Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday

I woke up with the alarm on Wednesday. I jumped up and checked outside. I’d guess I had about four inches of snow on the front porch railing. But, when I went to get some coffee and looked out the kitchen window, I saw that the “lake” was forming again out back and it looked like it was raining.

I turned on the TV and there was no rain, but it was 36 degrees F. in Detroit (my outside thermometer said 40 degrees here). So, I guessed it was the heavy snow on the evergreen branches melting; dripping into the standing water and imitating rain.

I easily drove out of the driveway and up onto the slushy street. I took Plymouth Road into work, not wanting to trust the expressway drivers. The only problem I had was with the heavy fog (they said on the weather it was a result of the cold snow and the warm temperature). You couldn’t see the traffic lights until you were almost upon them. But, I had left early and got to work 25 minutes early.

[Sidebar: I was REALLY looking forward to having a snow day. I even had planned  just what I would do. But, no dice, dammit!]

I took my morning walk outside as they had plowed the parking lot and, other than the occasional patches of snow, it was just wet.

Inside again, I had a treat. Vicky and her mother had made meat pies and she brought two kinds in for us to sample. One was called Rellenos de papa and was seasoned ground meat with semi-mashed potatoes, covered with dough and deep-fried. The other was Alcapurria which was just seasoned meat covered with mashed plantains and also deep fried. They are about the size of Carla’s clenched fist (although I get a little scared when Carla clenches her fists, come to think of it) but you get the idea.

Both were excellent, but I preferred the Alcapurria. Vicky did say that they taste much, much better when they are first deep-fried, rather than warmed up in the microwave. Luckily, she had two left along with the Puerto Rican rice you are supposed to eat this on top of and she asked me if I wanted to take it home for dinner. Hell, yes!

Still embracing eating different culture’s food, I went to the Newburgh Grill for lunch and had a gyro with a mini-Greek salad. Both were good, but together it meant I ate like a whole raw onion and I reeked of it!

I still had 25 minutes of “lunchtime” left, so I drove down Hines Park west of Newburgh for 10 minutes and then turned around. There were a few hardy joggers, ice fishermen out on the lake, fishing through a hole, some people walking their dogs, an open spot in the lake further on (beware, ice fishermen!) that ducks and white swans were swimming in and, finally, a family of four sledding down a hill. I wished I had taken my camera (but I always think that).

It wasn’t until I got back to work and was describing my adventures that I realized I had a camera in my phone! Duh!

It began to softly snow about 3:00 PM here. But, by the time I left work at 5:00, I had to use the wipers. My biggest fear then was all the standing water from yesterday, as it was supposed to dip below freezing tonight.

Safe and snug in my house, I changed clothes and began the Wednesday Night Wash. I expanded the usual one load of work clothes to two, so I could include all the bedding, thanks to one of the cats with a hairball.

I watched the news on the stripped bed until it ended at 7:00 PM. Then I reheated my two Alcapurria and the rice with the pigeon peas and ate a nice dinner. I checked out a gardener's magazine that came in the mail and then went back to the TV (remaking the bed and then folding and hanging up the second load of laundry during that period) until about 10:00 PM, when I shut everything down and went to bed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Song Snippet

"You know I've always been a dreamer
(spent my life running 'round)
And it's so hard to change
(Can't seem to settle down)
But the dreams I've seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time"

~ The Eagles

The Storm after the Calm



In spite of the dire predictions, Tuesday morning seemed okay when I left the house. I did have to laugh when I backed out of the drive as the broken WetJet I had leaned on the trash can was gone. Come on people! If it worked, I wouldn’t have put it out there!

But, I noticed a significant weather change when I went to the building next door at about 9:30 AM. The wind had risen and was coming hard from the east.

I did take my morning walk outside, but regretted wearing the light jacket I pulled out of the closet when I saw it was 37 degrees F. at 6:30 AM.

As I think I said, they said the more it rains, the less accumulating snow we will get. They also said it would start raining after 1:00 PM. Well, they lied about that part, at least.

I say that because it was raining when I left work at lunch. With the wind, it was nasty out and I would have just stayed at work, except I had to get a prescription from CVS for meds that I was out of.

Since I was there anyway, I popped in and got some chicken fried rice for my lunch. Before I left home, I switched coats and added my scarf, gloves and hat.

Back at work, the rain continued until about 4:00 PM, when it switched to ice pellets. You could see (and hear) them hitting the window and slowly sliding down.

My boss sent two people, who have a long drive north, home at 4:30 PM. I suggested she also send Vicky home. She lives in Detroit and since the storm is moving from the south to the north, she would have a rough time of it before they would. So, she did. I told her that Matt (who lives at 5 Mile and Merriman) and I could handle it and she should probably go as well (she has a hike to go home, too). So she did. It’s nice to have a boss who listens to your suggestions!

So, we closed up shop at 5:00 PM. I shut off the lights and locked the door. I then carefully slid on the ice out to my car. I had debated whether it would be safer driving on surface streets or the expressway, but decided the expressway would have been continually traveled and gets the salt first, so I took the expressway home (slowly). It was still sleet at that point. Slip-sliding away, I finally got home.

By the time I got in, changed clothes and treated the cats, the sleet had changed to big, puffy snowflakes. I watched the news, more for the weather than the news. I already told my boss that if it was as bad as they say it might get, I wouldn’t be in tomorrow. I am not about to try and shovel six inches of heavy wet snow!

I warmed up two burger patties for dinner, but this time I put on mayo, lettuce, the burger, tomato, bacon and mustard. It was very good, but very filling.

I watched some TV after the news ended, but was disheartened to find I had watched the last episode of Luther! Aurgghh!! I shut the TV off in disgust.

I went into the living room, turned on the fireplace and sat on the couch. I read a magazine that came in the mail today and watched it snow. Since I didn’t have to go out in it, it was quite lovely. I went to bed just after 11:30 PM

Tuesday, February 26, 2013




Possum

The Calm Before the Storm



Monday was a picture-perfect late winter day. It was only 27 degrees F. when I woke up, but it was mostly sunny and above freezing by noon. I went home at lunch, after stopping at Westborn to get some apples and head lettuce.

I made and ate a BLT for lunch, along with a cup of that beef vegetable soup.

Needless to say, both morning and afternoon walks were taken outside in the sunshine.

It was 46 degrees F. (according to the car) on the way home after work.

