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Thursday
Dec242015

14 Crock-Pot Dishes for Potlucks

Throwing a party can be serious business, so it's good to find shortcuts whenever possible. I love using my slow cooker to simmer up dips, side dishes, desserts, and more. The recipes I follow require very little attention and always end up tasting great, so consider adding one of these Crock-Pot dishes to your next party menu!

1. SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP

Making spinach artichoke dip is a breeze in the pot. Toss together artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, milk, feta, mayo, cream cheese, and seasonings. Cook on low for two hours and stir.

2. QUESO DIP

Here's a copycat recipe of Chili's queso dip that all your guests will enjoy. And it takes just five minutes of prep. Combine Velveeta cheese with milk, cayenne pepper, paprika, canned chili, and a few more spices for just one to two hours.

3. CHEESE FONDUE

You can use white grape juice or white wine for this irresistible cheese fondue recipe. The rest is a mixture of shredded Swiss, Emmental, and Gruyere cheeses, flour, nutmeg, and garlic. Don't forget to warm your pot before adding the cheese — it'll melt faster that way.

4. CHOCOLATE FONDUE

Surprise your guests with s'mores fondue in the pot. You'll need milk chocolate chips, marshmallows, whipping cream, and graham crackers or fresh fruit for dipping. Combine all ingredients and cook for around two hours on low.

5. CHEX MIX

Or cook up a crispy Chex mix snack. You'll need a mix of corn, rice, and wheat Chex with pretzels, oat cereal, peanuts, butter, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Cook for three hours, stirring occasionally, then let cool on baking sheets before serving.

6. HOT DOGS

Did you know you can fit 60 hot dogs in a six quart slow cooker? Stack them vertically, cook on low for four hours (or high for two hours), and you'll have enough hot dogs to feed a hungry crowd.

7. MEATBALLS

These three-ingredient Crock-Pot meatballs come together in a flash. You'll need frozen meatballs, grape jelly, and BBQ sauce. Stir the sauces together before adding the meat and cook for three hours.

8. SEVEN LAYER DIP

You can even make seven layer dip in your pot. Pile refried beans, diced green chilis, ground beef, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, olives, and more in your cooker and heat on low for two hours. Vegetarians could experiment with meat substitute — like TVP or tempeh — in place of the meat.

9. CORN ON THE COB

If your grill space is limited, try cooking your corn on the cob indoors. You'll wrap the corn in foil packets with whatever seasonings you like best. From experience, I love adding basil, salt, and pepper to mine, so the pesto variety looks amazing.

10. BAKED BEANS

These vegetarian bourbon maple Baked beans take some extra time, but the taste is well worth the effort. You'll soak a pound of dried white or navy beans overnight, then combine them with bourbon, maple syrup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and some other sauces and spices. Cook for around 12 hours for the best results.

11. GARLIC BREAD

Many guests like a good side of carbs with their meals. Serve them thisgarlic Parmesan pull-apart bread. You can even make it easy by using store-bought biscuit dough. You'll cut each biscuit into six pieces before coating in a butter and garlic mixture. Bake in your Crock-Pot for two to three hours on low.

12. PULLED PORK

You can use this pulled pork in sandwiches, soft tacos, or whatever else you like. Just take pork shoulder and combine it with spices, sauces, and other seasonings in your slow cooker. Set the temperature to low for eight hours. Pork is done when it shreds easily using a fork.

13. UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Satisfy your friends' sugar cravings with this pineapple upside down cake. You'll layer the bottom of your crock pot with canned pineapple and maraschino cherries. Then top with some yellow cake mix batter and bake for three hours on high.

14. BUFFALO WINGS

Or jazz up game night with these Crock-Pot Buffalo wings. Coat frozen wings in a delicious sauce before cooking for four hours. You'll then take the wings out of the pot and brown them in your oven for 20 minutes. Serve with a peppery hot sauce.

Source: Wisebread.com

Tuesday
Dec082015

37 Clever Ways to Organize with Ikea

Here are 37 clever ways to organize with stuff from Ikea! From Buzzfeed.com.

