Friday, September 11, 2015

Sweet Baked Ham

Matthew is loving school. He looks forward to going every single day and seems to be adjusting to the long days well. I have yet to discover the secret that makes him eat his breakfast or put on his uniform quickly in the mornings for it seems that every single day we leave the house in an absolute rush to make it to school on time. This morning, I left him with a bowl of cereal while I went upstairs to wake and ready the girls to take him to school. When I came back down about 20 minutes later, he was still at the table in his pajamas with a full bowl of cereal. He just does not understand what "eat quickly" or "get dressed fast" or "you're going to be late for school" means quite yet. Unbelievable, I know. He'll get it one of these days.

Just chilling.

At the end of each school day, I like to have a chat with Matthew about what he learned that day. Sometimes, he is too tired to talk and fields my questions with the wonderfully descriptive answer: "I not know."

"What did you learn today, Matthew?"
"Ummm...I not know."
"Did you have recess?"
"I not know."
"Did you eat lunch?"
"Uhh...I not know."

You get the picture. That just tells me he's tired and needs to sit and do a puzzle by himself to decompress from the long day before chatting. Then, he normally does not stop talking until he's fast asleep.

Lately, Matthew has been really absorbing his religion classes at school. I love to hear his take on the biblical stories he learns about during the day. One afternoon, after picking him up, he asked me: "Mom? Have you ever heard of the Tower of Babel? It fell down because God was mad that it was too high!"

I love it.

He also spent a couple days learning about Noah's Ark. He completely absorbed that story and loved it. However, when prompted to draw a picture portraying Noah's Ark as part of an assignment, he had a unique take on the story. Matthew proudly whips out this picture to show Paul and I.

"Where are all the animals, Matthew?" I asked.

His proud reply was: "They're inside the boat because they are afraid of the water! And because there is a GIANT ALLIGATOR trying to eat Noah's Ark!"

Since this post has thus far been mainly about my quirky little Matthew, let's keep discussing him but now in relation to the recipe for today. Matthew LOVES ham. I don't know of anyone else on this earth who adores it as much as he. Whenever we have it for dinner, which is admittedly not too often, I have to cut him off before he eats the entire thing himself. The child cannot be stopped! So, it was because of Matthew's love of ham (and also because we still have a couple frozen hams from the Easter sales taking up space in our very small freezer) that I chose to make this recipe for Sweet Baked Ham for dinner. I had spied this recipe on Mel's blog while sitting in the hospital nursing my newborn baby Emma. She actually posted it on Emma's birth date. I bookmarked it immediately but am only now getting around to making it. Shame on me for taking so long for it was quite delicious - sweet, moist, and just plain good! Paul said the end result reminded him of bacon. If that does not pique your curiosity, I don't know what will! Overall, this was an easy recipe for a weeknight dinner although shredding the meat was a bit tedious with a screaming baby begging to be held. Other than that, the whole process was a breeze. I highly recommend this recipe, especially if you are a fan of brown sugar glazed hams. I also highly recommend this recipe if your children are as voracious as mine are towards ham. There was not a single complaint about dinner tonight. Nor will there be any tomorrow when I serve the leftovers. 

Sweet Baked Ham
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Note: Do NOT use a spiral-sliced or a boneless ham for this recipe or else it will end up being dry. Use an unsliced, bone-in ham, such as a shank.

5-7 pound precooked bone-in ham
White distilled vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground dry mustard

Place the ham in the largest pot you can find and cover with 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar until the ham is covered by at least an inch or two of liquid. I used pretty much all the vinegar we had in the house - about 6 cups! Bring to a boil and cook, boiling vigorously, for 2-3 hours, until the meat easily falls off the bone.

When the ham is ready, carefully remove it from the pot, discarding the liquid, and let it cool until it is easier to remove the meat from the bones. Shred the ham, discarding all the fat and bones, and place half in a baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and mustard. Sprinkle half of this mixture over the ham. Layer the rest of the ham on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar/mustard mixture. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.


  1. This sounds delicious. Ham is something I never think to make, we pretty much stick with beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian meals. I think we'll have to try this out!

  2. I love your stories about the kids! What happens if Matthew is late for school - aside from you feeling bad about not having him ready? Some kids learn the hard way...not easy for a momma, I'm sure.