0

Trusting the Internet: Should I really soak my feet in mouthwash?

IMG_1572

Well, I’m supposed to be cleaning the bathrooms right now, but honestly, I don’t feel like it, so, I decided that I’d check Facebook for a few minutes. Once I logged on, I was met by an image that has frequently popped up in my newsfeed lately. Perhaps this was a message from the universe! Perhaps I should be soaking my feet instead of soaking the toilets…

IMG_1561

This is the original image that keeps popping up in my newsfeed.

Before I go any further, let me state a few truths:

  • God did not grace me with skinny thighs or pretty feet, so getting a pedicure is a bit like putting lipstick on a pig. There is only so much I can do.
  • You can’t believe everything you see on the internet.
  • If you have all of the ingredients for a recipe, you have to make it.
  • Beauty treatments take precedent over cleaning your house.

Now, my curiosity was piqued, so I decided that I’d read the comments. That was only fuel to the fire. They were split 50/50. Some swore by the recipe, while others declared it false. Some questioned the measurements, while others claimed it turned their feet blue or green! After reading the back and forth, I appointed myself Internet Sleuth of the Day and went in search of all the necessities. I admit, I did make a few adjustments based on the comments that were posted, and here is what I found.

If you choose to continue reading, consider yourself warned. MY FEET ARE UGLY! I have included pictures as documentation, but I claim no responsibility for the negative effects of viewing this “footage” 😉

I declare this foot soak a total success! I even got better results than the last pedicure I paid for a few months ago! It’s simple to make, relatively cheap, and I had to sit for at least 15 minutes doing nothing! The result was flip flop worthy, soft, minty fresh feet that felt invigorated and relaxed. What more could a busy mom ask for? So, do yourself a favor and try it before you pay for another pedicure.

image (9)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of mouthwash (I used my husband’s Target brand generic Listerine. It was green)
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • A large basin
  • A pumice stone or rough washcloth

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients into the basin. I used very warm water, and found it relaxing. I’m not sure how the lady in the original picture made hers look so gelatinous, but mine looked like light green water.IMG_1571
  2. Soak feet for at least 15 minutes. Try to hide from your husband or children so that they do not bug you. This is your 15 minutes of peace and quiet!!
  3. To be honest, after 15 minutes, my feet did appear blue, but then I realized that it was the dead skin that was blue. A soft scrub with the pumice stone revealed soft pink skin 🙂 I used the pumice stone to scrub my feet well, especially the really rough spots. I also noticed that it worked as an awesome cuticle remover!FullSizeRender
  4. Next, I washed my feet with soap and water. This is when I used the washcloth and really scrubbed my nails and toes.
  5. Then I dried them well and moisturized them with coconut oil.IMG_1570
  6. Finally, I noticed that my toenails were a bit green, but after a coat of nail polish, you would never know. If you are leaving your nails bare, I’d use a different color of mouthwash.

    IMG_1569

    Please know I am just a mom shamelessly offering her feet. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be a foot model.

0

My Very Best Pulled Pork

  

When it comes to pulled pork, I’m a full blown snob! I love it so much, that my bucket list includes a trip through the small towns of the south, sampling pulled pork and ribs from the well kept secret spots and smoky hole-in-the-wall kinds of joints, where the craft of bar-b-que is practiced from ancient family recipes.

Now, while I’d love to slow cook my own pork over a sampling of hardwoods, and allow the natural flavors to develop over hours of heat, the reality is that I’m a mom of three busy kids, who works full time. Carpools, laundry, bickering daughters, and work would not wait for me to monitor a roasting hunk of meat and the demands of an open flame in my small, suburban back yard.

So, I do what any other sensible cook would do, I pull out my slow cooker. I know it is not comparable to an open flame, but, oh well!

Here is my recipe. It is an awesome blend of a Carolina style vinegar pulled pork, and its bar-b-que based counterpart. I think of it as the best of both worlds. Smoky and savory, tangy and sweet all collide in this recipe that will leave you craving more!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large (8-10 lb.) pork shoulder/picnic or Boston Butt roast
  • 1 head of garlic peeled
  • 1 med. Yellow onion
  • 1 of each—Red pepper, yellow pepper, & orange pepper
  • ½ to 1 cup of ketchup
  • 4 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp. of  brown sugar
  • Bar-b-Que seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Sprinkle roast with seasoning.
  2. Chop peppers and onions into large chunks
  3. Place roast, peppers, onions, and garlic into a slow cooker.
  4. Pour in vinegar
  5. Cook 8-10 hours on medium to high until the meat is tender and falls apart easily.
  6. Remove meat and set aside to cool.
  7. Strain juice from the slow cooker into a medium sauce pan on the stove.
  8. Boil liquid until reduced to half
  9. Add ½ cup of ketchup and 3 tbsp of brown sugar and continue to boil until you have a thin sauce. You may need to add small amounts of brown sugar or ketchup to adjust taste.
  10. Use two forks or your stand mixer to shred meat and add it to the sauce.

