Apple Cobbler

An easy recipe that uses a can of your favorite biscuits or roll dough.

Apple Cobbler

I used

6 apples..granny Smith, MacIntosh, Gala

½ C brown sugar

2 T cornstarch

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp vanilla

dash salt

1 C pecan and walnut halves

butter as needed

Can of Pillsbury crescent rolls

I added an extra ¼ C white sugar as my wife likes it sweet

I peeled, cored, pared, or coarsely chopped the apples, placing them in a large bowl, to which I added the other ingredients, except the rolls.

I stirred, tossed ingredients together, and put them in colander over the same bowl to save the juice.

I put the collected juice after an hour into a saucepan, and brought slowly to simmer for 20 minutes, or desired thickness Watch for boil over. Allow to cool completely. This will be a caramel like addition to the cobbler.

I added maybe a tablespoon of whipping cream to the caramel mixture, and 2 T unsalted butter, and cooked them in until thickened. Watch it, as it can burn. The caramel will get much thicker as it cools.

I used a 9×13 deep baking dish, and placed in it the apples. I had sprayed the dish earlier.

I put the pecans and walnuts on top of the apples.

I cut most of the rolls into quarters, and tossed them with melted butter, rolled them in white sugar, and placed them on top of the apples and nuts.

I drizzled the caramel mixture on top, and put in an oven preheated to 350°.

Since this recipe is a hybrid. I covered the dish with foil so to get the apples cooking without over browning the rolls.

I removed the foil after 30 minutes, as the apples were bubbling, and the rolls were not browned.

I added ten minutes to bake time.

That was enough.

The rolls are nice and brown, and it smells great.

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Alfredo Sauce

Admittedly, I did not appreciate Alfredo Sauce until I was in my fifties, after receiving a book The Joy Of Cooking

I urge you to to get this book. There are many editions, but you will find nearly every type of recipe out there, in there.

I serve Alfredo Sauce with fettucini.

For Fettucini Alfredo, you will need equal amounts of

fresh grated Parmesian cheese


heavy cream; also known as whipping cream

How much you make will depend on how big a batch of fettucini you are making.

For this example, let’s assume you are making a pound of noodles.

We will use

1/2 C butter (1 stick) not margarine

1/2 C grated Parmesian cheese (this is the one in the triangle package; not the can of pre grated cheese)

1/2 C cream

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt your butter.

You should be boiling your noodles as well. The timing must be right as you want to add your noodles to your Alfredo Sauce as soon as the noodles are done.

Add your cream, and stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble slightly.

Add most of your Parmesian now, saving about 2 T back.

Stir in the cheese, again until it bubbles slightly.

Your noodles are just done. Drain them, but do not rinse. Pour about 1/4 C of  sauce mixture in bottom of serving bowl. Place noodles in bowl, and add rest of Alfredo Sauce mixture, with 1T grated Parmesian. Stir with fork, and serve immediately.

The Parmesian will not melt. We like it that way.

I serve this with Chicken Parmesian.

The Alfredo Sauce with fettucini does not re heat well, so it’s best to use it all in the first serving.

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Chicken Parmesian

This recipe is also from The Joy Of Cooking

You will need

boneless skinless chicken breasts

your favorite canned spaghetti sauce (unless you make your own) need about 1 C



1/4 C grated Parmesian cheese; plus extra for topping

sliced or grated mozzarella cheese

bread crumbs

Italian spices; oregano, basil

olive oil for frying

I put my chicken breasts in a ziploc bag and flatten them with a rolling pin. A large breast will fill the bag. It’s OK if there are shreds on the edges.

Beat your egg(s) with 1-2 tsp water

Your dry batter mix will consist of grated Parmesian cheese, bread crumbs (avoid seasoned Panko…too much spice…plain are fine), a pinch of basil and/or oregano, salt and pepper.

Dip your breasts into flour, then into egg wash, then your dry crumbs,  making sure you get all of the breast coated. Do this for all breasts.

Heat 1/2″ olive oil in large skillet to 350°, or until the oil is “shimmery” and aromatic. If your oil is not hot enough, your batter will soak up the oil, rather than be fried by it.

About 2 1/2 – 3  minutes on each side will do.

In a glass oven pan, spoon a thin layer of spaghetti sauce into bottom that has been sprayed with cooking spray…don’t over do the spaghetti sauce.

Place a health spoonful of sauce into bottom of pan, and place breasts in pan. Sprinkle tops with Parmesian cheese, spoon a little sauce on each, sprinkle some mozzarella on each breast or a piece of a slice.

Repeat for all breasts. It’s OK to overlap them. Again, do not over do the sauce. Top all with another sprinkle of Parmesian cheese.

Put in preheated oven at 325, for about twenty minutes, covered until sauce is bubbly and mozzarella is melted nicely.

Serve with Fettuccine Alfredo.

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Wellness Tonic

This tonic, as I call it, is a general weight loss supplement as well as keeping one’s body healthy.

This stuff will keep you healthy if you take it daily. If your on a weight loss plan, it’s a great supplement.

Apple Cider Vinegar has an abundance of health benefits that I will not enumerate here.

I don’t recall where I found it, but it is not my recipe.

You may want to wear gloves during the preparation, especially when handling hot peppers, because it is difficult to get the tingling off your hands! Be careful, its smell is very strong, and it may stimulate the sinuses instantly.


24 oz /700 ml apple cider vinegar; Bragg’s is one brand

  • ¼ cup finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 fresh peppers, the hottest you can find (be careful with the cleaning – wear gloves!!!) I used 2 large serrano peppers. Do not de seed them. You want it hot.
  • ¼ cup grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp grated horseradish
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder or 2 pieces of turmeric root, grated
  • 1 T ground cumin


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the vinegar.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a Mason jar.
  3. Pour in some apple cider vinegar and fill it to the top. It is best if 2/3 of the jar consist of dry ingredients, and fill in the rest with vinegar.
  4. Close well and shake.
  5. Keep the jar in a cool and dry place for 2 weeks. Shake well several times a day.
  6. After 14 days, squeeze well and strain the liquid through a plastic strainer.  Squeeze well so the whole juice comes out. I used a tea towel that I had to throw away. The turmeric stains easily.
  7. Use the rest of the dry mixture when cooking

I urge you to pour 1 T of this into a half liter bottle of water, and sip throughout the day. When you get used to it, increase to 2 T in your water bottle. Shake before drinking, and use a straw. A nice amount at bedtime will aid in weight loss.

The horseradish root and turmeric root were hard to find, and a tad expensive since I only needed a little of each.

This made quite a bit as it filled three bottles.

It will settle. Be prepared to shake when pouring or using.

If your looking for some great articles on weight loss, try here

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Italian Dressing Chicken

This is a recipe that was popular back in the eighties.

My buddy calls it “blackened fowl”.

It is best cooked with bone-in, skin on, chicken breasts.

I used five big ones…leave intact.

Lemon pepper in your freezer zip lock bag; a couple table spoons

Add your chicken breasts, and sprinkle a little more lemon pepper on the breasts while in the bag…don’t over do the lemon pepper.

Add your Italian dressing to the bag (I use zesty Italian).

Bleed out the air and squish it around some to get the breasts coated.

Marinate for at last six hours in fridge before putting on grill, turning frequently.

I drain the breasts in a colander, and reserve the drippings to baste while cooking.

Now consider this:

This is oil. It will burn like an old lumber yard if it catches fire. Let your fire burn past the peak before placing these on your grill. It will take longer than burgers, because they are thick.

The skin will burn…don’t worry. It will be delicious.

Baste and turn often. Cover your grill if they catch fire (they will), but no too long so as to put out the fire.

If you think they’re ready, cut into thickest part of breast and check for doneness. Don’t over cook or they will dry out.

This chicken is excellent off the grill, and a great addition to a salad.

It can be eaten cold too.

One can also marinate the bags, and freeze one for another time.

It’s best to eat the chicken you cook. The cooked breasts do not freeze well…I don’t know why.

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Meat Loaf

The limitations of meat loaf possibilities are limited only by imagination

Basic Recipe

2-3 lbs of ground meat..all beef, chuck, or turkey, or pork or any combo thereof.


Usually, a filler is required. This can be a cup of cooked rice, oatmeal, crushed soda crackers, crumbled corn bread, bread crumbs…something to help soak up the  moisture generated by all the meat.

2-3 egg help hold that solid chunk of meat together.

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

After that, use whatcha got

finely chopped onion…too big of piece and it will fall apart

finely chopped green pepper

oregano, basil, or what have you in the spice area.

For Italian style, or  Mexican style, use appropriate spices…don’t over do…watch the garlic as it can take over.

I have placed a chunk of mozzarella in the middle with pepperoni slices…

You can mix in bbq sauce with your meat…maybe 1/4-1/2 C no  more, or it will fall apart.

I always top with ketchup

Bake at least 75-90 minutes at 350°. Sometimes, I drain off the fat at that time, and put back in oven to finish crisping the outside.

Don’t over bake. After 90  minutes, watch closely, as it can get over cooked quickly without the fat.

I have a variety of loaf pans; cast iron, aluminum, Pyrex…various sizes to accommodate varying degrees of loaf size.

Three pounds of meat will require the larger pan, or two smaller ones.

If using smaller pans, decrease baking time by at least 15 minutes.

Serve with potatoes, gravy, and a canned veggie.

Leftovers may be sliced thin for meat loaf sammiches…

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Buttermilk Pie

Don’t let the buttermilk dissuade you from this southern treat.

It’s very sweet, and requires no crust.

Buttermilk Pie

1 cup buttermilk


  1. Mix well and pour into ungreased pyrex pie plate.
  2. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean

The pie will make a very light brown edge that will serve as a crust.


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Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak

Who among us does not like a plate sized chicken fried steak, covered with gravy and smashed taters on the side?

From Ree Drummond


Chicken Fried Steak:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 pounds cube steak (tenderized round steak that’s been extra tenderized)

Kosher salt

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter


1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 to 4 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Mashed potatoes, for serving



  1. For the steak: Begin with setting up an assembly line of dishes. Mix the milk with the eggs in one; the flour mixed with the seasoned salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, paprika and cayenne in another; and the meat in a third. Then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
  2. Work with one piece of meat at a time. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and black pepper, then place it in the flour mixture. Turn to coat. Place the meat into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Finally, place it back in the flour and turn to coat (dry mixture/wet mixture/dry mixture). Place the breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with the remaining meat.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. When the butter sizzles immediately, you know it’s ready. (It should not brown right away, if it does, the fire is too hot.) Cook the meat, 3 pieces at a time, until the edges start to look golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate and keep them warm by covering lightly with another plate or a sheet of foil. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.
  4. After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the grease back to the skillet and allow it to heat up.
  5. For the gravy: When the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little more grease if it becomes too pasty/clumpy. Keep cooking until the roux reaches a deep golden brown color.
  6. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.
  7. Serve the meat next to a big side of mashed potatoes. Pour gravy over the whole shebang!

Chicken Fried Chicken

Yep, you read correctly.

Use boneless skinless chicken breasts.

I put one in a gallon ziploc bag and pound it flat with a rolling pin

Follow the recipe

I also have been known to add 1/2C Panko bread crumbs to flour mixture.

One can also cut the flattened breasts into strips

I have found that soaking the chicken strips in buttermilk for several hours before dipping, adds an enhanced flavor. Yeah, it’s more work, and one has to let the buttermilk dry before beginning the dipping process. I use a wire rack for this.


Your local meat market will cut your tenderized cube steaks to the size you like. I believe the cut is from bottom round.

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Jalepeno Poppers

I don’t know why they call them poppers, but then I don’t understand guys wear shorts around their ankles.

You will need large, whole, fresh jalepenos

room temp thick sliced bacon; plan on one slice per jalepeno

cream cheese; I used the regular brick…softened helps spreading


Cut the stems off your jalepenos, then carefully cut them vertically in half. Use gloves; if not, be very careful about touching around your eyes for a while…and other places.

