Saturday, April 22, 2017

Smoking a brisket today

Today I smoked a brisket in my Weber Smoky Mountain Smoker.  It turned out DELICIOUS!

Most of you already know how much I have enjoyed my Weber smoker.  I enjoy sitting by the smoker, enjoying the outdoors. . . people walking their dogs, the Cardinals and Robins coming by for a visit (when Bailey and Morgan are not in the backyard!) And when the dogs are in the backyard, watching them chase each other and fight over sticks (as if that is the only stick in the whole world).  It is a time when I can put aside the craziness going on in the world and look forward to a great tasting piece of meat at the end of the day.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Bird House

My new bird house just installed yesterday.  As I sit at my kitchen table I can watch the birds go in and out of it. . . now all I need is for a mother bird to come in and build a nest!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Recipes for smoking meat

I belong to the Weber Smokers facebook page and someone asked me for recipes.  Here are two of my favorites:

Marinade for Brisket

1 pint orange juice
juice from 2 limes
juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 T. black pepper
1 cup oil

Just before smoking rub with:

3 T. paprika
2 T. black pepper
2 T. salt
1 T. sugar
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

After the above preparation, I let the brisket sit at room temperature (about 45 minutes), while I prepare the smoker and get the charcoal heated.  The last half of the smoking, I spray with apple juice about every hour or so. 

The next recipe for Mesquite Smoked Roast is another real crowd pleaser!


1.5 to 2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire
2 T. garlic salt
2 T. molasses

2 to 3 large roasts


3 cloves chopped garlic
coarse ground pepper
McCormick's Sweet and Smoky dry rub
Garlic powder or salt

Set aside two cups of the brine

Soak roasts overnight

Remove from brine and rinse

Coat roasts in chopped garlic and pepper

Coat well with dry rub

Use reserved brine and inject the roasts

Let stand at room temperature at least half hour

Place in smoker (225 to 230 degrees)

Smoke about 5 hours.

Let stand about 30 to 45 minutes covered in foil to allow juices to redistribute.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring is here!

There is color in my front yard!  Yes, I still have to weed and prepare the soil for planting, but these early blooms are welcome!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Facebook. . . the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Where would our lives be without Facebook???  I have come to accept the fact that with Facebook, it really is "the good, the bad, the ugly."

For the good:  Most of the time, I do enjoy Facebook.  I have connected with friends from my "way back" past that I may never have connected with in any other medium.  Case in point:  there is a Facebook page for my high school Class of 1966.  I truly have enjoyed that. . . none of us look like we did on graduation day!!!  Recently, on my annual trip South, I met up with Elizabeth, someone I hadn't seen in over 50 years.  That was a very enjoyable evening and oh, the laughs we had!

The bad:  There have been a few (very few) people that I have unfriended and some that have unfriended me.  One example:  Someone I knew from work who suddenly and totally unexpectedly lost her husband.  He died without warning.  She is left with two small children to raise.  Now anyone can have deep sympathy for that.  But as the months turned into years, she still flooded facebook with tales of woe.  I refused to play along with her pitty party and she dropped me and several others.  I wish her well, but she needs to learn to pick up the pieces and move on.  Few, if any of us, pass through this life without being struck by tragedy and life altering events.  I'm no exception.  But you don't dwell on it and eventually you find ways to be happy again.  At least I did a little over two decades ago.

The ugly:  Well, sometimes I am too lenient.  Generally, I won't accept a friend request unless it is someone I know, or at least someone who has mutual friends on Facebook.  A man requested to be my friend.  His Facebook page had very little information.  I assumed it could be because, maybe he was new to Facebook and was trying to build up his page.  WRONG!  He insisted on "conversations" with me, which I kept to a minimum and only gave out very general information.  All of a sudden I got a message from him, "Based on our conversations and mutual understanding (what???) I want to send you a package.  Please send me your real name, street address, phone number,. . ." and I'm not sure what else he asked for.  NO THANKS!  I unfriended him.

Occasionally, I run across people who are not on Facebook.  Usually, this is because they are computer illiterate.  Others, due to the nature of their jobs (one person I know is a psychologist in a prison - that's good enough reason!) have to avoid any social media.  So, my bottom line, enjoy the jokes on facebook and the interactions with friends, but be careful!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Big Meat Order

You all know how I love smoking and grilling meat.  Tonight I brought home a large order I had placed with my farmer that includes beef, poultry, and pork.  There is a cost savings in a bulk order.  But more important, it is nice to have a particular cut of meat when I want it rather than, "Oh, I really wanted baby back ribs tonight, guess I'll have to wait till my farmer makes another run to Rochester."

