Crock Pot Smothered Pork Chops

Sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking in the evening.  And for that, I like to have a bank of crock pot recipes to pull from.  When I saw this pork chop recipe I was happy to try it since I really didn’t feel like cooking.  You will need:

  • Pork Chops
  • Onion Soup Packet
  • Gravy Packet
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Chicken Broth

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum board.

Smothered Pork Chops

Review

There’s very little to preparing this recipe.  All you need to do is dump everything in, mix it up a little, and turn on the slow cooker.  You don’t even need to worry about the lumps when you mix it.  They all go away by the time dinner is ready!  This is seriously a dump and leave it recipe, and I love that simplicity.

As for taste, the first time around it was a little bit salty for my liking.  (However, I tend to not be a fan of salt in general, so you might be fine with the salt level.)  I cut out the garlic powder and added minced garlic the second time, and made sure that I picked the lower sodium options when available.  The second time it was perfect.  And since the second time there has been a third and fourth time!  This recipe is definitely in the regular rotation.  Simple and delicious-what more could you want?

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Overnight French Toast

Really good French toast is a favorite breakfast of mine.  Mediocre French toast?  Not so much.  However, that never stops me from trying out all the French toast recipes I come across.  For this recipe you will need:

  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Milk

Find the full recipe here, or check out my pin on my Breakfast board.

Overnight French Toast

Review

As always, I had to change things.  I used regular bread because there was no Texas toast at the store, and I used soy milk instead of regular.  And, since it’s just two of us, I halved the recipe.  I was really worried that the change in bread thickness would mean that my French toast would be soggy. I was surprised to find that was not the case.  Honestly, this makes me think that using the thicker bread would mean a drier result.  I also found that the layer of sugar and butter at the bottom meant that there was only that sweetness if your bite included some of the bottom.

Overall I was not impressed by this recipe.  You prepare it the night before, but it needs to bake for 45 minutes in the morning, which felt like a long time to me.  I had to do it on a weekend because we wouldn’t have been able to eat it otherwise.  I also felt like the flavors weren’t well dispersed.  Basically. my husband and I looked at each other and agreed-this was a one and done recipe for us.

Back to looking for French toast recipes.

Another DIY Box Review

Back in December, I took advantage of a sale that allowed me to get a 6 month subscription to the DarbySmart To DIY For Box.  You can read my previous reviews here (December, January, February).  Today I’m going to review both March and April together.

March and April DIY Boxes

Review

The March box included materials to create….something with the yarn and plastic canvas.  On one hand, it’s nice because you can make whatever you want, but on the other hand, it’s a bit ambiguous.  Plus, the yarn is multi-color, so creating a design is a bit tricky.  You might notice that I don’t have a final product photo.  That’s because I don’t know what to do with it.  I’m thinking about mailing the whole set to my niece.

The April box came just a few days ago, and this was a cool idea, but just not for me.  It’s a set to make your own perfume.  Fun.  Except, I try to avoid perfume because too much of it aggravates my asthma.  Now, that’s not to say I won’t, on occasion, wear a little bit of it, but I do think the strong fumes associated with making one might be hard on me.  I think I will still try to make this and mail it off to someone else, but I will probably have to wear a mask while creating, and take my time with it.

Overall, I’m kind of done with these boxes.  I was very excited when I first started because it felt like  chance to try out some cool new crafts.  But now, I realize that out of the five boxes I’ve gotten, I only enjoyed one-the tea towels.  I only have one month remaining, but I currently have zero plans to renew this subscription.  I think I’ll stick to ordering a kit that I am actually interested in instead of taking this monthly chance.

