Thursday, May 17, 2012

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I bought five bakers - those are the larger Idaho potatoes used for baked potatoes.  I washed each potato off and put them in the oven in a large pyrex baking pan that I covered with aluminum foil.  Make sure to stab each potato first with a knife a couple of times, so they won't explode in the oven.

Bake for about two hours or until done like a baked potato - soft - at 350 degrees F.  When they're done baking take them out and let them cool a little while, so you can handle them without burning yourself.

When cooled, carefully slice each potato in have with cooking knife and scoop out the insides trying to get as much of it off the skins as you can.  You'll have to leave a bit of 'tater on the skin, so the skin won't rip.  Melt about 1/2 stick of butter in microwave, and ladle about two tbs. of melted butter into each potato skin.  Put all the potato insides in a large, mixing bowl and break it up with a large spoon, so that it's in very small pieces.  Then cook a package of bacon.  I like to use maple flavored smoked bacon.

When the bacon is cooked crispy, take it out of the pan and place it on a paper towel-covered plate to drain off grease.  Let cool, so you can handle it.  Meanwhile, I picked fresh chives from my garden - a handful - and washed them.  Then I chopped them into small pieces and stirred them into the potato insides that were in the bowl.

When the bacon was cool enough to handle, I minced it into small pieces and stirred it into the potato-chive mixture.  Stire all this together well, as I did.

Then, I spooned the mixture into the potato skins, which I had carefully lined up in the large baking pan. I placed the potatoes uncovered in the oven after I sprinkled them with plenty of grated cheese.  Just bake them at 350 degrees F until the cheese melts - 10-20 minutes.  Take them out, serve with sour cream on top, and yum!  Or, if you have a dairy intolerance, like myself, use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter melted in the skins and ranch dressing on top and leave off the cheese. :o)

My husband told me these are on the top 10 things I've ever made! :oD

Barbecued Pulled-Pork

I was in the longest, largest "dinner rut" of my life!  I just didn't know what to make anymore.  My family was tired of the same dinners I'd made for the past 25 years.  Then, my husband treated me to some "scrumpdiliicious" dinners this past weekend, and it totally inspired me with some knew ideas.

First of all, I have been using recipes from for about a decade, and they have GREAT recipes.  It's still a free website.  Here is a delicious recipe for barbecue sauce that I found tonight:

Next, I needed the smoked pulled-pork.  I've never smoked meat in my life, although I have used the liquid smoke.  I happen to have in my cupboard Cabela's Jamaican Island Rum seasoning.  You can find it here:
It's $7.99 for a 10 oz. bottle and worth every penny, plus a little bit of rub goes a long way!
I rubbed the small, pork roasts all over with a bit of the Cabela's seasoning.  My local grocery store was out of larger pork roasts, so I got four small ones that equaled five pounds.

I put, probably, a good four cups of mesquite wood chips in a bowl the night before with water to soak them.  Then, I drained the water off and put the soaked chips in aluminum foal and folded them up in it.  I then poked about eight holes in the top of the foil package and put it on the far left side of my barbecue. I turned the far left burner on between low and medium and put the seasoned, pork roasts on the far right side of the barbecue.  I had to put two of them on the grill and two on the grill above.  I wish I could have had them all up high.  The ones up high - on the swinging grill - smoked better and more thoroughly than the ones on the stationary grill under it.  I left the meat in there smoking for about six hours.  I did get a meat thermometer to check and make sure that the inner temperature of the roasts was high enough before I took them out.  Safely cooking pork:

I pulled the pork apart after it cooled, when I had the above barbecue sauce simmering on the stove.  When the barbecue sauce was finished, I poured it over the pulled pork and stirred it all together.

When I served it to my husband, he exclaimed, "MAKE MORE!"  He then told me it was in the top 10 things I've cooked for dinner! :o)  Bon Apetite!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Take Good Photos of Your Work!

I must reiterate to take good photos of your creations!  A friend of mine told me that she knows what I mean.  There's one online shop that has blurry photos of their work, and if my friend hadn't seen the lady's creations in real-life, she would have passed it up.

Photograph on a cloudy day for diffused light.  This helps avoid harsh shadows.  You may have to take your camera off of auto-focus.  If you have this setting, put your camera on the close-up setting.

Get some great photos of your work to draw more attention to it!