Real Food for Real Life

Monday, August 23, 2010

The time is here...

Wow...I can't believe the summer is over already.  I have officially started graduate school, and while excited, I would be lying if I didn't admit to a bit of trepidation as well...it's about time I kick start this creaky brain of mine, say good bye to my life of leisure (Ha!!), and get back to a more rigorous routine (intellectual anyway :-).  My friend Trish shared a most helpful article from The Chronicle of Higher Education (thanks dear :) full of info for new grad students.  I have already followed some of the hints offered, and in the near future may also be adding a grad school blog and/or website to help "brand" myself.  The "Mary Brand" sounds pretty funny doesn't it?

I'm going to continue cooking, and continue taking my (bad) photos, but I daresay that I won't be posting as often.  Please don't forget about me though, I am still aiming for the weekends and breaks, and I will continue to READ food blogs, because hey, a girl still has to read about what she loves...

I'll leave you for now with this wonderfully delicious peach pie I made this weekend.  I will tell you though, Ben and I had a bit of disagreement over this one...I intentionally did not use much sugar, and while I loved that the peaches retained a certain tartness against the sweetness, Ben did not think it was sweet enough.  If you decide to try this and like things a bit sweeter than I, you may wish to add more sugar.  Enjoy!

Streusel Topped Peach Pie

1 prepared pie crust, homemade or purchased
For the filling:
3 lbs. ripe peaches, pitted and sliced thin, retaining the skin
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs. lemon juice
2 heaping tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2  tsp. ground nutmeg
For the topping:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
large pinch of salt
6 tbs. butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a deep dish pie plate with the prepared crust (I don't have a deep dish plate, so I put the excess filling into an a buttered individual casserole dish).  Mix the peach slices with the other filling ingredients until well combined and coated; spoon into the prepared crust.  Mix the flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; cit in the butter until the mixture resembles large crumbs.  Stir in the chopped walnuts and spread evenly over the top of the peaches. 

Place the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any drips (foil would be helpful too...I wish I had remembered).  Bake for 1/2 hour; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and the juices are thick.  Let the pie rest for an hour or two before serving.  Vanilla ice cream is nice with this, especially if you go with the lower sugar as I have made it.

um, um good...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A breakfast (or dinner) treat...

Chorizo and Potato Breakfast Burrito 

It's no secret that I love burritos for breakfast, and this one with chorizo and potatoes is particularly nice for a weekend morning.  I think of this as being a "breakfast" burrito because of the eggs, but truly, it would be delicious any time.  This makes a lot of filling, but a gentle reheating in the microwave will give you breakfast for another day or two after as well, and this is never a bad thing.


Chorizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos


1 lb. small, thin skinned potatoes
1 large onion, diced large
1 tbs. olive oil
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
12oz. Mexican (fresh) chorizo
8 eggs, beaten
To serve:  large flour tortillas, cheese of choice, fresh (or pickled) jalapeño slices, salsa of choice, and avocado slices (unfortunately, I did not have one this morning)

Dice up the potatoes into small, bite sized pieces and toss with the onions, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees F on a foil lined baking sheet for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile. cook the chorizo in a large saute pan until cooked through; remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove most of the fat and pour in the eggs; scramble until almost done and fold in the chorizo.  Place a portion of potatoes with some chorizo and egg into a large flour tortilla, garnish as desired, roll it up an eat :)

Now pick that bad boy up and eat it ;-D
These jalapeños came from our deck garden.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mahogany's Cafe and Grill, Hamilton, Ohio


It was with much anticipation that I had lunch with my friend Tracey at Mahogany's Cafe and Grill, a new restaurant in Hamilton.  I was doubly excited by the prospect of this restaurant for it not only touted real southern style food (my oh my, heaven on a plate), but was opening in the second ward of Hamilton, an economically disadvantaged area of the city that would welcome a much needed new establishment with open arms.

I have found that anticipating a restaurant too much can lead to heightened expectations that can be hard to live up to.  I think this is what happened when I first ate at certain BBQ joint that opened on Hamilton's west side a few years ago...the food wasn't bad, but nor was it the BBQ nirvana that I so badly wanted, and I left disappointed.

