November 2015

Cyber Monday Brunch: Apple Cheddar Mini Quiche

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #LoveAmericanHome  #CollectiveBias

As I write this I’m sure many of you have already started your Christmas shopping by hitting the stores for some Black Friday Deals. I love a good sale! However, I love my pajamas more.

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I also love a good brunch. So, this year, I think I am going to do Cyber Monday right. I can actually enjoy shopping from the comfort of my computer, have everything delivered right to me, and be able to maybe enjoy a Cyber Monday Brunch with anyone who will join me.

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One of the things I will be purchasing this year for Cyber Monday are American Home™ by Yankee Candle®  brand candles at Walmart online. These will make great gifts for hostesses, teachers, and coworkers. They have so many wonderful fragrances like Lovely Lavender, Ginger Pumpkin Pie, and my absolute favorite Fresh Apple that is perfect for an apple themed Teacher gift.

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While shopping online, I was able to find the small tumbler candles for $4.93 each, and the fragrance beads for only $3.43 and the large 19 oz two wick candle for $14.93.

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Also, for Cyber Monday and a limited time, American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand is running an awesome deal for two 19oz jar candles in two beautiful holiday fragrances, Balsalm Fir and Sparkling Cinnamon Spice, for just $22 starting November 30. You can check out this great promotion here, and get them delivered right to your door in time to gift them to all your favorite people. You’ll still get to be in your jammies, people.

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Don’t you love that I can even turn Cyber Monday into an excuse to drink warm cozy beverages and eat an easy brunch treat while shopping. For this brunch I kept it simple and everything could be eaten with one hand so you could have your other hand free for hunting for deals on your laptop or smart phone. I even created a small hot beverage area complete with tea, cocoa, and marshmallows so my gal pals can have plenty of refills on cozy drinks while they shop.

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A recipe that I thought would be fun was an easy and a nod to my favorite Fresh Apple American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand candles that I will be buying are Apple Cheddar Mini Quiches. They are so easy and so delicious, and perfect combination of sweet and savory.

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Apple Cheddar Mini Quiches (makes 12)

6 eggs beaten

1 cups milk (I used whole)

1 large apple finely minced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups butter round cracker crushed

4 Tablespoons butter melted

salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine cracker crumbs with melted butter, and spoon and pat into the bottom muffin tin. Pro Tip: If you really want to make the crackers seem like a real crust pat the crumb and butter mixture down with the bottom of a glass.

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Divide chopped apple and shredded cheese among muffin cups.

Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until combined. Divided evenly, pour over apples and cheese.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes or until set.

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I cannot wait to serve these on Monday. I made this video to remind myself of all the steps I used to make them.

These mini quiches would be a great brunch idea for out of town guests staying with you too!

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What will you be shopping for on Monday? Are you looking to score a great deal on electronics or a specific gift for a loved one? Don’t forget to buy a few hostess or teacher gifts, and take advantage of American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand at Walmart for this great deal!

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I know I will!


For more great brunch recipes you may also like: Oatmeal with Almond Butter and Berries or this Thirsty Thursday favorite HOT VANILLA

All About the Sides: 7 Awesome Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I adore the Thanksgiving meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my family, but there’s something about the glow of candles and being a little overheated from being in front of the stove all day that makes a person enjoy the meal a little more than normal. Everyone knows that Turkey is the star on Thanksgiving, but let’s face it,we all know we are there for the sides that we only have the patience to make once a year.

This year I have been enlisted to make a few side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, and I thought I would share my 7 favorite side dish recipes from the internet that I have made over the years. It’ll be ok if you’re Turkey is a little dry and playing second fiddle to these all stars.

  1. Cranberry Fluff from My Baking Addiction is so sinfully fluffy and delicious. Also, the pineapple helps to balance out the tartness of the cranberries. Oh, and don’t forget you’ll need whole berry cranberry sauce for this recipe (which is a bonus since everyone wants the jelly stuff this time of year, it’s easier to find).
    Photo courtesy of My Baking Addiction.


  2. Corn Pudding from Taste of Home is pretty rich, but it is a holiday after all. I have made this a couple times, and every Thanksgiving it is GONE!

    Photo courtesy of Taste of Home.
  3. Not Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole from Alton Brown is time consuming but so so worth it. You might not ever eat the canned soup version again after trying this awesome scratch variety.

