Apricot and Bourbon Glazed Ham (aka. The Easter Piggy)

In honor of the holiday weekend, I thought I’d re-share my favorite Easter recipe: my Apricot and Bourbon Glazed Ham, known lovingly around the Beals household as The Easter Piggy.  I have made Mr. Piggy every Easter since we moved into the Little House (which was FOUR YEARS AGO as of yesterday!) and will probably continue to make him as long as Kroger puts hams on sale for Easter. Isn’t he beautiful? Give him a try this weekend.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

apricot bourbon glazed ham

 

Ingredients:

1 cooked bone-in ham (about 10-ish lbs, I prefer shank end)
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. apricot preserves (you could also use fig or apple)
1/2 c. Dijon mustard (the smooth kind, you don’t want mustard seed bits on your Piggy!)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. bourbon (more or less to taste, I prefer a local whiskey made in Ft. Worth (TX Blended Whiskey), but use what you have)

Prep:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. You want Mr. Piggy to be nice and toasty, but not too hot.
  2. Skin your piggy. More than likely, Mr. Piggy came with some nice, leathery skin attached. You want to remove the skin. Trust me when I say this though: LEAVE THE FAT. Yes, fat can be bad. Yes, you shouldn’t eat too much of it. Think of this as good fat. Good self-basting-piggy-goodness fat. If you go ahead and cut that fat off you’ll be left with a dry, sad Mr. Piggy and no one wants that.
  3. Score! The fat that is. Lightly run your knife across Mr. Piggy creating a diamond pattern in his fat. This will allow the glaze to penetrate into the meat. BE CAREFUL! Mr. Piggy can be slippery, so score carefully (that’s what she said??).
  4. Prepare the piggy sauna. Place Mr. Piggy (cut side down) in a roasting pan (a disposable foil one is just fine). Add the water and cover tightly with foil. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  5. While Mr. Piggy is in the sauna oven, prepare your glaze. Add all the remaining ingredients to a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Let this come to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Be sure to stir often! There is a lot of sugar in this glaze and it can burn/boil over easily. When in doubt, turn the heat down. When the glaze has thinned out and most of the alcohol has cooked out (you won’t smell it anymore), set aside about 1/4 cup of the glaze for later.
  6. After Mr. Piggy has finished his first stint in the sauna oven, remove him and apply the glaze. Be sure to get the glaze into all Mr. Piggy’s nooks and crannies. He likes it that way. Put him back into the oven (no foil this time).
  7. Baste with the glaze about every 10 minutes until Mr. Piggy’s internal temperature is 140 F (yeah, he’s hot). Do this with a probe thermometer. Don’t have one? Get one. They’re about $10 and worth every penny. Not only do then ensure that your food is a safe temperature, but people will marvel at your cooking skills when you serve them perfectly done meat. Did you go to culinary school? No. You can read a thermometer. (TIP: take meat off the heat about 5-10 degrees below the suggested temperature. It will continue to cook for several minutes after you remove it, so if you wait until the suggested temp, it will overcook before you can serve it).
  8. WAIT!!!! This is quite possibly the most important and hardest step in the whole recipe. Mr. Piggy has been through a lot today. He needs a rest. Give him 5-10 minutes under a foil blankie (you can reuse the foil from the sauna step). Resting the meat will allow it to reabsorb all of the tasty juices we’ve worked so hard to get in there. Cut Mr. Piggy right away and all that tasty goodness will run out all over your cutting board. I know he’s gorgeous. I know your kitchen smells like piggy heaven. But seriously, it’s worth it. Just wait.
  9. While you’re giving Mr. Piggy a rest, take a look at your baking pan. Chances are there are some yummy looking juices hanging out down there. Combine these juices and your reserved glaze in a pan and bring to a simmer, stirring often, until reduced by about half for a great gravy.
  10. Slice Mr. Piggy, serve with a couple sides, and Viola!

A good sized ham will feed an entire crowd if you’ve got one.  If you don’t, you can nosh on Mr. Piggy leftover for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our quiche recipe is one of our favorite ways to use the leftover.  Just add some chunked ham in with the onions and spinach and enjoy!

Oh, and don’t throw out the bone! Wrap it in cellophane and foil and throw that bad boy in the freezer.  I’ll be sharing my red beans and rice recipe soon and you’ll need that bone to try it out!

Have a wonderful Easter!

He is Risen!

 

Crazy Custom Caps for Kevin

Happy Monday!  If you’re anything like me (this is Kevin), you already feel exhausted when you wake up.  One more reason to drink that extra cup of coffee when you’re heading to the office.

Today, I wanted to talk a little about one of our hobbies: Homebrewing.  We make our own beer and it’s quite easy.  Let’s save that for another time though.  This weekend, we ordered our 2014 customized bottle caps.  Here’s where you can use these:

1. Homebrewing (probably the biggest client)

2. Weddings

3. Playing Caps Drinking Game (wikipedia)

In the past, you used to have to make a large order to do this.  Now, you can order 1, 2, 100, or 10,000 using Bottlemark.

