Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apple

In the last few days it has gotten cold here in North Carolina over the last few days. It finally looks like winter has come to The South.

How about a nice way to warm up? Steel cut oats with apples is a great way to do that. Have it for breakfast or, as we did today, dinner.

Get the recipe here.

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plum wine

I'm making some split pea soup for this week's lunches. Decided I needed some plum wine I made just after I moved to Charlotte to get this party started.

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If you are like me you save your bacon grease. I have two stashes. One for regular bacon grease and one for bacon grease that is from strongly flavored smoked bacon. Today I was thinking "What can I use some of that smoked bacon grease on?" I decided to make some popcorn.

What a recipe? Here you go.

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mise en place sloppy joe mix

A little hint for this one: This will be canned up and used later on. Normally you would mix it with ground beef but, as I will show soon, you can also use it with Le Puy lentils in a pressure cooker for a vegan option.

mise en place sloppy joe mix

I was cooking Sloppy Joe mix. Here it is fresh out of the pressure canner.

sloppy joe mix

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At the local Asian market you can get a fist full of fresh time, oregano, mint, Thai basil and many other herbs for about two dollars. Cheaper than the grocery store and at least three times the goods for that cheaper price.

The other day I ran out of thyme. Whenever I have to buy fresh herbs I make a point of tossing any left overs in the dehydrator for use later on. Things like basil can be easily separated from the stalk and tossed in there for an hour or so before they are crinkly and ready to be broken up by your hands and placed in a jar. Thyme is different. It is much easier to remove from the branches after it has dried out. But those branches hold a lot of water so it takes many more hours, sometimes as many as 9, before they are properly dried out at 105f. But once they have reached a stage where you can run your fingers down the stalk and clear the leaves from the stem you are in business.

Other than not wasting any of these fresh herbs why should you dehydrate them and save them for later? Do you know how long that jar of dried thyme has been on a shelf before you buy it? Before that how long did sit in an uncooled warehouse? Doing it at home is as fresh as it gets.

Always remember the general rule of thumb that if a recipe calls for fresh herbs you can use 1/3 of that amount dried. Likewise if the recipe calls for dried and you only have fresh then multiply the amount need by three.

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