Smoked Turkey

DSC00346I smoked a turkey for Christmas Dinner and it really turned out amazing. For a moment, forget all you have heard about brining, injecting, rubbing, etc. I just used canola oil, salt and pepper. That’s really all you need – the smoke provides plenty of flavor. It was juicy and smokey. Wanna try it? Here’s how I did it:


One 15lb Turkey
Canola Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper


Set smoker to 350 degrees. (I use a Big Green Egg – the best home smoker available in my opinion)
Add your favorite wood. (I used apple)
Wash and dry turkey and rub with canola and s+p.
Place in the smoker and cook until internal temp is 165 in the breast.
Remove and let rest under foil for 30 minute – 1 hour.

Ten Years Ago, Today

Us at Coke MuseumAfter Christmas, 2003, I sat in the office in my parents’ home and listened, receiver pressed to my ear, as the phone rang on the other end. I was nervous to say the least. This girl had never seen or heard of me. I was calling her out of the blue on the day after christmas because a mutual friend said I should. This is STUPID, I am hanging up…”Hello? Oh, hi…my name is Josh….”

We would date, long-distance, for 1½ years before we were married in June 2005. I am not sure where I would be today without her. If I had hung up, what would, or wouldn’t have happened? That girl and I would talk every single day since that night…including this morning at breakfast as she tried to corral our four littles.

The lesson is this: If you are apprehensive about a decision, relational or not, be willing to risk rejection and hurt. Sometimes one phone call can change your life forever! It did for me. I love you, Amy.

Us Vacation Va Beach - Version 2

Why We Love Christmas

18As we look around us for the past few weeks, we see decorations, hear festive music, and feel a general spirit of hope and goodwill from people. I don’t believe that this is limited to Christians. With the exception of very few, everybody loves Christmas! But why? Sure some people love the gifts they get, others may enjoy being around family and community in a way that they usually don’t. But I believe that Christmas is so attractive because of the reunion it brings.

Even for those who are not in Christ, the joy of giving is pronounced during this Christmas season. And I believe that joy comes from the image of God that is in our DNA. Man, by nature, has an emptiness that is only to be filled by a relationship with God. For some, giving to another is the only small taste of God’s grace they ever experience. It is a small byproduct of so much more that is ours in Christ. God, long ago, gave the most precious gift ever given – His Son. And in doing so, He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. (Romans 5:1-4) We give for the same reason – because we love, we give.

Tomorrow morning, I will watch with delight as my children open their gifts from me..and so will you. Whether we understand that this delight comes from our inherited image or not, we all love Christmas. Even better, the Reason for Christmas loves us back!

Merry Christmas from the Savages!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16, 17

Maple Sausage Cornbread


I got a little creative in the kitchen last night and made a “just throw it in there” kind of cornbread. I used a general mixture for the bread, but added some interesting twists. The result was an amazingly rich and fluffy cornbread that could be eaten as an entree.

You need:

3/4 cup of Yellow Corn Meal

3/4 cup AP Flour

1 1/2 tsp. of Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. of Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 stick Butter

2 Eggs

1 cup Buttermilk

1 tsp. Bacon Drippings

1/4 cup Maple Syrup

4 oz. Breakfast sausage


Preheat your cast iron skillet (with bacon drippings) in your oven to 425. Mix your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir to just enough to combine. Add browned sausage and maple syrup. Melt the stick of butter and add it as well. When your oven and pan come to 425, add the entire batter and bake for 22 minutes. Enjoy!


I got the idea in my mind that I wanted some really nice cast iron cookware. After doing some research, I found that a company named Griswold was the manufacturer of some of the best cast iron cookware ever made. Back in the early 20th century, there were two ways that cast iron cookware was made. The lower quality stuff was just poured into a mold and sold. This method left little, almost indiscernible peaks and valleys, a rough surface. These pans are fine for cornbread, but terrible for more delicate things like eggs. By the way, this is how all modern cast iron cookware is produced (see Lodge)

The finer stuff like Griswold and Wagner was poured into a mold as well, but then was machine milled to produce an extremely smooth cooking surface. These pans are still available today for a pretty hefty price. For a pan in decent condition, on eBay, you can expect to pay anywhere from $45-$500. I just can’t bring myself to pay that kind of money, so I came up with another option. I put an ad on Craigslist and got a reply within 24 hours. The guy said he had several pans left to him by his Granny. I went over to take a look and found a bunch of rusty junk! It was in rough shape, but it was all Griswold and the price was right. I took six pans and one Dutch Oven.

Later that night, I went to Target and got white vinegar, steel wool and some rubber gloves. I soaked the pans in equal parts vinegar and water for one hour. Then I went to scrubbing. Once all the pieces were clean, I buried them well and began seasoning. I use coconut oil, but use whatever you are comfortable with. I rubbed each down with oil, then wiped as much of the oil off as possible with paper towels. 2 hours in a 425 degree oven, cool in the oven and repeat 3x. By midnight, I had soaked, scrubbed, scoured, splashed, scorched,  and seasoned six BEAUTIFUL pans. Last night, I made cornbread in my 100-year old Griswold skillet. What a great experience! I got to take pride in a project while acquiring some valuable pieces with historical significance. WIN-WIN! Do you have any old cast iron? Try my method, and you might just find some treasure!

Magic Beans

Hey Weight Watchers people, looking for a way to flavor up your green veggies? Try this pepper relish (on the right). I add this with some lemon juice for acidity and just a tsp of sugar. Excellent, low-point way to make your green beans and other veggies really come alive. You can buy both at your local grocer. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Weight Watchers – Week 8

At weigh in this morning, I showed a .8lb gain. This really wasn’t troubling to me as I was down 4 lbs last week and I am aware that I cannot keep that pace. I worked much harder in the gym this week, and stayed on point every day, but I ate all my APs (33) and all but 9 of my WPs. This week, I plan to work just as hard but try not to use WPs or APs. Maybe good results will follow. Fingers crossed. How did you do this week?

Weight Watchers – Week 6

Today was weigh-in day. I have yo-yoed the last few weeks and I am not really sure why. The adjustments that I made this week were:

1. I added activity.

2. I decided not to eat any extra points that I didn’t earn through activity. (finish the week with 49 weekly points)

3. I tried to be completely finished with food by 6 PM.

On a side note, I found out this week that Fish Oil is not a WW healthy oil. Who knew? Today I weighed in and was down 2.8 pounds. I will do the same things this week and hope that the results will continue to come. How did you do this week? Let me know in the comments below.