New Year’s Day Pork & Sauerkraut


There are many traditions used to celebrate the new year. One we always did was have pork.

Roast Pork Loin Rib Half
Good Luck New Year’s Day Pork Roast AiXeLsyD13-style.

Generally, I cook it in the crock pot, but this year I tried it in the roasting pan in the oven. I’m posting my recipe/method here so I can refer back to it. Hopefully you might like it too, and you may want to check out my other recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 lb. pork loin (The one I got this year said “pork loin rib half”.)
  • 2 bags of sauerkraut (Beware, “Bavarian style” is a secret code meaning it has caraway seeds & tastes like royal ass. Unless you like caraway seeds or royal ass. I avoid it for diverticulitis reasons anyway.)
  • 1 bottle of beer. I used Straub Amber, but I also like to use Yuengling Traditional Lager. (You could also use Penn Pilsner, Stoney’s, Shiner Bock, or Smithwick’s Red Ale.)
  • Apple Juice (Maybe ½ cup?)
  • 2 Apples (I like Golden Crisp or Honey Crisp)
  • 1 Spanish Onion (Or a sweet or yellow onion or whatever you like.)
  • ½ teaspoon-ish Minced Garlic
  • Salt (or Season All / Seasoned Salt)
  • Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Mustard Powder
  • Brown Sugar (Maybe ¼ cup?)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Drain & rinse the sauerkraut, unless you’re in need of an intestinal cleanse.
  3. Sear the pork roast on all sides. I used a large fork to control it along with some tongs. I used a hot pan with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil & a pat of butter. You just want to sear the outsides, not cook the meat. I did add a bit of seasonings first.
  4. Pop it into your roasting pan. Add some of those spices to taste.
  5. slice the apples & onions then place them around the sides, cover it with the rinsed sauerkraut, bathe it with that glorious beer & apple juice.
  6. Put some more spices on the roast again because you just washed them off. Don’t measure them. Live dangerously.
  7. Put your food thermometer in, put the lid on, & pop it in the oven. You have a food thermometer right?
  8. Cook it to 145° F according to the FDA, 160° according to my thermometer with the numbers beside the pig icon, or 203° if you want it to fall apart.
  9. From what I read online it could be anywhere from 20 to 30 min per lb. Instead of popping it out & checking with an instant read, get a thermometer that can stay in.
  10. Let it rest a bit when you pull it out. That’s just good life advice in general.
  11. I mixed the brown sugar into the sauerkraut after I pulled the roast out. I didn’t measure. I read that was to prevent it caramelizing & burning too much… but I think it would have been fine in there the whole time.

Tips:

  • I put onion powder on the apple slices and garlic powder on the onion slices… because why not? Does anyone else do stuff this?
  • You could probably do this at 300° or 325° if you felt like it. Cook to temperature not time.
  • You could throw all this into the crock pot (if it will fit!), or go with a smaller roast to do the same. I’d guess low on 8 or 10 hours would do it. Again, that’s what I usually do. Maybe go half the bottle of beer & drink the other half for breakfast.
  • Thinking back, I think I put a half a bit of ham bullion (or better than bullion) in there too. I do that instead of salt sometimes.

What’s the deal with all the other not pork on that plate?

  • Steamed green beans with a bit of garlic, butter, & parmesan cheese.
  • Boxed mashed potatoes – I used buttermilk instead of milk. While nothing beats the real thing… I like the boxed potatoes because I like potatoes with a consistency that you could use to mortar bricks together, or build a structure like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Those Bob Evans microwave potatoes might as well be potato soup. Also, buttermilk is the best.
  • I tried those hot dogs in the air fryer for the first time. I put slits in the top, then did 6 minutes at 400° and they were awesome. I did the bun for 2 minutes at 375° because I read some stupid blog, and that may have been to hot or too long. That should teach you a lesson about following recipes on a blog.
  • I served the hot dog on that bun (brushed with a little melted butter before air frying), with yellow mustard & some of the sauerkraut & pulled pork. I had one the next day & it was even better. That may be better than chili dogs!

