Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of Work in 2010

I must admit, I didn’t think I’d still have a job by now. But I do have my part-time one. So life isn’t horrible, just uncomfortable.

It was freezing rain when I woke up Thursday morning. So, it was a bit tricky getting up the incline and out of my driveway. And, San Jose was pure ice. But they must have salted Plymouth Road as the remainder of the trip was okay.

Work was work. I did make three trips to the front of the building to check on my guys. They did good and all of the critical wiring was in (whew!) They’ll be back on Monday to install the jacks and power them up.

It was over 40 degrees F. by lunchtime, so the ice had all melted and the snow on my roof was dripping. I guess our celebrated “January Thaw” came early this year. I ate the last of the beef vegetable soup (that I didn’t freeze) for lunch.

Since there wasn’t much going on (in fact nothing), the IT director let everybody (except probably Jake) leave at 4:00 PM.

I talked to B___ for a while, and then I warmed up some of the eggplant for dinner.

I fell asleep early, but didn’t get much rest. I had bad dreams and insomnia all night.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday

it was another rough day at work with lots of walking. My legs were killing me by 5:00 PM.

But, after a two hour rest watching the news, I got out my breading pans and fried up an eggplant. I suppose I ate too much (four slices) but it was delicious!

I watched some TV, but dozed off about 10:00 PM. I woke up at 1:00, found my glasses, shut everything down and went to bed for real.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back at it...

I took the trash out to the road just before leaving for work. It was 17 degrees F. with a strong wind here and I was cold for most of the day.

Work was a little hectic (I thought this week would be easy-peasy) and I did a lot of walking. The building where I work is huge. My main project is a major buildout in the front of the building and I, of course, sit way in the back.

I warmed up my leftover Irish sausage and the Colcannon for dinner and, since I found them, made the Brussels sprouts. I roasted them in the oven with olive oil, salt and (during the last 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn) minced garlic. But, I decided I prefer them boiled with salt and butter.

For some odd reason, I started watching a football game (I haven't done that in years!) It was good and Amy’s Minnesota Vikings won. But, that meant I stayed up until 11:30.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday

I used the two potatoes Jake and Carla left for breakfast. I cut both into slices and fried them in butter. I warmed up the last sausage patty in the microwave and then fried two eggs over easy. It was an excellent breakfast!

I forgot to mention this, but my printer took a dump on my birthday. So, knowing he gets the Sunday paper and looks at all the ads, I asked my friend B___ yesterday to see if there were any black laser jet printers on sale (this was Jake’s recommendation).

Sure enough, he called me this morning and said that Office Max (in Westland) had two of them on sale (a Brother and a Samsung), both for $80.00. So, I didn’t even shave or take a shower. I just threw some clothes on and headed out (I hate it when I hear about a sale but they are sold out by the time I get to the store). I checked out both and decided to get the Samsung. It’s a little bigger than the Brother, but it’s a name I know and trust.

I was going to pitch the old printer, but when I called B___ to thank him and let him know I got one, he suggested I keep it. It was a multi-function one and he reminded me I could still use it to copy or fax things.

I set the new one up and loaded the print drivers. I surprised myself when I tried to print the first test page and the damn thing worked! Working for IT has broadened my horizons, I guess.

I had taken some stew meat out to thaw. Now, I don’t want to make beef stew (I still have two containers in the freezer). But, I have eaten so many rich foods over the holidays, I thought some beef vegetable soup would do me good.

So, I warmed up some canola oil and sautéed a big onion in the Dutch oven. To that, I added a bag of leeks I’d cut up and stuck in the freezer. Then I browned the stew meat. I added a bunch of water and two beef bullion cubes (I am out of beef stock). Knowing how salty beef bullion cubes are, I only put in some fresh ground pepper, two bay leaves, garlic and some “fines herbes” (a French mixture of parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon).

Then I put in half a bag of frozen vegetables (peas, corn and green beans). I did Carla’s trick and “parboiled” two potatoes in the microwave. Then I cut them into chunks and added them to the soup. I opened a small can of whole tomatoes, squished them with my hands and threw those in, too.

I was feeling a little bad that I didn’t have any cabbage to add when it dawned on me. I had some Brussels sprouts I bought for a dinner I haven’t made yet. So, I took four of them, peeled off the outer layers and cut the stems off. I cut them in half, (so the leaves would come apart) and added them to the soup.

I let that get happy for two or three hours and then tasted the broth. It needed more salt, so I added some sea salt and let it simmer some more. I took pictures of my meager Christmas decoration and posted them, mainly to satisfy the cabbage-phobic readers of this Blog.

I got a big bowl of soup around 8:00 PM and went in to eat it in front of the TV. It was mighty tasty! I stuck the rest into the fridge when it cooled (I’ll put it into freezer containers tomorrow). I went to sleep just after 11:00.

Monday, December 27, 2010

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2010 Christmas Decorations #1
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2010 Christmas Decorations #2
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2010 Christmas Decorations #3
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2010 Christmas Decorations #4
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2010 Christmas Decoration #5

Sunday Road Trip

I headed out on Sunday about noon to go to B___’s house. Family was everywhere and there was a TON of snacks. I ate and drank and visited and had a wonderful time.

When I left, they gave me a present and a special plate of German cookies (without frosting). I think I got home around 8:00 PM. I’d planned on watching TV, but fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow. It was another good day!

Christmas

I woke up early on Christmas and made two of those breakfast sandwiches. But, around 10:00 AM, I went back to bed and took a nap. I woke up around noon and got ready to go to Jake and Carla’s.

Our original non-traditional Christmas plan was to do a Jeff Bridges movie duo and eat out. So we would watch Tron, go to a restaurant and then go see True Grit. But Jake couldn’t find any movie theaters or restaurants open on Christmas Day. So we are watching movies at their house.

I brought over snacks: some of my Mom’s liver pate (I made it on my birthday), some big olives stuffed with blue cheese and spinach dip with little pita rounds.

For dinner they made Irish Sausage (aka bangers) and Colcannon (which is Irish mashed potatoes with cabbage in them). It sounded a little strange, but both the sausages and the Colcannon were delicious!

The movies we watched were “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” and “Stardust.” I started nodding off on the couch, so I left for home (with some sausages and Colcannon).

All in all, it was a great Christmas.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

I woke up at 6:30 AM on my birthday, but decided to stay in bed until 7:30. Apparently Scruffy and Caley thought that was a good plan, because they didn’t get up, either.

After showering and shaving, I got dressed and faced my sixty-second year here on earth. I used the electric sweeper to tidy up the house (mostly removing cat hair) and, after turning on the Christmas tree lights, sat in the living room reading a magazine.

Jake and Carla showed up (they’d told me they wanted to make me a birthday brunch), But before we get into that, let’s talk about the calls and presents.

In chronological order, I had phone calls from my grandkids Joe and Riese (Joe played guitar and Riese sang “Happy Birthday”, Jake, my brother Joe, B___, Luanne, my brother Jim, and my daughters Amy and Melissa.

I also had posts on my Facebook page (which I never use) from my nieces Caroline, Mary and Hannah, my sister-in-law Kathy, my ex-wife Fran and my daughters Amy and Melissa. I also had one from my friend Tracey.

I opened the packages I’d received and both were from Lu and Sadie. One was a wine bottle, filled with dried beans and a spice packet to make a Texas bean soup. The other was a big sawdust block infused with shitake mushroom spores. It takes a little up front work and minor maintenance work, but I’m supposed to get two or three harvests out of it. Sweet!

So, Jake and Carla came and took over my kitchen (not the first time). Jake made handmade buttermilk biscuits, while Carla made her potatoes home fries. Then she made some pork sausage patties.

So, we had breakfast, or brunch, The trick was that you cut the biscuits in half, you smeared the bottom half with cream cheese and the top with fig preservers, You plopped in the pork sausage pattie and you had a gourmet breakfast sandwich. With the home fries, it was excellent!!!

Jake cleaned up everything and then I opened my birthday present: a non-stick grille pan. I really appreciate this as the cast iron, two burner grille pan I had was a pain in the ass. Then they took off.

When we walked outside, there was another Fed-ex package on the porch. It was from Melissa and I opened the “Happy Birthday” one (with two funny cards) which was a cook book. Thanks! I saved the Christmas one for tomorrow.

I spent the rest of my birthday resting and watching movies on TV. It was a good day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Birthday Eve

Well, we didn’t get any snow here on Thursday and it finally got just above freezing. Of course, that meant the icicles on the back roof started to grow.

I did a lot of walking at work (had to take two separate vendors through a build site so they can quote the wiring) so my legs were pretty tired.

I watched the evening news while eating leftover tortellini. Then I went out in the garage and started to rearrange it. I left it in grass cutting mode, so its difficult to get to the workbench.

I quit about 8:30 PM, came in and watched TV until I fell asleep.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday

We had a light snow overnight. That made the roads a little slippery on Wednesday morning.

After work, I watched the evening news and then made supper. I boiled some frozen tortellini and added it to a jar of garlic Alfredo sauce I’d warmed. It tastes great, but I really need to go shopping!

I keep the cat brush by the bed, so when the cats are relaxing I can occasionally brush them. I did Caley a few days ago, so I was determined to do Scruffy tonight. He stood it for a little while, but then he turned around and bit me on the arm! I had four puncture wounds and it took quite a long time to get them to stop bleeding.

I went to bed early again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Super Supper

There was supposed to be 1 – 3 inches of snow on Tuesday, but I never saw any.

At lunch, I went and got my Holiday haircut. Then I went another mile to the Value market and picked up some much needed supplies (not my real grocery shopping, but things like milk, butter, potatoes and onions).

After work, there were two packages on my front porch. Although I was intrigued, I didn’t open them as I supposed they were birthday or Christmas presents.

I watched the nightly news and then made supper. I made pierogies. Well, I didn’t “make” them, I cooked some Mrs. T frozen pierogies. You can cook them in several ways, but I did it the way my old neighbor, Sue, did. I sautéed two sliced onions with butter in a large skillet. Then I boiled the pierogies in batches. When they were done, I put them in the skillet and fried them until the bottoms were browned. I plated some and added sour cream. Delicious!

I watched TV until bedtime after deciding I’d done enough over the weekend to take a night off.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday

It was still cold here on Monday (I think the high was 26 degrees F. or so) but it was sunny in the afternoon. That always lifts my spirits!