Scrape out all the seeds and the white pith; this is where the heat comes from

Fill the halves with cream cheese; try to keep the halves together

Put halves together, and wrap bacon around using two toothpick(s) to hold bacon around. Consider using a third to close the open end…I didn’t except the last one I wrapped from the small end then finished by pushing one through the bacon and the end of the pepper.

I put them on the grill. Turn frequently.  Remove when bacon is done.

You can pan fry them as well. I have not tried other methods; broiling or oven.

I use brick cream cheese because the spreadable cream cheese can get very runny when placed over a hot fire.

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Mexican breakfast foods are a joy unbounded when properly prepared.

One of my personal favorites is migas.

Basically migas is


crushed tortilla chips


Now, I add a chunk of chorizo to mine; about a thumb’s length. I cook it with 10-12 thin jalepeno slices in some butter. When the chorizo is done, I add three whole eggs, stir it around, then add maybe 1/4 C crushed tortilla chips, and some grated cheddar cheese if available. Cook until eggs are done and serve immediately.

I had some already made chili con queso, and used a large spoonful of that.

The local restaurant serves this dish with flour tortillas, and refried beans…excellent. They do not add chorizo.

Chorizo is a spicy sausage…not necessarily hot, but has lots of different spices in it. It usually comes in sausages the size of bratwursts. Just cut off what you need, and freeze the rest. Look for it in the bacon/pork sausage area of your local grocer.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

One of life’s little pleasures are stuffed bell peppers. Keto diet friendly.

The last batch I made I used

4 bell peppers; assorted colors

1 lb ground beef; your choice of chuck, beef, sirloin

1 medium onion

1 clove garlic, or to taste

grated cheese; cheddar, colby-jack, jack or whatever you like

taco seasoning

Coarsely chop onion while heating skillet. Add some oil or butter, and cook onions until barely translucent, then add beef. I added about half package of taco seasoning to beef. Then add garlic and cook until browned well. Drain.

Cut tops off peppers, and scrape seeds and pith (white stuff on sides). You may have to slice a teeny bit from bottom to help them stand up in your baking pan. I use an 8×8 Pyrex dish sprayed with Pam.

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Fill your peppers with the ground beef mixture, and top with lots of cheese. You can also put cheese in your pepper and put beef on top.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

They reheat well. Can also top with sour cream after removing from oven.

In the past, I have mixed in cooked rice with beef and add to peppers. It goes further, but is not on the Keto diet.

You could go with an Italian twist and sub the taco seasoning for 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano, and pinch of cayenne with mozzarella and Parmesian cheese. Even a few pepperonis would add some extra flavor.

I have eaten these at a Mexican food restaurant, and they used poblano peppers. It was very good. I have not attempted to use the poblanos. They call them chile rellenos.

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Shrimp HQ

I have two shrimp recipes I am posting here. Both are from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. cookbook.

Alabama Style shrimp bake:

1 C melted butter

3/4C lemon juice

3/4 C Worcestershire sauce

1 T salt

1 T coarsely ground pepper

1 t dried rosemary

1/8 t ground red pepper

1 T hot sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 lbs large or jumbo shrimp

2 lemons, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Combine first 9 ingredient in a small bowl, set aside.

Rinse shrimp and drain well. Layer shrimp, lemon slices, and onion slices in an ungreased baking dish. Pour butter mixture over shrimp.

Bake, uncovered at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Baste occasionally with pan juices.


Bubba’s Beer Battered Fried Shrimp

1 lb large fresh shrimp

1/4 C AP flour

1/4 C cornstarch

1/8 t salt

1/4 C beer

2 T butter melted

1 egg yolk

oil for frying…I use peanut oil.

Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact; devein. Combine flour, cornstarch and salt. Add beer, butter, and egg yolk. Stir until smooth.

Pour oil to depth of 2 inches in Dutch oven. Heat to 375°. Dip shrimp into batter; fry a few at a time until golden. Drain on rack or paper towels.


I have had trouble getting the batter to stick to the shrimp.  It’s a mess, and the end product is a blob of fried batter with shrimp inside…it’s still delicious.

Use a darker beer. It will impart more flavor than a domestic light beer.

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Crescent Roll Turnovers

I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. No I do not have the link.

I have done this with peaches, but one could probably use apples as well, although the apples may not get softened enough. Other fruit would work too; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. Still I recommend freezing them first.

Get yourself some fresh peaches; as big as you can find. You will need 8 slices.

A can of crescent roll dough



Peel your peach, and cut 8 large slices from it.

Flash freeze them. OK, lay them on a cookie sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and freeze them for several hours or  until needed.

Why? you may ask.

Have you ever gotten some really nice peaches,  bought a bunch of them, sliced them up and jammed them into a ziploc bag, only to have a peach iceball when you need them?

When you freeze them individually. they won’t stick together in a ziploc for longer term freezer storage.

Lay out your dough pieces on a cookie sheet

Take a peach slice, and roll it in cinnamon sugar, then roll it up in a piece of dough.

Repeat with all eight pieces of dough, and you may sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of your turnovers if you like.

Bake according to directions on dough container.

Best when served hot.


If you purchase a large quantity of peaches when they are abundant in season, peeling them can be a real pain

Blanch them.

Bring a large pot of water to boiling, like you boil spaghetti.

Have a large bowl of ice water standing by.

Drop 2 or 3 peaches in  your boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with tongs and place in ice water.

Repeat for all peaches.

The peel will come off very easily after this.

Cling peaches cling like crazy to the pit, and can be difficult to section off. Still very doable, but more work. Cling peaches are more available, I think. Your grocery store or produce persons should know if which type they are selling.

Freestone peaches are easier to split. Sometimes we have to buy what is available.

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X’s Smashed Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a big pile of mashed potatoes with a well big enough to hold a large quantity of gravy? or butter? or sour cream? or grated cheese? or all of these?

For my smashed potatoes, I use either reds or Russets. How many you need depends on how many folks you are serving. Roughly figure 1 1/2 taters per person.

8 potatoes

1/2 C melted butter

1/2 C room temp half and half;;;not milk…not whipping cream

Cut out the eyes and peel them, placing in a large pot of water. Cut them into chunks; maybe quarters? You can leave them in pot for hours at the ready.

I start my timer when the taters are at full boil for about fifteen minutes. You may just cut off heat and let them sit until you are ready. The potatoes should be the last thing you serve as you want them hot.

Drain well. You man want to save some of the potato water for your gravy; maybe a cup or so.

I have been known to use an electric mixer for the next step, but feel free to use a potato masher if  you like.

I heat melted butter in m/w with half and half to temper it a little. Don’t be chintzy with the liquids.

Mash them to desired consistency, adding melted butter and room temperature half and half to make them creamy. The general consensus around here is slightly chunky.

Serve immediately.

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Homemade Gravy

I spent many years experimenting with making gravy with many failures. These were the days before the internet…school of hard knocks if you will.


1/4 C fat from your juices or butter or oil or combination. I prefer butter; not margarine. It is easier to measure, and imparts better flavor than oil…IMO

1/4 flour

juices from turkey or chicken broth

water from boiled potatoes

little bit half and half

If you can separate the juices from bird; ie, fat from juices, by all means use the fat; but be sure to measure it. Avoid getting any liquid into your fat.

In saucepan, heat your oil or fat until hot. Add your flour and cook over medium heat until flour starts to brown, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add 2 C broth or juices. Return to medium heat, and stir until it boils and  thickens. You can add a little half and half to lighten if you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Basically, 1/4 C oil and flour with 2 C broth will yield about 2 1/2 C gravy. I always make double for holidays.

For a holiday turkey, I make a double batch of gravy for pouring over stuffing and turkey.

Anyone who doesn’t like gravy on smashed taters is a commie, and should be dealt with as such.

Remember equal amounts of fat and flour x 8 is your yield

1/2 C flour and fat, yields 4 cups gravy

mix your broth, potato water for your liquids to your desire…add only a couple of tablespoons of half and half if desired; it is not required.

If you are making gravy for beef, you may use beef broth for your liquid. I avoid the Banquet stuff as it really doesn’t add anything, and overdoing it will ruin your gravy.

There is no shame from using canned chicken broth. They sell that stuff now in cartons of varied sizes. Avoid using bouillon cubes as your broth. too salty.

If you are using juices from a roasted turkey, chicken, or pot roast, be sure to skim as much fat as you can from the juices. Pot roast juice gravy is some of the most flavorful ever.

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Cast Iron Skillet Apple Pie

I have not tried this yet, but here you go. Sure looks good, but a lot work.
Here is the link to the recipe

Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Pie
Apple pie baked in a cast iron skillet is a real stunner. This beauty, with its flaky, tender crust, also works in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour + chilling Bake: 65 min. + cooling YIELD: 10 servings.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups cold lard
6 to 8 tablespoons cold 2% milk
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
9 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 9 medium)
1 tablespoon bourbon, optional
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Dash salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon 2% milk
2 teaspoons coarse sugar
• 1. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt; cut in lard until crumbly. Gradually add milk, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
• 2. For filling, in a large bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Add apples and toss to coat.
Cover; let stand 1 hour to allow apples to release juices, stirring occasionally.
• 3. Drain apples, reserving syrup. Place syrup and, if desired, bourbon in a small saucepan; bring
to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and turns a medium amber color. Remove from heat; cool completely.
• 4. Preheat oven to 400°. Toss drained apples with flour and salt. On a lightly floured surface,
roll one half of dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 10-in. cast-iron or other deep oven proof skillet. Trim pastry even with rim. Add apple mixture. Pour cooled syrup over top;
dot with butter.
• 5. Roll remaining dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edge.
Cut slits in top. Brush milk over pastry; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place on a foil-lined baking
sheet. Bake 20 minutes.
• 6. Reduce oven setting to 350°. Bake 45-55 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and
filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.


My past experience with making pie crust, leaves a whole lot to be desired. I must admit after trying this recipe, I think I have found a recipe that works for  my shortcomings. Lard is the key. You may ask “X, how does one measure 1-1/4 C cold lard?”

Good question. I will tell you. Remember out ol’ friend Archimedes? ‘Course you do. I used a Pyrex 1 qt measuring pitcher with 2 C plain water…measured exactly. Cut off a large chunk of lard from your brick and place it in the water. The displacement will tell you how much lard is floating in the water. Carefully cut off chunks until you have reached the 3-1/4 C mark, and you’re done measuring! Be sure your water is cold. The lard will not absorb water. You can pat it dry with a paper towel if necessary.

I did not take a picture because the pie was ugly. Still, the crust structure was very forgiving (unlike other recipes I have tried) and I pieced together patches to make it work. Be sure your lard rests at room temp for a while. It was too cold in my house when I made this, so it was a bit brittle. Don’t overdo the milk.

The juices collected in my batch were over a pint. Beware of heating it in too small a pot as mine boiled over when I stepped away from the stove for less than a minute. Still salvageable, I put it in a larger saucepan, and finished it. When it cools, it is very much like thin caramel. Don’t skimp on this step.

Be sure you have at least 9 C of apples. Don’t be cheap. I used a combo of Granny Smith, MacIntosh, and Cortland apples. I have a nice 8 C plastic Tupperware pitcher that I heaped with the pared apples, and the pie fell substantially. I don’t think this can be avoided.

I baked it on a half sheet pan, lined with HD aluminum foil for right at the suggested baking times. I did not brush milk on the top of the crust. It did not require any foil around the crust edge to prevent over browning…nice, that was a first.

The pie was delicious.


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Hash Browns

Ever tried to  make  your own hash browns from scratch? Only to have them severely browned on both sides, and raw in the middle? Me too. Frustrating.

Well, thanks to a buddy of mine, Tony TSquare, he gave me a tip on the secret.

Bake your potatoes first as  you normally do. Let them cool completely.

For breakfast, heat up your fry pan for at least 5 minutes, and let it get really hot. I set my burner on 6.

Meanwhile, grate your potatoes like you would cheese. I prefer red potatoes with eyes cut out and peel on. Take your pile of grated taters and make a thick pancake from them. Pat it down. Firm the edges. It wants to fall apart, but don’t let it. Add salt at this time; no pepper as pepper will burn.

