11 Crock-Pot and Appetizer Recipes for the Big Game

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The Big Game will soon be here, and that means it’s time to start planning for a party!

Your menu will, of course, include the usual chicken wings and celery sticks and dip, but why not add some delicious slow-cooked meals to all the finger food fare?

Check out these tasty Crock-Pot recipes that are sure to please your party guests:

  1. Chicken Enchilada Quinoa

Craving an enchilada but not wanting anything too heavy and overwhelming? How about substituting flour for quinoa, while keeping all the spices and vegetables in? And with a heap of chicken, you’ll be comfortably full thanks to the extra protein. Plus, you won’t get any post-eating guilt, as this is pretty darn healthy.

  1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork is always a classic staple for sports parties. Prep time for the pork is only 5 minutes, and the slow cooking allows the Barbecue sauce to really simmer and soak itself in the meat. Keep some sandwich buns nearby and let your guests put together their own sandwiches. And, if you’re not a fan of pork, substituting it with shredded beef is just as delicious.

  1. Stuffed Bell Peppers

These vibrant appetizers are as customizable as you can get! The recipe itself suggests corn, salsa, ground turkey, and brown rice, but any of these items can be replaced. Make it vegetarian-friendly by adding tofu or just keeping the peppers full of grains and veggies. Either way, these peppers are bound to be a party favorite.

  1. Eight Layer Chicken Chili Dip

Scoop and dip. That’s all you need to remember! Each layer of this Tex-Mex crowd pleaser will surprise guests’ tastebuds and leave them wanting more! No need to stress right before the game – You can create this beautiful and tasty dish a day before! Simply add your favorite tortilla chips and begin dipping!

  1. Slow-Cooked Korean Beef

If you’ve never tried Korean marinades on beef, you’re truly missing out. You and your guests will love this slow-cooked beef, doused in an intensely flavorful simmer. The time spent on cooking the meal will ensure that it will be the most tender and mouth-watering beef you and your guests have ever consumed.

  1. BBQ Meatball Sliders

Kick up the party a notch with mini meatball sliders! Not only are they filling but absolutely delicious! Topped with BBQ sauce and slaw, these meatball sliders are sure to please any of your guests. Who wouldn’t like something so simple, but yummy?

  1. Dreamy Mac n’ Cheese

What’s a gathering without a little bit of the classic mac n’ cheese!? The twist about this recipe is the very finely shredded pieces of onion. It’s not enough to make your eyes water, but definitely adds a yummy kick to the pasta! Some Colby cheese helps to bring a surprise twist to the classic recipe. This dish will be sure to please both vegetarians and omnivores alike.

  1. Easy Slow-Cooked Chili

What’s great about chili is that you can customize it however you’d like. The combination of beef, garlic, jalapeño, bell peppers, and cumin create a deliciously zesty chili. Top with cheese and diced onion for added flavor, too!

  1. Buffalo Chicken Dip

Dips are easy to eat and are great to customize, depending on what you and your guests are looking for. This creamy and delicious dip with shredded chicken and cheese is perfect for those who love a little tang! Your guests will be focused on the game and not their appetite.

  1. Pizza Casserole

Homemade pizza is no small feat typically. Luckily, this recipe requires easy prep and, since it is made with the Crock-Pot, the slow-cooking does everything for you! Again, the recipe can be tweaked to fit your tastes – Add more pepperoni, peppers, onions, meats, etc! Pizza should be easy to eat AND prepare!

  1. Teriyaki Chicken Wings

For those who are a little wary of buffalo sauce spice, this teriyaki alternative still gives you the chance to get messy with your chicken wings. The sweetness, mixed with a blend of garlic, will keep you salivating and wishing you had grabbed more than four! This Asian-inspired dish can either be served as an appetizer or as a meal by itself.

For these recipes and more, follow our Crock-Pot board on Pinterest – Big R’s Crock-Pot Cooking Recipes!

The 5 Best Power Drills for Household Projects & Repairs

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Tim the Tool Man Taylor said it best when he asked for more power!” (Arr-arr-arr!) Make your home and workshop projects a breeze by selecting the best power drill. It’s best to know your available options in power, mobility and weight when seeking the best drill for the work you’re needing to accomplish.