Well, I am very excited to report that Mahogany's lived up to those expectations and we will be returning here often.  Even the 10 year old wanted to return to dine that very evening and bring his grandparents.  Christopher and I both love fried catfish, and because of that whole not frying at home hangup of mine, have had to get out fix at The Texas Roadhouse, which has proved satisfactory, until now that is.  Ben and I ate there last night and I could not even consider ordering it there again after having it at Mahogany's.  If you are anywhere near Hamilton you must stop in for a visit; meanwhile you can visit them at their website, or on their Facebook page.

We ordered the fried green tomatoes to share.  This was one dish that I came in knowing I was going to order (I do love fried green tomatoes, as does my 10 year old gourmand), and I was not disappointed.  The crisp breading around the tart tomato was perfect, and the chipotle spiced sauce was an unexpected, but very delicious departure.  Chris snatched one of these off the plate so quickly that I had to have him put it back so I could snap the picture :)

I ordered the fried catfish with buttery grits and fried okra.  As I said earlier, I won't be ordering catfish at the Roadhouse any more, this was just sooo good.  The grits were tender and decadently buttery (I didn't say this was DIET food), and the fried okra, which is often quite tasteless, was full of bright and tart okra flavor.  

Chris ordered the fried catfish with fries and mac and cheese.  All I can say is that the boy dug in and kept eating until he couldn't eat anymore.  Both the fish and the mac and cheese was "really good" (the boy's words), but despite his heroic efforts, he could not eat it all.  We both took food home (the portions were huge) where the boy later had a "catfish snack," eating not only his, but mine as well!

Tracey had the fried tilapia with mac and cheese and the basil corn.  She said that her food was as delicious as we found ours to be, and that the corn, fried with butter and basil, was a delicious and different take on the common veg.

Accompanying our meals were huge sweet potato muffins.  This was one of the best muffins I have ever eaten...Tracey and I were still talking about them days later.  Liz Rogers, the owner of Mahogany's, told us that they are filling take out orders of these heavenly muffins by the dozen, and I can see why...I think we'll have to get some for breakfast sometime.  I ended up taking half of mine home and Chris ate that too!!

Note:  This was a wonderful place and I will definitely return here often, but discovered a disappointing little fact after leaving the restaurant.  I received the bill and scribbled in a generous tip (the cute, friendly waiter did a great job) without really looking at the amounts (my bad).  The next day Ben was looking at the receipt and found that a 15% gratuity had already been added in...can't say I expected that as we were not a large group.  So all said, the cute, friendly waiter received a $10 tip on a $30 bill...not bad at all (for him).  This won't keep me from returning, but I will certainly pay closer attention to my bill in the future.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More bargain dining goodness...

Borsetti with Bacon Cream Sauce, 
garnished with a Christopher home grown tomato


One of this week's grocery bargains was a 20oz. package of fresh borsetti filled with chicken and bacon (like ravioli, but shaped like little drawstring bags) for $3,49.  Minus the dollar off coupon I had, this was too good to pass up (I couldn't make it myself for this cheap :).  I did not want a tomato based sauce for this delicate pasta, and the small amount of bacon I had left in the fridge (that needed to be used, seems to have become a recurring theme here of late) made me think carbonara.  Something about the eggs, however, did not seem right, so I just made a creamy sauce without the eggs.  I diced up one of Christopher's beautiful home grown tomatoes and sprinkled this over the top of the prepared dishes...perfect!

Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce
1 pkg. pasta of choice, fresh or dry
4 slices bacon, cut into thin ribbons
1 small onion, diced (I used a vidalia)
2 tbs. butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare the pasta according to directions and set aside to keep warm; while the pasta is cooking start preparing the sauce.  In a large saute pan brown the bacon over medium heat, once browned, add the onion with a bit of salt and pepper and cook until softened and just turning golden, 5-7 minutes.  Add the butter and once melted, stir in the flour, cooking a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour taste.  Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened, just a few more minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and stir in the parmesan until melted.  Taste to adjust the seasoning (you will probably want more pepper) before tossing the reserved pasta in the pan to coat with the sauce.  Serve garnished with fresh parsley and diced, fresh, summer tomato.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another first...

