Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Life is good,,,,,,,


I know my posts are hit and miss lately,, life is busy but life is good!!

I have been very busy getting ready for the winter months ahead.  I have sauerkraut fermenting in crocks, the sausage I made is all packaged up and in the freezer, and I have been stocking up.

I wrote some time ago about a work at home job I was starting, that one did not work out so well but when one door closes, God opens another one.  Today I am starting as a "Professional Researcher and Genealogist".  Again I will be working from home, which I love but the company is located here in Illinois.  Soon I will also be training for an at home "virtual call center" position again and yes, I will be working two jobs!!  Each will average about 30 hours a week, 60 hours total, but especially over the winter, that is fine with me.

Even though I have paid off the mortgage, have no car payment and have minimized my bills quite a bit, there are still bills to pay.  And I want to start putting back some money for an extended vacation next summer that I hope to take.

When time allows I am continuing working on my own family genealogy.  There have been some brick walls that get frustrating at times, but over-all it's been great!!  I love doing it.  I have worked on genealogy for some other people as well so finding this job should be a perfect fit for me and I am looking forward to it.  I'll also be doing searches for live people who are heirs and companies are looking for them about their inheritance.  I can't go into any more detail than that because it is confidential, but it should be interesting.  :-) 

This past year we lost all the older cats and I lost my best buddy Rusty in August.  He was 17 and we got to celebrate his birthday with him before he past.  I loved all my pets I have had over the years but Rusty was a very special dog.  He stuck by me and protected me through some of the worse situations imaginable.  He was very loving and devoted to his momma.  It's going to take me a long time to get over his passing but I know he is in a much better place now with no more pain.

I have tried to sell my camper 3 times now with no luck so I guess I am meant to keep it.  It will come in very handy when I take my trip next year.  Such a nice camper!  It was used when I bought it but certainly not junk.  And hey, it's paid for so why not keep it, LOL.

As I have stated before, the comments here are on moderation.  Nothing will show in the blog without me approving it.  So to the person who sent me the most recent comment, you must be some kind of stupid to think that a) I would approve that comment for posting,  and b) that I would give you any information regarding my other accounts or personal information about myself.  You sound like someone I once knew and was very happy to get out of my life.  But you go ahead and send me your comments it gives me something to laugh about, LOL. 

Until next time,,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Making sausage,,,,,,,,,,,,


It has been a while since I have posted last.  Just been one busy person.  This past weekend I made sausage, both breakfast sausage and Italian sausage.  This was my first attempt at making sausage but I am sure glad I did!!  The breakfast sausage was perfectly seasoned to our tastes and the Italian sausage was very good but I think I will cut back on the thyme the next time I make it and also make a few alterations to the process which I will explain as I give the instructions.  The recipes for each will be posted at the bottom of the post.  You guessed it, I do have pictures to post as well!!

As you know, I always love being frugal and saving money.  The price of breakfast sausage and Italian sausage has, like everything else, gone way up.  Our local grocery store had pork butt on sale last week at $1.59 per lb.  Rolls of breakfast sausage start out at $3.59 per lb. and go up depending on brand and Italian sausage patties like the ones I made are now at $5.39 per lb. unless you catch them on sale.  So I averaged a savings of $3.00 per lb making it myself.

I went BIG with my purchase and bought just under 30 lbs of Pork Butt.  I have a big freezer and so decided to make a lot to freeze.  The recipes below are for smaller amounts of sausage at one time so I just figured out how much spice I would need for the amount of pork I was using, then I adjusted some of the spices according to our taste preferences.  I for one do not like a lot of pepper.  I suggest you adjust according to your taste preferences as well.  These recipes are only to give you a basic guide.

So, let's get started,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Whole Pork Butts average 7 - 10lbs and do have a shoulder blade type bone in them.  I cut off most of the meat from the bone and then put the bone and remaining meat in a crock pot to slow cook.  I actually had 3 of these.
Cut the meat from the bone and then cube.  You want no more than about 20% fat and 80% meat.  I opted for a little less fat and trimmed some away but if you do that be sure to use a little oil or cooking spray when cooking to prevent sticking.

Because I bought so much pork I actually wound up with 2 of these big bowls full of cubed pork.

The bowl on the left has the spices for the Italian Sausage and the bowl on the right has the spices for the Breakfast Sausage.  Mix your spices in with your cubed pork.  Mix thoroughly, turning your pork several times.  Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or over night.  I had added the red wine vinegar to the Italian sausage pork and let that set over night also but I found when grinding it made the meat a little too wet so next time I will add the vinegar in after grinding.  It grinds much better being a little drier.  Also you want the pork very cold when grinding so the fat does not soften up too much.

This is grinding the Italian Sausage.  As you can see it is really too wet and clumping up a bit.  It gave me a little bit of a fit but not too bad.  Lesson learned!!

Grinding the breakfast sausage.  No liquid was added and as you can see it is grinding much better and not clumping up.

A lot more grinding to do yet, but this looks to be pretty good breakfast sausage to me, LOL.
Once all the grinding was done, I covered each bowl with plastic wrap and chilled them in the fridge for a couple of hours to make handling the meat easier.

Making breakfast sausage patties for the freezer.  I froze my patties first before packaging them into meal size packages so they would not stick together when frozen.

Italian sausage patties.  Just the right size for a hamburger bun!

Cooking sausage for breakfast.  We had eggs and toast with it, so very good!!

Cooking Italian sausage and sauteing peppers and onions.

They made great sandwiches on toasted hamburger buns!!
2 teas dried sage     2 teas salt     1 teas ground black pepper
1/4 teas dried marjoram     1 tabls brown sugar     1 pinch ground cloves
1/8 teas crushed red pepper flakes     2 pounds pork
In a small bowl combine spices and mix well.  Cube your pork meat and mix the spices into it thoroughly.  Cover and chill at least one hour, preferably over night.  Grind your sausage and chill again before forming into patties.  You can also use casings to make links if you prefer.
3 tabls red wine vinegar     1 tabls salt     1 tabls cracked or ground black pepper
1 1/4 tabls dried parsley     1 tabls garlic powder     1 tabls onion powder
1 tabls dried basil     2 teas paprika     2 teas crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teas ground fennel seed     1/4 teas brown sugar 
1/8 teas dried oregano     1/8 teas dried thyme     3 lbs pork
In a small bowl mix all dry ingredients well.  Cube pork and mix the dry spices into it thoroughly.  Cover and chill at least one hour, preferably over night.  Grind your sausage, mix in the red wine vinegar.  Cover and chill again before forming into patties.  You can also use casings to make links if you prefer.
NOTE:  You can order casings online at walmart.com
Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings!!