Monday, November 24, 2014

Peppered Candied Bacon

The Mr. and I recently took an anniversary trip through some lovely New England states.

While traveling, we stayed in some fabulous bed and breakfast inns.

We haven't done that a lot, as we have had about a 50/50 experience with B&B's!

But taking a risk, we went for it!

Each inn was great and I'd return to each of them if given the opportunity.

That's a good endorsement, huh?

Each breakfast we were served had at least one recipe that I requested!

OK -- sometimes 2!

One place we stayed, the inn owner served this bacon.

She announced, on more than one occasion, that each guest would be limited to 2 pieces,

as, "I am full with guests and this is all the bacon I had."

Which, after tasting the bacon, I was able to translate to this:

"This bacon is amazing and there is no way I could ever cook enough to satisfy the guests."

So there!

That's the truth!

Since being home, the Mr. and I have made this several times for our cherubs.

They love it too!

We will make as much as we can and the keep it in the refrigerator and just warm up on those busy school mornings.

With Thanksgiving here, and perhaps you are having extra guests, this would be amazing!

When the inn-keeper gave me this recipe, there were absolutely no measurements.

That's how I'll give it to you . . . just trust your instincts!

After tasting your first piece, if you want to make adjustments next time, do it!

That gives you an excuse to make this again!

Peppered Candied Bacon

1 pound thick sliced bacon (perhaps what is sold from the deli at your favorite store)
brown sugar
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a rimmed cookie sheet, lined with foil, place a cookie cooling rack.

Place the bacon, as close together as possible, on the cookie rack.  The cookie rack keeps the bacon from cooking in the grease.  Also, on the cookie rack, the bacon will cook flat . . . no curling!

Yeah for no curled bacon!

With the bacon on the rack, liberally sprinkle brown sugar on each piece, covering as much as you can.

I'm not sure how many pieces of bacon will be in your pound, depend on how thick it is sliced.  However, you can probably safely assume that you'll use 1/4-1/3 cup of brown sugar.

Also, the amount of brown sugar used is to your preference; the more sugar, the sweeter the bacon.

Repeat this process with the cracked pepper, but you really want to use a less-heavy hand, as the pepper will add spice to the bacon.  Perhaps you'll use 1-2 TBSP of cracked pepper.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until completely done . . .but not burnt!

Remove from rack and serve warm.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

 . . .as if!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beef and Bean Soup

I hate when I thaw out something for dinner and then we don't need it.

That happened to me just the other night!

I thawed out ground beef,

with no idea of what I was going to do with it.

Then the Mr. figured out that he was the only one that would be home for dinner

and told me not to cook anything.

But I already had the meat thawed,

so the rational side of me said,

"Self, why not go ahead and make something that can be used for dinner in a night or two."

I didn't respond to myself,

because there's a point when self-talk becomes strangely . . .


While browning the beef,

I got out all of the ingredients for sloppy joes.

I don't really care for sloppy joes,

but the rest of the family likes them.

But while grabbing the final ingredient,

I decided I didn't want to make that and I would make soup.

After looking through the cabinet,

I grabbed a few cans of things and made this soup.

I had no idea if it would be something we would want to eat . . .

but as it turns out, my made-up soup was great for the cold night!

I like that this is "souper" easy and is great with chips or cornbread.

Beef and Bean Soup

1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 can refried beans (I used fat-free)
1 can rotel
2-3 TBSP taco seasoning*
1/2 can beef broth, if desired
sour cream
grated cheese
chopped onion
corn chips

Brown the ground beef in medium to large size sauce pan and drain off any fat that has cooked out.

Add the refried beans, rotel, and taco seasoning.  **If you don't have taco seasoning, add 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.  Stir to incorporate well.

If you like the thickness of it, heat until ready to serve.

If you prefer a bit thinner soup, add desired amount of beef broth.

Heat thoroughly.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onion, and corn chips.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Walk to Wisdom


When we first arrived in Dallas,

there was a fellow pastor who loaded the Mr. into the car and said,

"Let's go to Bonton."

The Mr. spent the day in this area of far, South Dallas,

learning about a ministry called H.I.S. Bridgebuilders.

Fast-forward nearly 5 years.

At our school, high school students have the week before Spring Break to participate in, "Minimester."

Short synopsis:  it's a week to go on a mission trip.

As a Freshman baseball player, my boy cherub went to Bonton . . .

the place where the Mr. first toured.

When the Baseball boys and two mom chaperons arrived in Bonton, a man named Trog met us there.

Trog impressed my boy cherub.

Trog has his own look,

wears a leather knife holder . . . and knife,

and gardens as apart of his ministry.

In this inner city ministry, Trog cultivates both produce and disciples.

This resonated with my boy cherub,

who feels his own call to full-time ministry, but doesn't believe, at this point it is to work within the structure of a church building.

Through our week in Bonton, and Trog's example, my son was seeing how God's call can defy all "normal" expectations.

We worked with Trog for the entire week;

turning composite,

cleaning chicken coops,

building raised beds,

and seeing first-hand what it means to not only be a minister, but be ministered to.

Because of our time in Bonton, my boy cherub has a unique place in his heart for the area.

My boy cherub has been back to Bonton, not with Trog, but in other capacities.

So why do I write about something that happened nearly a year ago?

Because, as a mom, watching Trog work with our Baseball boys,

and as a fellow believer, listening to Trog speak truth to the boys,

and to the people of the community that would meander around,

I saw Trog's heart.

Trog has recently written a book,

"A Walk to Wisdom-- 31 Days Through Proverbs."

Here's the link:

Go look:

Read his biography.

Follow him on twitter.

Order his book.

Not only will your life be changed,

but so will the lives of others, as the proceeds of the sale of the book are being returned to the community in which Trog ministers.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mom's Easy Apple Crisp

Many years ago, I met a girl from our church and we became great friends.

We shared many things in common, but a real thread that bound us was a love for Southern Living cookbooks!


It's been that long ago when we would pour over the magazines 

and collect the annual cookbooks and share our love of trying a new recipe!

We ate many Sunday lunches at their house.

Two reasons for that:
  1. They lived close to the church . . . and we didn't
  1. They could leave right when church was over . . . and we couldn't
By the time we got to their house on Sunday afternoons, she was able to have all the last minute things done and they were standing around waiting on us.

That's the life of having a pastor over for lunch . . .

you spend a lot of time waiting for them to get there!

Anyway; it's been a very long time since we've seen each other, but I still make a lot of our shared recipes.

This one, however, was not a Southern Living recipe.

I'm not sure where this is from, but the first time we had this, I knew it was a keeper.

It's so easy!

It's great for dessert or for breakfast! 

Try it warmed, over some waffles, or with a scoop of ice cream . . . maybe on top of the waffle!

Mom's Easy Apple Crisp

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp.cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup gluten free flour (or regular all-purpose)
1/4 tsp. salt
6 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the apples, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, and water .

Place in an 8x8 pan, sprayed with Pam.

For the crumb topping, mix the brown sugar, flour and salt together.  Stir in the melted butter until it resembles course crumble.

Sprinkle over the apples.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Serve warm.