When your pan is hot enough, throw 2-3 tablespoons of butter in your pan, and gather your tater patty with a wide spatula, and gently place it into the puddle of your melted butter.

Walk away for 5 minutes. It will sizzle and pop, and that’s OK. You want it crispy so it holds together when you turn it.

Before turning, put 5-6 blobs of butter on top, then gently flip it. Walk away. Give it 5 minutes minimum.

Remove it from pan. If you are successful, your hash browns are crispy on both sides, and hot and done inside.

Pepper now, and ketchup if desired. You may keep them warm in an oven if you are making multiple servings.

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This recipe from Betty Crocker. I have made it many times, and it is  no fail, provided one follows instructions.

2 8oz packages cream cheese plus 3 ounces, softened to room temp.

1 C sugar

1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs; or vanilla wafer, or shortbread

3 T butter, melted

2 T sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp lemon zest

3 eggs

My technique

Preheat oven to 350°.

First, make the crust. Crush your graham crackers, shortbread cookies, or vanilla wafers, and put in a large bowl. Add the 2 T sugar and blend well. Add melted butter, and blend with a fork or pastry blender. Evenly press crumb mixture into springform pan. Place in preheated oven, immediately reduce heat to 325°, bake for 10 minutes. Removed and cool completely on wire rack.

Using a stand mixer, I put in the softened cream cheese, and beat it on 2 for several minutes until it is creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the sugar slowly allowing it to blend with the cream cheese.

Add the vanilla.

Add the eggs, one at a time giving them a chance to fully incorporate before adding next one.

Add the lemon zest……..Side note: I used fresh lemon juice instead of lemon zest. One could use a combo. My result was barely noticeable lemon flavor. Some say the lemon zest (2 tsp) is too much.

Pour into cooled crust, and bake at 300° for 1 hour. Mine was done in 53 minutes as my springform pan is dark and non stick. Edges will brown slightly and time to come out. Center will jiggle slightly. I turn off heat, and open oven door to reduce cracking for 10 minutes…it will likely still crack; mine does.

Let cool and top with your favorite or just plain. I like canned cherry pie filling.

Note: this recipe is for a 9 inch springform pan. I used a 10 inch. The filling is a bit thinner, but still delicious.

King Arthur Flour Cheesecake

2 8 oz bricks of cream cheese, softened to room temp

2 eggs also room temp

1 1/2 C crushed graham crackers, or shortbread cookies, or vanilla wafers

1/3 C butter, melted

1/4 C powdered sugar

2/3 C granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

Coarsely crush the crumbs, and put in large bowl. Add powdered sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix using a pastry blender or fork.

Press into 9″ pie plate. I used a 9″ springform pan, ungreased.

I cut cream cheese into smaller chunks into mixing bowl, and put in granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs. I used a hand mixer and mixed until  smooth.

Pour and spread  in your pan evenly, and bake in preheated 350° for 28-30 minutes.

I placed mine on a sheet cake pan to avoid scorching.

When I removed it to wire rack to cool, I placed the hot sheet pan on top to aid in finishing the baking.

Cool to room temp, and refrigerate a couple hours before eating.

My favorite topping is cherry pie filling, but by all means top with whatever you like, if you top at all.

If using a springform pan, run a knife around the edge before releasing the springform outside.

I urge you to use the baking sheet. My crust leaked butter into the sheet pan. Without it, you will have the smell of burned butter.

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Oklahoma Beans

When I was a kid growing up in Central Oklahoma in the sixties, my folks sent my brothers and I to ‘friends’ to watch us during the day while my mom attended college getting her master’s. We bounced around some from place to place, and one summer we were left with a family of white trash during the day.

I don’t know how we my folks knew them, or what their daddy did for a living, but for lunch every, we had beans and corn bread. I can still smell how the aroma of those beans filled the house as the noon hour approached…and now, you can too.

Overnight, soak 1 lb dry pinto beans with a tablespoon of salt; enough water to cover them; about an inch or so. The more beans, the more water. They will still soak up water as they cook, so keep an eye on the water level.

After 12 hours, drain and rinse well, and place in crock pot with again, enough water to just cover them.

I use a half pound of bacon, thick or thin your choice, sliced into half inch wide pieces. Cook them in a skillet  over medium heat until a lot of fat is rendered, and the bacon is just starting to brown and add it to the beans. Stir in gently.

Start timing after your beans begin to simmer, and simmer for four hours. Avoid stirring after this as it can break up your beans and cause them to split.

If you have to add water to boiling beans, be sure your additional water is boiling too, or it will cause beans to split, and take a seemingly endless period of time before returning to boil.

Salt your beans as you serve them, not while cooking.

I often place a whole carrot in the beans. Supposedly, it will reduce the gas effects. Regardless, it adds flavor.

This is a small recipe I use for my 3 qt crock pot. If I use my 6 quart, I use 1 1/2 lbs dry beans. A large pot on stove works well too.

I have found at the grocery store in the bacon section a product called “Bacon Ends and Pieces”. It is 3-4 lbs of bacon odds and ends. It’s a lot cheaper than 3-4 lbs of bacon, and just as good. I divided the whole box up into sandwich bags of 1/2 lb each, and placed all in a gallon zip bag and froze them. A single batch of beans, one bag…double batch two bags, etc.

Old fashioned corn bread is best with this.

1 c corn meal

1 C flour

1 C milk

2 T sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 salt

1/4 shortening

1 egg

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix dry ingredients first, then add others. Blend slowly, then mix briskly for 1 minute. Pour into greased cast iron skillet or 8×8 glass pan for 22 minutes.


It’s always a good idea to rinse your beans before soaking as they may, and probably will, contain dirt or gravel. Be especially wary if you buy your beans in bulk from the “big barrel” at the store. This would require painstakingly manually sorting the beans on your kitchen counter to rid the gravel. Believe me, if you bite into a hunk of gravel, it will not be pleasant.

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Holday Ale

AHS Holiday Ale (21A) – Mini Mash
# 05682
If using pitchable liquid yeast, let the yeast warm up to 72 – 78 degrees F. The longer the yeast sets at this
temperature range, up to 24 hours, the *5682*
faster the beer will start fermenting.
Make sure everything is clean to the eye. Then clean and sanitize using sanitizers like One-Step, Iodophor, or
Cleanitizer. If required by the manufacturer, rinse off the sanitizing solution thoroughly. In a 20 quart or larger
stainless stockpot, bring 2 gallons of water to 160°F and turn off heat.
1 1⁄2 lb Pale Ale Malt
Put the crushed grains in the grain bag:
8 oz White Wheat
1 lb Crystal 40L Malt
4 oz Chocolate Malt
Soak the grains in the hot water and maintain approx. 155°F for 45 minutes. After soaking the grains, dunk the
grain bag in and out of the water and then completely lift the grain bag out. Place a strainer over the stockpot and
then put the grain bag into the strainer. Pour 170°F water evenly over the grain bag using approx. 1 quart of water
per 2 lb. of grain. Allow the bag to drip (without squeezing) until nearly all of the water has dripped out, then
discard the grains, add 1 gallon of water and return to heat until boiling.
Turn off the heat once again and move the stockpot to a cool burner.
Add the malt extract and any additional sugars listed below:
5 lb Extra Pale Extract
Stir constantly to dissolve the malt extract. Return heat to the mixture once dissolved, stirring occasionally. The
mixture now contains a lot of sugar and can burn if not stirred. Heat the mixture to boiling. When the mixture reaches
boiling, it can rise very rapidly and boil over. At this time, reduce heat to control the rising foam. Once the boil is under
control, adjust the heat to a good rolling boil without boiling over.
Add the
hops and set your timer for:
4 HBU Pack
*Add the
60 Minutes
3 HBU Pack
hops for the last: 15 Minutes
Our Special Holiday Spice Pack
Add the
hops for the last:
5 Minutes
1 oz Saaz
Once the boil time has elapsed since the bittering hops were added, remove the wort from the heat and cool down quickly
to 80oF. A sink full of water with ice in it works well. You may need to change the water a couple of times because it will
warm up quickly. Ideally the wort should be cooled to 80oF within 15-20 minutes. You may want to use a wort chiller to
speed up the process. Once the wort has cooled to 80oF, pour this mixture into the sanitized primary fermenter and add
cool water to make 5 1⁄4 gallons. Vigorously stir the wort to make sure the sugars are well mixed with the added water.
Check the specific gravity of the wort using a hydrometer. Follow the instructions included with the hydrometer. The
hydrometer readings will determine the alcohol content of the beer and allow you to troubleshoot if there is a problem.
The original specific gravity should be approximately: 1.052Recommended Yeast:
White Labs
California Ale 001
Dry Yeast
American Ale 1056
SafAle US-05
Pitchable Liquid Yeast:
Let the yeast warm up to 72 – 78 degrees
F. The longer the yeast sets at this temperature
up to 24 hours, the faster the beer will start fermenting. Shake the yeast container well and pour into the wort and
stir/aerate well.
Put the lid on the fermenter with the airlock installed (fill airlock 1/3 with water). After 12-36 hours this mixture will begin
to churn and produce CO2. This is the yeast vigorously eating the sugar in the wort, expelling unwanted proteins and
fermenting the mixture into alcohol. If you do not see any activity after 24 hours, then remove the lid and vigorously stir
the wort with a sanitized spoon. If after another 24 hours you do not see any fermentation, please call us. After 5-7 days
since the wort started fermenting, the mixture will calm down and the excess proteins will settle at the bottom of the
primary fermenter. At this time, check the specific gravity to make sure it is within 3-4 points of the FG and then carefully
move the fermenter full of beer to a counter top. Be careful not to disturb the sediment on the bottom.
If the recipe calls for dry hopping, add these hops to the sanitized secondary fermenter at this point:
You can move the primary fermenter several hours before you intend to transfer, so the sediment has a chance to resettle
to the bottom of the primary fermenter. Carefully siphon the beer into the sanitized secondary fermenter. Move the airlock
from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter. Make sure the airlock has enough water. Let the beer clarify in the
secondary for 5-7 days. If the beer has not cleared in 7 days, you can add Claro K.C. finings for beer.
Check the specific gravity of the beer using the hydrometer.
The final specific gravity should be approximately: 1.014
The original gravity minus the final gravity multiplied by 131 will give you the alcohol content of your beer.
Bottling the Beer:
Make sure everything is clean to the eye and sanitize. Carefully move the secondary fermenter full of beer to a counter top.
Be careful not to disturb the sediment on the bottom. You can move the carboy several hours before you intend to bottle,
so the sediment has a chance to resettle to the bottom of the fermenter. Next you need to put 2 cups of water into a
saucepan and bring to a boil. Then add the priming sugar and boil for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool to
Pour the cooled sugar water into the plastic bucket (primary fermenter), and then transfer the beer from the secondary
fermenter into the bucket. Siphon the beer into the bucket trying very hard not to disturb the sediment on the bottom of
the fermenter. This will mix the sugar water and beer thoroughly. The yeast in the beer will ferment the priming sugar
and carbonate the bottled beer.
Flavoring to add before bottling
No Flavoring
Once the beer is in the bucket, place the bucket on the counter top. Attach the bottle filler to the end of the tubing.
Siphon the beer and use the filler to put beer in the bottles. Fill the bottles to the top. When you remove the filler, the
level of beer will be appropriate for capping. Proceed to cap the bottles and store in a dark place at room temperature.
Chill the beer when you are ready to drink it.
This handcrafted beer will taste best after
3 weeks
or more of storage.


This recipe will be heavily  modified before I actually brew it. I will not use the vanilla powder, and will instead flavor it with orange peel, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves. Amounts are TBD and will publish when brewed.

This recipe is horseshit. Some of the ingredients listed here are not in the kit.

Technically, this recipe kit is called Winter Solstice ale. I’m sticking with Holiday Ale.


1.5 lbs 40L crystal malt

1 lb 4 oz two row malt

1 lb English crystal malt

1 oz Cascade leaf hops 7.3% AAU

1 Wyeast California Lager 2112 from a starter

orange peel; sour and sweet

whole cloves 6

cinnamon stick 2 in boil, 3 inches each

yeast fuel (can’t hurt)

8 lbs extra pale malt extract syrup

1 lb amber DME

1 lb alcohol boost (probably rice solids)

I heated two gallons water to 160 degrees, and added the grains in two bags, and steeped at 155° for 40 minutes.

