Mama Johnson's Game Day Beer Sausages

Mama Johnson would be my husband's stepmother.  My husband remembers these tiny sausages in a beer & tomato sauce from his childhood at her home & occasionally craves them. He finally called her for the recipe & then we tweaked & tested it until we came up with the flavor he remembered.

4 pkg Lil Smokies
12 oz tomato paste
15 oz tomato sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t Salt Seasoning (or 2 T Lawry's Seasoning Salt)
1 t Frank's Red Hot sauce (sub Tabasco for hotter sauce)
24 oz beer (we used Bud Light, but you may prefer a darker beer)
  1. Toss everything in your crock pot
  2. Cook on low all day or until game time

This recipe appears on The Exec Moms blog. Click here for more recipes that are so easy you can make them even if you can't make toast!

Salt Seasoning

A couple of years ago, we started having annual blood tests done & were horrified by the results. One of the first things I did was to stop adding salt to our food. It was rough going at first, but we don't miss it at all now. In fact, we can taste salt in the strangest places!

I used to use Lawry's seasoning salt so much that I had to come up with a homemade, salt-free version to use. After researching, trying, & combining a few recipes, this is what I got. If you want the salt in it, add about 1/2 to 2/3 cups salt. Otherwise substitute this at about 1/2 to 1/3 the amount of Lawry's salt your recipe calls for.

2 T sugar
1 T cornstarch (you can leave this out if you want. It's just for thickening & to prevent clumping when stored)
1.5 T ground celery seed
2 T paprika
1 T onion powder
2 t garlic powder
2 t ground mustard powder
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground oregano
1/4 t ground thyme
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t ground cumin
1 quick sprinkle ground cinnamon (less than 1/8 t)
1 quick sprinkle cloves (less than 1/8 t)

Soda Jelly

So, at this point I'm pretty much addicted to Throwback Pepsi. The mouth feel is just so different from the regular variety that I can't help but love it, & my daughter is the same way about Dr. Pepper. When I was making all of my Christmas gift jams & jellies, she mentioned how much she would love to get a Dr. Pepper flavored one & I set out to find out how to get that done.  Well, here's how...

8 oz. your favorite soda (do not use diet!)
3 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 pouch (3 oz)  liquid pectin

  1. In your biggest pot over medium heat, combine soda, sugar and water. 
  2. Stir to dissolve sugar. 
  3. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly. 
  4. Add the liquid pectin once a full boil is reached.
  5. Return to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Boil 30 seconds, still stirring constantly (set a timer on this one).
  7. Remove from heat & skim any foam.
  8. Ladle hot jelly into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. 
  9. Place lids & rings on jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. (Boiling water should cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches.)
  10. Remove from water bath, cover with a towel (to prevent drafts from causing breakage) & cool 24 hours.

Vanilla Martini

I think this would be a nice winter warmer if you added just a dab of peppermint extract to it. Maybe even top it with a candy cane or put two scoops of ice cream in it so it looks like a snowman.  This recipe makes just one, but I'm sure you can scale it up for a crowd!

1 oz homemade vanilla extract
1 oz good quality vodka (I use Sky or Grey Goose)
1/2 T simple syrup (make it with vanilla sugar and/or add a bit of vanilla extract)
A tiny scoop of frozen vanilla infused heavy cream (or vanilla ice cream)instead of an ice cube.