Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper Poppers= yummy goodness!!

Okay this is a post about a super easy appetizer that is way better than those restaurant pepper poppers you can buy. My very sweet aunt Margie showed me how to make this a few weeks ago, and they were a huge hit with my wonderful husband. We grow jalapeno peppers in our garden and they are always one of the things that are a great producer for us. Not much else works out for us except okra, but I digress. Here is how you make this super yummy treat. Bet you can't eat just one.

Okay, buy a bunch of large jalapeno peppers. If you are feeding a small crowd you are going to need a lot of these. For two people, about a dozen or so.
BACON (4 strips per dozen peppers)
Cheddar cheese, you can use grated or buy a block and cut off 1/4 inch thick slabs.

STEP 1: Take the peppers and slice them in half lengthwise. Don't worry about cutting off the stems. They make great little handles for later. De-seed the peppers with a small paring knife, or if you are brave, use your fingers. You want to get out the membrane and the seeds. Leave a few seeds on if you want them to taste hotter. Beware, just a couple of stray seeds can make these babies HOT!!!

STEP 2: Really this should be your first step and it can be cooking as you do step 1. (I don't claim to be a regular food blogger so pardon my order here.) You need to fry up about 4-6 slices of bacon till it is crisp. I buy the thick sliced bacon and simply peel off the number of strips I need in a stack and take a sharp knife and cut them into pieces. Then I fry them up till crisp. Drain on a paper towel. (My aunt cuts the slices of bacon into about 3 pieces and fries them that way.) Don't discard the bacon grease. You need it for the next step. It really makes these poppers taste better.

STEP 3: Keep that bacon fat in the pan. Depending on how much you cooked up you may need to drain off some. You want grease to cover the bottom of the pan, but you don't want it to be more than coated. Your peppers shouldn't swim in the pan. Place the peppers in the pan skin side down and let cook till they blister and sort of color (brown) on the bottom. Turn and cook the inside for a minute or two. Peppers will soften, but you don't want them mushy.

STEP 4: You can do this last step one of two ways. You can take the peppers out of the skillet and slightly drain them on a paper towel. Then place them on a foil lined cookie sheet and top with cheese and bacon. Bake at 300 F for 5-10 min. till cheese is melted. Or broil them slightly till melted but beware of leaving them too long. They will burn.
Or you can place the cheese and bacon on them in the skillet and let them cook a little more till the cheese melts. If you do this method I would suggest cooking a little less in Step 3 on the skin side.

Serve these babies warm to your guests. They are sure to disappear fast. And then everyone will beg you to share the recipe.
Beware of eating straight from the pan or oven cause they will be HOT!!!! Like temperature hot, not so much spicy hot. Although these little beauties do pack a bit of a spicy punch. My husband loves me when I make these for him. He likes hot stuff. Not that he doesn't love me normally. Just sayin'. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top 10...11 Thirty-One products list

This is my purely subjective list of favorite Thirty-One products. I am not really a purse girl, so you won't see many of those type bags on my list. However, I think a lot of the purses Thirty-One makes are cute. They are just too big for what I like to carry. So anyway, here is my list along with some ways to use them to organize and de-stress your life.

1. Organizing Tote--- can we say 7 pockets, room for file folders, crafting projects, inks, adhesives, scissors, other tools. It is my craft room on the go. Plan to use it lots on co-op days to finally get some of my crafting projects done. Makes an awesome diaper bag too. Wish I had one when my sons were babies.

2. All in One Organizer-- I have 6 of these babies. Two in the car to keep clutter at bay. One for portable DVD players. One for homemade bath and body product storage. Two for new Thirty-One business. They are my office to go (one for taking catalogs and such to parties, and one to keep my business papers for record keeping). I can see using this as a mini bill pay station or mail keeper.

3. Storage totes -- who doesn't need to tidy up their bedroom, which seems to end up being a stow away room. I bought a couple to put my other crafty ventures in and they match my bedroom decor. Now it doesn't look so messy.

4. Square storage tote-- can we say DVD storage here. We don't have Cable tv or regular tv, but we do have a DVD collection that grows. I can store 22 DVD's in one of these. Love it.
I think it would be awesome to use in a closet to store my husband's clothes that he puts up on the shelves.

