Slow Cooker Sweet Ribs

We’re coming out of a pretty great weekend.  Friday was Walt’s and my 10 year wedding anniversary.  We had always said we’d like to spend our 10 year anniversary in Italy but life had other plans for us and that’s OK, maybe we’ll be able to do it for our 15th.  It was a great day without Italy, Walt surprised me and took the day off so we could spend it together and go out for dinner.  Having him home was a nice surprise.

Saturday we went and picked up a few pumpkins and Sunday was dedicated to flag football, even in the rain.  This year Joshua’s on the “Lions” and they won 32 to 14, so far they are 3-0 for the season…Way to go Lions!!  Coming home from the game Sunday to Mississippi Pot Roast in the slow cooker and homemade Hershey Chocolate Pie made the end of our weekend perfect.

Now we’re back to Monday.  Today Nikki has orientation for new job, so proud of how she’s handled all of the changes her life has gone through over the last few months.  I get to take Eric to school today, be prepared Nikki, if he cries we’re outta there!!

On a good note, the count down to my next weekend begins; 4 days, 24-30 hours.  I know, I have it rough.  Today I’m going to leave you with a recipe for slow cooker sweet ribs.  They are not Walt’s smoked,  slow grilled baby back ribs but they are moist and tasty, perfect with a side of homemade cole slaw on fall or winter day.

Slow Cooker Sweet Ribs

SLOW COOKER SWEET RIBS 

What You’ll Need:

4 pounds country-style boneless ribs

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. vinegar

1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce

2 tbs. brown sugar

Directions:

  • Spray slow cooker with cooking spray
  • In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the ribs themselves
  • Place ribs in slow cooker
  • Pour sauce over ribs, and turn to coat
  • Cover, and cook on Low 6 to 8 hours, or until ribs are tender

A Burst Of Color On My Plate

Nancy's Colorful Salad

NANCYS GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD

What You’ll Need:

Mixed Italian Salad Greens (*See Note)

2 – Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts – Sliced

2 – Hard boiled eggs sliced

1 – Yellow Golden Delicious Apple – (peel, seed, chop – divide)

12 – Strawberries (Wash, core, quarter – divide)

6 – Slices Bacon – (fried, chopped into pieces)

1 – Container Crumbled Feta Cheese

Ken’s Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Assemble all ingredients (evenly divided) into two individual salad bowls/dishes and serve with the Raspberry vinaigrette and enjoy!

NOTE:  Our fruit and veggie market sells a variety of all ready cleaned and chopped lettuce selection choices in plastic containers for about $4.99.  Although much more expensive than a head of lettuce or a stalk of romaine, for us it’s well worth the cost of having it already cleaned and chopped as well as the option of picking up mixtures that we otherwise might not want to take the time to make during a hectic work week.  The other plus, it’s enough greens to make multiple salads during the week for us.

Enjoying Family Time And Good Food

The best part of “Staycation” is enjoying time with family and we’ve not had a shortage of family time since Saturday’s kickoff with Eric’s 5th birthday party AND meeting Josh and Kaylee’s new baby brother Gavin.  Of course family time wouldn’t be quite complete without a great bbq or two or three and when appropriate (no little ones around) a bottle or two of wine.

Monday night we invited Mom and Dad over for dinner so Walt decided he would  serve smoked BBQ Ranch Baby Back Ribs.  These ribs, as always, were fantastic!!  We served them with Ranch Bacon Potato Salad, baked beans and corn on the cob.  Tonight, I’m going to repost the recipe for the ribs, they are fantastic, so glad we had enough for leftovers today!!

Try them, they are so worth the time and effort!!

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RANCH HOUSE BBQ RIBS

Pit Master Amy Anderson

(Weber’s “Charcoal Grilling – The Art of Cooking With Live Fire.”)

