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Making Pepper Vinegar

I picked the last of my peppers for the year. Then I had to decide what to do with them. I've so many in my freezer already. The year was a great growing year for me. The best ever actually.

I decided to make Pepper Vinegar to go with the jalapeno relish and cucumber sweet relish I made. I will put together a couple of gift baskets with one of each of the three, include some gourmet crackers and a bag of tortilla chips for two people in my family that like spicy goodies.

The vinegar was SIMPLE to make.

Wash your peppers, cut the tops off, cut them if need be so they will fit into your chosen bottle, and pour boiling vinegar into bottle. Let them sit in a dark cool place for at least two weeks to ripen and flavor vinegar.

The vinegar can be used to flavor soups, chilis, cooked greens such as spinach & collard greens, beans, gumbos, jambalayas and so much more!

If you would like a little more details on how to put your vinegar together, visit The Domestic Engineer. Even if you don't make the vinegar, her site is a great site, be sure to check it out!

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The BEST Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe Ever!

Normally my hubby is in charge of smoking our pork loins for pulled pork sandwiches. I had one in the freezer I bought several months ago I was wanting cooked. His schedule has been so busy I decided to try cooking it in my crockpot. I've ate other people's crockpot pulled pork so I knew it could be good if done right. Hubby didn't have any of his rub mixed up so I needed a recipe.

I found this one online:

Best Odds Pulled Pork
This traditional pulled pork rub will give you the best odds for making a great batch of Carolina Style Pulled Pork.

•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1/4 cup paprika
•3 tablespoons salt
•2 tablespoons black pepper
•1 tablespoon cayenne
•2 teaspoons dry mustard

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Generously coat all sides of meat and let sit at least 30 minutes. Coating the meat can get messy so I just cut the plastic wrapper off the roast while it was still in the grocery bag, sprinkled the rub on and let it sit the 30 minutes in the bag.

I then added enough water to just cover the bottom of my crockpot with two chicken bullion cubes, two quartered onions, 1 tsp of liquid smoke and then the roast. I cooked it on high for about 6 hours (my roast was a 7 pound roast). You want the roast to be on the verge of falling apart.

Once it was done I removed the roast and was easily able to take off the fat and discard. Then I shredded it with a fork. I poured out all the liquid but about 1 cup and the onions. I threw the shredded pork back into crockpot with the reserved liquid to keep it from drying out.

The rub flavors the meat and juices so wonderfully, we didn't use any bbq sauce on our sandwiches.

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Homemade Oreo Cakesters aka Whoopie Pies

We are chocolate lovers. We love these

But I don't buy them often. When a craving hits around here you can't just jump in the car and run down the road to the grocery store or Wal-mart. The nearest store is 25 miles round trip.

I had a craving for the cakesters the other day..... and it wouldn't go away. Two days later I gave in and made these

Quick & Easy Whoopie Pie Recipe

1 cake mix (any chocolate cake mix or devil's food chocolate cake mix)
1 (3-ounce) package of instant chocolate pudding
Whoopie Pie Filling (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease the cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to directions on box, but using 3/4 cup of water instead of listed amount. Beat 1 minute.

Add instant chocolate pudding dry mix and beat 1 more minute.

Drop batter by the 1/4 cup (to make 18 cakes) onto prepared baking sheets. (To prepare my baking sheet I covered with parchment paper and marked off my circles using a can dipped into cocoa.) With the back of a spoon spread batter into 4-inch circles, leaving approximately 2 inches between each cake.

Bake 15 minutes or until they are firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make Whoopie Pie Filling. When the cakes are completely cool, spread the flat side (bottom) of one chocolate cake with a generous amount of filling. Top with another cake, pressing down gently to distribute the filling evenly. Repeat with all cookies to make 9 pies. Let finished whoopie pies completely cool before wrapping.

Wrap whoopie pies individually in plastic wrap, or place them in a single layer on a platter (do not stack them, as they tend to stick).

To freeze, wrap each whoopie pie in plastic wrap. Loosely pack them in a plastic freezer container and cover. To serve, defrost the wrapped whoopie pies in the refrigerator.

Makes 9 large whoopie pies.

Whoopie Pie Filling:

1 cup solid vegetable shortening*
1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff**
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

* Butter may be substituted for all or part of the vegetable shortening, although traditional Whoopie Pies are made with vegetable shortening only

** Marshmallow Creme may be substituted.

In a medium bow, beat together shortening, sugar, and Marshmallow fluff; stir in vanilla extract until well blended.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together flour, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add vegetable shortening and beat until fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

They were quick and easy to make, tasted wonderful and kept fresh wrapped in plastic wrap for several days. I had everything in my pantry to make these since there wasn't too many ingredients involved. The only thing I will do next time is make them smaller. My can measured 3 1/2" and once baked they were HUGE!