 

Sunday
Dec062015

21 Pottery Barn-Inspired DIY

Find out how to make these Pottery Barn-inspired DIY here.

 

Saturday
Dec052015

1 and Done? #TheStorkOTC

Back in 2001, at the age of 26, I easily got pregnant. I thought the 2nd child would arrive within 4-5 years of my first, Cameron, but it never happened. My son Cam is now 13.

I always thought I'd have another child but it never seemed to happen. I am now in my late 30s and don't know if my time is out or not. 

It has honestly been a depressing journey. I've had other health problems during my 30's as well, putting having another child to the backburner.

Then I heard about the Stork OTC, first and only conception assistance device to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s strict requirements and be cleared for over-the-counter sales, without a prescription, The Stork OTC is the product of years of meticulous design and testing.

The FDA cleared The Stork OTC for help with common fertility difficulties such as:

  • ·       Motility issues with sperm
  • ·       Diminished sperm count (low sperm count)
  • ·       Unfavorable vaginal environment
  • ·       Unexplained infertility

 

With my research, I learned that it is safe and easy to collect the sperm during intercourse and then place the cervical cap. Semen collection is similar to using a condom, and insertion and removal of the cervical cap are similar to using a tampon.

In my case, as my dr. has told me, woman's fertility declines rapidly every year after age 30.  An infertility diagnosis comes after 12 months of unprotected sex for women under 35; six months for women 35 and older. The Stork OTC is an option couples can try this month, whether they are just starting or have been actively trying to conceive for longer; every cycle counts.

The Stork OTC offers a simple way to optimize chances for conception, in the privacy of home, and a price point ($79.99/single-use device) that is far less costly than invasive procedures such as IUI, IVF, etc.--procedures often not covered by insurance, and that many simply cannot afford. Cervical cap insemination has a recorded success rate of around 20%, which is comparable to IUI, at a fraction of the cost. IVF is not always the best option, or the most cost effective. With 85% of participants, the Stork OTC delivered a 3.23x higher value of sperm concentration at the cervix compared to the value of sperm concentration with natural intercourse.

Want to keep chatting about this important topic? 

JOIN US! The Stork OTC Twitter Chat

http://vite.io/thestorkotc

When the journey to starting or adding to a family is a difficult one, we know that can put a strain on daily life. Join us in our special one-hour chat as we discuss tips for conceiving naturally and what you can do when that doesn’t seem to be working. We’ll share information on how The Stork OTC, a new treatment option FDA-cleared for home-use without a prescription can help in a non-invasive and cost-effective way. 

TWITTER PARTY:

During our final chat of this series, you’ll also have a chance to win $25 gift cards to CVS/pharmacy by answering some trivia questions. And as a grand prize, we’ll be giving away a $50 CVS/pharmacy gift card and a trial of The Stork OTC! For more information on The Stork OTC, please visit their website

Hosts: @TheMotherhood, @TMChatHost, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann 

Sponsor: @StorkbyRinovum

 

 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Nov122015

Oreo Custom Pack

Oreo colorfilled 2

For a limited time, you can order an Oreo Colorfilled pack ($15) that you can digitally customize or hand draw, and Oreo will print your customized package, so you can really let your creativity roam free. Here’s how it works: Choose from black-and-white holiday art and fill in the canvas with colors and accessories of your choice.

Monday
Nov092015

Cool Find: Keurig Kold

I want one! We would use this all the time!
According to their web site: Keurig Green Mountain, which has changed the way consumers enjoy coffee and tea over the last decade through its single-serve, pod-based home brewing systems, is turning its attention to chilled beverages this week with the launch of its Keurig® KOLD™ drinkmaking system.
It retails for $379 on Amazon.Get Your Deal!

 

Wednesday
Sep232015

Check Your Baking Ingredients

Every fall, many supermarkets put baking supplies on rock-bottom prices. Look for deals on marshmallows, sweetened condensed milk, dates and nuts.

