My Lemonade Recipe

Most of the commercial lemonade mixes are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup. They also lack the psychological flavor enhancement that only occurs when consuming your own homemade lemonade. So I share with you my recipe for tasty lemonade.

First, you’ll need to get a Meyer lemon tree and nurture it for about seven years (only a few people who read this will understand that statement). Next, once your lemons have ripened for four months, you’ll need to pick about 8 to 12 of them, halve them and then squeeze all the juice out. You’ll need 1 1/2 to 2 cups of lemon juice. Or you can just buy the lemons from the store, or as a last resort buy some real lemon juice.

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 cups cold water
  • Lots of ice
  • (Optional) substitute two cups of water with 16 oz of Raspberry or Lemon seltzer
  • (Optional) 1 cup of crushed strawberries or raspberries
  1. Bring two of your 8 cups of water to boil and then add 2 cups of sugar and continue to boil until all sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
  2. Combine cold water, lemon juice, sugar syrup in a large pitcher with lots of ice.
  3. Add seltzer for a bit of sparkle
  4. Stir well & enjoy
  5. Add a few slices of real lemon for garnish and visual appeal

If you like raspberry or strawberry in your lemonade, then crush a half cup of either fruit and mix with your syrup when boiling it.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Caramel Pie

This is a semi-bake peanut butter pie.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup of half & half or condensed milk
  • 30 caramels (to be melted)
  • 16 to 20 Nutter Butter cookies
  • 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 8 oz of cool whip or other whipped cream
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then start by crushing your Nutter Butter cookies. I do this by putting them in a gallon zip bag and then using a rolling pin to crush them until their fine.

2. Once crushed, combine them with the graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl.

3. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and then pour into the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly until the crust mixture will clump nicely.

4. Pour 3/4 of the mixture into a greased 8" or 9" springform pan. Using a coffee cup, force the mixture up the sides of the pan. Once you have an even amount of crust mixture around the entire inside of the pan, add the rest of the mixture to the bottom of the pan and compress with your hands.

5. Put the crust into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. It will burn easily, so watch it closely towards the end.

6. While the crust is baking, begin melting the caramels in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to keep the caramels from scorching while they melt. Add caramels a handful at a time, being careful not to get too many in the pan at once or the ones on the bottom could scorch.

7. Once the caramel is melted and the crust is baked, pour the caramel into the spring form pan. You will want about 1/8" to 1/4" of caramel in the bottom of the pan. Now transfer to the fridge or freezer to cool completely before adding in the filling.

Filling Preparation

1. Start by mixing together the cream cheese, peanut butter and half/half or condensed milk. Use a mixer with the paddle or a hand mixer. Mix for about 3 to 4 minutes or until creamy smooth.

2. Add in the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. It helps to sift the sugar first so you minimize lumps.

3. Using a spatula, fold in the Cool Whip until the it's fully mixed with the cream cheese and peanut butter mixture.

4. Once the caramel & crust is completely cooled, fill the spring form pan with the mixture to about 1/4" from the top of the pan.

Whipped Topping

1. Using your 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, begin beating using a hand mixer or electric whisk until peaks start to form.

2. Now add in 4 tablespoons of confectioners sugar and continue mixing until peaks form again.

3. Now apply whipped topping to the top of your pie.

4. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings.

5. Chill the pie in the freezer for two hours before serving.

Smoked Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Yesterday I smoked two 5 lb chickens to feed two adults and two toddlers. Needless to say, we had a lot of chicken left over. I whipped together this crock pot chicken noodle soup recipe that turned out quite well.

Chop your onion & slice your celery and carrots. Heat your olive oil in a sautee pan and then sautee your onion until it's translucent. Take your onion out and then sautee your celery and carrots for five minutes, stirring frequently (you can add a touch of oil if your pan is dry). While sauteeing, add 10 turns of your Italian Herb seasoning into the pan, and also add 5 turns of your Peppercorn Medley grinder, along with two turns of your sea salt grinder. At the end of 5 minutes, add your onion back in and stir for another two minutes.

Add your broth, water, measured seasonings and chicken to your crock pot and turn on high. Add your onions, carrots, celery and corn. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 to 8 hours.

