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I have a friend who for years was constantly having pain and discomfort almost always after a meal. Over the years the Dr.’s were unable to identify what was wrong with her until recently. They finally diagnosed her with celiac disease. This disease prevents foods from being absorbed into the small intestines and actually damages the lining of the small intestine. It can be very painful, as it was for her. What caused this disease is an intolerance to gluten.

What is gluten? It is a protein found in wheat and other grains that gives doughs that elastic feel. It helps the dough to rise, keep its shape and makes it chewy. Folks who suffer, as my friend does, from celiac disease have to consume a special diet so that they can avoid this protein.

Here is a brief list of foods that are recommended for those suffering from this condition. The list includes beans, seeds and nuts, none of which are processed. It also includes fresh eggs, most dairy products and fresh vegetables. It is also important that any meats that they consume do not have breading, batter coated or marinated. There are gluten free “flour” alternatives to wheat, like quinoa, amaranth, corn, to name a few.

Last year you might remember I attended the Tony’s Fine Foods food show. At this event we went looking for gluten free crackers. We were doing this so that folks who came to visit the winery where I work would be able to clear their palette, enjoy the varying flavors of the wine, and not suffer from the gluten side effects.

I spoke to one of the vendors about how a single plant can make items with gluten and items without. I was told that they have to have separate facilities. This is because as wheat flour is processed gluten can float into the air and contaminate other products.

So, now you know that gluten comes from wheat. And, food manufacturers have now included the words “Gluten Free” on packaging. Now this is not a surprise on crackers, cake mixes, pastas, bread and such. I was surprised to find this labeling on bacon. Yes, I saw gluten free bacon! And, I was surprised to find it on coffee too! The two manufacturer’s do not have plants that process wheat. Here is a coffee label that indicates it is gluten free.

Gluten free coffee

Gluten free coffee

Searching the internet, I did find this one club that offers the “gluten free bacon.”

Gluten free bacon

Gluten free bacon

I understand the necessity of labeling an item as gluten free for those that suffer from celaic disease and marketing products as gluten free has now become the norm. I believe that people should educate themselves on what gluten is and what food alternatives there are.

Have a terrific Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!

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Let’s celebrate bacon today! I don’t know about you but I love, I mean LOVE, bacon! I use it whenever I can! Let’s revisit some of my recipes that use bacon…Be prepared! Your mouth will water!

Check out these lovely pork chops, topped with rosemary, then wrapped in bacon! Here they are raw…

Chops wrapped in bacon

Chops wrapped in bacon

Here they are cooked…

The finished dish!

The finished dish!

The recipe: Pork Loin Chops Wrapped in Bacon

I did the same thing, sans rosemary, with a pork loin roast!

Pork Loin wrapped and ready!

Pork Loin wrapped and ready!

Here it is out of the oven!

Pork just out of the oven!

Pork just out of the oven!

The recipe: Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Roast

Then there is that delish beef rouladen that has bacon hidden inside….

Slowly roll up the bacon inside the meat

Slowly roll up the bacon inside the meat

Recipe: Beef and Bacon Rouladen

One more…chicken with bacon!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu

To see what other recipes I have on my blog that includes bacon, just do a search on bacon!

Have a great Monday! Thank you for stopping by and Happy New Year!

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We have not had a stew since the winter season, and I decided that it was time for another! I modified a recipe that I found in the cookbook “Herbs and Spices Cookbook” written by Virginia and Robert Hoffman. The aromas wafted through the house as this cooked and they just got better and better as it slow cooked in the oven! Use a cast iron dutch oven if you have one!  A quick preview:

Preview!

Preview!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of flour, with salt and pepper added
3#’s boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of Cabernet Sauvignon
1 can of beef stock
3 TBS chopped Italian parsley
8 sprigs of fresh oregano
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 slices of bacon, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3/4# crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 large portobello mushroom, sliced and each slice cut into four
3 TBS butter
fresh parsley for garnish

The first thing I did was get my initial ingredients together. This includes the flour mixture, cutting up the beef, slicing the onion, mincing the garlic, measuring out the wine, opening the beef stock, and chopping the parsley, and removing the leaves from the stems of the oregano and thyme, and then crushing them to release their oils. This took about an hour to do.

