetizer. Yeah, I was almost ready. The only thing was, I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into. So, very politely when there were no customers standing at the window I walked over and sweetly (remember, I'm from the south so I always use manners when approaching people) asked "Excuse me, do you by chance give samples?" And do you know what the quote/unquote 'gentleman's' response was? (in not so nice of a tone) "No. We don't do that." Well, that's not too bad, right? I mean, I completely 'get' that. Not everyone DOES do samples, right? But of course, he didn't stop there. He just HAD to add, (in a very sarcastic, rude and condescending way) "We're not Costco." Um...seriously? Did you just say that? 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just Smile...

Some days, life just seems to get in the way. Do you ever feel like that? Like right now. I'm sitting in my bed, listening to my girls talk to each other....nicely...and giggle...and did I say, they were being nice? While here I am, stuck on my computer...writing about my lesson on The Cask of Amontillado that I taught 8th grade English a few weeks ago. This is for my third to last class before I do student teaching in the fall. And all I want to do is cry. (...hmm..I hear an Etta James song coming on)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Can you Walk and Roll?

Almost four years ago, two of my best friends welcomed to this world their second son. Now, where most of us parents have all the joys that motherhood (or fatherhood) bring in that miraculous moment you meet your new child, theirs was filled with uncertainty. Their son was born with the condition spina bifida. Basically, a portion of his spine never fully closed and his nerves were developing outside of his body. Before, Ciarlo (pronouned the Italian word 'ciao') was a day old, he was whisked away to surgery where they proceeded to close the hole. This little man either lost, or never had feeling below his hips due to the damaged spinal cord. Without getting too detailed, Ciarlo's life has seen its fair share of surgeries and trips to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) with many overnight stays. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Idol Finale 2014

Wow, so this season of American Idol was definitely different than years past. I don't know about you, but I've been watching the show since the first season when Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini went head to head. (minus about 3 seasons along the way) So for 10 of the thirteen seasons I've seen beginning to end. Though I've missed the original trio (Simon, Paula and Randy) the talent has always drawn me in and watching their journey is always fun. This year, though, I was super excited about the judges. They are all so talented and they are here, not just for our entertainment, but because they really care about the contestants. (the money doesn't hurt either) The banter and camaraderie among them was enjoyable to watch and they really seemed to have fun. In my opinion, these are the best judges Idol has seen. The talent this year though, was not as great as seasons past. And though I've liked Jena Irene and Alex Preston from the beginning, I didn't 'love' them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

(Sponsored Post) Animal Planet Monster Week

So, is anyone out there one of those people who loves to be freaked out? Have you ever watched something that makes you think about it for days afterwards? Yeah, when I saw the Blair Witch Project, that was me. Why do I do this to myself? I know I'm not the only one. How about you? Well, some of the Animal Planet's documentaries are completely like this. Have you ever watched any of them? Well, I hate to admit it, but several months ago, they totally 'got me' with their Mermaids: The Body Found. Seriously! Did any of you watch that? It was insanely convincing and I totally was sucked in to the episode! Until someone recently told me it was just entertainment, I was questioning whether they could be real. SMH...Okay, well Animal Planet has done it again. They've totally freaked me out with their new series this week. It ends on May 26 so you still have time to catch some of their latest shows. A different episode airs each night, sometimes two. One thing is for sure though, Animal Planet knows what they're doing with this stuff and they keep you glued to the t.v.. Tell me, are there any shows that you've loved on Animal Planet, or loved to hate? Anyone fooled by their well put together 'documentaries'? I'd love to hear from you...mostly so I don't feel so silly. Ha ha...Oh...and fyi...Shannon Doherty (anyone remember her?) yeah, she's in Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys...any 90210 or Charmed fans out there?

Friday, May 16, 2014

{Philly Love} Paint Nite

Okay, so....I know, I's either feast or famine 'round these parts lately, huh? You have no idea how stressed I've been. This class I'm taking is killing me! Now, I'm doubling up classes so I can do my student teaching this fall so...just a heads may get worse... That being said, I'm so excited to tell y'all about this great event that I went to with my mother in law and my sister in law. It's called Paint Nite! This group holds painting parties all around the Philadelphia area almost every night of the week. I saw their Groupon back when there was still snow on the know..two weeks kidding. (So glad to have warm weather!) We got these tickets for about 40% off the regular price which is $45. Now all we had to do was pick a locale and a painting that we all agreed upon. We ended up in the Manayunk section of the city at Mad River Bar and Grill, the day after the river flooded. Other than the musty smell from flood, we had a great time! 