I sparged that with 3/4  gallon of 170° water, then brought to 185°.

At this time, I added the malts and alcohol boost and stirred until dissolved. The liquid malts dissolve much easier than that DME, and I had no problem with foamy boilover…FYI.

I added one 3 inch cinnamon stick, 6 whole cloves, and a T of bitter orange peel at the beginning. I also took apart the yeast fuel capsule, and added it manually. I have seen those things lingering even after the brew was finished. One an also add some bread yeast. The boil will kill it, and the yeast are little cannibals; they will eat their own dead…it’s a little disturbing.

No other additions necessary until 45 minutes in when the Cascade hops are added.

Side note while I’m waiting…one of the jugs of malt syrup had mold on it. I probably could have left it, but I had so many things wrong already, I didn’t want to chance it, so I scraped it off with a spoon; along with a large glob of malt syrup.

At 45 minutes, I added the hops.

At the end of the boil, I placed the brewpot into my waiting washtub with ice water, and added two gallon zip bags of ice to the pot, and covered, stirring occasionally.

33 minutes after removing wort from stove, it was in the carboy, topped off to five gallons. Then the aeration for 10 minutes. I use a clothespin to hold the aerator tube off the bottom, and while placing said clothespin onto tube, I DROPPED THE CLOTHESPIN INTO THE WORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, heh heh, I managed to dig it out with another stiff tube like a scissor grab on it. Every once in a while, there is an unforeseen event that makes our brew unforgettable.

I shall dub this beer Holiday Clothespin Ale.

I can only hope that I can get the ferment started in record time so as to kill off any creepy crawlies that may have been on the clothespin.

The OG is a respectable 1.076. Not bad for a Holiday Ale. They should be strong, and not too hoppy or sweet, IMO. That would yield an ABV of 10%.

Our target gravity will be around 1.019.


The liquid extract took a lot less time to dissolve, than 8 lbs of DME. This is considerable. Also, I had absolutely no problem with a threatened boilover with this patch. I attribute it to the liquid extract. Note to beginning brewers: 8 lbs of DME versus 8 lbs of liquid malt extract will give you a higher alcohol content, as the liquid already contains water, hence slightly diluting your malt.

This batch cool faster than any other brew I have done in recent years. The leap hops allowed a much faster pouring cooled wort into the fermenter.

For the starter, this batch I used 2 1/4 C water, and 3/4 C malt. It was definitely foamy when I pitched it.

Note to Austin Homebrew if anyone cares:

We, as consumers shop where we want. Part of homebrewing is trusting our suppliers. It takes time to build a trusting relationship. You have ruined it for me. You sold me old yeast, and moldy extract. You have a problem with your quality control. I suggest you act on it.


I racked the beer today to a 5 gallon carboy. The gravity is 1.020

It’s a little high, but should finish fermenting the secondary, if I let it sit a couple weeks. I added a couple ounces of sweet orange peel and a stick of cinnamon, trying to attain more of a ‘holiday’ aroma. Remember, out target FG is 1.018; more or less. There was lots of CO2 bubbles, so it has a little ways to go yet before bottling.


I bottled today to another pack of same yeast, 2 C water, and 3/4 C corn sugar.

The gravity was 1.016.

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X’s Fruit Jell-O Tips

My wife loves the way I make her fruit Jell-O.

You pick your flavor of Jell-O and the canned fruit you will use.

First, drain the fruit of into a strainer, and save the juice in another freezer safe container. A small zip top bag works just fine, as you will only use it once. Get it into the freezer, and wait until it is frozen solid, or almost.

In whatever bowl you will serve the Jell-O from, chill it in the fridge as well with the drained fruit.

When you are ready, here’s what I do…

In a microwave safe container (I use a 2 C Pyrex cup) measure 1 C water. Put in m/w for 2:30. Have your Jell-O packet opened and ready. When it comes out, it will be boiling. Slowly pour your Jell-O into the Pyrex while stirring, continuing to do so until Jell-O is dissolved.

Now add your frozen fruit juice, and ice cubes to make 2 C even. Stir until ice is dissolved.

Pour into your bowl and stir briefly, then chill in fridge. It should only take a couple hours before it has set.

I usually add a handful of pecan halves to the bowl before chilling, as my wife loves them.

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T-Square’s Irish Red Recipe

Irish Red
6.6 pounds Northwestern amber malt extract
3/4 pound 60 degree L Crystal Malt
2-1/2 ounces Fuggles hop plugs (4.6% alpha)
1 ounce Cascades whole leaf hops. (5% alpha)
1 package Glen-brew ale yeast
1/2 ounce Irish Moss

When using liquid yeast, I always use a starter. I use a 1 liter Erlenmeyer flask (get a 2 liter if you haven’t got one; the more yeast you pitch to your beer, the stronger your ferment will be. Increase the water to 2 C and dme to 1 C), filled with boiling water to sterilize it. I boil about 1 C water with 1/2 C DME for five minutes, and add that to the sterilized flask, covering it with foil that has been torched by a Bic lighter, and allowing to cool completely. I add the expanded smack pack when cool, and allowed to sit a day before pitching. You will need a bung and airlock for your starter as well. Plan ahead. You want your yeast environment to be free of all bacteria before putting in your sterile yeast pack.

Your wort can safely sit for 24 hours after boiling and cooling, as long as your car boy has been properly sanitized.

An aquarium aerator helps in adding O2 to add O2 to the wort for maybe 10 minutes. I use a racking can to hold down the end of the hose inside the wort. I have not found an inexpensive airstone to use. The homebrew shops sell the stainless steel ones for around $30. I don’t use an airstone any more.

The next batch I make will use a Wyeast American Ale II a double pitch.

The second pitch I will do at bottling to assure a complete ferment and carbonation. Yes it costs more, but I have had batches crash at bottling, not having enough viable yeast left in the wort to carbonate. Use same amount of priming sugar. No starter needed.


I prefer to use DME instead of malt syrup as it makes a stronger beer. Syrup has a lot of water in it.

I do not use Irish moss any more, as I found that it made absolutely no difference.

My fermenter is a 6 1/2 gallon carboy. Pouring hot wort into it is not a good idea. I prefer to set my wort in a sink or wash tub with ice water, and add ice to the wort itself.

The Glenbrew yeast was not available from where I bought my supplies so I will use Wyeast.


I prefer DME instead of liquid malt extract. I am using 7 lbs amber DME.

I am using 1 lb of 60L crystal malt.

2 oz Fuggles 2 oz pellets..4.3% AA units

Cascade whole hops 1 ½ oz…7.3% AA units

.7 ounce Irish moss…all I had..I figured and Irish beer? Irish moss ok. It was very old.

I am an old school brewer, and have it in my head to boil for a solid 60 minutes, with appropriate hop additions along the way.

We begin by bringing 2 gallons of water in a brew pot; I have a 5 gallon. A 7 gallon or even 6 would be better, to allow what’s called a full wort boil. Use what you got. I began brewing 20 years ago with a 3 gallon. One just has to add more water after cooling the wort.

Bring the water to 160º, and put in the grain bag. Start your timer for 30 minutes, and watch the temp of the water. Keep it below 170, and above 150 degrees.


While the grains are steeping, be heating up another pot with 1 gallon of water to 160 degrees. This will be for sparging (rinsing) when the grains are done. Get out your collander to rest on the brewpot for sparging.

Meanwhile, prepare the DME; cut open the bags. Lay out hops. Sanitize carboy. I use a 6 ½ gallon for the primary ferment, and siphon to a 5 gallon after the primary ferment is done.

When the grains have stepped for the thirty minutes, remove them and place in your collander over your brewpot, and rinse them with the other pot of water. Allow to drain. Do not wring it.

When draining is done, removed the collander and bring up the heat to near boiling.

Remove brewpot from heat completely, and add DME. Stir until completely dissolved. This is critical as if any lumps of the DME fall to the bottom and remain undissolved, they will burn and ruin the whole batch. Stir, stir, stir until you are positive all is dissolved. Then and only then will you return the brewpot to the burner, and bring to a boil.

At this point, you must watch it very carefully, and when the wort (unfermented beer) gets close to the boiling point, it will begin to rise up with foam.

You must remove it from heat to prevent a boil over. It’s the only way. You cannot stir it out. If you have ceramic top stove, slide the pot over off the burner. If you use a stove with elements, it’s better to just remove it, and place it back until the hot break is reached. That is where the wort no longer foams, and you can relax…a little.

The first hop addition was 1 ounce Fuggles at the beginning. Start your timer for 60 minutes. The second ounce of Fuggles was at 20 minutes.

I am adding a half ounce of Cascades at 15 minutes with the Irish moss, and another ½ oz Cascades at 5 minutes.

By now, you should be preparing your cooling station. I use a washtub with cold water and ice. I also add ice cubes to the wort to aid in cooling. The fast you cool your wort to room temp the better. I also keep a gallon or so water in the freezer to aid in cooling down the wort in the fermenter if necessary. A deep sink works ok as long as the cold water is even with the wort inside the brewpot.

Our goal is to get the wort as close as possible to the temp of the yeast starter we started a few days ago. If you wort is more than 10 degrees higher than your yeast, you will increase what is called “lag time” before the ferment begins. The quicker the ferment starts, the less chance we have of getting our wort contaminated.

Warm wort is like a bacteria vacation. Don’t let ’em in.

Remove wort from boil, and place in cooling vessel. I add bottle water ice cubes to the wort itself to aid in cooling. The vessel contains ice water as well. I use the brew thermometer to stir the ice cubes in the wort…carefully.

Keep the lid on, but you can stir the wort to evenly distribute the cooling wort. Be sure not to breathe directly into your wort while stirring. Our breath contains some really nasty bacteria that would just love to take up homesteading in your nice, sweet wort.

The cooling will take usually around 20 minutes, depending on how prepared we are.

Today, my target temp is 75 degrees.

I got it down to 75 after the agonizing filter-out-the hops-process. That is why I dislike pellet hops versus leaf hops. All homebrew shops are different, carry different types of hops; leaf hops, hop plugs (pressed leaf hops), and pellet hops which are chopped and pressed into what looks like cocoa puffs.

The funnel has a strainer in it to filter out the hops. It must be constantly scraped with the thermometer to allow the wort through. Yep, pain in the ass.

Now we must aerate our wort. After all that boiling, there is little, if any oxygen left in our wort for our yeast to eat, so we must add some O2 to it. In the past, I have just grabbed the carboy by the neck, and shook the hell out of it, but that doesn’t really add a lot of oxygen. This is a dual line aquarium aerator with an airline attached, using a stiff tube to support it and hold it in the carboy. I used a clothespin to keep the tip off the bottom. 10 minutes of this, and ’twill make our yeast happy.

Next, the original gravity (OG). This is important to know as it tells us the potential of how much ABV (alcohol by volume) our beer has. It will also tell us when the fermentation is finished…more or less.

Can you see where the hydrometer sits? It’s on 1.060.

I use a gizmo called “the thief” that allows me to pull a sample of beer out, and drain it into my hydrometer with little or no mess.

Our OG is a respectable 1.060. This tells us that the potential ABV is 8%. It won’t get that high, and that’s OK. The only way it would is if the wort fermented down to 1.000. If it did, it wouldn’t have any flavor. Champagne, ferments actually below 1.000 and some dry wines as well; high in alcohol, but low in flavor.

After checking the gravity, I pitched the yeast into it, and used the aerator for another couple minutes to mix in the yeast.

We will be hoping to attain a final gravity of around 1.015, which is about ¼ of OG. When the wort reaches this level of ferment, we are ready to siphon into secondary for clearing.

Given the troubles we had with our yeast, this could go horribly wrong, and have a slow take off. Ideally, I should see the airlock on this start to bubble by bedtime tonight.

Now, for the clean up.

Will update as brew progresses (or not).

18 hours later

Pleasantly surprised.