Cut up chuck

Cut up chuck

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic

Fresh thyme and oregano

Fresh thyme and oregano

I then got out the cast iron dutch oven and add two TBS of the olive oil. Then take all the beef and add it to the bag of flour. Shake the bag so that the meat gets coated. Heat the oil over medium high heat, and set your oven to 325 degrees. When the oil is hot add pieces of meat in a single layer in the pot.

Start browning the beef

Start browning the beef

You will be doing batches of the meat, and I was able to brown all of it in three batches. Brown the meat evenly. Set aside the browned meat in a bowl as you cook the remaining meat.

Browned beef

Browned beef

For the third batch you will need to add a bit more oil.

When all the meat is browned, add it all back to the pot, including the juices that have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. Then stir in the onion and garlic.

Add the onion and garlic

Add the onion and garlic

Turn the heat down to medium. Cook until you see the edges of the onion just starting to soften. Then add in the Cabernet and enjoy the aromas! Next add the beef stock so that the meat is covered. Next add the fresh herbs and the bay leaf. Cover the pot and place this in the oven. Cook this for 2 hours.

After about an hour and a half, cook the bacon until it is just done, and then set aside on paper towel to drain.

Brown the bacon

Brown the bacon

Then add the tomatoes to the bacon grease and cook down for about 5 minutes.

The tomatoes are ready

The tomatoes are ready

Add back the bacon to combine, and then add this to the stew in the pot. Add a bit more red wine and beef stock if the stew appears to be thick. Cook for another half hour.

While this is cooking, get your mushrooms prepared

Mushrooms are ready

Mushrooms are ready

and in a skillet add the butter. Heat over medium high heat and saute the mushrooms until they are just tender.

Sauteed mushrooms

Sauteed mushrooms

Turn the heat off, and let this sit. The mushrooms will continue to release their juices.

After the 30 minutes of cooking has gone by, remove the stew from the oven, add the mushrooms, and combine.

Mushrooms are added to the pot

Mushrooms are added to the pot

Then serve it up in bowls and top with a sprig of parsley!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

Don’t forget to have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with your stew! It is a perfect pairing!

I hope that you enjoyed this post, and that you try this wonderful stew that is chock full of intense hearty flavors! Let me know if you do!

Thank you for stopping by, and have a splendid Sunday!

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Who doesn’t love a dish that includes bacon? OK, vegetarians…so other than them, who doesn’t love a dish that includes bacon? There is just something about that smokey, salty meat that is just so good! It goes with chicken; it goes with peas; it goes with pasta; it goes with eggs and cheese…and the list goes on…Today, we venture into the kitchen to combine bacon, chicken, peas and pasta by making some chicken carbonara!

Here is the list of ingredients:
6 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut into bits
2 TBS bacon grease
1 1/2 #’s chicken, cut into chunks
6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 # fettuccine, uncooked
1/2 cup of pasta water, reserved
1/2 cup of chicken broth
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup each of parmesan, pecorino and asiago

I like getting all the ingredients ready first for this dish. I realized after taking this photo below, that I left out the cheese!

Lovely ingredients

Lovely ingredients

We start off with the bacon.

Who doesn't love bacon?

Who doesn’t love bacon?

Cook this over medium high heat until just done. Then remove to a plate covered with paper towel so that the bacon can drain.

Can you smell the bacon Joe?

Can you smell the bacon Joe?

Get the pasta started. In your colander place the frozen peas. When you drain your pasta, pour it over the frozen peas.

Drain the pan of the bacon grease and reserve 2 TBS. Add one TBS back to the pan and then add the chicken. Stir this continually until it is just done.

Chicken is just done

Chicken is just done

Remove the chicken from the pan and add the remaining bacon grease. Next add in the garlic and pepper, and when the garlic is just softened, add in the chicken broth.

Another pouring shot Conor!

Another pouring shot Conor!

Get this hot. While this is doing its thing, take the eggs and whisk in the cheese.

Poor shot of eggs blended with cheese, but you get the idea!

Poor shot of eggs blended with cheese, but you get the idea!

Now turn off the heat and add in the hot pasta with the peas, chicken, and bacon.

Pasta, peas, bacon and chicken, oh my!

Pasta, peas, bacon and chicken, oh my!

Slowly pour the egg mixture over the entire thing mixing well. Add a bit of the hot pasta water to achieve a lovely creaminess!

Dinner is done!

Carbonara!

Carbonara!

Now wasn’t that a quick and easy dish? Please let me know if you try this dish!

Hey, thanks for stopping by today, and have a wonderful Sunday!

