Thanks for supporting my food addiction! Here are some fun things to do with bacon!

I was recently surprised when I saw how many followers I had on this blog. Here all this time I thought I was writing for myself and a few Facebook friends who have already been given the recipes I post, or have heard my ridiculous life happenings in person. So really, they only follow the blog because I will drop things on them from high altitudes if they don’t. Apparently the “Look Mommy, Stickers” post has made several rounds on Facebook, mostly re-shared by people I don’t know, and I’m ok with that. It’s pretty funny to think about,  especially when I see it pop up in my own newsfeed. I sit and cover my mouth and laugh, and point “hey, that’s me!” and laugh. What is even funnier is the random texts I get from my friends saying that someone had shared it. “I saw your pad story on Facebook again! I told the person who posted it that I knew you! Feel like a celebrity?” Why yes, yes I do! Some people get famous because of a sex tape, if I can get famous with a pad story on a food blog, i’ll take it!  Ain’t  no shame in my game, Y’all.

With all of this being said, you may be asking “Why would you post a Kotex story on a food blog?” Because that is how I roll, baby genisuses. I talk about tids and bits of information that no one should share and I share it like it is my god given mission. I talk about stuff that should be shared too, like how you shouldn’t bully or buy “high quality meat’ from a creepy guy with a chest freezer strapped to the back of his truck. So there’s that. Here’s the short of it. I’m a weirdo who loves to share things, hug, cook and make kitschy things with googly eyes. I’m basically a walking ad for the Lifetime Network (From the time Martha is on until Little House on the Prairie goes off. Please note: I am not a Lifetime Movie, and I pride myself on that.) I’ve always been this way, and this fake-paper digital notebook is my little baby to mold and shape and be my voice box to talk about the things of my choosing. Thank you for all of your support leading up to this point, and thank you in advance to any new followers. Stick around, we will have some fun and you may even learn how to cook something in the process.

With that being said, who wants to talk about bacon!?

5 Fun things to do with bacon. 

Well, really that’s a total lie. It is only one fun thing to do with bacon that can be done 5 different ways. But that isn’t a catchy tagline. Or is it?

Anyway, it probably isn’t super obvious by my previous posts, but I am a proponet of the Paleo diet. I have been for well over a year now. I would totally bust out a picture of fat Diane, but then you won’t want to eat the bacon if you don’t understand how this way of eating works…and then no one will have a good time. I’ll save that for another day. But, what we can talk about is bacon. Delicious bacon. I eat a world of bacon, I spend a lot of time trying to make unique bacon-y recipes. In my world (the Paleo world, that is), most of it has already been done so you either get super scary creative in the kitchen and hope for the best, or you simply build upon the basic recipes. This is what I am about to do. I am building upon a recipe for perfect, crispy oven cooked bacon. (because if I get one more burn on my face from grease splatter….)

Bacon is a delicious treat of the gods on its own, but sometimes you want something with a little zing to it. Sure, you can buy store bought bacon that is soaked in faux maple syrup, or sometimes even cayenne pepper. But who wants to eat that? If you are going to eat bacon, you really need to make sure you are getting high quality, uncured, unprocessed bacon. Bacon won’t kill you, but nitrates will. Well, not immediately, but they have been linked to some pretty scary stuff. Learning time!

Nitrates: What are they?: Nitrates and nitrites are chemical compounds found in many foods, including some salts. Salt containing nitrates has been favored for preserving meat because it maintains color and flavor while inhibiting bacterial growth.

Nitrates: Why they’re unhealthy?: Nitrates have been linked to infant methemoglobinemia (oh yeah, big ole’ words up in here) a deficiency of oxygen in the blood. Also, nitrates can interact with the amines in protein to form nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer in lab animals.

So if you are going to eat bacon, eat the good kind. There are a lot of uncured varieties avaiable in most local supermarkets. I don’t eat a lot of commercially prepared meat products, so my bacon comes from either my food exchange group, or from U.S Wellness Meats. If I am in a pinch I get it from Whole Foods or Trader Joes. When shopping for bacon, simply look for “uncured” on the package and make sure to store it below 40*F at all times. If you have made it to this point and I haven’t scared you away from eating bacon, Congratulations!

Let’s move on.

For all of these recipes you will need the following:

Parchment paper

cookie sheet

an oven

Garlic Siracha Bacon

place parchment paper on cookie sheet (I like to double layer, bacon is greasy yo’)

place 6-8 strips of bacon a few centimeters apart

simply top with Siracha. My bottle has a squeezey top so I just squirted two strips down each slice, then spread evenly with a knife until all slices are completely covered with Siracha.

sprinkle high-quality garlic powder on top

place cookie sheet in cool oven and set the temp to 400*F. Check the bacon after 20 minutes and continue until desired crispyness is achieved.

