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Monday, November 24, 2014

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato

How are sweet potatoes viewed where you live? When you think of a sweet potato, do you imagine something savory or something sweet?

Here on the Virginia/North Carolina line they're suppose to be sweet. Oh and I don't mean that the sweet potatoes themselves are suppose to be sweet... I just mean that anything you make with them is suppose to be sweet. If you cook or bake with sweet potatoes here they should be topped with mountains of brown sugar and the  marshmallows should be pilled so high that no trace of orange reminds as if you're getting ready to dig into a fluffy marshmallow only casserole.

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Oh and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's actually a really, really, good and delicious thing.

But it makes it hard to get people to try and enjoy savory sweet potato dishes! Everyone's brain and taste buds are trained to expect "sweet" when they see those beautiful orange sweet potatoes.

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato

So when you go to make these and when you go to take that first bite, please.. PLEASE I beg of you...throw out that idea that all sweet potatoes must be sweet!

Like I said before, I'm not against sweet potatoes covered in brown sugar and marshmallows, I just can't shove these beautiful sweet potatoes into the "only for sweet potato casserole" folder and forget about them.

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato

so, let's talked about something else that came up in conversation while I was at the the grocery store with BigBear.

I always make my pulled pork with BBQ sauce and Soda. It's just how I do it. It's how we love it and it's freaking easy. I LIKE EASY! haha.

But I was trying to figure out something that I could replace the soda with. "People, freak out over soda, because it's going to kill you and it's bad for you". BigBear looked at me like I had grown 3 heads.

"I know it's not good for you, but people really freak out?" He asked.

Yes.... oh yeah they do.

I know, I know. I don't drink it. BigBear drinks it and I have literally a sip like once a month because I crave the carbonation. But I will use 1 small bottle of it when I make my pulled pork and I'm ok with that.

I also used bottled BBQ sauce. I'll get at least one e-mail from someone telling me how I should make my own from scratch and how bottled anything "is the Devil". The judgement is unavoidable.

Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce

Let me tell you something...if you use bottled BBQ sauce in your recipes I will not judge you! The statement of  "I can't believe you don't make you're own homemade BBQ sauce for everything", will not even cross my mind.

Like I told my husband, from scratch is always going to be better for you, but I won't ever judge anyone or "get on someone" for using bottles sauce, or having a soda or *gasp* using store bought bread.

I'm going to be 100% honest. I do make some things from scratch, but I also buy bottles of BBQ sauce, I buy store bought bread, I DON'T buy organic (unless it's the same price as regular), I have soda in my fridge and it sits right next to my store bought butter, my store bought yogurt and store bought mayo.

Have a bite of BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato

I can count on 1 hand the amount of people I know in real life that insist on everything being "from scratch and organic" and still I have serious doubts that they never by processed anything and only buy organic. Mainly because I've seen these same people eat at Fast Food places and to me... well that's pretty dang far away from "only from scratch and only organic".

The rest of the people I know that make everything from scratch and buy everything are people online. Online is where EVERYONE makes everything from scratch and only buys organic. ;)

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato

Whoa, sorry for that little out burst...I don't know what came over me. I guess to make a long story short... make this...use bottled BBQ Sauce, use Homemade BBQ sauce, use soda, use something awesome in place of the soda, use organic sweet potatoes or just use the regular ones at your grocery store.. however you make it, you'll love it! Eat this savory sweet potato with no judgement haha and just enjoy it.
BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato
By: Angie Barrett
                                                                      (Click to Print)


3-5lb pork shoulder
2 bottles (28oz) of Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1 (24 oz) dark soda (I used Diet Dr.Pepper)
6-8 sweet potatoes (you'll probably still have left over pulled pork)
Butter (some for each potato)
Salt and Pepper to Taste


Put the pork shoulder into a Slow Cooker. Pour the soda over the pork. Poor 1 bottle of the BBQ sauce over the pork. Set the Slow Cooker for low and let the pork cook for 8-10 hours.

Once the pork has cooked, use two forks to shred the pork.

Put all of the pulled pork into a bowl and stir in the remaining bottle of BBQ sauce.

Set Aside. (You may need to warm it back up before adding it to the sweet potatoes) 

Prick the outsides of the sweet potatoes with a fork.

Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil, add a teaspoon or tablespoon of butter to the inside of each packet.

Pre-heat oven to 500°F.

Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once they are done (test them with a fork to see if they are tender)

Carefully open the foil and fold it down around the sweet potato.

Slice the sweet potato horizontally on the top and push the ends towards the middle to open up the sweet potato.

Add in a little bit of butter and fluff the sweet potato.

Re-heat the pulled pork (if needed) and pile a generous portion of pulled pork inside and on top of the sweet potato.

Serve hot

Click Here to Keep Reading..... "BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

20 of the Best Restaurant CopyCat Recipes

 20 of the Best Restaurant CopyCat Recipes

Before I got married, I ate at restaurants every single day of my life. Heck, I was a waitress when I met BigBear, so I spend a HUGE amount of my time working in a restaurant and eating when I could.

