Thursday, December 8, 2016


Dec. 8, 2016
First things first ....  winter has hit full-on. We are still having daytime temperatures in the high 40's and 50 degree range but we've had the first freeze for the year, which isn't bad at all considering it's already December!  We were able to get all of the potted plants that can't survive the winter into the house.  The kids have made progress on their house but now that the days are getting colder, the amount of time they can work on it is less each day.

Our friend Kelly from Austin came up to spend Thanksgiving with us. We had a pork loin instead of turkey, but otherwise all of the "traditional" fare was on the table, including both pumpkin and pecan pies, mashed potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole.  It was a great time of thanksgiving.  We missed having Blake here with us, but she will be here for Christmas.

I've been focusing on "marketing" the B&B and fundraising for our arts foundation so that we can get that open.  We've had steady business at the B&B, with several couples who've returned two or three times.  Andy and Drew have been working on the Arts building in town. Andy's bought the glass block windows for the windows in the back of the building and has gotten some plumbing work done.  We moved all of our art supplies that we had in the basement of our church (since we have held several art programs for kids there) and took them to the Arts Center for storage. There is a new "regime" at the church and some of the programs we had started involving art and reading may not continue there.  That's also incentive for Andy to finish the renovations of the Art building.  In the meantime, I've been working with a couple who want to establish an after school program to help kids with homework and give them recreational activities. 

I am still involved with the Red Carpet Country tourism association and the 2017 issue of the Visitors Guide is ready to print. I haven't seen a "proof" of it yet so I'm eager for the delivery date of January 1st.  Being on the board has been a great experience for me as our meetings are held in a different town within the Red Carpet Country area (which is northwest and north central Oklahoma, including the panhandle and Blaine County being the southernmost part of the Country).  I've discovered several museums and other tourist attractions that I probably would not get to if we weren't having a meeting at or near those venues.  

The house concert we had last night was another success. We had made contact with a singer/songwriter from Tulsa, named Dan Martin (website is He has been on tour, from California, through Colorado, and was travelling from New Mexico on his way back home in Tulsa.  A really nice guy and great songwriter/musician like Steve Earle, Townes VanZant, John Prine. 
It was a great evening with good friends, conversation and storytelling, wine, and pumpkin cheesecake squares, along with a few other snacks. Can't wait for our next concert, which will be in January.  Stay posted by "liking" the OKLAHOMA HOUSE CONCERT facebook page, or send a text or email to us.   

THANKS for sticking with me through this narrative.   Now here is the recipe for the BACON JAM -- hope you'll try it. 

Sweet & Savory Bacon Jam  -  Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups (can be doubled or tripled)

1 pound bacon
2 small sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  (I put the salt in last after tasting, since the bacon is usually salty enough. 

Fry the bacon like you normally would (I cooked it in a skillet so that I could use some of the bacon grease for the caramelized onion.) 

Set aside the cooked bacon and drain off some of the grease from the pan.  Add the onion to the pan you fried the bacon in and cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until  onions are caramelized (can take about thirty minutes).

 Add the maple syrup, vinegar, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce, and pepper to the onion. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes to make sure all ingredients are well mixed.  

Allow the mixture to cool for 20 minutes or so.  break up the bacon into smaller pieces and put those into a food processor or blender.  Then transfer the onion mixture to the blender or food processor.  Pulse a few times to puree the bacon pieces, stopping every pulse or two to stir and check the consistency — it should be thick and chunky, not a paste.  You can pulse a few times more if you want a smoother consistency. 

Transfer to an airtight (preferably glass) container. Bacon jam can be refrigerated for up to one month . Serve at room temperature (or transfer to microwave safe mini-bowl and heat on defrost for a minute).
** Recipe Notes
One “taster” said it was “too bacony”.   So on the next batch I cut the syrup in half, did not add the water, and added a can of crushed tomatoes (after draining) at the food processor stage – then it wasn’t quite so sweet and actually tasted like a BLT without the lettuce (which one could add for a sandwich.) 

I served it to guests with a toasted bagel, slices of tomato on the side, and a fried egg.  I wish I'd taken a photo of it; I'll have to do that next time I serve it to guests! 
Hope you enjoy it!! 


November 2016

It's already mid-November and I don't know where the time has gone..... the weather is still pleasant, no freezes yet and daytime temperatures have been ranging from 60 to 80 degrees.  I've been harvesting tomatoes both from our own garden and from the Community Garden, which I give away.  I planted some sweet potato slips kind of late in the year, but since the weather has held up we are hoping that we are able to harvest at least a few.  I just saw an episode of the OSU Oklahoma Gardening show on Saturday and they said the end of October is about the right time to harvest.  Next year I plan on getting the slips in the ground a month earlier.  This year it was a fluke -- I happened to have some sweet potatoes in the kitchen that looked like they were trying to grow "roots" on their eyes, so I cut those eyes off, put them in water, and sure enough they grew roots and voila, I had sweet potato slips to plant!  I took a chance and got them in the ground and they have survived.  We aren't supposed to get a freeze until the end of next week (Nov. 20 maybe), so I'll be checking to see if there is anything to harvest. 
We started the month off with a BANG, providing a venue for a pre-wedding pre-rehearsal dinner get-together on the patio with a wood-fired pizza dinner for 22 people who gathered here from all corners of the US - Okeene, Iowa, OKC, New Mexico, and some from Watonga.  We were honored to be able to participate in the festivities for this wonderful group of people, and made new friends to boot.  The party went on till all hours..... no names or other details (what happens at the Retreat stays at the Retreat!)

Then on the first weekend of November we had returning guests, a father and his two sons who come out to this area for a family reunion every year and spend time mountain biking at Roman Nose State Park.  This is the fourth year they have come to stay at our place, but alas one of the boys was unable to come due to the loss of a family member.  They are always great guests and bring homemade beer to share.  I made a new, special recipe for breakfast for them to  try.......

The acorns have been falling for over a month, and the leaves are starting to change color and drop to the ground.