Update 8 days later

I racked off the beer today into the secondary fermenter. The gravity is at 1.015…nice.

Will bottle next week.


I bottled the brew today with another yeast pack of same and 3/4 C corn sugar. FG was 1.018. I was able to bottle 20 22 oz bombers, 3 1 liter plastic bottles, 1 12 oz clear bottle, and one 16 plastic Coke bottle.

Side note

one must sanitize your equipment; fermenters, bottles, hoses, canes, everything that touches your beer or you risk contamination. I use One Step sanitizer. Ebay has it for $11 a pound and free shipping. Most homebrew shops either sell you 8 oz or 5 lbs. I have used One Step fro 20 years without any problems. 1 tablespoon per gallon of water; dissolve it, and rinse away. It is said that if you let your equipment dry after sanitizing, you do not have to rinse it.

One can use bleach too, but it must be rinsed again and again to rid the smell.

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More Tacos

One of my favorite comfort foods is tacos.

Heat up about 3/4 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet. Better to have a candy thermometer to measure temp to 350°. Don’t put it on much past medium or it could catch fire. If your cooking with gas…be really careful about spillage. Oil absorbs heat very slowly. Be patient. With 6 being halfway, I put mine on 7 until temp is reached, then back down to 6.

While your oil is heating, get your tortillas ready. When the oil reaches temp, begin putting them in the hot oil, one at a time for maybe 5 seconds each side. Place them on a plate with paper towel and allow to cool. Count on 4 tacos per person.

Meanwhile, cook your ground beef in another skillet. If you have a family, brown two pounds. I use McCormick taco seasoning available at your grocer. A whole pack is plenty. I also cook an onion in the pan with some olive oil then the beef. Add seasoning and stir until mixture is browned.

Additional condiments are grated cheddar or American cheese, chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, picante sauce, Ranch style beans, there is no limit of possibilities.

As long as we’ve got a skillet full of hot oil, you can fry tortilla chips. You can cut them like Doritos in wedges, strips, or whole for chalupas. Fry them until there is almost no bubbles coming up and salt and paprika them when removed. I place them in a large bowl with paper towels. Strips or wedges go in a 9X13 pan lined with paper towels.

Smear on your refried beans, then top with jalepeno or grated cheese, and put into toaster oven or broiler in your oven until cheese melts, then finish with lettuce tomato or picante sauce.

The best chips are home fried especially when you make the queso dip.

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Home Made Pizza Dough

Let’s face it; unless you’re a descendant from Italians, or worked in an old timey pizza parlor, or you live ’round the corner from a Shakey’s Pizza, you’re at the mercy of the world for pizza.

However, there is still hope. I found this recipe for dough, and even though one has to wait a while, the dough is manageable after it rises, which is a new one for me.

In all fairness, I found the recipe here, giving credit where credit is due.

The recipe makes enough for two pizzas, or one in a sheet pan, but limits your ability to call it “thin crust” which is what I prefer instead of “deep dish” or Chicago style.

The toppings are up to you, this is for the dough.

RECIPE (two 9-inch round pizzas)


For the Dough:
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp instant (rapid rise) yeast
2 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 1/4 cups room temp water
3 TB melted butter
4 TB  softened butter
olive oil

Mix your flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar, and salt together first in a mixer bowl, then add the water and 3 T melted butter. (I used my Kitchenaid Mixer. If you don’t have one, I would urge you to make the investment. I’ve had mine for over 30 years now.)

Using dough hook, mix until dough cleans sides of bowl, and clings to hook. Sprinkle either water or flour to gain this consistency…very important.

I put the dough in large oiled bowl and let rise for an hour or until doubled. Cover with plastic. I hit my oven for 1 1/2 minutes, then shut it off and place dough inside.

After it has risen, I punch down on counter and roll into rectangle, then fold on itself and divide in half, putting each half into a quart Ziploc bag sprayed with cooking spray. I then place in fridge. It will last two or three days in the fridge.

Allow to chill overnight, and removed an hour or so before building pizza, allowing it to rise  some more.

It handles easily and I use an aluminum pizza round pan, but use what you have. I place my pizza on bottom rack at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

I use canned spaghetti sauce; Ragu works well, but often the generic is cheaper. I add a spoon of sugar to the sauce. I usually heat and cook it on the stove. The sugar helps offset the acidity of the tomatoes.

Personally, I like pepperoni, grated mozzarella, mushrooms and black olives for my toppings. I have tried the Chicago style but have not mastered the technique so I do it the old fashioned way.

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Buffalo Burgers

If you have never had a charbroiled buffalo burger, than you have missed something delicious, and you owe it to yourself to try them at least once.

I mix 1 lb of ground bison with a pound of ground chuck. Mix in a large bowl by hand,  being sure to get the two meat well blended.

We add the chuck to add some fat as the buffalo meat is very lean, and if you do not add a fatter meat to it, they burgers will literally fall apart while you cook them on the grill.

I use a digital scale and measure 1/2 pound of meat per burger (that will give you 4 burgers). I put them in a cake pan, and chill them for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready, start your fire, and get it hot as the sun.

Put your burgers on the grill carefully, and cook them fast…but don’t burn them. If you’re really good, you will only need to turn them once. Don’t turn them too early the first time or they might break up.

I serve on giant wheat bun will whatever burger fixings you or your  brood like.

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Cubed Steak

This isn’t really chicken fried steak, but it’s very close.

Cubed steak; you know, the tenderized breakfast steaks? However many you want; figure two per person.

Get yourself a Dutch oven and begin to heat it on medium heat. While you are doing that…

I start by salting and peppering each steak individually both sides. Then flour generously each side.

When Dutch oven is hot, pour in about a half inch olive oil (depending on how many you have) and when the oil gets “shimmery”, it is ready.

Put two steaks in at a time. No touching, and no touching sides of Dutch oven. Fry for two minutes each side. Remove and place inside Dutch oven lid resting nearby, and cover with heavy duty foil.

Cook steaks two at a time until they are all browned, leaving them to rest inside Dutch oven lid.

Add 2 Cups chicken broth (at least) to the Dutch oven, whisking up the brownings. When it begins to boil, add 1/4 tsp ground thyme and whisk in.

Put your steaks in, being sure that they are mostly covered. OK to overlap them. They do not have to be completely submerged, but close.

Put lid on Dutch oven and place into preheated oven at 300° for 2 hours. Be sure your lid fits squarely or the broth will boil out and burn everything.

At 2 hours, it’s ready.

You can make gravy from the drippings, or the broth will have thickened and makes a nice thick sauce.

Great with potatoes.

I got this recipe from Good Eats episode “Cubing A Round”.

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Pineapple Cheesecake

This recipe is also from the Texas Coop Power Magazine.

I substituted vanilla wafer crumbs for graham cracker crumbs (1 1/2 C). I crush mine with a rolling pin, and a gallon freezer zip top bag.

There’s a lot going on so be sure everything is prepped when you begin.

Speaking for myself, I usually bake my cheesecake crusts (10 min @ 325°) and allow to cool. Why? you may ask.

Because what happens to butter when you put it in the fridge? It gets hard.

If you mix your melted butter with your crumbs, and it doesn’t get baked enough, it will be like a rock to chisel out of the pan.

Will update this as mine is cooling now.

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Pecan Pie

I had never made one before, and did a little research before choosing. All my cookbooks had at least one recipe for pecan pie.

The recipe I used is from The Joy of Cooking because it used the most pecans (2C). I also substituted brown sugar for the white sugar with another tablespoon of molasses added. Also used 1/2 C light corn syrup, and 1/2 C dark corn syrup. I did toast the pecans, PIA as it may be.

I used a grocery store pre made crust, and let it sit out for half an hour to soften. I placed it in a Pyrex 9.5 ” pie plate.


2 C coarsely chopped pecans. I toasted them for 8 minutes on a cookie sheet at 375°, stirring three times.

3 eggs

1 C corn syrup (half light, half dark)

1 C sugar (brown sugar)

1 Tbp molasses

1/2 tsp salt

5 Tbp unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla or 1 T dark rum

I placed the pie crust in the oven for a couple minutes to heat it while I was stirring in pecans.

Mix well with wire whisk, and stir in pecans. Pour into crust, and bake for 35-45 minutes  until center seems quivery (like gelatin) when nudged (hey that’s what they said).

I goofed on mine by setting the temp at 350. I caught it with eight minutes left. Will update to see how I salvaged it…if at all.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

If you must refrigerate, bring to room temp before serving (20 min?)


I check it at 36 min, and the crust was already over done so I pulled it. Will have to cool before verdict comes in. By the way, it was quivery all over.

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Cherry Coffeecake

I found this in the Texas Coop Power magazine.

Remember those cinnamon rolls/coffee cakes with all the icing your folks brought home from the grocery store? This reminds me of that. Nothing special. A lot of work, and it makes quite a bit too.

I don’t know what the difference would be if one were to let the dough rise, then continue like it was the next day. Seems a waste to let it sit in fridge…sounds more like “that’s the Auntie Em used to do it.”

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Easy Cheesecake

This was one of my mom’s secret recipes.

You will need

1 1/2 C either vanilla wafer or graham cracker crumbs

1/3 C melted butter

1 pkg INSTANT lemon Jello pudding

2 C whole milk

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

blend the butter with the crumbs. If using graham crackers, add 1 T sugar while blending. Press crumb mixture into 9 1/2 inch pie pan, or round aluminum pan and bake at 325° for ten minutes. Cool completely.

To your softened cream cheese, add 3/4 C milk that has been microwaved 30 seconds. Using mixer, blend well with your softened cream cheese. Mix until smooth.

Add the remainder of chilled milk (1 1/4C), jello pudding, and blend until thickened. Pour into crust and chill until set.

X likes cherry pie filling for his topping.

Strawberries, cut up and mixed with sugar work nicely, as well as blueberries, peaches, or whatever you like.


I use my hand mixer for recipes like this.

My Kitchenaid whisk does not reach the bottom of the mixing bowl, and thus leaves unmixed batter behind.

A package of graham crackers used to be more than 1 1/2 C…now it takes more than one package to attain 1 1/2 C. Why? because even though you pay the same amount, you get fewer graham crackers.

That ain’t right.

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Cranberry Walnut Cookies

Cranberry Walnut Cookies

  • One stick each salted and unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 C Old Fashioned Oats (not the quick kind)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream sugars with butter. Add wet ingredients and combine, then dry blend well. I used 1 C dried cranberries.

Bake 350 for 14-16 minutes.

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Potato Salad

I too was stymied, mystified about how to make potato salad, until I was into my thirties. A friend of mine’s mother gave me the direction I needed, and I have since refined it to a very basic recipe. One of the tricks is to bake your potatoes, and let them cool completely to room temp, then pop into fridge overnight to chill. I prefer red potatoes, with only the eyes removed. Scrub well, butter, and wrap in foil. Place in 400° oven for 55  minutes, and shut off oven and let cool. I use a toaster oven with no problem.

You will need

eight medium baked red potatoes, chilled

4 hard boiled eggs, chilled (I use one egg for each two taters)

a large dill pickle, I prefer polish style chopped coarsely

and/ or dill pickle relish

sweet pickles, coarsely chopped

and/or sweet pickle relish

Miracle Whip to taste with sour cream; half each?

yellow mustard to taste I squirt one and one half ring around the bowl.

options: unlimited

black/ green olives with pimientos removed, a dozen?

chopped crispy fried bacon, 3-4 pieces

celery, thin sliced/chopped

fresh bell pepper chopped

cut your  taters into chunks bigger than the end of your pinky.

Take your hard boiled eggs, and fork them into small pieces on a cutting board

add your pickles and or relish

Start with a big dollop spoon of Miracle Whip

a little sour cream works too (1/4C)

Use a bowl scraper to mix ingredients.

I have been known to add a little bit of green olive juice into the mix.

Cut your black olives in half.

Blend well.

Add cracked black pepper if you like.

Some top with paprika for the color.

Cover your bowl with plastic and push your plastic directly on top of the potato salad.  This will decrease condensation on the  underside of the plastic.

Serve chilled.


