Friday, February 27, 2015

Skyline Chili Slow-Cooked Ribs

My husband's family has this addiction to a Cincinnati-based Chili called Skyline. Traditionally, it is eaten over spagetti with diced onions and cheddar cheese, or over hotdogs on a bun with mustard, onions and cheddar cheese.

Everytime we head back to where he grew up, he and his siblings make multiple treks to get their fill, and we always pack cans of the chili to come home with us for those times when the craving just won't wait until the next visit. I have to admit that the chili has grown on me over the years. And it does make for a quick meal in a pinch.

My brother-in-law mentioned to hubby recently that he had tried a chili smothered rib recipe once, so I set out to try this. I didn't have a recipe, so I made one up.


-1 lb Baby Carrot
-2 15 oz Cans Skyline Chili (check your local grocery store - my Wegman's in Maryland actually carries it)
-5 lbs Pork Ribs
-1 Medium onion, diced
- 2 lbs Red potatoes (Whole)



1. (Optional) Place a Slow-Cooker Liner in the base of your slow cooker ceramic pot. I love these liners! They make clean-up a breeze.


2. Place a layer of carrots on the bottom, follow by a layer of red potatoes. Feel free to leave these out. I prefer my slow-cooker recipes to be one-pot meals.

3. Put half the ribs covered by the half the onion and 1 can of skyline. I had to cut the ribs in half to get them to fit. Repeat with another layer of the remaining ribs covered by the last half of the onion and second can of skyline. (I know, it doesn't look very appetizing yet).

4. Place the cover on your slow-cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

5. Enjoy. These litterally fell off the bone, so I couldn't get a good picture of them, but they were delicious.

Hubby was SO excited about these he actually posted about it on Facebook, so I guess this recipe is a keeper.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Growing up fast and foray into cake decorating

The twins turned two recently. Last year, I ordered smash cakes for them, as M had a newly diagnosed egg allergy and I just couldn't handle trying to put together birthday cakes for them with this new restriction. A local bakery, Flavor Cupcakery, does vegan cakes, and I was sold.

This year, I decided it was time to try to bake the cake myself. I pulled out my trusty egg-free cookbook, Bakin' Without Eggs, and picked out a recipe: the Silver White Cake. My icing was a basic buttercream icing.

I have done some cakes in the past and was always befuddled because my cakes weren't perfectly flat and putting them together successfully in layers was challenging. Additionally, my icing was always a hot mess and full of crumbs. This time, I did my research to get my layers as flat as possible and discovered that I was really doing what is called a crumb coat before and you really have to go back over top of that layer with more frosting (no objections here to more frosting).

Using Wilton's Bake-Even Strips, which you soak in water for about 5 minutes and then wrap around your pan, I was able to get even layers. I was skeptical, but these really work!

My nice even layers.

I also wanted to try a little bit of decorating. I bought some cake decorating supplies from Wilton (tips, bags, gel icing colors, cake wheel), and ordered some Thomas cake toppers from Amazon.

A tip I found for keeping any filling from leaking out in between your layers is to pipe some icing around the edge of your layer and then put the filling in the middle (Strawberry, yum!)

Then you put your layers together and do a crumb coat, starting on the top. Here is a great tutorial on how to do a crumb coat.

Once your crumb coat is complete, pop the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes to harden the frosting enough to make your next layer of frosting easy to do without pulling off your crumby crumb coat.

Here is the cake after the second coat. Not perfect, but much better than any previous attempts. And once you pipe and decorate any imperfections are less noticable. One tip: many resources online will tell you you can make your buttercream ahead of time and refrigerate it and pull it out to warm up when you need it. I found the frosting took forever to warm up and was harder to work with. In the future, I will make it fresh right before I want to use it. Another tip is to make way more icing than you think you need (I quadrupled the buttercream recipe).

Wilton's website has a lot of great tutorials and instructions on how to decorate a cake. Also this video was helpful. My final product is not quite up to par with their's, but it is still the fanciest cake I have ever made.

Here is the final cake with piping and cake toppers. It got the seal of approval from the twins who for days were asking for more cake, and hubby liked it too!

And of course the celebrations.
You can tell by G's face what kind of day we were having! Ah the terrible 2s times two.