Search

The Chic Bag Chick

I love Jesus, am married to a firefighter, am a nurse, learning to cook (while dealing with a gluten allergy), sew, and keep house, love to crochet, and am a planner fanatic, as well as run several small businesses. This is my life…a little bit of everything, which you'll find here on this blog!

Category

Saving money

Fall off the bone BBQ Instant Pot ribs (gluten free)

I love ribs. My husband and I used to have date nights occasionally at Texas Roadhouse where we would splurge on ribs, because they have the best, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs I’ve ever sunk my teeth into. Mmmm! But…with my gluten allergy, I cannot eat there, since they don’t cook their foods separately. I’m so sensitive to cross-contamination, that I’ve become extremely hesitant to trust anyone with making my food. So when we got our instant pot, I was SO excited to try ribs in it, after it made our cheap stew meat unbelievably tender and delicious. I still had kind of low hopes, because ribs are so hard to get anywhere close to 3-day-cooked restaurant ribs lol. Our first attempt started with a recipe that said cook for 20 minutes. FAIL. They were cooked, for sure, but not delicious or tender, by any stretch of the imagination. So…after releasing pressure, then adding more time, releasing, adding… we finally had edible meat, but it took several hours of trying lol. So, the next time I decided about 55 minutes would probably be good, so I tried that, and VOILA! They were falling off the bone, I literally had to be extremely careful when taking them out of the pot! Haha! The one part of the recipe I kept was this rub,  but we tweaked it a smidge. 

By the way, we got our ribs at Costco, and the pack was like $20 for enough for both my husband and I to have PLENTY LARGE ENOUGH servings for 2 meals! I was so pleased, we added mashed potatoes and veggies for a complete meal, and it was so much cheaper than a restaurant meal! We literally had two restaurant meals at home for about the price of one at a nice restaurant! Not to mention, my husband loves these, and it made me feel awesome that I made them! πŸ˜‰ 

So, without further ado, here is our new, all-time favorite recipe for Instant Pot ribs!!

Ingredients:

Sweet and Spicy rub (see recipe below)

1/4 cup marsala wine

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup BBQ sauce of your choice (my husband loves Sweet Baby Ray’s, so that’s what is in this)
Rub:

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp brown sugar (can add more or less to your liking)

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp pepper

1 Tbsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Directions:

1. Mix sweet & spicy rub ingredients together in a bowl. If you don’t use all of it, you can save the rest for next time (because YES, there will be a next time lol)!

2.  Cut ribs into halves or thirds, so they will fit in the Instant Pot. Use rub on both sides, rub vigorously. 

3. Place ribs in Instant Pot (ok to layer, but I try to offset them a bit). 

4. Add marsala wine and water to base of Instant Pot, and cover ribs with BBQ sauce (add more if you love BBQ sauce!)

5. Cover with lid, turn valve to “seal,” and cook on manual setting for 55 minutes.

6. When it’s finished, SLOW release. It’s worth it, I promise. Lol

After the pressure is released, here is the deliciousness (like the mark from my fork test? Lol):

7. Add more BBQ sauce, and serve! optionally, you can brush on some BBQ sauce, place ribs on a cookie sheet, and broil for a few minutes. We were starving, so we just ate as is, and had zero complaints lol.

It was seriously just falling off the bone. I didn’t have to eat or lick off anything from the bones! WHAT?!


This is definitely a game changer for us, we have been missing out on having ribs date night, so this is a fantastic but inexpensive way for us to have an awesome date night, and the ribs are even better, I dare say. πŸ˜‰

Enjoy!!

DIY labels for handmade products!Β 

I have fun making stuff for my Etsy shop (www.TheChicBagChick.com), but I really, really wanted to add labels:

1. Because I am proud of my work, even though I’ve not been sewing long, it takes me a long time to tweak my usually self-made pattern to what I consider a quality, functional, and cute product. So naturally, I want my brand on there. =D

2. I feel like it makes it look so much more professional, while still retaining the artisan feel of being handmade. 

So! I set out to find labels on Etsy (I swear you can find anything on there…people are amazingly talented!). Except…they were so expensive. While the labels were high quality, I just am not set up for that kind of business expense right now. Perhaps down the road…but for now, I needed an inexpensive alternative. 