    Photo courtesy of The Food Network.
  4. Speaking of green beans, if you want something a little quicker and a little lighter, you can try my Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic. They are easy, light, and oh so healthy.Stouffers-12
  5. I have also tried my hand at a couple different dressings in my day. My favorite is this Apple and Onion Dressing or Cornbread Stuffing. Both are variations on what my grandma used to make.Apple-Stuff-4
  6. Let’s not forget something that has been at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. The old Broccoli Cheese deliciousness. I make this once a year, and every year I have to ask the grocer where the processed cheese is in the store, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without this blast from the past.

    Photo courtesy of Kraft.
  7. Finally, I adore this recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It is my favorite to put on a Day after Thanksgiving Day Sandwich. (Maybe I will show you how to make one of those soon). If you want to dress up this recipe, add a tablespoon or two of amaretto.

What is your absolute favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Giggle All the Way: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias

I know it is not even Thanksgiving, and typically I don’t like to even think about Christmas until I have stuffed myself full of Turkey. However, when I see something that reminds me of someone I love, it is hard for me to not want to buy it knowing that the holidays are coming. I had wandered into the Christmas decor section at Walmart, and I found some Hallmark Ornaments that brought to mind some funny childhood memories. I knew I had to buy them, and along with them, I decided to bake a little treat that I also hadn’t had in forever too!

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Walmart has Hallmark Ornaments in 16 different styles that include resin ornaments of all of your favorite characters like Holiday Barbie and some gorgeous decorative figurines, but what caught my eye were the ones from some of our favorite movies that we watched when we were growing up.

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I couldn’t help but think of all the hours we spent watching Star Wars, Caddyshack, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation together.

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In fact, I think most of our conversations to this day are basically spoken in our favorite lines from Caddyshack.

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Like Clark Griswold, I might have overdid it.

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I even found these adorable Hallmark cards nearby to send with my gift idea.

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After my purchase I went home and made a classic cookie recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, one that I have perfected over time, and have decided to send these ornaments and cookies along to my siblings for a pre-Christmas giggle. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a good laugh and some cookies.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (makes 3 dozen)

2 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature

3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups oats

1 cup raisins

1 cup boiling water (I’ll explain)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.


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In another smaller bowl, add raisins and cover with boiling water.

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Set aside for a few minutes. This helps to make the raisins plump up a bit and are extra delicious in the cookies.

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Drain the raisins and set aside.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well incorporated. Then, carefully mix in eggs and vanilla.

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Then, add flour mixture and mix until barely incorporated.

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Next, add oats and raisins. Mix until all ingredients form a dough.

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Next, scoop dough onto reserved parchment lined baking sheets (about 1 1/2 tablespoons).

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Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Cool on wire wrack before packing to send.

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I cannot wait to send these cookies with the funny Hallmark Ornaments I found. I think my siblings will love them.

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What ideas do you have for Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart this Christmas season? Will you decorate an entire Star Wars themed tree? Will you send a fun gift to a pal with golf balls and a Caddyshack ornament? Share in the comments.


Kitchen Refresh: Countertop Installation

I’m sure you all remember my warning awhile back about being sure to say no to crack (especially in your countertops). The countertops were installed awhile ago, however, because our kitchen is easily the most used room in the house and we also installed a backsplash, a new microwave, a cabinet, did a little painting, and I made some curtains the kitchen was a mess. Then, I immediately started using my new kitchen for cooking and baking out of sheer excitement. Thus, the actual writing about my kitchen got put on the back burner (no pun intended).

I decided to write about the kitchen in stages though as to not overwhelm, otherwise it would be the longest post in the history of the blogosphere, so today we are just starting out with the countertops.

So, here they are! Don’t they look fabulous!?

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When we finally decided on granite, the installers came out and did a precise measure of our space to let us know exactly how much countertop we would need and to also assist us with what kind of sink would fit best into our base cabinet. We decided on a granite composite sink.

This was my third choice. I wanted a farmhouse sink, but that wouldn’t fit our cabinets (sad), then I wanted a Kohler ceramic sink and that was on a 12 week backorder (I cried), so I did a little research, and this Blanco Granite Composite seemed like a good option. It was large and deep and white. So far I like it.

Once all that drama was done, a schematic drawing of the kitchen was made.

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Next, were given the all clear to pick out two slabs of granite at a granite distributer. We had decided on a color and kind when we purchased our countertops, but since granite is a natural stone taken from the earth there is often many variances. Therefore, the fabricator often will let you pick a specific slab that appeals to you.

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PRO TIP: You can sign off and allow your fabricator to pick out your slab(s) too, but we thought it might be fun to do it ourself AND also see a granite warehouse. Just remember that the slab you see is going to be slightly darker in your home after sealing and will be cut to fit your space.