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I subscribe to a wonderful food blog written by Conor Bofin called One Man’s Meat. In his most recent post he challenges Americans to a burger challenge. His post indicates that here in the US we eat 40,000,000,000 burgers a year! He doubts that we have the best burgers and challenges us with his “Donegal Beef and Cashel Blue Cheese Burger.”

Well, Conor, here is my incredible Bacon Cheddar Burger! This is not your ordinary burger topped with bacon and cheese then slapped on a bun! It is an easy burger to make with simple ingredients! So let’s head on into the kitchen!

We have 5 simple ingredients! They are:

1 1/2# ground sirloin
1 cup of thick sliced smoked peppered bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup of Tillamook Medium Cheddar, grated
3 TBS of a good quality, creamy horseradish
2 tsp. garlic powder

I love peppered bacon!

Peppered bacon

Peppered bacon

Isn’t that lovely? Can you smell it? No need to add any pepper to this burger with this bacon! I cook this ahead of time so that I can crumble it for this burger.

Here is a gratuitous shot of all the ingredients.

Simple ingredients

Simple ingredients

With all the ingredients gathered and prepped, combine it all early in the day so that the flavors meld. Refrigerate.

An hour before cooking, take the meat out of the refrigerator and shape into burgers.

Lovely bits of bacon and cheddar abound!

Lovely bits of bacon and cheddar abound!

I like serving these with oven fries so I get these going while the burgers sit. Get your grill nice and hot, and start cooking! Five to seven minutes per side should do it and then serve them up! Check out the lovely bits of bacon and melted cheese that you will experience in every bite!

One cheesy bacon burger!

One cheesy bacon burger!

Such a lovely burger with excellent, simple ingredients! This is one heck of a good burger! I challenge you Conor to try this one! I would try your recipe but suffer from allergies and cannot handle the blue!

Check out Conor’s recipe by clicking here! Do you have a really good burger recipe? Add a link to your recipe in the comment section!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week and a lovely Monday!

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While rummaging through the freezer the other day looking for something to cook for Sunday night I found that I had some huge pork loin chops. And, I found bacon as well! What a great combination, pork and pork! This morning I headed out to the garden to grab some fresh rosemary as this herb works so well with pork. Here is a dinner that is not only easy to fix but tastes great too!  The aromas that fill the house are amazing!

Ingredients
4 pork loin chops
8 cloves of garlic, minced
8 sprigs of fresh rosemary
8 slices of thick cut peppered bacon
fresh cracked pepper

I get the pork ready for cooking early in the day so that the garlic flavor settles in to the meat. Take the garlic rub it into the all sides of the meat. Next lay a piece of rosemary over the meat.

Pork rubbed with garlic and rosemary laid on top

Take a piece of bacon and start to wrap around the chop adding another sprig of rosemary to the other side. Secure the bacon with a toothpick. Wrap a second piece of bacon around the meat as you did the first. When all are done, crack some fresh pepper on both sides of the meat.

Chops wrapped in bacon

Refrigerate until an hour before cooking.

Take the meat out one hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn and continue cooking for another 20 – 25 minutes. Check the temperature on the pork. The internal temperature should be 145 degrees. When done, remove the chops from the oven and carefully remove the toothpicks and rosemary.

When done remove the toothpicks and rosemary carefully

Let the meat rest for 3 – 5 minutes before serving.

Dinner is served!

I served this tonight with steamed peas and a garlic and herb rice pilaf!  If you are inclined to make a gravy, use the pan drippings!

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December 30th is official “National Bacon Day!”

Bacon Slice or Rasher

The day is devoted to making your favorite bacon dishes! The day came into being in the year 2000 A.D. by a residents of Crag, MA. So celebrate bacon today! We will be with bacon wrapped steak! Here are some of my favorites with bacon!

Bacon & Sausage

Look at that lovely bacon wrapped pork!

Bacon in my rouladen!


What are you going to do today to celebrate National Bacon Day?

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We needed to lighten things up a bit here as we had that marvelous bacon wrapped pork loin last night. So tonight I tried to lighten this up with a salad. I like lots of veges in a salad, and tonight’s salad was really good, plus I have enough left over for lunch tomorrow! Always looking forward!

