Thursday, February 4, 2016

Super Bowl Eats - Part 2

Today I'm sharing with you these super easy and very delicious

Crock pot BBQ Ribs

Yeah...I know...I wondered too if they would be as good as those done on the grill, but our family loves them.  They are so easy to make and come out incredibly tender.
I tweaked a couple of recipes to suit our tastes....and here is my version.
Crock Pot BBQ Ribs
This recipe can also be found on our Family Food Blog -
One rack of extra meaty pork ribs
One jar of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (or your favorite sauce)
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T paprika
1/2 t. ground red pepper (or to taste-we like 'em spicy)
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper
1/2 T chili powder
Cut up your rib rack section into quarters.  You can leave the membrane on the back, as it helps to hold the ribs together during the long cooking process.  Place the ribs sections on a plate or waxed paper.
Mix the rub ingredients all together, then slather the ribs with mixture.  You can do this the night before, wrap them up and refrigerate, or right before you placed them in the slow cooker.
Place the rib sections so that they lean again the sides of the slow cooker.  Don't just lay them in the bottom on top of each other.
Pour 3/4 of the bottle of BBQ sauce over the ribs, making sure to drizzle as much as possible on the ribs themselves. Reserve the rest for extra dipping sauce at the table.
  Set your slow cooker to High and cook for 5 hours or Low for 7 hours.  I used the high temp.
If you are home, baste the ribs occasionally with the BBQ sauce and drain off any excess fat.
Remove from the crock pot and use the additional sauce for dippin' at the table.
 This recipe serves about 4 feel free to double or triple it...Twice as many ribs will fit in a big crockpot with no problem, but if you triple the recipe, you may need another crockpot.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!?!?

Our guys are BIG football fans....I can't say that any of their teams are playing in the BIG GAME on Sunday...nor were they even close...but Game Day is still a great time to get together!
Game Day means yummy eats - right??
So I will be sharing some of our favorite recipes with you for the next few days.

Whether you are cheering for the

Denver Broncos 
or the
Carolina Panthers

these tasty (and tested by us) recipes will make game time eats fun!

First off are these yummy ham and cheese sliders.  They are simple to make and can be made the day before, then just heat them up when you are ready to eat!


This recipe makes 12 sliders, so double or triple depending on your crowd of hungry fans. I have been known to double the butter, mustard, worcestershire, brown sugar, onion and poppy seed, even when only making 12, to give them lots of extra flavor .
  • ¾ cup melted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard or Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 2 tsp Dried Minced Onion
  • 12 King's Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
  • 9 oz thin sliced Deli Ham
  • 8 oz thin sliced Swiss Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, poppy seeds, and dried onion.
Slice the Hawaiian rolls to make sandwiches. Remove tops and set aside.
Place roll bottoms into greased 9 x 13 pan.
 Layer Ham onto roll bottoms.

Top the ham with the Swiss cheese.

Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches.

Brush or pour the liquid mixture evenly over the rolls.
At this point you can either refrigerate overnight or you can pop them in the oven now.

Bake 20 minutes or until the rolls are lightly browned and cheese has melted.
Place individual sandwiches on a serving platter to serve.
I'll be back tomorrow with another GAME DAY recipe! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Reno - Part Three

Sorry for the little delay in continuing with the progress on our room...I was a bit under the weather yesterday, with a badly pulled muscle that made it next to impossible to move much...but I'm feeling better today and ready to continue sharing our renovation with you.

I left you last time with the installation of our picture window.  You cannot imagine how exciting it was to get up the next morning to see all the light pouring into a room that, beforehand, was dark and dreary.
The wide opening before installation

Cleaning up before bed.

There was so much light streaming through in the morning, that it was difficult to get a good picture!
I wanted to skip back a bit to when we were installing the new floor joists, because I had some cute pictures that I wanted to share.  
Chris had all his floor joist boards in the 'pit'..they were a bit long, so we had then leaning up on one side, with the other at the bottom of the pit and against the wall.  Well..Sweetie Petie was over to spend the weekend with us, and to keep him occupied while I helped Chris, I let him start rolling a ball down the boards.  He loved doing that, but then decided he needed to get his Matchbox cars to send down the 'bridge' as he called it.  He had a grand time, starting at the top, and crashing them down into the wall at the bottom.  When he grabbed the Hess truck I had gotten him, I was afraid he might break it running it into the wall, so I grabbed the blanket off the couch to cushion the truck as it sped down to the end.  Peter spent a lot of time playing with the cars, truck and ball.  All of the sudden...he looked at the blanket I had placed at the bottom, and began to sit on the boards.  Next thing I know, he was asking for a pillow, which I grabbed from the guest bedroom...and that sweet little guy laid down on those boards, pulled the blanket over himself and fell asleep!
I cannot imagine it was too comfy for him, but he napped for at least an hour or so.

