Thursday, January 24, 2013

Super Bowl Snack Off :: Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

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Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and that means food and fun!  Even though da-Bears won’t be playing this year, I’m sure we’ll be watching football somewhere that weekend.  I can almost guarantee it. 

What luck to be contacted by Wafair to participate in their Super Bowl Snack Off.  The rules?  Basically, come up with a great game day recipe to use in this awesome new Hamilton Beach Stay and Go slow cooker

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First of all, this baby has a lot of fun bells and whistles that my other slow cooker is lacking.  This is truly a slow cooker for parties and tailgating.

It has this snapping lid/rubber seal feature…

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to keep spills at bay.  And then these fold down handles…

Slow Cooker Ribs

….which make it perfect east storing too!

The slow cooker is already a much loved appliance in our house (see bottom of post for more recipes).  We even use it for parties to keep things warm when they come off the grill, like hot dogs.  For this Super Bowl Snack Off challenge, I was excited to try out a new recipe .  Something new to us, something yummy, something American and football.  RIBS!  Yep, ribs in a slow cooker.  Now, I’m sure that there are some grilling enthusiasts out there just balking at this idea, but it’s Illinois and it’s cold.  So why not find a way to make ribs indoors?

Now, I have to admit this was my first attempt at any sort of rib dish.  It always seemed so daunting…we watched a few too many episodes of Pitmasters.  Anyway, fear be gone!  This recipe is simple.  Plus, you still get that BBQ flavor and fall off the bone texture you want with ribs.  

First, you season your ribs the night before you want to cook them with this… 

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I personally love the McCormick’s Grill Mates Barbeque seasoning.  It has a smokey sweet flavor and I often use it on chicken and pork for the grill.  However, it also works great as a rub and gives an added flavor on top of the usual barbeque sauce.  If you do not have this, do not worry too much about it.  You could make your own rub or skip this step completely. 

So, I season, then cover the ribs overnight in the refrigerator.  The next morning, I broil them for 5 minutes or so on each side using the same baking sheet that I had them on overnight.

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Then you just put them in the slow cooker and cover them in a mixture of honey, barbeque sauce and a little more of the barbeque seasoning.

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After 8 hours on low you’ll have this…

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Remove them from the slow cooker…

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Brush on some more sauce…

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And it’s GAME DAY food time!

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

  • 5 lbs pork spare ribs
  • McCormick’s BBQ seasoning for rub, plus 1 Tablespoon for sauce ***see note below
  • 1 1/2 cups barbeque sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
  • 1/2 cup honey

Cut ribs in half or thirds so that they will fit in a slow cooker. Place ribs on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil for easier clean up. Sprinkle both sides ribs with BBQ seasoning or other seasoning of your choice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove plastic wrap and preheat broiler. Broil ribs for 5 minutes, then flip and broil the other side for 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, mix together barbeque sauce, honey and barbeque seasoning. Move ribs to slow cooker. Pour all but about 1/4 cup of the sauce mixture over the ribs and use tongs to get flip them and get them covered on all sides. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Transfer ribs to a plate.  Discard liquid in slow cooker.  Warm up reserved sauce and then brush onto cooked ribs. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe is easily adaptable to all kinds of ribs and sauces, so have fun playing with it a little.  I want to try some Korean style short ribs next.

Hope you all have a fun and safe Super Bowl Sunday!  Thanks to Wayfair for including me in this challenge!

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More slow cooker recipes:

 

Disclosure:  Wayfair sent a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go slow cooker for my review and a gift card to cover my recipe ingredients. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sabby’s Household Tips & Tricks :: Laundry

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I’ve never claimed to be an expert at this homemaking gig.  Nope.  I’m a constant student in this “field” and learn new things all the time.  From keeping a clean and organized home to meal planning and couponing, I’ve come a long way since the beginning of my stay at home mom journey.    Blogging and blog reading have been enormously helpful along with the Pinterest era.  So, I’ve decided that it might be helpful to share some of my favorite household tips and tricks with you guys.

First up in this new series:

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Laundry.  It happens.  And with a family of four that includes two boys who are in sports and two parents that frequent the gym, it happens A LOT!  Over the years I’ve come up with some strategies that work for our family and today I’d like to share them with you.  Why?  Well, that’s how we all learn great new ideas.  Plus, after talking with some of my neighborhood girlfriends, I realize that we all tackle laundry SO differently.  Again, this is just what works for us.

So what’s the key to my plan of attack on laundry???

Laundry Day!

Yes, I actually have just one day during the week that I do all of our laundry for the most part.  Shocking?  It is for a lot of my girlfriends and for families larger than ours, maybe this just wouldn’t work at all.  However, let me explain why this works before totally writing off this idea.

First of all, I HATE having clothes scattered in all different stages of laundry.  Some in the dryer, some in the washer, some ready to be put away etc.  By dedicating one day to be laundry day I don’t ever have that problem anymore.  It all gets done and put away in one day.  Sounds daunting?  Believe me, its not!  In fact, it keeps us way more organized and tidy.

How does this happen?  First, I gather all of the laundry, including bed sheets and bathroom towels, and quickly get a load started.  While that first load is already washing, I finish sorting my loads out into piles on the laundry room floor or in my empty baskets. 