I took the garbage can out to the road and then went inside to treat the cats. I made my usual cup of evening coffee and watched the news (especially the weather). Why? Because we are supposed to get clobbered Tuesday evening, Another storm out on the plains is heading east and this time its not supposed to just give us a glancing blow (like last time). Unless the computer models change (and God I hope they do) we are supposed to get 3-6 or maybe even 8 inches of heavy, wet snow Tuesday night through Wednesday morning…

Sigh…

I was cheered up by the sight of my friend, the possum. Now, he’s been coming around for the last few years, but usually at night. I would notice that the motion-detecting spotlights had come on, I would look out to see who was invading my property and he would waddle into view. But he was out in broad daylight on the weekend and now today. Either he’s getting old and careless (it happens to the best of us) or he’s really hungry.

He checked out the bird feeder for a while and then wandered around the yard. I got a lot of pictures that I need to go through and pick the best one for you.

I called my other friend B___ just to check in. He, too, is just waiting to see what tomorrow brings.

I had leftovers for dinner. I watched one TV show and then went to bed, vowing to make up for Sunday night’s sleep loss.

Monday, February 25, 2013




New cutting mats

Biscuit Joiner and test cut


Closeup of test cut


#10 Biscuit


 Blurry shot of biscuit in slot


Actual clock boards being assembled with biscuits and glue





Boards assembled and clamped



Sunday



I woke up at 6:00 AM on Sunday. I got a cup of coffee and filled in the rather extensive Blog entry. It was so extensive that I needed another cup before I finally posted it.

Today’s weather was supposed to be a carbon-copy of Saturday’s. [Sidebar: I suppose I am showing my age, because nobody today uses carbon copy paper.] I did the usual Sunday morning chores and then made some breakfast. I poached two eggs and served them on top of buttered toast.

I shaved while watching the morning news. I showered, got dressed, watered the plants and wound the mantle clock.

Then I got out the biscuit joiner and set it correctly for the task at hand. Now, I’m sure many, if not most, of you know what I am talking about. But, for those of you who don’t, here’s the short version: A biscuit joiner is a tool used in conjunction with a “biscuit”  which is a thin oval piece of wood. The joiner cuts, like, a quarter moon slot in your wood. Then, the biscuit is covered with water-based wood glue (such as Elmer’s Carpenter Glue). This makes the biscuit swell and, after you clamp the pieces together and they dry, it results in a very tight joint. The way I’m going to use it (gluing four boards together to make one big piece I can turn into a clock) is the most common use of this method. Hopefully, the photos will explain it better than I.

I pulled the car outside, locked it and closed the garage door. Then I ripped one of the leftover boards and screwed the two halves to the top of my sawhorses (you really want to clamp the piece you’re cutting into, rather than trying to hold it with your hand – both for precision and safety).

I had Sunday Morning, Over Easy on the radio and just before I went out to get started, the song “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” came on. Since it’s one of my old favorites (and quite long) I washed the Dexas Heavy Duty Grippmat Cutting Boards I got last week at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are non-slip, flexible cutting mats that roll up to funnel prepped food into pans and bowls. They are color-coordinated, so you can only use the blue one for cheese, the green one for veggies and herbs, the yellow one for poultry and the red one for red meat (so you don’t cross-contaminate).

Now, why didn’t I get the thick synthetic multi-colored ones like Jake and Carla have? Because, I like the height of my wood cutting board. These are thin, fit on top of it and have non-slip backing on them. Plus, as I said, you can sorta roll them up and dump what you just chopped into your pot.

I had them washed and in the drying rack before the song ended. When it did, I headed out to the garage. I did two test boards first, before risking the ones I really need. I got the biscuit slots cut and then moved the entire operation inside.

Now, I only had 24-inch bar clamps and, as you know, the finished clock will be 30 inches wide. So, I had bought two four-foot sections of 1/2-inch black pipe and two sets of bar clamps (like I used back in the day at the cabinet shop). I assembled them and then glued the various sections together. I held the boards down with my other short bar clamps and then tightened them up. See photos.

I’ll let that set for a couple of days before I move onto the next step.

Meanwhile, I have leftover raw things to deal with: the rest of the bacon and the other boneless, skinless chicken breast (from the steamer experiment). So, I baked the bacon in the oven after peppering it, until it was almost crisp (the microwave will take it all the way).

Then I used the easy method to make Parmesan chicken. I mixed two parts of Hellmann’s mayonnaise with one part of grated Parmesan cheese. I smeared that over both sides of the chicken cutlet. Then I sprinkled both sides with Panko bread crumbs. I stuck that in the 425 degree preheated oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.

I put the cooled bacon in a baggie and the grease in my bacon dripping coffee cup (ala my Mother). When the chicken breast was done, I ate that for my lunch with a side salad. Excellent!

Then I finally got my nap in.

When I woke up, it was already 5:30 PM, so I started dinner preparations. I mixed two pounds of thawed ground chuck with some chopped onions, Montreal steak seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. I formed that into a loaf and let it come up to room temperature while I prepared the broiler pan.

I lined the bottom drip tray of the broiler pan with aluminum foil and then the slotted top with foil as well (this is all for easy cleanup as I hate scrubbing my broiler pan). I cut several slits in the foil covering the top part to let the grease flow through. I turned the oven on “broil” to preheat it.

Then I cut my “loaf” into six equal parts and made each part into a hamburger patty, putting a thumb-sized dimple in the top of each. I put them on the broiler pan, seasoned each with Kosher salt and black pepper and stuck it in the oven. I had already shut both the office and bedroom doors, cracked the kitchen window and turned on the microwave fan to keep the smoke detectors quiet.

I set the timer for four minutes, but kept a close eye on them. They had just started to form a crust when the timer went off, so I flipped them over and put them back in for another four minutes.

When the timer went off again, I checked them with my instant read thermometer. I only got 130 degrees F. in the middle of the thickest patty. I wanted 140 degrees (for medium rare), so I stuck them back under the broiler for another minute. I rechecked them and they were perfect.

So, I pulled out the broiler pan and tented the patties under yet more foil. I put a slice of American cheese on two of the patties and then got my onion rolls ready. I put mayonnaise of the bottom of each and then a piece of Romaine lettuce.

When the juices had time to redistribute, I took off the two cheese-topped patties and put them on the bottom buns. I topped each patty with yellow mustard and some sliced pickles. Then I ate my Sunday supper.

The burgers were excellent: moist and juicy. I realized too late that the onions in the burgers were a little stupid as I was using onion rolls, but I like onions, so it wasn’t overkill.

I watched the end of the nightly news and then cleaned up the kitchen. I put the other burgers in a baggie and then into the fridge. I gathered up and threw away the aluminum foil (a LOT of aluminum foil, LOL). Then I hand-washed the broiler pan, which wasn’t all that bad.

