Thursday, October 6, 2016

From Placemat to Pillow

Lilly and I were out shopping the other day and made a stop at World Market. While I didn't wind up getting many things (I think I always over-hype WM in my head and when I actually go its sort of a let down...same thing happens with Trader Joes), I saw some really cute placemats and immediately thought back to one of my earliest pins. I remember reading that Bower Power post back before Pinterest existed and I had to save bookmarks to my favorite blog posts. Kids today will never know what that was like!

DIY pillows from Bower Power
I've been wanting some new pillows for my living room for awhile (if you look closely you can see where our dog Mickey has scratched at the square pillows that came with the couch - there are loose threads everywhere), but considering we might be moving, I didn't want to spend a ton of money when we aren't sure what our next living room will look like. These placemats were $4.99 each, and I knew I could make 2 pillows for under $20. A quick stop at Michaels on the way home for some fiberfill and I had two new throw pillows that afternoon.

All you have to do is use a seam ripper or small scissors to open a hole between the two layers of fabric, stuff with fiberfill, and sew it closed.

I used an 8 oz bag of fiberfill for each but probably should have opened a third bag and stuffed them a little more. Also, my stitch work wasn't my best, but its at the bottom and you wouldn't notice unless you looked real close.

When I went to look on the WM website to link the placemats, I couldn't find them but I did see throw pillows in this pattern available for purchase. For $20 that would have been a lot easier, but I was able to make 2 pillows for about $15 ($10 for the mats and $5 for the fiberfill w/coupon).

I am thinking of ordering some new pillow covers for the square came-with-the-couch pillows from etsy, but they would need to be thick to cover the existing pattern. Anyone have any favorite shops for pillow covers? I am thinking of maybe some seasonal covers like this or this and switching them out for Christmas.

I actually have a couple more placemats I bought years ago for the same purpose. Since they were for the office couch (the old army green microfiber monster Joe and I first purchased together probably almost 10 years ago) I just never made it a priority. Now that I have some extra fiberfill maybe I will get those over with this weekend - stay tuned!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Slow Cooker Fall Off the Bone Ribs

Happy Monday! Today I am sharing a quick post on a recipe I have made a couple of times over the summer. Joe requested ribs a few times and after some initial hesitation (I don't like eating meat off a bone), I did some searching on Pinterest and found the perfect recipe. I mean if they fall off the bone I don't need to worry about biting into a bone, right? Enter Carlsbad Cravings' Fall off the Bone Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs!
Carlsbad Cravings Slow Cooker Ribs
It wasn't quite as easy as some other slow cooker recipes as it involved making a rub and sauce and searing the meat in the oven before putting in the cooker, but the effort was worth it. I actually prepared the meat and the sauce the night before, stored in the fridge, and popped it all into the cooker in the morning.

I don't have many photos because my photography skills are pretty poor especially when compared to Jen's.

Verdict: Although time consuming, the first time I made these ribs they were absolutely perfect. The meat was tender and fell off the bone as promised. I was afraid the preserves in the sauce would be too sweet, but it all came together deliciously. The second time, I may have left them in the oven a little too long (I had way to much going on in the kitchen and multitasking isn't my strong suit) and in the slow cooker a little too long and they did't come out quite so well. Still very good, just not as perfect as the first time. I am not sure how often I will make these once I am back at work, but they are perfect for a summer Sunday when you can enjoy the smell of them cooking all day.

Fall off the Bone Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
recipe from Carlsbad Cravings
(my notes in red)

  4 lbs baby back pork ribs

  Spice Rub:
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for more heat)

  • Barbecue Sauce:
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup seedless blackberry preserves
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons reserved Spice Rub (from above)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)* I didn't use this

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F Line a baking sheet with sides with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Cut ribs into 6 sections then rinse and pat dry.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together Spice Rub ingredients. Remove 1 tablespoon Spice Rub to use in your barbecue sauce. Rub all remaining Spice Rub evenly all over the meat then place ribs on prepared baking sheet. Bake ribs for 15 minutes ON EACH SIDE (30 minutes total) to sear meat.
  4. Meanwhile, add all of the Barbecue Sauce ingredients to a medium saucepan and gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce and refrigerate to use after ribs are cooked. (I did all this the night before and stored the ribs in a pyrex dish in the fridge overnight).
  5. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (I use a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner - not as pretty but sooooo easy for cleanup) then add a thin layer of remaining barbecue sauce, followed by ribs. Layer sauce then ribs until complete, tossing to coat as needed to ensure ribs are evenly coated in barbecue sauce.
  6. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or on LOW for 7-9 hours OR cook until ribs are fall apart tender. Rotate ribs once during cooking so they cook evenly. Cooking time may vary between slow cookers.
  7. When ribs are tender, remove from slow cooker and brush with some Reserved Barbecue Sauce if desired or use sauce for dipping. Enjoy!
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