East Meets West Carolina BBQ Sauce

This was an emotional weekend for me.  It all started on Friday night.  It was the perfect grilling night – sit outside night.  I think it was easier for me to get through the winter without Tony because all we did was watch t.v. in the winter time.  But come summer?  We’d sit outside every change we had.  So this time of year is turning out really hard for me to get through without Tony.   I still had a nice weekend though – but it was an emotional roller coaster – sadness and happiness throughout the weekend.  I know in time the happiness will outshine the sadness, but it’s still just so hard to believe he’s not here.

Friday night I stopped at Wal-mart on my way home from work to get my eyebrows threaded.  It hurts like a mother fucker, but the pain is over in 3 minutes.  Not gonna lie that I do count those three minutes to figure out when I am almost done!  Of course I wanted Party Pizza Friday – Tony isn’t here to complain about having pizza every Friday – and even though Jacob is not a fan of pizza all that much, he tolerates it.  Basically because Hannah and I tell him he has to – ha!

So I was at the deli getting some pepperoni, when my eyes wandered and I saw premade pizza dough.  Huh.  $.98 cents a ball.  Done.  I threw three in my basket.  As I was driving home Hannah texted me and said “Jacob hopes you’ll make your deep dish pizza!”  Fudge.  I hadn’t made my Lou Malnati’s deep dish dough ahead of time – it’s a simple dough, but it takes time to let it sit in the fridge.  But as I was driving home I thought, why not just spread the softened butter right on the Wal-mart dough, then stick it in the freezer to get the butter cold for 10 minutes before building the pizza.

PicMonkey Collage - pizza

The verdict?  The kids LOVED the deep dish pizza.  By chilling the dough with the butter it had a nice buttery crust – almost as good as the one that takes more time!  My pizza?  Thin crust on my Baking Steel – I did sauteed mushrooms, yellow peppers and pepperoni, then topped it with a bit of mozzarella and goat cheese.  When it came out of the oven, I chopped up some farmers market romaine lettuce tossed in a bit of fig balsamic vinegar.  So good!

I restrained to two slices of my pizza, only to later on eat 1/3 of a bag of baked Cheetos that I had planned on taking to a picnic on Saturday.  It was mindless emotional eating, and the next day figured I’d eaten 350+ calories for the amount of Cheetos I ate.  When will I learn that eating shit isn’t going to bring my husband back?  Gah.

So Saturday I got up and deemed it a new day and got my ass out on a 2 mile walk.  I do feel that if you start off on a positive note for the day that you tend to have a more positive day.  If you eat a shit ton of donuts for breakfast you are more likely to say “fuck it” and eat like crap the next day. 

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When I got back I packed my lunch to meet up with one of Hannah’s friends.  She’s a single Mom.  Same age as Hannah and has a 3 1/2 year old son.  She put together a single mom’s Father’s Day picnic because basically single Mom’s have the role of both parent.  I get it.  I was a single Mom for 8 years, but I was lucky enough that my parents let me and Hannah live with them for the first 5 years of Hannah’s life.  Let’s just say Mel doesn’t have the family support that I had, so I was more than happy to go.  Even though I could have been everyone’s Mom who showed up!  Another girl was 22 and had a 5 year old, a couple other girls were under 24 and had a 4 year old and an 8 month old. 

I remember working in a law firm in Chicago when Hannah was little.  One of my attorney’s had his first child and was complaining about how tired he was.  Well, he and his wife had a live in nanny to take care of their son because of their careers, and I kind of lost it on him.  I said “you don’t understand what it’s like to be a single parent – it’s always your turn.  Your turn to change the diaper, your turn to give the bath, your turn to read stories before bed, etc.”   He never complained about it after that since it was 3 adults to 1 kid!

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I spent a couple hours at this preserve in Libertyville – about a 45 minute drive from my house.  I brought a big bag of popcorn so the kids could feed them to the carp in the water – only to read a sign upon leaving that said “please do not feed the wildlife.”  Oops!  It was actually really fun to be around little kids – but I am not ready to be a grandparent just yet.

