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Home Made Italian Sausage

With the price of beef so high, I am exploring ways to cut costs on other meats. I’m trying to keep the total cost of all meats at a 2.50 per pound average.

Just a 20 minute drive away is the neatest meat shop. Ozark Meats in Grandin, MO. It is clean as a pin! By far, the cleanest butcher store/meat processor I’ve ever visited.

I called them about a week ago and asked for fresh, never frozen ground pork. They called me when they ground my 10 pound order. Today we picked it up, along with 25 pounds of ground beef, frozen in 1# packages. It was on sale for $3.99 per pound. Their ground beef is like ground sirloin. You never need to drain it because it is so lean. That is a huge savings in itself with no product lost.

We came home and started the spicing and mixing process. We mixed two pound at a time, so if you are trying this recipe with only one pound of ground pork, please reduce the spices by one half.

2 pounds ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sage

Combine well and divide in half, and place each half in a freezer bag.

For the HOT version, adjust to 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon cayenne.

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Christmas Ringtones

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I have a new phone and lost all my ringtones. Since I like all kinds of music, and I think outside of the proverbial box. I got busy making some new ringtones. I thought I’d share them with all of you.

If you like the ringtones, you’ll love the complete songs, and in most cases, the entire albums.

Here are some links to their music:

Pentatonix

Celtic Thunder

Bob Rivers Comedy

Bing Crosby

Gaither Homecoming

Mariah Carey

Here is the list of ringtones:

  • 12 Pains of Christmas
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Hershey’s Kisses – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas
  • Joy To The World
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You
  • Mary Did You Know
  • Sleigh Ride
  • The True Meaning Of Christmas (Linus from Charlie Brown Christmas)
  • White Christmas

These ringtones are ready to load on Android devices. If you have an iPhone, you will need to download and convert them in iTunes before they will play on your iPhone.

You can download these ringtones at this link.

“See Ya Later” Mama Ruth

A dear family friend passed away this morning.  The tears I shed are selfish ones, because the suffering for her is over.

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“Mama Ruth” Maahs is on the right, my own mama is on the left.

About 10 years ago, I accidentally wrote a song when I found out my brother had terminal cancer. The composition is courtesy of one of my dearest friends, Tony Baggett and is appropriate now for Mama Ruth.

The lyrics are below, and the MP3 file can be found here.

Our time together is soon to be no more
But you see, it’s only temporary.
Because Jesus is our Savior, of that we are sure
We’ll meet again, you and me
 
And we when again get together
The angels will hush their singing
Shouts of joy forever will have Heaven’s walls ringing
 
I can’t say goodbye because it won’t be forever.
Wait for me at Jesus’ feet until we are together.
Show me ’round that city, the paradise you’ve found
Tell me of the glory as we walk around.
No more tears where eternity begins
Your journey here is over
But your memory never, ever ends
And while our hearts are heavy
It’s not goodbye we say, but
We’ll see you later.
 
While together here we traveled a road
We laughed, we cried
We shared life’s loads.
Someday soon, we will hurt no more
In the presence of perfection
There’s glory in store
 
Sing with angels, we’ll worship together
Around His throne, forever and ever
The world behind us, then perfectly complete
Pain and sorrows gone, no more grief.
 
I can’t say goodbye because it won’t be forever.
Wait for me at Jesus’ feet until we are together.
Show me ’round that city, the paradise you’ve found
Tell me of the glory as we walk around.
No more tears where eternity begins
Your journey here is over
But your memory never, ever ends
And while our hearts are heavy
It’s not goodbye we say, but
We’ll see you later.
 
See you later…….
 
See you later.

Country Ranch Potato Salad

Country Ranch Potato Salad

This recipe is the easiest potato salad you’ll ever make! It can be served warm or cold, but we prefer it warm. I make it ahead of time and keep it warm in a slow cooker. It’s a crowd pleaser and you probably won’t have leftovers. When you guests ask for the recipe, you can point them to Kim’s Random Life where they can bookmark or print it for themselves.

Because this is such a loved recipe, I usually start with 5 pounds of potatoes. Use your favorites: Russet, Yukon Gold, Redskin, just whatever you like or have on hand.  Just remember if you leave the peeling on the potatoes, please scrub them well.

Boil 5 pounds of large (bite size) potatoes and drain.

To drained, still hot potatoes add:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sour cream (depending on your preference for sour cream)
  • 1 package (3 ounce) of real bacon bits.  Not the ones in a jar, the ones in a bag
  • tops of 2 green onions or chopped chives
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar, but have used mild cheddar often)
  • Black pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together, but don’t over mix. Some of the potatoes will cream, but leave as many chunks as you can.