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Sweet Corn Bread

I got this recipe from Land O’ Lakes Cookbook,  now probably thirty years old.

1 C AP flour

1 C corn meal

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C sugar

1 C whipping cream

1/4 C oil

1/4 C honey

2 slightly beaten eggs

Preheat oven to 400°.

Mix the dry ingredients together first, then add the wet. Mix briskly with a whisk for twenty seconds, then pour into greased cast iron skillet; 9″.

Bake 20-22 minutes.

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X’s Scalloped Potatoes

So easy.

potatoes 2 lbs or more evenly thinly sliced; I prefer reds

chopped onion about 1/2 C

milk 1 1/2 C

flour 1/4 C

cheddar cheese 1 C

softened butter

layer taters, onion, and 1 T flour, and repeat layers, dotting with butter each layer

scald milk and pour over entire dish,  cover, placing into preheated oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Don’t put your milk on cold, or it will increase baking time significantly.

Remove cover and bake for additional 60-70 minutes.

10 minutes before removing, sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes.

You can expand this to fit a much larger casserole dish. I used an 8×8. As long as you layer each with each ingredient, you can make it as large as necessary to feed the crowd.

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Southern Lady’s Cobbler

X has made this recipe several times, and it is a favorite of Mrs X.

The Southern Lady has made it clear that her stuff is copywrited so X wants no trouble with that type of infringement.

Iron Skillet Pineapple Cobbler

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Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms

This recipe is very close to beef stroganoff that requires sour cream instead of whipping cream.

I usually make a double batch

1 1/4 pounds sirloin cut into 1/2″ cubes

3 T butter

1 T veg oil

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

3/4 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/3 C beef broth or water

1/3 C dry red wine

1 1/2 t soy sauce

2 t dijon style mustard

1 t cornstarch

1/2 C whipping cream

Brown the meat in 2 T of the butter and oil and the garlic. When done, remove to covered casserole in preheated 275° oven.

With remaining butter, cook mushrooms until soft. Add to meat and cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, add broth, wine, and soy sauce to pan. Stir up brownings until reduced to a glaze. Blend the mustard, cornstarch and cream and add to pan. Boil until thick and smooth. blend with meat until heated through.

Serve with egg noodles

I add cornstarch as needed to make thick sauce. 1/4 C with 1/4 C water will thicken nicely.

I normally use an entire blue container of mushroom per 1 1/2 pound of sirloin.

If the meat is cooked longer, it will be more tender. A different cut of meat will require longer cooking time.

Alternate method:

Brown the meat the same way.

I use canned mushrooms, and drain them, saving the juice.

Add juice to pan with wine and soy sauce. I add enough water or beef (or chicken) broth to cover meat and simmer covered, for two hours.

I drain that and make add the whipping cream, dijon and cornstarch to it and bring to boiling; adding more cornstarch (mixed with a little water) to gain desired thickness, then add meat back and heat through.

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Carrot Cake

Don’t let the ‘carrot’ deter you from this delicious cake and frosting.

X has had no fewer than two marriage proposals from this recipe.

3 C grated carrots

1 1/2 C veg oil

2 C sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 C flour

1 C chopped pecans (if desired)

I have used baby carrots, but they are a lot of grating unless you have a food processor (I don’t have one). I buy a 1 lb bag of carrots, cut ends off, and peel them before grating and I use the entire bag.

Mix oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and blend well. Add soda, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Add grated carrots. Blend in flour and nuts.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In greased and floured pan, bake 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


1 8 oz cream cheese softened

1 stick butter softened

4 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter well. Add vanilla. Blend in powdered sugar until all is dissolved.

Spread over cake when completely cooled. 

This frosting will allow you to have 1/2″ thick frosting. Not for diabetics or dieters.

Refrigerate and frosting will set better.

Freezes well if you cut it and wrap in plastic then foil.

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Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon white corn syrup

1 Tablespoon melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix well. I use a butter knife to mix and a Pyrex 2 Cup pitcher.  You may need to add a little more powdered sugar. You want the consistency so that it does not run off your knife. If it does, it will run off your cookie too.

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Jubilee Jumbles

This isn’t really a Christmas cookie but many recipients of said cookie appreciate them as gifts. From Betty Crocker.


1 1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 C shortening

1 C dairy sour cream

then mix

2 eggs

then mix

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla


2 1/4 C flour

blend well then fold in 1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 C)

spoonfuls onto cookie sheet

bake at 375° for 9-9 1/2 minutes

Cool on newspaper.

Frost with powdered sugar icing.

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Oven Fries

You will need a preheated 400° oven.

I use a sheet pan for my fries.

I used 4 Russet potatoes this round. Peel and cut into finger sized chunks.

In a mixing bowl, put a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a tsp of chili powder, and your taters.

Toss the taters around until they are coated.

What spices you use are up to you. I often use basil.

Place your slices on the sheet pan and lightly sprinkle coarse salt on them.

Bake 20 minutes, then turn repeat salt sprinkle.

You can also use sweet potatoes.




You might consider spraying the sheet with oil as these stuck. They were good though.

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X’s Guacamole

Guacamole is another side that is personal and everyone has their own recipe.

This is mine

avocados, how many depends on how much you want to end up with. I got these at Sam’s, six of them for 3 bucks. Helluva deal.

X’s pico de gallo about half a cup or a chopped tomato

fresh squeezed lime juice, at least one teaspoon

a dab of Miracle Whip if desired

salt to taste

I use a pastry blender to mash up the avocados coarsely, add lime juice, and fold in pico or tomato. My wife likes garlic salt on hers so I made her own batch. I leave it a little chunky.





And now, I will divulge the secret to keep your guacamole from turning brown prematurely.

It is not the pits. Do not put the avocado pits in your guacamole. They will not make one bit of difference in keeping your guacamole green.

The secret is covering your guacamole with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic wrap against the guacamole, keeping oxygen away from it. All the way around. Bleed out as much air as you can.

Oxygen is the enemy of guacamole.



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These are favorites of my wife, and since she’s bringing home the bacon, I’ll make the effort and bake these for her.

1 Cup softened butter (2 sticks)

2 1/4 C AP flour

1/2 C powdered sugar

1/2 C chopped walnuts

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

powdered sugar for rolling/coating

Cream together the butter, 1/2 C powdered sugar, and salt until well blended. Add vanilla and blend. Add flour slowly and incorporate well. Add nuts. (Notice, no leavening ingredients.)

Chill for two hours. I only chilled for one hour and the dough was not quite hardened in the center. Still, I went for it.

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake 8-10 minutes until set, but not browned.

Remove and roll in powdered sugar while still warm and store in Ziploc with powdered sugar until consumed.


Using a dark cookie sheet will cause premature browning on bottoms. You may have to just put one tray on top rack and bake, checking at the eight minute mark or slightly before.

I used aluminum half sheets. You can get them at Sam’s; a pair for ten bucks.



This batch made 30 snowballs. Many of these were about the size of walnuts; maybe larger.

I had 25 on one tray, I baked it for 10 minutes. They were just starting to brown.

The other had 5 or 6, I baked it for nine minutes.

From here they cool and into the Ziploc.

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X’s Standard Kitchen Rules/Laws…or they should be

One rule that we all know but don’t follow is to be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before mixing; especially eggs and milk. The exception to this would be biscuits. You can put your eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes to speed up the acclimation.

In my experience, a couple sets of Pyrex measuring cups are invaluable in the kitchen. A 4 Cup, a 2 Cup, and a 1 Cup are usually sold in a set. I have three sets.

A Kitchen Aid stand mixer is a must. I have certainly been down the road the hard way and made yeast bread and rolls by hand. It’s a lot of work and takes more time. The stand mixer is a great investment.

Whenever you make cookies and some breads and cakes, always cream your fat with your sugar first.

Baking quick yeast breads and quick breads: preheat your oven 25° hotter than it calls for as you will lose a tremendous amount of heat when you open that oven door. After placing in oven and closing door, set your thermostat back where it should be. (don’t forget)

If a recipe ever calls for nutmeg, you will get much more pronounced aroma and flavor by using a whole nutmeg and grinding the needed amount from the nut. I have a tool that is a zester that works well for that.

A whole nutmeg. Use a zester over a paper plate if you’re measuring, or hold over your French toast dipping mixture, or over your holiday egg nog.


One can make sour milk as an almost buttermilk substitute by adding 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 C whole milk. Let it stand for ten minutes.

Baking cookies: divide the time in half. Put your tray on the bottom rack and start timer. When it goes off, put that tray on top rack and next tray on bottom and so on until all trays are done.

Plan, plan, plan ahead. If you need softened butter,  plan ahead. Melted is not softened.

Crisco sticks are handier than scooping and measuring shortening out of a can.

Before frying chicken, I soak the chicken in buttermilk for several hours; the chicken is more tender, and it will taste better.

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Christmas Cookies

I have used this sugar cookie recipe for Christmas cut outs since the eighties.

Cream together

2 C sugar

1 C butter, softened


add 2 eggs and blend

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp vanilla


3 1/2 C flour

Blend well.

At this point, the dough can be chilled. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Roll out dough on floured cheesecloth into a uniform thickness; 1/4 inch works well for me. I use a 1/4 inch wooden dowel on either side of my dough with a rolling pin to keep the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.


I was unable to use my giant rolling pin as the cookie dough stuck to it, so I used my smaller one with a cheesecloth sleeve. Excellent.



Flour your cutters and cut the cookies and place on cookie sheet.

Save your leftover dough and reintegrate and use again. I keep rolling and cutting until it’s gone.


Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

Cool on newspaper.


Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon white corn syrup

1 Tablespoon melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix well. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar. You want the consistency so that it does not run off your knife. If it does, it will run off your cookie too.

Spread cookies and sprinkle with decoration. This frosting is soft enough that you can sprinkle right from the can/bottle/jar. You can also put sprinkles on paper plates and invert your cookie and press.



I put them in the fridge on a cookie sheet to help the frosting set a little. If you don’t the frosting will stick to anything it touches.

You can use this recipe without frosting and sprinkles. Avoid rolling and cutting too by rolling into balls, dip tops in sugar, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake same way.


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Cranberry Bread

This bread is very good. It’s difficult to make. Freezing the cranberries makes it a little easier to deal with them.

1 C cranberries, grated or processed

1 1/4 C sugar

3 C flour

4 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 T fresh grated orange rind

1 C milk

3 T butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans

The original recipe calls to grate the cranberries which I did for several years until I got a small food processor. If you grate them, you will freeze your finger into numbness. Could grate them fresh as well…still hard on fingertips. Sigh. Seems like all us cooks do is sacrifice.

Pour 1/4 C of the sugar into the cranberries and set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt orange rind, and 1 C sugar together. Mix in your butter, egg, and milk. Fold in nuts. Batter will be thick.

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350° for one hour. Allow to cool slightly and tightly wrap in foil. Store for at least one day before serving to allow flavors to permeate.


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Chilly Today, Hot Tamale

Tamales are by far one of the most labor intensive mexican foods, yet all our hard work is forgotten when we start eating them. They are absolutely delicious with so many varieties, who could resist?

This round, I have decided to intentionally divvy up the workload into two days.

Day 1 will be filling(s) and Day 2 will be masa and assembly.

Filling(s)? you may ask?

Yes, pork, beef, chicken, bean, cream cheese, other cheeses, tomatillo salsa, red sauce, and others I do not know about.

Day 1


I have 3 four pound pork sirloin roasts that I got for a buck a pound; bone in. Spend the extra .27 per pound and buy boneless.

I am only cooking two for this round, and that is a lot of pork.

There are many ways to cook, and I’d had my druthers, I’d druther use the Dutch oven on the stovetop but my 7 quart Dutch oven is too small, so I went with a crockpot. This will cook on high for four hours.

Also it can be roasted. If you get the boneless, put a nice coating of rub on the outside from black pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili power and sear it good in your cast iron before you cook it. 350° for four hours. Same in Dutch oven. Be sure to add water covering the roast half way as you want to save the juice to add to your masa later.

