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.

Enjoy!

Liz

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.

Enjoy!

Liz

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!

Liz

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…

Liz

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!

Liz

Spruce Study

Decided to take a break from the Alliums and do a little Spruce study tonight. Sometimes I do quick studies like this when I am practicing for something.

This took about and hour and a half. This painting is small and I wanted to layer the trees so I had to wait longer between layers. Actual painting time was more like 45mins – hour.

starting out light

Because I wanted to show a sort of foggy, misty scene I started with the trees in the back very lightly. Also started building the bank and water in the foreground.

working the middle ground

Added another few layers of trees and started darkening the bank. Added a little more to the sky as well. I thought it needed some more grey to balance what’s going on with the water down below.

another layer of sky and shadow

Things seemed a little monochromatic (all the same color) to me so I added some purple in here to add some shadows. Also played with the shadows on the middle ground Spruces. I had to consider where the light source would be. Since its from the right side I darkened up the left side of the trees.

all done

This is a really different style from the Allium painting I’ve been working on. Much softer and washed out. I think it is fun to jump around a little bit. Spruce trees are fun because they are quick and easy. I could add more here, but I think I’m going to leave it since it’s more of a practice piece than anything.

I love it when you pull the tape off at the end and the edges look all nice and crisp

Liz

Watercolor Allium, Part 2

I want to start by showing the photo that this painting is based on. The reason I didn’t show it at the beginning is because I wanted to explain the concept of layering and building the painting from nothing. I wanted to do that before there was any idea of what the scene looked like prior.

Here are some photos of the bed these Allium were in. The photos were taken in the Minns garden on Tower Rd at Cornell University. If you ever feel like checking it out, we were there in the first week of June and the garden was beautiful.

sea of ferns

One of the things I loved about this planting so much is the simplicity of it. There are only a few key plants here and the contrast is simple and fun. Plus I love ferns. I love ferns a lot. Especially a big patch of them.

simple and beautiful

This was a neat shot. It features another one of my favorite plants in the back, Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) but we will get those later this year…

So here is where we left off before…

So I began with adding texture to the flower buds. I took the photo to show what a difference it makes. Here I am halfway through one layer of the buds. That took about an hour.

The other half took about an hour too. After that I worked on adding some definition to the stems, the grass on the left side and the shrubs in the right foreground. Those are giving me trouble. I added some more color to the trees in the back too. I decided to define the dark purple blob that was in the back. I was going to leave it all as one shade but it bothered me.

Here is a closeup of the buds. Lots of teeny tiny strokes here. I’m still not finished with these either. Close, but needs one more layer. I’m going to include a video on the Facebook page to show how I do it. I need to figure out how to add videos in here. Sorry.

So that is all for today. I’ll keep working on it. I think I need to look at it for a day or so and figure out how I’m going to finish it.

I prefer to paint landscapes and plants. I’ve had some success with still lives and a portrait or two, but I have always loved landscape paintings. My paintings have always been kind of realistic and kind of brightly skewed. (If that’s the right way to say it?) I love bright colors. Especially in my paintings. That’s just my style.

Thank you for seeing how the Alliums are progressing. I am really grateful to the people who are checking this out. I’m finding I like to explain it more than I thought I would.

Liz

Watercolor Allium, Part 1

I started a watercolor painting featuring one of my favorite summer bulbs, Allium. Alliums are essentially a flowering perennial onion and have a bulb that produces unique ball shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple and blue.

The photo that I used for inspiration was from a day trip to Cornell University in June 2018 with the New York State Nurseryman Association. We toured some of the campus gardens and heard the behind the scenes story of when they installed a native plant themed rain garden. I took some photos of Allium that day that are really striking. I like how the purple Allium balls float up above the other bedding plants. Those photos always stuck out to me. I knew I wanted to paint them at some point. I will share the photos from that day soon.

Painting is all about layers. Layers on layers on layers. One of the things I love about working with watercolor is that the layers dry so quickly. There is less wait time between each round, so you can complete something in a session or two.