BBQ Pork Spareribs, corn on the cob and homemade slaw
 I don't order ribs in restaurants (gasp!)...I know, I'm weird, but I don't fancy the prospect of eating these messy things in public, and quite possibly (especially for me) ending up "wearing" my dinner.  That said, I've never made ribs at home either...oh, sure, I've made the "country" style ribs, but those aren't really ribs, are they?...and whenever we have had a rib urge, have subsisted on packaged Montgomery Inn ribs from the grocery.

This week I found a huge pork sparerib rack at Kroger for $1.19 a pound and decided it was time for us to give this whole rib thing a try.  An internet search revealed a plethora of cooking methods, and I ultimately decided roasting them in the oven (at a higher temp. and shorter time than recommended by many) with a dry rub, and finishing them on the grill with BBQ sauce.  I came up with a basic rub that added a fantastic taste, and crust, to the ribs (some cayenne added to the rub would have been good too).  I had planned on making my own BBQ sauce as well, but learned that one should not take off for the shower without remembering to turn the heat down under the sauce...how was it that Ben put it?..."It doesn't smell so good anymore."  Jack Daniels Original No. 7 to the rescue (my favorite bottled sauce).  These ribs were delicious and tender, but with a crisp crust from the rub (my favorite part) that was saltier than expected (but not in a bad way, just unexpected) considering the amount of salt to all the other ingredients.  Ben was figuring how he would like to change the grilling end a bit to be able to get more sauce baked on them, but all an all, especially for a first attempt, these were outstanding.

BBQ Pork Spareribs

1 large rack of spareribs
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. black pepper
1 tbs. coarse salt
1 tsp. onion powder
BBQ sauce of choice, as needed

The day before you plan to have them, take the rib rack and cut into smaller pieces (if you wish) for easier handling.  Remove the silver skin and rub both sides of the pieces with the rub (use it all).  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Look at that delicious crust
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large roasting pan with foil (don't skip this, was the sugar and drippings will bake onto this instead of your pan).  Place the ribs in the pan, fat side up, and roast for 45 minutes, turn over and roast an additional 45 minutes.  The smell will be fantastic, and when you remove them from the oven, the meat may already be pulling away from the bone.

All saucy...
Finish the ribs on the grill, slathering with a liberal amount of your favorite BBQ sauce.  You may also wish to throw some wood chips on the grill to give the ribs a smokey touch...Ben used hickory chips, and I'm oh so glad he did.  Once all the BBQ sauce is nicely cooked onto the ribs, bring them in, cut between the bones into 1 or 2 rib portions, pile them up on a platter.  Now take them to the table with a big pile of napkins.  This huge rack (4+ lbs.) served four.

um, um, um, all gone...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot and cold on a summer day...

Spicy Honey Ginger Salmon a bed of whole grain brown and wild rice, with a cooling side of Creamy Cucumber Salad

I was in the mood for salmon, but not just any salmon. I wanted some of the sweet and spicy Asian flavors that I love so well.  This would be easy enough to accomplish with a few ingredients and a quick trip under the broiler...perfect food in that it is simple, quick, and delicious.  But what to serve with it?  Earlier in the week I had been making the vinegar based cucumber salad that Christopher loves so much when Ben reminded me that he like sour cream based cucumber salads too.  This was it.  The cool creaminess would be the perfect foil to the sweet spiciness of the fish, and as cucumber becomes somewhat crisp when salted and drained, it would be a wonderful textural foil as well (and it was, on both counts :).

