Succulent BBQ Spare Ribs Recipe

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You will never have more delicious bbq spare ribs than the ribs from this recipe. The crockpot gets the meat tender and juicy while the barbecue finishes them off with some nice grill marks for texture. Whenever I ask Michael, “What do you want for dinner?” his usual response is, “ribs.” We have a little white board on our fridge so we can write grocery list items we need and “ribs” ends up there a lot too. Although the other day I saw “ambrosia” written up there which was a new one. The little white board on the fridge really does work because I did actually make that ambrosia. Hello 1960!

Ingredients:

Spare Ribs

BBQ Sauce

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Salt & Pepper both sides of your spareribs. Place ribs in a large crockpot and set on low. Slather BBQ sauce over both sides of the ribs. Set the crockpot for 8 hours. After 6 hours check the ribs and if they are falling off the bone you can take them out. If not, keep them in for another hour or two. Once they reach the desired doneness transfer them to a platter. Place the ribs on the barbeque heated to a medium high temperature. Cook just long enough to get a few grill marks on each side. Remove from grill and serve. Enjoy!

bbq_spare_ribs_grilled

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Hopes Wishes and Dreams

When I’m in a situation that I feel comfortable with a friend or family member I ususally like to ask, “So, what are your hopes wishes and dreams?” My brother-in-law Mike told me once that he knows if he comes near me that I’m going to launch into some deep conversation with him so he has to prepare. haha. Anyway, I like to figure out what it is at the core of people’s hearts. What do they really want for their life? What makes them tick? The findings are often extremely interesting. There are a lot of people out there that haven’t really given any dreams a second thought. They just want to live a comfortable life and enjoy the ride. Others have these gigantic goals that involve world travel, fame, fortune and all the rest. I don’t really think there is such a thing as a small dream or a big dream. Whatever your dream is, its your dream!

For me, I’ve always been a  dreamer. I’m always coming up with some scheme or goal to accomplish whatever it is that I’m after. And even though my dreams have changes, the core energy behind what has fueled my dreams has stayed the same. I have finally realized after years of chasing my tail that what I want for myself isn’t fame, fortune, world travel or a mansion to call my home. What I want is to really experience my life. I just want to refine myself, improve and constantly “level up.” I have no idea why this is so important to me, but it is. Whenever I master something, I create a new goal for myself before I’ve even appreciated reaching that milestone. And since I’ve learned this about myself recently its also brought about a sort of melancholy over my dreams. Because before when I would dream about something, there came that magical intoxicating infatuation with whatever the outcome would be. As if in the moment of achieving that specific dream, all my worries would melt away and I would have finally “made it.” But I’ve realized that doesn’t exist because there will always be a new dream on deck ready to make my life “perfect.”  My life is my life and it will always have problems because I keep creating them myself. If one has a goal it means that there is a perceived problem. And the only way for it to be solved is by working towards that goal. If I felt like we needed bigger place, for instance, then I’d work hard until we got it and once we got it I’d find another thing I needed (like a bigger car) and work towards that and so on and so on. There will always be a problem (life) that needs to be solved (goal). And being content with what you have doesn’t work either because then it leads to really depressing things like becoming complacent and stagnant which can only lead to therapy. So while my quest for all my current dreams hasn’t been halted by my recent realization, it has made me face a new level of maturity that I hoped I’d never have to face. And that is reality. Having dreams that are based in reality means that success will come quicker because there are no delusions or ego getting in the way. It also means that the magical moment that you hoped would happen when all your problems would disappear if you work hard enough is erroneous. The carrot is gone. In its place is satisfaction in a job well done and working hard to be a refined individual. Its not as glamorous but at least its honest. And to be fair, since having a family of my own a new magic has set in that I never expected or knew existed. So I find myself working harder than ever but having more joy in the little moments of the day. My baby makes me slow down and appreciate what is already around me. And I’m grateful. Very grateful. I guess I’ve grown up. So to end this I have to ask. What are your hopes, wishes and dreams?

p.s – After writing this I felt there was one more thing that needed to be mentioned. Many of my dreams have already been realized and life IS better and fantastic! But day to day the magic of achieving those dreams has worn off  and I seem to take things for granted. And therefore, any future dreams are really just icing on the cake. Dreams really do come true. But it takes a lot to relish in them on a day to basis. Okay, thats it for now…

Pink, Blush & Ivory Rose Ombre Cake

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Okay okay, I know that ombre is the big thing right now but I really couldn’t resist. I mean, how delightful is cake with pink, blush and ivory roses piped on the outside? So sweetly romantic and darn easy too. All you need (besides the obvious) is a large icing star tip, and icing bag (see my video on how fill an icing bag mess free!) and some food coloring. The trick with the icing is to make the consistency firm enough that the icing keeps its shape but not so firm that you can’t get it out. (So with your basic buttercream icing recipe, keep milk and powdered sugar on hand for firming or loosening the icing). And the trick with food color is to use ONE DROP at a time until you get the desired color. More than one or two drops of red food coloring in white icing can create a barbie pink VERY quickly. (I like slightly more subtle colors myself). Below are few more specifics on how to get started. Enjoy!

top_rose_ombre_cake

Things you Need:

Baked Round Cakes filled with either buttercream or a filling of your choice. (The size and amount of layers is up to you. I use the Better Homes & Garden’s Yellow Cake Recipe myself…)

Buttercream Frosting (I always refer to Savory Sweet Life’s Recipe. This won’t be enough so make more than you think you need for the size cake!)