BottleMark Logo

 

You upload your own design.  A picture, a template, anything you can create in Paint or PowerPoint or PhotoShop and voila, in 2 weeks you have a finished product at your doorstep.

Now, introducing the Little House Brew Haus 2014 Bottle Caps:

Blonde Ale Bottle Cap

Blonde Ale Bottle Cap

Kolsch Ale Bottle Cap.  This is similiar to the flag of the Cologne region of Germany.

Kolsch Ale Bottle Cap. This is similiar to the flag of the Cologne region of Germany.

Red, Wit, and Blue Ale Bottle Cap

Red, Wit, and Blue Ale Bottle Cap

Belgian Strong Ale Bottle Cap

Belgian Strong Ale Bottle Cap

Do you have other things you custom order? Imagine you are in a sinking rowboat surrounded by sharks. How would you survive?  What would happen if you shot a gun in space?

Got the [Navy] Blues

Yes, we’re leaving on a two week vacation in a week, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped thinking about the Little House.

We’ve been talking quite a bit about the bathroom reno lately, but the kitchen is still on our radar. The room below is my inspiration; we have similar white cabinets and wainscoting in our kitchen.

Navy Kitchen(via)

The first two colors we tried were way too purple in their hues, so this weekend we picked up two more test pots of navy paint to try, Benjamin Moore’s “Old Navy” and “Hale Navy”.  We had already painted a large swatch of Martha Stewart’s “Mariner” a few weeks ago.

Little House. Big Heart. Hale Navy. Old Navy. Martha Stewart Mariner.

I think Kevin and I are both leaning towards the dark moody “Old Navy” but I’m a little worried it’ll be too dark for even our bright white kitchen.

What do you think? Which navy would you go with? Do you think they’re too dark?

 

Our Weekend

Don’t forget to enter our Diamond Candle Giveaway! There’s still three days to enter!

Since we’re still in a bit of a leftover induced coma, today we’re sharing some snapshots from our long weekend.

We had some close friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had the usual spread; two turkeys, two dressings, corn souffle, cranberry sauce,  sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts… and more. There was so much food!

Thanksgiving 4_LHBH

Thanksgiving 3_LHBH

Thanksgiving 1_LHBH

On Friday, we picked out our very first real tree. Kevin played shy, but we eventually found just the right one.

Kevin at Home Depot_LHBH

Christmas Tree 1_LHBH

Christmas Tree 2_LHBH Saturday morning saw us don our ugly sweaters and reindeer hats, dress up the doggies, and head to Fair Park for the Ugly Sweater Run. The girls weren’t too thrilled to be wearing sweaters, but they did enjoy the run.

Ugly Sweater Run 1_LHBH

We spent Sunday after church working on our exterior Christmas lights. Kevin braved a crepe myrtle tree to put lights on our roof line (DO NOT use a ladder in the same manner as him) while I scaled our giant live oak.

Exterior Illumination 1_LHBH3

Exterior Illumination 2_LHBH

What did you do this weekend? I hope you were all safe and had a wonderful holiday!

Send in the Navy

Did I mention I love navy?

Pretty sure I have once or twice or a hundred times. At any rate, I know I mentioned wanting to paint our kitchen a dark velvety blue.

This weekend we picked up a few paint samples at Home Depot: Mariner by Martha Stewart (on the left) and Windsor Haze by Behr (on the right). I apologize for the terrible phone pic, it’s the only one I took of the samples. The colors are mostly right, though.

IMG_2111

I’m really feeling the Mariner (on the left) but not loving the Windsor Haze at all. It seems to much like 80’s country blue. I think I’ll probably end up picking up one or two more samples to try before deciding on which I want to go with.

Do you have any favorite navy paint colors?

 

A Little Jarring

Even though we’ve been spending most of our free time working on the office reno of late, we have taken a few minutes here and there to keep sprucing up the rest of the Little House.

Our latest upgrade was a simple one: new kitchen canisters. We liked our old ones, but they didn’t seal, leaving our flour and sugar susceptible to moisture and critters.

Old Canisters

On our most recent Ikea trip (which Kevin talked about on Friday), we picked up these simple glass canisters (that seal)!

New Canisters KitchenI really love how clean and simple they are. Their lids oxidized a bit in the dishwasher, so I’m thinking of spray painting those navy (because, as Kevin points out, I want to spray paint everything navy).

The tall jars were $3.99 and the short ones were only $2.99, making the whole upgrade only $14.

New Canisters

I’ve also decided to paint something else navy – the whole kitchen. Maybe. I’m toying with painting the whole room something like Behr “Mood Indigo” the below.

Kitchen Paint Colors

Have you made any inexpensive upgrades lately? Would you paint your kitchen navy?

A Faucet of our Imagination

Hey guys! Kevin here for a belated Handyman Wednesday.

So Jess and I made a mistake.

When we bought the Little House, we cheaped out and bought the most inexpensive (clearance) gooseneck faucet Home Depot carried.