Have you baked anything new lately? Please tell us about it!

This post has been shared at these parties:
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There are so many great posts from great ladies listed at both parties.  Be sure to check them out!

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Dinner tonight....

was Pan Fried Pork Medallions with Apples.

When I was a little girl my mother would serve fried apples with her pork chops. I picked up (dirt cheap) a 1/2 pec of apples at the farmer's market last week thinking with fall here it would be a great different dish to serve.

I found this ONE posted on Dining Alone. The recipe is from the Two at the Table cookbook.

2 Tbl butter
half of a 1 1/2 pound pork loin
salt & pepper
2 granny smith apples, peeled and cored
2 Tbl brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of ground cloves

In a skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Cut pork loin into 1 inch thick medallions, season with salt and pepper. Slice apples 1/2 inch thick.

Add medallions to pan and brown both sides, about 10 min per side. Reduce heat to medium low and add brown sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add apples, cinnamon and cloves, gently toss and turn to evenly coat. Cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently, or until apples are tender but not mushy.

Since I was running late with dinner, I even got my apple peeler/corer out which made quick work of the apples. Have I told you how I love my apple peeler/corer? lol Anyway, I suck at peeling apples.

It was delicious! So delicious the boys were standing waiting for it to get done and I totally forgot to take a picture. It turned out looking just like Dining Alone's pictures.

I like cooking something out of the ordinary once in a while. How about you? Have you cooked/ate anything new lately?

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays


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What I've been up to....

I went to a NEW thrift store and found these. I love the little wine crock. I paid $5 for it. It doesn't have any chips or cracks in it. The inside looks like it's never been used. Now I just need to find a wine I like to drink. lol All of you know I love cloth napkins. This set of four were brand new with the tags on them. I paid .49 a piece!

My fridge magnets were looking tired. I collect bottle caps and decided to make these cool magnets out of some of them. The bottom three are some beers that were consumed here at the farm. Any time a new beer comes out, we have to try it and then I keep a couple of the caps. The top three are vintage unused bottle caps that I've had for years. They are cork lined! That tells you how old they are. A glue gun, some magnets and five minutes I had a new look on my fridge.

Here is my final harvest of my jalapeno and serrano peppers. I've been drying some of the jalapenos in the oven to grind into jalapeno powder. The serranos are just lying out on paper plates to dry. When I start grinding, I'll post more on them.

So what's been keeping you busy this week?

To see other great projects and make new friends, visit:
The Trendy Treehouse

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Upcoming CSN Stores Product Review

Who hasn't heard about CSN Stores?  I hadn't until July of this year. Boy I was missing out.  They have anything you could need or want.  With over 200 online stores you can get anything from a bar stool to a screw!

I lose time when I start browsing through the sites and before I know it, the day is gone and it's supper time!

I'll be doing a review on the coolest thing from CSN Stores before too long, so keep an eye out for it!

Anybody wanna guess what it is?

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Tablescape Thursday-Kids' Halloween Dinner Party

I am hosting a Halloween Dinner Party for my kiddo and grandkids. The first thing my granddaughters want to eat when they hit my house is ramen noodles, and they have a blast using chop sticks to eat them.
So I pulled out my porcelain Himark Mandarin Oriental dinner set and added some Halloween flair to it. 
I seen some cute candlesticks in a Partylite book but didnt like the price and so I made these.  I had everything on hand except the two orange votives.
I love the little ghosties! lol

Each setting got a candy ring pop & eyeball bubble gum.

I used bat rings for chopstick rings.

And leaves for place cards. I picked these up at Dollar Tree for $1 a pack. I love them!

After Halloween is over, it will be easy to remove the Halloween decorations and still have a nice fall centerpiece.

As far as the menu, I will serve ramen noodles colored green for some Witch's Worm Soup.  That's all I got.  What's your ideas to go with it?  Maybe some kind of sandwich and a side.  I was thinking deviled egg eye balls, but come up empty for the sandwich.  Let me know what you suggest!


Preserving Apples- Freezing Apple Pie Filling

We have a granny smith apple tree in our backyard. In years past, there hasnt been many apples. This year was a different story, it was loaded with apples. Apples that weren't very pretty to look at, but had an amazing taste!

When you grow your food all natural, using no herbicides or pesticides, they LOOK different than what you buy in the store. They also TASTE different! The look is not so appealing, the taste is sooooo much better and fresher! Just look at these sad looking apples before being peeled. Then look at them peeled. Yummmo!