Prepare whichever kind of noodles you like (I prefer wide egg noodles) and enjoy!

By the way, this will make a LOT of soup, which you can freeze.

Smoked Venison Recipe (a whole hind quarter)

Last weekend, I smoked an 18 lb venison hind quarter for my friend, Larry. I tried a small chunk after smoking it and thought it was quite tasty. I then froze it and gave the remaining 17.5 lbs to Larry. Today Larry told me that he whacked it in half and served it at a card party. Not only did Larry say that it was scrumptious, but one of his guests said, "That is the best venison I've ever had!" So, for anyone else who might want to try it, here's what I did.

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Ingredients

  • Venison hind quarter, 12 to 20 lbs, trimmed, but with some fat left on
  • 16 oz package of uncooked bacon
  • 2 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of Chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp of ground sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Morton Tender Quick (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

Mix all of the rub ingredients above together in a small bowl or a shaker. Sprinkle all over the top of the venison and then, using your hands, rub it firmly into the surface of the meat.

Now lay strips of bacon across the entire top surface of the venison. Make sure each bacon slice overlaps the previous one slightly. Since venison is so lean, this will help to keep the moisture in the venison, add a little flavor and keep the outer skin of the venison from becoming too tough. Use wooden toothpicks to hold the bacon in place.

Now let the venison sit on the counter for about an hour to reach room temperature.

Load 3 to 4 oz of hickory wood into your smoker's wood box. Smoke it to the following schedule

  1. 150 degrees - 1 hour
  2. 160 degrees - 1 hour
  3. 170 degrees - 1 hour
  4. 180 degrees - 4 hours
  5. 200 - until the internal core reaches 165 degrees

I use a Cookshack Amerique electric smoker with the temp probe set to put the smoker into hold mode when it reaches 165 degrees. I smoked this piece of venison for 30 hours. It was juicy and tender inside, but nicely smoke-sealed on the outside.

Hint: I use the Maverick RediChek Remote Wireless Smoker Thermometer to keep an eye on my smoker and food temperature while sitting inside the house.

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Is it even possible to call measuring spoons cool? If you're talking about these spoons, you bet!

If you're like me, you probably own at least one set of round measuring spoons. You've probably also tried at least once to get that big ol' tablespoon inside a jar of garlic powder, onion salt or any other small spice jar, to no avail. The solution I've always used is to very slowly and carefully try to pour the spice into the tablespoon without overfilling and spilling. Not a big problem and certainly not anything I've ever lost sleep over; however, I now own something so painfully simple that I'm now amazed that not all measuring spoons are like this.

RSVP Spice Measuring Spoon, Set of 6

 

Imagine that...measuring spoons elongated to easily fit into spice jars so that you no longer to do the slow pour routine. Go ahead, buy some, it'll be the best $12 you've spent on your kitchen in a long, long time.

Another beef cooking tip - don't pack your meatballs or burgers tightly

I usually use 1/3 of a pound of beef for a single patty and I used to pack them very tightly, so my pre-grilled burgers were at least the size of a normal coffee saucer and 1/4" thick; the post-grilled patties would fill an average bun. Even though I generally use 75/25 beef for burgers, they still end up a little dry for my taste. After some research and trial & error, I've finally figured out that my burgers were so dry because I was packing them too tightly.

Now I still use between 1/4 and 1/3 of a pound of beef per patty, but I very lightly pack the patties. The pre-grilled patties are now about 3/4 the diameter of their "tightly packed" cousins and are approximately 1/2" thick. I also add a nice dimple in the middle of each to hold my Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce while they grill. Now my burgers turn out much juicier and still fill an average size bun.

I've also applied the lightly packing tactic to my meatballs with equally satisfying results. So if your burgers, meatballs and other compressed ground beef dishes are a little on the dry side, try using less muscle the next time you prepare them.

A beef cooking tip - add salt after browning

Many people, including myself, add salt to beef before browning it, but I recently learned that my burgers, steaks and meatballs turn out juicer if I add the salt after browning the meat. According to those in the know, salt draws out moisture (makes sense) and slows the browning process.