Category Archives: About Me

Henry’s Smokehouse

Back in my highschool and college days I worked at Henry’s Smokehouse. And it pretty much ruined me for barbecue anywhere else. Yep, it’s that good. I don’t even bother ordering barbecue from anywhere else because I am ALWAYS met with disappointment if I do.

What makes Henry’s barbecue so special? Well, for starters they cook in open barbecue pits with hickory logs to lock in that fantastic hickory flavor. (Drive by and you’ll see the smoke coming out of the building for yourself.) They cook the pork butts for 12 hours in low temperature and their fall-off-the-bone ribs for over 8 hours. But the special treatment doesn’t stop there; once the pork is cooked, the meat is hand-pulled so only the best meat is chosen.

Now let’s talk about their sauces. I’m personally not a fan of tomato- or ketchup-based sauces and I like some spice. Enter Henry’s Spicy sauce. It’s a mustard-based sauce with a little kick and it’s delicious. I’m told by others that the Mild, tomato-based sauce is good but I haven’t actually tried it.

Besides their signature pulled pork barbecue, they also have smoked chicken, ribs, hash and rice and Brunswick stew. I’m a fan of all of these items. When I worked there the only sides offered were baked beans, slaw, fries and rice. (The fries are phenomenal and I used to eat these quite a bit with the special sauce one of my co-workers made sprinkled with Henry’s special garlic salt or dipped in the malt vinegar.) They have since added green beans, potato salad, sweet potato casserole, banana pudding and mac and cheese.

The first item at Henry’s I ever tasted was actually the hash. Being from Southern California originally, I had never even heard of hash but I’ve always said I would try anything once. I’m glad I did. It’s delicious, spicy, meaty yumminess. I have since forgotten what all is in it but I do know it is good.

The Brunswick stew is my go-to on a cold, winter day. The smoked chicken is great chopped with some spicy sauce and slaw. The ribs are extremely tender and seriously come right off the bone. The baked beans are sweet and delicious. And the lemon cake is moist and, well, lemony. But the best, of course, is the incredibly delicious pork barbecue. Seriously. Go get some. And try it with slaw on it even if you think that sounds gross…because it’s not.


9 Day Menu Plan

I’m going to do things a little differently this week. For one thing, I’m going to buy meals for 2 weeks instead of 1. We are going to be out of town starting Friday afternoon through Wednesday night though so I won’t be including any meals for those time periods except for some snacks for the road and dinner in the car so we don’t have to stop for fast food on Friday night. The other thing I’m going to do differently is have the format more clearly reflect the way I actually meal plan. I generally just plan 7 dinners/breakfasts/lunches and decide each day which we will have. However, if we have a specific reason for having a specified dinner on a certain day, I’ll notate that (just for myself, not that my readers need to know necessarily. ;)) For breakfast and lunches, I’m just going to list stuff I have, or will be buying to have, on hand to make stuff since that is normally how we roll around here.

One last thing, because I feel guilty everytime I see my huge collection of cookbooks, I’ve started trying (again) to use my cookbooks more. I actually am going through each one slowly and marking down recipes I think we would enjoy and am going to start making some of those. That may mean I don’t have as many links to recipes as I did before but I will always at least include a link to the cookbook in my post and, if I can find a link, of course I’ll include it!

As always, I use the Publix weekly ad to make my menu to help save money!

This week I’m using The Mafia Cookbook for some of my recipes. I will notate those recipes with an asterisk.

Via earthfare.com

Breakfast and Lunch items – Plain Greek Yogurt, Apple Blueberry Granola, Fruit Salad, Eggs, 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Honey, Earth Fare Red Wellness Tea, Mango, Peanut Butter, Dinner Leftovers, Raisins, Blueberries, Strawberries, Almond Milk

Dinners

Pasta with Zucchini* and Garlic Bread

Double- Herb Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Panacotte (Greens and Beans)* with Salad and Homemade Ranch

Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato and Fontina

Creamy Spinach Enchiladas with Brown Rice and Salsa

Loaded Baked Potatoes with Salad and Homemade Ranch

Friday – Ham & Cheese Wraps with Carrot Sticks & Pretzels

Jerk Chicken with Cucumber Relish and Corn on the Cob

Salmon Casserole with Green Beans

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Frugal Menu Plan

Here is this week’s frugal menu plan. Trying to save some money this week!

I use the Publix weekly ad to make my menu.

