Bacon Wrapped, Garlic Stuffed Pork Roast

I decided to share this simple and easy way to jazz up a boneless pork roast. I started making these years ago and have tried a few different variations. It always includes a little mustard for tang, a little something sweet (brown sugar, maple syrup or honey) and a little touch of salty via the bacon.

Bacon, Garlic Pork Roast

  • 2-3 pound boneless pork roast
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 5-6 pieces of bacon
  • toothpicks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place roast on rack in roasting pan.

Slice garlic cloves into halves or thirds (depending on size) length wise. Using a paring knife, poke holes all over the roast and stuff the garlic cloves in. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper.

Drizzle with mustard and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Tip – If you are using maple syrup or honey instead of brown sugar, you would drizzle to coat and use about 3 tablespoons.

Wrap the roast with the bacon strips and secure with toothpicks.

Add some liquid to the roasting pan. Water always works. Water plus a little orange juice or apple cider is better.

Roast for 15 minutes at 425. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees. Roast for approximately 25 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Bacon will be crisped.

Let rest 20 minutes. Slice roast.

Makes excellent leftover sandwiches.



Reuben Casserole

This yummy, comfort food recipe came to me from my long time friend Mary. She always made it for friends birthdays and we couldn’t wait to have it. After years of begging she handed it over. Since then I make it every once in awhile just because it is stick to your ribs good, makes great leftovers and is the ultimate cold day comfort food. Every time I make it friends and family ask me for the recipe… so sorry Mary, the secret is out! Love you.

I changed things a little from the original recipe as time went on. I don’t even measure really anymore and you will see that after the first few times, you will not need to either.

Reuben Casserole

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

  • 1 pound sliced, corned beef
  • 1 loaf marble rye bread, sliced
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 32 oz. jar or bag of sauerkraut
  • 1 24 oz. Thousand Island Dressing (you won’t use it all but leaves extra for topping)
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Drain and rinse the sauerkraut. Press to remove all water.

Cut up corned beef into 1/2″ square pieces.

Mix 1/3 cup of dressing into both in separate bowls.

Cube up the bread into 1/2″ cubes.

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add 1/2 of the cubed bread.

Top with half the meat mixture. Then 1/2 cup of cheese. Then half the sauerkraut mixture. Then 1/2 cup of cheese. Then drizzle some dressing.

Repeat – second half of the meat, cheese, second half of the sauerkraut, cheese, dressing. Top with the other half of the bread cubes and the rest of the cheese. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of melted butter.

Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes or until top is crusty and all cheese is melted and browned. Serve warm with extra dressing for topping.

This keeps well for a few days. Reheat in the oven or in a toaster oven. I often vacuum seal individual portions for leftovers anytime.



Tulip, Iris, Crocus – Colored Pencil

Spring flowers always lift the spirit after a cold, long winter. With so many colors and textures to enjoy, I have been working on some of my favorites – Tulips, Iris and Crocus.

This sunny tulip is a warm welcome to spring…

Iris will not be blooming here for a few more weeks, but I can’t wait….

Crocus bloomed here a few weeks ago. I love the combination of white, yellow, purple and purple/white that inspired this little group shot.

Happy Spring!


Fossile Hunting

Today was sunny and almost 60, a beautiful day. Took a walk to a little shale bed near my house. Did a little fossil hunting and took a walk through the the woods. These are some of my favorite shots.

Found some very cool teal wood…

and some cool lichens and moss…


Dorchester Lake

Today the sun was out, it was almost 60 degrees and for the first time it really started to feel like spring. To take advantage of the beautiful weather my friend and I decided to get out and continue our journey on the Broome County Hiking Challenge. We decided to head up to Dorchester Lake and tackle challenge #4 on the list, which was hike #8 for us.

The hike starts out near the swimming area in Dorchester Park. The trail is entirely paved making it a great choice for those looking for easy terrain or bringing young kids or dogs. It was nice to see that there were many people out today. When we arrived there were only a few folks, but by the time our hike was over the park was filling up pretty quickly. I was glad to see so many people using this county park gem this early in the season. I suppose we are all feeling a little cooped up. 

The trail continues for a while, then turns and goes around the south end of the lake near the dam. The dam was constructed between 1936 and 1942 by the Army Corps of Engineers. The lake has a surface area of 1,200 acres. 

The trail takes you along the edge of the lake at the base of the flood wall. The trail connects all the way to Whitney Point High School, at which point you can continue to the lower fishing access behind the school, or turn back. On the way back we decided to walk along the top of the flood wall to take advantage of the beautiful view. The southern end of the lake was still almost entirely covered by ice. 

Once we got back to the parking area and completed the challenge (the loop for the challenge is 4 miles total) we decided it was too nice out to end here. So we continued on, crossed the park and took one of the woods trails. It meanders for a short while through the woods terminating in a point. We stopped to take some photos and we could hear the ice melting on the lake. It was making all sorts of soft crackles and pops. 