They had an artist and all of the supplies provided and set up for us. He went step by step how to create the painting but gave everyone the freedom to do whatever the heck you want. It was so much fun! I wasn't in love with the green on green dots, so I opted to add a little blue, just to change it a little more towards my tastes. Some other people went WAY off pattern and painted something completely different. We all walked away with a great experience AND a lovely painting to hang up. I can't wait to go again! I'm thinking a double date OR a mommy/daughter date. Either way, it'll make for another fun night! Interested? Just go to and register. 

Disclaimer: I was not asked by PaintNite to promote their business nor compensated in any way. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Go See Mom's Night Out!

So, last week I was invited to see a pre-screening of the upcoming movie, Mom's Night Out produced by the same producers as October Baby. So I, along with a friend of mine got our husbands on Daddy Duty and headed out for a Mom's night out of our own. Let me just say, this movie was absolutely hilarious!! I honestly haven't laughed that much in quite some time. Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy), Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle), Sean Aston (Rudy, Lord of the Rings, The Goonies), Trace Adkins (Love him!) were so funny! They made real life comical including so many things that moms and dads go through. When I watched it, I felt like I was seeing myself on the big screen along with seeing actual conversations I've had with my husband play out before my eyes. The movie has a serious element where it speaks to the heart of motherhood and all the emotions (good or bad) that comes with it and may even make you cry (I did). I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone out there! It's funny and clean and great for the entire family!

My suggestion? Go see it! 
                               Take your spouse, take your girlfriends, go on a double date with another                                                        couple. I don't care how you see it...JUST GO!                                                                                    You won't regret it!

The movie comes out Mother's Day Weekend. Let me know if you see it. I'd love to hear how you liked it and what your favorite part was. All I'm going to say is mine was when Trace Adkins and Sarah Drew have a private'll know it when you see it.

Check out the video!

Disclaimer: While I was provided admission to view this movie, I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.

Monday, March 17, 2014

{DIY} Monogrammed Wreath


Alright, so I've seen lots of these types of wreaths on Pinterest and for some time now, I wanted to make one for our home. I had an old wreath with berries someone gave me but didn't love, so I took all the berries off so I could start with a clean slate. 

I then strung a piece of burlap to hang the wreath on. 

I used some floral wire to connect it and attach the bow to. You could also use a stapler for a cleaner look

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ambitious Must Be My Middle Name

So I was sitting here thinking about all the things I want to accomplish this summer. Just like that, with my finger on my cheek. I had so many ideas in my head I figured I had better write them down so I wouldn't forget anything. Mind you, I'm going to school part time and working on top of my normal wifely/motherly duties. So we shall see what I actually accomplish at the end of the summer. I really want to paint my house a tan/grayish color and though I have added that to my list, that costs quite a bit and Mr. Clean doesn't really want to do it himself so that may not even be an option yet.

My List of Projects for the warmer months:

  • Paint my long dress/mirror
  • Paint my blanket chest at the end of our bed
  • Paint Mr. Clean's tall dresser
  • Paint kitchen breakfast nook table/benches
  • Build Window boxes for my house
  • Bodie Island Lighthouse pallet art project
  • Paint shutters on house black OR build new ones
  • Sell current china cabinet, purchase new/old bigger one and paint it
  • Make mason jar wall sconces for living room
  • Bamboo trellis for my climbing rose bush
  • Paint my house
  • Plant day-lilies and hostas around the tree in my front yard.
  • Redo my bedroom closet
  • Paint the inside of my other cabinet with chalkboard paint and add hooks for measuring cups/spoons
  • Paint my daughter's room
  • Add shelves in my kitchen
  • Make shelves/cornices for my bedroom windows
  • Make pallet sofa/sectional for basement
  • Finish half-done 3/4 bathroom in my basement
  • Paint basement walls/rip up carpet and put down faux wood vinyl flooring
  • Install butcher block counter-tops in my kitchen...maybe

