How this workaholic longs for the holidays to be over! Especially when the big days fall midweek, effectively knocking out two full weeks. I tried not working—reading, watching movies—but that just resulted in flatness. I need to work, writing or cooking, apparently the way a shark needs to swim. This week is time to think ahead toward what I hope to accomplish in 2014. I’ve already achieved one goal, small though it was. A few friends and I bought and broke down a pig in December (will post about this soon) and it was exceptionally fatty, leaving us with far more rendered lard than I need to cook with. How to use all this fat? Make soap. To my amazement, it was a breeze and finished in 30 minutes. Though there’s relatively little on Read On »

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Make your own vanilla extract at home, via Brown Eyed Baker.

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My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, and set a timer for 90 minutes. It will thicken up, but you may want to give it another 20 minutes if it’s Read On »

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  Most weekday mornings I eat a bowl of homemade granola with a big dollop of homemade yogurt on top.  It’s hard to get over the amount of money you pay for granola at the store. Also, I find most granola too loaded with sugar; I don’t like it as sweet as it invariably is (here’s my strawberry-banana granola recipe). Yogurt is the same, both the quality and the cost make the home-prepared better and less expensive than what you can buy at the grocery store. Also, I want to make sure it’s got plenty of vigorous, gut-healthy bacteria. I make a batch of yogurt about once every three weeks or so, using a spoonful of the previous batch to inoculate the fresh whole milk. I usually make regular yogurt because I like the whey Read On »

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