Since I mostly wanted them for coffee cozies that wouldn’t be worn, or even washed as much as clothes (most likely, although I’m a klutz and constantly spilling on mine), a non-woven label should do…? I looked up info on pinterest, but had a hard time actually finding a tutorial, and since I’ve never done anything remotely close to this, I needed like, a STEP-BY-STEP. Lol

I tried several things, and finally found a method that works for me, and although tedious, it saves me a lot of money. I estimate these particular labels to cost around $0.15 a piece, more if I botch a whole sheet or batch lol. 

Materials:

*5/8″ ribbon (or whatever size you want), I’ve used several kinds successfully

*tea towel or muslin

*flat, hard surface like the bottom of a pan (I use a pizza pan haha!)

*iron (make sure all water is out, I drain it and let it set on the cotton setting for a bit, and then even occasionallly run it over my ironing board with the steam on to get it all out)

*printable, light t-shirt iron-on transfer paper-I’ve included a picture of the brand I used, I’ve not tried others. This is available at craft stores, as well as on amazon. 

*scissors

*parchment paper-ok, I’m going to go ahead and say this, because as embarrassing as this is to admit, I wish someone had put it out there for me lol. There is a huge difference between parchment and wax paper. Since I am not a baker, or a seamstress, and since we were dirt freaking poor growing up, we only ever had wax paper. I thought parchment paper was just a fancy name for wax paper. I can assure you, it is not. I know this, because I grabbed wax paper for this project, and couldn’t figure out why it was ruining my nice labels. Oy. Parchment paper is heat resistant, I discovered…please, don’t melt wax onto your freshly made project lol. 


Directions:

The first thing you must do is create a document with whatever you want on your label. There is no shortcut for this, it’s just trial and error. I don’t have a logo yet, so I opted for simple text. I printed out test runs on cheap paper to check size and placement for the ribbon I was using, then when it was perfect, I printed on the expensive transfer paper. PLEASE NOTE…you have to flip the image first lol. I have forgotten to do this when I’m printing in a hurry, and I’ve shed a few tears over the loss of a very expensive piece of now-useless transfer paper lol.

To do this in Word doc is very easy (I had to search forever to find this info…weird). Just do the normal print, then when the box pops up, go to “layout,”


Then check the “flip horizontally” box.


It’s very important to let these dry for at least 30 minutes, otherwise they will smudge ALL over, and it’s just a mess, and wastes a lot. I sometimes even print them before bed when I know I’ll be making them the next day, and let them dry overnight. 

Then, using scissors or a paper cutter, cut into strips, and then I cut into sections of 2 or 3 long, to fit under my iron.

Prep your surface: cover your hard surface (don’t use just the ironing board, it won’t work. I tried lol) with the towel or muslin, and lay out the ribbon:

Position your transfer paper print side down on the label, making sure the transfer paper isn’t wider than the ribbon, or it will stick to the towel lol (I know this is basic stuff, but I learned it the hard way, so in case anyone else is as uneducated about this stuff as I was, I’d like to save them the trouble lol). Press with iron on cotton setting (no steam) for about 15-20 seconds. It’s important to press pretty heavily while doing this, I’ve noticed, for it to really adhere well.

Then clip off that section of ribbon and let cool. (For the first run, complete one whole cycle to see how they turn out, and then tweak as needed. Once you’ve ensured it will work right, then the most time efficient way is to do in batches-first cut all the strips, then iron on all the strips and cut and let cool, then do the next step to all, and so on)

Once it is cool, gently peel off the backing.

Lay completed labels face up, and place parchment paper over

Press firmly with iron (still on no steam) for about 10 seconds. The labels will “stick” to the back. Let them cool after. 

Once cool, peel labels off the parchment paper.

Trim to desired size…then they’re ready to use! I found that if I leave enough room on the transfer paper to cover the whole length of the label I’ll be using, it acts kind of as a fray-check, otherwise I have to fray check all the ends and let them dry, and that is a PAIN. Lol

These are just ones I’ve done that I place on top of the product and stitch around the border, but the same concept can be applied to other styles of labels!


Here is a sew-in version I made, the only extra step is folding in half and inserting into a piece of parchment paper folded in half (so the label doesn’t stick to the iron), to set the crease/fold better.