I think the family liked it, or they pretended to. The 9yo liked the sauerkraut, the 7yo did not. Funny because the 7yo has been digging mushrooms and onions as of late, and he’s my dude that digs buttermilk. It may be a texture thing? I am weird about some textures.

Tell me about your pork recipes or new year’s traditions in the comments!

I always thought we were a bit German, but my Ancestry DNA test does not agree with that. We must have picked up the traditions from German or “Pennsylvania Dutch” friends & neighbors here in the region.

I’m glad this is not a tradition.

Also, if you like your sauerkraut without the brown sugar, I get that. If you like it with caraway seeds, I’m sorry your taste buds are broken.

If you line this recipe, you may like these:

Massive Maze Morass ✍


Here’s a bunch more mazes. No real common theme. Inspiration is weird. Try ’em, post ’em, tag me. Post it on your WordPress or Instagram or Twitter, or Facebook or Tumblr or TikTok or whatever. I’m @aixelsyd13 on most all platforms. I think I even signed up for Hive and Mastodon. Host it somewhere and use html to post it here in the comments. You have a world full of options.

Do it on your phone or tablet. Print it and do it like it’s 1993. Have fun. There are no rules. Anarchy abounds!

Ham, Green Bean, n’ ‘Tater Stew :|: The Recipe


So, I have blogged about it before, but that was more just the method. This time I actually measured stuff. Usually I just eyeball a bag of fresh green beans if they look good. Still don’t have a good name for it. Ham, Green Beans, & Potatoes? Ham , Beans, n’ Taters? Grandma’s Special? Daddy’s Favorite? Is it a soup or a stew? It’s delicious is what it is. I generally make enough to have a stunningly large amount of leftovers. I always try to get the ham bone, this time my son & I each got one. He’s a copycat.

A collage  - Ham, green bean, and potato stew (soup?) in a spoon on the top left, the soup in a bowl on the bottom left, and the whole right side is a screenshot of a text from my daughter with a bowl full of ham cubes... saying that the soup would have been perfect without the green beans or potatoes. 🤦‍♂️
Soup – In the spoon & soup in the bowl – and the post dinner text from my 9yo after she said there were too many beans and potatoes. 🤦‍♂️

Ingredients…

The “to taste” is just a few shakes usually. This recipe doesn’t really need any extra salt, so if I have a salt-free blend like Mrs. Dash or the Aldi equivalent, I use that. The bullion is according to directions, I think I measured it out right. I added too much water this time, but I think this measurement is still right. The beef & chicken bullion cubes and even the beer are completely unnecessary, but I feel like it adds a little to the broth. I use a big stock pot with a lid, and an 8-cup measuring cup for the big stuff.

  1. Put your liquids & spices in the pot, put it on to boil, but don’t quite dime the knob.
  2. Cube your ham, dump it in the pot.
  3. Cube your potatoes (don’t peel them!), dump ’em in the pot.
  4. Snap ends off your beans if you have any sus ones, snap them in to bite-size pieces if you want. Or chop them. Or don’t. Dump ’em in the pot.
  5. Boil for 20 minutes.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes or even longer if you want. Let it cook down & get tasty.
  7. Don’t taste it too early while it is hot and burn your tongue every time, because I definitely do not do that.
  8. Serving suggestion – Serve it up with homemade bread (or store bought fresh baked) and butter.

Obviously, wash the beans & potatoes first. I think I broke down what you need & more details on the method the first time I wrote about this soup (stew?). I use fresh produce beans most often, but the bags are quick & easy to measure. This is also good with leftover ham from a holiday meal.

I like soups, I make them a lot. Well, I make them sometimes, when I have time. If you like this one, check these out:

Smoked BBQ Burgers 🍔


My son & I made some smoked BBQ burgers. Thought I would blog it so I can refer back.

🍔

Used lump charcoal on a side smoker-box attachment on my Char-Griller grill, & a mix of wood chips – some Jack Daniels oak barrel ones and an apple/hickory/oak mix. I just put the chips in a foil tray on that grate, I don’t have a box for the

The burgers were just Ground beef, a few drops of A1, some Rib Rack Honey BBQ sauce, McCormick Grill Mates barbecue seasoning, onion powder, minced garlic, French’s crispy fried onions, & some chopped up slices of Gouda cheese.

