Slow-Cooker Pigs in a Blanket using Cabbage

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Old fashioned pigs in a blanket is a common meal that many people used to make about 100 years ago. This recipe was most commonly made by those who had family stemming from eastern Europe. Today, pigs in a blanket is typically something very different, usually a hot dog or mini dog wrapped in a puff pastry. These pigs in a blanket taste very different than the new version. The older version was savory flavored meat wrapped in a wilted and tender cabbage leaf and coated in a slightly sweet tomato sauce. Though this dish can be very messy to eat, it is filling and very delicious. This recipe makes 12 pigs and 4-5 adult sized servings. This recipe can also easily be doubled and frozen in a freezer container or casserole dish.

What You Will Need

  • 6 Large Cabbage Leaves, Halved with Middle Stem Removed
  • 1 Lb of Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Diced Onion
  • 2 10.5 Oz Cans of Tomato Soup
  • 1 6 Oz can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • Slow-Cooker
  • Strainer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Large Dutch Oven of Water
  • Thongs and Wooden Spoon

Directions

  1. Bring dutch oven of water to a boil. Add Prepared cabbage leaves and boil for 1-2 minutes until soft. Transfer to strainer and let cool. Place burger in a mixing bowl, add 1/2 onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Mix by hand. Add 1 can of tomato soup to bottom of slow cooker and stir in 1/2 can of tomato paste.

2. Once cabbage is cooled, form about 1/3 cup of meat mixture into a patty. Place patty on cabbage leaf and roll, tuck under ends, then place into slow-cooker. Repeat for remaining leaves, or until out of filling. Place down first layer of pigs, then spoon each with a layer of soup from a new can. mix remaining tomato paste with remaining soup. Place your second layer of pigs, then top with remaining sauce. Add 1 can of water and remaining onion, carefully stir and place on high and cover.

3. Check every hour and spoon with hot sauce. Once they begin to shrink, push more into hot sauce. Cook pigs for at least 2.5 hours on high before serving, making sure they are thoroughly cooked first. Plate and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Shrimp Lo Mein

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I am always in the mood for Chinese food. Their cuisine is so rich in savory flavors with vegetables and carbs. Lo mein is one of my favorite easy Chinese recipes. The only thing you will need is fish oil and oyster sauce, then you can make any kind of lo mein there is! For this recipe, I used zucchini as my green vegetable. You could also use a spinach, a bok choy, or some broccoli, to name a few. I also added about 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes for a subtle hint of heat to the dish. I would recommend adding some for more depth of flavor, or more if you’d like some extra spice in your dish! This recipe makes 5-6 adult sized servings.

What You Will Need

  • Wok/Large Dutch Oven
  • 1/3 Cup Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, sliced
  • 1 Green Vegetable
  • 12 Oz Frozen shrimp
  • 12 Oz Vermicelli/spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Fish Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Ground Ginger
  • (Optional) 1/4+ tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

  1. Add your oil to your pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Also begin boiling your spaghetti, cook until al dente, then strain.

2. Add your onion and green vegetable to the oil and cook until onion is translucent. Add your oyster sauce, fish oil, soy sauce, and spices. Stir until combined.

3. Place frozen shrimp into luke warm water. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Remove tails if applicable. Add shrimp and pasta to wok/dutch oven, stir over medium heat until thoroughly mixed.

4. Remove from heat. Let cool 5 minutes and serve.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

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Giant chocolate chip cookie? Yes please! This recipe is delicious and super easy to make. Just mix, spread, and bake! My only advice for this recipe is to use a glass dish if you have it available. My textured pfaltzgraff dish, even though it was sprayed with lots of non stick spray, stuck very badly. If you don’t have glass, you could also line the dish with wax paper, just remove the cookie before it’s fully cooled to prevent the paper or the cookie from sticking. If you want thicker bars, you can also use a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking pan. This recipe makes 10 bars.

What You Will Need

  • 1 Stick of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Mixing Bowl
  • 7 x 11 Casserole Dish
  • Non-Stick Spray

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Add Chocolate Chips and mix till evenly dispersed in dough.
  3. Spray casserole dish with non stick spray. Add Dough and spread evenly over the bottom.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Garden Amending and Planting Garlic

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If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the post I added yesterday about planting garlic. This is the first year I am seriously trying to grow garlic, and so I’ve done a lot of research and I’m very excited to see what I can get. But, isn’t this garlic gorgeous! I bought these three varieties, all three are organic, disease free, and heirloom varieties. These varieties cam from MIGardener.com. They are not a sponsor, and many varieties are sold out or selling out fast. With that out of the way, before I could plant my garlic, I first had to pull my remaining plants from my raised beds and fabric bags. With this, I was able to save several Parris Island lettuce seeds. I will include those steps at the bottom of this post. I then amended my raised beds, then I planted my garlic.

My first frost day is only 2 weeks away when I planted the garlic yesterday. It is recommended planting garlic at least 3 weeks before first frost, but we just got over a cold snap yesterday where we had 4 nights of frost. The weather is calling for warm temperatures for the next week, so I’m taking a gamble that we won’t be getting another frost for a couple more weeks.