I decided I needed to preserve them into pie filling. I found a great freezer recipe in one of my aunt's church fundraiser cookbooks.

We needed to prepare a lot of apples.

I was lucky and kiddo was home and bored. Being the creative young man he is, it took him 5 minutes to rig up this apple picker and we had a 3 gallon bucket full of apples in less than 15 minutes!

I set our kitchen up in stations. I have two Apple And Potato Peeler/corer/slicers, with different bases. I love these things!

I picked mine up at garage sales for a couple bucks. You can get one FREE using your Amazon gift cards earned from Swagbucks!

You can read some other people's reviews on CSNstores.com. They love it too!

We set the suction cup based peeler on the glass top stove. Kiddo was in charge of running the apple peeler, I did the "detailing" of the apples. The little machine makes fast work of a bucket of apples and they all come out the same thickness! It took us about 40 minutes to prep the apples.

24 cups thinly sliced apples
4 tablespoons lemon juice ( used some lemon juice mixed with sprite to keep em white!)
5 cups sugar (I used 2 cups brown and 3 cups white)
1 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 cups water

1. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Pour water into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
3. Ladle 4 1/2 cups into freezer ziploc bags. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.
4. Seal bags and freeze. Can be stored in freezer for up to 12 months.

After cooking down, I had enough to fill 4 ziploc bags for four pies! The apples were free, so I have the cost of the added ingredients which I figure is maybe $2.

I can't wait for one of those cold grey evenings with snow flying for one of these pies to spice up my home and warm my family!

Did any of you preserve any apples this year?

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Frugal Gift Wrapping-Origami Boxes

I've always felt the wrapping of a gift is just as important as the gift itself. I believe that if you put thought into a gift the wrapping should show this also. The prettier the wrapper, the more exciting the gift.

I've been having some fun making origami boxes to wrap gifts in. I originally seen these

on Lorajean's Magazine and ran to get my roll of wallpaper. I had some trouble working with it though. It was sooo heavy I couldnt get good creases, so I pulled out my 12x12 scrapbook paper.

After making one I decided I wanted the lid to be shorter than the bottom, so I went googling and found Homemade Gifts Made Easy. Shhhh... Now you know where I've been spending my time. Here and in the kitchen baking. lol

I used Lorajean's instructions for my lids and Homemade Gifts to make the bottom of my boxes. Then finished decorating them with scraps of ribbon & shoe strings to tie them up and scrapbook paper to make tags. Oh the things I could do with a silhouette right about now! Maybe one of these days it'll be in the budget.

I made these boxes to hold some cookies that I made for my granddaughters. What do you think? Would you like to receive some cookies wrapped in a box like this or just a zip lock bag? Do you think the wrapping of a gift is important?

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{EXPIRED} HOT! 2 Dollar Quaker Instant Oatmeal Printable Coupon

HOT!!! I've never seen a $2 off 1 box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal coupon! I was able to print two, they expire 12/7/10.

The facebook landing page will say $1 off 1, but when you click on the button and it takes you to the coupon it will say $2 off 1.

They won't last long, print it HERE now!

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Cinnamon Sugar Dounut Muffins

With the change of weather comes an intense feeling/need for me to nest. Nesting for me means cooking, baking, decorating, and crafts.

Earlier in the year I was watching a tv show (The Best Thing I Ever Ate?) and they previewed a bakery who served Sugar Donut Muffins. Everyone raved about them. Since then, recipes have popped up all over blogland. One blog who I totally trust their recipes is Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice and it was her recipe I used. She adapted it from Baking Bites.

Here's my adapted version. Be warned-these melt in your mouth and you can't eat just one!

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp burnt sugar flavoring
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp butter, melted to brush tops
1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbl cinnamon mixed together, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Add vegetable oil, milk, burnt sugar and vanilla extract, stir to combine.

Divide batter evenly into mini muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While muffins are baking, prepare your rolling station.
Melt butter.
Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

When muffins are done, cool slightly, then lightly brush the top of each with some melted butter, remove from the pan and roll entire muffin in cinnamon sugar mix. Cool on a wire rack.

I made two batches. One I rolled in just sugar. The second I rolled in cinnamon sugar. Next time, I'm going to roll them in powder sugar like Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice did.

What would you roll the muffins in?


84 cent Similac at WalMart

Check your Walmart for Similac 1 qts. for just $3.84! Use the $3.00/1 coupon from HERE or HERE to get it for just $.84 per quart!!!

Thanks Budget Savy Diva!

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