Spicy Honey Ginger Salmon

1 lb. skinless salmon fillets
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. ground ginger (not powdered)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
large pinch of coarse salt

Mix the honey, soy sauce, ginger, pepper flakes, and salt in a small bowl.  If you have the time, prepare this earlier in the day and just let it sit on the counter to marry the flavors; you may also wish to use a smaller amount of pepper flakes if you don't like things quite so spicy.  About 1/2 hour before dining, line a heavy weight baking sheet with foil (easy cleanup).  Place the fillets on the foil and spoon some of the marinade over each, turning the fillets for even coverage on both sides; let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes while you preheat the broiler.  Broil for 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness, until nicely browned and just cooked through- be careful not to overcook.  The honey in the marinade will burn on the foil, but not affect the salmon.  Serve the salmon, spooning over any marinade you may have left.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers
salt (table salt is good here)
1 small vidalia onion (or other sweet onion)
1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
fresh ground black pepper

Peel the cucumbers if they have a thick or waxy skin, otherwise, don't bother.  Slice thinly and layer in a colander in the sink, salting the layers as you proceed; leave them here for 2 hours or so. 

Peel the onion and quarter lengthwise, slice thinly.  Combine the onion with the sour cream and a generous grinding of black pepper.  Take as handful of cucumber slices and squeeze as much liquid out as possible before dropping them in the bowl of sour cream.  proceed until all the cucumber has been squeezed dry and added to the sour cream.  Stir to combine well and taste to see if you want more pepper (I did); chill until ready to serve.  Any leftovers may accumulate some liquid on top during storage...just pour this off and enjoy your even crunchier cucumbers.



Thursday, August 12, 2010

I forgot about the Jarritos!!

Jarritos al Pastor

As you may (or may not) recall, I received 11 bottles of Jarritos soda back in June to do a product review.  After preparing one chicken dish and one cocktail, the box got tucked away in the pantry and forgotten about (sigh).  Reminded by the little guy that I still had the soda (HE didn't forget),

I drug the box out of the pantry.  I took the bottle of Piña (pineapple) and used it as the base of a marinade for al pastor (yeah, I know, this isn't a big stretch).  Remembering the delicious result the long marinade of the chicken produced, I decided to let the pork experience the same long bath.  The pork turned out scrumptious, tender, and moist, just as the chicken had, and the depth of flavor was incredible.   While not everyone may like a fruit flavored soda, Jarritos has proved itself to be a wonderful marinade base for meat...I'm thinking a Latin/Asian fusion dish for the mandarin :)

I also took the opportunity to break out the jalapeños en eccabeche that I had made at the beginning of the month.  These turned out every bit as delicious as I had hoped.  I had had a nagging fear that the processing time would overcook the veg, but this was not the case, and they were still nice and crisp.  Unfortunately, Ben and I ate half a jar in this one sitting (I guess there are worse things to over indulge in :), so I shall need to make some more of these before summer's end.

Jarritos al Pastor

2 to 2 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 bottle Jarritos Piña
1 large onion, cut into a large dice
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 can chipotles in adobo, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 20oz. can pineapple chunks
1 tbs. olive oil 
Slice the tenderloin into one inch slices, don't worry about trimming off the fat unless there is a lot (there usually isn't).  Mix the remaining ingredients, except the pineapple and oil, in a gallon zip lock bag; add the pork slices and stow in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days (Mine was 3 days), turning occasionally.

When you are ready to cook, remove the pork from the marinade to a foil lined serving platter (easy cleanup).  Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice for another use, and place in a medium bowl.  Remove the onion chunks from the marinade and add to the pineapple; drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and toss to coat. 

Light your grill (I used gas) and once it is hot, grill the pork until it is just cooked through; throw away the foil, revealing a clean platter, and remove the pork to rest for 5-10 minutes.  While grilling the pork, cook the onion and pineapple in a grill basket until tender and starting to brown (this actually took longer to cook than the pork).

 Once the pork has rested, cut it into thin slices and pile in the middle of the platter.  Spoon the cooked onion and pineapple around the outside and serve (if someone doesn't want the pineapple, they can easily get just the pork).  Serving suggestions:  warm corn and/or flour tortillas, grated queso cotija (or other cheese), chopped onion with  fresh cilantro, diced avocado, salsa of choice (I used salsa ranchera), and lime wedges...we had all of these :-)

Other stuff...