Work was a typical Monday: three meeting, constant crisis, miscommunication, etc. I was very glad (and tired) when it was over.

The first thing I did when I got home (after treating the cats, of course) was to go through the fridge with a fine tooth comb. Tomorrow is trash day, so I checked the expiration date on EVERYTHING. I threw away about half of a kitchen bag’s worth of old stuff.

Then I put on my boots and trucked three bags of garbage to the road. Snow is forecast for tomorrow, so I’d rather do this in the dark than in the snow.

I did have a dinner planned, but realized I didn’t have any onions. So, I dug though the chest freezer and found my last Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. I made that in the microwave and ate it watching TV. I went to bed early.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Workin' Man Blues

I woke up at 5:30 AM on Sunday and couldn’t fall back asleep. So, I made a fresh pot of coffee and drank two cups sitting on the couch. But, I got bored sitting on the couch, so I went to work.

I stripped the bed and started a load of wash. I put yesterday’s dinner plate and silverware in the now full dishwasher and fired that up. Then I started sweeping and vacuuming the living room. When that was done, I moved the kitchen chairs and the rolling table into the living room. I put the bedding in the dryer, filled up a bucket with hot water and Pine-Sol and mopped the kitchen floor.

Since I was now trapped in the living room, the bedroom, the office and the main bath, I used the electric sweeper to clean the wood floors and the bathroom tile. When the kitchen floor was dry (about an hour and a half), I moved everything back. I remade the bed.

I refilled the bucket and washed the sink and toilet with a sponge, then mopped the bathroom floor. I took the drip pans off the stove and scrubbed them clean in the laundry tub. I went out in the garage and got the drill and took off the cover to the plumbing in the backroom. I turned off the outside faucet (I should have done that when I put the hoses away). I went outside to check that it was really off and it was. Since I was out there with boots on anyway, I went in the front yard and lugged off a branch that had come down in last weekend’s snow.

When I came back in, it was 3:30 PM and I was hungry. So, I opened and drained a can of tuna fish and ate it out of the can, topped with a little sea salt (I shared some with Caley and Scruffy). I decided I’d done enough, so I took the rest of the day off (except for one thing I need to do later).

I tried to take a nap, but that didn’t work. About 7:30 PM, I made my supper. I just reheated a Salisbury steak, the noodles and some gravy. But this time I added sweet corn and this time I read the microwave instructions first.

Then I did the last thing for the day. I put the stove grates into the oven, locked it and turned on the “Clean” setting. My theory was if I was going to use up all that gas anyway, I may as well do it at night and keep the furnace from running so much. And that part did work. The thermostat was set at 66 degrees F. and it was 72 in here!

I went back in and watch some of my Sunday night shows. However, about 9:30 PM, a spill or leftover or something in the oven started to smoke and stink. All the smoke detectors went off. The only way I could keep it on “clean” was to turn on the vent fan and crack the window in my bedroom (this also helped with the acrid smell in the house). I guess I don’t clean my oven often enough!

I went to bed at 11:00 PM and the oven still had two more hours to go. At my first bathroom break, it was done, so I turned off the fan, shut the window and went back to bed, content with the day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday Supper

I slept badly, but long and finally got out of bed at 10:00 AM. Without having a plan for Saturday breakfast, I just ate the last two pieces of cold pepperoni pizza (groan) washed down with fresh coffee.

My plan was to “deep-clean” the house. However, I started out by just straightening things up. That took up most of the afternoon.

I’m a little mystified about the birds and squirrels. Yesterday I had hundreds of visitors (Caley was in her glory) but I haven’t seen even one at the feeder or the two suet cages today (and I’ve walked past the kitchen window a lot). They usually only do that when a big storm is coming, but there’s nothing like that forecasted. Weird...

Maybe the new seed tasted like crap...

I quit at 5:00 PM and took a break. The “deep-cleaning” never got going, but the house is straightened up. Before I took my break, I made up the mise en place for tonight’s supper, so I’m good to go. I went in and watched some TV cooking shows that taped today.

Since I just had a meat sauce with pasta, I had searched for an easy recipe for Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy. I found one earlier, so I started supper.

I mixed the pound of ground beef with one egg, three tablespoons of crushed Ritz crackers, two tablespoons of finely minced onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Then I formed it into one inch thick patties (the recipe said six, but I only got three).

I fried the patties in a skillet over medium-high heat until I got a nice sear on both sides (about 3-4 minutes). I drained off the grease and removed the patties and kept them warm.

I added three tablespoons of butter to the same skillet and, when it had melted, I added two 4-ounce cans of mushrooms, along with the juice. I cooked and stirred this for about two minutes. Then I sprinkled three tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mixed it in until blended. Then I added three sups of milk and three beef bouillon cubes. I whisked that over medium heat until smooth and starting to thicken.

I put the patties back in and let it cook uncovered over low heat for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I made some wide egg noodles. When they were done, I plated it up and wandered in to watch TV. Not the best Salisbury steak I ever had, but not bad!

When they were cool, I put the leftovers in the fridge and then went to bed.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Random Thought

In spite of making them myself and ordering them in Southern restaurants, I am still in search of the perfect fried green tomato.

RIP

I forgot to mention (I was grieving) that Jake let me know that yesterday, Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, died at age 69. I only had one of his albums (yes, vinyl) but he was one of my heroes.

Even if it's only me, he will be missed!

Finally Friday...

(And I mean that - it's been a tough week, work-wise with my projects)

I made a can of Campbell's split pea with ham soup for lunch. I was little tired of pizza and the pizza farts were becoming increasingly embarrassing. I was now out of all my go-to soups (except for tomato) such as chicken noodle, bean with bacon and split pea with ham and there's no Hormell chili in the house either. I have GOT to go shopping!

After work, I started the weekend wash and then did some stuff on the computer (my grocery list and the ToDo list).

I called my friend B___ to see how he was doing and mentioned my plan to go grocery shopping this weekend. He cautioned me that, due to last weekend's storm, nobody was able to buy Christmas dinner or pick up last-minute presents. So, stores this weekend would be mobbed. Good point! I hadn't thought of that!

I guess I'll get by with my pantry items and my freezer until Monday or Tuesday.

I warmed up the last two slices of pizza supreme for dinner. Then I went in to watch a movie (Tears of the Sun) on DVD. It took about twice as long to finish as, about half way through, the damn thing started either stuttering or stopping altogether. I kept pushing "Play" and it would start back up. I dunno...

I don't have much experience with DVDs. I only own about 20 of them and never rent them or get them on Netflix. Can they get dirty? How do you clean them? I dunno...

So, I went to bed late.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pizza Party

Thursday it got up to 26 degrees F. at 4:00 PM. But, when I was running errand at lunch, it was nowhere near that! I went to PetSmart for cat food, treats and kitty litter. Next I went to Home Depot for more rock salt and another doorbell (I never could get the other one to work). Finally I went to ACO Hardware and bought 40 pounds of wild birdseed and some suet cakes that were all on sale.

I left everything in the car and went into the house to eat some lunch. I warmed up the rest of the potato soup I’d thawed. I must say, freezing does NOT improve the texture of my potato soup. No wonder Mom liked Jake’s better!

I left work at 4:00 PM. It had been a rough day and I didn’t have any dinner plans, so I stopped at a Little Caesar’s and picked up a pizza. When I got home, I stuck the box in the oven (set on warm) while I did chores.

The birdseed was big and bulky, but I wrestled it outside and refilled the feeder. The rock salt (50 pounds in a very small bag) was killer! But, I eventually got everything done.

Back inside, I had two pieces of pizza while I watched the evening news. Then I returned a call from my brother, Jim. He thought he had put the wrong address on my Christmas card, but I reassured him that I got it.

I watched TV until bedtime, with another slice of cold pizza for a late-night snack.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

"But don't get me wrong! I'm not saying you have to be in a relationship. Tons of people love to be single.

When you're single, you call the shots. You set the pace. You die alone."

~ Nadia from Bitchin' Kitchen

Wednesday, Switching to Glide...

I woke up at the amazing time of 10:00 AM on Wednesday. It was still damn cold, but no snow. I went out to the kitchen and started a 6-cup pot of coffee.

I drank the first cup, sitting on the couch, enjoying my Christmas decorations. I eventually posted the Blog entry, still having more coffee. I started a load of wash and then thought about brunch. However, I was really not that hungry, so I let it go.

Since I missed the morning news, I watched the noon version to get caught up. I went out to the garage and took out a pound of hamburger to thaw (hopefully it will be ready by tonight). Then I went in and watched a taped show of Iron Chef (Japan).

I finally fried up the rest of that packet of ham and made two eggs over easy for an afternoon brunch.

I didn’t do too much. I noticed the salt I put on the driveway didn’t do much, either.

The hamburger was still somewhat frozen, so I gave up on it for dinner tonight. Without having a backup plan, I just made a box of mac and cheese for dinner. I watched a movie and then went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday

Today was my department’s Christmas potluck. But, I had two problems with that. I thought it was on Wednesday (my enforced day off) and I hadn’t really gone grocery shopping yet. So, I didn’t sign up. The other problem was that my hip was throbbing like hell. So, despite the pleas from my co-workers (they like my food) I didn’t go.

Instead, I went home, ate some homemade potato soup I’d thawed and then took an hour nap to rest my hip.

The high temperature was a little warmer (20 degrees F. with less wind) so the salt they’d put on the road was working better. It was slushy on the way home after work, rather than ice. But, when I tried to wash off my windshield, the passenger side was frozen (and I use the good stuff).

Back home, Caley was at her usual station, crouched under the kitchen windowsill, watching the birds eat the suet just outside. She is determined to someday get one of those birds. Scruffy never does that (I think he knows there’s a window and a birdy dinner is out of the question).

Since the salt on the road seemed to be working, I went back outside and used the last of my rock salt on the packed down tracks of my tires (Note to self: buy more salt!)

Inside, I rearranged my few Christmas decorations and they looked better. Then I called my friend B___ to see how he weathered the storm. He’s okay; he just had to do his driveway three times during the snowfall.

When I thawed out the potato soup, I also thawed out a packet of the leftover Honey-Baked Ham. I tried Jake’s suggestion and cut about 1/2 inch of the crust off and fried it. I also made a small pot of mashed Yukon gold potatoes on the stove and some frozen peas in the microwave.