Petie also tried to help with the cleaning up.  He had the best time with Papa's shop vac, and he was very meticulous about it too!

Next, we moved on to replacing more installation and putting up drywall to replace what we had taken down.

 I also purchased a new door and window to replace the very old ones that were in the room on the east side.  
We tried to figure out if we could reuse the old door, but it was cracked and wouldn't shut tight without a good swift we opted to replace it with one as close as possible to the original.
New window and door await installation.

It was warmer when we replaced this window!  When I was ripping out the old window, I found some very old pieces of woven coverlet, tucked under the window for installation.  I saved as much as I could and carefully rinsed away the dirt and grime, so I could save some to put with our other 'artifacts' from the house.

Reinstalled and ready for drywall.
At this point, Christmas was quick approaching, so the Hubby and I decided it was time to put the tools away and clean up, so we could put up our tree and at least be a little ready for the crowd at Christmas!
The beam you see in the middle of the picture, was the old loft railing, and will be moved up towards the ceiling for added support, as soon as the hubby gets around to it.

The old entertainment armoire will be replaced with a built-in unit to house the tv, with bookcases flanking each side, and of course, display area on top for my collectibles.

As you know, my aunt passed away shortly after Christmas, and we had to delay work on the room for another week or so.  Since that time, I have finished the drywall and compounding, sanded and primed the walls.  I hope to paint this weekend.
We are still living with a plywood floor, but hey, it's easy to clean!  We're planning to put down hardwood or laminate flooring once the ceiling and fireplace area are completed.  
Hubby has been working on wiring in the can lights in the drop portion of the ceiling, and once he is done with all that framing and wiring, we'll have someone come in and drywall the would be just too huge of a task for us to do.  
I will share more progress with you as we move along...with only weeknights and weekends to work on it, it takes some time to finish.  I think we are going to do trim moldings for the windows and door this weekend.
Thanks for following along and come back soon!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Reno continues.....

Welcome back everyone.
From the comments I have received, it sounds like you are all enjoying our journey into renovating our carriage room.

I've taken you from destruction to the beginning of construction, with a few glitches in between.  
As you will recall, I mentioned in my last post, when I posted this oh so glamorous picture of myself..... proudly standing by the newly insulated wall...that there was more than meets the eye...and our job was not completed on this wall.  
As the Hubby prepared to install the new floor joists, I ripped up the old steps leading to the 'pit'. They are seen in the lower right of this picture.  As I pulled away the boards, our hearts sank......
The removal of the stairs revealed a huge problem.
Dry rot!
Dry rot had all but consumed the entire foundation beam.  The damage had been hidden by the wooden framing you see by my legs.
We had to support the wall as best as we could, cut out all the dry rot, which ran almost the entire length of that beam.  Removal exposed more gaps between the outside and plants growing into the foundation.  It was painstaking and dusty work, with the Hubs manning his reciprocating saw, and me close by his side, with the shop vac, vacuuming up as much of the dust he was making as possible.
Only the top of the beam was solid enough to leave.  The dark area is all empty space. 

Ivy growing inside the foundation.
I thought I had a picture of the completed work, but I guess not.

Once I reinsulated the wall, used a couple more cans of Great Stuff, and we re-installed drywall, we were FINALLY ready to begin the work on the floor joists.  We needed to install the floor next, because without it, we couldn't install the new picture window...which was the main reason this reno began!

The view above is of a portion of the north wall, with the drywall removed for the rough opening for the new window....note that wonderful gap at the top of the old small window! 

A few of you wondered if we were going to take out those old carriage doors, but alas, that was not something we could easily do.  They are part of the exterior of the house, and to remove them would have meant replacing the siding on that portion of the room.  Here is a picture of the outside of that area where the doors are.  The arrow points to the old doors.

We were anxious to get the new window in because of the pending winter weather.  We had been so lucky up to this point, with mild temperatures and no snow....but of course....winter did arrive...just as we were at the point of installing the new window!

Hubby carefully measured the space where the window was to be installed...both inside and out...not an easy feat at all.  But the demo of the wall began and I was so excited to see the results!

 We planned to have our oldest son come help with the window as we installed it.  The plan was to do the installation around mid afternoon....but haha...nothing ever goes as smoothly as we plan...and it ended up being the evening before he was completely ready with the new framing in place.  
Of course...the weather started to change that day...and the cold winds of winter were upon us.

We knew this would take a while, so the new wood stove was stoked up with wood, in an attempt to offset the cold air that was about to rush into the room.

The installation begins!

Side framing is up, while Scott helps to lower the cut outside wall down.