  • Prep time:     30 Minutes
  • Grill time:     4-5 hours

Rub Ingredients

2 tbsp         Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 tbsp         Granulated sugar

1 tbsp         Pure chile powder

1 tbsp         Sweet paprika

1 tsp          Freshly grated black pepper

1 tsp          Garlic powder

1 tsp          Onion powder

1 tsp          Dry Italian seasoning

1/4 Cup    Yellow Mustard

Directions for Rub

  • After ribs have been prepared, membrane from the ribs removed, prepare your rub.
  • In a medium bowl mix the rub ingredients.
  • Lightly coat both sides of each rack with mustard, this will help the rub stick to the meat.
  • Sprinkle the rub evenly all over the racks.
  • Let the racks sit at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes before cooking.

Sauce Ingredients

1 cup          Ketchup

1/2 cup      Cider vinegar

4 tbsp        Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp        Light brown sugar

1 tbsp         Honey

1 tbsp         Molasses

1/2 tsp       Garlic powder

Directions for sauce:

  • While the racks are smoking, make the sauce
  • In a saucepan combine the sauce ingredients
  • Whisk until smooth
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring occasionally
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat

Grilling

This recipe originally calls for a smoker which we don’t have.  Walt prepares these ribs on a Weber Charcoal grill.

What you’ll need:

  • Charcoal
  • 4 fist size dry chunks of apple/cherry/mesquite wood chips

The Grill

  • Prepare charcoal in a chimney – when gray put it in the grill
  • Add some of the wood chips to the charcoal
  • Place drip pan with water
  • You will keep adding charcoal and chips throughout the grilling process to maintain cooking temperature

Grilling:

  • Place ribs in grill
  • Grill ribs between 225 degree’s F and 250 degree F. for four to five hours.
  • Check temperature every 30 minutes – adding additional charcoal as needed to maintain cooking temperature
  • Add additional wood chips as needed
  • Grill 4 to 5 hours maintaining temperature as stated above

Adding the sauce:

  • When the meat begins to pull back from the bone in several places it’s time to add the sauce (usually about 3-4 hour into grilling)
  • Remove ribs from rack – lay on cutting board (make sure you maintain the heat in the grill while you do this)
  • Brush ribs with sauce – place back in racks – return to grill
  • Continue to grill until done (about 30 to 60 minutes)

Grandma “Ribs” Papa Walt

Last night was “Grandma Takes Over The Grill” night and guess what…it wasn’t chicken!!  Last night I made Grilled Country Ribs, my delicious cole slaw and cheesy O’Brien potatoes.

Of course Papa Walt jokingly (I think he was joking) sent a text from work saying he would bring his chisel to dinner.  Funny Papa, very funny, don’t quit the day job.  I think Walt might be feeling just a little bit threatened that I am becoming more comfortable with the grill.  Sausages and chicken breasts are one thing, but now I am really getting into Walt’s territory and area of expertise…..ribs!

All in all things turned out pretty well.  The only disappointment I had was with the ribs.  When I baked them in the oven they shrunk, a lot.  It wouldn’t have been so bad but there were only six, I only bought one pack and there were six in the pack and they were good size when I put them in the baking dish, the ribs were only half the size when they came out of the oven.

The ribs were tender, the sauce was yummy!  Walt said they very tasty, he liked the sauce.  Were they good?  Yes.  Were they as delicious as Walt’s?  Probably not.  But I made them and that’s an accomplishment for this Granny who has shied away grilling for almost 10 years.  I stepped out of my comfort zone that’s a plus!

This recipe was taken from Allrecipes.com.

Here is the link; http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-country-ribs/detail.aspx

 

Grilled Country Ribs

 

GRILLED COUNTRY RIBS

Ingredients

4 pounds      Country style pork ribs

1 medium      Onion – chopped

2                      Garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup           Vegetable oil

1 cup               Ketchup

1/4 cup           Packed brown sugar

1/4 cup            Cider vinegar

1/4 cup            Hot pepper sauce

2 tbsp              Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp              Prepared mustard

Directions

Ribs

  • Place ribs in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  • Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours or until no longer pink.