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Then, I just continue to tackle it all throughout the day.  Usually I pick a day at the beginning of the week, lately its been Mondays.  Since I know I’ll be home most of the day, I plan a nice dinner and usually get some big cleaning chores out of the way too.  By dinner time, I have all of my laundry done for the week, sorted into baskets for each bedroom. 

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Yes, I’m sure you haven’t seen a forest green laundry basket since the 90’s, but the thing is unbreakable and still works.  It was a high school graduation gift!  Honest.  Class of 1995!

Moving on…The kids get home from school and take their laundry up to their rooms to put it all away.

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They bring the empty baskets back downstairs and we’re done!  Now, I admit we have our off weeks.  Sometimes D and I are busy and I our basket of clean clothes might sit in our room for a few days untouched.  Sometimes, we just HAVE to have a special pair of perfectly fitting jeans that make our rears looks pounds lighter cleaned on a Friday.  No biggie!  Because for the most part, Laundry Day works great for us and maybe it can work for you too!

Helpful hints:

  • You must have separate hampers in each room = 3 hampers.  I bought these easy to carry mesh ones from Walmart for the boys’ and a rattan one for us.  All of them have handles.  They keep the dirty clothes off the floor and in an easy to see and easy to use hamper.  No excuses!
  • You need separate baskets for folding for each room to make putting clothes away a snap.
  • While folding, I stack clothes according to how they will be put away, ie. stacks of underwear, paired socks, stacks of jeans.  This makes it really easy for my youngest in particular.  He just takes his stack of whatever and puts it away.  If he had it all mixed together he might just freak.  He’s SO my child. 
  • Loads – yes I separate my stuff.  Shoot me.  Jeans don’t need to wrestle with my pretty undies, m’kay? 
  • Buying detergent you love in bulk.  I’ve tried several different types of detergents and have had some major disappointments.  Some clothes literally coming out of the wash cycle still smelling of sweat. YUCK!  So, when I see a good sale and have coupons, I stock up as much as I can.  This saves money and we always have detergent handy.
  • Skipping softener…sometimes.  I’ve been kind of weaning myself off of softener lately.  I seem to use it when I wash our living room blankets just to freshen them up a bit.  However, I really don’t ever use it on clothes anymore.  Money saver!
  • Get the kids involved!  I’ve slowly been getting my kids involved in the laundry process, but a lot of it happens while they’re at school.  If they are around, I set them to tasks like sock sorting.

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He looks a little too eager here I know.  It’s not always the case for sure, but they can and do help. 

So, what about you guys?  How do the tackle the dreaded mounds of laundry?  I’d LOVE to hear from you all and get even more ideas in my routine.  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Also, if you like my laundry room be sure to check out my laundry room redo!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

All You Need Is Love…

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Hey everyone! Can you believe we’re almost to Valentine’s Day?  We’re getting some pretty chilly weather here today so I thought I’d share a little printable with you all to warm you up!

I’m  HUGE Beatles fan and this is one of my favorite songs.  I printed the image out on 8.5x11 card stock and put it in my “seasonal” 8x10 frame. 

You can download this PDF file HERE or click the image above. 

Click HERE, HERE or HERE to check out more of my seasonal frame ideas.

Happy Valentine’s Day a little early!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The 2nd Annual WOWN Holiday Photo Shoot!

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For those of you that are new to my blog, I’m blessed to hang out with some wonderful ladies in my neighborhood.  Somewhere along the way we became known as the WOW group, as in the “Women of W******”, the name of our neighborhood.  Then we added someone from outside of the hood.  We even had a fun shower for her bambino.  Her name starts with an N…hence WOWN. Genius, I know, but it stuck and the rest is history.

Anywho, last year we had such a fun time doing mini photo shoots for Christmas with all of their families, that we just had to do it again.

Here’s neighbor Katie’s beautiful gals…

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They’ve been my little muses since the beginning and it such a nice change from shooting two boys all the time.  I’m sure my boys feel the same way actually. 

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With the exception of the background color, I pretty much used the same set up as last year.  I wasn’t certain about the black backdrop, but boy did it turn out great!  The kids really popped and it was such a warm cozy look. 

Here are some more of my favorites…

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And if I had to pick a favorite…

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There is just something about the above picture that is perfect to me.  The red with the black background and her perfect eyes.  I don’t know, but if I had to pick just one that would be it. 

Luckily I don’t have to pick just one, because there are SO many great ones.  Like this…

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She’s a daughter of a gym friend of mine that’s outside the WOWN group.  We had planned on outdoor photos, but the weather just didn’t work for us this fall.  So, we added their family to the Christmas shoot and it all worked out really well.  Not going to lie, I love these pictures with the missing teeth.  Those are moments that every parent/kid should have immortalized.

Her parents are pretty cute too don’t you think?

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Oh and we added yet another family this year too!  Katie’s sister was able to come to town with her three little ones.  Her daughter is just so sweet…

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This post is getting a little picture heavy so if you’re interested in seeing more images from this shoot, check out my Sabby In Suburbia Facebook page!

Thanks to all my lovely WOWN friends and the “B” Family for letting me capture your families this holiday season!  It’s always an honor and so much fun!

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