Monday, June 27, 2016

My cousin, Rita

My cousin, Rita, is a constant source of amusement!  Take the issue of dogs.  For about two years, she kept her son's dog.  Jeremy was living in an apartment and his job kept him away long hours. 

Rita was forever complaining about Stella did this or Stella did that.  Stella ran away numerous times.  She destroyed plants in the yard, She dug holes.  Anyone with half a brain could see the real truth here.  Rita and Kip were attached to that big bundle of energy called Stella, although she would deny it till the end of time.  Stella is a German Shorthaired Pointer.  These dogs need lots of exercise, destructive or otherwise.

Then Jeremy and Emily, who gave Jeremy the dog as a present several years ago, got married and moved into a house.  Stella went to her "new" home.  Right away you could see the withdrawal Rita was going through.  And those of us on facebook missed the endless "Stella Stories" that only Rita could tell!

"You need to get a dog of your own, Rita," I told her over and over.

"NOPE!  I don't need a dog. . . I'm too busy.  I don't want to be tied down."

Yesterday there was this cryptic facebook entry.  It was a picture of the eyes of a dog.  Rita said, "Kip is in trouble now."

I knew what that meant, although Rita left many of us hanging.  What followed were several facebook entries which propriety demands I don't include here.

Last night she texted me a picture of a beagle puppy with the caption, "Look what Rita's got."

"Tell me more!"  I texted back.

Turns out she's had this puppy since Tuesday of last week and she didn't bother to tell anyone.  One of Kip's customers had a dog with a litter of puppies.  She knew all of us who had heard the "I don't want another dog" lectures were going to jump on her. . . AND I DID!!!  Again, I can't tell you here what I told her, but I got the point across!

Now your life is complete, Rita!  You've got a little bundle of joy to keep your life "interesting."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stuart's Spices, THE place to buy spices!

You've heard me mention Stuart's Spices in this blog and on my Facebook page.  Yes, I think they are THE place to buy spices in Rochester.

Their website is and they are located at 754 Clinton Ave. S, in Rochester.

Some good friends told me about them.  "What's so special about a spice shop?," I asked.  "I can get spices at the grocery store."  Once in awhile, I'm wrong, not often. . . but this time, I was way off base!

They grind their spices on the premises and in small batches.  There spices don't sit on the shelf for long periods as in a grocery store where they have been shipped in.  They have the usual spices you would buy. . . oregano, cinnamon, all of those.  But they also have their own special blends!  How about Hog Rub or Road Kill or Memphis Dry Rub?  I also like their dip mixes.

If you are a new customer, they'll give you a free bottle.  If, like me once, I was there on a Saturday at the opening time, and the owner was a few minutes late arriving, they will give you a free bottle for your inconvenience.  They know the meaning of good customer service.

I'm not sure if they do mail order.  But if you live in the Rochester area, do yourself a favor and check them out!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wonderful baby back ribs

I've made good ribs before.  But these are great!  I found the recipe on, the Weber Grills people.  Weber created this recipe for using with a charcoal grill.  I adapted it to use in my smoker.

Rather than their rub, I used a rub I get at Stuart's Spices on Clinton Avenue here in Rochester.  It's called Hog Rub and it's excellent.

I followed Weber's recipes for the sauce and mop.  Here they are:


3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note:  Weber's recipe includes 1 teaspoon of molasses.  I didn't have any so left that out.


1 cup unsweetened apple juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bbq sauce (from above)

For the sauce and the mop recipes, bring both to simmer in separate saucepans and set aside.

The night before, or early on the day of smoking, rub the ribs generously with Hog Rub.  Put in the refrigerator.  Remove the meat and let it sit at room temperature an hour before going into the smoker.

Prepare the smoker and when ready, place the meat in it.  Keep the temperature below 250.  I used hickory chips over the hot coals for this, replacing them about every half hour or so.  (Soak the chips in water before putting them in the smoker.)

At about the one and a half hour mark in smoking, mop the meat.  Repeat several times till the meat is almost done.  For ribs, when the meat begins to pull away, exposing the bone about a quarter of an inch, it's done.

Before removing the meat from the smoker, brush well several times with the sauce recipe.  I left these two in the smoker a little more than 3 hours.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Where does time go?

I was not a helicopter parent.  Really, I wasn't.  Well. . . never mind.

My number one priority in my life are my boys and my grandchildren.  You mess with them, you don't even want to hear from me, believe me on that.

Last year, John and Jen allowed Kevin, my oldest grandson, to go to Germany.  WHAT?  NO WAY!  It was an exchange program through school.  Earlier, a young man from Germany visited in their home and then Kevin went, with a group and chaperones, to Germany.  But today's world is different.  There are bad people in the world that think nothing of hurting Americans.

We got past that.  Kevin had a wonderful time in Germany, even visited Austria.  He came home safe and sound.

I knew this was coming too.  He had plans to go to a special Scout camp a long way from home for two weeks.  NO!  NO! NO!  Not my Kevin!  Never mind that his grandfather went to this same Scout camp many years ago and loved it.  But it is a different world today!  Listen to me!

I was meant to be a mother and grandmother.  It is my place to worry.  Just ask my boys.  One of them, once he was grown, admitted, "We knew when we were growing up, if we screwed up and Mom and Dad found out about it, there would be hell to pay."  YEP!  You got that right.

Trust me, I really am happy for Kevin - he's even learned to drive a car with a stick shift, another one of my idiosyncracies!. . . if you can't drive a stick shift, you aren't anything. . . well, anyway. . . Can't I be happy for my grandson and be worried at the same time???

John and Jen have done a wonderful job raising Kevin, Jake and Andrew. . . and if you can meet MY standards in child rearing, that is an accomplishment!  But I still have a right to worry.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bailey is one year old!

Morgan and I have survived Bailey's first year!  She has been ALL PUPPY, all at once cantankerous, mischievous, lovable, cute, and with a mind of her own. When she is out back playing and I call her, I get her "What's in it for me?" look. She is one big ball of nonstop energy.  The picture above was taken at the home of the breeder before I brought her home.

Here she is in her cage not long after I brought her home.

Bailey and one of her many sticks!

Look at me, I'm cute!

She loves watching football and basketball!  She learned early on that when the Alabama Crimson Tide is playing football, she has to be good or she goes to her cage.

Hiding behind Morgan.

I want to say a special thank you to her breeder, Patty Finch.  I'm very picky about where I will buy a puppy.  I had made arrangements with a quality breeder in Cobbleskill, NY to get a puppy.  But that dog didn't come into season in time to meet my time frame for getting a puppy.  Through networking, I found Patty down in Ohio.  I couldn't have chosen a better breeder.  She cried when she handed Bailey over to me.  I promised her I'd love Bailey and give her a good home.  She really cares about where her puppies go to their forever home.

And finally, everyone has their own ideas of what is the best breed.  To my way of thinking, the Labrador Retriever is the Best of the Best!  They are a major handful during the puppy stage.  Then they settle into the most loving, delightful dogs in the whole world.  I have owned a Lab continuously since 1985, five of them, Teri, Cash, Molly, Morgan, and Bailey.  I can't imagine my life without a Lab.