Some News....and a Really Good BBQ Sauce

Well hello again.  I hope this finds everyone doing well and enjoying this beautiful Spring! I have been busy with lots of change.  I'll start with the big news and then give you the recipe for a really delicious barbecue sauce.  The big news is next week I start a new job.  What??!!

Just a little recap for those of you who don't know my long and varied work history.  The abbreviated version is that although I am a nurse first and foremost, for many years I worked in clinical trials for cancer patients, and then transitioned to outpatient hospital administration and business development. I took a sharp turn with a long time dream to take a year off to attend culinary school in Austin, Tx, and relocate to Winston-Salem, NC.  Not surprising, It has taken time and effort to figure out life here. I love NC but finding work that is a good fit has been hard.  I've been working as a home care hospice nurse. I made the transition from administrator to patient care with a refresher course and a couple of good mentors.  The staff are excellent, I love the patients, and I have to say, I am good at the work.  It is meaningful and rewarding. Unfortunately, I was spending my life in my car.  The office is 38 miles from my house and I was routinely driving a 100 miles a day.  Those of you who know me well know I don't like to drive.  I have always lived close to work as I don't like to commute.  One of the reasons I left Houston was the 8 mile but 45 minute drive to work!  So I now live in a community I love, but spend all day long in my car with a long commute!  It has been hard to get home in time to do things I want in my own, walking with friends, dinner at church.  

So for two years now I have continually tried to meet people, network, scan job boards, linkedin,... keeping my eyes and mind open for what might be.  I applied for multiple jobs a week, just seeing what was out there, knowing that either I would love what I had or something new and exciting would come along.   And indeed both happened.  Starting next week, i will begin working full time in a clinical research position, and part time/as needed with hospice. The best of both worlds really. It seems totally crazy as an oncology nurse, but I am going to work in product integrity with Reynolds American.  Yes, it is a tobacco company.  Yes, I know that is crazy and have thought long and hard about it.  Haters will hate, but I am comfortable with the decision.  When I interviewed I found the people smart, committed, and well educated.  People I would like to work with.  Reynolds has a harm reduction strategy that is not just BS but ingrained in the company.  I have found over the years that people are not going to quit using tobacco.  You can give people all the medical evidence and they just don't quit. Evaluating risks, creating cleaner products, submitting unbiased scientific findings, finding alternative uses for tobacco, conducting sound, scientific clinical trials to evaluate products.....all are important even though the best plan for everyone is not to use tobacco.  So, after much thought and soul searching I accepted a job as a Senior Manager of Product Integrity and Clinical Studies.  I felt honored that they chose me.  The benefits are excellent.  4 miles from home.  11 holidays, 3 weeks of vacation. Excellent financially that will allow me to do good with the money.  And I will stay on with hospice to do admissions, a couple of Saturdays a month.   Create a nice life in Winston-Salem but continue to support patients in one of the truly hardest times in life. Win-win.  And GET OUT OF THE CAR! :) 

And what about cooking, you ask.  I am still cooking and using all my knowledge from culinary school for my own health.  One day I'll figure what else to do with it, but at this point in my life i need to maximize my savings for retirement, and want to have sound income so I can travel! Cross some things off the bucket list. Renovate my house. And hopefully share more on this blog! 

new beginnings

new beginnings

Okay, enough on that for today.  I realized recently that for those of you that read me via email you don't get the videos I post.  You can click over to my website to get them or I will start posting just a link that will hopefully work.  Last time I posted a great new song from John Mayer, Moving on and Getting Over.  Here is the link.  Enjoy!  I still have it on repeat.  

Finally on to the recipe. I don't have a photo for you, but trust me you don't need to see it to know it is good.  I found this recipe in a cookbook probably 25 years ago.  Don't be daunted by the long list of ingredients.  You just throw it all together and let it cook.  No, this is not a healthy recipe, but I do believe it is better than those bottled versions loaded with corn syrup and who knows what else.  That said, look at the bottles and jars of what you are adding and make sure you are comfortable with the ingredient list.  As with most BBQ sauce, this has sugar.  It is sweet. But tangy, and tart and a tiny bit spicy.  You can make it hotter by adjusting the hot sauce or adding cayenne pepper.  It is delicious on chicken (bake it coated in the oven, or par bake chicken, then grill with the sauce to finish) or put it on pork chops (this was the intention in the cookbook), or do like me and put it on roasted cauliflower, on tofu, or a baked potato.  It makes quite a lot so plan to share it with friends, or you can freeze it.  Or eat it by the spoonful!  I have a whole list of recipes to share as I have been cooking, just not writing about it.  Thanks again for supporting me, even when I take a rather radical turn! 

Barbecue Sauce

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 90 minutes

Keywords: sauce vegan vegetarian

Ingredients (8 cups)

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 11/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 42 ounces ketchup
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven until shimmering.

Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar. Cook on medium heat 10 more minutes, until almost all the liquid is completely evaporated.

Add all the remaining ingredients, stirring well to scrape any browned bits off the bottoms, and making sure everything is well combined.

Turn the heat to lower, cover, and simmer for one hour. Stir frequently. The sauce will get thickened and all the ingredients will meld together into a luscious sauce.

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