Slow Cooked Asian Pulled Pork

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Pulled pork is one of my favourite American discoveries! But we haven’t ever made it at home before, so I did some searching and found a great looking recipe from the lads at SortedFood.  I tweaked it a little, to change some ingredients I wasn’t so keen on, and hubby and I tried making it this weekend. It was super easy and really tasty!

Ingredients:
3.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder (fat still on, for crackling)
225 ml apple juice
200 ml water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger (peeled, thinly sliced)
90 ml soy sauce
1.5 tbsp Chinese five spice
(original recipe added 2 birds eye chillies, we left them out but you could add them if you wanted to)
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Optional:
Bread rolls
Coleslaw

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1. Add the apple juice, water, soy sauce and Chinese five spice to your Crock Pot and mix well. Then add the minced garlic, and sliced fresh ginger and stir.

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2. Score the fat on the pork shoulder in a criss-cross pattern, then place the pork shoulder in the Crock Pot and mix it around (turning it over once or twice) to coat it in the sauce.

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3. Put the lid on and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours. Ours took 4 hours, a larger pork shoulder may take longer.  If you want to slow cook it in the oven, mix all the sauce ingredients and pork in an oven safe pot (with a lid) and cook for 4 hours at 160°C (325°F).

4. When it’s cooked, remove the pork from the Crock Pot and place on a tray (for shredding), carefully remove the scored fat and lie on a baking tray. Rub the fat with a bit of salt then cook in the oven at 200°C (400°F) until crispy.  I screwed up the crackling and it burnt…then I dropped it on the floor lol! So hopefully your crackling will be better than mine!

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5. Pour the sauce/juices through a sieve into a saucepan (discard the bits) and add the sugar and vinegar. Reduce on the stove until it is more sauce-like. This is the most time consuming part of the whole recipe. I also skimmed off some of the fat from the top of the sauce as it reduced.

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6. Shred the pork using two forks, or whatever method you prefer, then stir in the reduced sauce.

7. Serve on buns (with coleslaw), or however you like to eat pulled pork, and enjoy! This recipe had enough pork for at least 8 large rolls/sandwiches (and some left over).

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This was so delicious and really easy to cook that we’ll definitely be doing it again! Only next time I’ll try not to screw up the crackling hehe.

I’ll be sharing this post on the Hearth & Soul Hop, be sure to check out other posts for more recipes to feed your soul 🙂

Moving Across America!

CrossCountryBooks

Wow this month has been busy! In the past four weeks we’ve finalised the sale of our house, packed up everything we own, and drove all the way across the country! Twice.

Yep you read that right, we drove across America twice. Why? Because we’re crazy! Just kidding…sort of 😉 We had two cars to take with us, and because we have pets we decided it was easier to drive one car across the country a couple of weeks before, then do the real move with the animals in the second car. Phew what a lot of driving!

It was such an interesting trip though, seeing the changes in the country as we made our way from state to state. I made a vlog to show our journey and how different things are across America. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

I took a couple of books with me on the trip, planning to have time to read both – that’s the real craziness lol! I managed to find time to start The Girl Who Would Be King (which is really good so far!) but definitely over estimated how much free time I’d have.

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  1. The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson. Amazon | Book Depository
  2. Iced by Karen Marie Moning. Amazon | Book Depository

(PS: how gorgeous are those covers!)

So now we live in a place I hadn’t even visited before, and it’s all very new and different. We’re both loving it so far though – the mountains are gorgeous, and they surround us! Plus we’re back in “civilization”!  Where we lived in Florida there wasn’t a lot of variety in places to go or things to do.  But here we get the choice of so many shows, conventions, restaurants, hiking trails, and historic places to visit! I can’t wait to explore properly 🙂

As usual I’ll be taking part in Stacking The Shelves, and The Sunday Post – check out some of the other posts to find great reads 🙂

I purchased these books with my own money, and received no compensation for my honest opinion.
I am a Book Depository and Amazon Associate, and I receive a small commission if you use my link.

DIY “Built In” Bookshelves

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My TBR pile finally has it’s own shelf.

