More Pulled Pork Please! — Pulled Pork Philly Sandwiches

For the past few months I have been trying to organize my recipes. I have stacks upon stacks of books, printed off recipes, and binders of typed up or clipped recipes that need to be consolidated, broken up into categories, and just put in some sort of order so I can find what I’m looking for without having to go through everything. It never fails, no matter what recipe I am looking for, a new one, a tried and true one, or one that I’m still trying to perfect, it will be the very last recipe in the very last pile I look.

As I have progressed on this journey I have made some interesting discoveries. First, I have an unbelievable amount of Breakfast & Brunch recipes. So many that I will need at least one three-inch binder to hold just the ones I’ve made and that have been accepted as tried and true. Continue reading


This Ain’t My Mother’s Kitchen! – Bacon & Onion Calf Liver

I don’t consider myself a picky eater, but there are some things that do not appeal to me and I am not willing to try them. This may be closed-minded, but in comparison to what I ate as a kid and teenager, I’ve come a long way.

Part of the reason I didn’t eat a great variety of foods until I was an adult, was because my mother only cooked foods that she liked. If she didn’t like it, find it appealing, or pretty much want to cook it, it didn’t have a chance in hell of getting cooked in her kitchen. Even if my father really liked something, if she didn’t like it or want it, she would tell him flatly, “I’ll not have that in my kitchen!

This went for innocuous things like sweet potatoes and mushrooms as well as not so innocuous things like calf liver, fish, shellfish, or chicken livers. My father grew up eating all these things, but once he married my mom, unless he ordered them in a restaurant, he never had them again.

I never understood why my mother took this attitude when it came to food preparation. She was very giving in other aspects of their relationship, but when it came to food, it was her way or no way, and my father wasn’t the only casualty. I am not a huge fan of nuts in baked goods. In fact, there are very few desserts I’ll eat that contain any type of nut. My mother knew this and yet because she liked nuts, everything she baked or dessert she made where nuts were called for, she put them in. She wouldn’t even bake a few cookies without nuts in them for me before putting the nuts in for the remaining cookies. I either had to pick the out or do without.

Once I had my own kitchen and started preparing food for others, I tried to find out what my guests liked eating and then prepared that. It didn’t matter if I liked it or not. Just because I was making something I might not like, didn’t mean I had to eat it. I’d just make two meats, sides, desserts, or whatever. I especially enjoyed making foods for Hubby that he liked but I didn’t and when we were first married, there were a lot of these.

Many years have passed now and having made these foods for so long there are quite a few  I have actually acquired a taste for. There are still a few that I just can’t bring myself to eat, but if he likes them, I’m happy to make them for him. This recipe is one of those meals — Calf Liver. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t want to eat it. I know a lot of people rave about it, but at this point in my life, I am still content not knowing what it tastes like. As to whether this is a good recipe of not, Hubby assures me that it’s definitely a keeper.

Bacon & Onion Calf Liver

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. Calf’s Liver, ½” thick, cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk, Buttermilk, or Water
  • 8 Strips Thick Cut Bacon, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion, diced
  • ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper


  1. Soak liver in milk or water in a bowl for 2-3 hours or overnight. (see note)
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
  3. In same pan, saute onions in bacon grease until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and add bacon; keep warm.
  4. Remove liver from milk or water and pat dry. Discard liquid.
  5. Combine flour, salt and pepper in shallow bowl.
  6. Dredge liver in flour, shaking off excess.
  7. Using pan bacon and onions were cooked in, heat pan over medium-high heat until bacon grease is hot but not smoking.
  8. Cook liver, turning once, until browned but still pink inside, about 4 minutes total.
  9. Serve liver topped with onions and bacon.

Cooking Note

There are varying opinions as to whether it is necessary to soak liver in water or milk or if there is really any benefit to be gained by doing so. Some suggest that the milk helps to temper the iron taste, remove the bitterness, tenderize and/or deodorized the meat, while others claim it does nothing. I can’t say I know if it does anything or not, however, my Hubby’s mother never soaks her liver while I soak mine in either milk or buttermilk (whichever I have on hand) and Hubby says that my liver is far better tasting and more tender than his mothers. Hubby isn’t one to tell me this unless it’s true, because he knows my only goal is to make something he enjoys eating, regardless of where the recipe came from.