The next step is really a matter of personal liking and taste. Add 1/2 of a packet of your favorite Ranch dressing or dip mix. I use the Aldi store brand for $.59. Stir and taste. If you prefer more ranch flavoring, add as much as you want. Just be very careful because you can make it too salty. Notice that there is no salt in this recipe. That’s because the dressing powder mix offers plenty.

Happy Memorial Day grilling, my fellow foodies! Let me know how you like this recipe after you try it. Be safe!

 

Heavenly Hamburger! (I’m revealing my secret ingredient)

In the St. Louis area visiting our daughter and future son-in-law, and I decided it’s a comfort food kind of long weekend. Tonight we had my Heavenly Hamburgers with oven-roasted steak fries and baked beans. (I cheated on those and opened a can. Yeah, ugh.) Tomorrow night we’re having my mom’s world’s best chicken pot pie. Saturday is a toss-up between Belly Bombers or another St. Louis specialty, Imo’s Pizza.

I’m about to divulge a secret for the delicious burgers that have become an envied staple among family and friends. It comes from a small bottle, it is extremely hard to find, and we went without this seasoning for about 10 years until we FINALLY found it online again about 3 years ago. It’s a little bottle of miracle flavoring called Grill In, Grill Out

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Whether you’re broiling burgers in the oven, pan searing them on the stove top, cooking on an outdoor grill (we never use gas grills, only charcoal or hardwood) or firing up the Foreman indoor grill, this is your ticket to the best burger you’ll ever eat. It works with ground beef, ground turkey and even ground chicken. (More on the other meats in future posts). Tonight we had beef.

2013-03-21_18-54-33_817I made five HUGE burgers tonight, using 2.2 pounds of ground sirloin. I prefer chuck for flavor in the burger, but we are at our daughter’s house, and she prefers sirloin.  In a large mixing bowl I combined the following:

  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp Grill In Grill Out
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash – Original Blend
  • Large pinch black pepper

Mix well, and divide into about 8 servings (Trust me, 5 huge burgers were WAY too much out of this much meat!)  Pat the ground beef in to burgers, and liberally sprinkle both sides with Grill In Grill Out.  Tonight I cooked them on the stove top, so I preheated 2 large skillets, added about a tablespoon of olive oil to each pan and quickly seared both sides of the hamburger patties. Reduce the heat to low, and allow the burgers to cook slowly in the pan until desired level of doneness is achieved.

Tonight we topped the burgers with a slice of Provolone cheese, and another slice of Monterrey Jack cheese. Maple flavored bacon and the usual lettuce, tomato, dill pickle chips and thinly sliced onions made this burger delectable!

Note: I did not add salt to this recipe. Grill In Grill Out has salt in it, and I have made the mistake in the past of adding salt, only to have my burgers turn out not so tasty from over-salting.

You can forego the other ingredients and just add a little extra Grill In Grill Out. It’s that little something extra that has our guests at grilling parties asking, “What’s your secret?” Until now, very few knew. Order some today, and you’ll have it in your pantry inventory just in time for the beginning of the grilling season. Just wait until you get my bratwurst recipe & technique with this amazing seasoning! Stay tuned…..

DISCLAIMER: I am not paid to endorse Grill In Grill out. It is a product I believe in, and highly recommend.

My Daughter’s Childhood Reflection Regarding Death

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This was written a few years ago by my baby girl during her Junior year at Mizzou. (GO TIGERS!)  I reading it again tonight, and thought I would share. I hope you enjoy it!

Family Characters

 

            My family is full of insane people.  That is probably why I write such great stuff about my childhood and the people that influenced me.  That is also why I am insane, myself.  After days of thinking of funny stories I have heard over the years, I could only come up with a goofy story about myself as a kid, so hopefully this paper doesn’t crash and burn.  Here is the story of my Minnie the mouse’s death.

            As far as I can tell, I had a strange childhood.  Needless to say this childhood of mine involved tons of pets, which eventually led to my ability to cope with death.  When I was about five years old I received a mouse for Christmas.  I named it Minnie (like Minnie Mouse, of course).  She was pregnant when I got her, so shortly thereafter she had a litter of weird little naked baby mice; she ate like three-fourths of them.  The babies aren’t important, though.  So, I had Minnie for a couple years and one day I pulled her out of the cage, ran to my parents, and told them there was something wrong with her.  My mom says I woke them up on a Sunday morning, my dad says it was a Saturday morning in the living room.  Regardless, I claimed there was something wrong with the mouse.  They asked if she was dead, because she wasn’t moving, so I shook her really hard and declared, “Yep!  She’s dead!”  My dad says it was a pretty sad occasion; that they were both tearing up and I never was sad about it. 