I hope this helps! So far, I’ve washed products with these labels on, as much as 3 times without any problems, but on a few, you can start to see the transfer coming off a bit. I’m sure they won’t last many washings, but it’s still cheaper than purchasing custom labels for now. =)

Oh, so far all my products have similar wash instructions, which have been fine for the labels: machine or hand wash cold/gentle, lay flat/hang to dry. 

Happy label-making! =D

Valentine’s Day on a budget!

Ok, the back story to this is that we are in the middle of moving, but due to life, couldn’t get our new bedroom set up in time for Valentine’s Day…which bummed me out at first, but then I decided to just make the best of it, and that’s how some of this plan was born. 

Normally, we’ve escaped to a themed hotel room and just hung out for a whole weekend, no distractions. But this year, money is super tight, due to a surprising lack of work for my husband for a couple of months, coupled with our moving expenses and the cost of fixing up the house. 

This was our first Valentine’s Day on a budget, and I must say, even though I was wary, it turned out to be the most fun we’ve ever had! I don’t think I ever want to rent an expensive hotel again! Lol, ok maybe eventually. Just not every year. πŸ˜‰

Here’s how it went:

My sweet husband  asked me to go for a walk with him at sunset Saturday night (the 13th). This is significant because we both have been trying to be more active, logging steps in our fitbits. So it helped me get some steps in, but was a wonderful time together (even though it was freezing), and the sunset was gorgeous.

I carried my camera and water in the everything crossbody from Thirty One Gifts (www.mythirtyone.com/jessbruner), and it was perfect. We got our steps in, and I got pics of the sunset. 

  

I had been working hard for some time on this project, the idea of a little indoor camping getaway for us in our new bedroom. I dragged our tent up to the room (it barely fit lol), and got to work.

 

I strung up some Christmas lights inside the tent, and blew up our air mattress and added a soft blanket and pillows. I used some chocolate to make a heart on top that we could eat later. ☺️ 

I got LED flame less tea lights on Amazon, and lined pathways, and lit up a TV tray table. I filled a square storage bin from Thirty One with extra blankets and pillows.  

I bought some firewood (although it would’ve been cool to save some sticks for this purpose, and reduce the cost further), and used some clear decorative stones on top of an old poster board (there are pictures on the other side lol) to keep the floor somewhat debris-free, and placed the LED lights inside. They are flickering  candles, so it looked more like a fire. πŸ™‚ 

I put some of our favorite sparkling peach wine on ice, with some water bottles, in my favorite family fun thermal (Thirty One) by our mattress.  
 

I set up my computer on a TV tray table, for watching movies and Netflix/Hulu, and paired it with a Bluetooth speaker for movie-like sound. 
 

Here is what it looked like:

The original plan was to just hang out in this on Valentine’s Day/night, but since he had to work Monday (most have off because of Presidents’ Day), we decided to make a whole weekend of it, and started our getaway on the eve of Valentine’s.

We ate a simple dinner of leftovers, traipsed up to our grown-up fort,  and watched Hulu.  

Now, lingerie is always a part of Valentine’s Day right? Except it costs SO MUCH. πŸ˜– So I decided to make my own, and here is how I did #1 and #2 of my very own, homemade lingerie outfits for lounging through the weekend!

The hubs loved that I made them, and he laughed when I told him how cheap they were to make, and how I had used a coupon, and said “if you tell a girl you used a coupon on a gift to her, it’s an insult, but to a guy, it’s music to their ears!” πŸ˜‚ He speaks the truth lol.

  

 We had fun, stayed up way late, and slept way in on Valentine’s Day, which was super nice. We made a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and pre-cooked bacon, and then ran to the store for milk (for the dessert).

I quickly put some new sparkling wine on ice, and then ran to start dinner and dessert.

 
  

Like my cute apron? 😁

 

For dinner, we made this recipe (to help make up for dessert a little bit lol): 
    

My friend had sent us a coupon for a free Redbox, so we watched a movie and ate dinner and dessert!


 

For dessert, we made this recipe , which tastes delicious, and looks amazing!  
   

We even opened our February date box, but fell asleep right after the movie lol. I guess we will just have to have another date. ☺️

 
So there was our date night. I estimated the total cost of the weekend to be around what we would have paid for a nice dinner with dessert and drinks at a decent restaurant. And it was loads more fun!

I hope this inspires you to plan a fun date night/weekend! πŸ™‚

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: