Sarah & Shane (Try to) Smoke Some Ribs

Disclaimer: This is not a recipe, this is a story about our weekend shenanigans. Just want to put that out there.

This past weekend, Shane and I decided that the St. Louis pork ribs in the freezer should no longer be in the freezer, and should be eaten instead. We recently bought a grill/smoker combo, so we figured we’d try out the smoker function for the first time. There was a trip to the grocery store (masked and with liberal use of hand sanitizer, of course) for a couple extra racks of ribs and wood chips.

Then the business began – we opened and rinsed the ribs, dried them off, then added the rub. While all this is going on, Shane set up the fire in the smoker. It was almost ready when the rain began. We sat on the back porch for a few minutes waiting for what we assumed was a summer shower but then it just got worse. So much worse. It became a rain going sideways, full-on creek in the backyard, impossible to see through storm. There was much steam off the smoker, and much grumbling from Shane.

So, change of plans. The ribs got wrapped up in what still seems like an excessive amount of aluminum foil and put into the oven on low heat. When I say that the house smelled delicious a couple hours in, I mean it. It was mouthwatering. They hung out in there for about 4 hours.

By the time we were ready to pull the ribs out of the oven, the weather had cleared up enough to fire up the smoker again and finish them in there. We had 4 racks of ribs and had one with just apple cider vinegar and the rub, one with a mustard based sauce, one with Stubbs Sweet Heat (I’m a sucker for anything Sweet Heat), and then one with my favorite bbq sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s. We usually make our own barbecue sauces (well, Shane does. I don’t.), but there is no shame in the store bought stuff.

After we smoked them for a bit and basted a couple times it was on. Shane said he was “truly impressed with the amount of ribs [I] ate.”, so you know it was a success. It was a bummer that we weren’t able to spend a summer afternoon just hanging out drinking hard lemonade and White Claws, but the ribs were worth it in the end. Also, it was almost 100F outside, so I guess it wasn’t too much of a loss.

I put the pictures up above – they were truly delicious.


25 Recipes I Really Want to Make

There are a ton of recipes I want to make, but I have a “One Day” section of a Pinterest board that has 25 recipes that I really want to make. Well, not really those specific recipes but they represent the food I want to make. Now, some of these recipes are difficult, but a lot are just recipes I can’t easily find the ingredients for, keep saying I want to make but don’t, or just haven’t found the right opportunity to make. The below list is in no particular order.

The Recipes:

  1. Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits
    • Who doesn’t want to make these? They’re delicious.
  2. Gyro
    • I love gyros, and I already make a mean tzatziki sauce, so the next step is obviously making the actual meat. And the flat bread to go along with it.
  3. Mushroom Brie Fondue
    • I love fondue, and I think this specific type of fondue sounds amazing.
  4. Tortillas
    • We would save so much money if we made our own tortillas. We go through at least 20 a week.
  5. Russian Dressing
    • This type of dressing is weirdly hard to find, but I love it, so I want to have a backup plan.
  6. Peach Jalapeno Jam
    • I’ve never made jam before and would like to.
  7. Gochujang
  8. Kimchi
    • This and gochujang are really for Shane. He loves kimchi, and we get it homemade from a local Asian grocery store, but it’d be nice to make it ourselves sometimes. I’m just interested in fermenting the gochujang.
  9. Pretzels
    • The soft kind, that you can rip up and dip in cheddar beer sauce.
  10. Lobster Roll
    • Please take me back to Maine.
  11. Gravlax
    • This is something my parents used to make, and while I love gravlax themselves. there’s definitely a nostalgia factor in play.
  12. Jaegerschnitzel
    • This just looks tasty and I’m into it.
  13. Summer Rolls
    • I don’t like egg rolls, spring rolls are okay, but summer rolls are my jimmy-jam. They’re so refreshing.
  14. Fried Green Tomatoes
    • These are so delicious, so if I can find green tomatoes, I definitely want to try my hand at it.
  15. Vietnamese Noodle Salad
    • When we go get Vietnamese, Shane gets pho and I get a cold noodle salad. They’re so good, I’d like to have one in my rotation.
  16. Ravioli
  17. Gnocchi
    • Ravioli & gnocchi are 2 pastas we’ve never made and take the skill up a notch from what we normally make.
  18. Khachapuri
    • I didn’t even know this existed until early this year, but it’s my favorite food to get at a little place we like to go. I’d like to make it once, and then let them make it for me the rest of the time. It’s called “Georgian Cheese Bread” in case you’re wondering what it is.
  19. Beignets
    • Another one based solely on how tasty it is.
  20. Beef Wellington
    • This just seems like a good challenge. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had it.
  21. Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich
    • We didn’t get to try this when we were in Nashville last year, and I’d like to see if we can recreate them here. Though I guess we won’t know how they compare. Oh well.
  22. Hush Puppies
    • I didn’t know I loved these until last summer, and these are definitely another “want to learn how to make just so I can have them whenever I want them”.
  23. Crab Rangoon
    • My #1 comfort food definitely needs to be on rotation.
  24. Naan
    • I’m beginning to realize that most of this list isn’t about techniques, it’s about things I enjoy stuffing into my face.
  25. Seafood Chowder
    • I seriously miss Maine.