 

Baking powder. Store in a tightly lidded container; 18 months unopened, six months opened.

Baking soda. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place; good for two years unopened, six months opened.

Brown sugar. Store in freezer, and use within six months, opened or unopened.

Butter. Comes two ways: salted and unsalted. Salt is added for flavor and as a preservative so it will have a longer shelf life. Salted lasts up to five months refrigerated; unsalted has a short shelf life of about three months in the refrigerator. If you do not plan to use unsalted butter right away, it is best to freeze it. When properly wrapped so it won’t pick up any odors, butter can be frozen for around six months. It’s best to defrost butter over-night in the refrigerator.

Canned evaporated milk. Store unopened on the pantry shelf for up to six months. Best to check the “use by” date on the product. After this time, it will not turn sour, but it will turn yellow and lose its flavor.

Chocolate chips. Store in cupboard at room temperature; 18-24 months unopened, one year if opened. I can attest to the fact that chocolate chips will last what seems like forever in the freezer. They may get a white haze, but this will not affect the taste use in baking.

Cooking oils. Store on pantry shelves at room temperature; good for up to a year; check if still good with the smell test. Oils can become rancid.

Eggs. Properly stored in the refrigerator, fresh eggs are good for four to five weeks past the “sell by” date.

Extracts. Expect these to last up to three or four years when kept at room temperature.

Flour. Store in freezer. Unopened flour lasts for up to a year; opened, six to eight months. Whole wheat flour is good for up to a year unopened, but use within six months if opened so the oil doesn’t dry out.

Granulated sugar. Store in cool, dry place; good for two years unopened; use within six months if opened.

Karo syrup. ACH Food Companies, Inc., the conglomerate that owns and markets Karo syrup, says that it is safe for consumption for an indefinite period of time whether it has been opened or not. I know, kinda’ creepy, but that’s the fact. Light corn syrup may turn slightly yellow with age, but this is normal and not harmful. Storage conditions affect product quality. Before or after opening, Karo syrup may be stored at room temperature. Bottles may be refrigerated after opening; however, the syrup will be thicker and slower to pour. 

Marshmallow creme. Store at room temperature for four months unopened; store in refrigerator once opened and use within two months.

Marshmallows. Keep in an airtight container on the pantry shelf; good for three months.

Molasses. Store unopened in a cool, dark place for one year; store opened for six months in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator. Make sure the lid is tightly sealed.

Powdered sugar. Store in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator); good for eighteen months unopened.

Pure vanilla extract. Store at room temperature; as long as it is pure, it has an indefinite shelf life. In fact, it even gets better with age.

Raisins. Up to three years stored on pantry shelf at temperatures up to 80 F. Can be refrigerated.

Shortening. Store on shelf at room temperature. Unopened, shortening lasts up to a year; opened, three to four months until it turns rancid.

Spices, ground. Store in a cool, dry place for two to three years. Here’s a tip to extend the shelf life: Don’t measure or sprinkle spices over a boiling pot. The steam from the pot will hasten the loss of flavor for what spice remains in the bottle. Measure spices into a bowl beforehand and then add them to the pot. Note: Paprika and cayenne pepper should be refrigerated.

Spices, whole. Whole and ground spices don’t spoil, they just lose their strength. Store in a cool, dry place for two to four years.

Sweetened condensed milk. Store in a dry, clean and cool place; good for one year unopened; invert can every two months. Carnation does not recommend using sweetened condensed milk past its “best before date” for quality reasons.

Monday
Sep212015

9 Money Secrets of the Amish

Here are nine money secrets from the Amish lifestyle that you'll find fascinating — and hopefully educational, too.

1. THEY AVOID DEBT AND CREDIT CARDS

While some Amish will indeed use credit cards for the reward points and convenience, the number who actually carry plastic is only in the 20% range. Most pay for things as they buy them in order to avoid any debt. They also live by the rule of always paying someone on time. According to Amish Bishop Ephraim Lapp, "To pay someone on time is an extension of the commandment 'Do not steal.' If it's due on the 10th and you pay it on the 15th, you are stealing that man's money for five days."