I put the soup from yesterday into freezer containers. I got three four-cup containers that I labeled and put in the freezer, plus another, smaller one that I kept in the fridge to eat this coming week.

I filled the Dutch oven with soapy water and left it in the laundry tub to soak overnight. With the kitchen more or less in order, I went in to watch some TV.

I shut off the TV and tried to go to sleep at 11:00 PM. But I just laid there, with my eyes shut. My late afternoon nap proved to be my undoing and it was long after midnight before I actually fell asleep.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Road Trip, Part II



I slept in until 7:30 AM on Saturday. I ran through the usual morning routines. I made an fried egg sandwich with cheese and mayonnaise on toasted sourdough bread for breakfast and then headed out for the dealership. It was 30 degrees with partly cloudy skies.

I stopped and put $20 worth of gas in the loaner (you have to return it with the same or more gas than when you got it).

I got to the dealership and bailed my car out. The problem turned out to be two-fold. A fried MAP sensor and a vacuum loss from the old, cracked gasket on the gas cap. Since they had it in, I also had some preventative maintenance done they had recommended before: Draining, running a cleaning solution through and then refilling both the brake fluid and the power steering fluid.

I won’t tell you what it cost me as it would scare you (I know it scared me!)

I stopped at the Troy Kroger’s and picked up some canned (in oil) tuna fish, some milk, eggs, bread and a bag of AP flour. I was not meal-planning. I was just restocking.

Then I had to stop and fill up the car. That cost me another $40. So, I felt I had done my best to support the oil companies (both foreign and domestic, I suppose) today.

The trip back home was easy-peasy (since there wasn’t a blizzard going on today) and I got home by 11:00 AM.

Oh, before I forget, they mentioned that the “second” catalytic converter on my exhaust was going bad and they would suggest I replace it sometime in the near future. I said, “Not today. My bank account has already taken quite a hit. But, is it expensive?” He said, “Yes.” NOTE: if a Volvo dealer tells you a repair is “expensive,” be very scared and start saving!!!

Anyway, I left the car outside so I could sweep out the garage floor, which had turned into a lake from the melting snow on the rental car. I went inside, treated the very impatient cats and changed clothes. Then I started the weekend wash. I had really enjoyed listening to Ann Delisi’s Essential Music on WDET on the ride home, so I turned it on the radio in the house.

I was waiting for the garage floor to dry a bit, so I vacuumed the living room rug and then all the walk-off rugs downstairs and in the garage. I put the clothes in the dryer and set the timer.

Then I went out back with my boots on and refilled the squirrel feeder and the bird feeder.

Back inside, I made some lunch: tuna and peas over egg noodles. I hung up the clothes and then tried to take a nap. I got up, still sleepless and now disgusted, and went to work on the clock boards. I cut them down to a closer length and then marked the exact spots for the biscuits, using my big square.

It was starting to get dark, so I pulled the car back into garage and shut everything down for the night.

I needed to use the rest of the roast beef up and there was still too much to eat in one sitting (it was a big roast). So, I decided to turn it into beef vegetable soup.

I chopped a yellow onion and some celery and sauteed them in some canola oil. When they had softened, I added in three minced garlic cloves. Then I dumped in a box of beef stock.

I took the two leftover chunks of roast beef and sliced them into roughly one-inch cubes and threw them in. I added in a half of a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.

I opened a big can of whole tomatoes and put them in a bowl. I crushed each tomato with my hands and then dumped them all into the soup. Yes, I know, I could have just used diced tomatoes, but I like the home-made, rustic look and taste of the hand-crushed tomatoes better.

I though it still needed something else so I drained and rinsed a small can of garbanzo beans (chick peas) and threw them in as well. Then I addressed the leftover veggies from the roast.

I simply cut up the big carrot wedges into bite-sized chunks. Now, I loved the taste and texture of the Yukon Gold potatoes with their skins on in the roast, but thought it would be funky in soup. So, I peeled each potato piece (simple, once it has been cooked) and cut them into bite-sized pieces as well. Everything then went onto the pot.

Then I played with seasonings. I used dried parsley, thyme and oregano, salt and pepper. I threw in a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce for umami and two bay leaves from my bush. I brought that up to a boil and then let it simmer for an hour or so.

I tasted-tested it again and decided it needed a tad more salt and a whole lot more black pepper. Then I pulled out the bay leaves, turned off the heat (my cast iron Dutch oven will keep it warm for at least another hour) and dished out a bowl.

Hmmm… not bad. Not bad at all! My only regret was that I didn't have any fresh vegetable (like cabbage, spinach or maybe kale) to add in to brighten it up a bit.

I let that cool while I caught up on recent DIY taped shows and then got my “Luther” fix. I put the cooled pot in the fridge and then went to bed at 11:15.

[Sidebar: You may have noticed that I usually just stick things I have made in a pot in the fridge overnight, rather than divvying them up and freezing them on the spot. It's not that I am lazy (although I often am), but I am convinced something magical happens to soups, chili and stews when left overnight to get happy together.  I have no scientific backup for this, but I definitely believe it to be true! They always seem to taste better the next day.]

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Song Snippet

"I'm gonna make a chicken gumbo
Toss some sausage in the pot
I'm gonna flavor it with okra
Cayenne pepper to make it hot
You know life is what we make of it
So beautiful or so what

I'm gonna tell my kids a bedtime story
A play without a plot
Will it have a happy ending?
Maybe yeah, Maybe not

I tell them life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what"

~ Paul Simon: So beautiful or so what

Road Trip, Part I



I woke up to the alarm at 4:30 AM. Why so early? I had to be at the Volvo Dealer as close to 7:00 AM as possible if I had any hope at all of getting back to work by 8:00.

I drove there without incident even though the beginnings of today’s snow storm had already started. But the pavement was dry and the traffic was light at that time.

I had called on Wednesday and asked for a Saturday morning appointment, but the unknown cause of my complaint (stalling at lights) was such that they strongly recommended my dropping it off, so they had all day to diagnose it.

So, I took care of business and, before I took off in the loaner, the Service Manager asked if I had everything I needed out of my car. I had the garage door opener and my handicapped mirror tag, so I said yes.

Then I drove off into the storm. By then, the roads were bad. The Southfield freeway had enough snow on it that there were no dry tracks to run in. So, everyone just went slow (I seriously doubt we ever got above 30 MPH and 20 was more the norm). I-96 was just as bad, and I didn’t get to work until 8:30 AM.

The snow kept falling, so my morning walk was inside.

It wasn’t until I was ready to go to lunch that I remembered another thing I should have taken out of the car: my ice scraper! I improvised with a plastic ruler.