BBQ Sauce

  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Set aside.

Grilling  

  • Drain ribs.
  • Grill, covered, over indirect low heat for 45 minutes, turning once.
  • Baste with barbecue sauce.
  • Grill 15 minutes longer or until meat is tender, turning and basting frequently.

Grilled Country Ribs
Delicious!!

Chicken Grilling Grandma

This week is going by quickly, hard to believe that it’s already Wednesday.  I spent most of yesterday (Tuesday) thinking it was Monday, yes I am going to admit that, but I have a lot on my mind so I am going to chalk it up to that.  It’s hard when you watch a train wreck about to happen before your very eyes and there is absolutely nothing you can do but standby and wait for the crash so you can go in and help, praying that the injuries and damage are minimal and will hopefully leave little or no scars.  But that’s where I am and what it is, so wait I will do which is not easy for me especially when it relates to people I love.

I found out yesterday that my best friend Tina is not moving back to Michigan.  We were hoping that Ken would be able to transfer to Michigan later this year but on Saturday Tina and Ken got the word that the expansion that was hoped for in Michigan would not take place reducing the need to increase full-time personnel.  I am so bummed!!

Although I tried not to get overly excited about the prospect of having Tina back home, secretly I was already planning for their return.  I miss our Thelma and Louise outings and fun times (we’re actually, probably, more like Lucy and Ethel), I miss having my best friend close by all the time but especially during stressful times.  Tina is my buffer, a filter…..the one who says, “let’s think about this” before I say it, write it or post it on Facebook.  I need her a lot these days, my mouth and fingers have been a flying.  But Tina and I will continue as we have been, with our weekly calls sometimes more and our lunches or dinners when she flies in for a quick visit with family.  Although it would be great to have Tina home it’s comforting to know that Tina does “best friend” from a distance better than anyone I know!

Call your best friend today just to say “HI.”

Ok, onto grilling; I grilled again yesterday and yes, it was chicken.  I made Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken Breasts and they were very tasty.  I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website and wanted to give it a try for quite a while, yesterday I decided it was time.  What I liked best about this recipe is that it uses ingredients that I already have on hand.   The pasta salad I quickly put together using veggies from our garden, an ideal side dish making this a perfect summer meal.

So here we go, onto today’s recipe….

Your link right to the recipe; http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/balsamic-glazed-grilled-chicken-breasts/787017d3-c97e-499e-984f-289aeeb018e7

Today  I noted my “tweaking” right in the recipe.

Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken Breasts
Photo taken by and property of: N. Rezich

Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken Breasts

Glaze Ingredients

1/3 Cup     Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup     Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbsp.      Fresh chopped Rosemary Leaves

1 Tbsp.      Finely Chopped  Garlic

Chicken ingredients

  • 4  Skin on chicken breast (Note: I used boneless, skin-less breasts)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Directions:
Heat gas or charcoal grill.
In small bowl, mix glaze ingredients; set aside. (Note:  I brought mine to a boil and simmered for 5 minutes to thicken it up a little)
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  (Note: I used Lawry Seasoning Salt)
Place chicken on grill, skin side down, over medium heat
Cook 10 minutes
Turn chicken; brush half the glaze evenly over chicken

Grill chicken
Brush glaze on chicken
Photo taken by and property of N. Rezich

Continue cooking and brushing with remaining glaze 10 to 12 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to bone (170°F). (NOTE: I used boneless skin-less breasts – grilled to 180 degrees)

ENJOY!!
Photo taken by and property of N. Rezich

10 Week Countdown Begins!!

Last night I sat in the backyard with Walt while he grilled Polish sausages for dinner.  With temperatures hanging onto 63 degrees, I happened to mentioned to Walt that you can feel the season beginning to change.  This is the beginning of my slow slip into the fall/winter blues and Walt’s efforts to make the transition from summer to fall as smooth as possible for me.