Zucchini Lime Bread

The other day I bought a zucchini for a recipe that I later looked at and thought, “what was I thinking?!”  Other recipe scrapped, I had a use for all the other items…except the zucchini.  Eventually I realized that I’ve never had zucchini bread before, and I had a shiny new loaf pan.  Problem solved!  You will need:

  • Zucchini
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Limes

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum Board.

zucchini lime bread

Review

As per usual, I changed things.  I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose, limes instead of lemons, and soy milk instead of buttermilk.  You know, my usual substitutes.  (I still have yet to see buttermilk in my dairy case.  How weird is that?  Maybe it sells out right away, and I just miss it?)  I had the limes left over from a second batch of my key lime tarts, and, besides, I love the flavor of limes.  So, obviously, my results are based on those changes.  Your mileage may vary.

Overall, this recipe was a snap to follow!  Super easy and straightforward.  No strange or tricky techniques.  When I read that I would need to pat the zucchini dry after I grated it, I thought that was odd, but once I had a wet pile of zucchini, I was all over it.  I grated waaaay too much, but I really had no idea how much 1 cup of zucchini was.  (Hint:  depending on the size of your zucchini, around half of one.)

I loved the citrus flavor, which felt like the perfect balance in both the bread and the glaze.  However, the bread needed that glaze to reach its full potential, so don’t skip that part!  Will I make this again?  If I have more zucchini in my house, sure.  But I’m not necessarily going to go out of my way to have zucchini in my house again.  Unless, that is, you have an awesome idea for how I could use it (besides bread).

My First Quilt

One of the hobbies I recently picked up was quilting. I enjoy sewing, but have learned that clothing isn’t necessarily my forte (though that might just be because I need more practice).  My great-aunt was an amazing quilter-doing everything by hand.  She had a set number of quilts she would do in a year, and it was always filled as soon as she opened up bookings for the year.  She charged a pretty penny or her creations, and everyone who commissioned one thought it was money well spent.  So I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually give it a try.

ians quilt

Review

I decided on a Craftsy course that taught beginning sewing methods.  When I signed up, the course was free, so it seemed like an excellent way to try quilting without too much investment.  I started with the mug rugs, because I had enough scraps from other projects to not need to purchase fabric.  I probably made about ten different mug rugs before I decided I was ready to try something big.

I know myself, I work better when I have a purpose, so I enlisted my brother as a client.  He gave me colors and helped me pick the fabrics.  It took me forever to complete because it was always a secondary project-something to work on while I was between other projects, but it is finally done.  I can see all the flaws in it, but I also have learned how to fix them or avoid them.

Would I do the course again?  Absolutely.  Not that I need to, but I found it very informative and helpful.  Plus, the “patterns” were super useful, and I can use them again any time I want.  Not all Cratsy courses are the same, so you might feel differently about others, but I really liked this one.  As for quilting?  I’m already practicing small scale in preparation for the next one.

Simple Tea Latte

AGK!  I’ve missed two posts.  So sorry!  It’s been some crazy days here.  My husband left for a medical service trip to Ethiopia and my parents came to visit.  My parents have left to enjoy the rest of their vacation, and my husband will be back this weekend, so I thought a simple recipe was just the thing for today.

Materials

  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Sweetener

Process

  1. Brew double strength tea.  I like black teas.  I also like large lattes, so I brew one cup of tea with twice the amount of tea as normal.  I usually brew for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat the milk on the stove.  Use the same amount of milk as tea brewed.
  3. If desired, froth the milk.
  4. Combine the tea and milk in your mug.  Sweeten as necessary.  I use Very Vanilla Silk, and with that I don’t need to add any sweetener. But that’s my preference.  Your mileage may vary.

Review

I actually took zero pictures this week when I was making this because I was so excited to drink it.  I’ve made it five separate times over the past seven or so days, and each time I’ve forgotten the pictures because I couldn’t wait to enjoy my latte.  I will clearly be making this again, and probably forgetting the pictures too.