I ate dinner watching the evening news. The ham was better, but still a little too sweet for my taste. The potatoes were excellent, but the peas tasted like crap (little hard rocks – I checked the bag and I should have added some water).

I watched TV and dozed through the night. I finally shut everything down and went to sleep around 2:30 AM.

Quote of the day

“I’ve reached the age where life stops giving you things and starts taking them away.”

~from the movie “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday Moanin’

As I said, the snow depth around here wasn’t bad (although the "official" total at the airport, a few miles south of here, was 6 1/2 inches). But the problem was the temperatures. It got warm Sunday afternoon (well “warm” may be an overstatement) so the snow got slushy. Then the temperature dropped like a rock! It was 11 degrees F. when I woke up Monday morning. And, I think the high today here was 14 degrees. So, all the slushy snow turned to ice, making driving treacherous.

And, did I mention the wind (20 MPH sustained, gusting to 40)? So, all in all, driving or walking to and from work was a real pain. Starting off at a stoplight, all that happened was your wheels spun. You didn’t move!

I had soup for lunch (I needed it).

I had an accident at work in the afternoon. I came out of the bathroom stall and the little janitor was washing the tile floor with a rag mop. We exchanged a few words about the weather (we chat a lot) while I washed my hands. Then I tried carefully to get across the room to the paper towels (they are no where near the sink, for some reason). I didn’t make it.

I came down hard on my left hip and forearm. Now, it was unfortunate that the janitor was washing the floor, but fortunate he was there, because without his help, I couldn’t have gotten back up. So, I spent the afternoon with damp pants and slowly increasing aches and pains.

I slip-slided back home after work. Later on, Lu called and we chatted a little. She said it was raining, and then it got cold and turned to snow. So, the storm seems to be expanding. I still think Amy got it the worst (14-17 inches of snow!)

When I got undressed for bed, I had a very impressive purple bruise on my hip.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Then there was Sunday

When I woke up at 2:00 AM for a bathroom break, it was raining. When I woke up at 5:00 AM, it was snowing. I decided it was a “snow day,” so the only real work I did was to do the weekly wash.

I did talk to my friend B___. He had gone deer hunting up in the Upper Peninsula and got home just before the snow.

I ate leftover pasta for both lunch and dinner, watched a LOT of TV and read a book. I went to bed at 11:00 PM. We got maybe (maybe) two inches of snow here.

Saturday’s Story

I set up my Christmas decorations on Saturday morning after making some scrambled eggs and four cups of coffee.

I went “minimalist” this time, knowing nobody is coming over this year. So, I went with the two-foot tree, a sleigh with Christmas bulbs and pinecones (from my own trees, I might add) and one Santa. I got about half of my Christmas cards done before the mailman came.

I started a meat sauce for some pasta about 2:00 PM. I browned up a pound of hamburger and then removed it from the Dutch oven. Then I heated up a diced red onion and a diced shallot. I put the meat back in when they were translucent. I also added four cloves of minced garlic. Then I added two 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes and squished them with my hands (I like that). I threw in a small can of tomato paste and two teaspoons each of basil, oregano and thyme. I added one teaspoon of red pepper flakes and let it all simmer until dinner time.

I made a pound of rigatoni pasta and added it to about half of the sauce (the rest I froze). I ate some of that for dinner.

I talked to my daughter Melissa after dinner. When we hung up, I watched TV until bedtime.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finally Friday.....

Well, it did snow overnight, but nowhere near the projected 1-3 inches. I would be surprised to learn we got more than 1/2 inch here in Redford. However, people at work who live north of 8 Mile said they got a lot of snow.

It was slippery driving into work, though. But the temps had risen to 38 degrees F. by the time work was over, so it was more slushy than slippery going home.

Since it was above freezing, I made two trips into the attic for Christmas decorations. I’ll put them up over the weekend.

I watched the news and then two taped episodes of “Bitchin’ Kitchen.” I made dinner (toasted cheese sandwich and tomato soup in a mug) and ate it watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I went to bed at 10:00 PM.

But, I woke up, wide awake, at 1:00 AM. Since I don’t have work tomorrow, I watched Jimmy Fallon (my favorite late-night show) and then went back to bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday’s Tale

After work on Thursday, I did a load of wash. For dinner I heated up the last of the roast beef and vegetables. I ate that watching TV but went to bed early.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday

I took Wednesday off (which is why there was no Blog post). The only thing I did do was to use half of a 10-ounce bag of frozen blueberries to the usual Goerlich recipe (in the paperback blue book).

I thawed the blueberries in a sieve over a bowl. I kicked the recipe up a notch by using buttermilk instead of whole milk. I added the blueberries and made myself some brunch.

I read, watched TV and then ate pancakes for dinner. I went to bed around midnight.

Tuesday

Tuesday was another crappy day, weather-wise. It was snowy and cold (the high never got much above 30 degrees F.) The wind cut like a knife!

My biggest event today was procuring Christmas stamps. I stopped at CVS to get my Christmas cards and then headed to the Post Office. But, when I got there, there wasn’t an empty parking slot.

So, I went back there after work (about 4:30 PM – I had a late meeting) and stood in line behind four people with boxes to mail. Each of them had to decide how quick they wanted the package shipped, insurance, etc.

It was finally my turn and I just asked for two books of Christmas stamps. I was told they’d sold them out about 10:00 AM! So, I went home, empty handed and annoyed.

I warmed up the pot roast and veggies and topped them with jarred beef gravy for dinner.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, getting it done...

When I got home at lunch on Monday, I had two goals. One was to wash the bedding (that didn’t get done over the weekend) so I stripped the bed and started the washer.

The next was to make that roast I’d thawed out on Saturday (so everything would fit in the freezers). So, I got out the oval slow cooker and peeled a couple of carrots. I cut them on the bias and threw them in. Next came two yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters, two cloves of smashed garlic and about six Yukon Gold potatoes (not peeled).

I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary leaves. I pressed those in and put the roast on top. I added a couple of cups of chicken stock I needed to use up, topped it with button mushrooms and, as an afterthought, some dried parsley. I turned it on high and made a sandwich for my lunch.

When I got home, I turned the slow cooker to “Warm,” threw the bedding in the dryer and took two bags of trash and two boxes out to the road. Even though I had my leather jacket, my hat and gloves on, I was freezing when I got back inside. That wind cuts like a knife today. I kicked the thermostat up two degrees to try and get warm again.

About 8:00 PM, I made a plate of food (it was excellent, BTW) and ate dinner watching TV. About 10:00, I put the leftovers (and there were lots) into my Tupperware bowl and into the fridge.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday's Short Story

Sunday morning I woke up late. Even though I had a good night's sleep, my back was still killing me. So, I took a look at the long ToDo list and said "Screw it!"

I spent the day relaxing, reading, watching TV and/or sleeping. Instead of making the roast I'd planned (I had to thaw one out to make everything fit) I just made a chicken pot pie in the microwave.

I watched my usual TV shows and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Another Road Trip

Remember that doctor’s appointment for today? Well, my doctor rescheduled it for January. But, I had already committed to pick up our portion of the cow in St. Clair (near Richmond, where my doctor is) so I left about 10:00 PM.

Unfortunately, I took 8-mile and got stuck by a train. That made me late for picking up my friend, B___. I’d discussed this with him earlier and asked if I could visit his house before I went to St Clair. He suggested riding along instead and we could chat on the way. So, that’s what we did.

I was late, due to the train, and he told me that he was just about to change his clothes but I guess I got there in the nick of time. So, we headed out.

We got to Jerry and Kathy’s about 12:30 PM. They meticulously sorted out the meat (B___ helped while I stood and watched). Kathy wanted to show me the receipt but I refused. If you can’t trust your friends, who the hell can you trust?

I couldn’t lift the first box, so B___ helped me carry it out to the car trunk. The second one I did carry out (although it was heavy) and put it in the trunk as well.

We made our goodbyes and took off. I suggested lunch so we went to O’Malleys in town. I had a Rueben with pickles and homemade potato chips. The waitress was great and had an English accent I found appealing. The sandwich was absolutely excellent but the potato chips sucked. They didn’t salt them! I LIKE SALT!!!

We headed back and I dropped him off. Then I took Groesbeck to I-696, then I-275 to Ford Road. When I got to Jake and Carla’s, Jake, too, meticulously sorted out the meat.

I left there and got home at 4:00 PM – beat! But, I still needed to put my meat in the freezer. It’s a problem because I use my freezer a lot and it’s pretty full. So, I rearranged both my chest freezer and my refrigerator freezer and finally got everything in.

By then I was tired and sore (and my back hurt) But, I went up in the attic and made a hurried search (I didn’t have a coat on) for my hunting clothes. I didn’t find them before the cold forced me back downstairs.

I went in to watch TV until bedtime. I didn’t make supper (that Rueben really filled me up) but I did make some popcorn for a snack around 10:00 PM.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yankee hurmour

Here's a bit of Yankee humor. A motorist stopped his car on the outskirts of town and asked directions from an elderly farmer working in a field with a horse-drawn plow. The farmer appeared to be in his late sixties, and the stranger was impressed with the vigor with which he tackled his chores.

"Aren't you a little old to be doing heavy work like this?" he asked.

"Ain't so bad," the farmer replied. "My pa is an awful big help."

"Your father is alive?"

"Yup. That's him up by the barn there, pitching manure."

The stranger spotted the old gentleman in the distance. "But that's amazing. How old is he, anyway?"

"Pa's 86."

"I can't believe it. A man his age ought not to be exerting himself like that."

"Well, ordinarily Grandpa is around to help."

"You have a grandfather? Good heavens, how old would he be?"

"Hundred and three."

"This is astonishing. Where is he now?"

"On his honeymoon."

"You mean to tell me that he just got married? Why on earth would a man his age want to do that?"

"Didn't want to. Had to."

Quote of the Day

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if vegetables smelled as good as bacon."

~ Doug Larson

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday

It was 22 degrees F. when I woke up on Friday and never got much over 32 degrees all day. But no snow (Amy’s got our back on that).

After work, I plugged in the door bell and then tested the button before installing it outside. Nothing! I tried it and tried it and finally it rang. I tried it again and – nothing! I spent like the next half hour trying it but it never rang.

