Baby Got Back (Ribs)

I made this on New Years Eve for Bill this year. And I made it again a week later. He was so stoked on this stuff. Aren't I such a noble vegetarian housewife??? Ribs are one of the creepiest things in the world to be. But, husband loves them.
Don't most dudes?
Anyway, I just slapped on some rubber gloves and got to it. These are made low and slow, in the oven. I hunted down a recipe from Alton Brown on the Food Network website. I heart him.
I want to make this again soon and play with the ingredients, trying apple cider and cider vinegar....

2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs
Dry Rub
8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning (I couldn't find this, so I left it out.)
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Braising Liquid1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour.

2. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

3. Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours (or more if you want it to really fall off the bone.)

4. Transfer the braising liquid into a medium sauce pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. (I had trouble here both times and ended up adding cornstarch and water to thicken it up.)

5. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.

Original Recipe from Alton Brown found here: Who Loves Ya Baby-Back

I'm Linking To These Rockin' Parties
Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime
Mad Skills Monday at Super Stinky Boys
Making Mondays Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T.
Craft-O-Maniac Monday at Craft-O-Maniac
Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou
Made With Love Monday at Sew Chatty
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Youre So Very Creative at Me Making Do
Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Letting The Creative Tuesday Juices Flow at These Creative Juices
Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just A Housewife
Anything Related at All Thingz Related
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts


Jack's Birthday Party

The boys are finally rounding a corner on their 2nd flu and croup. It's been an EXHAUSTING week around here.

I thought I'd take a minute to show you guys a bit of Jackson's 4th birthday party. You know, the one we had in between flu1 and flu2? Yeah.

So obviously I didn't get to craft all the things I wanted to for his party. I had plans for all kinds of cute things, but just didn't have the time and energy to pull them off. It was still a success though, because Jack had a huge smile on his face, and everyone had happy bellies and a sugar buzz.
I'll be posting recipes soon for the goodies.

 Mini BFF's
 Trying to keep him from blowing it out for the 3rd time.

 Sugar High
 Bowling Daddy
 Happy Boy

You'd never know that in just 5 hours, both my boys would wake up with a 103 fever. Again.


Deja Vu?

I know. You feel like you are having flashbacks, right? Me too man, me.to.

After 6 healthy days, the kids are both sick again. At about 10:30pm, Sunday night (after Jack's birthday party,) they both woke up with fevers.
Nathan has Croup, AGAIN, and Jackson has the flu. Again.

Poor little Nathan sounds like a seal, and Jackson has forgotten how to aim for the bowl. I totally had to Google "how to clean vomit out of carpet" at 2am last night.

I am exhausted. 2 weeks ago when they had the flu, it lasted a WEEK. Here's hoping this one ends fast.


Lemon Risotto

I love risotto. Do you love risotto? This was my first attempt at making it. It was easier than I thought it would be, it just takes a little time and patience. (Which was difficult at 4pm with the children running amok.) But, I did it! and you should too.
I've also since made a Parmesan risotto I might share with y'all too. But for now, start here....

1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 cup Arborio rice
2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, a couple of handfuls
     (I used fresh grated parmesan instead and it worked out nicely)
2 tablespoons slivered mint leaves
A handful basil tops, shredded or torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large pot, heat the stock and 2 cups water over medium low heat.

2. In a risotto pot or large skillet with a rounded bottom, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute to soften 3 to 4 minutes Stir in the rice and add the zest of 1 lemon.

3. Heat the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add in the hot stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, to develop the starch and the creamy aspect. Total cooking time will be about 18 minutes or so. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges. 

4. When rice is cooked to al dente, stir in the butter, lemon sections, juice of 1 lemon, the cheese and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.
Via Rachael Ray's Look & Cook

I'm linking to these rockin' parties:
Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T.
Mad Skills Monday at Super Stinky Boys
Craft-O-Maniac Monday at Craft-O-Maniac
Youre So Very Creative at Me Making Do
Life Made Lovely Monday at Blessed Little Nest
Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou


Whatever Jackson Wants....

I had to share Jackson's birthday cake with you guys. He was quite specific in his request, so I did my best to give him exactly what he wanted....
A 4 tiered strawberry cake with chocolate buttercream, a blue "J" on top and sprinkles on the bottom.

Seriously you guys, FOUR LAYERS. And I used 8 inch rounds so it was crazy tall.


Happy Birthday To My Baby Boy

Today, my little man is turning 4. FOUR you guys! When did that happen???

Our planned-unplanned first child, Jackson will always be the apple of my eye. He is our free spirit. He'd rather discuss heart rythms and muscle tissue than recite his ABC's. He refuses to sleep in a bed. He's my line cook and Sous Chef. He's a doting big brother and always the center of attention. Lover of blankies and all things snuggly. Mini Un-schooler. Non preschooler. Daycare free. Full of love.

He makes us laugh.

To celebrate Jack today, I invite you to come take a peek at his beginning.
Go to NicoleDixon.com and click on the Birth tab.
There you can read a short blurb by me and see the photos that document my labor and delivery.

Then come back and tell me how you liked it.

Happy Birthday Jackson Troy!
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
 As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."


Rocker Love

I've been featured a couple of new places this week for the beer cheese dip recipe. I'm excited!! =) Thank you ladies!!
You guys should definitely take a second to check out these 2 great blogs.

flexible dreams

So....who's making beer cheese dip for their "Super Bowl" party?