Monday

Swedish Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes (leftovers)

Tuesday

Crock Pot Chicken with Red Potatoes

Wednesday

Green Chile Cheddar Eggs

Thursday

Creole Shrimp and Rice

Friday

Pasta with Sauce, Green Beans and Garlic Bread

Saturday

Lemon Salmon Burgers with Corn on the Cob

Sunday

Eggs and Bacon with Toast

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast

To celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary, my husband and I booked a one night stay at the 1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC. We had been passively looking for a while for a bed and breakfast that would allow children as most will not. Thankfully, the Blake House does and also welcomes pets, too which would have been really nice if we still had a dog.

The accommodations are lovely, but instead of my describing them all to you, I thought I’d show you our room instead. You can see in the last picture in the far left corner, there was even a little twin bed for our daughter to sleep in.


Menu Plan Monday

via eatingwell.com

We ended up having more leftovers than I anticipated so I have some stuff from last week shifted over to this week. I also had completely forgotten Mother’s Day was Sunday so we had a special meal that day and not what I had planned for. Our Mother’s Day Menu: Steak Tacos al Carbon, Mexican Rice, Corn Cakes, Cowboy Caviar, Guacamole and Chips, Tres Leche Cake.

As always, I use the Publix weekly ad to make my menu to save some money.

Monday

B – Greek Yogurt with Honey

L – Pimento Cheese Sandwiches and Pretzels

D – Homemade Pizza

Tuesday

B – Greek Yogurt with Blueberries

L – Soup and Sandwich

D – Penne Pasta with Green Beans and Garlic Bread

Wednesday

B – Strawberry Puff Pancake

L – Pimento Cheese on Crackers, Fruit

D – Salmon and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Thursday

B – Oatmeal with Raisins

L – Leftovers

D – Teriyaki Chicken with Brown Rice

Friday

B – Fruit and Granola

L – Peanut Butter Toast with Bananas and Pretzels

D – Bruschetta Chicken Bake with Green Beans

Saturday

B – Oatmeal with Blueberries

L – Lunch Out

D – Not My Mom’s Sloppy Joes with Corn on the Cob

Sunday

B – Eggs and Toast

L – Swedish Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes

D – Frozen Pizza

Snacks: Cinnamon Almonds, Fudgy Brownies, Blueberries, Pretzels, Dried Apples

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Giveaway: CurlyMonkey Organic Cloth Baby Wipes $18 {5.26; US/Can}

This is a joint giveaway with A Little Bit of All of It and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked “Win it!” for the mandatory main entry and optional bonus entries.

Curly Monkey Organic cloth wipes assortmentCurly Monkey is offering our readers a giveaway of FOUR organic cloth baby wipes, a value of $18.45.

The Review:

I was excited for the opportunity to review four organic cloth wipes from CurlyMonkey. All of the products CurlyMonkey sells are free from pesticides, insecticides and harmful fertilizers, which makes me feel good about using these wipes on my little girl.

Besides cloth wipes, the company sells baby and toddler clothing, baby hats, baby bath mitts, and soft toys.

When I received my cloth wipes, they came in a nice blue organic cloth gift bag, which would be great if you were planning on buying a shower gift! I like that I can reuse this, too, and it is not just packaging I’d be throwing away.

Curly Monkey cloth baby wipes in bag

Specifically I was sent one each of the Organic Eco-friendly Cloth Baby Wipes in Paris Tea, Collection Trèfle and Think Peace prints, along with one Maxi Hemp Organic Cotton French Terry Cloth Baby Wipe (2 ply).

These wipes can be used in several ways — as burp cloths, washcloths, or in place of paper towels, for instance — but I used them specifically for their primary use as cloth wipes for my daughter’s diaper changes.

Using the Wipes

First of all, these wipes are BEAUTIFUL! The designs are lovely. I really enjoyed just looking at them and was almost afraid to use them! The prints are a high-quality designer cotton fabric on one side with the other side being an organic hemp / organic cotton french terry.

Curly Monkey Organic cloth wipe textureThe Maxi Hemp wipe is handsewn unbleached, dye-free, organic fabric with one side being smooth while the other side is textured for messier jobs, like wiping dirty bottoms.

I consulted the website for the washing instructions (machine washable — gentle cycle — medium heat to dry) and washed them prior to using them. I measured them because I wanted to see how much they would shrink after washing, if at all. The wipes with prints measured 8 1/2″ x 11″ while the Maxi Hemp wipe measured 9″ x 9″. Once washed, they shrank down a little bit. The printed ones shrank to 8 1/2″ x 10.5″ and the Maxi Hemp wipe shrank to 9″ x 8 1/4″. I did notice that the edges on a couple of them curled up after washing but once I washed them again, they were already starting to lie flatter.