So, I checked the installation manual and there is a “Troubleshooting” section, but it involves taking the back of the doorbell (six tiny Phillips head screws) and making sure the electronics match the doorbell button. However, I’m tired already and pissed (no, really pissed because I threw away the bag and the receipt when I bought it). So I decided to let it go for now.

Since I was tired and pissed, I was uninspired about dinner. So, I cooked up the rest of the cheese tortellini and warmed up the sauce. I ate that watching TV and then went to bed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another snowy day

It was snowing again Thursday morning and this time it’s sticking. No real accumulation, but it is here! However, I am no longer going to bitch about snow as Minnesota (where my daughter Amy’s family live) has been getting dumped on.

I went to Home Depot at lunch and got a new wireless doorbell (mine’s been broken for about a year). Then I stopped at CVS and picked up my prescriptions.

Back home after a rather frantic day at work, I put out the driveway marker wands, (if I have to be plowed out this year) Then, I took the night off. I thought I’d treat myself, so I made cheese tortellini with mushrooms and Alfredo sauce for dinner.

I used half a bag of frozen cheese tortellini and made it according to the directions on the package. Meanwhile, I sliced up and sauteed eight ounces of white button mushrooms. When they had reduced (I always cut them thick), I added a pinch of salt and a jar of store-bought Alfredo sauce.

I reserved half the sauce for another night and added the tortellini to the remaining sauce. I tossed it about and then plated it.

I wandered in and watched TV until bedtime.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SNOW???

It was snowing and cold when I got up Wednesday morning. It still was when I left for lunch.

Today, I went and got a haircut at lunchtime (which I never have done). Why? Because my haircut is about two weeks overdue and I have a doctor's appointment on Saturday at 9:30 AM. The doctor's office isn't open on Wednesdays and is only open this coming Saturday for the whole month of December.

I raced home after the haircut and warmed up some potato soup for lunch. It was just as good as the first time. The snow had stopped, BTW.

Back home after work, I took a break on the couch. Then I did more small chores until dinner time. I didn’t have quite enough leftovers, so I added in some frozen sweet corn to the mix.

I ate dinner and then watched “Stagecoach” a 1939 movie starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...

Well, it did rain overnight (I heard it on the windows during the night). The rain gauge has been inside for a while, so I can’t tell you exactly how much. It had slackened down to a drizzle when I left for work, though. It stayed damp and drizzly (but warm) all day. We go into the icebox tonight for the rest of the week (hell, who am I kidding? For the rest of the winter).

When I got home after work, I took care of a myriad of chores that I’d put on hold to finish up outside. I filed bill receipts, put my bike title in the fireproof box, vacuumed cat hair out of the bedrooms, got the leftover potato soup into the freezer, etc.

I stopped at 8:00 PM and reheated my chicken dinner leftovers (I think I still have one meal left, there). I ate that watching TV and then went to bed at 10:30 PM.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Busting my butt on Monday

As predicted, it was warm at lunchtime on Monday. So, when I got home at lunchtime, I raked all the built-up leaves off both patios and onto the lawn.

Then I moved the outdoor furniture to Jake’s patio and made sure the hoses were drained. I added the wheelbarrow to the pile and put the hoses in it. Then I went into the attic and got out a tarp. I put the tarp over the pile and secured it with a rope. I went inside and grabbed a bite to eat before heading back to work.

I left work at 4:00 PM so I could finish up before dark and the rain predicted after midnight. So, I gassed up the push mower and cut about 1/4 of the back yard closest to the house to chew up the last of the leaves. I finished up just before dark.

Back inside, I got the trash together along with the kitty litter and got it all out to the road. Then I took a break – I was beat!

About 7:30, I reheated the chicken, some stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy. I added some cranberry sauce and had an excellent dinner.

I watched the movie “Casablanca” and then went to bed, sore, but content!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday Supper

I waited impatiently for it to come up above freezing outside. That didn’t happen until after noon.

So, I went outside and unhooked the two hoses. As I feared, there was some ice in them. So, I stretched them out across the lawn and let the sun do its work. Meanwhile, I used the leaf rake to get some of the remaining leaves off the patio and onto the lawn.

I went back inside to warm up and the phone was ringing. It was my friend B___, so we talked for a while catching each other up on our Thanksgiving activities.

Back outside, I tried to drain the hoses, but very little water came out. Since it will be near 50 degrees F. tomorrow, I decided to leave them out there, just to make sure they are really empty.

Back inside, I started making dinner. I had thawed out some boneless, skinless chicken breasts I’d gotten on sale. Normally, I only make bone-in, skin-on ones (they have more flavor) but these were on sale!

So, I lined my cake pan with tinfoil and laid down a bunch of veggies. I didn’t have any carrots or celery (I need to go grocery shopping) so it was just onions, potatoes and garlic. After seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning I laid it on top. Then I added a couple of cups of chicken stock. I topped the pan with more tinfoil and stuck it in a preheated 375 degrees F. oven. I set the timer for 40 minutes.

Then I hit my pantry and came up with an old box of Stove-top chicken stuffing, the last of the russet potatoes, a jar of turkey gravy and a small can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.

I peeled the potatoes and got them cooking. Then I opened the cranberry sauce, warmed up the gravy and made the stuffing. I mashed the potatoes with evaporated milk (I was out of whole milk, too) and then plated my Sunday supper.

Was it as good as Jake and Carla’s feast? Of course not! But, now I have leftovers!!

I watched my usual Sunday night shows and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black (?) Saturday

I woke up at the incredible hour of 11:00 AM on Saturday. I have accidentally found a way to deal with my sleep apnea. For like 10 years, I have had blue curtains hung on the edges of the bedroom windows and the windows themselves covered with white mini-blinds.

Well, Friday when I wanted to take a nap, the sun on the mini-blinds was annoying. So, I closed the curtains (I’ve never done that before). Bingo! The darkened room let me sleep and I’ve left them that way ever since. Much better sleep conditions!

I ate a big bowl of potato soup for breakfast/lunch after I found my glasses (not the original “black-hole” ones, but my current pair). They were on the nightstand, but I couldn’t see them or feel them. So, I pulled the bed out and pushed it up against the TV (thinking they’d fallen back there). Then I got my third-oldest pair out and put them on. That’s when I spotted them on the nightstand.

But, I also spotted a lot of cat hair on the floor where the bed was. However, the vacuum cleaner was downstairs and it seemed like a lot of work to haul it upstairs. So I left the bed where it was (to remind myself I needed to clean it up) and watched some cooking shows.

It was nice because I could finally read the words on the TV screen (my eyes are getting BAD!)

For my evening enjoyment, I watched the original Jurassic Park. Instead of a formal supper, I ate some hunter sausages Jake and Carla gave me on Thanksgiving. I went to sleep when the movie was over.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson was charged with pot possession. The Border Patrol claimed six ounces of pot were found on his tour bus in Texas.

You gotta love that dude!

Black Friday

I’m not sure why they call it “Black Friday” but it’s the day merchants offer incredible deals and open at like 4:00 AM. So, people line up and wait outside (overnight, sometimes) to get the deals. Now, I know my boys have done this for computer crap (not too sure about my girls) but I never do. Because I know the trick: there are only like four or five of the sale items and once they are gone, they are gone... So, I stay away from stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

I woke up Friday morning at the incredible hour of 9:00 AM! I dumped the old coffee and made a fresh, four-cup pot. For some odd reason, it was sunny outside (it’s supposed to be cold with snow flurries all day). So, I checked the weather and it’s just a break in the clouds – snow is supposed to be headed this way.

Speaking of the weather, I forgot to mention I thought it was great that the rain stopped yesterday long enough for the Detroit parade to get done.

I waited until after 11:00 AM, but it hadn’t yet gotten above freezing. It was still sunny with high clouds. So, I donned warm clothes and went out to cut the front lawn.

Doing the side lawn (next to the garage) was a b*tch! It was only 29 degrees F. here, but there was a sustained 20 MPH wind from the west. So, the wind & cold made cutting the side lawn a real pain. To add to that, the herbage I’d cut out of the gardens was frozen. I actually at one point thought I would have to rake it to the vacant lot next door until I discovered I could move the piles about with the push mower wheels. That let the mower chop it up.

But, cutting the front lawn was not too bad with the house acting as a buffer to the wind. I was back inside by 1:00 PM. So, it took me twice as long as usual to cut the whole front lawn. But, that’s done for the year!

I was hungry, so once I’d warmed up (and it took a while) I made a sandwich (unlike 90% of Americans today, mine was roast beef). Then I took a nice nap.

When I woke up, I was still chilled. So, I decided to make some potato soup. I used the recipe I created in the recipe section of this website (if you remember, this was the soup my Mother said was “almost” as good as Jake’s – that still rankles!)

So, I got out my trusty Dutch oven pot and heated it up. I added about 1/2 pound of bacon, cut into lardons with my kitchen shears (I find that easier than using a knife). I cooked the bacon until it was browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, I removed the bacon bits and then crumbled when cool.

Most of the bacon grease went into my coffee cup (I keep it in the fridge for all kinds of things), but I reserved two tablespoons of bacon drippings. Now, my original recipe called for two cups of red onions, but I just cut up one big *ss sweet onion. I threw the approximately two cups of chopped onions in the pot and sweated them over medium heat until translucent (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, I was peeling a bunch of russet potatoes. My original recipe (you remember, the one my Mom said was almost as good as Jake’s – did I mention that?) called for red potatoes, but all I have in the house is russet. I added three cloves of garlic (I like garlic) and cooked it an additional one minute. I then added eight cups of homemade chicken stock (the last I have) and the potatoes. I covered it and simmered it gently, about 40 minutes.

I took the pot off the heat and, with the slotted spoon again, pulled out about 1/3 of the cooked potatoes and set aside on a plate. Using my immersion blender I pureed the soup until smooth. I added two cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and a handful of dried parsley (the flat leaf parsley outside is dead and gone). I tested it and added salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Hmmm... it’s good but not great (my Mom could be right) so I mounted a half stick of butter to make it shine.

I returned the reserved potatoes (after cutting them smaller) and the bacon and let it simmer until ready to serve. I wish I had that Westborn Italian bread or any crusty bread to go with it. But, I don’t and so I fixed a bowl to eat. Excellent!

I went in and watched the Wizard of Oz (a perennially favorite). After that, I watched some cooking shows. I went to bed about 1:30 PM.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Watching a late night TVCooking show reminded me..