Red Food Color

Large Star Icing Tip (and a small one as well to fill in gaps)

Icing Bags

Saran Wrap

Directions:

Divide your frosting into three parts and color with food coloring until you’ve reached your desired look. (Make SURE before you color the frosting that you have enough! Its almost impossible to get the color exactly the same if you run out….)  Cut the end off your icing bag and put in your large star tip until bag is tight around the edges of the tip. Make sure that no icing can get out. Take a large piece of saran wrap and lay it flat on the counter.  Spoon in as much frostings (from the color you want to use for the top) as will fit while leaving enough room to wrap up like a sausage. Wrap saran wrap around the frosting and twist the ends until tight. Cut off one end of the saran wrap and put the cut end into the icing bag first (so the icing can get out and through the star tip). Twist the top of the icing bag until there is enough tension to pip the icing out.

With a circular motion make a rose in the very center of the cake. Continue making roses evenly until you reach the point where you want to switch to the next color. Continue with the next color and switch again when necessary.

What vegetable is this?

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My college age sister calls me up and starts explaining a vegetable that she has and isn’t sure what it is. She’s like, “Its white with long green things coming out of the top.” Finally she texted me the picture and I instantly knew what it was. Can you guess?

Quitting Diet Soda. A 6 Step Program.

Even though I’ve quit diet soda it doesn’t mean that I have any judgements on those that haven’t. I drank it for so long (see figure 1 below) that I had my share of people warning me and wagging their fingers at my bad habit. Let’s be real, we all know diet soda is bad for you! Its not really a secret. So, if you have found this page because you are looking to quit, are curious or merely feeling guilty and wanting to see what other’s have done, then welcome! Whatever stage of your diet coke relationship just  know that its possible to have a successful break up if you want. I’m sharing what I did and hope that it helps those looking for a solution. Just for the heck of it I listed some additional adverse affects of drinking diet soda just in case there’s a few you haven’t heard. How cool would it be if in the future diet coke was only used to make explosions with mentos!?

a-gallon-of-diet-coke-straight-to-the-dome

Quitting Diet Soda. 6 Step Program.

1. Admit that diet soda is adversely affecting your health (see reasons below)

2. Make a commitment to stop drinking it completely and to never take another sip. (This step is important!)

3. Stop drinking diet soda

4. Stock up with replacement drinks that are aspartame free. Sparkling water naturally flavored with lemon or lime is great as well as Zevia (Zevia is sweetened with Stevia which is a natural sweetner). If necessary you may allow yourself to drink a little regular soda (like one bottle of mexican coke) to take the edge off in the beginning. I found this helpful since I don’t really like sugary drinks and am not in danger of overindulging.  However, if you feel this will result in another addiction then steer clear.

5. Keep caffeine pills on hand for emergencies. I know this also sounds like a recipe for another addiction but hear me out.  My hypothesis is that those that overdo it on diet soda aren’t the same people that overdo it on caffeine. Those are the energy drink/espresso drinkers. Diet soda people have more of a thing with eating and the caffeine addiction is a residual of that. Taking a little caffeine in pill form isn’t nearly as fun as drinking a diet soda and definitely not as delicious. So if you are putting off quitting diet soda because your concerned about your caffeine headaches then just take a little caffeine in pill form until you can wean yourself off. A diet soda has about 50 mg’s of caffeine. The pills I found are 200 mg’s so I just cut them in half and then in half again with a butter knife. Easy!

6. Congratulate yourself for your victory over diet soda and recommit daily to staying diet soda free!

Grocery List:

Zevia (found at Whole Foods or online. Their cola flavor does have caffeine in it)

Sparkling Water (I get a box with 12 can’s naturally flavored with lemon & lime)

Caffeine Pills (You can find this in any drugstore and most grocery stores)

Diet Soda Fun Facts!

Metabolic Syndrome results in some pretty scary symptoms. This was the least scary picture I found but if you google “metabolic syndrome” you’ll get the idea. Not cute.

diet_soda_metabolic_syndrome

Aspartame converts to Menthanol in your system which then turns into formaldehyde. Yikes! The results of this are:

Symptoms from methanol poisoning are many, and include:

  • Headaches
  • Ear buzzing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Weakness
  • Vertigo
  • Chills
  • Memory lapses
  • Numbness and shooting pains in the extremities
  • Behavioral disturbances
  • Neuritis

The origins of aspartame are unfortunately just as suspect as aspartame itself. Here is a timeline of how and why aspartame was approved by the FDA. I hate to bag on the government as I know Washington is normally full of people with integrity (note sarcasm) but here are the FACTS.

Hope you enjoyed and please update me on your progess!