Orange Balsamic Chicken

This is a new little diddy that came out of one of the many cookbooks Bill got me for Christmas. It went over well... so, into the rotation it goes! Even the baby enjoyed it. (But really, that kid eats ANYTHING.)
I've been enjoying the leftover marmalade on toast =) Being a vegetarian rocks.

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts or any combination of light and dark meat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
4 cups baby arugula

1. In a large pan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high to high heat.

2. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. When the oil is hot and ripples, add the chicken and brown for 5 minutes, then turn and sprinkle with rosemary. Cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the marmalade, vinegar and stock and pour over the chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and becomes a thin glaze. Add the scallions during the last minute of cooking time. Arrange on a serving platter and serve topped with arugula greens.
Via Rachael Ray's Look & Cook

I'm Linking To These Rockin' Parties
Mad Skills Monday at Super Stinky Boys
Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T.
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Craft-O-Maniac Monday at Craft-O-Maniac
Mad Skills at Mad In Crafts
Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou
Show My What Ya Got at Not Just A Housewife
Hoo's Got Talent at Night Owl Crafting
Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime


The Plague

This is the scene from our living room for the past 3 days. Temps of 104. Puke Bowls. Refusing to eat or drink. Listless babies.


Beer Cheese Dip

I made this for the first time as a snack for Bill's surprise birthday party. I remember a beer cheese soup my mom made when I was a kid and for YEARS it's been on my mind. I was wracking my brain to create a Dude-Friendly menu for the party and "beer" and "cheese" were obviously part of that. So I went on a hunt, combining a few recipes I saw to come up with this.
A couple weeks ago, Bill mentioned he had never even gotten to try it. (People were shoveling this down like crazy. I went through 2 bags of soft pretzels and a bag of tortilla chips serving it. SUCCESS!)
I made it again on New Years Eve and we snuggled on the couch sipping drinks and eating dip after the kids went to sleep. It was awesome.

4 -5 green onions, minced
2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
16 ounces (one block) Velveeta cheese
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
a few dashes of Tabasco sauce
12 ounces (one can) of your favorite beer.

1.  In a slow cooker bowl, combine cream cheese, Velveeta, garlic powder, Tabasco and pepper flakes. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
2.  Remove from microwave and stir to combine. Add green onions and heat another 3 minutes, or until melted.
3. Remove and set in slow cooker on low setting and add beer. Stir well. Dip should be ready to eat in 20-30 minutes. Serve with soft pretzels or tortilla chips.

Mad Skills Monday at Super Stinky Boys
Your So Very Creative at Me Making Do
Mad Skills Link Party at Mad In Crafts
Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T.
Craft-O-Maniac Monday at Craft-O-Maniac
Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou
Made With Love Monday at Sew Chatty
Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just A Housewife
Anything Related Tuesday at All Thingz Related
Pajama Party at Life In My PJ's
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Hoo's Got Talent at Night Owl Crafting
Creative Juice Thursday at Momnivore's Dilemma
Saturday Soiree at A Little Lovely
Sundae Scoop at I <3 Naptime
I'm Lovin' It at Tidy Mom
Fun With Food Friday at Paisley Passions


Flashback Friday

We were so rock and roll.

Me rocking 2 belts, husband in the back, with the mohawk.

Me and my bones

Me on the right.

Husband looking mad sexy on the right

Husband looking mad sexy x2 on the left

Husband rocking out

Just so you all recognize how long Husband has been bringing the rock

They called us Sid & Nancy....

Flashback With Us!


Ranch Pork Chops and Rice

I pulled this recipe from Campbell's Kitchen.com a few months ago. Bill really likes this dish and it's super easy to boot.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick (about 1 pound)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup milk
1 package (1 ounce) dry ranch salad dressing mix
1 cup regular long-grain white rice

1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until well browned on both sides.

2. Stir the soup, milk and 1/2 package salad dressing mix in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

3. Heat 2 1/4 cups water and the remaining salad dressing mix in a saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.  Stir in 1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice and cook according to the package directions.

4. Sprinkle pork chops with the paprika before serving.

I'm linking to these Rockin' parties:
Mostly Made By You at Mostly Food And Crafts
Cheap Thrills Thursday at Black Kat's Design
Hoo's Got Talent at Night Owl Crafting
Creative Juice Thursday at Momnivore's Dilemma
Strut Your Stuff at Somewhat Simple
Fun With Food Friday at Paisley Passions
Fun Friday Finds at Kojo Designs


Cocount-Crumble Sweet Potatoes

I pulled this recipe out of an American Profile magazine about 4 years ago. I remember sitting in the doctors office when we were living in Salisbury, NC and wondering how conspicuous it would be to rip the recipe out of the page while in the waiting room.

I'm pretty glad I did.
I'm such a rebel..... 

2 eggs
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes OR one 40oz can sweet potatoes, rinsed, drained and mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup butter, melted and divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8 inch square baking dish.
2. Place eggs in a large bowl and beat well. Add sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, condensed milk, 1/3 cup butter and vanilla; mix well. Spoon into baking dish.
3. Combine coconut, brown sugar, flour and remaining butter in a medium bowl. Stir until well blended, then sprinkle over sweet potatoes.
4. Bake, uncovered 35-45 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
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