No matter what tool you’re using, it should always feel comfortable during use. A specific drill may feel pretty good when you first pick it up but begin to consider how it will feel after hours of use. Again, it’s best to keep in the mind the work that needs accomplished and balance the power desired against the size and weight that can be comfortably handled. Below are five of the best power drills that belong on every workbench.

Power Drill #1: Makita

Makita is known as one of the best power drills in the industry.

A few talented engineers designed its high-torque motor and drive train to squeeze every ounce of performance from the battery. It also exhibits excellent industrial design.

For a large and heavy drill, it is very well balanced and handles easily due to a nicely shaped handle with lots of rubber over-mold.

Power Drill #2: Milwaukee

This drill is lightweight, easy to use, and it drives fasteners with no problem! Its battery charges incredibly fast, too.

It also has great torque thanks to Milwaukees “XC effect”. It is a powerful drill and is reasonably compact.

The Milwaukee power drill is very common in commercial construction, and is perhaps the most recommendable for anyone looking for top-notch performance.

Power Drill #3: Bosch

This compact drill performs admirably as a driver with a pressure-treated beam. The drill’s extremely lightweight and versatile 3-jawed chuck make it an easy choice for any quick work or afternoon projects.

Though strong for its size, the limit of the small battery mean that you may need additional batteries handy if you have a long project ahead.

The Bosch power drill is the perfect tool if you only need to drill small holes and drive bolts and screws. This drill can work through smaller jobs for a reasonable amount of time, putting in our top five choices for power drills.

Power Drill #4: Ryobi

Ryobi was once the runt of the power tool litter.

What has given Ryobi the opportunity to shine and stand out? Their Autoshift clutch, which lets the drill decide whether to speed up or kick on the torque to drive a bolt.

You can adjust the clutch settings from torque numbers up to a drill icon, but once you pull the trigger, you cannot override the automatic gearshift. Locked in the high-speed setting, the drill becomes comfortable when driving lag bolts and screws.

Power Drill #5: DeWalt

DeWalt is a great choice in drills for its brute strength and speed.

It has 22 clutch settings and three-speed settings. Its ½ inch chuck is equipped with carbide jaws that resist wear.

This is an easy-to-handle, pro-grade product. It has the smoothest-turning clutch ring and a cool three-speed transmission with graphics that match speed to the task.

The DeWalt drill has all the makings of a great drill – a comfortable and ergonomic grip, and a great power to size to weight ratio, making for a solid performance model.

Don’t forget to check out the DeWalt Combo Kits, which is the best deal when it comes to buying power tools.

8 Equipment Maintenance To-Dos for Spring Cleaning

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With springtime on its way, you know you’re going to have to get out and do some cleaning soon! The sun is shining again and the snow is officially holding off. With all of this change, are you prepared to get into your garden and spruce up the mess that winter left? There’s no better time than now to get out your tools and fix them up. You can’t have a successful green thumb if your thumb is all rusty! Here are a few ways to make your tools and equipment effective and ready for the upcoming season.

Equipment Preventative Maintenance 101

1. Check your spark plugs.

How are they doing? Rusty? Need a little T.L.C? Getting your spark plugs replaced isn’t too difficult of an ordeal. It won’t be too hard on your budget either! Your power tool will thank you.

2. Clean up your air filters.

It’s possible that some dirt has gotten in there while sitting there unused. Make sure debris hasn’t caused any damage. If there is a lot of dirt or damage, a replacement is suggested. Make a note to also clean debris from your other tools as well.

3. Retighten screws and nuts.

This is more important than you may think! If your nuts and screws aren’t tightened all the way, they aren’t effectively helping your tools on the job! Be patient as you tighten them, as this is a very important step and shouldn’t be rushed. The IRWIN 9-in-1 multi-tool screwdriver is the perfect partner for this task!

4. Sharpen saw chains.

Having sharp saw chains is absolutely vital for making sure that your saw is working at it’s best! If you don’t want to go through the effort of sharpening the chains, at the very least, change them. This is also a good time to think about replacing your trimmer line.

5. Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate!

This will make your life so much easier in both the short and long run! Be logical and inspect any part of your equipment where friction will undoubtedly occur. All those places need to be  lubricated! This will make working with your tools a lot easier and give them a longer life.