Serve on a roll of your choice, or open faced on a slab of Texas Toast garlic bread!

Tips:

  • The longer the meat sits in the sauce, the better it tastes
  • This can be frozen in smaller amounts and used as needed.
  • Make it at least one day in advance to allow the meat to soak up the sauce.
11

Super Savory Sun Pickles & The Time I Accidentally Almost Killed My Husband

2-IMG_3023

I love pickles! I admit that I could eat a whole jar, by myself. And while I have no complaint about the store bought variety, I was intrigued with the proposition that I could make my very own, after all, I am the Fabulous Food Fairy!

Well, unfortunately, this first attempt at making pickles has now become my most infamous kitchen DISASTER!

It all started two summers ago, when I decided that I would make my very own pickles. I was inspired by my neighbor, Brenda, who was making her own. How hard could this be, right? WRONG! My first mistake was not following the golden rule of canning–use a tried and true recipe from a reliable source. As a cook, I am not terribly precise. I use a little of this, and a little of that, and many recipes don’t ever taste the same way twice. Well, tragically I attempted to apply this same logic to pickles.

I bought a powdered mix, but that looked sooo BORING…I wanted flavor, so I also bought a jar of pickling spices to add some real color and flavor. When it came time to actually make the pickles, I added a little of this, a little of that, tweaked the amount of one ingredient, and improvised with another. The brine smelled strong, but many pickle juices do. I thought nothing of it. I then processed my jars, and packed them away neatly. I have to say, they looked beautiful! The pickles were bright green, and the spices looked so pretty dancing around in the jars. I was impressed with my first foray into pickle making.

Then it all came crashing down. The pickles were ready for tasting. My husband went first. He opened the jar, and pulled one slice out.  He hesitated and smelled it. Backing away, he started to balk because of the strong smell. I called him a wuss and urged him to try it. The horror was apparent on his face instantly. He gagged, lurched to spit it in the sink, and then proceeded to try to wash his tongue. WHAT A DRAMA LLAMA, I thought. He has a flair for exaggeration, so I figured the only way to truly assess the finished product was to try it myself.

I hesitated and smelled it. I too started to balk because of the strong smell. He called me a wuss and waited eagerly for me to experience the “flavor”. OH! It was beyond horrible! I gagged, lurched to spit it in the sink, and then tried to wash my tongue. The flavor conjured up bad memories of wisdom teeth, dry sockets, and clove packing, mixed with vinegar, and overly strong garlic, with a mystery sweetness, and dill that made you shiver. It was the most horrifically offensive taste that I am sure has left scarring on my taste buds.

Sadly, we dumped every pretty jar of terrible pickles, and my pickle making days ended in a burning defeat, and a whole lot of teasing from my family 😦

So, you can imagine Brandon’s enthusiasm last summer, when I announced that I was getting back on the horse, so to speak, and making pickles, again. I got a look… and a declaration that he would not try them. Whatever.

This time I was armed with a successful recipe from my friend, Brenda, and it only had 6 ingredients. I promised to follow the rules, color in the lines, and not improvise.

What resulted was AWESOME! It was so awesome that I had to share it, to spare you all the same traumatizing defeat that I incurred at the hands of my own creative pickling ideas.

Try it, involve the kids, but don’t get creative with this one. Please follow the rules 🙂

Ingredients:

1-IMG_2989

6 1/2 cups water
3 1/4 cups white vinegar
2/3 (or less) cups of pickling salt — yes it matters, it has to be canning or pickling salt!
1 sprig of dill per jar
1 clove garlic per jar
12-15 Kirby pickles
5-6 quart jars sanitized with new lids

Preparation:

1. Place 1 clove of garlic and 1 sprig of dill in the bottom of the clean jars.

01-IMG_3009

2. Slice pickles and place in jars, or pack them whole.

04-IMG_3012

05-IMG_3013

06-IMG_3014

02-IMG_3010

3. Boil water, vinegar, and salt until the salt is dissolved.

2-IMG_29974. Pour the hot liquid into the jars, leaving about 1/2-1/4 inch head space.

07-IMG_3015

5. Wipe off the rim of the jars, and put lid and band on tight.

09-IMG_3017

10-IMG_3018

6. Set jars in the sun, undisturbed, for 48 hours. At this point, they should be sealed. The pop-top on the lids should be sucked down, indicating a strong seal.

1-IMG_3461

7. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

This is a really fun activity to do with the kids, in fact, it has become a summer tradition with my kids as well as my nieces and nephews 🙂

2-IMG_3460

1-IMG_3459