And that’s the (current) list, it’ll definitely be updated continually. One of the reasons we bought the house we did was the amazing kitchen and I’ve been really enjoying it. I can’t wait to explore some of these recipes.

Cooking · Life & Family

Remembering My Mom Through Food

I think about my mom a lot, sometimes I imagine the conversations we would have about whatever’s going on in my life. I’m lucky in that while memories hurt, I enjoy thinking about her. I still like to poke fun at her, to be honest.

A lot of memories associated with my mom center on food. Dinners growing up, holidays, special occasions – and the random gourmet level recipes she made with my brother. But even more than that there are specific dishes that are tied so tightly to her in my memory that even considering making them makes me feel closer to her.

She made a specific potato salad – one with Russian dressing – that wasn’t in the recipe box I got after her death. I found a close-enough version online and while it needs some tweaks, it immediately made me fall into a well of (happy) memories. “Brown Rice” aka stick of butter rice that would be fought over by everyone. It was the best side to another Mom memory – soy sauce marinaded flank steak with horseradish.

I’m realizing that the rest of these are pretty standard family holiday foods – mashed potatoes with “too much” garlic, green bean casserole, crescent rolls from a can, specific types of cookies, fudge, etc. The sight of a little dish with tiny gherkins and both green and black olives. There have to be both types of olives, it’s the law. Even the process of canning or making fresh pasta makes me think of my mom. I want to learn to can things because my mom did and I want to share that with her.

She also passed down an interest in grocery stores in other places. I think it comes from growing up/living in a small town – we had to drive 2 hours away to get a lot of the ingredients my mom and brother needed. Standing in a fancy grocery store buying things that my childhood home’s stores would have never carried is imprinted in my mind. And getting the mini coffee at Fresh Market feeling very grown up.

We went to New Orleans once, just the two of us, and we hit up the grocery stores as soon as we could. Regional differences in food and the way grocery store are made are a real thing. Shane has indulged my need to check out grocery stores in the cities we visit for years now.

There were so many long, loud dinners and those memories really carry me through some of my worst times.

Sorry if this is rambling and doesn’t make much sense. I just wanted to get this “down on paper”.


Blogmas · Cooking

Haystack Cookies

Welcome to my first recipe post! Luckily for y’all, if I keep doing these posts, I have 0 children so I won’t ever talk about sneaking veggies past their super sensitive palates. Also, Shane eats everything except sweets so I won’t have to talk about how picky of an eater he is.

On to the best, simplest Christmas cookies ever. No pictures, though, since my mom is making them this year & I refuse to go digging for pictures from last year.

Haystack Cookies

Stuff to gather:

  • 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of butterscotch chips
  • 1-2 T creamy peanut butter
    • Or any other nut butter, or leave it out.
  • 1 1/2 cups (more or less – you do you) of chow mein noodles.
    • You can use peanuts, but that’s an inferior situation 😉

Putting it together:

  • Put everything except the noodles in a microwave safe bowl or in an improvised double boiler.
  • Melt it all together (either microwave with lots of breaks or using the boil/bowl method).
  • Mix it a bit.
  • Throw those noodles in.
  • Mix some more.
  • Line a tray/baking sheet/countertop with wax paper
  • Use your biggest spoon and scoop spoonfuls of the deliciousness until you’re out of mix.
  • Throw your tray/baking sheet/slice of wax paper into the fridge for *at least* an hour.
  • Eat too many & get a sugar headache.
  • Store the few left in an airtight container on your counter.
    • Or get a loved one to hide them from you and dole them out as needed.

Note: Be careful, those noodles are super hard to bite through.