Crockpot Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

My boss turned me onto this recipe. It’s super yummy and so easy. It’s from the cookbook “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook”.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pound pork roast or tenderloin
  • 2 –  large red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Optional Toppings:
chopped green onions
chopped peanuts

Coat slow cooker with pan spray. Put all ingredients except peanut butter in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker, remove all fat, and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in slow cooker, stir well until PB is dissolved and blended in with the liquid. Add pork to sauce and toss to coat meat. Serve over hot rice.

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Chicken With Creamy Alfredo Sauce

When I was in Roatan this year we stayed at Casa Isabella. One of the great things about this place was the great food that Isabel made for us each and every day! One night she made this amazing chicken for dinner. I had to know what it was! She only told me “Lots of garlic, pan fry the chicken until it’s browned, then simmer in a jar of Mushroom Alfredo sauce until fully cooked”. Here is what I came up with – it’s super easy and really yummy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 2-4 chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 1 jar Mushroom Alfredo Sauce (I like the Classico brand)

Heat olive olive oil on a medium low heat. Lightly brown the garlic then. Turn heat up to medium high. dd the chicken chunks to pan and brown on boat sides (1-2 min on each side)

Once both sides are browned add Alfredo sauce to pan, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 min.

Serve over mashed potatoes or on pasta. It’s super easy and quick to throw together at the end of the day!

Carport Demo

We have lived in our house for almost 2 years. When we had the inspection done the biggest problem with the house was the carport. The carport was rotting, beyond repair, and we knew we would need to tear it down and rebuild it at some point. The first two winters we parked under the carport until sometime early this year we noticed this….

Not good…we decided it was probably no longer safe to park under. Tom shoved a 2×4 under the beam to help support it and this is what we have lived with for the last 6 months or so.

We have talked about tearing it down for a while. This week Tom said he wanted to get it done before the end of October. I called the city permit office and talked to them about getting a permit. I was under the impression that I would walk in, pay for a permit, and be on my way….boy was I wrong!

I know permits could be tricky when building things but I was hoping it would be easier to tear something down. The woman on the phone told me the process:

  • Hire someone to test the carport for asbestos
  • Contact Puget Sound Air Pollution Control to obtain a permit for demo. Apparently you have to get another permit from them since we will be polluting the air during the demo…LAME!!
  • Draw up a site map of our property – to scale – um…we don’t know how to do that!! Lucky for us my dad is a contractor – I called him up and he said he was happy to help us with the site map.
  • Take pictures to bring into the permit office
  • Bring everything into the permit office for their review.
  • Wait 1-2 days for their approval and to obtain the permit.
  • Begin project

I had NO idea it would be so many steps just to tear down the carport!!! We are planning to start the process so we can make it happen. We are worried if we leave the carport up it may collapse if we get heavy rain…since we live in the Pacific Northwest that is pretty much a given!! We want to make sure the structure is safe.

Our plan is to tear down the carport, but leave the storage shed intact for now. We are in the process of saving the $2,000-$3,000 we will need to rebuild it in the spring.

Hoping all the permit hoops are easy to jump through!!

Weekly Lunch Prep

Recently my daughter moved to a new class at daycare and now I have to pack her lunch. I am already super busy and didn’t want to pack lunch her a lunch every morning. I decided I would just prep everything in one day and then all I have to do is make a sandwich every night.

What I do is pack all the “sides” every Sunday afternoon/evening. I try to do a fruit, veggie, cracker and sometimes a string cheese.

I pack all her lunches in divider Tupperware containers and then I just make her a sandwich every night. You could probably do them ahead of time as well but I don’t because I’m worried about the sandwich getting soggy. If you don’t want to pack them in containers for the week you can pack everything in baggies and put them in a Tupperware to grab and throw in the lunch box each morning. Just a few examples of items I send – oranges, cheese, grapes, and carrots.