6. Mix in fresh fuel.

Your tools need fuel to get them going! Since you probably haven’t used the tools in a while because of the winter season, it is more important now than ever to use fresh fuel for that first startup. Use fuel that’s been stored for less than a couple of months, then add two-cycle engine oil.

7. Warm up your tools.

After a season of storage, don’t start using your tools just yet! Make sure you look them over and let them warm up. Take about a few minutes or so to just examine that everything is working fine before you start using your tools.

8. Inspect everything.

Inspection is key – This includes power cords on electric tools. Excessive damage and wear are a red flag that replacements are necessary. Check all of your equipment for any broken parts, as certain issues, can potentially be dangerous. Be sure that everything is in top working condition before using!

At Big R, we have a plethora of resources so you can get into spring cleaning the right way! Come swing by and we can show you how to get your tools back into tip-top shape.

The 6 Best Dog Foods For Small Dogs

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Choosing the right food for your small canine friend can seem like an overwhelming task, especially with many brands available.

Tons of questions may pop into your head such as how to choose between a premium, holistic brand and a natural, organic brand or dry, kibble food versus wet, canned food.

These questions are common and should be considered when choosing what to feed your small dog.

Small Dogs Are Different

Small dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies or large breed dogs.

No matter the age or size, dogs- just like their owners- need a balanced diet that consists of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

Surprisingly, small dogs need a diet that contains high amounts of proteins and fats because they are known to be very active and have high, fast-working metabolisms.

It may be tempting to feed your dog leftovers from your gourmet dinner, but this should not become a regular habit. Real, manufactured dog food combines the necessary nutrients to produce a well-balanced meal for your dog.

Try Kibble Dog Food

Dry kibble is the most common choice because of its simplicity of being ready to eat without prior preparation.

Small dogs have smaller mouths, so their food must be small enough for them to eat. Choosing the correct size of kibble food is important so your dog can adequately eat the food and not have the risk of choking on pieces that are too large to swallow.

If you think the food is too large for your dog, feel free to soak the food in hot water and mash it up.

However, this can be quite time-consuming, and it would be more beneficial to just purchase wet food.

Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food is designed to be more flavorful and savory.

Compared to dry food, canned food typically contains high levels of protein and fewer carbohydrates.

Because wet foods come in tightly packaged containers, the meats and vegetables are able to absorb more of the flavors and look more appealing.

If your dog has sensitive teeth or other dental problems, wet food is soft and easy to chew. You may even serve your small dog a bowl of wet food and top it off with dry kibble pieces for a fun variation.

Dry Dog Food

1) Purina® Adult Dog Small Breed. This food is perfect for very active small dogs. Its first ingredient is protein so it provides the key nutrient active dogs need to keep their active lifestyle. By combining small kibble pieces with shredded protein, it gives dogs a variety of textures and flavors. ProPlan is very conscious of their quality assurance. They pride themselves on their extensive research to produce food that keeps dogs healthy.

2) Hills® Science Diet® Mature Adult Small & Toy Breed Dog Food. This food is designed to help increase the dog’s life expectancy from its balanced and digestible recipe. The food is enriched with calcium to help build the foundation of strong bones and muscles. Hill’s formula has three key beneficial components, which aid in keeping your dog healthy. It assists in building a healthy immune system, adding shine to the dog’s coat, and supporting muscle and bone strength.

3) Blue Buffalo Adult Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice. Blue Buffalo prides itself on using the best natural ingredients to create their dog food. There are no by-products in the meals (artificial protein), no added flavors or preservatives, and no corn, wheat, or soy products. The company has also added antioxidants, which aid the immune system and provide a healthy, well-balanced meal. The kibble is not only tiny enough for small breed dogs, but it is also shaped to help remove tartar build-up on the dog’s teeth.

Wet Food Brands

1) Purina® Alpo Chophouse Roasted Chicken. Purina products have an array of 20 flavors to choose from. The proteins range from beef, turkey, chicken, fish, and lamb. This is great for those picky little eaters because of the different tastes and textures. The meals are rich and savory in flavor. The gravy in each can has 23 vitamins and minerals and contains more protein than canned foods without gravy.

2) Beneful Prepared Stew with Lamb. Beneful wet dog food uses finely chopped ingredients and real vegetables in each package. The peas, carrots, and barley are kept whole so you can see them in the mix of meat or chicken. The meals come in savory flavors that leave the dog wanting more. They are packed with the key vitamins and nutrients needed to keep the dog full until the next meal.