            And so began the Barbie funeral procession for my dead mouse: matchbox casket, Barbie car hearse, parents as pallbearers, and me officiating.  We buried the mouse in a matchbox casket with polyester lining so she would be comfortable in the afterlife, we all carried her out to the yard to bury her in the Barbie car turned hearse, then we all said a few words over her body.  My parents returned to the house and I probably kept playing or whatever 8 year olds do.  Needless to say, my parents went on with their lives.  I didn’t seem too beaten up about it so they didn’t worry.

            The following day I came running into the house yelling.  I doubt that was very unusual, but apparently I was extra rambunctious about it.  So, here I was yelling, “Minnie’s gone!  Minnie’s gone!”  My mom calmly explained to me that of course the mouse was gone she died the day before.  I imagine my parents were pretty nervous at this point; my dad said he thinks I didn’t understand death at that age.  Nevertheless, my mother continued explaining how we had buried her yesterday and she wasn’t going to be around anymore.  Then I declared that no, Minnie wasn’t only dead, but she was no longer in the ground where we had buried her.  Now, this is the part that I remember of the story.  I decided, in my infinite childhood wisdom, that I should dig up the dead mouse to make sure she was still there.  Well, to my surprise and everyone else’s I did actually dig it up and it wasn’t there.  My dad went out in the yard with me after the screaming fit and determined that some creature had dug up Minnie in the night and carried off the matchbox and all. 

            My parents were astonished by the fact that I had dug up a dead thing.  I just wonder now what I might have done had she been there still.  I don’t remember my reasoning in digging up the mouse, but I remember thinking it was a good idea back then.  My parents still have no clue why I did it, other than I had a vibrant imagination where anything was possible.  Looking back on it now, I would speculate that I was just bored and wanted something to do.  I am an only child and have always been fascinated by our four-legged friends, so it makes sense that I could find nothing better to do that day except explore nature. 

            My dad mentioned he thought I wasn’t sure how to deal with death.  That is probably the best reason for why I dug up the dead mouse, without making me sound like a crazed lunatic.  As a child, I was always sheltered away from funerals and death.  In fact, I don’t remember going to a funeral until I was about eight, which leads me to believe it was around the same time that the mouse died. 

            We as Americans are totally weird about death.  Other cultures celebrate life, mourn the dead for a short time, and then continue on with the feeling that the spirit of the dead is guiding them.  Americans tend to freak out when a person dies, crying and screaming, never letting go of the person metaphysically.  My grandmother is a prime example of that weirdness; she goes to her mother and sister’s graves probably once a month or more, especially on holidays.  My great-grandmother (her mother) died when I was two and my great-aunt died when I was about eight.  That means both of them have been gone for over 13 years; maybe it’s just me, but graveyards are totally creepy and I never go visit them unless I am forced.  People need a connection with the dead to feel like they are still a part of them; I suppose that is why there is a whole material industry devoted to death and dying. 

            Death is sad.  That does not give us warrant to halt our own lives because of a death.  I would rather see people laughing about the good times they had with the person that wallowing in sorrow for eternity.  This is certainly one aspect of our culture I could do without.  One day, I hope that on my deathbed they put me on a floating funeral pyre and set me out to sea, burning in a wash of glory just like the Vikings.  I want to be remembered in a light-hearted way and others to never be saddened or depressed, but rather joyful and laughing.  

            The dead mouse story essentially illustrates the strange way children cope with death.  As a child, I had little understanding of what it meant other than the basics.  Maybe that’s how we should be as a culture.  There would be no crying, guilt, or anguish: just simple loss. People don’t want to die with nothing to show for their lives; they want to go out in a blaze of glory with millions of dollars and the most expensive hearse delivering them to the ground where they will reside for eternity with no fortune.  There’s a quote that keeps coming to mind from a television show, “Live together, die alone.”  In the end, we have to remember that the relationships we have in life are what are important and not that some of those people we had them with have died.

Sweet, Sweet Life

Please share this Diabetes Awareness Ribbon

 

As much as I love trying and developing new recipes, I’m having to take a hiatus from desserts. My blood sugar is giving me fits, and until it’s under control again I need to take a break from the kitchen.

For a time, this blog will focus more on crafting, decorating, thrifting & upcycling. I have some projects to start, and want to bring you with me through the process. I’m also in the middle of some classes, and that is adding just a little stress too. I’ll be finished with classes & clinical studies by the first of April. Until then, my posts will be a little sporadic.

Thank you all for the shares, the comments and the e-mails.