One of my favorite sandwiches is a French Dip. The combination of the French roll, the roast beef and the au jus dip is fantastic!

Thanksgiving

I got up around 3:30 AM on Thanksgiving for a bathroom break. It was raining hard here. But when I really got up for good (around 7:00) the rain had stopped. Judging from the many puddles, it had rained a long time. So, I went out and checked the gauge. I had just under an inch of rain in it! Lucky it had stayed above freezing overnight.

I made a pot of coffee and had a couple of cups. Then I turned on the TV to watch the Thanksgiving parade in downtown Detroit. I started cleaning the house (getting a jump on the weekend) and watched the parade every now and then.

I shaved and showered, got dressed and left for Jake and Carla’s about 1:10 PM (having taken a lot of flack for being late the last few times). So, naturally, I got there 20 minutes too early. When Carla opened the door, I volunteered to sit in the car, but she told me to get inside.

Shades of the old days, they had an eight-foot folding table set up in the living room! There was a fresh, free range 25 pound turkey tented in the oven and it smelled fantastic! The only problem was the heat.

Jeremy, Jyl, Joe and Riese showed up around 2:00 PM. They brought the desserts: a pumpkin tart, an Achatz berry pie (yes, the same family I recently wrote about), an apple pie and Jyl had made pumpkin ginger biscotti (without nuts, so Carla could eat it.

Even though Jake and Carla had done all the prep work the night before, they mostly spent the next two hours in the kitchen. Jeremy’s family and I spent our time in the family room, watching hilarious and sometimes touching reruns of “The Cosby Show.” The dog had fun, moving from petter to petter (is “petter” a word?) all day.

Remember the appetizer I was supposed to bring, but couldn’t figure out? Well, I’d even discussed it with my friend B___, who couldn’t figure it out either (mix the Brie with the olives and spread them on toasted baguette slices?). Well, it turned out the appetizer was just that! They sliced the Brie, the baguette and put them and the olives in a three-section tray and we ate them as is. I over-thought that one, I guess.

Finally, about 4:00 PM, dinner was ready. It consisted of the turkey (moist like you’d never believe a 25 pound turkey would be), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (done in Lu’s favorite style, mashed with pineapple), baked acorn squash, homemade cranberry sauce (accompanied by a can of the jellied stuff for the more traditional eaters), excellent gravy, cornbread dressing and whole green beans sautéed with wild mushrooms.

Knowing how little I can eat these days, I just took a small spoonful of each. But, I couldn’t help myself and went back for more of the turkey and gravy. I sat across from Riese, who did ample justice to a plateful of just mashed potatoes (she said she loves them) and the turkey. All that food doesn’t seem to make her fat, just tall!

We sat around the table and chatted after dinner, sated. The more we sat there, the more I realized just how full and how tired I was. Now, normally, I would have just taken a nap on their couch, but with this many people it would have been inconsiderate. So, I reluctantly made my goodbyes. Carla tried to give me some leftovers but, knowing how much I had to go, I declined (I’ll regret that). I missed dessert, but really shouldn’t have eaten it, anyway (although it looked fantastic!)

I drove home in a light rain, took care of some business and then treated the cats. I tried to take a nap, but only dozed. I dozed enough to be able to stay up until 1:30 AM, though!

Jake and Carla, always good to see you and thanks for an excellent meal! Jeremy, Jyl, Joe and Riese, it was good to see you all; we should do it more often! All in all, it was a GREAT Thanksgiving!!

Hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Like most people, I guess, some of my fondest memories of Thanksgiving were the ones I spent as a child.

Most of the prep work for the dinner was done the day before. My job was to cut two huge loaves of stale bread into perfect cubes (early knife skills) for the stuffing.

Then my Mother would wake up incredibly early and put the huge turkey in the oven. I still don't understand that, as turkeys don't take THAT long to cook.

Meanwhile my Dad would set up the two long tables he made from wood that rested on homemade sawhorses. Then we'd cover them with tablecloths (at the time, I thought they were linen but, looking back, I think they were bedsheets).

Somebody would take the old cornucopia and use it for the centerpiece, filling it with fruits, nuts and grapes.

My married brothers and their kids would start to arrive and finally (FINALLY) we would sit down to eat.

Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy were my favorites, but there were always extra side dishes. My Mother always made her signature dish: some sort of jello with fruit in it (sometimes cherry with fruit cocktail, sometimes lime with, say tangerines).

It was a running joke that my Mom always forgot "something" in the fridge and didn't discover it until afterward. Hey, don't laugh, I do it myself!

Then, we feasted!

Wednesday

I was feeling better Wednesday, so I went to work (for a change!)

Lunchtime, I drove up to Westborn and picked up my contribution to the Thanksgiving meal tomorrow at Jake and Carla’s: a baguette, a jar of Kalamata pitted olives, some Brie and some Marques de Caceres Crianza wine. I’m not sure what kind of appetizer this will make, but I just do what I’m asked...

I had also planned on doing some outdoor work at lunch, but it was only in the 30’s with a brisk wind, so I passed.

It was still cold (well, not as cold as Alberta, Canada, obviously – but cold to me) and now dark when I arrived home. So, I watched the nightly news and then around 7:00 PM, I made some dinner. I made a roast beef sandwich on sourdough bread with some “horse sauce” (Mayo and horseradish). I added some olives to the plate and sat on the couch, eating a delectable repast.

I fired up both the washing machine and the dishwasher. Then I watched TV until bedtime.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catching Up

Monday I wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed home and in bed. I didn't feel any better on Tuesday, so I stayed home one more day. This is costing me a fortune!

Catching Up

Sunday, Sunday

I woke up Sunday morning with an overwhelming desire for some Cinnamon Rolls. So, I pulled down a Paula Deen recipe that sounded good and printed it off. I studied it drinking my first cup of reheated coffee (I know). Jesus! There was yeast, warm water, flour and once you got the dough made, you needed the filling and then the glaze!!

I wish I had a tube of that Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll stuff. I gave up on the whole idea and ate two pieces of sourdough bread, toasted, for breakfast.

In spite of all the stuff I have to do outside before winter sets in, I stayed inside and putzed.

About 2:00 PM, I put together a roast. I thought I’d try something different, so instead of the slow cooker, I put it in my cake pan on top of some carrots, potatoes, onions and chunks of rutabagas. I went on the Internet to get some cooking times and temperature.

However, they were wrong! All my beautiful veggies were burned, except the ones directly under the roast. I did get a meal out of it, though.

I watched my Sunday night shows and went to bed at 11:30 PM.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Nutty Saturday

I woke up around 7:00 AM on Saturday but stayed in bed until after 8:00. Finally Caley got up (Scruffy was still zzz-ing it) so I figured I should too. I refilled the little humidifier and then washed my coffee pot.

I filled in the Blog. Then, I made a four cup pot of coffee and drank a cup of it on the couch, planning my day. I ate a whole big pink Texas grapefruit for breakfast and had another cup of coffee. Then I did some inside house chores, waiting for it to warm up a little.

At noon, it was 44 degrees F., so I donned my outdoor gear and went outside. Using the line trimmer, I cut down all the dead plants in the gardens in the front and the side of the house. Then I got a leaf rake and raked everything out of the gardens and onto the lawn to dry. I added some fertilizer to all of the gardens.

I grabbed some cash and walked over to the nearest party store and bought two things: a big jar of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts (I’ve been thinking about peanuts for days) and a can of Campbell’s tomato soup (a necessary component of tonight’s dinner). I am reasonably sure I overpaid for both (as opposed to say, Meijer’s, Kroger or Walmart) but the convenience was worth it.

Back home, I warmed myself up, watching TV and munching on peanuts. Then I took a nap.

When I woke up, I started making dinner: a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. I plated the perfectly grilled (and I mean perfectly) sandwich and put most of the tomato soup into my big cup.

I wandered back into the bedroom to watch TV and eat. I refilled the cup with the rest of the soup at one point and snacked on the peanuts during the rest of the evening.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Listening to music....

While I like to think I'm just "Switching to Glide," I fear I'm just "Free Falling."

Screw it! "Let the Scythe and the Shotgun Sing us a Song!"

In the Gutter...

It was sunny, but chilly and very windy on Friday. But, when I got home at lunchtime, I dragged out the stepladder, went in the backyard and cleaned out those gutters.

They were a mess (I knew they would be; they are directly under three huge maples) and the composted leaves plopped onto the patio, splattering the outside walls. I got them all out, but then ran out of time.

So, when I got home after work, even though it was much colder and windier and getting dark, I went back outside. I used the hose to wash off the walls, and then climbed the ladder to hose out the gutter. By the time I got close to the downspout, it was too dark to see what I was doing. But the water was coming out freely, so I am calling it a success.

Back inside, I looked at the dinner I had planned to make and said, “Screw it!” Yeah, I literally said, "Screw it!" My legs hurt too bad to spend time at the stove. So, I just made a pan of popcorn, topped it with melted butter and salt and spent the rest of the evening lying down, watching TV.

Isn’t Life Strange...

I was checking around for something to watch waiting for “The Man Who Would be King” (an interview with England’s Prince Charles – it was excellent, BTW and would have been perfect for Anglophiles like my brother Carl and Jake). I came across a taped “At the table with...” a Cooking Channel show I sometimes watch. It features a bio of a chef, some I’ve heard of, some I haven’t.

This time was one I hadn’t heard of before, Grant Achatz. Stealing from Wikipedia, here’s the main facts:

Grant Achatz (born 1974) is an American chef and restaurateur who is considered to be on the cutting edge of the movement of menu item construction often referred to as molecular gastronomy or progressive cuisine (think Wylie Dufresne). Achatz has won numerous awards from prominent culinary institutions and publications including the "Rising Star Chef of the Year Award" for 2003 and "Best Chef in the United States" for 2008 from the James Beard Foundation.

Following graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, Achatz landed a position at Thomas Keller's highly acclaimed restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. Achatz spent four years at The French Laundry, rising to the position of sous chef.

In 2005, Achatz went out on his own, opening Alinea in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. In October 2006, Gourmet magazine named Alinea the best restaurant in America in its feature on "America's Top 50 Restaurants".

But, here’s the kicker: He started his career working in his family’s restaurant in St. Clair, Michigan! I’ve eaten in there a hundred times or more!! It was a little Mom & Pop place with decent home cooking. The local teens loved it for the chili-cheese fries.