3) Blue Buffalo Fish & Sweet Potato Dinner. Blue Buffalo is inspired by delicious home cooked meals. Like their dry food, Blue Buffalo’s wet meals provide a healthy, natural, and delicious meal. Each recipe is made with real meat or chicken and contains no by-products. For owners who want their dogs to have a grain-free diet, all of the wet foods are 100 percent free of grains and wheat. These meals will satisfy your dog’s hunger.

How to Care for Boots in 6 Easy Steps

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Cowboy boots are meant to get down and dirty! Even though they may look tough, they need to be cared for properly.

Boots are an investment meant to last a lifetime. Caring for them correctly will extend their lifespan and showcase their unique and versatile design for years.

Because boots are made out of different material, it is important to read the labels carefully before using products on your boots.

Here are a few steps for caring for your boots:

Clean Your Boots

This is the simplest and most important step! Dust gets stuck throughout the ridges, which can cause an aging effect on the finished leather.

Before putting your boots away after a day at the rodeo or a long night on the town or, grab a soft, damp cloth and give your boots a quick wipe. An old toothbrush or a dry eraser can help break down and soften any mud or caked-on dirt so that it becomes easier to remove.

For exotic leather boots like alligator or snakeskin, Dan Posts Boots suggests lifting and cleaning under each scale because dust and debris tend to collect there.

Condition Your Boots

Dusting after each time the boots are worn will work wonders, but going the extra mile will keep your boots looking brand spanking new. Like your skin, boots need to be regularly moisturized. Conditioner will keep the boot’s leather soft and smooth.

While the boots are still slightly damp, apply a quarter-sized dollop of leather conditioner onto a cloth and rub it onto the boots. Applying thin layers is best because it absorbs into the leather easier.

Find a conditioner that is specific for the type of leather on your boots. Justin Boots suggests using a leather conditioner only on leather boots because it may darken other materials such as suede or cowhide.

Steer clear from household cleaners because products like alcohol and turpentine dry out the leather, which may cause the material to crack.

Depending upon how often you wear your boots, you may condition them weekly or monthly, but don’t condition them too often because it can lead to mold.

Keep Your Boots Polished

To keep the leather looking fresh, dab a little polish on a cloth and wipe your boots. Be sure to pay special attention to the crevices because that’s where dirt tends to get stuck. Oils also work great as a household knack- try olive or vegetable oil!

After polishing, let the boots dry before wiping off any excess product with a soft cloth. Make sure not to polish any suede or distressed leather because it darkens and damages the leather. Polishing gives the boots a sheen new look.

Ariat recommends doing the first three steps regularly to help protect and keep your boots looking their best.

Protect Your Boots

If you live in an area where it regularly rains or snows, this extra step is just for you!

To avoid unpleasant water stains, grab a water and stain protector and spray the product evenly over the boots. Allow a few minutes of drying time before spraying a second coat. Never force-dry or use a blow dryer to save time because the leather will dry out and crack.

Using a stain protector is especially important and effective when the boots are new. It helps maintain the longevity of the leather and protect against scuffs before the first wear.

Reapply the protector each time you polish and condition your boots.

Boots Getting Worn Out?

Are your boots getting more wear in a particular area? It may be from the way you are walking. Although it may not always be possible to change the way you walk, it is important to create pressure evenly when you step down.

You can also prolong the life of the soles by not dragging your feet. No matter how you walk, the bottom soles will eventually wear out. Keep in mind that it is easier and less expensive to re-sole the boot than buying new ones!

Store Your Boots

Boots are like skin, so it’s normal for the leather to crease up when you walk. You can prevent against excessive creasing by storing them correctly. To maintain their shape, stuff them with paper or long, thin pieces of cardboard. You could also invest in boot trees which are designed for maintaining the shape.

Store your boots in an area that is not too humid or damp because mold grows easily on leather.

If you are planning to take your boots with you on your next trip, use a boot bag, but be sure to stuff the boots before placing them inside the bag so that they don’t flatten out.

Keep Your Boots Happy & New

Now that you have all the steps for caring for your cowboy boots, you can slow the aging process and keep your boots looking new!