A couple alternatives to sandwiches I’ve done are to create my own Lunchable – I cut lunch meat, cheese and put crackers in her lunch. I have also thrown a piece of banana bread or pumpkin bread in instead of a sandwich. She loves it. She is a great eater and really loves veggies and fruit. Another thing she really loves are nuts! Try to think outside the box. If you need ideas Google it – there are a lot of great ideas out there!

One thing you may have noticed in the first picture are the heart shaped containers holding some of the sides. They are Wilton’s Silicone Baking Cups. They are made to make muffins and cupcakes. I got mine at Joann’s with a 40% off coupon for around $7.00. 12 come in a pack and they also have square ones that are blue and green.

Image Source

Image Source

Do you have an great lunch tips? Or other time saving tips you do during the school year??

Peanut Sesame Noodles

Last week I was craving the peanut sesame noodles my mom used to make when I was growing up. Lucky for me when I was in high school my mom typed all her recipes (with a word processor) and gave me a copy of all of them when I first moved out of the house.
Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Chicken Breast (thinly sliced and cooked)
  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti noodles, cooked as directed (sounds weird I know but really it’s yummy!!)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (or 1 1/2 tsp store-bought minced garlic)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced ginger root
  • 1 cup sliced cabbage
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce*

Tips:
* I forgot to buy the chili garlic sauce and made it without and it was still really good.
* Also you could add or remove veggies based on what your family likes!

Directions:
With the exception of boiling the noodles, I use one large pan to cook this entire meal . Cook chicken, remove from pan and place in a bowl. Chop veggies, combine in pan and add a couple of tablespoons water, cover with a lid. Steam veggies for a couple of minutes or until ALMOST cooked. You don’t want to over cook them or they will turn to mush…yuck!! While veggies are steaming combine sauce ingredients, and microwave for about 45 seconds to soften the peanut butter. Whisk vigorously to create sauce. Once the veggies are cooked add chicken and cooked noodles to veggies. Pour sauce over, mix everything together, and simmer for a couple of minutes to heat back up. The sauce should thicken after cooking.

This is really easy to make – serve with rice or pot stickers if you want. The left over are just as yummy!

Furnace Closet Makeover

Over the weekend I tackled our furnace closet. Ever since we moved in (TWO YEARS AGO!!) I knew this closet could be used as a great space to store cleaning supplies. But for the last two years it’s really just been a dumping ground for our vacuum and a few odds and ends.

I didn’t have to spend very much to make it all come together and I’m glad I put in the time to finish this project!

Supplies:

  • Paint – Free (already had on hand)
  • Towel Bar – $8 Big Lots
  • Coat rack – $12 Big Lots
  • Yarn – Free
  • Plastic Tubs – $2 Dollar Tree

= $20

I put 2 coats of paint on the walls with paint we had left over from when we moved in. Then I had my husband mount everything on the wall.

Then we installed the coat rack, towel bar and plastic tubs. I tied yarn to the Swiffer and broom to hang them.

Here is the before picture – a dumping ground for random stuff!

I was storing all my cleaning supplies in our pantry. It worked but I’m excited to have some extra space in my pantry!

As I was prepping the walls for paint I found this taped to the wall…instructions on how to service the furnace from 1980…when it was originally installed…the furnace is 5 years older then I am!! Here it is now…I love it! It’s super functional and organized. My husband was great hanging everything for me. Even a few hours later my husband said, “I really like that closet” that says a lot!!

Do you have some wasted space around your house that you could utilize for practical storage space?

Coat Closet Makeover

One of the latest trends for small houses seems to be turning a closet into an office space. I decided I wanted to turn our coat closet into my sewing nook. Originally I was going to do this in our spare room but then I decided I wouldn’t be able to use it as much when we have another kid. Also I didn’t want to be suck in the spare room all the time. Our coat closet is right in between our living room and dining room so I can still feel like I’m part of what’s going on while I work on my projects.