Weird...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday's Tale

It was gray and gloomy on Thursday. When I got home at lunch, I cut down the front clematis.

When I got home after work, I pulled out the dead mums from the mailbox. I put everything in the wheelbarrow on top of the sweet alyssum. Then I took all the mess out to the compost heap. Next I filled up the bird feeder.

Inside, I changed clothes and then washed up the pots and pans from last night’s dinner. I watched the nightly news until 7:00 PM.

I warmed up some of the garlic shrimp pasta for my dinner.

I was totally uninspired as far as working went, so I alternated watching TV with dozing until I went to bed for real after midnight.

And yes, I know… it was B-O-R-I-N-G!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday

It rained overnight, so I checked the rain gauge before going to work. I got about 3/4 of an inch of rain.

But, it was sunny (although not that warm) at lunchtime, so I got my garden gloves and pulled out all the sweet alyssum from the front garden. I filled up a wheelbarrow to take back to the compost heap.

It rained in the afternoon and was cold when I went home after work.

I did the Wednesday night wash but nothing much else. I did talk with my friend B___ for a bit, though.

I adapted a recipe and made garlic shrimp fettuccine for dinner. I put on a pot of salted water to boil and then went out to harvest some of the last flat leaf parsley.

I chopped up the parsley and then minced up four cloves of garlic. I put some olive oil in my biggest skillet and added four tablespoons of butter on medium low heat. When that was bubbling, I added the garlic, some of the parsley and 1/4 cup of white wine and stirred it frequently.

I dropped the fettuccine into the boiling water and set the timer (I want this al dente, dammit!)

Meanwhile, I turned up the heat in the skillet to medium high and added in one pound of medium-sized shrimp I’d peeled and deveined. I let that cook about three to four minutes (until it turned pink). Then I drained the pasta, added it to the skillet and tossed it until it was coated.

I plated some, topped it with parmigiano-reggiano and more parsley and wandered in to watch TV.

Quote of the Day

"How long one minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on."

~ Unknown

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Poem of the Day

"Roses are red,
violets are blue.
When the cops come,
say I was with you..."

Nadia G.
"Bitchin' Kitchen"
(it's a Canadian cooking show I am fond of)

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...

I beat the rain home on Tuesday, but not by much. I returned a weekend call from Lu and we talked for a while.

My original plan was to clean the house tonight (while it rained) so as to free up the weekend for the last of the outdoor work. However, I used the extended conversation with Lu as my excuse for not doing that (I really didn’t feel like doing it, anyway).

I ate leftover spaghetti for dinner and watched TV until bedtime.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, Monday

Monday was, well, Monday.

After work, I cleaned up the mess from Sunday’s spaghetti and ran a load of dishes through the dishwasher. Next I got the garbage together for tomorrow morning.

I had eaten some of the spaghetti for lunch, so I ate the rest of the cabbage rolls for dinner.

I watched TV until after the 11:00 PM news and then went to bed.

Monday, Monday

Monday was, well, Monday.

After work, I cleaned up the mess from Sunday’s spaghetti and ran a load of dishes through the dishwasher. Next I got the garbage together for tomorrow morning.

I had eaten some of the spaghetti for lunch, so I ate the rest of the cabbage rolls for dinner.

I watched TV until after the 11:00 PM news and then went to bed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slow Sunday

I had planned on getting some more outdoor work done on Sunday. But, when I sat on the couch, having a cup of coffee, it looked miserable out there! It was cold, gloomy and windy. So, I changed my mind and stayed in.

I had bought some frozen blueberries, but I couldn’t make up my mind on what to make with them: muffins or pancakes? That debate went on so long that it was supper time!

I made a big pot of spaghetti for supper. I needed to use up the rest of the hamburger mixture that didn’t fit in the cabbage leaves and it sounded good on a cold day. The sauce I made was excellent, but I overcooked the pasta.

I watched my usual Sunday night shows and then went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday

I woke up for a bathroom break around 2:00 AM. I spent a very restless night, sleeping. When I looked out the window, I couldn’t see the lights for the carwash or the parking lights behind my back wall! The fog here is really bad. Normally I wouldn’t care, but the directions on the Thompson’s Water sealer says it has to NOT rain for 48 hours after applying. So, I dunno if it’s a problem.

But, when I woke up at 5:30 AM (my usual time) the fog had lifted. I thought about it for a long time, (I even made a song up about it) and then decided to fnck it and went back to bed. I woke up just after 11:00 PM. I posted the Blog and then started the weekend wash.

I did three loads and got everything hung up, folded or put back on the bed. Some where in there Jake stopped in and we visited for a bit. I then went outside to make a mental list of things I had to do before winter (there’s still a lot!)

While I was out there, I noticed the cabbage leaves. So, I went inside, grabbed the kitchen shears and cut them all off. Inside, I rinsed them all off and selected the best eight of them. I boiled them about four minutes until they were soft.

I made some rice (I would have just used white rice, but that was an unopened box – I had a little bit of brown rice, so I went with that) while my hamburger thawed out. Then I added the hamburger with the rice, about 1/4 cup of onion, one egg (slightly beaten) and salt and pepper. Now, the recipe I was using called for condensed tomato soup but I don’t have any. So, I used tomato sauce, instead. I put in two tablespoon of that and mixed it up by hand.

I put that on the cabbage leaves, rolled them up and secured them with toothpicks. I put them back in the skillet over medium heat and dumped the remaining tomato sauce over them. I covered the pan, bought it to a boil and then reduced it to a simmer. I checked on it often and basted the rolls with the liquid.

Damn! A Polish delight (I think they are called glumpkies or something)! I went to sleep happy!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finally Friday

Friday dawned with yet another heavy fog (it’s happened all this week). There’s some sort of reason, but I forget it.

But, it had burned off by 11:00 AM, so when I went home for lunch, I immediately changed all my clothes and shoes (I don’t want to screw anything up). Then I went out back and swept off the flat-bed trailer.

Next, I used a throw-away foam brush and a roller to apply Thompson’s Water Sealer to the trailer. It took longer than I had thought and hurt my back more than I’d imagined (I should have used the roller expansion pole I have and not bent over too much, I suppose). But, I got ‘er done!

I warmed up some Campbell’s split pea with ham soup, ate that, changed back to my other clothes and then went back to work.

I spent the afternoon fantasizing all the stuff I would do outside after work. But, when I left at 5:00 PM, it was already getting dark. So, all my plans were for naught.

Friday night was apparently phone-call night. First I talked to Carla, then Jake. After that, my daughter Melissa called. She was telling me an interesting story when she said one of the people in the story was calling and she’d call me back. She didn’t – so I don’t know how the story ended...

I was watching some taped cooking shows when my buddy B___ called. We talked for a while and I asked about his dinner plans. He said they had eaten hours ago and it was after 9:00 PM!

Not having given any thoughts to tonight’s dinner, I checked around. I ended up making a blue box of mac & cheese. Nothing special, but it fills you up and tastes good. I drifted off to sleep about 11:00 PM.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday

Thursday was the day Wednesday was supposed to be, weather-wise. But, I had to work. So, when I came home for lunch, I cut the front lawn with the push mower.

Then when I got home at 4:00 PM, I didn’t even change clothes. I just emptied my pockets, grabbed the lawn tractor key and went out to cut the back lawn. I had waited too long to cut back there and the leaves were bad, but I finally got it done. I finished up just as the sun was setting.

I came back in and made two pasties according to the recipe in the “Recipes” section. I ate one about 9:00 PM. It wasn’t bad, but a little dry. I put the other in the fridge after it cooled.

I went to bed about 10:30 PM.

Veteran’s Day

Thursday was Veteran’s Day here in the US. There is no real way to ever thank those men and woman who have given so much to protect and defend us here in America.

But, I salute you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday's Woes

I should have worked Wednesday (to make up for Monday) but I had already scheduled a dentist appointment.

It was supposed to be sunny and warm (a forecasted high of 63 degrees!) so I was torn between riding the bike or doing the remaining yard work. However, the weatherman said there was fog in my area.

But, when I left for the dentist, it wasn’t fog. It was drizzle. I had to use the windshield wipers on the way there and back. I was hopeful, however, that the sun would burn off the “fog,” the leaves would dry out and I could cut the grass.

I waited, and waited and waited... When it was still gray and gloomy at 3:00 PM, I took a nap. I woke up around 5:00, just as the sun (which had finally come out, I guess) was setting.

So, no outside work got done. I made a toasted cheese sandwich for my dinner and gave up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday's Trials

I did make it into work on Tuesday (although I didn't want to). I warned everybody to stay the hell away from me and they did.

When I got home after work, I reluctantly got down the stepladder (I didn't want to do that either) and cleaned out the gutters over the front of the garage. This kills my knees and thighs, so I don't do it enough and you could tell. A lot of the leaves had composted into dirt and it was a mess!

I only did that section (I have three in various places on the roof) so I could still walk on Wednesday. It's not perfect (I think the drain spout is clogged) but I quit after that (it was getting dark).

I cleaned up and made a can of chicken noodle soup for dinner. Then, I read a book in bed until I got sleepy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday Moanin'

(And I was!)

I woke up about 1:00 AM Monday, sick with stomach flu or something. I say stomach flu because a guy I work with had it last week. He still came into work though, he just drank a LOT of Pepto-Bismal.

I spent the rest of the night and most of the morning either leaned over the toilet or sitting on it. I fell into an uneasy sleep in the afternoon.

When I woke up, I was starving and tried to think of something I could eat yet not upset my stomach. I settled on two poached eggs on toast. After I finished eating, that seemed like a lot of work, so I went back to bed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The weekend

I spent a very unproductive weekend, wearing my bathrobe, eating the rest of the tuna noodle casserole, reading my book on the couch and occasionally watching some TV. I didn't really get anything done, but I had a great time.

Isn't that what weekends are for?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday

Friday dawned cold and cloudy. I was at work when my friend Michelle walked up behind me and scared the sh*t out of me. She had come to return my cane (her son borrowed it for Halloween; he wanted to be an “old man” – Gee, thanks!) She also brought me a container of her husband’s Italian soup. I figured I’d warm it up and eat that for dinner (with maybe popcorn for a snack, later on.)

I ate the tuna noodle casserole for lunch (Damn that tasted good. My Mother would have loved it!)