I didn't cook and I wasn't sure I had an interest in cooking other than making the occasional vegetable soup or casserole. I could make cupcakes and cookies from pre-made mix but that was pretty much as far as I went with baking. Restaurants equaled food for me haha.

So what happens when you eat at restaurants every day? You become broke as hell and your pants fit a little more snugly ... I mean, You fall in love with their menu items! haha

Once I started to teach myself to cook, I used restaurant menu items to practice my cooking! I would pick our favorites from menus and try to recreate them at home! I know it's super easy to just order take out but man, oh man is it awesome when you can create those favorites at home!

I've put together a list for you of  20 of the Best Restaurant CopyCat Recipes from Food Bloggers that I LOVE!

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Cook the Story

Panera Mac and Cheese  from Rachel Cooks

Panera Hummus Chicken Power Salad from Food Faith Fitness

Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden) from Dinners Dishes and Desserts

Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing  from Dessert Now, Dinner Later

Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi from Diary of a Recipe Collector

Thai Shrimp Salad (Applebees)  from Chelsea's Messy Apron

Wendy's Apple Pecan Salad from Noshing with the Nolands

Beer Braised Carnitas Burrito Bowl (Chipotle's Burrito Bowl) from Taste Love and Nourish

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls  from Cupcake Diaries Blog

Copycat Chili’s Skillet Queso   from Cupcake Diaries

{CopyCat} Spicy Garlic Chicken Wing Sauce (Buffalo Wild Wings) from Around My Family table

CPK California Club Pizza  from Spoonful of Flavor

Southwest Pasta (Rock-Ola Cafe) from Big Bear's Wife (me)

Arby's Sauce (CopyCat Recipe) from Wonky Wonderful

All Photos used with Permission :)

Click Here to Keep Reading..... " 20 of the Best Restaurant CopyCat Recipes"

Saturday, November 22, 2014

9 Copycat Starbucks Recipes - Make Your Favorites at Home

 9 Copycat Starbucks Recipes - Make Your Favorites at Home

I fell in love with Starbucks when I was around 15 or 16 years old. I remember that I just felt "so cool" walking around with my latte in that white cup with the famous green logo on the side. I drank Starbucks...therefor I was fancy. haha.

I remember making my dad stop at every single Starbucks between Virginia and Michigan one year when we where traveling up to see my cousin because I HAD to have it.

It was so much of an obsession that my friends, Angela and Nikki, and I would have "Starbucks Shopping Trips", where we would drive the 45 minutes - an hour to Greensboro, NC to get Starbucks and go shopping in the big mall.  We didn't get a Starbucks here until about 5 years ago!

Oh and you know what else fueled my love of Starbucks? I use to work there! Yep!

When we lived at Camp Lejeune I worked at the Starbucks in Jacksonville, NC. It was a dream come true and I actually teared up a but when I turned in my two week notice.

I learned the ins and outs of making my beloved drinks, I tasted countless coffees and espressos, I made up my own flavor combinations and fell in love with new combinations that my co-workers dreamed up, rejoiced when I realized I got a discount, drank WAY too many Frappuccinos, ate way too many cream cheese danishes, served coffee to grumpy Marines at 5AM and learned the true meaning of crazy Starbucks customers! (For example, people will totally freak out on you if you don't add just the right amount of EXTRA whipped cream and caramel and don't DARE let that Frappuccino and Whipped Cream melt just the slightest bit on a 95F degree day or you'll get an earful)

Oh and here is a little Starbucks info for you! You can totally make up your own drinks. Even if they are not on the menu, if you can tell them what goes in it and how many pumps of each flavor...well you've got your own custom drink!

Here are a few that I loved to make that are NOT on the menu but can be made at any Starbucks:

Chocolate Covered Cherry Frappuccino - Ask for a Grande Strawberry and Cream  Frappuccino with 2 or 3 pumps of Mocha.

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate - Ask for a Grande Hot Chocolate with 2 or 3 pumps of Pumpkin Spice

Captain Crunch Frappuccino - Ask for a Grande Strawberry and Cream  Frappuccino with 1 pump caramel, 1 pump hazelnut and 1 pump of toffee

But if you're ready to make those drinks at home, here are  9 Copycat Starbucks Recipes for you so that you can make some of your favorites at home!

Caramel Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Whole and Heavenly Oven

Caramel Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Whole and Heavenly Oven

Passion Tea Lemonade from Persnickety Plates

Passion Tea Lemonade from Persnickety Plates

Lemon Loaf Recipe from Life Tastes Good

Lemon Loaf Recipe from Life Tastes Good

Skinny Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino from Amy's Healthy Baking

Skinny Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino from Amy's Healthy Baking

Mocha Frappuccino from Around My Family Table

Mocha Frappuccino from Around My Family Table

Cranberry Bliss Bars Recipe from Simplee Thrifty

Cranberry Bliss Bars Recipe from Simplee Thrifty

Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Simplee Thrifty

Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Simplee Thrifty

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins from BigBearsWife (me!)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins from BigBearsWife

Chocolate Dipped Madeleines from BigBearsWife (me!)

Chocolate Dipped Madeleines from BigBearsWife

Click Here to Keep Reading..... " 9 Copycat Starbucks Recipes - Make Your Favorites at Home"


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