None of the surface streets were plowed or salted, so I just went down to the Time Out and got a cup of beef barley soup and a patty melt. Both were excellent (and cheap).

The snow had stopped by 1:00 PM. Now the only outside problem (other than the slippery roads) was a light fog. Inside, I couldn’t stop yawning all afternoon.

I finally was heading home after 5:00 PM. Instead of banging the drum, I was listening to WDET, the local public radio station.  I had turned it on driving back to work from the dealership to help pass the time.

When I got home, I noticed it was dark enough, probably due to the fog, that Santa wasn’t dancing in the window. I like to see that and pretend he’s just happy to see me. It makes me smile.

I changed clothes after treating the cats. I had a cup of coffee and started watching the news. My daughter Melissa called about 6:30 PM. We had a very interesting conversation, but I do have to apologize if I kept her on the phone too long! My bad.

After we hung up, I made a roast beef sandwich for a late dinner. I started watching a TV show, but fell asleep almost immediately. Getting up at 4:30 AM had finally caught up with me.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday's Summertime Blues



Thursday dawned cold, windy and snowing (I just had a moment of déjà vu, it feels like I’ve written that before!)

I had some errands to run in Westland, so I stopped and had my usual lunch at Ten Yen.

I talked to Jake after work We both had work war stories to share.

Then I made dinner. Now, I have to give you a little background first. A while back, Michelle had said she made some pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. I asked her how she made the pulled pork, as I have been collecting slow cooker recipes for turning a pork butt into pulled pork (I think I’m going through mid-winter barbeque withdrawal).

She laughed and said she bought a big tub of Jack Daniel’s brand at Sam’s Club. I saw that at Costco! It was when I was looking for the spanakopita, so I didn’t really pay it any mind.

Well, it wasn’t worth a trip to Costco to try it, so I had looked for a smaller version at Kroger’s. I didn’t find that exact brand, but I did find several no-name varieties of pulled pork. So, I settled on Curly’s: advertised as Barbecue Sauce with Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork (“always pulled, never shredded”). I also grabbed some onion rolls, but decided to wait on coleslaw until I was close to making it.

So, I heated up the pulled pork in the microwave per the instructions. I got out that sweet and spicy coleslaw (all that meant was the dressing was vinegar-based, which I prefer anyway, rather than mayonnaise-based).

I assembled two sandwiches with a generous helping of pulled pork, topped with coleslaw and ate my makeshift barbeque dinner.

It wasn’t bad, it was okay, but I’ve tasted much better. It did give me a quick summertime fix, I suppose. Maybe I should have went with a name brand or made my own.

I went to bed early with a very upset tummy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Song Snippet

 “Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don't you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel real bad.

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood”

~ The Animals

Hump Day



It was damn cold and windy again on Wednesday. I know because I left early so I could stop at Home Depot and buy yet another 1x8 pine board. Why? Because, after posting that picture and enlarging it, I realized there was a knot right on a cut line. I played around with all the other boards I have Tuesday night (although I didn’t mention that in the Blog) but none of them lined up error-free.

So, I picked out a news board that I thought would work and then headed to my work.

[Sidebar: The car died twice at lights on the way to work, dammit!]

It was way too brutal outside to walk, so I did the indoor thing.

At lunch today, it was only snowing lightly (albeit blown sideways by the wind) so I went home. Well, after a stop at Meijer’s for some much needed supplies. I parked in the closest handicapped spot near the door and still damn near froze my ass off just  walking in (and that was with my hat, gloves and scarf on!!)

I was slowed down at the deli counter as they didn’t have any regular coleslaw left, just “sweet and spicy” coleslaw, whatever the hell that is. I bought a pound of it anyway, as I will need some tomorrow night.

But, I eventually got home, unloaded my board and the groceries, treated the cats, choked down a sandwich and headed back to work.

The afternoon was long and still cold. So the afternoon walk was taken inside as well.

Finally, I headed home and got there okay (the car didn’t act up this time).

I tried the new board in several renditions and think I finally got my layout. To celebrate, I started the Wednesday night wash and the now full dishwasher. Hey, to each in his own way, right?

I finished the nightly news and then made my dramatic entrée into a new world of cooking (at least according to Michelle). The last order of Tupperware included their “Smart Steamer”. So, I washed it last weekend and decided to give it a try. Now, you know me and the fact that steamed food might be more “healthy” had nothing to do with my purchase. I was just intrigued at making a dinner in 10-20 minutes.

So, I was making the “Steamed Chicken and Vegetables”

Sidebar: Recipes for this thing are pretty scarce, with most people complaining that there are no conversion charts (i.e. if you normally steam something on the stove for x number of minutes, how long do you do it in the “Smart Steamer”?) and bemoaning the lack of recipes. But I think I can experiment with it…

Anyway, I seasoned two boneless, skinless chicken breasts with sea salt, black pepper and poultry seasoning (on both sides). Note: The “recipe” just said to season the chicken. It didn’t say with what.

I added water to the fill line in the water bowl. I placed the two chicken breasts in the bottom colander with three small redskin potatoes, quartered and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I took out a box of frozen broccoli and unwrapped it. The frozen chuck went into the top colander (the instruction tell you not to worry if the lid you then put on is being  held up by the frozen veggies, as it will fall down as they melt).

Then I turned the microwave on high for 14 minutes.

The result?

Then chicken was perfectly done and excellent tasting, as were the potatoes. Delicious! The broccoli, however, was stringy and tasteless. Hmmm… I dug the box out of the trash and looked at it as I knew it had been in the fridge a long time. The expiration date was sometime in 2009! So, there’s a tip. Don’t use really old frozen veggies.

Anyway, it was a huge success in my eyes and I can’t wait to try it on something else (maybe salmon steaks?) again. It’s perfect for weeknight meals for one!

I watched a couple taped shows, then two more episodes of Luther and went to bed at midnight.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday



I was very glad Tuesday morning I had taken the garbage can out Monday night (I forgot to report that) as it had rained overnight. It was still warm when I went to work, but with a misty rain that kept my intermittent wipers busy.

The car, BTW, worked fine on the way into work. Don’t ask me why, cuz I dunno.

The temperature kept dropping and the wind kept rising. So, I took my morning walk inside. By the time it was noon (when I had errands to run and then planned on eating lunch at the house) it was snowing so hard that, with the wind, it could have easily been considered a whiteout!

So, I skipped my errands and just drove (slipping and sliding, literally) up to the Time Out restaurant to get some lunch. My favorite waitress wasn’t there, but the beer battered fish and chips were still excellent.

At one point during the afternoon, the sun came out and some of the snow melted. But that didn’t last long. So, on the way home, it was still windy with just a little snow. The car never hesitated or stalled.