The wall is opened up!

Allie and Stephanie peek out the new hole in the wall.

The rest of the framing is completed.

Almost ready for the window.....

We are all freezing at this point...because...well...there is a huge hole in the wall and it's COLD outside.  Allie and Steph huddle under a quilt in an attempt to keep warm.

Hubby and son, Scott, lift the window from the outside...while I attempt to be of some help from the inside...oh yes...another glamour shot of me! I think I had my snow pants on!

Yippee!  It's in!

The full effect of the light coming in was not to be realized until the next morning when we got up...but oh, how wonderful it was! 
At this point, it was time to call it a night!
and this seems like a good place to leave you hanging....see you tomorrow for my next post!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Welcome back to my Happy Place-See what we've been up to.

Egad my dear friends...seems like my last few posts have been way too serious!  I want my blog to be a place where you can come to have fun, get inspired, be creative and leave happier!

 So, follow along with me and I will show you what my hubby and I have been up to.

Back in October, we began the renovation of what we called 'The Carriage Room'.  When we moved here 4 years ago, this room was the one with the wood stove, so we would all gather in there...problem was, with it's funky loft and 'pit',  the room could only fit one couch and one chair and, as the family has grown, so has our need for a large gathering room. This room was so unlike the rest of our home, which was decorated in decor to fit the grand 1830 home it is.  It was a bit difficult to get the family to agree that the loft had to go (it was a great place to set up a table for games and a cozy spot for a warm nap), but I had a vision...and when I saw a gorgeous big window at our local discount building supply last year...I started to get giddy with the excitement of a MAJOR renovation. 

It always bothered me that this room had two tiny windows on the north side...and we have an incredible view from that side of the house.   The loft, as you can see...was a hazard for the little grand kids...they could easily fall through the railing...and the 'pit' below (and behind the couch), with it's crumbling cement patches and rock fountain walls... was cold, damp and of little use, and the cracks in the concrete let those yucky spiders in too - ewwww.

This project didn't seem too difficult when we started...but..... if you have ever renovation an old know that things are never as simple as you think they will be.

Here are some of the before pictures

The baby gate was used to close off the 'pit' from the kids and we had no place to put toys

Reno of the chimney area is in the planning stages..but it will get a major face lift as well.

First off was getting rid of the clutter and that UGLY stove, as well as ripping up the dated and dirty carpeting and tile in front of the door.
You can see the piles of carpeting and our new stove next to the old one.

Next up was replacing the small window on the loft...the panes of glass were nearly falling out, and I had a special idea to replace it.
Pardon the construction debris.
 I searched Craig's list for months until I found this pretty stained glass window.  Originally taken from an old Victorian home in the area, it fit our spot nearly perfectly!  Hubby and I framed it up, and placed another glass panel on the outside, to keep the stained glass window from the elements.

Next to go was the loft....
DIL Maria loved helping me to demo the loft.  We were so excited to get it done.

Don't worry...we saved ALL the old barnwood for other projects

Looking into the 'pit' from the loft

Almost done, and you can see Hubby's framing for the new center drop in the ceiling, so we can install recessed lighting above.

Hubby removing the steps up to the loft. I swear they must have used 1,000 nails!
Now, I had done a little 'investigating' prior to beginning the project.  I poked a hole in the drywall in the bottom,north corner of the pit area...because, as I was so cold down there. I peered into the hole, I could see LIGHT!  I knew our next step was to take the drywall off to see what was going on behind that wall.
Ripping off the drywall exposed little to no insulation and a host of other issues we needed to deal with.

The old 'carriage' doors were simply nailed shut.  We could see cracks all along this wall, which let in tons of cold air;

They even left the old hardware on the door!

I installed new insulation and used about 5 cans of  "Great Stuff" to close off all the holes I could find.

Construction is never glamorous!  Part Two of this section of the wall to come in another post...there was more there than met the eye at the time this picture was taken.  Note that we left the steps down to the 'pit' in place, while we were working down there.
I will skip ahead a little bit....and come back in another post to the Part Two mentioned above.Before we could install the new picture window, a floor over the old 'pit' had to be installed.

More walls being ripped out and more new installation goes in.
As we pulled more and more of the old, yucky insulation out, hubby did some rewiring and installed new joists for the additional flooring.
Nearly done with the new floor portion, and beginning to rip out the framing around the small window.

As I ripped out the framing around the window, huge gaps appeared.  Our work on this room has certainly showed the poor workmanship done before.....

Under the window..yes...that is our patio you can see....seriously!!!

The old window with framing gone....from outside on the patio.

Stay with me everyone!
Come back tomorrow and we'll show you the new picture window installation, and other progress we have made, as well as Part Two, of the wall of worries story mentioned above.

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