It was a lot of work getting all that meat down the basement stairs and into the freezer.  I may not be able to move tomorrow morning!  But as I put it away, I was thinking of all the wonderful recipes I use - briskets in the smoker, baby back ribs, whole chickens to put in the smoker, oh, and those great tasting tenderloins that I have so many recipes for.  The stew meat that makes delicious crockpot stews. . . roasts to cook with baby red potatoes and carrots (an easy and delicious meal).  Then there are the breakfast meats that I can't live without - cottage bacon and breakfast sausage.

Last summer I smoked a large rack of baby back ribs.  I cut off a part of it and gave it to my neighbors across the street.  Their oldest child, as she was eating it, said, "I feel sorry for vegetarians!"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Adzuke Bean Casserole

Someone on facebook asked for the recipe of my adzuke bean casserole.  I could not figure out how to post it as an attachment.  It never worked.  So here it is!

Adzuki Bean Casserole

1 cup dried adzuki beans
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (or more) soy sauce

Soak dried adzuki beans in 3 cups water overnight, or early in the day.
Drain beans completely and boil for 45 minutes.
Saute onion in 1 tsp olive oil for one minute.  Add bell pepper, saute one minute.  Add apple and saute until onion is translucent.  Drain beans and mix into vegetables.  Season with basil, salt and soy sauce.  Oil an oblong casserole dish and pour in mixture.  Embed bay leaf into top of beans and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
Serve with rice and a salad.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Our Ninth Cousins' Reunion Was Loads of Fun!

People often ask me, "Why do you insist on driving two full days both going and returning when you can fly?"  At the end of an 11 hour day of driving, I have asked myself that question.  I really don't like to fly in this day of terrorism and increased security at airports.  Allow someone to "pat me down" or search my baggage?  NO THANKS.

I truly enjoy the drive through a varying landscape and cultural diversity.  I pass through 8 large cities - Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, Columbus, OH, Cincinatti, OH, Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, Birmingham, AL and Montgomery, AL and arrive at the small town and rural area where we hold our reunion.  At the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, I look out over Lake Erie, sometimes filled with large sheets of ice.  Driving through Central Ohio, I see huge farm lands and feel a sense of a slower pace to life than I live.  Into Kentucky and Tennessee, there is rolling terrain.  In Alabama, along the way there are both ramshackle rusted tin roof homes that have no doubt been there many decades as well as upper middle class large homes on large tracks of land. You see old, old wooden barns that are gradually falling apart through neglect.  Oh, the stories those barns could tell!

We hold our reunion on land "out in the middle of no where," many acres of land that have been in my family for generations, back into the 1800's.  No, we don't care to rent a convention room and have a formal dinner.  Not our style.  Rather, we enjoy target shooting, walking the land, catching up on everyone from the previous year.  And yes, the tales get bigger each year!

Any regular reader knows I am really into guns.  We set up all kinds of target shooting scenarios.  If the breeze is just right, we throw different sizes of beach ball into the water and take aim at them.  If you hit in just the right place, the ball goes flying into the air!  Another fun thing to do is shoot a plastic milk jug filled with water with a hollow point bullet.  The water splashes all over!  Then there are the regular peel off bullseye targets where many an ego has been crushed when your shooting partner beats you.

Eating is a big part of the day.  This year we kept it simple.


And there is Aunt Ilene!  She is 95 years old this year, Pam and Kenny's mom.  She's going through a phase where she doesn't want to eat or drink.  On the day before the "official" reunion, a few of us had gathered at the old homeplace.  I made a sandwich for her and said, "Here, I made this especially for you and I want you to eat it."  I then gave her a bottle of water.  I watched her out of the corner of my eye.  She ate a little over half the sandwich and gave the rest to the dog when she thought I wasn't watching.  She drank all the water, eventually.

It was really a fun time.  I look forward to this time every March or April.  It is important to stay connected to your roots.  It's good for your soul.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Haven't changed in 50 years!

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting up with an old friend from "way back."  Elizabeth and I were friends since junior high and high school days.  We had lost touch for decades but through facebook, we reconnected again.  It was great catching up. . . lots of laughs.  Another friend, who saw this picture on facebook, is trying to adjust her schedule and hopefully catch up with me - in person - before I leave where I am right now.  Hope you can make it happen, Sue.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Holy Moly!

Yesterday and into last night the Rochester area had severe winds, clocked at 80+ mph at the airport.  On my street, there was a huge tree knocked into the street, many homes all around me lost siding, my neighbor lost a beautiful glass top picnic table.  The roof was ripped off a high school.  In short, very extensive damage.  Through all this, the worst that happened to me is a few small branches fell in my yard. . . the type that Morgan and Bailey like to run with and fight over in the backyard. 

One street over from me, no one has had electricity since 2:30 yesterday afternoon.

Now I'm learning all the schools are closed because so many people do not have electricity and many schools were damaged.  The Jewish Community Center has opened their facility for people - with proper ID - to take showers and numerous other buildings are allowing people who have no electricity to come and stay warm.  The temperature is COLD!

Needless to say, I am very thankful that I escaped this disaster unharmed.