Recipe by:  Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Cooking 2018

I know the saying goes, “Children learn what they live,” but in the case of my mother and what to cook and not to cook, what I learned was how NOT to be, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Saucy Homemade Baked Beans

Making homemade baked beans is one of those things that screamed “TOO TIME CONSUMING” whenever I thought about it. I remember my father spending two days working on his beans and then having them turn out dry and unappealing. Because of this history, I never tried making my own, but rather opted for the easy route of buying baked beans in a can.

Although the beans in the can are excellent, I still want to get away from eating most everything that is processed and what I consider convenience food. Some things will always be on my shopping list because they are just too difficult to try to duplicate, but so many people make wonderful homemade beans that I had to give it a try.

My first challenge was to find a recipe that sounded good. Every recipe followed basically the same ingredient list:

  1. Dry or canned beans
  2. Bacon – Cooked or not/smoked or regular
  3. Brown Sugar
  4. Maple syrup or molasses
  5. Onion
  6. Water
  7. Ketchup or tomato paste
  8. Vinegar, lemon juice or worcestershire sauce
  9. Mustard – Dried or prepared (regular or Dijon)
  10. Garlic or garlic powder
  11. Salt and pepper

With so many choices though it was hard to decide which recipe to use. Sitting down I decided to make a list of my criteria:

  1. They had to be fairly quick and easy. This meant dry beans were out. Being that I can my own Great Northern beans anyhow, using home-canned beans sounded ideal. Check out my post at Simply Grateful Housewife for Canning Beans
  2. They had to have a hint of smoke flavor. This meant smoked bacon would be used over plain. Plus I didn’t want the bacon soggy and slimy so I would crisp it slightly. At the same time this would render the fat from the bacon so I could cook the onion before adding it to the beans.
  3. Hubby doesn’t really like maple flavoring. This meant molasses was in.
  4. They had to be saucy (no dry beans for us). This meant that the liquid ingredient had to be increased. Granted a recipe might claim to be saucy, but I wanted them real saucy. Plus, I wanted a richer flavor than just plain water, so I opted to use chicken broth.
  5. I didn’t want them to have too much of a tomato taste. This meant I’d try ketchup before the tomato paste.
  6. I wanted to use ingredients I had on hand. This eliminated dry mustard because I was out. I had both regular and Dijon mustard so I used a little of both.
  7. I didn’t want the garlic to overwhelm the other flavors. This meant I’d use garlic powder which would also help eliminate any bitterness that fresh garlic might have.

With my list of parameters, I set to work on homemade baked beans.

The first step was to crisp the bacon slightly while rendering the fat from it.


Then I used the rendered fat to cook the minced onion.


Now I know a lot of people out there are concerned about cholesterol and high blood pressure that they think is being caused by high fat content, but I don’t follow that way of thinking. As long as you are active and consume fat in moderation, there is nothing wrong with eating it. Plus, bacon fat is far healthier than Crisco or any of those processed lards that are sold in the stores. Unless you render the lard yourself, you aren’t using real lard. Finally, fat contains a ton of flavor. Nothing frustrates me more than when a recipe calls for you to skim off the fat (especially in soups or stocks) before using or serving. In my opinion, you are skimming off the flavor. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but — just saying.

Once the onion was tender, I combined it with all the remaining ingredients in a 5 quart Dutch oven.

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I suppose a slow cooker could be used, but with the beans already being cooked and tender, there isn’t any reason other than if you needed to start them earlier in the day because you were going to be out. These could also be baked in the oven, but I liked being able to monitor the beans progress throughout the entire cooking process.

The final step was to add the cut up cooked bacon to the beans and simmer them for an hour or so.


I left mine on the stove for four hours which turned out to be too long because the beans basically dissolved. This meant I had to add more beans. In the end it wasn’t so bad because with the extra chicken broth I added the beans needed a bit of thickening, which the dissolved beans helped accomplish but left me with no beans to eat. Of course this made the pot of beans twice what it was originally supposed to be, but who doesn’t love leftover baked beans?