When I got home again, I walked out and retrieved my garbage can and the lid. The lid had blown into the middle of the street and I was just lucky no one had run over it.

Inside, I treated the impatient cats (they’re always ticked on Tuesdays as the garage door goes up, but I don’t come in for a while because I am fetching the garbage can).

I changed clothes and then started watching the evening news, drinking my evening cup of coffee.

When the news ended at 7:00, I started dinner. I had three or four green onions left from the Knocks and Beans dish. So, I sliced them up (both green and white parts) and sautéed them in a big chunk of butter. Then I added some flour (maybe two or three tablespoons) and cooked that for a while, stirring continually. Finally, I added the au jus form the slow cooker roast. I whisked that until it thickened and tasted tested it. All I needed was a little more black pepper and I had the best gravy I ever made (mine is usually too runny).

I sliced up some of the roast beef (much easier when its cold) and put the slices along with a generous helping of potatoes and carrots on a dinner plate. I warmed that up in the microwave and topped it with some of the gravy. Instant winner, winner, pot roast dinner!

I watched three episodes of that BBC cop show, “Luther,” back-to-back. That show is addictive! I wanted to watch another but it was 11:15 PM and thought I should go to sleep instead. So, I did.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy (?) Anniversary

It just dawned on me that this is the one year anniversary of my spinal fusion. Um, Happy Anniversary to me?



Bedroom wall, before


Bedroom wall, after

Monday Moanin’



Everything seemed normal (or as normal as it gets around here) Monday morning. It was cold, but with a promise of warming up later in the afternoon.

It was normal, that is, until I started driving to work. Once the car had warmed up, I stopped at the light midway between Middle Belt and Merriman. When I took my foot off the gas and applied the brake, the car died! Hmmm… that’s not normal.

So, I started it back up, revved it a couple of times and drove on. When I stopped at the light at Merriman, it stalled again! This time, once it started, I pulled into a parking lot and revved it a lot. Then I continued on. But when I stopped at lights, I kept my foot on the gas and braked with my left foot. This allowed me to get to work.

I took the magazine rack in and everyone oohed and ahhed about it. So, that made me feel good.

I took the expressway home at lunch, thinking I’d blow out whatever was causing the problem. I stopped at Home Depot, because I am sick and tired of turning on the kitchen or main bathroom lights and then waiting five minutes until I can see. The CFL squiggly bulbs in the bedroom and office don’t do that, but the fancy round ones I put in the kitchen and bathroom fixtures take forever to warm up (or something).

So, I bought some LED lights that are economical in use (and are supposed to last forever), that come on immediately and can even be used with a dimmer, which CFL bulbs cannot (not that I have a dimmer, but if I did, well, no problem!) Now, I must tell you these are not cheap (just under $20.00 apiece) so I think I will have to live to be 100 years old to recoup my investment.

I grabbed a couple hot dogs on the way out and ate them in the car. Then I went to O’Rielly’s Auto Parts and bought some fuel injector cleaner for my gas tank (thinking maybe that last tank of cheap gas was cheap for a reason).

I went home and swapped the lights in the kitchen (easy) and stated to change the lights in the bathroom when I realized how dirty the glass thingies that cover the bulbs were. So, I left the bulbs out and washed them instead. These are antiques, so I hand-washed them and left them to air dry.

I headed back to work, still on the expressway. The car seemed fine.

I took the expressway home at 5:00 PM as well, but the car died at the light at Inkster and Plymouth Road! Damn! Why do I have this sinking feeling I will be spending Saturday morning at the Volvo dealer and spending my kids inheritance as well?

When I got home, I finished installing the bathroom lights and then screwed on the magazine rack. Now, part (well, most) of this project was just to see if I could reuse the pallet to make something decorative and useful. A fun project, if you will. But, of course, it was purpose-built as well.

There is a telephone jack on my bedroom wall that always struck me as out of place, too high on the wall and, well, ugly. So, I mounted the magazine rack over top of it. See photos. The only downside of the rack is it makes the poorly-stained pieces in my bedroom look even darker. But I kept telling myself that, had I bought one, it would be the same effect. And, on the positive side, it will keep the magazine I am reading off the floor, where I had kept them before.

Jake called just after that and we talked for a bit about his work and the all-day meeting he had to attend today. I have had to attend similar ones in the past and so I could commiserate.

After we hung up, I warmed up the last of the Knocks and Beans Supreme. I (and the cats) had learned the hard way over the weekend that, while tasty, the gaseous effects were not something you would want to take chance eating for say, lunch, and then going back to work (hence the hot dogs). But, I figured it would wear off before morning.

So, I ate dinner and then watched a couple of taped shows Finally, the effects of the second cup of coffee I made and drank while talking with Jake started to wear off and I was able to go to sleep.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Choosing Boards and Layout for Clock



Paper Template for Clock



The Finished Magazine Rack

Sunday



I woke up at 5:30 AM on Sunday, but refused to get out of bed until 6:00. It was my day off, dammit!

I got a cup off coffee and finished filling out the rather extensive Blog post. Then I got another cup of coffee.

I moved the magazine rack to the kitchen near the register and set it on two wood scraps, so it could dry thoroughly. I wrapped up the Visqueen, rags, gloves, and Q-tips into a bundle, stuck that in a kitchen trash bag and put it in the garbage can.

I ate breakfast, took my pills and refilled the pill box. I wound the clock and added the ice cubes to the orchid, but did not water the bay leaf tree (it was still damp). Then I shaved and showered.

I started making supper. Yes, supper! I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. You can’t concentrate on projects, then make a complicated dinner and still hope to eat at a decent time.

So, I took out a roast I bought yesterday and let it come to room temperature while I peeled carrots. I lined the bottom of my oval slow cooker with carrots, and a yellow onion, peeled and cut in half. Next came a layer of unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes and two cloves of garlic.

Since I still had the skillet with the leftover bacon grease on the stove, I heated that up and seared the roast in it, until I had a nice crust on both sides (telling myself I was adding layers of flavor, LOL!) Then I seasoned it with lots of Kosher salt, fresh coarse ground black pepper, a little garlic powder, thyme and parsley on both sides. That went on top the potatoes. I added about a 1/4 cup of water and a good glug of Worcestershire sauce.  Finally, I laid rings of another onion on top the roast. I wished I had some mushrooms, but, oh well. I turned it on “Low” and Sunday’s supper was done.

I went out back and refilled the squirrel feeder. Since I was out there anyway, I snipped off a stalk of freeze-dried rosemary. Back inside, I put it on top of the roast.Then i realized I hadn't taken out the leftover pancakes (from last weekend) to the birds as I'd planned. So, I opened the back door and stood on the small spot that didn't have snow (not wanting to track it in the house)  and sent them like Frisbees over to the feeding area.