There was light snow on the way home. The first of the season. I wish it was the last!

I changed my mind about cleaning the gutters (it’s too damn cold) and sat on the couch and read.

I talked to my friend B___. His daughter had been up north and brought back pasties from the UP, so that was their dinner for tonight. I went into my usual rant: No carrots or ground beef! I told him if they had ground beef or carrots in them to just throw them in the garbage disposal. That’s the crap they sell to tourists.

I grew up next to a family of Yuppers (that’s what they call people from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) and the mother often made pasties. I loved them and the main ingredients were cubed round steak, potatoes, onions and rutabagas: No carrots; No ground beef!!!

He called back later to say there wasn’t carrots, but rutabagas. Thank God!

He did inspire me, though, so I went in the garage to the chest freezer and pulled out the last round steak. I think I’ll make pasties for dinner on Sunday. While I was at it, I wrote “2009” on everything that was left (two or three steaks, several roasts and three pounds of hamburger). The next order of beef should be coming soon.

I changed my mind and ate a big bowl of the tuna noodle casserole for dinner.

I watched some TV, but went to bed early.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tuna Thursday

It was raining when I woke up Thursday morning. It eventually turned sunny, but then clouded up again, later.

I went to a little market at lunchtime and bought 8 ounces of whole button mushrooms.

It was cloudy with a light drizzle on the drive home.

I did have some things I wanted to do, so I went out back and drained the reflecting pool (first with a bucket, then with that little hand pump I bought). Then I added the cover and put on a big rock to hold it in place.

Then I sealed up the vent to the crawl space. I filled one suet cage (the other still has some in it) and the bird feeder. But, the rain came back so I went inside for the night.

I started making my dinner. As you know, I like tuna and peas and don’t really have a problem with the fact that one of the ingredients is a can of mushroom soup. But, I was interested when I found a tuna noodle casserole that you made from scratch!

So, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F. and buttered my casserole dish. I brought a large pot of salted water to a boil and added 8 ounces of egg noodles. I cooked them according to the package directions and then drained them.

I melted a tablespoon of butter in the pot over medium-low heat and added one small onion, one stalk of celery (both finely diced) and a clove of garlic, minced. I cooked them about five minutes (until tender). Then I increased the heat to medium high and added the mushrooms, which I had sliced. I cooked them another five minutes or so (until most of the water had evaporated).

I melted four tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and whisked in 1/4 cup of flour until smooth. Then I slowly added two cups of milk, whisking all the while. When the sauce was smooth and slightly thickened, I seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I added two cans of tuna (drained and flaked) one cup of thawed, frozen peas, the mushroom mixture and the egg noodles. I transferred all that to the baking dish.

I put the two tuna cans on the kitchen floor for the cats.

I melted two more teaspoons of butter and mixed in three tablespoons of bread crumbs. I sprinkled that over the top of the casserole. I went to get some shredded cheddar cheese and found I didn’t have any! Weird!! I always have that!

But, I did have some Colby-Jack, so I put about a cup of that on top. I baked it until it was bubbly and lightly browned (about 25 minutes). I shut off the oven, took out the casserole and let it cool.

Then I plated it. Hmmm... tasty! My only complaint is that I didn’t put enough salt in it, but that was easily corrected.

I watched some taped TV, but went to bed before 10:00 PM.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Wet Wednesday

I woke up at 5:30 AM (the usual time) and was annoyed! It’s my day off and I should have slept in. It’s cold outside again (29 degrees F.) and I’m a little chilled. I also have a very stuffy nose. I need to get the humidifier down from the attic. When the furnace runs a lot, I get all plugged up.

Another thing that’s annoying (apparently it’s gonna be an annoying day) is that I have an overwhelming desire for blueberry pancakes. But, I have no blueberries (either fresh or frozen) in the house.

At first, I thought of going to Meijer’s and buying some blueberries (about two miles from my house). Then I thought, what the hell, why not just drive the extra 1/4 mile and go to IHOP and just buy some pancakes?

Then I decided it was just an odd craving, so I cut a grapefruit in half, cut up the sections and ate both halves (heavily salted) for breakfast. But, I did put frozen blueberries on the grocery list.

Then I putzed around for a while, cleaning up the mess from the beef stew. I loaded up the dishwasher and ran everything in there except the Dutch oven, a wooden spoon and my Shun knife in it (those need to be hand-washed, but I just let them soak for a bit). I took out a four-cup container of the broccoli-cheese soup to thaw.

I watched the news at noon and then decided to take a nap. Now, naps at my house are sacred and not to be interrupted by the alarm clock! So, I never set it at nap-time (which is why I missed the wedding ceremony last Saturday). So, I woke up at 3:00 PM!

My big project today was to blow all of the leaves (and I got a ton of them) off the driveway, the front gardens, and both back patios. Then I was gonna cut the grass and mulch the leaves. There are probably less than 1/3 leaves left on all my maples.

So, I got the front done and then gassed up the push-mower. I pushed it outside and fired it up. At that exact moment, it started to rain! So, I turned it off and pushed it back inside. I sat on the couch with a book and watched it rain (hoping it would just be a brief shower). But, when I saw puddles starting to form on the driveway and the road, I knew that cutting the grass today was no longer and option...

My daughter Melissa called around 5:30 PM and we talked for a while. After we hung up, I warmed up the broccoli and cheese soup and ate that for my lunch/dinner. I had finished that book and watched TV instead.

I fell asleep around 10:00 PM and then woke up at 3:30 AM. I shut everything down, checked the front and back doors and verified the garage door was down and then to bed for real.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Day

I put out my garbage Tuesday morning and then went to vote. I was the 23 person to vote in my precinct, BTW.

When I got home a little after 4:00 PM from work, I immediately started making that beef stew. I’d thawed out the meat on Sunday, if you remember, and didn’t want to end up pitching it.

But, I’m not making my fancy beef stew (in the recipe section) with the dumplings, although the dumplings sound good (I make extra light dumplings). I’m just making this one up.

So, first I made my mise en place. I peeled a very long carrot and cut it into one-inch sections. Then I peeled four small to medium-sized russet potatoes and cut them into chunks. Next came two yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters. Finally, I peeled three garlic cloves and left them whole.

Next, I put two cups of regular flour in a bowl. I added a lot of kosher salt and even more fresh ground pepper and whisked it together. I wish I’d thought to season the meat last night as I think it tastes better that way. But, I didn’t.

I cut up four thick strips of bacon with the kitchen shears into 1/2 inch slices (easiest way to make lardons) and put them in my Dutch oven to render down the fat. I pulled out the bacon and set them aside to cool (I just wanted the fat).

Then I got out the pound of stewing beef and put about half in the flour mixture. I shook off the excess flour and dropped the meat into the oil. I am doing it in batches because I don’t want to crowd it. I want the meat to brown, not braise. I pulled off the first batch of meat, stuck it on a plate and into the microwave to stay warm. I did the second batch and put that on the plate as well.

Then I took the veggies and threw them in the pot. I kept tossing them around with a wooden spoon until they were all brown. Then I took one of those little bottles of wine (I used a red Cabernet Sauvignon) I buy for cooking. They are 187 ml or about 3/4 cup. I poured that in and deglazed the pot. Then I put the beef back in and added about 1/2 pound of big button mushrooms, quartered.

While the wine was reducing, I went out on the patio to get some fresh herbs. The frosts have not been kind to my herbs. I would have liked some rosemary, but it and the basil have been killed off. So, I settled on flat leaf parsley, oregano, thyme and just a little tarragon.

Back inside, I made my bouquet garni, by tying the stems together with kitchen string, tying the other end to the Dutch oven handles and throwing it in (this imparts the flavor while making it easier to fish them out, later). The wine was about half gone, so I took a box of beef stock and almost covered all the stew (I’m still trying to decide about those damn dumplings, LOL!) I added a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a couple of bay leaves. I brought that up to a boil and then turned it to a slow simmer.

I set the timer for two hours. It may take three. But you do need to check it every now and then to stir it and make sure the liquid isn’t too low. Oh, yeah, for a no muss, no fuss method, you can just stick it in an oven set at 325 degrees F., but that seems like a waste of gas to me. That’s why I don’t use the oven to make my chicken stock, although it’s highly recommended. Gas is expensive!

I gave in and made the dumplings by whisking together dry ingredients (two cups flour, four teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of salt), and then adding just enough milk (less than a cup) until mixture is thin enough to pick up with a wet teaspoon, but still stays in a rounded mound.

I took out the bouquet garni and the bay leaves. Then I brought the stew back to a boil, stirring to avoid sticking. Next I dropped spoonfuls of dumpling batter on top, but not touching each other (Note: this is the most important thing for fluffy dumplings! The gravy should be low enough that the batter is touching the vegetables. If your gravy is too high, grab a spoon and throw some away. Be ruthless! Dropping the dumpling on the liquid makes them soggy!!) I turned the burner to simmer and cooked them uncovered for 10 minutes, and then I put the lid on and cooked them 10 minutes more.

I went in and wrote this all down so I wouldn’t forget it. Then I went in to watch the election coverage. I hope this time it turns out like I want or I swear to God I’m moving to another State!

When the dumplings were done, I went and fixed myself a bowl of stew and a dumpling. The gravy was a bit strong (I should have reduced the wine a bit more, I think), but all in all it tasted pretty damn good.

Since I don’t have to work tomorrow, I stayed up and watched the election results until after 1:30 AM. It mostly went the way I’d hoped, so I was pleased. We’ll see...

Before I went to bed, I put the cooled stew into freezer containers. I got two four-cup containers full. I’ll let them chill in the fridge overnight and then stick ‘em in the freezer tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, Monday...

After work, I called my son Jeremy to wish him a happy birthday. He sounded in fine spirits, so that was good.

Monday night, I went through the fridge in preparation for garbage day. I was ruthless (I don’t even know anybody named Ruth, LOL). I peeled those broccoli stalks and cut them into small pieces for winter soups or stew. I found a head of cauliflower that was starting to look a little sad, so I decided to make that for dinner.

I took out the core and cut the cauliflower into florets. I boiled them until fork tender, added butter and a lot of salt and ate that watching TV. I stayed awake until 11:00 PM and then went to bed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday's Story

I rested up on Sunday. I was beat! So, I laid around and watched a lot of TV. I did call Amy to wish her a Happy Birthday.