I can deal with fall much better than I do winter, at least in the fall there are still some pretty warm afternoons sometimes nice enough to spend time on the patio reading,  just hanging out having a glass of wine or even dinner.  Then of course we do have the Michigan color change to look forward to and Halloween, we are big on Halloween at our house.  Josh, his daddy and Papa Walt turn our front lawn into a mini graveyard, every year we add something new.  Lil E comes here to trick or treat, Josh and Kaylee come by with their momma and they trick or treat with Eric for a little bit to houses on our block.

Walt’s annual effort to make the transition smoother has begun.  Walt told me last night that I have 10 weeks left before he starts to tear down the yard and patio for the winter.  10 weeks……sounds like a lot of time, it is a lot of time, but when you’re heading toward an ending you know that this time is going to fly by quickly.  The weekend after Halloween everything will be covered up, put up and hidden away until spring 2013.

Knowing this time frame is upon me I’ll be planning a more bbq’s with family before the summer ends and a few more into early fall.  We’ll spend some time prepping the flower gardens for winter and preparing to expand the veggie garden for next year (yes, I gave Papa and Joshie another 10 feet).

I am always amazed by this internal body clock that starts the fall countdown before I am ready!  I realize that it’s not really doing it on its own; the somewhat chillier temperatures at night and the fact that I have to turn the livingroom light on earlier are like little alarms that go off which trigger my internal clock to begin the countdown.

With that in mind, yesterday was Polish night, I planned grilled Polish sausages and sauerkraut for dinner.  It’s funny whenever I make the Italian sausages or the Polish, Walt always says “Don’t make a side dish, we don’t need one.”  At first I thought it was odd, I felt we needed something to go along with them.  I’m sure the real reason behind Walt’s “no side dish” request is the fact the he eats two and feels less guilty about it, he’s been know to have three but not often.

I’ve come to realize that Walt is right though, the sausages on a bun or in a tortilla are filling enough on their own.  It’s like carnival food, they don’t serve you a side dish when you buy a sausage from the vendor.  You walk around the carnival enjoying the sausage heaped with peppers and onions or sauerkraut without anything but a soda to go with it, so that’s what we do now too.  It works out perfectly!

Today I will leave you with my sauerkraut recipe.  We like a sweet sauerkraut so I add brown sugar to mine, I’ll be honest it’s not a little.  Like with any recipe that I throw together from my head, I just add things without thinking about measuring anything.  Last night I made sure I was a little more aware of what I was using and doing as I put it all together.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!!

This sauerkraut recipe is quick and easy….4 ingredients and about 20-30 minutes cooking time.

Nancy’s Sweet Sauerkraut
Photo Taken By and Property of N. Rezich

Nancy’s Sweet Sauerkraut

What You’ll Need:

1 16 oz Jar/Can Sauerkraut

1 Medium Onion – cut in half and sliced

3-4 tbsp. brown sugar

4 tbsp. butter

Directions:

Drain sauerkraut in collinder and rinse with cold water

Melt butter in pan

Saute onion in butter

Add sauerkruat and mix with onions

Add brown sugar gradually- taste to desired sweetness

Cook 20-30 minutes until moisture is absorbed.

Enjoy!!

 

Nancy’s Sweet Sauerkraut
Photo Taken By and Property of N. Rezich

Grandma’s Getting Spicy

Happy Wednesday everyone!!  Hope your week is going well.  Mine is going by really quickly, I need it to slow down just a bit.  This entry is going to be a quick one for two reasons; one I wrote an entry about Little Man Eric and two, I have a doctor appointment in a few hours and need to get myself moving along.

I am happy to say that I’ve been able to keep my promise to myself to use the grill at least once a week.  For some reason I always seem to grill chicken, not sure why, maybe it’s because chicken is my favorite.  Today I have a great recipe for anyone who loves fajita’s.