We headed back to the car and decided to take a short drive up to the north end of the lake. In Upper Lisle there is a steel bridge that crosses where the Otselic River enters the lake. It is here that we usually pull our kayaks out after floating down the Otselic. We wanted to see if the ice was all the way up to the north end. 

When we got up there we were surprised to find that the ice was completely melted at the northern end. I took a photo where you can see the ice shelf further out in the lake. We walked around a little bit and took some shots of the Otselic meandering towards the lake. There have been many birds returning the past few weeks and it was nice to hear their chatter. It confirms spring is on the way. 

We headed up the river a little further to Landers Corners just south of Willet, where we usually put the kayacks in to begin the float. There is another steel bridge here and the water for most of the summer is only a few feet deep. This makes it easy to get the kayaks in and get going. The water today was at least three feet deep and moving pretty quick. 

Seeing the river and lake thaw out, feeling the warm sun and getting some much needed fresh air gave us the itch to get in those kayaks as soon as we can! Although it could have been done today….not quote yet. I sure don’t want to tip it!


Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Today I am sharing my recipe for homemade peanut butter swirl brownies. I recently made them for a friend and was reminded how good they are. These are so much better than any box brownie mix and the peanut butter swirl really kicks them up a notch. 

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

350 degrees; 20-25 mins. 

  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9” x 9” pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a bowl mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

In a mixer combine oil, vanilla and sugar. Blend well. Add eggs. Blend again. 

Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Add the second half. Mix well. 

Pour brownie mix into the lined/greased pan. Melt the peanut butter in a microwave safe glass dish. Pour over brownie batter.

Using a knife swirl peanut butter into brownies making sure to get peanut butter at least half way down into brownie batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Allow brownies to cool, then lift foil from the pan. Remove foil from brownies, cut and serve. 



Daffodil – Colored Pencil

Today’s “botanical bright” is Daffodils! Now I’m really longing for spring. 

Daffodils (Narcissus) really are true signs of spring. I get so excited once the snow melts and you can see the tips of their leaves sticking up out of the ground. Once that happens you know that spring has finally arrived. 

I love to cut them and make arrangements. They last at least a week in vase. Here is a bouquet from a few years ago of daffodils and pussy willows. 

In my garden I have about a dozen different varieties. Some are “doubles” with frilly flowers and some are “trumpets” with long centers (coronas). Each fall I purchase some new bulbs and spend a few golden afternoons popping them in the ground here and there like a squirrel. 

I made these container arrangements for my business for a home show we were in. I loved these and we enjoyed them for awhile in our office after the show. These were potted so they lasted quite awhile. I added some curly willow and burlap. The bucket is an old maple syrup bucket. I think I may just make these again this year….


Bacon Wrapped Cocktail Weenies

Yup, were wrapping stuff in bacon again. Can you really ever have enough bacon? I think not.

This simple party appetizer came from one of my best girl friends years ago. She was looking for a quick and easy dish to bring to a party we were having. We all loved them and history was made. 

I have continued to make these for parties and events throughout the year. They do take a little time to prep, but they are so yummy that they are completely worth it.

Bacon Wrapped Cocktail Weenies

makes approx. 60

  • 2 14oz. packages of smoked cocktail sausages
  • 3 medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 ½ pounds of bacon 
  • Brown sugar 

Note – I prefer to use smoked sausages because I think they give a little more flavor, but unsmoked work as well. There are also cocktail sausages available that have cheese in them. They too are delicious. 

I start by getting all the prep done and out of the way so assembly is easier. 

Cut up the jalapeno peppers into thin strips. Cut 1 and ½ packages of bacon into thirds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap bacon and jalapeno strips around little sausage and secure with a toothpick.

Space wrapped sausages evenly on parchment lined baking sheets. 

Sprinkle sausages with brown sugar. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until bacon is crispy. 

Serve warm. 

Bring them to a party or serve them at your own. Enjoy!


Flowering Dogwood – Colored Pencil

Today I have a third piece for what I’m dubbing the “Botanical Brights” collection. I must have spring on my mind because today’s piece is Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida). 

I love Dogwood trees because of their open, airy canopy. They are a perfect mid-sized tree in the landscape. Dogwoods grow fairly well here in the northeast if they are in a protected location. They do not tolerate windy or exposed sites. I have always enjoyed seeing them bloom on my travels to the south. 

Flowering Dogwood on the Blue Ridge Parkway

This is one of my favorite Dogwood photos. I snapped this on a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the spring of 2015. I love the split rail fence. The cabin in the background was a historical reproduction, but the scene looks like something out of the Civil War. 

There are many different cultivars of native Dogwood, some featuring the pink flowers I featured in this piece. They grow natively from mid Pennsylvania down to Florida, and west to the Mississippi River. In the summer Dogwood trees create a cluster of berries, called drupes, that are a favorite for many birds. The bark of the tree is very “corky” and pretty unique. The bark and branch structure make them a nice choice for winter gardens.