Spring has Sprung!

Ughhh, as I write this we are snowing, sleeting, and icing. It is mid-April…where is spring?!

My twin sister lives in Appleton, Wisconsin and she had 20+ inches of snow in the last week. To keep our sanity, Chuck and I have decided that we are going to ignore the landscape out there and prepare for spring nonetheless!

To put us in a spring-y mood, we decided to make garlicky dill pickles, BBQ sauce, and a twist on baked beans. Winter is over in our minds… so bring on spring and summer! Even Cappuccino tried to help!


These pickles are great on sandwiches or for snacking or frying. YUMMMM.

Chuck’s Dilly Garlic Pickles

1 whole cucumber
½ cup white vinegar
1 cup water
6 cloves of garlic
½ tbs. black peppercorns
4 tbs. dill
¼ cup salt
2 tsp. crushed red pepper


  1. Slice the cucumber. I used a mandolin and sliced them to about an ¼ of an inch.
  2. Slice the garlic thinly.
  3. Place the cucumbers and garlic together in a bowl with the salt. Cover with cling wrap and let sit for 4 hours. This will crisp up the cucumbers to make a snappy pickle.
  4. Rinse well and drain four or five times to completely remove the salt.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, and seasonings over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
  6. Fill a jar with the rinsed cucumber-garlic mix. Pour the boiling brine into the jar. Cool, then cap and place in the fridge. In one week, they will be perfect to eat!


This is my twist on our family’s baked bean recipe. My favorite addition is sautéed bratwurst, although I have used ground beef. Add a side of vinegary cole slaw to make a hearty meal!

Nancy’s Baked Beans

½ cup BBQ sauce
½ cup chili sauce
½ cup water
3 tbs. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
2 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 ¼ lb bratwurst, casings removed
2 onions, chopped
2 (28oz) cans baked beans
2 (15oz) cans pinto beans, drained
2 (15oz) cans cannellini beans, drained
¼ cup molasses
6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1in. pieces


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the first nine ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Sauté bratwurst in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up into small pieces, until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes. Stir in onions and cook until sausage and onions are browned.
  4. Transfer bratwurst mixture to the bowl with sauce. Stir in all beans and molasses. Transfer bean mixture to 13x9in baking pan and place on rimmed baking sheet. Arrange uncooked bacon pieces in a single layer over top of the beans.
  5. Bake until beans are bubbling and bacon is rendered, about 1.5 hours. Let cool for 15 minutes and serve. Serves about 15.



My family has been making our own BBQ sauce for generations. It is really easy to make and much better than any bottled sauce I have found. I have made changes over the years and this is my latest version. Try it on all types of meat!

Nancy’s BBQ Sauce

4 slices bacon
½ cup onion, grated
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup chili sauce
2 tbs. hot sauce
½ to 1 tsp. of Liquid Smoke


  1. Sauté bacon in a medium pan until it begins to brown.
  2. Add onion, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir in vinegar while scraping all the bits on the bottom of the pan to incorporate.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes, whisking often.
  5. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 more minutes.
  6. Remove the bacon and taste the sauce, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.

Need to feel like spring has sprung?! Test these out at home and let us know how they turn out!