This recipe is one that I threw together, it didn’t originate any where other than in my head so I hope you enjoy it.

Grilled Chicen Fajita’s
with Spanish Rice

Grilled Chicken Fajita’s

What You’ll Need:

1.5 – 2 lbs.        Boneless/Skin-less Chicken Breasts

1                         Red pepper

1                         Green pepper

1                         Yellow pepper

1                          Red onion

1 pkt.                 McCormick Mexican Fiesta Marinade

1-2 tbsp.           Taco Seasoning (I used Old El Paso – Original)

1 pkgs.              Flour Tortilla’s

Mexi or Cheddar Cheese

Sour Cream

Chipolte Mayo

Directions

For Marinade:

  • Mix marinade according to pkt. directions
  • Place chicken breasts in a baking dish or reseal-able baggie
  • Pour marinade over the chicken, make sure each piece gets coated well
  • Refrigerate at least 6 hours (pkt says 30 minutes, longer will give you more flavor)

For Vegetables

  • Clean and slice your vegetables – place in a large bowl
  • Mix 1-2 tbsp. of the taco seasoning into the vegetables
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour

Grilling:

Chicken:

  • Take chicken out of marinade and place on a low heat (discard remaining marinade)
  • Grill for 45 to 50 minutes turning every 5 minutes to avoid burning

NOTE:  The marinade can cause the chicken to burn so you need to keep an eye on it and turn frequently

Vegetables

  • Tear off enough aluminum foil for your vegetables – I use heavy-duty if not double your foil (you will need a piece for the bottom and another for the top.
  • Spray the aluminum foil with a cooking spray
  • Lay vegetables on the aluminum foil
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables (drizzle – not pour)
  • Spray the other piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray
  • With sprayed side down over vegetables – make a packet by folding the bottom foil and top foil together
  • Grill vegetables on very low heat for 20 minutes turning over halfway through *I put these on the grill the last 20 minutes of grilling the chicken

 Serving:

Slice Chicken Breasts

 

Grilled Red Green Yellow Peppers
For Grilled Chicken Fajita’s

  • Prepare tortilla’s as noted on package
  • Slice the chicken breats
  • Open vegetable packet carefully, steam will escape and burn
  • Assembly your fajita the way you like it; chicken, cheese, peppers/onions, chipolte mayo, sour cream
  • ENJOY!

 

Sneaking Up On Monday…..

Monday is here, Walt will be home all day, his day off after finishing his last Saturday/Sunday schedule, today I think we’re going to take it pretty easy.  After attending a pretty awesome birthday party yesterday Josh came back late last night and is playing Batman on PS3 while Papa Walt is at his ophthalmologist appointment.  It’s days like this that make it so much harder to live with his 12:30 p.m to 9:00 p.m. hours.  Grateful Walt has a job, it just would be nice to have dinner together at a reasonable hour, unfortunately in the business he’s in it doesn’t exist.

I can’t put my finger on it, I’ve not been on any interviews recently, but I have a feeling, you know those gut feelings, that I probably won’t be a stay at home granny very much longer.  I could be wrong, but the feeling is there just the same.  We’ll see won’t we if my psychic powers are any good.  I’m thinking that maybe by the end of September I’ll be gainfully, ok maybe not so gainfully, but I’m open to any employment.

Walking is going well, Little E and I were rained out Saturday, he was the only one willing to go with me.  Unfortunately the rain moved in with thunder and lighting so we stayed in, I knew I should have gone in the morning.  I have to say that I’m enjoying my little stroll through the neighborhood, seeing what people have done with gardening and landscaping.  Sorry to see white bank notices on several front doors and windows.  But hey….we’re coming out of this recession right!?!?  I won’t get on that soap box, at least now anyway.