At about 10:00 AM, I backed the car out in the driveway again. Then I drilled a hole in the middle of top back bar of the magazine rack, so I could spray it with polyurethane and hang it up to dry. Later, I will use that same hole to attach it to the wall. I cut a piece of stiff wire and got out a can of polyurethane.

After I shook the polyurethane can the required two minutes, I took the rack out into the garage. I gave it a light coat, mostly holding it in my hand, but finally hanging it on the wire, hooked on the other end to the garage door opener.

My plan was to let it hang there in the cold (where it won’t dry well) until the vapors were gone. When I can’t smell it, I’ll take it in the house to dry thoroughly. I will crack the windows, though, still worried about explosive vapors.

Meanwhile, back inside, I laid a nice piece of leftover birch-covered plywood on the washer/dryer. I put the plotted template of the star clock (as I now think of it) on it and, working in sections (the plywood is not 30-inches wide), used a razor knife to carefully cut out the actual clock. See Photos.

[Sidebar: This was now quite worrisome as I realized just how fragile the cutout template was.]

Then I went back into the garage, brought the magazine rack in, hung it above the laundry tub and went back into the garage. I disassembled my sanding rack and then cut the four six-foot 1x8’s I bought yesterday in half. I really only needed three, but wanted to make sure if one had loose knots or was cupped or looked bad, I had spares. It was after noon by then, so I took a break and reheated some of the Knocks and Beans Supreme for lunch.

The timer went off, so I took the magazine rack back into the garage and re-sprayed it with polyurethane. I left it hanging out there and went in to call my brother Jim to wish him a belated Happy Birthday.

After that, I took a break and watched a little TV, hoping to fall asleep and take a Sunday afternoon nap. That didn’t work so, after I brought in the magazine rack and put the car back in the garage,  I watched one of my favorite movies in recent times: The Ninth Gate.

When it was over, I got my boards and my template and started playing around with various boards on the kitchen floor. I was trying to lay them all out so I didn’t hit any knots when I can finally cut out the star and wheel. When I thought I had a good mix, I numbered them and marked where the biscuits should go. I took a photo for you, but I doubt you can clearly see the star and wheel outline. I deliberately penciled it in lightly, so I don’t have to spend forever sanding it off.

I also took a picture of the magazine rack. I would just hang it on the wall but I promised I’d take it into work first.

My daughter Melissa called about 5:30 PM. She said it was very cold and snowing down in North Carolina and asked if it was warm with the grass growing up here. I told her not hardly (We had a high of 26 degrees here today and leftover snow from yesterday).

I ate dinner after making a horseradish sauce for my roast beef (two tablespoons of mayonnaise and one tablespoon of horseradish). Dinner was excellent and I ate too much because of that. The roast was especially moist and flavorful (I think searing it may have kept more juices in it, but that's just a guess). I even liked the carrots!

When everything cooled, I took out the potatoes and carrots with a slotted spoon and put them and the roast beef in my big Tupperware container. I strained the au jus and put that in a container in the fridge as well. I put the inside crock of the slow cooker in the washtub and filled it with hot soapy water to let it soak overnight.

I watched the first episode of a BBC series Jake had recommended called “Luther.” Its about a London police detective who has personal problems. It was excellent (thanks!). I watched another taped show and then went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Sunday, February 17, 2013




Snow at 2:00 PM
(Click to enlarge)



Naked Pallet Wood Magazine Rack


Knocks and Beans Supreme

Saturday's Story



I woke up at 6:00 AM on Saturday. My haircut wasn’t until 10:00, so I had plenty of time to putz around. I filled out the Blog entries and posted them. I made up my shopping list and then I made a weekend breakfast: soft boiled eggs.

After I finished breakfast and took my pills, I tackled the WetJet. I got the cover off (finally!) when I saw it was also held in by two hidden screws. But, the batter cover removal was impossible. I thought the last one I had contained replaceable batteries. This one apparently doesn’t (so you have to keep buying them, I suppose). So, I penciled a Swiffer WetJet onto the printed Home Depot shopping list.

I watched the morning news until 9:00 AM, then shaved and showered. I got dressed and left for a busy morning!

I got my haircut, then I went to Kroger with a medium-sized list.  The only problem was they didn’t have any knockwurst and I need knockwurst! So, I popped into Westborn and got my knockwurst. Since I was there, I grabbed a loaf of that Rustic Italian Bread. I got out of there and raced home to put the meat in the fridge (my fallback position was to leave it in the car if necessary – it’s cold out and snowing).

I got that done and then raced to make my revised massage appointment. It was supposed to be at 12:30 PM, but she called and left a message yesterday that somebody had cancelled and could I come in at 11:30 instead. I made it just in time.

After an hour of being beaten up, I got dressed, paid my money and went to Home Depot. I had forgotten to take my list for there so I tried to remember what I needed. I had paid and was loading up the car when I remembered the WetJet. Damn! So, I went back inside and got one.

I left the car in the driveway and unloaded it there. I need the garage space for working. I did lock it (of course) but its snowing still and I hate that I will have to clean it off (maybe) just to pull it in 20 feet.

I had a call from B___,  so I changed clothes, started the last load of weekend wash and then called him back. I just got his voicemail, so I moved on…

I put together the new WetJet (this time with an instruction book) and had to laugh when I realized how I’d screwed up. But, I had thoroughly trashed the old one by now. Oh well, its just a $20.00 mistake. I’ve made a lot bigger ones in my life…

I swept and wet-mopped the bedroom, office, hall and main bath. Then I went out to the garage to work on the magazine rack.

I used my belt sander and my sanding jig to smooth out the rough pallet wood. I was wearing a sanding mask, so my glasses kept fogging up.  Then I ripped the boards to size. I had to stop and hang up laundry at that point.

Back in the garage, I assembled the magazine rack using the air compressor and a nail gun with carpenter’s glue.

I went back inside when I got cold  to get a cup of coffee. Just then, the phone rang. It was B___ and we talked for a while. When we hung up, I realized it was almost 5:30 PM and I still had to finish the magazine rack and start my supper.

So, I cut a piece of Visqueen and covered my washer (I often use the washer top and/or the dryer as an indoor work surface. That’s why there are globs of yellow paint from when we redid the kitchen cupboards way back when still on it, lol). I finish-sanded the magazine rack with the orbital sander in the garage and then blew it off with compressed air. I unplugged the air compressor, pushed the saw horses back into place and pulled the car in.