To amend my beds, I first pulled all my plants, but my marigolds. It was just a personal choice to keep them. I think they are beautiful and have a lot of life left in them, so it didn’t feel right pulling them yet, so I just worked around them. To make up for this, I will add some fertilizer in their place next spring to add more nutrients in those spots. Once I pulled the plants, I then pulled down all my netting. This made it easier to move the soil around. Our beds are 8 ft by 4 ft and pressure treated. We added in one fabric bag to one bed and two fabric bags to the other bed. We then split a bag of peat moss between the two beds. We also added 2 bags of aged cow manure into each bed and mixed it all into the top 4 inches of each bed. The reason we added the fabric bags was because the dirt in them had a lot of clay and dried out very quickly. We added 2 bags to one bed because the soil in that second bed was very poor, so we wanted more organic matter in the bed, so we added more dirt. You could also add potting soil if you needed to fill your beds more, but potting soil is expensive, so if top soil were an option, it would be better. I aim for a ratio of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost/manure, and 1/3 top soil for a healthy and balanced soil.

  • Plant garlic rows 6 inches apart
  • Plant garlic cloves 6 inches apart in a row
  • Place garlic cloves 2-3 inches under ground
  • Cover garlic with 4-6 inches of hay or mulch before your first frost
  • Plant garlic at least 3 weeks before your first frost to allow time for root development before they go into dormancy
  • Place chicken wire/hardware cloth over your beds to prevent animals from digging
  • Uncover garlic once risk of frost has passed
  • Water garlic often in the fall and spring and fertilize often in the spring and summer; garlic is a heavy feeder
  • Garlic is ready once the outer 1-2 leafs are dead and dry, any more than that and the garlic won’t dry and will just rot instead

Parris Island lettuce makes yellow flowers, that once fertilized become white fluffs with seeds attached. To get the seed, simply remove the heads that have already gone to seed, remove the stem, then remove the fluff from the seed. You only need a few flowers to get lots of seeds.

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Garage Side Door

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We started this project near the end of June, and by early July we had everything done but painting the trim. Though I like to make a post whenever we do a project, I am learning to wait until the entire project is done instead of posting when everything is “mostly” done. So, the end of August, we got some exterior paint and were able to finish this project. We’ve been working on other projects almost constantly, so it was something we had to get back around to.

Lustron garages are similar to the house, but there are some construction differences. For example, the house is entirely steel construction, whereas the garage is all wood construction. This made it much easier for us to add the door. The panels are the same between the house and the garage. The panels are attached in only three corners, and what keeps it together is the panels being nested. from the front, the panels are bolted on the left corners and the right top corner. When the wall was assembled, it was assembled from the left bottom corner to the right top corner. The metal shingles are also the same as the house, however the roof design is different. Lustron garages were a secondary thought to this company, and most of the time were just assembled by some contractor the way they would build any other structure. For that reason, you will find must more variation between garages than houses. With that out of the way, you can look through how we added our door. We bought a previously owned steel door for $15 that came with hinges, but was not hung. We would have liked a door that was already hung, however we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a door either, so we went with what we could find, I painted it, and we attached to a door frame that we made ourselves.

The first thing we did was figure out where-ish we wanted our opening. We had originally planned to more the door so there were two existing panels between the door and the corner. We knew we’d have to move our electrical if we did that, but there would be enough room for the upright freezer and some storage shelves. When we pulled down the wall and could see the footer, there was already an original foundation anchor in it, and though we may have been able to remove it, we didn’t want to mess with the original structural integrity. Before you pull down your wall, you will need to find your studs, but once you do, you can tear out anything in the wall, in our case it was insulation, and clean your work space.

We decided to move the door a segment to the left, and Josh began cutting. As I mentioned earlier, since the panels were assembled a special way, we had to disassemble a special way. Using a sawzall, Josh was able to fit the blade between the panels and studs to cut the bolts. Once all a panel’s bolts were cut, it could just slide right out. We did end up damaging a few panels this way, but many of these panels were severely rusted and some even rusted through. Once that was done, we cut out the existing stud and cross support, and cut the existing footer in the door way to make room for a new threshold.

Once the opening was done, it was all framing and adding the door. First, we added our threshold, and added on anchor into the cement. Then we rough framed the door. We gave ourselves an extra 3 inches for the door and roughed in the opening. We made spacer blocks then added our 2x4s up to the header. There we added shorter 2x4s that were slightly higher than the door, and nailed them to the existing 2x4s. This whole time before we nailed anything, we were adjusting the boards to be as close to level and as close to square as we could get. We added a top plate to the shorted boards and attached it. We added some smaller pieces to attach that to the actual header, then we called it a day because our we found out our well switch had broken (thankfully we keep a spare). We added plywood for the night and got back to it a few days later. We then cut the door frame, cutting the sides before the top, shimmed it in place then nailed it. We added our final threshold and then we took a few more days off before returning. When we came back, we hung the door. First, holding the door where it would be if it were open, we marked the hinge locations. We had enough room that we didn’t have to set in the hinges, but you may have to do that if your space is too tight. Josh pre-drilled the holes, and I held the door as he attached each hinge.

Josh then cut our top trim piece and mounted it, then he cut and mounted each side piece. We added new hardware to the door, and spray foamed around the framing of the door. We left it like that until I was able to paint the trim to finish the project.

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