Besides, walking is where I think and ponder best.  The last few days have brought about a lot to think and ponder about, going for a walk is the one place where I can work things out in my head.  There are two people in my life who are facing a few challenges and obstacles.  Walking is a place with no distractions, no phones, no TV, no computer; quiet time where thoughts come through so much clearer without all the distractions of being indoors.

So far my walks have me clearly believing that for one person’s situation it’s better if I keep my mouth shut and listen for a bit (for now), knowing they will come to me if needed, but staying ever-present, right on the edge of the immediate background, so one word or one nod is all it will take for me to take one leap and I’m all in.  I am finding it hard not to step in, very hard, hurts your heart hard…..my emotions running high, I want and need to protect two people that I love more than life itself, but I will respect her request for now.

I’ve gone in the complete opposite direction with another person, being present, clear and vocal reminding them of the loop and the decisions that got them to where they never want to be again.  Reminding them that this struggle is part of the lesson and a major indicator of which path is the next one to take.  Reminding them that their success lies in how well they are listening to life, learning from mistakes, examining past and present experiences and staying close to those that truly have their best interest at heart.  Gotta love those walks!!

“Simplifying Your Life Week” continues…..I’ve organized my basket making supplies into totes, it’s nice to just look through the side of the tote so I can see where the gift baskets and containers are or which tote has the ribbons, paper and gift bags.  I worked on a few of the kitchen cabinets, lots of wasted space in some of those.  Today I am hoping to convince Walt to go with me to buy a little bookcase for the spare room I would like to get all of the grandbabies books, coloring books, games and what-not off the closet floor and onto shelves.  Now that alone would make grandma’s life much simpler.

This little “Simplify Your Life Week” has now made me want to take each room one by one and tear it apart from top to bottom.  When I mentioned this to Walt on Saturday in front of Eric and Joshua, Eric started to cry (I mean really cry, make grandma feel like crap cry) and said “No grandma please (plllleeeeaaasssee is really how it went)….don’t tear the rooms apart.”  “Where will I come to see you?” “I won’t be able to come sleep here with you.” “There won’t be any walls and no roof.”  After 5 minutes of trying to explain what I meant, I finally just had to agree that I would not “tear the rooms apart.”  My little guy was not getting the whole clean it from top to bottom.  Eric is so sweet, glad he wasn’t worried about where all the toys would go just about how and where he would see me.

Today is “Wiggle Your Toes Day!”  So slip off those shoes, pull off those socks and wiggle those little piggies, who for some probably haven’t had any fun since your momma played “This Little Piggie” on them.

Ok, onto our recipe for today.  My family loves the cheesy potatoes that I make in the oven, I’ve posted them on here previously under “Tatters For Tiffany.”  I generally don’t like to use the oven in the summer, but I have made these potatoes as a side for many family bbq’s.

Recently while skimming through the Betty Crocker on-line recipe site I came across “Grilled Cheesy Potato Packets.”  I’ve actually looked at this recipe about a half-dozen times this summer and passed them up simply because I wasn’t sure how well frozen potatoes would cook on the grill.  Finally last week when we had the rib-eye steaks I made these potatoes to go with them.

Pleasantly surprised were we at how well they turned out and how really tasty they were.  I’m so frustrated with myself for not trying them sooner!  These are quick and easy to make on the grill with very little prep time and really no clean up.  AND…there was no “tweaking” going on either.

Try them and enjoy!!

Here’s the link to the recipe:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/grilled-cheesy-potato-packet/f1022b2c-9544-46d9-bafe-54bf8b9be328

Grilled Cheesy Potatoes
Photo By N. Rezich

Grilled Cheesy Potato Packet

What You’ll Need:

4   cups frozen potatoes O’Brien with onions and peppers (from 24-oz bag)

1   tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (3 oz)

Directions:

1.  Heat gas or charcoal grill. Spray 1 (18 x 13-inch) sheet of heavy-duty foil with cooking spray. Place potatoes on center of foil. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Assemble all ingredients on the foil
Photo by N. Rezich