Using this cooking method, here are other seasoning you can try. Please note, each seasoning may change the cooking time, so pay attention and don’t burn your bacon!

Cajun Bacon- sprinkle with Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning

Sweet Maple Bacon- cover in maple syrup and a pinch of brown sugar (or coconut sugar, for a healthier, lower gylcemic alternative)

Bourbon Bacon with Vanilla- 1 tbs. bourbon and 1tbs. pure vanilla extract. mix and dip the strips in the mixture. (Yes, this is real). If you really want to add some health and you can find it, sprinkle Bourbon Barrel Foods- Bourbon Vanilla Sugar on top.

Penzy’s Spices: 33rd and Galena Bacon- sprinkle this poultry and pork seasoning on each slice.

Here's my pre-cooked Garlic Siracha bacon

Here’s my pre-cooked Garlic Siracha bacon

Well, that’s all she wrote, folks. Make sure to use your oven mitts and be sure to tell your friends about me. I’m not building a secret society or anything.

D

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Let’s Talk About Nick Cave and Make Some Meatloaf Cupcakes

Does anyone else feel like Nick Cave just needs a hug? I do. How can someone which such great hair that spans decades be in such a bad mood? Who knows, but let’s make some meatloaf. What does Nick Cave have to do with meatloaf? Absolutely nothing.

NickCave

^This guy needs a hug. And some meatloaf happiness.

In case you were wondering why I am on a tangent about Nick Cave, I am listening to Let Love In, oh and watching Happy Gilmore. If you have never done this I most certainly recommend it, it’s a perfect combination. It’s like a yin yang.

Let’s get our meatloaf makin’ on.

Ingredients

Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds  grass fed ground beef, as lean as you can afford to buy
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (more if you like oregano. I don’t)
  • 1 tsp. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cups homemade ketchup, divided (recipe below) or Heinz if you are feeling lazy
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs, almond meal or rolled oats* (*not instant, not steel cut SUPER important)
  • 2 tablespoons mustard, prepared
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking spray

Homemade Ketchup

  • 24-28oz can of canned tomatoes. (I find that whole peeled plum tomatoes work best)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup onion, very finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Basically, this is very straightforward, it just takes a little bit of time. You will need a very heavy duty pan, I prefer to use a enameled cast iron pot. If you don’t the mixture burns very easily and you will need to babysit. By babysit I mean don’t even think of leaving the kitchen to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

1) Empty the canned tomatoes and juice into the pot.

2)Take potato masher, wooded spoon or spatula and crush the tomatoes as much as possible.

3)Add the remaining ingredients. and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, making sure to stir repeatedly until the mixture is consistent and even.

4)Once a slow boil has started, let simmer 2 minutes and reduce the heat to low. Cover and let simmer for an hour while stirring occasionally. The goal here is to thicken the sauce. If it takes a little over an hour, that’s ok. Just don’t scorch it.

5)After the sauce has thickened, you will need to add the ingredients into a blender to chop and puree until it has a smooth, ketchup consistency. It is best to let it cool a few minutes before doing this, unless you are using an immersion blender or your upright blender that has a glass blender jar.

5)Once pureed, return to heat for an additional 25-30 minutes until super thick. Let cool and transfer into an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Mashed Potato Frosting 

  • 2 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

You should already know how to make mashed potatoes. But just in case you don’t, add water to a large pan, add a little salt, add the potatoes and boil for around 45 minutes or until super soft. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining ingredients, mix until super smooth. Adding additional sour cream and milk if needed. Let cool and add potatoes to an icing bag with a decorative tip on the end. I used a star shaped tip.

Sprinkles 

  • bacon bits (uncured), chives or green onions

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

1)Heat the olive oil or vegetable oil in a large pan, sautee garlic, onions, celery and carrots in 1 teaspoon of butter for 3 minutes, or until slightly browned and soft. Set aside.

2) Add the remaining ingredients (only one cup of the ketchup) into a large bowl and mix well. Mixture should be thick and firm and able to be spooned out into a muffin pan without being runny.

3) Drop mixture into the cooking spray coated muffin pans, leaving a little room at the top for the ketchup topping. I usually get 18 out of a batch.

4) Top each of the cups with a spoonful of ketchup, spreading it evenly over the top.

5) Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

6) Begin preparing the mashed potatoes while the meatloaf is cooking.  You want a fluffy consistency in order for it to flow easily out of the icing bag.

7) Once meatloaf has finished cooking, remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before you begin piping the mashed potatoes on top.

8) sprinkle bacon, chives or green onions on top of the potato icing as sprinkles

meatloaf

If you do everything right, you should have something that closely resembles this. Even if they are ugly, they will taste good. 🙂