It takes awhile to complete a painting like this. What I am showing here in part one took about 2 ½ hours. I still have that long to go at least. Maybe longer.

I have been painting for many years and I found it interesting to take photos as I went along to show the process. When you have been doing something for so long you kind of forget the steps. You just do it. It is like being on autopilot. I liked seeing how the painting progressed.

pencil sketch on watercolor paper

I start off with a sketch in pencil on watercolor paper. I draw really light so I do not have to erase much. The painting usually covers the pencil, but you can erase a little if the paper is dry.

building the background

The first layer is essentially a color wash. I use the most water in these first few steps. I use big, broad strokes that will become the background. In the first stage here I’m looking for only shades and tones.

creating the middle ground

The painting is created from the background towards the foreground. Now I start to color in the middle ground, the Allium buds.

building texture

Next I start to create some texture. So many layers. Even the layers have layers. I add some texture to the background plants, add the stems and start on the buds themselves.

adding stems

Slowly you build up definition and detail. Here I darken the stems. They naturally would be in shadow just underneath the buds.

a work in progress

End of round one with this one. I usually prefer not to complete a painting in one day because I like to look at it for a day or so and see what areas I want to improve on, and where I want to go with it.

I will share the upcoming stages of this painting soon. Thank you for following along! I hope you enjoyed seeing the process.

Liz

New England Clam Chowder

It’s soup season! Today I am sharing my recipe for New England Clam Chowder. I enjoy making this in the winter when things get chilly…it’s comfort food at its best. It also makes great leftovers. 

I am asked for this recipe by everyone and thought it might be a nice way to kick off the food category here. Easy to make and super delicious.

New England Clam Chowder

Serves 8-10

8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
3 celery ribs, diced
1 bunch of green onions, diced
1 large white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium russet potatoes, diced
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
1 8 oz bottle of clam juice
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. Thyme
⅓ cup flour
1 pint of half and half
4 6.5 oz cans of chopped, canned clams (drained)
1 bay leaf

This soup is easy to make, but I must stress – it is important to chop ALL the veggies and ingredients prior to making the soup. Prep time in important here. You will not have time between the steps to chop anything. I am telling you this because I made that mistake. 

Dice potatoes into 1/2 cubes

I chop the potatoes into ½ inch cubes and the celery ribs in half lengthwise before I chop them. Recipe calls for one large white onion, but here I used two smaller ones because I grew them and this is as big as they got this year! 

Prep time is key to this soup

Start cooking the bacon in a dutch oven or large pot. Once browned, remove bacon and set aside. Keep the grease in the pan.

Brown the bacon right in the pot, remove and leave the grease in the pot

Now here is my favorite part… add 2 tbs. of butter directly into the bacon grease. If you have never added butter to bacon grease for anything, get ready to live. The smell is amazing. Who doesn’t love a recipe that starts with adding fat to fat?! Do not be scared off…

yup. butter in bacon grease. mmmmmmmm….

Stir the butter into the grease and add the onions and celery. Saute on medium until they soften and onion is clear. Stir the brown bits on the bottom of the pan into the veggies.

add onion and celery to buttery, bacony amazingness

Add green onion and garlic and saute one minute. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Stir in. Add clam juice and chicken broth. Add potatoes. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes. 

add green onions and garlic, then spices

In a small bowl combine the flour and ½ of the half and half. Whisk until smooth and add to the soup. Bring to a boil and boil 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat and add remaining half and half, clams and bay leaf. Simmer on medium low 5-10 minutes. 

Remove from heat and remove bay leaf. Stir the bacon bits in. 

Dish out servings you will be using immediately and pour remaining soup from the pot into a large glass bowl or other container. Do not leave it sitting in the pot. I am sharing this because I left it in the pot while we ate it the first time and made this mistake. If you use a cast iron dutch oven like me the pot will continue to cook the soup even if off the stove. The heat will continue to radiate, the potatoes will sink and it will stick. And you will be sad. I was. 

And that’s it! Yuuuum. I like to serve it with warm bread and oyster crackers. It’s stick to your ribs good. 

Enjoy!