Slow cooker pork loin with apples

This one was going around the internet for a minute – I tried it so you don’t have to. Except that you should.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 apple*
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup baby potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

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*I used Cortland, because I didn’t want something super-sweet, but definitely didn’t want tart either. Cortland is on the sweeter side, but not too much so.

I halved the amount of meat from the original recipe – and apples, carrots, and potatoes – but kept the same amount of sauce. The sauce is really good and you will want more of it.

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8 excellent reasons to consider a real tree this year

Does your family get a real tree every year, or do you have an artificial one you always take out of storage? 

If you typically use a fake tree, but are maybe open to switching up some Christmas traditions this year, here are eight great reasons why you should consider going for real over artificial.

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Where to find the best Black Friday deals

Confession: I have never Black Friday shopped. Although I’m going to this year, sort of – more on that below.

If Black Friday shopping is something you’re really into, the reputable WalletHub recently conducted a survey and put together where you can find the best deals – and what kind of merchandise you can get the best prices on. 

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Why Rory belongs with Jess

The Gilmore Girls revival is this Friday, as we all know. I’ve been avoiding reading about it as much as possible to avoid spoilers, although I can see all three ex boyfriends are making an appearance. Which made me think about who Rory belongs with, if any of them.
 
That’s important – it might be be someone else, or no one. But what if it is one of them? Who would it be?
 
I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I am landing on Team Jess.
 
Note: If you haven’t gotten all the way through Gilmore Girls, this does contain some spoilers.
 
Let’s look at the other two contenders first, with a brief recap of the relationships.
 
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Creating a Character’s Background, Place, Setting, and Milieu (writing exercise #15)

Happy National Novel Writing Month! Who’s writing?? I am!

I have been working on a new novel for a month or so. It’s going…slowly. I’m not hammering out hours on it every day as would be ideal. But I’m doing what I can, and doing a little bit (almost) every day.

If you’re writing too, join me in these writing exercises, straight from What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.

Side note: I can’t recommend The 90 Day Novel enough, if you haven’t picked that up as well. There are also writing exercises in that book, although much simpler. (As in, write for five minutes as your main character starting with, “My idea of a perfect day is…”)

This exercise is a little bit like the Props one – we’re taking a look at settings and objects that can really define who a person is. If someone broke into your house and went through your stuff, they’d have a pretty good idea about your personality, right? Let’s pretend we’re about to rob our protagonist’s home.

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Classic goulash

Goulash! I like to make this on Sundays and use it for lunch during the week.

Thank you MyIncredibleRecipes.com for this one.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt (or seasoned salt of your choice)
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

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Three seasoning blends you need in your kitchen right now

Need some more flavor in your kitchen? If you’ve got these three seasoning blends on hand you can’t go wrong.

Taco seasoning

Courtesy of SmashedPeasAndCarrots.com

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Use this for, well, tacos, or anything taco-like. Beef or chicken. 

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Cajun seasoning

Courtesy of FreshBitesDaily.com.

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Cajun seasoning for chicken, vegetables, or anything where you want a nice kick of flavor.

  • 2 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme

Poultry seasoning

Courtesy of MyFridgeFood.com.

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This is my favorite of the three. The absolute perfect compliment to chicken. 

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

If you have all three of these made and ready to go, you can easily throw together a last minute dinner when you otherwise had nothing prepared.

Macaroni salad version 2.0

If you’re looking for a classic macaroni salad, check out this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

If you want to veer of the beaten path a little bit, I discovered this one  a few weeks ago from ASpicyPerspective.com and have made it twice with rave reviews.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dried macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped kale
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

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How to prevent a gator tragedy

Edit on 06/17/16: Less than 24 hours after I wrote this post various news outlets disclosed that Disney employees reported problems to management regarding guests feeding gators – for 14 months. I have to rescind my below comment on it “probably not” being Disney’s fault. If they were made aware of the issue and did nothing, clearly they are at fault.

I’ve been semi-obsessed with gators for a few years now and consider myself fairly educated on the reptiles.

As an enthusiast but admittedly non-expert, I’d like to share my opinion on the recent gator-related tragedy in Orlando.

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