Homemade Ham Glaze & Honey Butter


Every time I buy a ham at the store they have these glaze packets inside the packaging.  For years I used them thinking you just had to in order to have ham glaze.  How WRONG I was!  not only is homemade ham glaze easy to make, it tastes so much better than anything you can get at the store.  Plus, you control the ingredients.  I came up with a recipe for ham glaze by sheer coincidence at my step mom’s house a few years ago.  Now before I tell you how the recipe came about, let me remind you that even though we try to live as healthy as we can most of the time, sometimes we do indulge.  So before anyone goes casting stones I freely admit this is an unnecessary indulgence, but oh so good!

Every year at the holidays our family has bacon wrapped, brown sugar smokies.  In case you don’t know what that is, you take little smokies and wrap them in a 1/3 strip of bacon, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake until brown and bubbly.  My step mom piped up and said, “You know how you try to reuse everything in the kitchen and not waste stuff?”  I said, “Yeah.”  She said, “Well wouldn’t it be a good idea to reuse this bacon/brown sugar syrup after we cook the smokies?  You could put it on a ham or something couldn’t you?”  And that is how it all started…

Ham Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 can of pineapple in 100% pineapple juice OR 1/2 fresh pineapple and 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium low heat until all sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to thicken.  Set aside and let cool.  Pour cooled mixture over cleaned ham.


And just in case some of you don’t know how easy it is to make flavored butter, here’s a little bonus recipe for you.  We love hot bread and homemade honey butter at our house.  I usually keep a pound of honey butter made up in the fridge at all times.  You can use honey, agave nectar, molasses, or any other thick liquid sweetener to make this recipe.  You can also use fresh or dried herbs to make herb butters for savory applications as well.  My favorite savory butter combo is parsley and chives.  It’s great melted on a steak!

Honey Butter Ingredients

  • 1 lb unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1/2 cup honey (or other liquid sweetener you prefer-if you want to make herb butter, substitute 1/4 cup of herbs here)

I use my hand mixer to whip the butter and honey together until well combined.  Simple as that.

Do you have a glaze or butter recipe you’d like to share with us?

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World’s Best Potato Salad


If you are a fan of traditional, southern potato salad, then you will love my recipe!  I’m not trying to be boastful or anything even though it sounds like.  Anyone I have ever made this potato salad for has told me over and over how they think it is the best they have ever had.  And of course, I’m kind of partial to it myself.


  • 6-8 Idaho potatoes
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped bread & butter pickles, and chopped dill pickles combined-plus 2 tbsp of the bread & butter pickle juice
  • 1/2 mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 sour cream
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Crispy, chopped bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika for decoration

I wash the potatoes then boil them whole.  I have really bad wrists and cannot peel and chop all of the potatoes.  When I boil them whole, it makes skinning them a piece of cake.  PLUS, I keep the skins to make homemade potato skins for a snack for my son afterwards.  After the potatoes have cooked through, I dip them out of the water and put my eggs into the boiling water.  I boil the eggs for four minutes then turn off the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Then I place the pan in the sink and run cold water over the eggs until I can comfortably put my hands down inside the pot.  I peel the eggs right then.  If I let them sit too long, the eggs fall apart when I peel them.  But if I peel them while the eggs are still soft and I’ve just submerged them in cool water, the shells slip right off and my eggs stay pristine.

While the potatoes and eggs are boiling I chop the pickles and onions.  After the potatoes are skinned and the eggs are shelled, I chop them and add them to a big mixing bowl with the pickles and onions.  In a separate smaller bowl I combine all the wet ingredients including the milk, sour cream, mustard, mayonnaise, and the pickle juice.  I whisk together all of the wet ingredients and when well combined I pour over the chopped veggies in the other bowl.  Stir gently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Then top with the bacon crumbles.

BONUS:  Every time I make potato salad, we have homemade potato skins as a snack.  I keep the peelings, season with herbs and spices, bake on stoneware so they are crispy, then enjoy!

What’s your favorite potato salad recipe secret?

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Homemade Breakfast Sausage


I have been wanting to start making my own  sausage for a while now but have been forgetting to look for ground pork at the grocery store.  It just so happens when I went in this week to take advantage of a ground beef sale, my local grocery had family packs of ground pork at a cheap price as well.  So I brought home a 5lb container of it with the express purpose of making breakfast sausage for the first time.  I did a little Google searching for ingredients typically used in making sausage.  From the research I came up with a list of ingredients we are partial to and set about trying something new.  Here is the list of ingredients and the measurements I ended with when all was said and done.


  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 tsp sage
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Tip:  When you are creating your own recipe like this for the first time, mix everything up and pinch off a little of the mixture and cook it up in a skillet.  I did this and tasted what I had to see if I needed to adjust the seasonings any.  I kept doing this until I got to the taste I wanted.

Hands down it’s the best breakfast sausage I’ve ever had.  And I am a FREAK about Jones All Natural Maple Sausage Patties.  But after making it at home I don’t think I’ll be buying it at the store anymore again unless I’m out and really need some quickly.  It was as easy to mix up as a meatloaf.


I divided the 5lbs up into 1 lb balls then placed in freezer storage bags.  I burped the air from the bags then pushed all the sausage to the bottom of the bag.  Then I rolled up the sausage like I was using a roller to make biscuits until a sausage roll formed.  I am going to freeze these rolls then when I need a slice I will just pop one out and use my serrated bread knife to slice while frozen to I don’t have a gooey sausage mess everywhere either!

Have you tried to make homemade sausage of any kind at home before?