To your water, I put in a whole onion, a serrano pepper, a couple bay leaves. At this time, you can add a variety of peppers; whole or chopped. If you use the hotter ones like serrano, habanero or other hot ones, be sure to wear gloves, because if you touch your eye or other “sensitive places” it will burn like a Gitmo torture chamber. Trust me on this one.

I am making red sauce this round as well. We will use the red sauce to add another layer of flavor to our pork (when it’s done) and our masa.

I bought some bulk dried peppers; about a pound. Using scissors and a sharp knife, I cut the tops off, and opened the peppers up to remove all the seeds. I tossed the pepper into a large pot on the stove with hot water to rehydrate the peppers. When the last pepper is in the hot water, I let them steep for 30 minutes.



Remove from water (save water) and let them drain a bit. Food process them with a little pepper water. You may add 1 1/2 tsp salt, a little cumin at this time.

Pour into sieve and strain out the chunky skins. You may push the peppers through the sieve to speed up the straining process. The skins will be left behind.

If you have lots of time, you can take the peppers out of the water, lay them on your cutting board skin side down, and scrape the meaty pepper off and save it. It’s harder than you think.



I tried first the food processor route (I had not done this route before). One must add lots of pepper water to the processor so as to have the pepper frappé with enough moisture to push it through the sieve. I had to force it through the sieve. I next tried the “scrape it off” method. The problem with that is that when scraping, I got a lot of skin with it so I had to run it through the sieve anyway. A food mill would probably be a little more efficient. The end result yielded about a cup and a half. Worth it? Jury is still out on that one.

Cover and refrigerate sauce and pepper water.

Tomatillo Salsa (salsa verde)

Yet another layer of flavor is the green sauce. I had a little over a pound of tomatillos. Remove the husks and wash them. Half them and put onto baking sheet with an onion and serrano pepper. Put under the broiler (high temp) until the tomatillo skins get blackened. Remove from oven and allow to cool.



Put all into food processor (juices too) with 1 tsp salt and a little cumin and garlic powder. Cover and refrigerate.

Tamale Day

Start by grabbing a huge handful of husks and soaking them in a potful of hot water for at least thirty minutes to soften them.

I heated the pepper juice, pork juice, red sauce, and  half of the shredded pork. I added a tsp salt and cumin to the pork as well as half the red sauce. I added some pepper  juice also to rehydrate the pork. Not runny wet, but moistened.

Meanwhile, I am mixing the masa. 6 cups of the Maseca, 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp salt, hand full of dried parsley, 1 C of the green sauce, 1 C of the pepper juice, 1 C melted lard, and about 4 cups water (need 8 cups liquid not counting the lard). Mix until the consistency of that of soft butter because you want to spread this on your husks.






Remove husks from hot water and drain. Then you must dry them before you spread on your masa. Set your assembly line with husks (I dry a dozen or to at a time), spread on your masa, put a liberal amount of filling, bring the two sides together so the masa on each side touches the other, then wrap the husk around then fold up on the open side from bottom. I tied these with some strips of husk. I’ve had problems with them opening up inside the steamer.

That tray is about three dozen. That was half the pork. Next, I did the other half. (My aching back.)

Steamed them for an hour and a half. I think that is a little much. An hour would have been enough as some of the tamales cooked to the husk and were difficult to remove from said husk.

Six dozen tamales, give or take from this round. I am done in. There is still masa left over. I thought about (very briefly) make some bean tamales, or some cream cheese but decided against it. I was at this for six hours today, and I still have dishes to do.

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Chocolate Walnut Dollars

Great gramma’s recipe


1/2 C shortening or softened butter

1 C sugar

add 1 egg, blend

2 Tablespoons milk

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted


1 tsp baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla


2 1/4 C flour

blend well

add 1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans

Blend well.

Form into two balls then into rolls about 12 inches long.

Place in wax paper and chill for at least two hours.

When firm, cut into 1/4 inch discs and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

I melted the chocolate in my mixing bowl first, then added the butter and sugar.





The dough is very dry. I used my hands to mix the last bit of flour and walnuts. It will try to crumble when you make the rolls. Patience.



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Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is not a task for the faint of heart. The reward is beyond measure, and it is some considerable work. It will take you minimum three hours, and that is if all goes well.


7-8 C flour, I used bread flour but AP works fine

2 pkg dry yeast or 4 1/2 tsp dry yeast

2 C hot water or milk or mixture

3/4 C warm water

1/2 C oil or melted butter

2 eggs beaten

1  tsp salt

1 Tablespoon sugar


brown sugar

extra butter

dental floss

Phase I: Making the dough

To 3/4 warm water dissolve 1 Tablespoon sugar, and add yeast. Set aside.


Heat the 2 C water or milk and pour into mixing bowl. Add 2 C sugar, butter/oil beaten eggs and salt. Start your mixer on speed 2. I used a dough hook. You may also add 2 C of flour now.



When your yeast is pretty foamy, add it to batter.




Add remaining flour 1 C at at time until it forms a loose bowl; this should take 7 cups +-.



Pour dough out onto floured board or counter top.


Knead  dough for 5 minutes by hand adding flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to counter.



I bring a flap of dough over the top and push it into the dough ball with the heel of my hand. Rotate 90 degrees, and repeat for 5 minutes.

Then form dough into ball so that no dry flour remains.


Place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed on inside surface with non stick spray (just in case). Place in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (I use the oven. I turn it on for 2 minutes, then shut it off before the dough goes in…just to heat it a little.)

Phase II: making the rolls.

When your dough has doubled, it’s time now to form our rolls

Punch down your dough, and turn it out onto the greased counter.




I use Crisco and grease my counter top in the shape of a  huge rectangle approximately 30″ x 24″. Pour out your dough and roll it to fit the rectangle with even thickness as much as possible.

Take your melted butter and spread over dough.

Sprinkle dough with cinnamon. Don’t get carried away. Cinnamon is strong stuff and it can cause indigestion.


Sprinkle dough with brown sugar. I use my fist and crumble the brown sugar out the bottom. It doesn’t have to be perfect.


Beginning at the side closest to you, begin rolling the dough towards the other side. Just move back and forth along the dough as you go. When you reach the other side, pinch the edge to the dough, sealing it.


You should have at least 2 greased cake pans ready.

Using waxed dental floss, slide the floss under the dough to the desired thickness of the roll; about 3/4″ is plenty.


Bring the floss ends across and pull them through the dough. Place your roll into the cake pans until you have cut them all.

Cover, place in warm place for an hour. (This batch took an hour plus twenty).



Phase III: baking

Removed your rolls from the oven (if you used it to let them rise) and preheat the oven to 350°. Keep rolls covered until oven is ready. Remove plastic wrap carefully because the rolls can collapse if handled roughly.

Bake 18-22 minutes.

Brush tops with softened butter.

I turn mine out onto cookie sheets upside down to cool.

I usually get around thirty rolls, depending how thick you cut them.

Ready to go in.


I didn’t get a pic of the finished rolls.

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Peanut Clusters

A double boiler is very helpful with this.

You will need

roasted peanuts about 4 cups (other recipes call for Spanish peanuts. They have skins that come off while stirring…still tastes good)

almond bark or vanilla chips about a  pound

semi-sweet chocolate chips or bars

peanut butter

You can add paraffin too so they won’t melt in your hand…as fast. About half a slab should do.

Melt chocolate. Add peanut butter. Add peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool.

This batch I used the leftover chocolate from the dipped ginger snaps and the bonbons with about 1/4 C peanut butter.

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Chocolate Bonbons

A double boiler makes this work much better. Don’t have one? Use a 4 qt saucepan with boiling water, and a metal bowl that fits on top.

Blend together

1 can condensed milk

1 stick softened butter


1 1/2 C powdered sugar


8 oz package of coconut


4 Cups finely chopped pecans

chill for two or three hours.

Form into balls about the size of walnuts, chill again.



I rolled these a little big. There were 58 of them.



Meanwhile, in double boiler melt 2 packages semi-sweet chocolate chips. Also melt about 1/2 slab of paraffin.

This is 12 oz of chocolate chips, 1/2 slab of paraffin, and a 1 oz chunk of almond bark. We will tip the boiler and dip in the deep end to completely coat our candies.


When all is melted, using a toothpick or other suitable tool, dip bonbons into chocolate and place on non-stick cookie sheet to cool. Keep refrigerated. I used a half sheet with wax paper. My notes on the recipe say that wax paper is best.

I added another cup of chocolate chips to a total of 3 cups; maybe a little more, and I added the other half slab of paraffin…see note.

Note: This batch of chocolate dip was a virgin batch; meaning that it  was made from scratch. Normally, I use the chunk leftover from my previous use of the double boiler as the chocolate will keep almost indefinitely. Next time, I will use the leftover from this, and add more chocolate but not near as much paraffin. Make sense? The chocolate was way too thick before I added the extra paraffin.



Keep several toothpicks about.

Dip quickly as the bonbons get warmer, they don’t twirl with the toothpick. Perhaps the flat toothpicks work better. I use another toothpick to push the bonbons off the toothpick onto the wax paper.

Makes about 100 if you roll them small enough.

They must be kept refrigerated as they will get very mushy if allowed to get to room temp.

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Pumpkin Bread

Tastes like pumpkin pie.


3 C sugar

2/3 C oil

1 can pumpkin pie filling

2 eggs and blend

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

(a whole nutmeg)


1 tsp allspice


2/3 C water

3 1/3 C flour

2/3 C walnuts or pecans

2/3 C raisins (if desired)

bake at 350° for one hour.

Makes two large loaves. Can use smaller pans. Bread freezes well.

This batch I used 4 small pans.


If you go with smaller pans, start checking for doneness at 50 minutes. Use a butter knife, not a toothpick.


Wrap in foil while still warm. Freezes well.

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X’s Ginger Snaps

Historically, ginger snaps are a hard cookie; hence the term snaps attached to the name. This recipe is a soft ginger cookie. Using oil instead of shortening makes the difference.

The recipe is for dipped cookie into a melted vanilla bark. Delicious.

Cream together

2 C sugar and

1 1/2 vegetable oil


add 2 eggs and blend

1/2 C molasses and blend

4 tsp baking soda

1 Tablespoon ground ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt and blend

4 C flour and mix well

Roll spoonfuls into walnut sized balls, dip tops in sugar, and place onto a cookie sheet, and bake in a 350° preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.



Cool on newspaper.

makes 50 or so. This made 58.


If you dip…

In a double boiler, melt 2 12 oz pkg of vanilla chips, or vanilla bark with some paraffin  (for hardening).



Dip cookies halfway and place on wax paper to set.

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X’s Chex Party Mix


X’s official Party Mix Recipe

Preheat oven to 250°

Put large roaster pan in oven.

12 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce

3 tsp seasoned salt (I use McCormick)

9C Corn Chex keeping separate from Rice Chex

9C Rice Chex

2.5 – 3 C Planter’s Deluxe Mixed Nuts

Melt butter in 2C Pyrex measuring cup.

Add salt, Tabasco and Worcestershire.

I used 8 C Rice and 8 C Corn and 2 C Wheat

18 C total Chex; mix and match how you like. This is a double batch. That’s why 2 1/2C nuts, instead of 1.


When oven is preheated, remove pan and pour in butter mixture. Be sure to scrape out all salt from Pyrex as well.

Add the nuts first. Lift one side of the roaster high enough so if you scoop the nuts to the high side, the slide back. Allow them to get good and wet in the melted butter mixture. Add Corn Chex next. Do this until pieces are coated well.


Use your spatula, scoop from bottom and dump on top. It will slide down; trust me.

Add Rice Chex and Wheat (if used).

Bake in oven for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.

Pour on newspaper to cool and drain. Lift a couple of layers of newspaper up, and allow fresh paper to absorb oils from Chex.


This stuff freezes well.

I use Ziploc bags. Makes great gifts…if you don’t eat it yourself.


The only difference between mine and the Chex original recipe is the 1T Tabasco subbed for 1T Worcestershire. If you add “extra butter” your Chex will get soggy. I prefer not to use wheat Chex as they tend to get soggy anyway…you must maintain 18 C of Chex…too little Chex will yield soggy Chex Mix.