I have a lot of books. Most of them are still in England (books are heavy to ship!) but I’ve bought quite a few since being in America, and we didn’t have enough bookshelf space for them all!

So I decided to take on a project to build some fake built-in bookshelves, using floating shelves and a structural grid pattern we have in the living room. I was planning to do it all myself, but I ended up enlisting Brian pretty soon after I started. While I was taking the existing shelves off the wall I found metal molly plugs and wasn’t sure how to remove them. Turns out it’s fairly easy, but needs a bit of brute force (or at least these ones did!). You have to twist the outer edge to break it off, then just poke the remaining tube into the wall. Some of them twisted off easily, others were a nightmare. But we got them all done in the end.

Filling the holes was easy, and we sanded the filler flat after it dried. Painting the wall was hard work though, but our own fault. We bought a cheap white paint, and really should have bought a primer and better quality paint. We had to do 4 coats of paint to cover the blue! Lesson learned. We were both really happy with how it turned out though.

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Finally done after four coats of paint!

Next we sanded down the floating shelves, then used a spray primer and paint to give two coats of glossy white. I’m not sure if I’d use spray paint again. It has a nice finish, but I think we would have had better coverage with less paint if we’d used normal furniture paint. I’m not sure, but I’ll try it for whatever the next project will be.

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We need 6 shelves and only have 4 so far. It’s a work in progress, the other two shelves will be bought, painted and hung in a couple of weeks. And the cupboard doors will be painted, and rehung with new hinges. But we have one side of the “built in” bookshelves finished and looking fantastic!

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Lovely glossy shelves!

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Books! Yay!

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I’ll write another post after it’s all finished. I’m so happy that my books have a proper home now! And we think it’s made the living room look much better than just being all one colour. What do you think?

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I’ll be taking part in Stacking The Shelves, and The Sunday Post – check out some of the other posts to find great reads 🙂

Winery Harvest Festival

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Brian and I recently took a drive to a Harvest Festival at a winery. We’d never been before but it sounded fun: craft stalls, wine tasting, BBQ food, and a live band/singer. It’s hard to get into the Autumn spirit when everything is green all year round, but this helped a lot.

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And after tasting all of the wines available, we bought four of our favourites. The Blackberry wine is probably my favourite of the lot – it has a lovely bite to it while staying a sweet wine.

We also bought a packet of delicious homemade Blue Cheese And Walnut crackers from one of the stalls. So good!

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It was a great day out and I’m sure we’ll make the drive again to get some of the other wines we enjoyed. Have you been doing anything fun to get into the Autumn spirit too?

I’m taking part in The Hearth & Soul Hop this week – check out some other posts for family friendly fun.

I purchased these items with my own money, and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

Ninja Kitten!

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Penny and the kittens (sounds like a band name!) settled into the house quickly. We took them to the vet for their first checkup and they were all pretty healthy – two kittens had an eye infection, but that was easily fixed with some ointment. Penny was much more underweight than I realised – she weighed around 5lbs! It takes a lot of work to feed 5 kittens! Increasing her food, we got her to slowly gain weight while she was still feeding the kittens. And now she’s a healthy 9lbs.

Penny at 5lbs, and 8lbs

Penny at 5lbs, and 8lbs

Jasper loved having the kittens at home – they were his little fuzz-buddies! He got a bit nervous when they all ran around though, so he just sat or lay down and let them do their thing while he wagged his tail at them hehe.

Best friends!

Best friends!

Penny and Jasper became instant best friends. I’ve never seen a dog and cat be as close as these two are!

No, really. BEST friends!

No, really. BEST friends!

We gave the kittens some “placeholder names”:

Podgy : he ate the most food, opened his eyes first, and was by far the healthiest.

Noisy : she was a drama queen from day one.

Tiger : her markings look like grey and black tiger stripes.

Greyscale : he’s all different shades of grey…and we’re geeks hehe.

Crusty Face : she was the runt of the litter and had an infection in both eyes – which cleared up with ointment but the name stuck.

