December 29, 2013

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots

Yesterday I adapted my original Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots recipe for the crock pot, and got equally tasty results.  The texture of the pork was different, though- fall apart pork roast style.  I thought I'd share the adaptations I made for the crock pot, and hope you enjoy!

Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into eighths
  • 1/2 cup white wine and 1 cup chicken broth, or 1 1/2 cups apple cider (I used the white wine and water because I was out of broth)
  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place shallots, apples, and the wine/broth mixture or cider in crock pot.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Pan sear pork chops until just golden on each side.  Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to crock pot, on top of apples and shallots.
  4. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  5. Turn pork chops in juices before serving.  Serve pork chops with warm apples and shallots and a spoonful of crock pot juices spooned over top.

December 26, 2013

Candy sleigh gifts

So we all run into that situation where you need a little gift for your coworkers, a neighbor, or acquaintance to show that you care without breaking the bank.  Especially when you need to make multiples of said gift!  Cue this adorable idea I got from Pinterest last year, modified to be more affordable and use tape instead of hot glue.  The original pin used full size candy bars with pyramids of candy on top!  Maybe that works if you're making just one or two of these cute sleighs, but when you have to make a dozen, break out the mini candy.  I was able to put all 12 of these together for less than $20, with supplies to spare.  Also?  Mine have little sleigh drivers who bobble and sway for your gift givees, which is a bonus dash of holiday cheer.  ;)

Supplies (for 12 sleighs)

  • 24 full size candy canes
  • 12 pieces of cardstock, cut approx. 3" x 4" (just large enough to be a base for your sleigh)
  • 12 mini Reese's peanut butter trees
  • 1 bag of Kit Kat minis (enough to have 24)
  • Toy toppers (I got mine from Oriental Trading Co.)
  • Ribbon
  • Tape
Directions (photos to follow)
  1. Tape two candy canes to a piece of card stock.  I recommend taping each candy cane at each end of the card, rather than at just one spot, so your candy cane doesn't tip over.
  2. Tape the Reese's to the card stock between the candy canes.
  3. Tape the Kit Kat minis on top.
  4. Tape the toy topper at one end to the candy.
  5. Wrap your ribbon around the sleigh multiple times, and tie with a bow on top.  (Optional: slide a gift tag on the ribbon before tying, or place a sticker for your recipient somewhere on the sleigh.)
Tape candy canes in place one at a time, at each end of the card.  You want the candy cane near the edge.

Other candy cane in place, and Reese's tree taped in the middle.

Layered on the Kit Kat minis and our topper- almost done!

Make it festive with a bow, and this guy is ready for business.

Snowflake Stamp Ornament

So this simple idea dawned on me after the last Pinterest party, where I never got around to using my snowflake hole punch to make pretty garland for the kitchen windows.  I still wanted to use it, but switched it around to make an ornament with the snowflake cutouts.  I glued the center of each flake to a foam ball, and ta da- gorgeous ornament.  It was so simple, my 3-year-old could help, though.  I'd dab the glue on the ball, he'd plop a snowflake down, and we'd move on to the next.  Easy peasy!


  • Snowflake hole punch
  • 5+ sheets of white paper (I just used printer paper)
  • Medium foam ball/ornament
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Ribbon or string to hang the ornament
  • Long pin, like for a boutonniere 
  1. Punch out at least 50 snowflakes from the white paper.
  2. Fold the edges of each flake away from the center.
  3. Place a dab of hot glue on the foam ball, and glue the center of the snowflake in place.  Repeat, clustering the centers of the snowflakes closely together (nearly touching) so that the arms of the snowflakes mingle a bit.
  4. Repeat until entire ornament is covered.
  5. Place a dab of glue on the ornament, and pin the ribbon in place.  Let dry before hanging.

December 10, 2013

Pregnancy Announcement

What better, more accurate way to say "Woo hoo!  I'm a pregnant, achy, nauseous, blob!" than with adorable snowmen?  That's how my hubby and I broke the news today, with this picture:

We've got daddy snowman wearing his beloved Steelers hat, momma in my hat, little kid snowman in my son's hat, and a baby snowman wearing an old baby cap and pacifier.  Roll up some snowballs, decorate with buttons and carrot noses, twig arms, family winter gear, and you're in business.

Also, I finally finished my MBA.  Is this a week for celebrating or what?  Bonus: now I have time to blog again!  Believe me, I've got a piled up bunch of pics and topics for posts and just needed the time (and absence of nausea) to write them all out.

Happy holidays!