I like to make my own salsa ranchera, but as this can be a bit time consuming, I have also found a favorite to purchase at the grocery.  I like the Herdez brand, available in the Latin section of most groceries.  All the salsas are good, but salsa ranchera, of medium heat, is, by far, my favorite.

I decided to use the reserved pineapple juice in a riff on the classic margarita.  This was the perfect cocktail to go with the spicy complexity of this meal.

Pineapple Lime Margarita

1oz. tequlia blanco or plata (white or silver)
1oz. triple sec
1 oz. pineapple juice
1oz. lime juice

Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour over ice.  Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime and a pineapple chunk.  Makes one drink.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Michael Symon redux...

Michael Symon's Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken

I had scored both goat cheese and a rotisserie chicken dirt cheap at Kroger, and used them both one night when I was in need of quick, easy eats. I love Michael Symon and his approach to cooking, and I've made his mac and cheese recipe a few times now, but have always made it as a side, and left out the chicken.  This was so incredibly good with the shredded rotisserie chicken folded in, that I jut had to share it again.  This would make a perfect weeknight meal accompanied with a green salad.

Hot and bubbly out of the oven.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

These mushrooms need to be used...

 Peppered Pork Marsala

I had bought a pound of mushrooms at a fantastic price, stuck them in the fridge, and then had a few days spell of not cooking (hey, it happens).  Now I had the mushrooms sitting on the counter, contemplating what to do with these before they perished.  I have been craving pasta of late, so I decided to do a marsala dish, but changed it up a bit by using a peppered pork tenderloin thrown on the grill, instead of the usual chicken.  This was a tasty adaptation, and one certainly worth repeating.

Peppered Pork Marsala
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb. (see note)
1 14-16 oz. pkg. spaghetti (I used whole grain)
1 lb. mushrooms, wiped, trimmed, and sliced
1 medium onion, diced (I used a vidalia)
4 tbs. butter, divided
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbs, cornstarch

Grill the pork until barely cooked through , or to desired doneness (it is safe to eat today's pork with a tinge of pink in the middle).  Alternatively, brown it on all sides in a heavy skillet (like cast iron) before finishing it in a 35o degree F oven for 20 minutes.   However you cook it, be sure to let it rest 5-10 minutes before slicing it very thinly.   Cook the pasta al dente. rinse, and set aside to keep warm.

For the sauce:  Saute the onions over medium heat in 2 tablespoons butter until tender and just turning golden, 10-12 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and saute until they have released their liquid and become quite dry (think concentrated flavor :).  Season fairly generously with the salt and pepper, add the wine and stock.  Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, more to cook off some of the alcohol and blend flavors than to reduce.  Measure the cornstarch into a small cup or bowl and mix with a few tablespoons of stock or water to make a slurry.  Reduce the heat to med-low and stir in the slurry; cook for a minute or two to thicken.  Taste to adjust seasoning and turn off the heat before stirring in the last 2 tablespoons butter.  Serve immediately.

To serve:  Portion the cooked spaghetti onto plates and spoon over the sauce.  Fan some of the thinly sliced pork over the top and a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley.  By slicing the pork thin I was able to get 5 servings from a scant pound of pork with no complaints.  Serve with a green salad.

Note:  For ease of preparation, you may choose to use a premarinated tenderloin as I did, but if you would prefer to use one not already marinated, just rub it with some olive oil before rolling it in crushed peppercorns mixed with a generous amount of coarse salt.  While you could do this just before cooking, the pork will be more flavorful if you can do it several hours before hand, or even the day before.  I have used this method and it gives you very tasty pork You can also rub the meat with dijon mustard instead of the oil, and come to think of it, a bit of dijon whisked into the sauce would have been very nice.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gone camping...

Fried Chicken, Green Beans, and Biscuits with Pan Gravy

We went camping this weekend at Governor Bebb Preserve in rural Butler County (otherwise known as "the sticks").  While this park only offers primitive camping (no water, one port-a-let), it is one of our favorite places to camp, or to just spend a day, and you can find us here at least a few times during the spring to fall camping season.