They all loved to play – Crusty Face never wanted to stop! Penny taught them all how to play and pounce on each other – she actually called to them to get them to see and learn different things: playing under the cupboard, hiding behind a box, how to climb onto chairs, and other cute things. Some of them were more stealth at pouncing than others 😉

So we fostered the kittens until they were 13 weeks old, and then they moved to the main foster lady to be spayed/neutered and then…*drum roll*…were all adopted to lovely forever homes! I miss their cute little fuzzy selves, but I’m so happy they all got to have wonderful, loving families – something that wouldn’t have happened in the wild.

Penny told us she liked living here very much, so we kept her as the newest furry addition to our family. She was spayed a few weeks after the kittens left, and as yet doesn’t want to go outside. I think she’s worried we might leave her out there – poor thing! But that’s ok, she can be inside the house as much as she likes 🙂  I worked on getting her to lie on my lap, and she will now (purring too!)…for about a minute and then she’s off to play with a toy hehe – she’s only 1 year old, she still has kitten brain herself!

Itty Bitty Kitties!

Warning: this post contains a cuteness overload!

Two weeks before we moved out of our apartment, we discovered a stray cat gave birth to 5 kittens on our neighbour’s patio! We only noticed them by chance, as we were walking Jasper, and neither of us had any idea what to do. But we knew we needed to help in some way.

Protecting her kittens

Protecting her kittens

The apartments wouldn’t let us bring them inside, so we talked to our neighbour and she was happy for them to stay on her patio – which was sheltered with bushes – and we took a box out to them with a nice blanket inside to keep the kittens warm. They were about 1 week old, and adorable!

Itty Bitty Kitties

Itty Bitty Kitties

Box of cuteness!

Box of cuteness!

The Mom-cat ran off when we went near them, and we just had to hope she would come back after we’d put the kittens in the box (on it’s side, so they could wiggle in and out easily).

She did come back 🙂

So from then on we fed the Mom, to help fatten her up and keep the nutrients flowing to the kittens. And kept watch over them all as much as she would let us.  We worked on gaining her trust, which was slow going! And decided she needed a name. After a bit of thinking, the name Penny came to mind, and seemed a perfect fit for her 🙂

For a while I stood the other side of the hedge after I put the food down for Penny, and just talked to her while she ate. Saying her name, and “good girl”, and any random things that came to mind. Then after a week of that, I started standing the same side of the hedge as she ate, then worked on moving the food closer to me and sitting down with her.

I don't look silly at all!

I don’t look silly at all!

Eventually she let us pet her while she ate, and she let us pick up the kittens without running away or hissing at us. Awesome progress!

We also walked Jasper past the patio twice a day and stopped with him far enough away to not be a threat, but close enough so Penny could see him when she ate her dinner and get used to him being around.

All of the local no-kill shelters were full, so we were stuck with what to do long term. I did a lot of googling and found two great local places – one which did a spay-and-release program (which we kept as a back-up plan), and the other is a local foster group. The foster group was full, but the lady who runs it said she would be able to pay for the Mom and kittens to be checked by a vet, get their vaccinations, etc if I could foster them until they were old enough to be adopted. Which was such a great outcome for 5 kittens and a super-skinny stray who probably wouldn’t have made it otherwise! We made a plan that if we could catch her when we moved, we would take them all to the vet a few days later.

Omnomnom!

Omnomnom!

The day we closed on our new house there was a huge thunderstorm, and the kittens and Penny got soaked with rain! So they gained a box-upgrade for the next few days, until we moved everything into the house and could then try and move them all with us. If she would let us catch her.

Box upgrade

Box upgrade

We bought a small wire dog crate, and placed it next to the box for a while before we even tried to put the kittens or Penny in there. She was a little wary but was happy to sniff it, and by this point she would let us stroke her even without food.

We carefully put the kittens in the crate, and Penny was watching, then we stroked her and gently put her in the crate too. As soon as the door was shut she went wide-eyed and meowed! But she had the kittens with her so she was fairly calm as we drove to the new house – which was thankfully not very far away!

The move went well, and they all got settled into our new laundry room for their new adventure of living inside! (And going to the vet…shhh!)

New home

New home

The adventure continues – new posts coming soon!