Hiking Photo–West Glacier Trail

Went up the West Glacier Trail last week.  After we passed the 1.25 miles, there were no other footprints in the snow – It is always enjoyable being the first up the trail in the winter.



Adventures in Canning – Chili

Cooking_November12_DSC_1385In the past few weeks I have canned 57 pints of various beans, and just completed canning 25 pints of chili and beans. I really do not have a defined recipe for the chili, it was simply a mixture of meat, beans, tomato sauce and paste, as well as spices.  I just eyeball everything and it usually tastes good. 

I will post the hot salsa recipe next week, as I need to can some more.


Recipe:  ChiliCooking_28Nov12_DSC_1437


2 pounds Pinto Beans
2 Pounds Ground Beef – extra lean
3 pounds Pork lion – extra lean
4 cans Tomato sauce
2 cans Tomato paste
Chili Powder
Seasoning salt
Hot Salsa – Homemade
Water – as needed to ensure beans rehydrate and to thin chili mixture.


1. Soak beans for 24 hours and rinse very well.
2. Brown meat and add all of the ingredients except the beans.  Simmer for an hour – let sit overnight (or not).
3. Combine rinsed beans with the chili mixture and heat until almost hot (or cold pack – up to you).
4. Place in pint jars leaving one inch head space. 
5. Slowly heat canner until it starts venting – I take about 40 or so minutes for this. 
6. Vent for 10 minutes.
7. Process at 10 pounds for 75 minutes.
8. You know the rest.

One thing I will do differently next time is not mix the beans with the chili prior to filling the jars.  In the future, I will add the beans to the jars, then add the chili mixture.  What I found is that the final 6 or so jars had too many beans and not enough meat.

An image of the 25 pints of chili – all sealed and ready to store:


After a Long Day Cooking!

After a long day of cooking and cleaning for Thanksgiving, my Carmel Amber Ale was the perfect beer to finish the night with:


Cherry Pie–Thanksgiving Day.

As part of my Thanksgiving Dinner, I made a Cherry Pie.   I am not a fan of cherry pie, but my brother is, so I decided to make one for him.  Everyone liked the pie, and I think that the crust is probably the best crust I have made.  It was very flaky and flavorful, and it was tender.  People usually do not comment much on the crust, but I think everyone at dinner told me how good the crust was. 

The pie only had about 4 hours to cool, but the filling had set enough where the filling was not runny.  I was going to use corn starch because I had it on hand, but I looked up the differences of corn and potato starch, and decided to go with the potato starch as the original recipe indicated.  I used regular, not low fat, cream cheese.  The original recipe calls for almond extract but I ran out, so I substituted vanilla extract – no one complained.

Below is an image of my pie along with some corn bread.


Recipe:  Cherry Pie


2 1/2 cup Flour – All purpose
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoons Salt
8  tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces – frozen
4 tablespoons Shortening, in chunks – frozen
8  tablespoons Cream cheese, cold
1/3 cup Water – Cold

Pie Filling:

3 cans Tart Cherries (14.5 ounces each) – water packed and drained – reserve one cup cherry juice.
1 cup Cherry juice reserved from above
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Potato starch
1/2  teaspoons Vanilla extract
1 tablespoons Butter

Pie Top:

1 each Egg white – lightly beaten
1 1/2  tablespoons Sugar


1. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, salt and 8 tablespoons frozen butter.  Pulse 4 – 5 times.  Add sour cream and shortening.  Pulse 4 – 5 times.
2. Place mixture in bowl and add water, gently mixing until water incorporated.  Add additional water if necessary.
3. Divide dough evenly into two balls.  Place balls in plastic wrap, flatten, and allow to rest in refrigerator at least one hour.
4. Place oven rack on the lowest position.  Place pizza stone on rack and cover with aluminum foil.  Preheat oven to 375. 
5. In a saucepan, place 1 cup cherry juice, 1 cup sugar, potato starch, and a pinch of salt.  Cook on medium heat until mixture is very thick.  When thick, add vanilla extract.
6. Dump thickened mixture onto cherries, and combine well. Allow to cool before proceeding.
7. Take dough out of refrigerator and roll into appropriate size.  Place dough into pie pan and dump cherry mixture into pan. Dot with butter
8. Roll out pie top and place on pie – crimp as desired.
9. Place pie in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
10. After 20 minutes, remove pie from oven and brush with egg white and sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar on to top.
11. Return to oven and bake 20 minutes longer.
12. To prevent excess browning, after 20 minutes, cover crust with the foil that the pie is sitting on and bake for another 20 minutes, or until filling is bubbling.
13. Remove pie from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack

Adapted fromhttp://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/perfect-cherry-pie

Using a pizza stone with foil as in #4 above was an excellent idea.  The pie cooked evenly and the crust did not burn or become excessively brown.  I will continue to use this method with pies.