Last summer I found a wall mounted Ikea folding table at a garage sale for $5 and I knew it would make the perfect desk. Here is a breakdown of my supplies:

  • Ikea Wall Mounted folding table  – $5
  • Paint- Free (left at our house by the previous owner)
  • Extra Shelf – $10
  • Storage bins – $5
  • Chair – Free (already had)
  • Magnetic Knife Rack from Ikea – $9
  • Magnetic Storage Containers from Ikea – $5

Total Cost = $34!!

Here is the before picture(mostly Tom’s stuff)

We relocated the coats and shoes to our closet and the spare room closet and here is what it looks like now.

I painted it a bright sunny yellow so that the room would be cheerful! I didn’t want it to be dark since it’s such a small space.

I ran an extension cord from our dining room to get power to the closet. It works great!
Next closet makeover I’m going to tackle…the furnace closet. It has become a dumping ground for household items – light bulbs, vacuum, steam mop, dining table leaf, plunger, tool belt, tool kit. I have plans for it this weekend.

It started last night with patching this hole…not sure why it’s there but I’m pretty sure it’s easy access for spiders…eeeww!!

Kum Ba Yah My Lord….Kum Ba Yah {Printable}

Last weekend we went camping with some really great friends. This is our second annual Ross/Arceo camping trip. We went to Alta Lake State Park for the first time and absolutely LOVED it!! The weather was beautiful, the park was clean, the sites were great, and the lake was warm! They have  great little beach area for the kids to play and even have some swings. We had a blast and wished we could have stayed for a couple more days!

Here are a few pictures from our trip.


Ever year that I go camping I say that I’m going to make a camping checklist so this year I did it and thought I’d share it with you!

 

Click the link below for a printable PDF Camping Checklist!
Camping List 2011

So tell me, what are your favorite things to take camping – something that might be out of the ordinary??

Easy Lasagna

With the HUGE batch of spaghetti sauce I always make a lasagna to freeze. This is a great recipe because you make it with normal lasagna noodles and you don’t have to cook them first! It’s super easy and really yummy!

  • 4 cups of spaghetti sauce (if you don’t use this recipe use a sauce that has meat in it)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 – 12 ounce package of lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese

*If you like a really meaty lasagna you could add a layer of browned ground beef or ground sausage. Just note that it may add a little additional cooking time.

Combine sauce, water and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and layer hot sauce, uncooked lasagna noodles, cottage cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese ending with sauce than garnishing with the parmesan cheese.

To freeze just assemble the lasagna cover tightly with foil then freeze, do not cook this one first. When you are ready to bake it, pull the lasagna out the night before and put in your fridge. Let it thaw all day then bake at 375 for one hour (if it’s not completely thawed it may take more time). Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Habitat Restore

A couple of weeks ago I went to Habitat Restore and Earthwise with my friend Lisa.  Her and her husband are closing on first home in a couple of weeks and plan to update the house with only used items – she NEEDS to blog about this!! Anyways back to Habitat – I’ve been hearing a lot about Habitat Restore on different blogs so it was awesome to finally get to go.

The best way to describe these kind of stores is sort of a thrift store for home goods. They have salvage stuff, donated stuff, vintage stuff, and some new stuff at discounted prices. Here are a few pictures from Habitat Restore

Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures – I forgot my camera!!

Ton and tons of doors, interior and exterior

Cabinets – all different sizes and colors


Cabinet doors – $5.00 – drawer fronts – $2.50!!

Ton’s of appliances – new and used – this was a brand new cook top for $250 originally $500

Check out this awesome vintage stove!! Only $150 and in perfect shape!!

A couple of tips – you need to know what you’re looking for and be prepared to dig. Bring a measuring tape…you’ll probably need it!

I got a new interior door and some basic white tiles for $0.10 a piece!! I’m  planning to make some of these for Christmas gifts.

Here are links to the stores in the Seattle area

Habitat Restore – Seattle
Earthwise Salvage– Seattle
Restore – Ballard

Happy Hunting!