The results were very good and the family was pleased. Even Zeb had some and asked for seconds which is saying a lot because he basically only eats meat and pasta.

Finally I’ve overcome my fear of making baked beans and have yet another side dish to add to the recipe book. They are quick, easy, and have a somewhat barbecue flavor that everyone liked, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Homemade Saucy Baked Beans

  • Servings: Serves 4 -8 people
  • Print


  • 6 Slices Thick Cut Smoked Bacon
  • 3/4 Large Sweet Onion, Minced
  • 1 Quart plus 1 Pint Home Canned or Store Bought Great Northern Beans
  • 1 1//2 to 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 -4 Tbsp. Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon or Regular Mustard (or a combination)
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper


  1. Cook bacon until slightly crisp, reserving all rendered fat.
  2. Mince onion and cook until tender in reserved bacon fat.
  3. Combine beans (in their liquid), onion, and remaining ingredients in Dutch oven.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook over medium heat for 1 -3 hours, being careful not to boil too hard or the beans will dissolve.

Cooking Note

I adjusted the recipe to take into account the extra liquid that only thickened when more beans were added. I decreased my original amount of chicken broth as well as added an extra pint of beans. The results should be the same without so many leftovers. This recipe should result in a side serving of beans for between four and eight people.

Note: Not rinsing the beans helps to thicken the sauce. If you insist on rinsing them, be sure to decrease the amount of chicken broth so the beans aren’t the consistency of soup.


How To Get The Maple Flavor Out Of Bacon

Variety definitely has its place, but at times it can be more of a burden than a blessing. This is especially true these days when grocery shopping.

For practically every type of food sold at the grocery store, there are at least two if not four or five options. One example would be baked beans. There are original, brown sugar and honey, bold and spicy, barbecue, homestyle, country style, maple cured bacon, onion, and vegetarian — to name just a few. Having so many options can be nice, but very often it is also confusing and at times even frustrating. The days of sending Hubby to the store to pick up a can of beans without explicit instructions as to which ones I want are over.

Paying attention to every label and double checking every item you pick from the shelves is essential if you want to get home and not have to run right back out to the store because you picked up the wrong thing. Unless, of course, you can somehow “fix” what you bought to work in whatever you are making that night.

This afternoon Grace and I did some grocery shopping for a few things I needed for dinner as well as the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.  One of the items on my list was thick sliced bacon. As we walked up and down the aisles, I grabbed a package of thick sliced bacon and when our list was complete headed for the checkout and then home.

When it came time to make dinner I pulled out the bacon and to my dismay discovered that I’d picked up maple bacon instead of smoked. I hadn’t even thought to look any farther than “thick sliced.” I knew full well that there were more flavor options than smoked, and yet in the rush to get my shopping done, I forgot to double check.

Not wanting to go back out to fight rush-hour traffic back to the store, I opted to search for a way to “fix” the bacon I had. In Googling how to remove the maple flavor, there were no suggestions. They only thing that came close was how to remove the smoke flavor or too much salt from bacon. I already knew how to do this, but had hoped that there was some miracle cure for the maple flavor.

Deciding I had to try something, I opted to see if the same method for removing the smoke or salt would work on the maple. Removing the bacon from the package I washed it under running cold water and then put it in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Next I rinsed the bacon again, put it in a fry pan with two cups of water, brought it to a full boil, and cooked it until most of the water was gone, about 15 minutes.


From there I continued to cook the bacon until it was crisp.

Finally it was time to see if I’d wasted $5.99 on a package of bacon and would have to go back out to the store. I tasted it. Wow, not a hint of maple flavor was left. Unfortunately all of the wonderful saltiness of the bacon was gone as well, but this could easily be remedied by adding some salt to the recipe I was using the bacon in.

Washing, soaking, boiling/blanching, and then cooking had worked. So, if you happen to buy the wrong type of bacon flavor, be it maple, smoked, or perhaps one that’s just too salty, the same technique will work to remedy your error. Maybe not something I would want to make a habit of doing, but it sure saved me today, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.