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While I was at the park, I had a pork tenderloin cooking low and slow in my Dutch oven.  I made a rookie mistake though.  Normally I use a pork shoulder to make pulled pork, but I had a tenderloin roast in the freezer.  I ended up overcooking it a bit, but the BBQ sauce more than made up for the slightly dry pork.  My Grandfather was from the eastern side of North Carolina and he made THE BEST pulled pork I’ve ever eaten.  My Aunt Martha is the only one that has recreated it almost to the way I remember it, and I’ve watched her make it and it doesn’t taste the same.  Well eastern Carolina sauce is vinegary – no tomato sauce at all.  But I love my copycat Rudy’s BBQ sauce, so I decided to come up with an East Meets West Carolina BBQ sauce –and its amazeballs. 

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Put everything but the corn starch and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce to a simmer and mix the corn starch and water together and add that to the BBQ sauce and mix for 1 minute.  Just simmer for five or so minutes longer and you’ll see the BBQ sauce start to thicken up.  Don’t worry if it seems a bit thin, because it will continue to thicken up as it cools.

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OMG.  The perfect balance of sweet, little bit of heat (if it weren’t for Hannah I would have added more cayenne) and that tang from the vinegar.  I am making a few more batches to can to bring to my Aunt’s river house next week – I think everyone will love this.  I sent that picture above to my brother and his response was “it looks tomato-ish?”   While I agree that there is no tomato in East Carolina BBQ sauce, I love the addition of ketchup to this BBQ sauce – so it’s kind of a bbq sauce if East Carolina BBQ and West Carolina BBQ sauce had a baby. Open-mouthed smile

Sunday morning I woke up at 8:00 and decided that was too early to get up on a Sunday.  I grabbed my phone.  A nice breeze was blowing in, and I went to Facebook and saw that my step-son Joe posted this:

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The tears started flowing and didn’t stop for several minutes.   I felt sorry for Joe that his Dad wasn’t here.  I felt sorry for myself that MY Dad wasn’t here to celebrate with and then I had to stop myself and be thankful for the years that I got with both Tony and my Dad.  They never met because my Dad passed away nearly 17 years ago.  I think they would have gotten along though!  There were several characteristics of Tony that reminded me of my Dad, which is probably why I married him!

I have more recipes to share later this week.  I was Bizzy in my Kitchen yesterday.  It’s funny though that Jacob still doesn’t understand my mass cooking Sundays.  I made seven batches of my Baja Fresh salsa, two batches of a new salsa that I think I love even more than my Baja Fresh salsa – a dried pasilla pepper salsa with tomatillos – so smoky flavorful.  I am canning these to take to the river house next week.

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And I made biscuits.  I have perfected my biscuit recipe so that these are ready from start to finish in just over 15 minutes.  We will be having quite a crowd at my Aunt’s house so I plan on making lots of biscuits for breakfasts or sandwiches for lunch.  My Baking Steel makes the most amazing crust on these biscuits!  And each one comes in at 161 calories – not too bad!  Leaves more calories for cheese and bacon.

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So all day I ended up making:

  • 7 batches of my Baja Fresh salsa
  • 2 batches of the dried pasilla pepper salsa (recipe to come later this week)
  • 8 grilled chicken legs for Jacob during the week
  • Greek marinated grilled chicken for lunches for me during the week
  • 2 batches of biscuits
  • marinated flank steak for dinner last night (leftovers too!)

By the time I finished it was 5:30, and we ate a late lunch so I knew we wouldn’t eat dinner until around 7, and for a split second I thought “I think I’ll just call this a rest day.”  I really only had about 2200 steps until 5:30!  But I knew I had all my 101 Day of Summer Challengers routing me on – we talk about how it’s all about choices – and instead of pouring a glass of wine and watching t.v., I got out there and got my 10k steps in.

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So while it was a sad and happy weekend, I smiled widely when I was at the Farmers Market and saw this heart shaped potato front and center.

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I think it’s just a gentle reminder that Tony is always with me.  When I saw that I smiled.

So even with my roller coaster emotions and my not as stellar eating as I could have had, I am still down 1.2 for the week!  So I am down 4.4 pounds in the last two weeks!

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I am actually skipping my morning walk this morning and opting for Classical Stretch on my DVR to start my week.  I really need to stretch more and it is a nice way to start the day and the work week.  My last week of work until I go on vacation!  Cannot wait!

Make it a great day!

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