Thanksgiving Dinner – 2012

Thanksgiving_23Nov12_DSC_1391This year, for Thanksgiving, I decided to have a simple, but good, meal.  I did not want leftovers, and I did not want to work for two days cooking.  So,  I came up with an easy menu that included:  Crown Roast of Pork, Rice, Corn, Corn Bread, Roasted Vegetables, Eggless-Milkless-Butterless Cake, Cherry Pie, and Home Made Vanilla Ice Cream.

While I have two good recipes for the roast and pie, I decided to try new recipes for these items, and I have included the crown roast recipe below.  For the other items, I went with my existing recipes, and the rice was more or less ad-hoc.

First, the rice.  I simply took enough short-grain white rice for 8 people and rinsed it until the water ran clear.  I placed the rice in a strainer, and set it aside to dry for about 3 hours stirring occasionally so all rice was exposed to the air.   When dry, I cooked the rice in enough butter to coat all of the rice, one stick in this case, until some of the rice started to take on a bit of color.  I then added organic chicken broth to complete the cooking.  I wanted the rice to have a bit of tooth, so I shorted the broth just a bit, as I had plans for it……See Notes in recipe.Thanksgiving_23Nov12_DSC_1423

The above image is of the finished roast, and the image below is what was left over – a perfect amount!

Recipe:  Crown Roast of PorkThanksgiving_23Nov12_DSC_1428


1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup Sugar
3 each Sage Leaf
3 sprigs Thyme
1 each Bay leaf
3 each Cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Juniper Berries – Crushed
1 teaspoon  Allspice berries – Crushed
1/2 teaspoon  Peppercorns – Crushed
4  cups Water – Cold
4  Cups Ice water

Herb Paste:

4 each Garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Fresh Sage – Chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme – Chopped
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon Peppercorns – Ground


10 pounds Crown Roast of Pork



1. 24 hours prior to cooking:  Combine all brine ingredients with 2 cups water.  Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Simmer until all ingredients dissolved.
2. Take off of heat and add ice water.
3. Pour cooled brine over roast and brine for 24 hours.

Herb Paste:

The night before – Mix all paste ingredients and set in covered bowl in refrigerator until needed.


2 hours prior to cooking:

Take roast out of brine and rinse roast with cold water to remove excess salt.  Set aside and let come to room temperature.

1 hour prior to cooking:

Rub roast with Herb Paste – Place roast in shallow roasting pan and allow paste to marinate roast.

30 minutes prior to cooking:

Preheat oven to 450.

To Cook Roast:

1. Place roast in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.
2. Lower oven temperature to 325 after 15 minutes and roast until internal temperature is 150 degrees – about 2 hours.
3. Take roast out of oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Note:  Rice Stuffing – 30 minutes prior to completion of roast – Stuff roast with rice.  Place remaining rice in roasting dish along with the roast, and cover with foil.  This will allow the rice to cook further and absorb the juices from the meat.

Note2 – Rice Stuffing: Because of the rinsing, the rice will absorb some water, so that has to be taken into consideration when cooking.

Adapted from: http://leitesculinaria.com/

Overall, this was an excellent dinner.  The roast was very moist and tender, while the rice was extremely flavorful.  Unusually, I did not make gravy for this dinner.  However, because of the quality of the meat, and the flavor of the rice, gravy was not needed and would have been.  The only thing that I may change in the future is taking the roast out at 145 degrees rather than 150. 

Two mistakes that turned out rather well:  I usually bake my cornbread in a round springform pan, and my cake in a square cake pan.  I don’t know why, but when I made my cornbread, I put it in the cake pan, requiring that I make the cake in the springform pan.  This resulted in a thinner than normal cornbread, and a thicker cake.  However, both turned out excellently, and I may do this again in the future.   

I will post images and the recipe for the cherry pie in a future post.

Roasted Vegetables – convection roasted at 450 degrees for around 30 minutes:


Death Panel – For Turkeys?


This is just too funny not to comment on:

It seems that the turkey that President Obama pardoned last year was murdered (euthanized) the day before Thanksgiving this year.  The reasons for the murder of the innocent turkey have not been given, but it was noted that the residence of the now deceased turkey also has a restaurant that serves turkey for Thanksgiving.  

Death Panel preview?  You decide!

The story can be read at World Net Daily.