[Sidebar, the car was covered with ice from the snow that had melted and then refroze. I didn’t bother to clean it off, preferring to let it drip-dry in the garage. I’ll deal with the puddles tomorrow.]

I took the naked magazine rack in and, using rubber gloves and an old sock, applied Minwax Wood-Sheen Stain and Finish in “Plantain Walnut.” I had it on hand and have used it before. It’s sort of a goopy stain and, despite the “Finish” in the name, you still have to polyurethane it when you’re done.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I opened up the small window next to the washer and the big window that I put the security bars on about two inches each. I don’t want the furnace igniting to set off an explosion and blow me and the house up! Ventilation, baby! You have been warned!!

I rubbed the stain in and then pulled off my glove and washed both hands and arms (I am not the neatest stainer) with mineral spirits.  Then I washed my hands with soap inside. I set the timer for five minutes, at which time I wiped the excess off (using Q-tips in the cracks). This is something I learned the hard way. You ALWAYS wipe off any excess stain that the wood wouldn’t take. If not, you end up like all the bedroom furniture I built on the River Road after Luanne had left: Dark, almost black.

Then I left it to dry for two hours and got started on dinner.

Now, I know my readers are a savvy bunch and will recognize right off that this is just a riff on the old hot dogs with pork and beans we all ate as children. But, it didn’t dawn on me until about halfway through. (Duh!?!)

It’s a Rachel Ray recipe called Knocks and Beans Supreme. So, I simmered the six knockwurst, cut into thirds (about two-inch pieces) in a skillet with a little water until they were heated through. I pulled them out and set them on a plate. I wiped out the skillet, added a drizzle of olive oil and heated it up to medium-high heat. I put the knockwurst back in and seared them on all the edges (not as easy as it sounds, BTW).

I pulled out the sausage and added in four strips of thick-cut bacon (the recipes calls for eight thin slices, but I never use thin-sliced bacon for anything) cut into 1/2-inch lardons (she calls them batons, but I have never heard of that term used in cooking – probably my bad).

I rendered them until they were “almost crispy, but not-quite” (Rachel can be a bit obtuse at times). I pulled them off with a slotted spoon and set them on some paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, I put two cans of Bush’s Grillin’ Beans in my casserole dish. To that, I added in one large shallot, finely chopped, two cloves of garlic, minced, and a lot of coarse ground pepper. I stirred that in, smoothed it out and then wiped the sides of the casserole dish clean.

I nestled in the chunks of knockwurst, gave it a splash of Worcestershire sauce and then topped them with a small bunch of scallions I sliced, a fine-diced Jalapeno pepper (the recipe calls for red chili peppers, but I couldn’t find any that weren’t “hot” so I went with a deseeded Jalapeno. I think the red chili peppers were for both heat and color, anyway) and some finely chopped thyme leaves. I made sure I washed my hands after handling the Jalapeno pepper, having messed up with that before. Then I sprinkled the bacon bits on top of that and stuck the casserole dish in a preheated 375 degree oven.

Here’s where Rach let me down: she didn’t give a time, just said to bake until the top surface was “crispy in spots and bubbly all over.” That meant I had to keep checking it, which p*ssed me off.

But, in about an hour, it looked right. Unfortunately, there was only 10 minutes left until I had to apply the next coat of stain. So, I just shut the oven off and went back to work.

I applied the second coat of stain, then waited the required five minutes and wiped it all off. I went in the garage and washed off with mineral spirits again (my hands are taking a beating today).

I came back inside and washed my hands repeatedly and then took out the casserole. I cut off two big chunks of bread and dished up a large bowl of the casserole.

Now, it may have been because it was almost 9:00 PM and I was starving or maybe she’s just that good. But in spite of the semi-homemade elements of this dish, it was excellent! You did need a knife to cut the knockwurst into edible sizes, BTW.

I shut and locked the two windows downstairs that I had opened for ventilation, checked the front, back and garage doors and then brushed my teeth.

I watched a couple of tapped DIY shows that have built up in my cue. When the casserole dish was cool, I put the lid on it and stuck it in the fridge. I went to bed just before 11:00 PM, satisfied with the day…

Until I remembered I hadn’t called my Brother Jim to wish him a Happy Birthday! Damn!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birthday Shoutout!

Happy Birthday to my Brother Jim!!

A Frustrating Friday…



 I woke up at 2:30 AM and could NOT fall back asleep. I might have dozed here and there, but I finally gave up and got up at 4:30 AM.

Since I was up, I figured everybody should be up. So, I kicked the cats off the bed and stripped it. I have a lot to do this weekend and probably won’t have time to do my normal housekeeping.

So, the bedding went into the washer and I went through my normal morning routine. That left me more or less ready to leave for work a half hour early. So, I figured I’d sweep and mop the kitchen floor on my way out to work, so it could dry undisturbed.

I moved all the chairs and the rolling cart into the living room and swept the floor. Then I put my coat, hat, scarf (I love that scarf!) and gloves downstairs. With 10 minutes to spare, I got out the Swiffer WetJet to wash the floors and, IT WOULDN’T START!!!

The batteries must be dead, but it’s been so long since I put it together, I wasn’t sure just where the batteries are. So, I gave up and set it in the corner to fix after work and started putting my coat on. Then it dawned on me I could just do it the way I used to.

So, I filled up my mop bucket with hot water and Pine Sol and washed the floor, walking backwards. I got my outdoor gear on and went into the garage. I backed out and while I was waiting for the garage door to close (I always wait for it to close before leaving – security concerns) I made sure I had my cell phone, wallet and belt. Oh, NO! I forgot my belt!

So, I reopened the garage door and then realized I couldn’t go back in that way or I’d walk across the wet floor! So, I unlocked the front door, went in and took a giant step from the living room to the hall (avoiding stepping on the kitchen floor). I retrieved my belt and went back outside. I put it on outside on the porch. I locked everything back up and left for work. I got there one minute late (and I am never late) and feeling very rushed.

But, it was Friday and payday, so I didn’t stay tense all that long.

I did take my morning walk outside, but it was cold!

I went home at lunch. I stuck the bedding in the dryer and made my last BLT sandwich. Oh, I still have tomatoes left, but now I’m out of bacon. And, there's none in either freezer! OMG!! In my house??? Oh, the shame…

I moved the chairs and the rolling cart back into the kitchen after dusting them off. Then I drove back to work while it was snowing. Geez! I thought we were done with all that…

I walked inside in the afternoon because I had a 3:00 PM meeting. It was stupid as most meeting are. I hope I didn’t let it show.