I had thawed out some stewing beef, but it seemed like a lot of work. So, I made a box of mac & cheese for my Sunday supper.

I watched my usual Sunday night shows and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

The wedding

I woke up late on Saturday and made a pot of coffee. It's Amy's birthday, but I thought I'd call her on Sunday (so I didn't interrupt any planned festivities).

I thought I'd take like a 20 minute nap in the afternoon, but I ended up sleeping to almost 5:00 PM! And, it clearly said on my ToDo list to leave for the wedding at 3:30 PM...

So, I missed the actual ceremony. But, I got there about 6:30 PM. The bride looked lovely and the groom was handsome.

The food was excellent, but the first thing I did after getting my plate and sitting down was to stick my brand new tie into the tartar sauce I put on my fish! Damn!!

One of the problems with getting old is you no longer recognize any of the newer music or dances. But, they did play a few slow dances. So, I managed to dance with the bride, the bride’s mother and two of Bob’s daughters. I was hoping to dance with both Jenny and Linda (my bike’s old owner) but the music ended before I could.

I had switched to coffee for the last hour or so (to facilitate driving all the way home) and that worked out well. Except, once I got home (around 11:30) I could not fall asleep! I finally drifted off into a troubled sleep about 2:00 AM.

Friday

Friday after work I cleaned the house. I vacuumed and swept everything. About the only thing I didn’t do was wash the kitchen floor. I deliberately stayed up late because I have to stay up late on Saturday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday

I took a bag of pants that are now too big to the Goodwill at lunch. Then I went home and ate a can of Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup (I’ll regret that, later).

When I got home after work, I started thinking about tonight’s chores. But, when I was at the tire store (and after they told me it would take about an hour, and it did) I brought an old favorite paperback. So, distaining accomplishment tonight (Bah!), I fixed a drink and sat on the couch to read some more.

I called down to Virginia to ask Lu how long she cooks sweet potatoes in the microwave (I remember vaguely her saying she did). She called back and said, “About the same time it takes to do a regular potato (Uh?)” but that she prefers the toaster oven. I had forgotten about the toaster oven!

But, she cuts them up. So, I thought I’d check on the Internet. It suggested poking them with a fork (so they don’t explode) and baking at 375 degrees F. for a minimum of 20 minutes, then 10 minutes afterwards until soft.

I have two to make, so it took almost 50 minutes. But, I cut them in half and scooped out the sweet potato. I added some butter and sea salt (I love that stuff) and took the bowl in the bedroom to watch TV.

Later, I read the rest of the book and then went to sleep.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

"But life had a way of presenting you with a dogshit sandwich and tailoring events perfectly so that you just had to hang around and eat it."

~ from the book "Vanishing Act" by Thomas Perry

Windy Wednesday

I slept in on Wednesday, but there was no real reason to get up early. I really think it is windier today than yesterday. There are still high wind advisories, but no tornado watches or warning and no rain forecasted.

I left for the Westland Mall around 10:00 AM. I went to Kohl’s and got some much needed clothing (four pairs of dress pants, one shirt and a brown belt). Since I was in the area and I knew that Carla had the day off as well, I swung by the house and took her to lunch at Max and Erma’s

She asked me if we could stop at Meijer’s (across the street) so she could pick up some Halloween candy. I bought two bags “just in case” but I know that I’ll just give them away to somebody other than trick-or-treaters.

After I dropped her off, I went to Belle Tire and bought four new tires for the car. The old ones were rated for 40,000 miles and it’s been about 60,000 miles since I bought them. I figured it would be better to get them now than to get stuck in the snow this winter.

Back home, I took a nap. Then I started on dinner. I cut up eight of the nine remaining tomatoes and added them to a skillet with some onions and garlic I had sautéed. I let them cook down for about an hour. I decided there wasn’t enough liquid for my purposes so I added a can of tomato sauce. I seasoned that with salt and pepper and then went out into the wind for some herbs.

I settled on basil, oregano and flat leaf parsley. I cut those up and added them to the sauce. After I let it all get happy, I taste tested it. Excellent!

I talked to my nephew Rick, down in Texas. He had left a message the night before, giving me support in my efforts to ride the bike. Thanks, man!

I cut two big slices of the meatloaf and cut each slice into thirds. I added that to the sauce (thinking – hey, meatloaf, meatballs, its pretty much the same). The rest of the meatloaf went into a baggie and then into the freezer.

Then I boiled a pound of thick spaghetti. When it was done, I added it to the meat sauce and plated some. It was really, really good!

I watched TV until late and then went to bed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday's Storm

We had high wind warnings today and tornado watches, so before I left for work, I went out on the patio and stacked up the furniture. I also left the trash more on the driveway than out on the road, so it wouldn't blow across the street.

But, while it was windy at lunchtime, there weren’t any of the 60 MPH wind gusts they’d predicted, there wasn’t any hail here and by the time I left work at 4:00 PM the sun was out. It had rained, but I checked the rain gauge ant there was only about 1/4 inch of water in it.

So, the big storm must have passed me by (thank God).

I relaxed for a few hours and then made dinner. I peeled my eggplant, ran it through my breading station (flour, egg and seasoned flour) and then fried it.

I checked that paper bag I put the green tomatoes in and my barber was right! All but one had turned red. So, I sliced the biggest one up, drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned it with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper and topped that with crumbled feta cheese. It didn’t taste as “fresh” as a vine-ripened tomato, but it was good!

All in all, I had a delightful, delicious vegetarian dinner.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday Meatloaf

Monday morning dawned warm and breezy. But I (The Weather-Watcher) am not fooled. Tuesday, everything goes to sh*t!

After work, It was after 6:00 by the time I got the mail sorted, my clothes changes, etc. So, I jumped on making my Sunday dinner. I planned on meatloaf, baked sweet potato and broccoli with a cheese sauce.

I looked up a recipe to get cooking times and temperature, but I’m not following it for ingredients. I am basically throwing everything but the kitchen sink into this sucker!

I fine-diced a big sweet onion, grated half a carrot and cut half a pound of button mushrooms into small cubes. I also cut up all those small green peppers I harvested from my garden. Those all went into a skillet with some olive oil. When the mushrooms had reduced and the onion was translucent, I added three cloves of minced garlic for the last minute of cooking time. Then I pulled the skillet off the heat to let the mixture cool.

In a mixing bowl, I whisked together two large eggs, about a half cup of milk, some Dijon mustard, a splash of hot sauce and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

In a larger mixing bowl I combined a pound of ground chuck, a pound of ground pork, a big handful of store-bought bread crumbs, the egg and milk mixture, the cooked onions and “stuff” and some fresh herbs (parsley, thyme and oregano) that I went out and picked in the dark.

I took about a tablespoon of the mix and made a small patty. I fried that in the skillet and tasted it for seasoning. I only added a little salt and a lot of pepper.

Meanwhile I made my glaze with some ketchup, light brown sugar and a couple of splashes of cider vinegar (to cut the sweetness – I don’t like sweet). I made the mix into a loaf shape in my rectangular cake pan, put on about half the glaze and stuck it in a 350 degree F. preheated oven. I set the timer for 45 minutes.

I had planned on baking the sweet potatoes and that would have been fine on Sunday afternoon. But, it seemed like over-kill late on Monday night. So, I left them out of my dinner plans.

I cut the broccoli into florets and stuck the stems in a baggie in the fridge. I’ll peel and dice them later. It’s only the outside skin that’s tough and bitter. The insides can be used in soups and stews. The florets went into boiling, salted water.

When the timer went off, I re-glazed the meatloaf and stuck it back in for 15 minutes more.

I had bought a nice shredded four-cheese mixture at Westborn (mozzarella, asiago, provolone and romano) and had planned on making a cheese sauce for the broccoli. But it was already after 9:00 PM, so I improvised. I warmed up some Cheese Whiz in the microwave (in a bowl covered with cling wrap at 15 second intervals until it was steaming – it only takes two or three times).

I plated the meatloaf and broccoli, added some cheese to the broccoli and went in the bedroom for dinner and taped TV. The food was excellent!!! My only criticism was the glaze was a “bit” too tart. One splash of cider vinegar would have been enough.

When the meatloaf was cool, I just covered it with aluminum foil and stuck it in the fridge. The broccoli went into four cup containers and also into the fridge. Then I went to bed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Slow-moving Sunday

I didn't do much on Sunday. I did wash the bedding and emptied the dishwasher, etc., but no big projects or anything. My back hurt too much.

I didn't even make the meatloaf I'd planned on. I just ate leftovers and rested. I took a nap in the afternoon so I could stay up and watch my Sunday night shows, which I did.

My Mom (or that gypsy) was at it again...

I woke up early Saturday morning for a bathroom break. When I went into the bathroom, I noticed the outside security light was on! So, I went and got my glasses to make sure I wasn’t being invaded. I had to smile when I saw it was just my old friend the possum, munching on the apples I’d put out yesterday for the squirrels.

I finally woke out for real at about 7:00 AM. I made a 6 cup pot of coffee and posted the Blog. Then I watched the morning news until it was time to get real (I have a 9:30 AM haircut appointment).

When I got out of the barber’s (about 10:00 AM) it was raining. This may mess up the planned bike ride, as I don’t have any rain gear. In fact, now that I think of it, I never owned any rain gear! Does anyone know where you get it? I have saddle bags this time and could bring it along.

I stopped at Westborn and got a few items I need for the coming week. It was still raining on my way home.

But, it cleared up just after noon and by 3:00 PM, the pavement was dry. So, I thought it would be perfect for a bike ride. It took about 20 minutes to get it running and to keep it running, but I got it! So, I put my helmet on, rolled that bad boy out of the garage and into the driveway.

I put it in gear and began my turn in the driveway. I got about 13 feet and picked up my right foot and the bike went down! I went ass-over-teakettles (or whatever that phrase is) across the gravel. I got up and, once again, was unable to pick the damn thing up. A neighbor (Tony and not the same guy who helped me the last time, thank God) was driving by and he stopped to help. By that time, my arms and legs were killing me and so was my back, so I asked him to just help me push it back in the garage.

I made dinner by grilling some hot dogs on the stovetop grill and added a pound of hamburger to two cans of pork and beans. The beans were just Campbell’s, not Bush’s, so I gave them a shot of molasses and a dash of mustard.

I lay on the bed eating, watching TV and trying to ease my backache.