I use an old disposables wipes container for my wipes, and these wipes are slighter larger than the wipes I currently use and don’t fit as well into the container. They are also a lot thicker so they take up more space. Still, I didn’t find this that big a deal. I poured my wipe solution over the wipes like I normally do and there were no surprises there. I folded them with the design side facing inward so I was wiping with the plain side. For the Maxi Hemp wipe I placed the textured side facing outward.

I have been using cloth diapers since my daughter was a newborn (now 2 years old) along with cloth wipes so cloth wipes aren’t new to me. But these are MUCH nicer than the ones I’ve been using. It definitely makes a mundane task fun!

The generous size is a big plus. I found in cases where I normally would need to grab a second wipe, I don’t need to with these. They also feel more substantial than the thinner wipes that I have. The thickness of these means there is a nice barrier between my hand and what I’m wiping up. The textured side looks and feels like it would be great for an infant’s messy diapers, but since I have a 2-year-old, I didn’t get to “test” this out.

If you are already cloth diapering your baby, it makes sense to use cloth wipes as well. These would be a great addition to your cloth diapering routine as something nicer and more special. I actually get excited when I go to change my daughter and see the next wipe is one of these!

When my daughter caught her first stomach bug this past Christmas, I know I would have been happy to have these wipes to use for all the messes I had to clean up. It would have certainly made the job easier and given me something pretty to look at during an unpleasant experience. Even my daughter prefers them, as you can see in this video!

BUY IT!

You can purchase CurlyMonkey Organics cloth baby wipes online through CurlyMonkey.com or at CurlyMonkey’s Etsy shop.

Three-packs of the printed wipes are $15, and six-packs of the Maxi-Hemp wipes are $20.70.

Shipping is available internationally.

WIN IT!

For your own chance to win the same set of FOUR CurlyMonkey Organics cloth baby wipes, enter in the comments below! Contest is open to U.S. and Canada.

MAIN ENTRY:

Leave a valid email address in your comments (the line where it says “email address”) so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses are not made publicly visible.

This is a joint giveaway with A Little Bit of All of It, a natural parenting blog, and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we’ll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

BONUS ENTRIES, to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry above (leave a separate comment for each so we can count them all):

RULES:

  • Contest open to Canadian and United States mailing addresses only.
  • Contestants may enter at either A Little Bit of All of It or Natural Parents Network but not both. Entries will be combined for the drawing of a single winner.
  • Leave each entry as a separate comment so we can count them all.
  • For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just let us know in your comment.
  • For tasks that garner you multiple entries, you can copy and paste the comment with a #1, #2, etc.
  • You don’t have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one.
  • We will pick the winner through Random.org after the contest closes and send an email notification. Leave a valid email address as you comment so we can contact you if you win. If we can’t reach a winner or don’t hear back within a couple days, we’ll draw a new name.
  • Any questions, let Lauren know: Lauren {at} NaturalParentsNetwork.com
Contest closes May 26 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
Disclosure: I received four free wipes for review.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If we don’t like a product, we won’t be recommending it to you.
See our full disclosure policy here.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner this Week

We ended up having a lot of ham leftover so some of last week’s meals have spilled over to this week. I also made strawberry mini muffins last week for Marcella’s Easter basket and she had them for breakfast a lot last week. She loved them!

As always, I use the weekly Publix ad to make my list to help save money.

Monday

B – Oatmeal with Blueberries

L – Cheese Quesadillas

D – Mexican Rice and Beans with Sour Cream

Tuesday

B – Greek Yogurt

L – Leftovers

D – Calzones with Roasted Cauliflower

Wednesday

B – Greek Yogurt

L – Leftovers

D – Roast Sticky Rotisserie Style Chicken with Green Beans

Thursday

B – Cereal with Strawberries

L – BLT’s and Cantaloupe

D – Baked Potato and Salad

Friday
B – Eggs

L – Peanut Butter sandwiches with Bananas and Pretzels

D – Spicy Thai Noodles with Stir-fry Vegetables

Saturday

B – Greek Yogurt

L – Frozen Pizza

D – Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella with Steamed Broccoli and Garlic Bread

Sunday

B – Scrambled Eggs

L – Penne Pasta with Green Beans

D – Chicken Tricolore with Corn on the Cob

Snacks: Dried Fruit, Trail Mix, Cinnamon Almonds, Fudgy Brownies, Fruit, Pretzels

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


This Week’s Menu

Here is this week’s Menu Plan Monday. Enjoy!

As always, I use the weekly Publix ad to make my list to help save money.