I'm sure the list will grow although I'm not sure how many of these I will actually tackle this summer. We shall see!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Easy Homemade Spanish Rice

So, if you haven't noticed...I tend to make a lot of Mexican food in my house. However, I usually buy packaged Knorr brand Spanish rice to go along with most of my Mexican dishes. Last week, though, the grocery store was all out. So I had to improvise. I looked up several recipes and then adapted it to make with the ingredients I like or had on hand. This is what I came up with. It may not be 100% authentic, but it certainly is closer than the prepackaged stuff I normally get. This recipe is pretty simple, and delicious! (fyi my phone is going crazy, so I ended up losing some of my pics.

1 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder

1. Heat oil in a pot or deep skillet. Add rice and cook until browned. 

Here's the rice all browned. 

2. Next, add the chicken stock, salt & pepper, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-25 minutes. 

Voila! Delicious Spanish Rice!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jiffy Greenhouse Review

So I have a bad case of the winter blues. I hate being stuck inside this long so I need things to look forward to....such as the spring. Though it doesn't look like it's coming to Philly any time soon I decided to get some of my plants going for my garden this year. Last year I started it at the end of March/beginning of April and the plants weren't ready in time. SO...lesson learned. I did some internet research on different seed starting methods and was hemming and hawing about whether to make my own (I've been saving toilet paper rolls for this and did it last year) or buy some. I found these Jiffy Greenhouse starters at Walmart for under $5. They have several sizes and I opted for 2 that hold 36 plants each. All I had to do was add water and Voila! The pots expanded and have a netting around each that can be planted right in the ground. What's also great is the lid! It is its own little greenhouse! How cool is that? Also, the directions are written right on the box and very simple to follow. All you do is add water. I planted mostly veggies and some perennial flowers in the one and my annuals in the other. I will let you know how it goes. So far, I think it's worth the five bucks. No messy soil, no cleanup! Love it! It was exciting because after 3 days my daisies were already sprouting!

Taking turns adding the water. 

After they expanded

Tip: I store my seed packets in an old recipe box. How do you store yours?

Stay tuned for updates! I'm excited that I won't have to spend a ton on flowers and veggies. Let's pray I don't kill my seedlings! lol

Overall, I am very happy with my Jiffy Greenhouse. I was not contacted by Jiffy in any way and am not being compensated for sharing my opinion. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

{DIY} Chalkboard Paint Inside Cabinet Doors

So, with all the snow we've gotten this winter...we've been snowed in...A LOT! Well, one of the days we were stuck indoors I got an itch to do something crafty. Since I had some leftover chalkboard paint I decided to paint the insides of my cabinet doors with it. I lightly sanded them, wiped them clean and then painted two coats. Now I have a great place to keep important info and now I won't have to have little papers stuck to the fridge cluttering it all up!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Welcome to A Ginger Mess" Giveaway

Alright, so in honor of my new space in the blogosphere, I am hosting a Giveaway!! Who doesn't love Starbucks?? Good luck everyone!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Make a Faux Boxwood Wreath

Hey, Yall! Today I have a great and simple DIY for ya! I love this project which was inspired by this pin on Pinterest. Instead of using real boxwood (which I don't have) I decided to go to A.C. Moore and purchase a boxwood garland. I ended up needing another garland and since A.C. Moore didn't have any more in stock, I had to go to Michaels. When comparing the two, the Michaels garland was actually much nicer because the faux stems were actually brown whereas the A.C. Moore garland was pretty much all green. The Michael's leaves were colored in a more authentic was as well. That being said, I mixed the two and am very pleased with how it turned out! 

Here's the garland. 

First, I bought a grapevine wreath for $2.99. Then I used a 40% off coupon and got the garland for about $7.50 each. On the A.C. Moore garland, there were these little loops every so often. That's where I cut it. Basically, I cut about every 6-8 inches. I also purchased florist wire for $1.99.  (I have a ton left over for future projects) Then, I used chevron burlap ribbon that I already had on hand that I had cut it in half long ways for a different project. I used it to make a bow, which I attached with wire. 

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