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CSA Baskets 101: Second Pick Up

Everyone got a pint of strawberries.

When the greens come in, the greens come in.  Thank the Lord for the perfect cooling of the weather and rain to make them abundant for the CSA members at Madison Creek Farms this week!  You can tell by all the pics there were a ton of goodies in our baskets this time around.

Almost everyone got a red leaf lettuce.

Most everyone received a red leaf lettuce and a romaine lettuce.  I got a buttercrunch and a romaine lettuce.  I like them all so it really didn’t matter to me :)

Spring Braising Mix

If you are new to surveying the many types of greens there are, this is definitely an exciting week for you to experiment.  Braising greens are just a random mix of different types of greens sewn together in the field.  To cook them simply use a little olive oil, onion, garlic, a dash of vinegar if you like, and salt and pepper to taste.  Sometimes after I saute them I use a little sprinkle of slivered almonds for crunch.


Alot of you had never seen or heard of kohlrabi.  Kohlrabi come in green or purple, can be eaten raw or cooked, and taste a lot like broccoli stems, radishes or cabbage. The word kohlrabi is German for cabbage turnip (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rübe for turnip) though kohlrabi is more related to cabbage and cauliflower than to root vegetables.  You can even use the kohlrabi greens to cook with your braising mix.  You can make a kohlrabi and apple slaw or make quick kohlrabi pickles.

Kohlrabi Apple Slaw:

  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon good mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated or julienned
  • 2 apples, peeled, grated or julienned

Whisk cream into light pillows – this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

Quick Kohlrabi Pickles:

  • 1-2 small kohlrabi bulbs, trimmed, peeled, and cut into cubes
  • Good olive oil (optional)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Black Pepper
  • Pinch of sugar or squeeze of honey

Place the kohlrabi chunks in the bowl of a lidded, airtight container.  Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, a good splash of vinegar, and honey.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Replace the lid and shake well.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Place in fridge, shaking occasionally.  They are best after they have marinated for a few hours.

Mustard Greens

You can cook the mustard greens the same way you would any other greens by sauteeing with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.


Our CSA owner, Peggy, led a workshop today showing everyone how to saute kale and make a dish that can be a side or a main meal depending on how you finesse it at the end.  My favorite way to enjoy kale is in an Italian soup I make every winter with potatoes, Italian sweet sausage, kale and crushed red pepper.



If you guys have never tried grilled romaine lettuce for a salad, you should.  It’s delicious!  You can grill the lettuce on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan, either way works fine.  It gives the lettuce a completely different flavor and texture alongside a wonderful summer dinner.

Buttercrunch Lettuce

Tea Rose

Ahhh the flowers, a wonderful perk to my CSA.  Tea roses and peonies made it into my bouquet this week.  It’s a great way to bring some of the beauty on the farm into my home and enjoy every day.

Remember to use everything from your baskets!  You can replant the onion and lettuce bottoms to grow more at home.  All the trimmings can be washed and boiled into stock.  I will only be composting the kohlrabi bulk peels and the radish tops.  I will even use the trimmed strawberry tops to make homemade strawberry mint lemonade syrup.  If you want to know more about this type of cooking to get the most out of your CSA basket, check out my ebook, Don’t Compost It, Cook It.

What did you get in your basket lately you are excited about trying?

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Freezer Cooking

Salmon and tilapia fillets-five different seasonings

Some of you might remember a few weeks ago my deep freeze defrosted twice in the same week.  The first time, everything was A-OK.  The second time, not so much.  I had to toss out 12 of the most beautiful, huge pre-cooked chicken breasts you have ever seen.  And, I had to cook alot of the items that defrosted then refreeze them.  All in all it took me about 3 hours to do this  freezer cooking session.

Meatball Soup

I had two quart bags of meatballs to thaw so I decided to make meatball soup with those instead of some type of pasta.  It seems we have had some sort of pasta pretty regular lately and we just weren’t in the mood.  It turned out really delicious!  I used tomatoes, onions, three colors of peppers, Italian seasonings, and chicken broth.  That’s it really, pretty simple.

Finish with a sprinkle of mozzarella

And roasted chicken and vegetables are staples in our house.  We usually eat some version of them twice a week, sometimes more depending on what’s going on.  Vegetables I regularly roast are carrots, onions, cauliflower, and broccoli.  If you have never tried roasted cauliflower and broccoli, let me encourage you to do so!  it is absolutely delicious.  The 15 year old pulls a quart bag out of the freezer to thaw.  The next day whenever he gets munchy, he warms up a  mound of roasted vegetables on a plate and that’s his snack, true story!

I toss the broccoli and cauliflower in a little olive oil then dust with McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Vegetable Flavored seasoning and that’s it, no salt or anything else.  Roast until caramelized.

12 Chicken Breasts, 4 Qts Broccoli, and 4 Qts Cauliflower

I found some more chicken breasts on sale and decided to replace the ones I had to throw out.  Our standard seasonings are an Italian Grinder I get at Aldi and Weber’s New Orleans Cajun.  Those two flavors can be used to serve the chicken in almost any application.  Once the chicken is roasted, I let the breasts cool.  Then I cut the breasts off the bone and cut them in half.  I am making one breast into two servings.  The bones I save for stock, of course!

After this batch of breasts I used all the bones and the meat that was left on them to make two quarts of chicken tortilla soup base.  The cajun seasoning helped give the stock some spice so all I have to do is add some cumin and chili powder plus the vegetables and soup’s on-FAST!

 What are your favorite freezer cooking recipe staples?

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