2.  Bring up 2 sides of foil over potatoes so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

3.  Place packet on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 30 minutes, turning once. Carefully open packet; sprinkle cheese over potatoes. Cover loosely; let stand 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Grilled Cheesy Potato Packet
Right off the grill
Photo by N. Rezich

Makes 6 servings

Drunk On Writing

Ray Bradbury, an American science fiction, fantasy, mystery, fiction story writer, best know for penning Fahrenheit 451, once said “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  Mr. Bradbury passed away in June of this year, he was 91.I have to say that I completely identify and agree with Mr. Bradbury’s quote.  Writing is not just putting words down on paper, it’s not only the sharing of ideas, stories, instructions, etc.  Writing can be a release, artistic, personal, healing; it can be therapeutic.

We all have our own way of dealing with everything life has thrown in our direction.  Writing about family, telling stories about our adventures and even sharing recipes has, for me, taken the edge off things that have happened to and in our family that I can’t change.  It’s also been a way for me to see that there is so much more of the good things in life going on in our family than the tragic or negative things of the past.

Through this little blog I’ve started to write poetry and have started a few short stories.  A few of the poems I’ve been brave enough to share on here.  Writing relaxes me, blogging gives me a little focus.

I’m going to stay drunk on writing and focus on the good stuff in our lives which far outweighs the bad.  I do it so that I won’t and don’t dwell on the past….so that reality doesn’t destroy me as it has tried to do in the past.  Writing is therapeutic, I think everyone should do it, in what ever format is best for them.

Switching gears…you may have noticed that I have not talked about my commitment to walking for the month of August or about “Simplify Your Life Week.”  I’ve decided to write those under separate entries so that my daily post is not a million words.

Don’t forget, today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day….have one today!!!

Great recipe for you today “Mike’s Rib-Eyes with Award-winning Rub” taken from Weber’s Charcoal Grilling – The Art of Cooking With Live Fire.

Walt made these Monday night, I don’t think I’ll ever eat another steak other than this one, I am not kidding when I say that the steak melted in your mouth like butter.  I used to laugh when I heard people say that, I now know exactly what they meant.

“Mike’s RIb-Eyes with Award winning Rub

Mike’s Rib-Eyes with Award-Winning Rub

Prep Time:     5 minutes

Grill Time:     8-10 minutes

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 boneless rib-eye steaks, about 12 ounces each and 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick; trimmed of excess fat
  • Vegetable oil

*NOTE:  We only used to rib-eye steaks, so we have rub left over.

The Rub

4 tsp          coarse kosher salt

1 tbsp        coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp           dried oregano

1 tsp           dried thyme

1 tsp           paprika

1 tsp           minced garlic

In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients

Lightly coat the steaks with oil

Lightly coat steaks with oil

Massage the rub into both sides of each steak

Massage with rub into both sides of each steak

let the steaks sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling

Directions For:

The Grill:

Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat using enough charcoal so that all 6 steaks can cook over direct heat

Grilling:

Brush the cooking grate clean

Grill the steaks over direct high heat with the lid closed as much as possible until cooked to your desired done-ness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare

Grill over direct high heat

Rotate each steak 90 degrees halfway through each side and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking

Remove from the grill and tent loosely with foil

Let rest for 3 to 5 minutes

Serve warm

NOTE:  If flare ups occur, move the steaks temporarily over indirect heat.

Knocking Off Two “National Foodie” Days With One Recipe

Good morning everyone…. so we’re over the Monday hurdle here we are already at Tuesday, let’s keep the momentum moving!

Glad the storms have moved out, it was a pretty interesting morning here.  I woke up around 4:30 a.m. to the sound of thunder and a strange flopping noise outside our bedroom window.  Not knowing what it was I looked out the bedroom window and saw an aqua and white rectangle flying around the yard, took me a minute to realize it was the kiddie pool.  Unfortunately I had to wake up Walt so we could run out and secure the pool and bring in the patio chair cushions before the rain fell.  The storms have moved out for now, we’ll see if the ones predicted for later today pass us by.