Also, the Amish focus on whether an item is a need or a want, and they teach their children the value of deciphering between the two in order to avoid unnecessary debt. By instilling this philosophy into their children from an early age, they raise appreciative kids who value the things theydo have.

2. THEY GROW THEIR OWN FOOD

The Amish grow almost all of their own meats and vegetables and not only save significant money, but serve much healthier meals in the process. While raising your own cattle and pork is simply not an option for everyone, you need very little space to start a small garden or herb box of your own.

3. THEY MAKE SAVING A PRIORITY

While the average American saves in the 5% range, the average Amish adult saves close to 20% of their monthly income. Savings becomes a way of life for the Amish and creates a sense of financial independence. Knowing that you owe money to no one, and are actually accruing interest on your savings, is something most Amish cherish.

4. THEY AVOID GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS

The idea of receiving food stamps, a welfare check, or government handouts is something the Amish frown upon. Part of this philosophy can be tied to their self-sufficiency and strong community which believes in helping each other when someone is having a rough spell financially.

5. THEY VALUE EXPERIENCES ABOVE "THINGS"

When the Amish do make a purchase, they make sure the item provides value and is of high-quality, even if the item costs more upfront. Rarely, if ever, do they fall victim to flashy marketing campaigns designed to separate you from your money. They have the proper perspective when it comes to material things, and they place a high value on experiences and personal relationships.

6. THEY ARE SMART BUSINESS OWNERS

According to Erik Wesner, who wrote the book An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive, Amish small businesses have a survival rate hovering around 95%, compared to a 50% success rate for non-Amish. The reasoning has to do with leadership techniques and a strong work ethic. Business owners don't simply delegate all of the work and sit back and count the cash. Instead, they work right alongside new hires and create a sense of credibility with employees and customers, alike.

7. THEY RARELY WASTE ANYTHING AND FIX EVERYTHING

Frugality and resourcefulness is a way of life for the Amish. Clothing that is worn beyond use is cut for rags, and broken tools are fixed before the thought of being discarded enters the conversation. Part of their philosophy has to do with everything having a purpose and they don't succumb to the desire of wanting the newest fashion line or brand. The admirable decision to delay gratification creates wealth that can be used for significant purchases like farms, homes, and cattle. All purchases that can actually add to long-term happiness and financial security.

8. THEY BUY IN BULK

The Amish are famous for buying goods in bulk, both as a way to save money via quantity discounts, but also as an affordable way to feed a large number of mouths. Remember, most Amish families have several children in the home, and thus are cooking large meals. When I say "bulk buying," I'm talking about more than an average trip to Costco. Amish families regularly buy rolled oats in 50 pound sacks, 400 pound bags of flour, and 200 pound bags of sugar. While these amounts are simply not feasible for most families, there is no doubt that buying bulk items, in reasonable amounts, is a great way to save money.

9. THEY RARELY PAY RETAIL

Because of the large family size in most Amish homes, they "shop smart" and consider thrift stores, salvage stores, and auctions as the most practical way to stock up on clothing, tools, and household items.The idea of paying full-price for an item is something the Amish avoid as they realize the value of buying high-quality used items at a discount, especially if they can repair items to "like-new" condition for free.

Despite contrary belief, many Amish families will shop at a local Walmart if one is nearby. They take advantage of the low prices and bulk sizes available in many locations. According to Amish America, "Amish do not have moral issues with shopping at large retailers, viewing it as a matter of practicality and economy. It is not uncommon to see long rows of Amish buggies lined up at the buggy rails outside of Walmarts and other stores in Amish areas, and to frequently find Amish shoppers in the aisles."

By taking an inside glimpse at the Amish lifestyle and how they handle their money, we can learn some pretty cool tools on handling our own finances. Tools that can undoubtedly help you spend less, save more, and put money in the proper perspective.

Source: Wisebread.com