Old Glacier Bay FaucetSometimes we can get by being cheap. This time it bit us in the patukus. Cheap faucets are made with cheap parts. This faucet in particular was made with cheap o-rings which broke down over time and clogged the sprayer head, leaving us with a mere trickle of water. It would take us several minutes to fill a sauce pan, ten minutes or more to fill our stock pot.

After a year of complaining, we finally  found a new faucet we liked last week. Both Home Depot and Lowes carried it, but because Lowes had a $25 of $250 coupon code, we decided to order it from there.

Capture

Before we pulled the trigger though, I broke out one of my biggest deal hunting secrets: the Granny… Giftcardgranny.com, to be exact.

Before Jess and I make any big purchases, we always check this site to see if the store we’re buying from has any discount giftcards. In this case, we were able to buy a Lowes giftcard for 8.5% off… basically a free coupon!

So between the retailmenot.com coupon code for $25 off $250 and the discount giftcard, we saved $47 and scored free shipping to our door.

We installed it Wednesday night and absolutely love it.

New Delta FaucetIt has so much water pressure Jess sprayed herself about 10 times last night while doing dishes. I tried not to laugh.

Have you guys made any dumb purchases for your house lately? Does your spouse have difficulty controlling the sprayer on your sink?

Curtain Call

Lately, we’ve been working our way through the Little House one room at a time, deep cleaning, organizing, and finishing up any little projects that were left half done. As we’ve been working, I’ve realized that most of the rooms in the LH don’t feel much different than when we moved in. We’ve painted and even hung a few things on the walls, but for the most part, they still feel empty. I’ve decided the reason is a lack of curtains.

Curtains just make a room feel more finished (and the Little House could definitely use a dose of “finished”).  So I’ve decided to try and get some curtains up, even if they’re simple and temporary. First up? The kitchen.

There are two windows in our kitchen, a small one over the sink and a larger one at the end of the room.

Kitchen Before

I’m pretty sure that I want to make a faux Roman shade for the larger window (maybe something like YHL did here?), but I’m not sure what I want to do for the other window. Because it is so small, I’m worried that a Roman shade might block too much light.

Instead, I’m thinking of going with something like this (the original link is broken, so if you know where this came from let me know and I’ll link up to it).

Curtains

Oh, and I think I might use this fabric. It’s actually curtains from Ikea that I bought for another room and decided not to use. It seems a waste not to use them for something.

IMG_1286

I’ve got a few free nights coming up, so I hope to tackle these curtains this week!

Do you have curtains in your kitchen? What would you do on the smaller window? Is that Ikea fabric crazy or what? I’m still not sure what I think about it.

Lighting Bugs

I love Little House. I really do. And yet, just like any relationship, there’s a few things about her that just drive me bonkers (like the laundry room and the office carpet and the bathroom tile).

And then there’s the light fixture over kitchen sink. It drives me bananas! I’m not sure what it is about it that I hate so much, but I just don’t like it.

Kitchen Before

While Kevin and I were spring cleaning the kitchen last week, I took the fixture apart to clean it. When I put it back together, I forgot to add one of the pieces… and something magical happened.

The fixture got less ugly. The ones on the left were put back without the dish thingys (for lack of a better term), while the ones on the right were installed with them.

kitchen lights 2

To me, the fixture looks so much simpler without the additional dish things (does anyone know what they’re actually called?), so we went ahead and removed them from the two lights on the right.

What do you think? Which way would you leave the fixture? Do you think it’s as ugly as I do?

Home on The Range

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for our family last night during the terrible tornado outbreak here in North Texas. Our area made it through unscathed, but several communities south and west of us weren’t so fortunate. If you’d like to help, you can donate to the American Red Cross here, specifying the donation be in honor of the May 15 North Texas Tornado Relief. Keep the communities, families, and first responders in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days!

Coming home from a long international vacation always comes as a bit of a shock. Adjusting back to your native language, beating jet lag, going back to work, and discovering that one of your major kitchen appliances has suffered a mysterious death can all make transition back to reality difficult.

Wait a second. “…discovering that one of your major kitchen appliances has suffered a mysterious death.”

What’s that all about?

Our gas range.

Little House Big Heart - Dead Stove

We’ve checked the fuses. We’ve checked the plug. There’s no hope. He’s dead. Kaput. Morti.

So we’re in the market for a new one. We’ll probably end up getting one off of Sears Outlet (like we did with the dishwasher here). In the meantime, though, I’ve compiled a list of my dream gas ranges.

Wolf 30″ Gas Range Nothing says sexy like red handles.

wolf range

Jenn-Air Pro-Style 30″ Gas Range – No plain digital clocks for this bad boy. It’s analog all the way.

jennair

Viking – Because Vikings are sexy.

viking

DCS – Its 17,500 BTU burners send a chill down my spine.

DCS range

Blue Star Residential Nova – This puppy packs a 22,000 BTU burner AND comes in 190 colors. Yes, please.

blue star range

Maybe someday. Until then a girl can dream, can’t she?

Do you dream about appliances (or is that only me)? What’s your dream kitchen upgrade?