Did you celebrate National Cheesecake Day yesterday?  We did!  Now I know what some of you might be thinking….”Sunday the woman wouldn’t turn on the oven for Lasagna Day, but she turns it on for cheese cake day.”  Ok, so you have a point…a little one.  Lasagna can take 45 minutes to an hour, the little cheesecake cupie cakie thingies I made yesterday only baked for a half hour.  And come on people, it’s cheesecake!!  It wasn’t going to weigh anyone down on a hot day.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Besides, things with the little “Cupid’s Cherry Cheesecakes” (by Kraft) didn’t go as well as it should have.  The centers of my little cheese cakes caved.  Not just a little…a lot.  Most resembled a bowl, one shrunk up so bad it looked like someone sucked the air out of it.

Look…it’s a little nest!

I have been baking for over 40 years and have NEVER had a dessert not come out the way it was supposed to.

I was so frustrated that without even waiting (I regret that instant reaction now) to taste them I rated it, gave them one star and a negative response on this recipe.  Imagine my surprise late last night when I went back into the site and they actually posted my HORRIBLE response!  My one star response is one of four out of 93.  That means that 89 other bakers gave this recipe a four or five-star rating.  Even those that claimed they’ve never baked did a much better job at these than I did.

Of course Walt, trying to help, said he thought they were suppose to sink in the middle so you can put the fruit in.  I am sure they were suppose to sink a little, just not enough to hold a cup of soup.  Walt was trying to make me feel better about it I love him for that.

When I started this blogging journey I promised that I would share the good and the bad with any new recipe we were trying.  So I am…..something I did in the baking process made them sink in the center.  Maybe I put more batter in the cup than I should have or maybe it had something to do with the temperature variance when I opened the oven for the last 30 minutes (as I was instructed to do) and/or the fact the house was cold because the air conditioning was on.  I really don’t know, but something I did in the process made a little well in the center.

We did eat the cheesecake and to be fair, they were very good.  Even though the recipe calls for cherries, I cut up some strawberries and mixed them with a little sugar and did the same with a strawberries/raspberry combination for Walt then refrigerated them for a few hours.   I had to get raspberries in there for “National Raspberry Cream Pie Day” which is later this week so Walt had the combo and we passed on the cherry topping.

After dinner I spooned strawberries over mine and the raspberry/strawberry mixture over Walt’s (I guess it was really into, not onto) and they were pretty tasty.  Actually the were more than tasty, they were sweet and very good.  Walt wanted a second one but opted out only because we had just finished a big dinner.

Cheesecake

Because I have Catholic school girl guilt, even at my age, I will go back into the Kraft site and make an adjustment to my original negative post.  All I could think of all night was hurting someone’s feeling even while rationalizing that it’s a cooking website for heaven sake.

We have some great recipes coming up for you this week and we can’t wait to share them; homemade sloppy joes, grilled rib eye steaks and Cheesy O’Brien Potatoes on the grill!!  I may even get Walt to chat about a Michigan brewed Cherry Beer he tried yesterday!

For now I will leave you with this recipe from Kraft Recipes.  If you try these little cheesecakes let us know how they turned out for you.

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/recipeallratings.aspx?recipe_id=55259&ct=1&pg=8

Cupid’s Cherry Cheesecakes 

What You’ll Need:

12              NILLA Wafers
2 pkg.       (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup    sugar
2                eggs
3/4 cup    cherry pie filling (I used fresh strawberries and raspberries)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.  Place 1 wafer in bottom of each of 12 paper-lined medium muffin pan cups; set aside.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until blended after each addition.  Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

BAKE 30 minutes. Turn off oven; open oven door slightly. Let stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Top with pie filling.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.  Store leftover cheesecakes in refrigerator.

ENJOY!!