Palestinian–What is it?

myqiKIt seems that the liberal Left, and some ignorant conservatives, are once again blaming Israel for the violence in the mid-East.  Somehow, Israel is oppressing the terrorist Palestinians by “occupying” land that belongs to Palestinian “refugees”.  Please remember these two words:  “occupying” and “refugees”.   Hint:  if you are “occupying” the land belonging to “refugees”, you would be “occupying” land from whence the “refugees” came, not the land they occupy currently.  That is not a difficult concept to understand, but apparently, the lies of the Left, and most of what the Left says are lies, have actually convinced the masses of ignorant Americans that a Palestinian, and Palestine, are actual entities.  So, in just a few short paragraphs, and some fun images, lets take a quick look at what a Palestinian is (besides a terrorist):

Dateline -136 years after the birth of Jesus:  The Romans, in an attempt to punish the Jews after the Jewish rebellion against Roman occupation, changed the name of Israel/Judea, to Palestine.  Jesus, a Jew living in Judea/Israel, was never a Palestinian, never a martyr for islam or an islamic Prophet, and was not the son of Mary the Palestinian, as the muslim terrorist propagandists say he was [ex., Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov 18, 2005]. 

How did the Palestinians become “refugees”?  Well, in 1948 they willingly left their homes in Israel on orders from Arab leaders.  Apparently, the Arabs ordered the muslims out of Israel in preparation of the Arab war with Israel.  In this war, the Arab muslims intended on destroying the Jews and suggested that the muslims who left Israel would be able to return soon.  From Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008: “The reason for the Palestinian Catastrophe (establishment of Israel and the refugee problem) are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing out catastrophes today..The first way between Arabs and Israel had started, and the “Arab Salvation Army” told the Palestinians: “We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state.  Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely.  Leave them so we can fulfill out mission (liquidate Israel) in the best way and so you won’t be hurt.”  That was 64years ago. 

So, lets look at the above.  It tells us that it was the Arab muslims, not the Israeli’s that caused the Palestinians to become refugees.  It is also the muslims that continue to oppress the Palestinians, deny them human rights, allow them to die, and deny the Palestinians any homeland.  Why do the Arab muslims continue to terrorize the Palestinians?  Simply because they are excellent pawns that can be used against Israel and all Jews; the stated enemies of the religion of terror we call islam.  If the Palestinians were as loved by other muslims as we are told, why are they denied access to muslim countries, or not otherwise integrated into Arab society and infrastructure?  Because if the “refugees” were integrated into Arab society, their unique status that is now used to demonstrate the false crimes of Israel would no longer be available.  Again, the Arab muslims use the Palestinians as pawns, and have no interest in their rights or humanity.5DteP

What are the “occupied ” territories, and to whom did they belong?  Well, the territories did not belong to the Palestinian refugees.  In fact, they are territories captures by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War.  The land was captured from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt.  What happens when Israel swaps land for peace?  Take for example, The Gaza Strip, land captured from Egypt, which was returned to Hamas rule in 2005.  When Israel heft the Gaza, they left the majority of the infrastructure intact.  Farms, communities, and other features that the muslims could have used to better their existence, were there and could have been built upon.  However, in typical muslim fashion, Hamas destroyed much of the infrastructure, complained they had nothing and needed more aid, and proceeded to attach Israel with rockets, mortars, and terrorists. 

That is enough for today, so I will close with this – So, the mid-East is once again in a state of war.  Terrorist muslims are bombarding Israel with rockets.  Israel is fighting back, defending its right to exist and not taking the offensive – yet. The ignorant liberal press and propagandists are blaming Israel.  All the while, President Obama, himself an anti-American islamic sympathizer, has been silent on the issue.  Interestingly though, Obama was quite vocal on the Benghazi issue, when muslim terrorists murdered, with the aid of Obama, 4 Americans.  Of course, Obama used this opportunity to once again blame America for its past actions and for the attack, again never blaming his brothers in the terrorist muslim “religion” of hate.  To Obama I dedicate the below image, fitting in its ignorance and as a representation of the ignorance of those who voted our own terrorist into the presidency:w6M7y

Canning Lima Beans

I love beans.  Any type of bean that is except black eyed peas that is.  One of the problems though is that when I make beans, I make a huge pot and I end up eating them in just a few days.  To remedy this issue, I have always thought about canning beans, and finally today, I made a batch of beans and canned them.  This is the first time that I have canned beans, so it is going to be interesting to see how they turn out.Cooking_08Nov12_DSC_1364

Simply to make, I soaked the beans while I was at work, rinsed them twice when I arrived home, and then simmered them for 30 minutes.  I used 4 pounds of dried lima beans, which made 18 one quart jars.  Each jar received 1/8 teaspoon of natural salt and a of bit pepper.


To can, I filled the jars to about an inch from the rim, heated the canner over the period of 25 minutes until the processor was venting properly.  I vented for 10 minutes and then processed at 10 pounds for 70 minutes.  After done, I allowed the canner to cool for an hour, and then took the jars out.  The last lid just popped, so all jars processed correctly.

Tomorrow, I plan to do navy beans.

For All Those That Voted For Obama

“If ye love wealth better than liberty,

the tranquility of servitude

better than the animating contest of freedom,

go home from us in peace.

We ask not your counsels or your arms.

Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.

May your chains set lightly upon you,

and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

Samuel Adams – 1722-1803




Next Page »