5. Thermal tote-- it holds up to 3 bottles of water and/or some snacks. Love to take it when we go to the "city" on errand day. Perfect for taking to the park or amusement park for storing water and snacks. Hey, it even makes a great left over "doggie bag" when you go out to eat.

6. Picnic Thermal tote-- will hold up to 3 2-liter bottles, or a whole picnic's worth of food. And I think it is big enough to carry a 9x13 casserole to a potluck (just leave it on its side, not upright).

7. XXL tote-- I used this on my recent week long trip to the beach. I packed all my clothes and had room for my mini organizer filled with makeup and toiletries on top. A huge bag.

8. Mini organizer-- I use it for my makeup, my kids use it for their school supplies, you could even use it in the kitchen for organizing tools. Also makes a great portable office. It is bigger inside than you think.

9. Expand a tote day extender--- new product in my starter kit that I think will replace the XXL tote in my get away packing. Love the expansion capabilities and the reinforced bottom that gives it support and shape while packing it up.

10. Littles Carry All Caddy-- my son has one on his desk for his school supplies. I would like to have one to catch the mail in the kitchen. I would pop a book of stamps, a couple of pens, my address book in the little front pocket. I could store incoming and outgoing mail in it. This little caddy also make a great choice to deliver a small gift. Hmmm... do I see Christmas right around the corner.

11. Large Utility tote-- this one should be near the top. Probably tied for 1st. This tote is huge, has a metal frame at the top and is on my list to get more. We use one in our school room for current school books. It nestles neatly between the boys' desks and now they can just grab their books for their studies each day. Love!! I want one for my laundry room to put clean clothes to be ironed in. Just grab it by the handles and take in to be ironed. No more piles of clothes on the floor in the laundry room or next to the sofa waiting for me to get to them. (I don't leave them by the sofa for days and days. Just during the two days or so it takes to get them all ironed. ) :)

I have more favorite, but these are my top ten/eleven.
I have a Girl On the Go add on kit coming in the mail with some wallets, mini organizer, 5th Avenue purse and other items. They may make it on my list too. Can't wait to do my open house and show off all these items. I have one party booked already and my mom said she would host a party for me too. Yea!! I have a goal to get 5 bookings before the end of the year and 10 outside orders. I hope I succeed. Really I am not doing this to get money, but some extra Christmas cash after I break even from buying the starter kit, a few office supplies and postage would be a bonus.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Thirty-One adventure

Okay, so I am no longer a Stampin' UP! Demonstrator after 9 sweet years with that company. It became too much work to fit in my increasingly busy schedule of homeschooling, housewife, wife, mom, etc.... I also found that while I still like SU!'s papers and accessories, I just was not excited about their stamps anymore. I love Papertrey Ink stamps and dies so much more for their ease of use and timeless style. What does all this have to do with the title of my post you ask? Well, I took the plunge yesterday and signed up to be a consultant for Thirty-One gifts. They make handbags, totes, organizer totes, and other storage items. My mother-in-law introduced me to the company this Spring and I really like their products. Most of the storage and organizer totes are pretty reasonably priced and very spacious. I have several totes to store my various crafty ventures (bath and body making supplies, sewing supplies and fabrics), our homeschooling stuff (books, school supplies like pencils, rulers, tape, crayons, etc.), and our expanding DVD library, the boys stuff for the car, portable DVD players, and stuff like that. Amazingly enough, I got all those things for less than $100 by hostessing a catalog party.

I chose to sign up with Thirty-One for a couple of reasons. First was to see if there was a little potential to make some extra money to pay for fun things and trips for our family. The boys and I really want to go to this horse ranch near Atlanta for a few days. Secondly, it did not seem like doing this would take nearly the prep time to do that Stampin' UP! took to do. I just have to grab some of the totes and go. I also think their hostess and customer specials are great. Thirty-One's August special is incredible: you get 15% off everything in the new Fall/Winter catalog. Amazing. I also figured with the upcoming holiday seasons, it would be a good time to promote their products as possible gift ideas. The totes are awesome for giving as gifts, filling with gifts, or toting all the gifts and other stuff to family for the holidays.

So, anyway, I hope to squeeze in some time to make this work. If you are interested in my business or want to see the products, go to Again the August special is 15% off anything in the new catalog. The new catalog goes live on my website on Monday, July 25.