Ingredients
3/4 of a good size head of Romaine lettuce
1 large tomato, cut into chunks
3 large crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
1 thick slice of ham, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 thick slice of turkey, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 pieces of hearts of palm, sliced thinly
2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
1 – 4″ piece of cucumber, cut into quarters then sliced
4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1 avacado, sliced
4 radishes, cut into sections for decoration, and eating of course!
1/8 cup of raw sunflower seeds
1 cup of cheddar cheese, grated

Start with the Romaine. Wash this well, and use a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Romaine lettuce cleaned and torn for the salad

Then lay out in sections the rest of the ingredients. I did a section of each of the ingredients, and placed the bacon in the center, leaving an open area for the radishes. After placing the eggs on the salad, I then sprinkled it with the sunflower seeds, and cheddar.

Finished salad!

Toss the salad with your favorite dressing and serve!

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My dear friend Kat had a photo on her blog of a bacon wrapped pork loin. And my friend Conor did a wonderful salmon dinner with potatoes and spinach. I decided to do the bacon wrapped pork loin as I could not get a good piece of salmon, but I adapted Conor’s potatoes. Please take a look at both of their blogs as they both have lots of good info! Both links are to the right: Kat is She Cooks, and Conor is One Man’s Meat…

Ingredients
2 pork loins
Roasted garlic
Dijon mustard
Rosemary
Apple Smoked Bacon
Olive oil, extra virgin
Toothpicks
Russet Potatoes

First, start with the garlic. Take a head, slice the top off

Garlic before baking

and roast in the oven for about an hour at 350. Take out the pork loin and let it warm up to room temperature. Remove garlic from the oven.

Garlic is ready!

While the garlic is cooling get your potatoes ready. I cut them in half and then into thirds. Then following Conor’s recipe I placed the potatoes into a bowl of water to leach out the starch.

Potatoes soaking in water

This has to sit for a half hour, so while it is sitting, you can get the pork ready. It is a bit messy but well worth it! Take the pork loins and trim out the blue colored muscle. Then lay out the strips of bacon, and lay the pork loin on top. Rub with the roasted garlic, Dijon mustard and the rosemary. Wrap the bacon around the pork loin and fasten the bacon with the toothpicks. Place the meat in a 9×13 inch baking pan.

Pork Loin wrapped and ready!

Now drain the potatoes. In a bowl I added the potatoes with a bit of vegetable oil, Spike and salt and pepper. I mixed the lot with my hands, and then placed them on my new silpat non-stick pan covering.

Potatoes are in the oven!

Place these in the oven at 375 for 50 minutes. Place the pork in the oven at 375 for the same amount of time. Turn the potatoes after 25 minutes. When the timer goes off at 50 minutes, check the temperature of the meat. I took this out of the oven at 150 degrees, put it on a cutting board and covered it with foil.

Pork just out of the oven!

The potatoes came out of the oven and I placed these into a serving bowl with a dash of salt.

Potatoes right out of the oven!

Up here in the foothills, we have an area where they grow a whole variety of apples and it is known as Apple Hill. If you ever get the chance stop at Boa Vista. They have the largest variety of apples and pies, and also some wonderful apple sauce, which I am using tonight with dinner. Gravenstein no less!

Gravenstein apple sauce!

Get out the applesauce and have at the ready!

Slice up the meat…

Slice up the pork loin...

, and, dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

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What could be better than some slop for breakfast! What is slop you ask? When camping it is whatever you have available, and at home, it is whatever you want it to be! Here is the slop we had for breakfast this morning:

Ingredients
1/2 # Peppered bacon
1 large potato cut into very small cubes
1/4 cup chopped onion
8 eggs
Cheddar – enough for about one cup grated
Toast

Cut the bacon into half strips. Fry them up in a pan over medium to medium high heat. When browned remove to a pan layered with paper towel to drain. Let cool. Drain the pan but leave about 1 TBS bacon grease.

Cut up the potato and the onion. Re-heat the pan to heat up the bacon grease. Add the potatoes and onion.

Brown the potatoes and onion

Watch the potatoes and onions, and turn when needed so that they brown. While this is browning, break up the peppered bacon into small pieces. Grate the cheddar. When the potatoes look like they are browned enough to your liking, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk well, then add to pan.

Add the eggs

Stir to combine, then add the bacon and cheddar.

Add the cheddar and peppered bacon

Get your toast going now. Stir the slop in the pan until combined and well cooked. The toast should be ready about the same time!

Slop is served!

Pour a good size cup of tea or coffee, and a glass of orange juice and enjoy!

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