Little dude helped prep the starter chimney for the grill, and mix the burgers, make some patties & check the temperature.

Tried to keep it at 250° for about an hour,

went up a few times so we played with the vents to get it right.

Slathered on some BBQ sauce at the end for a little less than 10 minutes.

The buns, which I should do on the propane side of the grill next time…

Melted some butter & garlic in rhe microwave, brushed it on the buns, put them in the oven at 375° on a pan with a roasting rack for a few minutes to toast them… pulled them put and added BBQ sauce to the bottom and a slice of Gouda and some more French’s onions to the top… toasted until the cheese was starting to melt & the onions got a little more toasty.

Not a bad dinner! It tasted like a Rack of ribs on a bun and the burgers were really juicy. It almost tasted like a rack of ribs or some brisket on a bun.

🍔

So, how do you do your burgers on the smoker? I did get advise to sear, but skipped that as they seemed done & pretty together when I checked them. Any special recipes outside of the normal? We do a mushroom and swiss melt with these onions too… sometimes I make a molten cheese ball on the inside… from regular grilling to the counter-top grill. We try to make them different that what you typically get out. I have been known to do pizza or chili cheese burgers too… but we are definitely coming back to these and trying more styles in the smoker. Maybe a bacon/cheddar/jalapeño one next?

Cooking Stuff From the Garden 🌶🥒


So, today I felt like cooking. We recently came back from a weekend at a cabin and a week at camp. We had a bunch of new stuff ready in the garden, and some stuff past ready.

Here are three quick recipes that I posted on Instagram. The Poblano peppers, banana peppers, straightneck squash, and snap beans were grown in our garden.

🥓🧀🌶🍄🍝🥒🌱

Bacon-Wrapped Poblano Peppers

Well, that turned out well. Got some poblano from the garden this week. I mixed some bacon bits, minced garlic, shredded cheddar cheese, and steak seasoning into some cream cheese, cut the peppers in half, stuffed with the peppers with the mixture, sprinkled more cheddar on top, wrapped with bacon, & baked on a sheet pan at 375° for 40 min.

Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!

Snap Beans with Mushrooms & French Fried Onions

Some fresh snap beans from the garden. Steamed, then tossed in with some sautéed mushrooms, French fried onions, minced garlic, a pinch or 2 of flour & fresh cooked bacon pieces. (Used the leftovers from the peppers.)

Straightneck Squash Parmesan

Had some straightneck squash that grew a bit too big while we were at camp. I had it in my head to prepare it sort of like eggplant parmesean & fried zucchini. I didn’t want the stacked lasagna version, I wanted something with a bit of crunch.

I sliced then up, dredged in flour/cornstarch, egg/buttermilk. & coated in regular & panko breadcrumbs with a bit of parmesan “shake cheese” mixed in. I seasoned each step with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, & black pepper.

I baked them for about 25 or 30 min. on 400°, then topped with provolone & mozzarella slices & a bit more parmesan. They went back in for 10 min.

Served with bowtie pasta & covered in our favorite slightly doctored sauce.

Added the needed flavor to the overgrown squash and I actually preferred the consistency to eggplant.

🥒🧀🌶🥓🧄🍄🌱🍝

All in all, I was really pleased with the results, and I think the family was too.

Do you have some good recipes, tips, & tricks for these garden ingredients?

What do you like to grow and cook?

Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

Get an A-Maze Mug! c[_]


Hey, we talked about it before… No one, not two, but three times.

It’s finally here! Get an A-Maze Mug from Ci3! How cool is that? Each mug comes with a dry-erase marker so you can solve the maze, both in a nifty box covered in mazes!

A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13
A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13

More cool maze-related merch coming soon. What else would you like to see? Socks? Masks? T-shirts? Books? Puzzles? Mirrors? Tiles?

I haven’t ever done anything to make my mazes available for any kind of sale, so this is exciting to me. What do you think?

I am eternally grateful to Mike Copen for the nudge and the opportunity. It’s so cool for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, & creative types to support each other.