Finally, it was 5:00 PM and I was headed home. I treated the cats and changed clothes. I emptied the dishwasher and then took the bedding out of the dryer and remade the bed.

Since it was payday, I paid some bills online and updated my check register. I watched the rest of the evening news and then made my dinner (if you could call it that). I took off meat from the remaining Cornish Game hen and made a “chicken” sandwich with just salt and mayonnaise.

I tried to find the batteries in the Swiffer, but no luck. So, I sent a text asking Jake if he knew where the batteries were. I knew he either has one or had one. He sent me a text me back that they were under the cover I already tried to get loose (sigh). But the hockey game was coming so, so that battle would have to wait until later.

I watched the Red Wings lose to the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. When the game was done, so was I and I went to bed.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Just trying to go home...



It was a normal Thursday morning until about 9:00 AM, when it started snowing/raining. It had paused, though, by 10:00 AM, when I took my walk outside.

I went home at lunch and ate another BLT. I turned on the dishwasher I had loaded last night.

I had scouted out the various gas stations in the area and, since the gas gauge was on empty (I kept hoping gas prices would go down again), I filled up my tank on the way back to work. I paid $3.98 US per gallon for mid-grade (groan).

The afternoon went by slowly (as they usually do). And, it sprinkled on and off as well. Thankfully, it was above freezing, so it was just rain.

After my afternoon walk, Vicky asked me if I wanted another chicken sandwich her mother made (Vicky had gone out to lunch and didn’t eat it). I said sure! Then she said (with some indignation) that her Mother told her to tell me she was writing down the recipe for the homemade Puerto Rico flatbread. Vicky said she told her Mother, “What? You will write it down for John but never for us?” Evy said, “No, I’m writing it down for all of you!”

[Sidebar: Good comeback, Evy!]

So, we searched around for a baggie to put the ingredients on and found one. Note: This is NOT an assembled sandwich. Each item: Flatbread, seasoned chicken, lettuce, shredded cheese, tomato, sour cream and even mayonnaise is in separate baggies. You assemble them just before you eat it and after you toast the flatbread. There is also avocado involved, but I passed on that (I hate avocado almost as much as I hate Cilantro. Avocado tastes like green snot to me!).

I left work on time but was stopped on Levan by the world’s longest train heading east. I was about a 1/8 mile back. Again, as I like to say, (as you know) this ain’t my first rodeo. So, I bypassed Inkster Road (where I’d have to wait for the train again) and got off on Beech-Daly (when the road runs under the tracks). I made the right call as I did pass under the start of the train.

When I got home, I treated the cats and changed just my shoes. I went out and cut the new piece of plastic out to fit the squirrel feeder. I cut this one out a tad wider (that was the problem with the old one). The I went out with it and a rubber hammer and tapped it down into place. Bingo! So, I filled it up again and will wait to see if the tree rats can knock this one out!!

Since I was out there anyway, I tossed out some seeds for the mourning doves and then went back inside.

I watched the news until Jake called and we chatted for a while. When we hung up, I prepared my Puerto Rican sandwich. I cut the flat bread in half and toasted it, while I heated the chicken up in the microwave. When both were ready, I put the mayo on the bottom and then added the chicken, the cheese, the lettuce, and the tomato in that order. I topped that with the sour cream (Evy’s, not mine, in case it was a different kind).

I cut it in half (it was huge) and ate it. Delicious!!! Again, spicy, but not hot.

I watched some taped TV and then switched to reading a magazine I got in the mail today until bedtime.

Thursday, February 14, 2013






Cornish Game Hens Stuffed with Wild Rice

Sunday Supper on Wednesday



I left early on Wednesday for work. Why? The weather wasn’t bad. But, I needed to go shopping!

I stopped at Meijer’s and popped in to get a loaf of sourdough bread. Next I went to Home Depot and got another pane of that Plexiglas to fix the squirrel feeder. Then I went to work.

I did my morning walk outside and it wasn’t bad.

At lunch, I went straight home and made a BLT with my fresh bread, the leftover bacon and the tomatoes and Romaine lettuce. It tasted so good (and I had enough time) that I made another one.

Back at work, I walked outside at 3:00 PM as well.

When I got home after work, I changed clothes and began the Wednesday night wash. Then I started on making supper.

As you may recall, I already have the wild rice (cooked in chicken broth instead of water) mixed with a few of the sautéed and chopped crimini mushrooms. To that I added 1/2 cup of diced celery, 1/2 cup of green onion (cut into thin rounds), two tablespoons of good soy sauce and about 2/3 cup of water chestnuts, sliced. That all went into a stainless steel bowl and was topped with six tablespoons of melted butter. I tossed that lightly to mix.

Then I got out the stars of the show, two Cornish game hens. I washed them thoroughly, salted the inner cavity, and then lightly stuffed them with the wild rice. Then I trussed them for cooking and put them in a roaster pan with a rack.

Since this recipe was meant for four Cornish game hens, I had a LOT of stuffing left. Thankfully, the recipe said that any leftover stuffing could be put in a casserole dish and added to the preheated 375 degree F. oven during the last 30 minutes of cook-time. So, I put the leftovers in a Pyrex dish and covered it with foil (the recipe didn’t call for that, but I figured, “What the hell? I don’t want this to dry out!”) for later.

I stuck the Cornish game hens in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes (it will take a full hour before they are done). Then I went and put the wash into the dryer.

When the timer went off, I put the stuffing in the oven and basted the Cornish hens with melted butter. Then I reset the timer for 30 more minutes. I hung up the clothes while I waited. Finally, it was time.

I made the “Mushroom and Wine” sauce while the Cornish hens rested under foil. I put the pan dripping (not as much as you might think, but they are little suckers) into a small saucepan and added  two tablespoons of sliced green onions and three tablespoons of dry white wine. I put that on “High” and let it reduce by half (about 10 minutes). When it was reduced, I took it off the heat and added 1/4 cup of melted butter and the mushrooms I sauteed yesterday. I had taken them out of the fridge to warm to room temp when I first started on the Cornish hens since, had I made this all in one day, they would have been sitting and cooling.

I plated one hen after removing the truss and scooping out the dressing. I added about half of the dressing from the Pyrex pan and poured half the wine sauce on the Cornish hen.

Then I proceeded to demolish the whole Cornish hen! It all was delicious!! The meat was moist and juicy, the sauce was enough to add a different taste without being cloying and the stuffing was a real variation on the Uncle Ben’s wild rice that I know and love. Damn that was good!

Sadly, it came to an end all too soon (as all good things do) and I was left with a large kitchen cleanup before I could go to bed…

The other Cornish hen and the remaining stuffing went into the fridge after cooling, BTW.