We usually eat well while camping, because with a grill and a camp stove you can cook just about anything you can at home.  This time around we thought we would do something that we don't do at home.  The whole family loves fried chicken, but this is something I refuse to make at home, not in my kitchen, not on my deck (or anything deep fried for that matter).  We figured that using the campstove and cooking on a picnic table, we were safe from mess and odor.  Frying the chicken did indeed prove to be a messy endeavor, even using a splatter screen (reinforcing my stance against doing this at home), but the results were oh, so gooood.  After spooning off most of the frying oil, I made a pan gravy with the "leavin's" and served this over biscuits that we had brought along.  Uum, uum good!!

We did not have a thermometer for the oil and I believe we probably had it too hot, but we got delicious crispy skin while retaining  juicy flavorful meat, so mission accomplished.  There are several trains of thought about preparing chicken for frying...some think it should be soaked in buttermilk, some think it should be soaked in a brine...I decided to do both, and with the addition of salt and sugar, made a "buttermilk brine."  The night before we left I got the chicken soaking in this "brine" in a gallon bag, and prepared another bag with heavily seasoned flour in which to dredge the chicken (homemade "shake and bake",,,is that stuff even still around?).

Southern Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy
This recipe is for camp cooking

2 lbs. chicken parts (we used 6 legs)
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tbs. lemon juice)
1 tbs, coarse salt
1 tbs. sugar
2 cups flour
seasonings of choice- I used ground pepper, table salt, garlic powder, paprika, and dried parsley flakes
canola oil, as needed
2 cups milk (I used 2%)

Place the chicken, buttermilk, salt, and sugar in a gallon sized zip bag; seal and mush it around to combine everything; refrigerate over night.  If your chicken will be hanging out in a cooler like ours did, you will probably want to seal it in an additional gallon bag (unless you are VERY trusting that the bag won't leak).  Put the flour in another gallon bag and season VERY generously with whatever you like, but you should certainly include salt and pepper. 

Our breading station
When you are ready to cook, heat a cast iron skillet and 1/2 to 1'" of canola oil (we used about 3 cups) until very hot- you will want the oil to reach about halfway up the sides of your chicken.  Dredge the chicken heavily in the flour (a surprisingly thick amount will adhere) and place carefully, skin side down, into the hot oil.  Cook until richly brown on the first side and turn over (you don't want to turn it too much and risk breaking off the crust).  Cook the second side until brown, and remove when the chicken is cooked through (I can't give you a time here...Ben has a weird ability to just "know" when chicken on the bone is done...I don't share this ability).  Cook the chicken in batches so as to not crowd the pan, and remove to a paper towel lined plate when finished, just cover lightly with foil to keep warm (and keep the pesky flies off of it).

When all the chicken is fried, spoon off most of the oil into a heat resistant bowl to cool (then you can pour it into a plastic bottle to dispose of it, don't dump it on the ground).  Pour what is left of the flour into the pan with the oil and cook until a nice golden color (this will happen very quickly).  Using a whisk, stir in a small amount of milk until smooth, then slowly whisk in the rest of the milk, scraping up any brown bits from the pan too (that's the best part).  Turn off the heat and serve with the chicken and biscuits.  I found the seasonings in the flour to be enough, but Ben added some pepper, so have that handy for any who want it :)

We also cooked some green beans (with some bacon :) to go with this fried feast.

The next morning we made a Mountainman Breakfast, our third time making this dutch oven meal, but the first time to actually do it while camping.  We were also able to warm up leftover biscuits from the residual heat.

Mountainman Breakfast, biscuits with honey, coffee percolated on the campstove, and OJ...what a great start to a morning outdoors :-)

A view of the creek near our camp site.

Christopher, all on his own, decided to start weeding the playground.  Now he wants to go back with garden tools and finish the job.  I think this is a beautiful idea, as the parks in Butler County have suffered severe cutbacks and can use all the help they can get.  Chris and daddy are also scheming a service project for their Webelos den (the last cub scout rank)...I love my guys :-)
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