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March 2015

Spicy mustard glazed corned beef

Up until a few years ago, I had always just followed the cooking directions on whatever brand of corned beef happened to be on sale.  But all that changed when I tried broiled corned beef at a friend's house.  She added a glaze at the end that knocked my socks off! I don't know exactly what she put in it, but I came up with my own concoction that I think resembles it pretty well.

This recipe isn't meant to change the way you cook your corned beef.  If you have a tried and true recipe, by all means, go for it!  (Or there are some good recipes listed below) This will just take it one step further for an awesome taste experience.  Adding a spicy, sort-of-sweet glaze and broiling it towards the end of its cooking time just makes it so tender and gives it a slightly crispy outer edge.   Mustard corned beef

Spicy Mustard Glazed Corned Beef

  • 2 Corned beef briskets -about 6 pounds total
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Cook the corned beef according to the package or your favorite recipe.  About 10 minutes before cooking time is up, remove the meat and set it on a broiler pan fat side up.  Turn oven on 400°.  Mix together mustard, horseradish, maple syrup, and brown sugar.  Spread the glaze over the corned beef.  Be sure to hit all exposed sides.  Place in the oven for 10 minutes.  Then place the meat in a broiler for another 5 minutes or until the glaze is brownish.  Remove from the broiler and let the meat sit for about 10 minutes.  Cut on a diagonal and serve with boiled potatoes, carrots, and cabbage.

I'm telling you, this glaze is life changing.  It tastes even better the next day on a sandwich, but truth be told I think I've only experienced that phenomena once... because we almost never have any leftovers! Hope you like it.



Famous Erica's Garlic, Beer, and Kielbasa Sandwiches with Sauerkraut

My friend Erica Allen just became FAMOUS.  If you look at the April edition of Taste of Home magazine, you will find her recipe for Cuban-Style Pork Chops right inside!  I hope you will check it out because Erica is an awesome cook.  She very graciously offered me this recipe which includes basically all my favorite food groups: kielbasa, garlic, sauerkraut and of course BEER.  
I love beer.
So without further ado... here's Famous Erica's recipe for:
Garlic, Beer, Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Sandwiches  Kielbasa sandwich- Erica Allen
    • 1 package kielbasa cut in 2 inch pieces then split
    • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 can budweiser or any type but not light
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • Can sauerkraut
    • 2 tsp soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
    • Long rolls
    • Mustard for condiment
Place cut kielbasa in pan cut side down.  Pour on 1/4 of the beer. Add garlic and brown over med heat uncovered.   Add paprika and pepper.   Add another 1/4 of beer when evaporated.  Add soy sauce and sauerkraut.  Flip kielbasa pieces.  Add another 1/4 of beer when evaporated.  Let cook on low.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar and mix in.  Continue on med heat for 15 min or until brown.  Transfer to oven to brown well at 350° for 15 min.  Add last bit of beer can , if dry.
Can't wait to try it, Erica!  Thanks for the recipe!

Easy Korean barbequed pork tenderloin and sriracha rice balls with Sky Valley sauce - review & recipe

I was sent a couple sauces from Sky Valley* the other day and was very happy to come up with a couple recipes for them.  The sauces they sent me were their Korean Barbeque and their Sriracha sauce.  Both sauces are gluten-free and made with organic ingredients and both are seriously delicious.

I decided on making some grilled pork tenderloin.  As I was mentioning it to my son that morning, he asked if I could also make some Korean rice balls with it.  Now, this flabbergasted me because I have never made Korean rice balls in my life and was pretty sure my son had never eaten them before.  So I questioned him.  He said one of his classmates always has them for lunch and they look good, so he was wondering if I could try making them.  Of course my answer was a resounding YES. 

The pork turned out beautifully and tasted great.  It was so easy.  Here's the recipe:

Grilled Korean Barbeque Pork Tenderloin

  • 1/2 bottle Sky Valley Korean Barbeque Sauce
  • 1 pork tenderloin

Marinate the pork tenderloin for about 4-5 hours in the Sky Valley Korean Barbeque Sauce.  Place on a medium/low grill (discard used sauce) and let it cook about 7 minutes on both sides or until it is no longer pink.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes and slice on a diagonal.  Serve with extra sauce for dipping. Easy peasy.

Korean food

I scoured the internet for a good Korean rice ball recipe and found that anything goes with them.  If you've got leftover rice in the fridge and really anything else that you think would go great with rice, you can make rice balls.  

I chose to make some vegetable ones using the technique found here at  Basically, you just place your leftover rice in a large bowl and mix in some finely diced sauteed vegetables (I used mushrooms, garlic, green onion, and carrots), a few sesame seeds, and a tiny bit of sesame oil.  Put on some plastic gloves and roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls.  I put a little dab of Sky Valley Sriracha on top for a kick!

Rice balls

 Check out Sky Valley foods available through OrganicVille Foods online through social media at:


Twitter: @Organicville, Facebook, and Pinterest

For Sky Valley Foods, their International Sauces are available here -

 *no other compensation was given to me for this review.

Big Grandma's Cookbook: Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Jam

This installment in the Big Grandma's Cookbook series might be my favorite so far.  These little cookie gems are what bring back the most memories of my grandmother.  She would make these for us as kids on special occasions.  When we would eat them, she would eat them too, very daintily with the tips of her fingers.  We would have milky, sugary tea in our own special tea cups she kept special for us in the china cabinet.  We felt so grown up enjoying the cookies and tea in that fashion.

But then we would devour them like animals once we left her house with our little box of leftovers.

I often wonder if Big Grandma did that, too, once we left.  Thoughts like that make me smile.

Some people call these cookies kiffles.  But that is a word I had never heard until last Christmas when my mom brought us some cookies that resembled Big Grandma's cream cheese cookies.  We all tried them and while they were delicious in their own way, they weren't the same.  Nothing could match Big Grandma's recipe.

So when I found her recipe in her little handwritten cookbook, I cried.  

I made them and watched as my kids devoured them in the same way my sister and I used to as  I ate them daintily with my fingertips just like my beautiful grandma.  My cookies weren't nearly as pretty as the ones she used to make, but the taste was spot on.  

Cream cheese cookies

Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Jam

*I had to take some liberties with the recipe as it was not really written with clear instructions.  I had to wing it a little bit.*


  • 1 lb butter softened
  • 1/2 lb cream cheese softened
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 -4 cups all purpose flour plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 jar apricot jam (or your favorite jam - strawberry is good, but a little sweet)
  • 1 beaten egg


 Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar, and eggs until smooth.  Add baking powder to 3 cups flour and then gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture.  You will be rolling out the dough, so if it seems too thin to roll add more flour by the tablespoon until it is thick enough to form a soft dough.

Roll thin (about 1/4 inch) on a floured surface.  Cut into 3 inch circles.  Fill each circle with a dollop of apricot jam and fold over the edges.  Brush each cookie with the beaten egg.  Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes of until they are light golden brown.

Even though you might want to grab one and eat it right off the pan, don't do it!  That apricot jam is going to be hot for a good 10 minutes after they come out.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and then enjoy!

Big Grandma's cookbook