This was my favorite part of the process. Look at all that natural stone!

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Even though our granite is called River White, we picked a slab that had a lot of gray running through it with a lot of variances. We liked that natural and rustic feel.

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After we picked our slabs, it was a few weeks before the countertops were cut and installed. To prep the kitchen I just had to make sure that everything was off the current counters and remove the drawers.

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The installers removed our old countertops.

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The installers also made sure to shim any areas that were not level due to the house settling too.

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Then carefully installed the new granite countertops.

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We did have to have one awkward area that had a seam, but it is perfectly sealed, and that process was awesome to watch. You can’t even tell where it is now.

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Finally, the sink was installed. PRO TIP: Make sure that the sink you pick out is on site and removed from the box and checked for cracks or imperfections before your installation date. This gives you time to get is exchanged in time for installation day.

When everything was installed, the countertops were sealed and the sink was caulked. PRO TIP: Wait about 24 hours before hooking up the faucet, plumbing, and using your countertops. This gives everything time to dry and settle up. There will be a lot of dust and a slight film on the countertops. When ready for use wipe everything down with a mild soap and water.

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Next up: Backsplash installation.


Thirsty Thursday: Cranberry Orange Blush

My absolute favorite thing about Thanksgiving is cranberries. Not to disappoint all you pumpkin fanatics out there, but November is not complete without infusing Cranberries into almost everything around here. Cranberry sauce, cranberry fluff, cranberry cookies, cranberry candles, and of course cranberry drinks.

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Just like when I made those Grapefruit Mules and I found that awesome grapefruit vodka, I found an awesome infused Cranberry Vodka made by Deep Eddy. This had me wondering what to make with it. I took a little inspiration from my favorite Thanksgiving side: homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest. So I married those two flavors and when I did, it turned into the most gorgeous pinky blush color. Then the Cranberry Orange Blush was born.

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Cranberry Orange Blush 

1 1/2 oz cranberry infused vodka (I used Deep Eddy)

the juice of one fresh orange

cranberries for garnish

orange peel for garnish


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In a high ball glass, fill with plenty of ice to chill and set aside.

Place three cranberries on a toothpick with a piece of orange peel and reserve for garnish.

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Add the juice and vodka to chilled glass, stir gently. Top with garnish and serve.

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This drink hits all the right flavor notes for Thanksgiving. Enjoy responsibly with this seasonal appetizer of yore.


Any Night Can Be Fancy: Green Beans (Haricoverts) with Lemon and Garlic

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #StouffersHoliday  #CollectiveBias

Does anyone else feel it coming? The avalanche of planning, working, after school projects and activities, the preparation, the shopping? The Holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season, and I really enjoy snuggling by the tree to read a good book with a cup of hot chocolate in my hands, but I also know that we still have a long way to go before I am watching a holiday classic on TV in my jammies. There is just so much going on. So, in an effort to keep things simple, and to focus on what is really important: time together, this is the time of year that I work on planning my simplest of dinners.

Like a Lasagna with Meat Sauce served with Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic.

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I know that doesn’t sound simple, but…

I did something I haven’t done in forever. I bought a STOUFFER’S® Family Size Entree. When I saw they had a Family Sized Lasagna with Meat Sauce at Walmart on Rollback, I thought it would be a time saver and a money saver. I could just pop it in the oven while I help the kids with homework or work on some holiday cards. So, with STOUFFER’S® in the freezer section at my local Walmart, I decided to grab one and make a simple plan for a quick but fancy weeknight dinner.

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You heard me correctly, even a weeknight dinner can be fancy. While in the store I grabbed all the ingredients to make one of my favorite side dishes to Lasagna with Meat Sauce. Green Beans (Haricoverts: that French for thin green beans) with Garlic and Lemon. They are a cinch to make and dress up any meal.

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You can light a few candles too, and trick anyone into thinking that it’s the weekend.

Green Beans (Haricoverts) with Lemon and Garlic

1 pound green beans trimmed and cleaned

2 small lemons

2-4 cloves of garlic (peel the garlic cloves but keep whole)

4 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

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Steam the green beans in the microwave or in simmering water for 3-4 minutes. Cold shock them in ice water and set aside.

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Zest and juice the two lemons.

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In a large saute pan over medium low heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted add the garlic cloves and let them cook a few minutes until fragrant.

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Next, add the green beans and lemon zest, tossing until well coated with butter and zest.

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Finally, finish with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Remove garlic cloves. Toss again.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges as a garnish.

