Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Use It Up…

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

In keeping with my “Enough” and “Keepin’ it Real” posts, I’ve bought a little less than usual, making a point to look in my pantry, freezer, and deep in the closets of extra bedrooms first! I’m reminded of the slogan featured in the WWII poster, which I first heard long ago from my mother-in-law. She also says, “It’s foolish to throw something out the back door if you will have to go out the front door and buy another one!”

Early in January Sheila Gregoire wrote a good post called “Use What you Have.” The new year is a great time to think about this kind of thing, but we need to be careful to stay in the mindset. I’m still using food out of my freezer. I tend to buy multiple large cuts of meat when they are on sale– like large enough for my whole extended family– but since we more often get together in bits and pieces, I don’t pull the 6-pound pork loin out! But I did just that last week and made it down to a Third Generation meal before it became leftovers. It’s still good, though today I will see how much is left and maybe put the rest back in the freezer in its cooked form.

Now if you bought something and discovered that you hate it, and you can afford to buy something you like better, by all means, do! But get rid of the other– giving it to Goodwill is my standard way to recycle things. Having lots of partially-used products cluttering up your home is not conducive to a peaceful life.

How much money can you save by using what you have instead of buying something new?


Auntie Em’s Grilled Pork Loin, AKA The Truth Will Set You Free *updated *

Remember in Auntie Em’s Guide to Life, the number one rule was to BE HONEST? The truth will set you free. How in the world am I tying that into pork loin, you ask?

A MEAT THERMOMETER!                             

The truth is, a lot of my grilled meat used to be overcooked, dry, and tough. Once I accepted the truth that I couldn’t rely on my eyes to see if something was done, I became Queen of the Grill! Today we had grilled pork loin for lunch. The directions said cook for 35-40 minutes, and Mr X couldn’t wait that long, so I cut that 1.25 pound roast in half, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and Ranch dressing mix, and put it on the grill. (I had it on high and it had heated about 5 minutes.)

I checked it and turned after 10 minutes, checked the temp in another 10 minutes and it wasn’t quite ready, so I put it on an uncooked side and left it another 5 minutes. Once more, the truth set me free, when my sensibilities said, “No roast can cook in 25 minutes!” My meat thermometer said it was DONE, so I took it off, let it rest 5 minutes, and… the heavens parted and the angels sang. Behold the beauty. Amen.

For my friend Deb, who writes at Folksy Musin’s (Go over and see her post about back-to-school dressing for goddesses, then come back when you regain your composure!), step-by-step directions:

1. Turn your gas grill on high. (And if you have a charcoal grill, do whatever the prep equivalent is– get it ready to cook!) If you are really with it, spray with a non-stick spray.

2. Get your  boneless pork loin.

3. Cut in half if you just cant wait! It’ll cut the cooking time down.

4. Salt and pepper on all sides. I like the texture of kosher salt, but whatever you have is fine. This is also the time to add other dry seasonings, like Ranch dressing mix. Save marinades or sauces till it’s almost done, so they won’t burn.

5. Grill on high heat. (I realize that this probably varies depending on your grill. I have a large infrared gas grill.)

6. If you are not on intimate terms with your grill, start checking after 5 minutes. The grill marks should be evident, like the pics below, and it shouldn’t stick to the grill. It took mine 10 minutes per side.

7. Turn over and grill the other side the same amount of time. Check the temp, and if it’s not up to 145, turn to an edge. I don’t like to recook the cooked sides. I had to add about 5 minutes on one edge.

8. Let it rest about 4 minutes… see the pool of juicy goodness?

9. DIG IN!




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