Lemon Ricotta Poppyseed Waffles

Last weekend I was looking for something to make for breakfast that would also use a few of the “leftover” items in my refrigerator.  You know the ones-I needed to buy enough lemons to get half a cup of juice, but bought one too many-items.  So, when I came across this recipe, I knew it would be perfect for taking care of a few of those items.  For this recipe you will need:

  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Lemon
  • Sugar

For the full recipe click here, or check out my pin on my Breakfast board.

lemon poppyseed ricotta waffles

Review

This recipe was simple and easy to follow.  I had no problems with directions or ingredients.  However, simple and easy to follow doesn’t always mean delicious.  These waffles actually didn’t taste any different than my normal recipe.  I was hoping for a stronger lemon flavor than I got, as well as an overall smoother texture.  I was disappointed in the overall (lack of distinct) flavor.

However, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make this recipe again.  I think it has the potential to work if I kicked up the lemon some more.  I really wanted to get some tang from the lemon.  Conversely, I could make my regular waffle mix, but dollop on some lemon curd.  Actually, that sounds super tasty.  BRB, making lemon curd!

Cleaning Pyrex with Foil

Back when I got married, one of the items that we didn’t register for but got was a set of two Pyrex pans.  This turned out to be one of those gifts that you’re so happy someone else realized you should have.  However, over the years (7), they just seem to get dirtier and dirtier, no matter how much I clean them.  I really hate pulling them out of the cabinet, completely clean, to look like they need to go straight back in the sink to be washed.  Pinterest to the rescue!  For this cleaning project you will need:

  • Foil
  • Dishsoap
  • Your pan

Check out the (incredibly obvious) details here, or my pin on my Clean It Up board.

pyrex and foil

Review

I’ll be honest, the first time I saw a pin claiming I could scrub a pan with foil and get better results than I currently was having, I figured it must be one of those things that moms told you, but there was a better way now.  But then I saw it over and over again.  I was finally tempted when I saw it on the Real Simple list.  I figured, “It’s foil and soap, two things I already have.  Why not try it?”  So I did.

And…..it kind of works.  I don’t know if I should have tried it sooner, or if I need to just go at it again, but I feel like I had higher expectations than it could deliver.  To be fair, it did clean, and decently at that.  However, I scrubbed for probably 10-15 minutes and it didn’t remove everything like I was imagining.  The directions just say to ball up the foil and go to town, so I’m wondering how you know that it’s time to make a new foil ball.  Maybe that was my problem?

I will say, because it was foil, I could fold the ball in “half” like I might do to a sheet of sandpaper, so I could get both sides of the handle at once.  That was nice.  Also, I hate cleaning clear/glass things because I am constantly playing a game of “which side is that on?”

Overall, it did work.  Nowhere did it profess to me that this would clean everything and it would sparkle like some animals from a Disney movie had cleaned it, so my expectations might have been out of line with reality.  Will I do this again?  Probably.  It DID get rid of a decent number of stains, and I’m not willing to give up on this just yet.

Brown Bag Popcorn

I love popcorn.  It’s a must have any time I go to the movies.  I used to have a dedicated popper, but it got busted up a bit in the move, and it wasn’t really a priority for me to replace it.  So, when I saw that you can make popcorn in the microwave with a brown paper bag, I was intrigued.  I had to try it out!  You will need:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Oil
  • A brown paper bag

Check out the full directions here, or my pin on my Yum board.

paper bag popcorn

Review

So, this totally works and is an absolute snap to make.  I can’t use the popcorn preset on my microwave because I need about 10-15 seconds longer than that, but it really does work.  The main issue I had with this was that my microwave plate ends up oily because the oil soaks into and through the paper bag.  You also want to make sure that you find the right amount of time, otherwise you will have a lot of un-popped kernels at the end.

I’ve used this process several times now, and you can also add some spices into the bag before you put it in the microwave.  For example, the other day I wanted a spicy kick, so I threw some Cayenne pepper into the bag and shook it up.  The result was definitely a bite to my snack.

Bottom line?  This is simple, it works, and it is cost effective.  Play around a bit in order to get the best results for you.