The last batch I made, I froze it all in quart Ziploc bags.

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X’s Apple Pie II

Somewhere out there I posted another apple pie recipe. This one is better.

The wife bought an apple slicer/corer for me, and I have used it a couple of times. The slices are too fat for pie so I cut them half-way down the center. The chunks are still pretty fat.

For a 10″ pie, I used 7 apples; pretty large I guess. I peeled them first, then used the slicer, then halved them.

I used a mix of Granny Smith, Macintosh, Fuji, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, and Gala apples.

Put them into a large bowl, and add 1/4 C sugar. Coat well. Put sliced apples in colander and let sit over bowl for 1 1/2 hours. Save juice.

Meanwhile, prepare crust. My crusts have to sit on counter for 20-30 minutes to become pliable.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Pour the juice into a small saucepan and heat it on low heat, and reduce by half.

Put apples back in bowl and add

1/4 C sugar

pinch/sprinkle salt

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons apple jelly (optional)

1 tablespoon apple cider or apple jack

1 tsp lime juice

I ground up 1/4 tsp grains of paradise and added that to mixture; coat apples well. Set aside and prepare crust.

Place apples in concentric circles in crust, slightly mounding over the top of the crust.

If any more juice accumulates, pour it into crust as well.
Put a few dollops of butter around apples.

Put top crust on and crimp/seal crusts together.

Brush rest of glaze on top of crust. Cut slits; at least 5, with a large center one.

Do the foil thing around the edge of the crust.

Bake  for 40-50 minutes. Remove foil for last ten minutes or so (will depend on your oven).

Crust will get very nicely brown.

It must cool four hours before slicing. Your patience will be rewarded. Plan ahead.

This recipe is from Good Eats episode American Classics II. Alton Brown used his own crust baked in a tart pan.

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Cranberry Jello Salad

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 pkg (3 oz) raspberry jello…sugar free is ok

1 8 oz can crushed pineapple

1/4 C chopped celery

1/4 C pecan halves ( I use closer to 1/2 C)

Drain pineapple and save juice.

Add enough water to make 1 1/4C juice. Boil and dissolve Jello into juice.

Bust up cranberry sauce and add to Jello.

Cool until it thickens some, then add celery, pecans, and pineapple.

Mix well and chill for 3-4 hours.

Top with whipped cream.


It sets faster if the cranberry sauce and pineapple is chilled.

Alternate method

Be sure the cranberry sauce is chilled.

Be sure to chill the pineapple. No need to separate.

Boil 1 C water and dissolve raspberry mix.

Meanwhile bust up cranberry sauce in large bowl with fork. Add rest of ingredients, then add jello. I chill the 8×8 Pyrex too to help speed up the setting process.

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X’s Pumpkin Pie

X does not do pie crust and is not ashamed to buy the Pillsbury crust in your grocer’s dairy case. A man’s got to know his limitations.

For a 10 inch pie

1 15 ounce can of pumpkin

1 bottom pie crust (you can use frozen too)

2  beaten eggs

3/4 C sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 12 ounce can evaporated milk

Preheat your oven to 425°. Mix ingredients in order listed.

Pour into prepared pie crust.

Put foil around the edge of  your pie to prevent crust over browning.

Put pie on cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for 40-50 additional minutes.

My notes on this recipe are as follows:

Leave foil on entire time…

After reducing heat, bake for 47 minutes…(my oven).

Place on rack to cool.

This recipe is from the label on the can of pumpkin pie filling. It’s as good as any, I think


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Azacca Single Hop Pale Ale


Well, there it is.


A true beer kit. a 3.15 lb bottle of gold malt extract, a 3.15 lb bottle of pilsen malt extract, some select crushed grains with grain bag, 4 one ounce bags of Azacca pellet hops at 10% AAU (kinda steep for my liking but we’ll go with it), White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast,


and a one pound bag of Breiss Pilsen DME. This beer will get most of its color from the grains as the malt extracts won’t influence it much.

The instructions are different for the way I normally do partial mash so I’ll follow what they say.

Put grains in grain bag, tie it off, and place into pot with 2.5 gallons of water, and raise the water temp to 170°. In a separate pot, I heated 2 qts of water to around 170°. When the grain pot hit 170°, I pulled out the bag out and set it in a colander over the pot, then rinsed (sparged) the grains with the other pot of hot water.

Grains in grain bag steeping with temp probe set to 170°.



Bring to a boil, then remove from heat to add the gold extract syrup. You must remove it from the burner or you will burn the extract. I don’t care how good you think you are, remove it from heat and stir until the syrup is dissolved. No body is that good…not even..heh heh…me.

When you’re certain it’s dissolved, put it back on the burner and return to boil. At that time add 1/2 oz of the  hops.

Full boil


hop addition at beginning


After this, we do nothing to the beer until 45  min into the boil. At which time we will add the other 1/2 oz of hops, and the other bottle of extract syrup, and the one pound bag of pilsen dme (see? weird).

At 60 minutes, we add an entire oz of hops before beginning the cool down process. (I think those brew scientists at Northern Brewer may have been oversampling their wares when they thought up this one).

Now is the time to prepare for the cool down. Get the carboy ready (6 1/2 gallon). Get aireator, and check on ice supply.

I have put a gallon of bottled water into the freezer to aid in expediting the cooling off process.

I have also decided to put the beer in the carboy and move it to the spare room before topping off with the water. That sombitch is too heavy to carry across the house with a full batch. I will also aireate the beer in there before pitching yeast. Will also take gravity at that time.

All kidding and joking aside, this has been probably the most frustrating beer I have ever made. Everything was going smooth until I was straining the @!X$*& hop pellets. Guess what? My funnel strainer, which I have been using fifteen years, would not strain the hop pellets because they are ground too fine.

That’s great. Now I have 4.9 gallons with beer with the rest as hop sludge. Wait! There’s more! I have to add two more ounces in the secondary fermenter.

It’s gonna be hell to filter out those hops.

OG was 1.050.

I can only hope that someone from Northern Brewer reads this.

See you in a week or so when I rack to secondary.

I’m anxious to put this one behind me. The only consolation will be if the beer is any good.

One more thing; the yeast looks like paste; you remember the kind you used to eat in kindergarten?

I saw my yeast chunks floating in my beer when I gave it a shake and watched them go round and round.

I misplace my dual line aerator which kinda set me off on this ran. I cannot imagine where it is. It should have been with the aquarium stuff…not. That leaves, well the whole world because I have no idea. I did have a cheap Whisper 200 that barely works.

Well shit. Now time to clean up.

Update: next day

At least it’s fermenting


Update: 11/20/15

The ferment has stopped so I racked the beer today to the other 2 ounces of pellet hops. The gravity was 1.012 which is excellent.



Right on target.

The instructions say to let sit two weeks in secondary, then bottle. This method of putting hops in secondary is called ‘dry-hopping’. It will give the beer a stronger hop aroma.

12/5/2015 Bottling Day

This day we have been anticipating for two weeks now. As you recall, we racked our primary onto 2 ounces of pellet hops for two weeks and we call this ‘dry hopping’.

I’m sure I will have another name for it like “another way for X to discover new curse words” as I have indicated it will be difficult to filter out the pellet hop granules. We have a plan of course, but no backup.

First of all, we must calculate the number of bottles we need. 5 gallons of beer is 640 ounces.

I have 16 fifteen ounce flip top bottles which is 240 ounces which leaves us with 640-240=400 ounces. I am also going to fill 5 1 liter bottles at 33 ounces each which comes out to 165 ounces leaving us 400-165=235 ounces. I could use another 16 flip tops which would take up the rest of the beer. However, I do not have room in my fridge for 2 cases of 15 ounce flip tops. So perhaps 4 two liter bottles will do as I can give those away; some are destined to be shipped.

Will have to make that decision by bottling time.

A decision has been made. I went with the 4 two-liter bottles instead of the extra case.


Note the sediment which is mostly hop pellets. Will use a hop bag on the end of the siphon to filter. Beyond that, the bottles will just have sludge in them.



I bottled today to 3/4 C corn sugar and 2 C water.

I thought I had a small hop bag…I don’t. So I did not filter the hops. I set the racking cane in the center of the bottom (the bottom is slightly convex in the center). The standoff on the end of the cane kept the bulk of the hops from getting into the siphon. It also cost about a liter of beer I had to leave behind…seems all I do is sacrifice.

I did not check gravity.

I bottled to 16 16 oz flip top bottles, 5 1 liter bottles, and 3 2 liter bottles: one only half full which will be my sample bottle.

The beer has a nice color. Now we’ll watch for the carbonation. I’ve been kinda snakebit in that department in recent brews, having only one batch that carbonated correctly (Blue Moon).

Update: 12/9/15

Snakebit no more. This stuff carbonated overnight (not quite). I put it all in the fridge this morning for sampling tonight. The plastic bottles were rock hard. Time to refrigerate.


I am not a connoisseur in anything, I just know what I  like.

This is good beer.

It is a hoppy beer as defined by a pale ale style.

Not a lot of hop nose, but definite hints of pine in the beer itself.


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Coming Soon: Another batch of beer

Azacca single hop pale ale. Have i already posted about this one? It seems familiar. Anyway, I was toying around with brewing a Holiday Ale and decided to do this kit instead. It sure looked good. Just under $60 with the White labs yeast and shipping.

I will probably brew this coming Monday as the beer is supposed to take six weeks before it’s ready. That would put it right after Christmas.

This will be very different from any beer I have brewed before; at leoast the technique will be, if I decide to follow it.

This brew uses cracked grains, no big deal.

It uses two types of extract syrup; 3.3 lbs each. One is called golden syrup, the other is pilsen malt syrup (shrug). The golden syrup is called to be added at the last fifteen minutes of the boil. WTF?

There are four ounces of pellet hops as well. The pain in the ass about pellet hops is that they are very fine and clog up the screen in the funnel. The recipe calls for 2 ounces of pellet hops in the secondary fermenter with no provision for ridding the beer of them say for “don’t pour the hop sludge into your mug when serving”. Not kidding.

If I’d have know this, I would not have purchased it.

The only way to sidestep the pellet hop issue is to use a hop bag in the secondary. It should contain most of the hops. Will do separate recipe post for the brew when I do it. Should be tomorrow, the 15th.

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Honey Wheat Bread

4 3/4-5 3/4 C all purpose flour

2 C whole wheat flour

2 pkg dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)

1/3 C honey

1 C milk

1 C warm water

3 T butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 T salt

1 tsp sugar

Add 1 tsp sugar to warm water with yeast; stir and set aside.

Put butter in milk and heat for about 40 seconds in m/w until butter melts.

When yeast is proofed, add mixture to mixer bowl with milk. Add eggs and salt and honey.

Add 2 C whole wheat flour.

Add rest of AP flour until dough sticks to hook and cleans side of mixing bowl.

Knead for two minutes, and place dough into greased bowl. Let rise until doubled in size.

Place into greased loaf pans and let rise again until double.

Bake at 350° for 35-30 minutes.

Brush tops with butter when removed from oven.

Proof your yeast and your patience will be rewarded.


X doesn’t mess around with piddly 5 lb bags of flour.


I’ve had this for 30 years. Worth every penny. X used to do it by hand but he graduated to the Kitchenaid.


Ready to rise




I shaped the dough into three loaves…yes, that is a cast iron loaf pan




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Rum Cake

I got this out of a little pamphlet the local liquor store gave out many years ago. It’s still the best one I’ve used. Use a bundt pan for this. From Bacardi.

1 box yellow cake mix

1 3 3/4 oz Jell-O Vanilla instant pudding and pie filling

1 C chopped walnuts or pecans

4 eggs

1/2 C cold water

1/2 C oil

1/2 C dark rum


1 stick butter

1 C sugar

1/4 C water

1/2 C dark rum

Preheat oven to 325°.

Mix cake ingredients together and pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until done.

Let cool completely and invert onto platter. Prick top  to allow glaze to penetrate. Drizzle glaze over top.


Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Bring to boil and do so for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before stirring in rum.

Note: be sure the Jell-O is Instant.

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