Of course, I think they’d make great gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, or even anyone that may be hard to buy for. Who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage? Solving the maze with the dry erase marker is a good opportunity to kind of zone out in a zen-like state, to help you regain focus to start the day or even decompress at the end of a long day! I know that’s the drive behind drawing them.

These would be great for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, warm apple cider, ramen, or one of my soup recipes.

Please, share the link if you’re so inclined. I’d like to see how far these can go. Thanks in advance if you plan on making a purchase!

Guest Post | breslesperots


That’s Brussels Sprouts. My oldest is in 2nd grade, and has a journal for what they now call ELA. We called it Writing or English back in the late Triassic when I was in school. Pretty soon I may be up to her writing level. I certainly make about the same amount of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Her journal has some great entries, but I found this amusing and asked if I could share it. Her handwriting looks a lot like mine at that age. The whole thing is just too cute, IMHO.

11-23-20 | My least favite food is breslesperots. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, how do you like it? I said its discusting! My dad said I was crasy. One of his favite foods are breslsprots. The next time we had the my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relevd we do not have them very often only really on thanks giving. broulsprots are little balls that look like cabig. The worst food ever is braroslsprats.
My second grader’s journal entry about the worst food ever.

The text, as originally written:

11-23-20

My least favite food is breslesperots. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, how do you like it? I said its discusting! My dad said I was crasy. One of his favite foods are breslsprots. The next time we had the my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relevd we do not have them very often only really on thanks giving. broulsprots are little balls that look like cabig. The worst food ever is braroslsprats.

Here’s my slight correction:

11-23-20

My least favorite food is Brussels sprouts. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, “How do you like it?” I said it’s disgusting! My dad said I was crazy. One of his favorite foods are Brussels sprouts. The next time we had them, my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relived we do not have them very often, only really on Thanksgiving. Brussels sprouts are little balls that look like cabbage. The worst food ever is Brussels sprouts.

Even though I wholeheartedly disagree, she builds a strong case. I’m anxious to see what the teacher thinks.

Guest Post: How 2 Take Care of a Dog


So, my 6 year old handed me a book that she wrote/illustrated at school.  I didn’t realize they had that much free time.  Apparently her teacher is an accomplice with the stapling of said book.  It’s a conspiracy.

 

How to Take Care of a Dog

  1. First give her food and water.
  2. Take her for (a) poop.
  3. Take her for a wake. [I really hope she means walk here, but a dog at a wake may be fun.]
  4. Snuggle with her.
  5. Wash her. [May I suggest this step comes before the last one?]
  6. Play with her.
  7. Put her to sleep. [Oh, how I don’t even want to think about that phrasing and we don’t even have a dog.]

My daughter is also conspiring with her 4 year old brother to take up a collection to “buy” a dog. Someone must have dropped a $50 figure to them for dog adoption from a shelter, because that is their goal.

Missing from this expert plan is picking up poop from the yard.

Patience is a virtue. Totino’s pushes the boundaries of scientific research thanks to me.


arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate

“arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate”

Oh man.  Does anyone remember my W(aL)D email shenanigans from a decade ago?

One such adventure was writing to Totino’s to ask if they had recommendations for microwaving more than 6 at a time.  They wrote back.  I asked them if I needed to arrange the rolls like wagon wheel spokes or like wagons on the Oregon Trail circling for protection.  I even got some 35¢ coupons that I considered as a research grant.

Have you noticed pizza roll cooking instructions lately?

I won! Information for the people! Research to benefit the masses!

Really though.  This brings up a new series of questions.

When did just arranging in “a single layer become” acceptable?  Who does Totino’s think they are discarding the time-honored tradition of microwaving things in a circle?  Did we learn nothing from our ancestors at Stonehenge?  Did they consult the Softstix team over at SuperPretzel, or just roll forward (pun still intended) with wild abandon?  How do you summon the flavor spirits without the ceremonial circle?

Has the Fibonacci spiral ever been tested as a cooking pattern?  Can Ci3 make me a plate specifically for microwaving pizza rolls and little cheese-filled pretzels with the Fibonacci spiral on it?

Totino's Pizza Roll Microwave Instructions