Monday

B – Oatmeal with Mango

L – Cheese Quesadillas with Oranges

D – Mexican Rice and Beans with sour cream

Tuesday

B – Cereal with strawberries

L – Leftovers

D – Chicken Tricolore with Corn on the Cob

Wednesday
B – Cereal with Strawberries
L – Garden Vegetable Soup with Peanut Butter Sandwich
D – Caramel Apple Breakfast Casserole, Glazed Bacon and Fruit Salad (meal for friends who just had a baby)
D – Eggs and Bacon with Toast (for us)

Thursday

B – Greek Yogurt with strawberries

L – Pasta

D – Sweet Ham & Cheese Wraps with Roasted Cauliflower

Friday
L – Eating out with Lori
D – Dinner out – Celebrating our anniversary

Saturday

B – Breakfast at B&B (anniversary trip!)

L – Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches with Pretzels and Apples

D – Pasta with Sauce with Green Beans and Garlic Bread

Sunday

B – Scrambled Eggs

L – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

D – Southwest Chicken Salad

Snacks: Hummus with Raw Veggies, Cinnamon Almonds, Green Smoothies, Fudgy Brownies

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Easter Menu Plan Monday

This Sunday is Easter Sunday so we have a special menu for that day. I have included all meals again for this week. Enjoy!

As always, I use the weekly Publix ad to make my list to help save money.

Monday

B –  Plain Greek Yogurt with Granola

L – Leftovers

D – Spicy Tuna Melt Pie with Corn 

Tuesday

B – Peanut Butter Toast with Strawberries

L – Tuna and Apple Salad on 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Pears

D – Poppyseed Chicken with Havarti

Wednesday
 
B – Plain Greek Yogurt with Mango
 
L – Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Strawberries
 
D – Slow Cooker Ranch Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Celery Sticks and Ranch

Thursday

B – Oatmeal with Blueberries

L – Garden Vegetable Soup and Peanut Butter Sandwich

D – Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce with Spanish Rice

Friday
 
B – Scrambled Eggs with Cantaloupe
 
L – Totable Tea Sandwiches with Cantaloupe
 

Saturday

B – Scrambled Eggs

L – Southwest Chicken Salad

D – Dinner out

Sunday

B – Caramel Apple Breakfast Casserole

L – Ham with Potato Salad, Watergate Salad, Baked Beans and Rolls with Earthquake Cake and Carrot Cake Bars

D – Leftovers

Snacks: Hummus with Raw Veggies, Cinnamon Almonds, Garbanzo Crunchies, Cheese Chips, Grapes, Pumpkin Flax Bars, Green Smoothies

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Natural Parenting Blog Party

I’m very late but I’m finally here and I’ve answered the Day 1 questions below! I’m looking forward to reading all of the other participants answers and the rest of the party! Not sure what I’m talking about? Go check out this post at The Peaceful Housewife.

1.How many children do you have, and how old are they? One in heaven, Shannon, would have been 4 this April and one on earth, Marcella, just turned 2 this March

2.Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent? I am married to my husband and we are about to celebrate 9 years of marriage this April.

3.What are your “hot button” parenting issues? I would say I’m passionate about breastfeeding beyond infancy, baby-led weaning (in regards to starting solids), cloth diapering, bedsharing/co-sleeping and natural childbirth.

4.Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting? I had thought I would stop nursing after my baby turned 2 but so far we’re still going strong and I don’t have any plans to wean.

5.Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices? I couldn’t point to just one book. I have read several and they all have affected me in different ways. Some have made me aware of things I hadn’t thought through and others have clearly shown me what I definitely did not want to do! I know the Baby-Led Weaning book very clearly affected my decision on how to start solids with my daughter.

6.If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use? Energetic

7.Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change? The first thing that comes to mind is actually something during the birth I wish I would have done differently. I fully intended to delay cord clamping until I found out they would not be able to type my daughter’s blood if they waited the full time for it to stop pulsing. Without knowing her blood type I would not know if I needed an RH shot after birth. So, we opted to not cut immediately but also not wait until it completely stopped. I feel like this was just really selfish on my part looking back. I don’t know why I ever thought that was a good idea. The irony is I ended up having to get the shot regardless because the lab took so long with the results and I would not have needed it after all. Next time I will just get the shot and let the cord stop pulsing. No need to know the child’s blood type right away.

8.Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at? I’m not patient….at all.

9.Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day? I love cheese!

10.Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Definitely vanilla. I’m not a fan of chocolate.

11.What’s your guilty pleasure? Internet time…I spend way too much time online.

12.If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be? I don’t watch a whole lot of TV so I don’t even know!


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