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What fancy pairing will you whip up with a STOUFFER’S® Family Size Entree? If you want more inspiration for a great pairing, visit the Flavorful Moments Pinterest Board. You will be able to find this great recipe and so many more to dress up this busy holiday season for your family!


One Week at a Time {FREE PRINTABLE}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DailyRepairDifference  #CollectiveBias

When I was young younger, I used to be an all or nothing type of person. If I was trying to lose weight, I would be eating, exercising a couple of times a day, and going to bed early. If I was taking a class, I would be doing all the assignments including extra credit and cramming every night. If I was working toward any sort of goal, it was all or nothing with me. Now, that I am old older, I have learned that this sort of living has become exhausting, and often left me burning out way too fast. This is why I have decided to take one day at a time, which has lead me to one week at a time. With some inspiration from New Colgate Total® Daily Repair™ toothpaste, I have finally decided to make some small daily steps that have made a huge difference.

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New Colgate Total® Daily Repair™ toothpaste can be found right in the tooth health aisle at my local Walmart.

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When used every day, it can help to prevent gingivitis, plaque buildup, and can even remineralize teeth to prevent cavities. Just making the small change to New Colgate Total® Daily Repair™ toothpaste in my daily oral hygiene routine over my previous toothpaste, makes me feel like I am already taking better care of myself. I also have fresher breath too! You can follow Colgate on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

After making this small daily switch I was wondering what else I could do.

Even though I am the self proclaimed Thirsty Thursday queen and I love to make fun beverages,  it was time for me to focus on staying hydrated the healthy way. So, I dedicated myself to drinking 64 oz of water a day for an entire week. Then, after completing that small goal, I decided I could add a few other small changes to my daily routine that when put together would really make a big difference.

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I decided to add a little more exercise to my walking routine.

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I replaced my 3 p.m. white chocolate mocha, or vanilla latte, or “hey, wanna bake cookies!” craving for a much healthier snack.

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I made myself start going to bed a little bit earlier each night.


I thought in order for me to make some of these new changes into a real daily habit, it might be fun to keep track of them. I thought it also might keep me motivated to going down a size or adding a mile to my next walk. I made a cute printable for myself, and I am so excited to share it with my readers! Each week has a goal, and each day that a goal is completed I can check off the day. I even left a week where we can add our own goal.

Daily Challenge Printable

What small steps do you take in your own life to make a big difference? What will you add to your Weekly Goal Printable? Will you drink a little more water? Will you add a salad at lunch? How about adding New Colgate Total® Daily Repair™ toothpaste to your daily oral hygiene routine? †Remineralizes enamel damage and helps prevent gingivitis with continued use. 


Pulled Pork Nachos

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy  #CollectiveBias

Now that Halloween is safely behind us, my mind is already focussed on holiday parties. Is there anyone else that loves this time of year simply because of the appetizers? I love being able to grab my favorite beverage and a few tid bits to munch upon. Eating this way, just makes the conversation flow a little more naturally. Speaking of things that are a bit more natural, Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese is a more wholesome approach to topping all of your holiday appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and snacks. If you need some more tips and tricks for surviving this time of year, Walmart and Kraft have your back.

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Since this is the season of small bites, I decided to combine a comfort food classic with  go to appetizer and create Pulled Pork Nachos. They are satisfying, delicious, and will have your guests begging for this simple recipe.

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This time of year I am particularly short on time. I am often running from event to event, beginning to decorate, and keeping up with our normal routines, and it is nice to be able to do some one stop shopping. Along with being able to find Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese at Walmart, I was also able to find everything else I needed for this recipe too.

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Pulled Pork Nachos (enough for a small get together)

For Pulled Pork

1 small pork tenderloin (you may use shoulder too, but tenderloin is less fatty)

3 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

1 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

juice of two limes

1 cup water

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In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pat the tenderloin dry. Then rub the spice mixture onto the tenderloin.

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Then, place the pork into a slow cooker and cover with the lime juice and water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours.

Remove from cooker and shred with two forks. Set aside.

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For Nachos

2 cups (or a couple of handfuls) tortilla chips

1 to 1 1/2 cup Kraft Natrual Shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar)

1/2 cup pickled jalapeno peppers

2 tablespoons cilantro

lime wedges

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chips on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cheese.

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Bake for five minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Then, top with shredded pork.

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Add pickled jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

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Looking for more cheesy ideas for the holidays? What is your favorite cheesy appetizer? What will you be making this holiday season? Tell me in the comment section what you will be cooking up, I’m looking for more ideas for the holiday season.