Disclosure: Sponsored post.
Anyone else hate car shopping? Do you worry about if you are getting the best deal for your money and if you are buying the right car for your family? We have purchased several vehicles new and used over the years and we always find ourselves asking these questions.
Last summer, our transmission went out on our 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan on our way to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a family vacation. We found ourselves miles from home with some big decisions to make. (You can read more about our trip here.) We decided not to repair our minivan since the repair costs were more than the vehicle was worth. Luckily the repair shop we visited fixes up vehicles and donates them to needy families each year. They call it "Cars for Christmas". We decided to donate our car and give it new life to bless another family. At Christmas this year we received photos and a letter sharing the story of the family who received our old minivan. It was a good feeling knowing that we were able to help another family.
In the meantime, we rented a vehicle to drive home after vacation and since we owned a second car we were able to get by without a minivan for a while. A friend also loaned us a little truck (thank you Nate!) that my husband drove for a while. This meant we could take our time and do our research. We knew we would eventually need a minivan with baby #4 on the way, but we had a couple of months to make sure we were getting the right car. Since we were looking for a very specific vehicle, a "newer to us" used Honda Odyssey, it did take a little time to find the right car.
We live in a more rural "small town" community so the local selection of used Honda Odysseys was slim. Thanks to the internet, we were able to find minivans, compare prices and read reviews without leaving the comfort of our home. This was a huge help not only because of the travel time involved with car shopping when you live in a rural area, but also because it is hard to take children car shopping. So we did as much research as we could online. A lot has changed since I bought my first car back in 1999!
There is so much information online now. Did you know that you can read reviews and search for the car that you are looking for at Cars.com ? There is even a price comparison tool that helps you compare price and mileage of several similar vehicles from different sellers.
We came home from the hospital with our new baby in our new (used) Honda Odyssey minivan. We literally bought this van the day our son was born. (Cutting it a little close for my comfort, but waiting patiently helped us get a good deal.) We had seen the van a couple of weeks before and my husband had done a little negotiating with the dealership owner (it was a small dealership). We originally saw this minivan online and decided it was worth the hour and a half drive to see it. So the day our son was born, my husband went back to the dealership, took the minivan to a mechanic, did some more negotiating and came home with our new van. Don't be afraid to negotiate. If you are patient and offer a lower price, they just might take it.
4 Tips for Buying a Used Car:
1. Be patient. Take your time and do your research.
2. Research online. It will save you time and money.
3. When buying a used car, always take the car to a mechanic for an inspection before buying.
4. Don't be afraid to negotiate. It could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Today we're talking about some seriously amazingly delicious pork...pork carnitas. So tender, so versatile, so flavorful. Am I making you hungry yet? I sure hope so!
I don't know if I have mentioned this before or not, but last year we bought a hog. As in an entire hog in our deep freezer. At first I thought it was a challenge to use so much pork. Then as I got more used to cooking with pork and coming up with more ways to use it, I discovered I really like cooking with pork. There are so many things you can do with it... like make amazing pork carnitas.
In fact, I used our last cuts of pork shoulder to make these carnitas. We have almost finished our entire hog. Luckily our new hog will be here soon. â
Doesn't this look delicious? Tender with a little crispness on the edges. The sugar in the cola helps give the meat its flavor and caramelized crispy edges. I do not promote drinking cola (just ask my kids and husband, ha ha), but I make an exception here. If you don't want to add cola, you could use broth instead.
I made this for my son's birthday party last week and used two cuts of pork shoulder. I did not weigh them so I am not sure how many pounds of meat I cooked. It was a small party at which we fed about a dozen people. What you see pictured in the skillet is the leftover meat so this does make a lot and is perfect for parties. (Also, the leftovers are amazing.) It is really fun to serve with chips and salsa, guacamole, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro etc. I found these little "street taco" sized tortillas at the grocery store and they are perfect for carnitas and especially for little hands at kids birthday parties.
(Food photography tip: Take pictures of leftovers the next day to make use of natural light. Also a great tip when you are a busy Mom hosting a 10 year old's birthday party. It's so much easier to focus on taking good photos when you are not busy and feeling rushed.)
4 or more pounds pork shoulder ( also known as Boston butt)
Small amount of oil
1/2 T. (approximately) fresh ground salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 T. oregano
1 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. orange juice
1 C. or more real sugar cola
Fresh squeezed lime juice and more fresh ground salt and pepper for flavoring the finished pork.
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Cut the meat into chunks and season with salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Brown the meat in a small amount of oil (I use coconut oil) in a large dutch oven.
3. Then add onion, garlic, orange juice, and cola.
4. Cook covered in the oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or so, until the meat easily shreds with a fork.
5. Remove any bones and shred the meat adding extra cooking liquid back to the meat. If you like you can put the meat under the broiler to crisp the edges for 5 to 10 minutes. (Meat pictured was not crisped under the broiler.)
6. Salt and pepper to taste and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top.
I serve in an iron skillet because I think it looks attractive, but it is also handy for re-warming the meat on the stove if desired. When re-warming, add a small amount of cola or broth to the skillet for moisture.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned food blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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