Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Friday

Mostly spent the day resting up from the Thanksgiving dinner of:

Roast Turkey
Mashed potatoes
Jake's riff on sweet potatoes and pinapple
Carla's cornbread dressing
Carla's riff on green bean cassarole
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Two kinds of cranberry sauce

All of which were excellent and eaten again on Friday in various forms and fashions...

Oh, there was a homemade Taco salad in there on Friday as well.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

You may have noticed that Tuesday's post was missing. It was a travel day as I am spending the holiday down in South Carolina.

The flight down wasn't too bad in spite of the storm. There was some turbulence and I arrived about 20 minutes late.

Wednesday was all about prepping food for today's Holiday.

I'll fill you in on all this when I get the chance.

Have a happy and safe Holiday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


It was windy and cold again on Monday (so what else is new?) It’s hard to believe that it’s not even December yet!

I walked outside in the morning, but I didn’t like it!

I went to Ten Yen for lunch and had my favorite (again). Got an interesting fortune in my fortune cookie.

The temperature had fallen and the winds were worse, so I walked inside in the afternoon.

Thankfully, the forecasted snow had not hit here by 5:00 p.m. (I think it stream by jut north of the city) so I got to take the expressway home.

I had a cup of coffee, watched the weather (not good) and then started the last load of the weekend wash.

Oh, BTW, I took my Medicare card OUT of my wallet and locked it in the fire-safe. I realized that my “member id” number was my Social Security number! I can cancel my credit cards if my wallet was pick-pocketed, but my Social Security number would allow identity thieves to have a field day!

Note to my Government: You should rethink this one!!! But, you won’t…

Then I started on tonight’s project: Washing the kitchen cabinet doors. I used a Lysol antibacterial spray and a kitchen towel. It took while, but I got all of them clean.

I warmed up some of the Mexican lasagna for dinner and froze the rest.

I watched some taped shows and then switched to reading until bedtime.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I think I already posted this...

but its worth repeating!


Congratulations to my Grandson Joe and his wife, Jerica, on the birth of their son today, Logan Alexander!

I'm a "Great" Grandpa, again! Then again, I always thought I was a Great Grandpa.

It tickles me that Jeremy is now a Grandfather. My, how time flies...

I like my Wet-Jet, but…

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday. I tried to fall back asleep, but then I gave up and got up. I fixed a cup of coffee and filled in the rest of the Blog entry.

It was 15 degrees F., BTW, with a predicted “high” of 25 degrees!

I started watching the local morning news. After a bit, I shaved and showered.

Then I started my Sunday supper. I had bought a five-pound bags of precooked meatballs and a large can of Swedish meatball sauce from GFS last week. I thawed out the meatballs overnight and put them into my Dutch oven. I stirred in the sauce and added the only thing I ever do to this mixture: lots of fresh parsley. BTW, the parsley was frozen when I went out to pick it, but it thawed quickly inside. The parsley really brightens this dish up.

Why so much food?  Well, for starters, they only sell it in this size. And, I plan on freezing most of it in four-cup containers so I can have a good, satisfying meal on a moment’s notice. All I will have to do is warm them up in the microwave, boil some wide egg noodles and dinner’s done.

So, when the Swedish meatballs were done, I boiled a half package of wide egg noodles. I drained them when they were al dente and added some butter, so they wouldn’t stick together. I plated some and added the Swedish meatballs on top for a most excellent (if somewhat unusual) breakfast.

I was watching my little friend, the red-headed woodpecker, attack the suet cake when my glance happened upon the rain gauge. Oh, crap! I didn’t take in the rain gauge! So, I ran outside and retrieved it. There were two inches of rain/snow frozen in the plastic tube. I set it in the downstairs bathroom shower to thaw, praying it didn’t split the tube.

Since I was freakin cold anyway, I made my belated trip up into the attic to retrieve my suitcase (hey, I’m a wimp, okay?) Then I started to clean the house.

Now, I’ve had some issues with my vacuum cleaner. When you started it up, there was a “puff” of dust, then it worked fine. I couldn’t figure it out! I took it apart and blew out everything with the air compressor and it still did it. I even went so far as to decide to take it to Banks Vacuum on Five-Mile and have it looked at. But, (fortunately) they had moved to a new location. Anyway, to make a long story short, I came across the Owner’s Manual a few days ago while searching for another one.

So, I read it. Turns out there were two (not one but two) pre-filters I was totally unaware of. I took them both out and blew them off (You wouldn’t have believed the dust and cat hair that came off them), reassembled it all and it was working perfectly.

Note to Self: Read the damn owners guides when you first buy stuff!

Then I proceeded to vacuum the whole house. I moved the kitchen chairs and the rolling cart into the living room. I pulled the car outside and locked it. It was my plan to fire up the propane heater and work on the bike after I finished with the house cleaning, you see.

So, next I fixed a bucket of steaming hot water and Pine Sol. I normally just use my Wet-Jet for quick floor washing, but I decided I needed to deep clean the floors today.

I grabbed the mop and my bucket and washed the downstairs bath room. Then I moved onto the kitchen floor.

I was more or less locked into the bedroom, office, living room and office, so I turned on the TV. Fortunately, “Cliffhanger” was just starting, so I watched it. I love the scenery! Unfortunately, before it finished, I fell asleep and took a nice nap.

It was already dark when I woke up. So, I gave up and pulled the car back inside. I put everything back in place in the kitchen and dusted the living room. The Nightly News was on so I watched it.

When I got hungry, I heated up the rest of the egg noodles and some of the Swedish meatballs and ate a hearty Sunday supper. The rest of the Swedish meatballs went into containers and then into the freezer. I filled up the Dutch oven to soak, and then caught the last period of the Red Wings game. We won!!!

From there, I switched to the “Wild Bunch,” the 1969 Sam Peckinpah bloody (very bloody) western on the Sundance channel. I really like the Sundance channel because they don’t censor the films at all and they are currently showing the “101 films you must see before you die.”  I’ve seen four of them so far, so I guess I won’t die for a while…

That got over around 10:00 p.m. and went to the “Unforgiven” with Clint Eastwood, which I’ve seen a million times. But, I watched it until I got tired and then went to sleep.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Quote of the Day

"It ain't like it used to be, but, uh, it'll do."

~Sykes, The Wild Bunch

A Snowy Saturday

As they predicted, it was COLD on Saturday morning (21 degrees F.) but the wind took the “feels like” temp down into the teens.

It took two cups of coffee before I finished the Blog entry and was ready to start my day. I went downstairs to brush my teeth after my shower and thought, “Wow, its dark as pitch down here!” Then it dawned on me: the security light for Jake’s patio (which normally shines through the window and helps light my way) was out!

Now, if you remember, this was the fixture that took the weird bulb that attached with two tabs, rather than screwed in. It is also the bulb that was almost impossible to find! Add to that fact that the damn light was on constantly, even though it had a dusk to dawn sensor. Since it was tucked under the house eaves, it always thought it was dark. All in all, I have had it with that damn light.

So, before I went to my 9:00 a.m. haircut, I stopped at Home Depot. All I wanted was a fixture like I have next to the garage man door: a bulb inside of a glass jar (I think they are the most weather-proof for the bulb). Of course, they only had one that used a special LED bulb for $29.00. No thanks!

So, I got my hair cut. Then I went to Kroger’s. I didn’t have that much stuff, but I did have too much to use one of their many, many new self-checkouts. So, I got in line. Of course, it was the wrong line. The guy being checked out kept getting his credit card declined. They called the manager, the guy was ticked, and the little old lady in front of me had piled all her stuff (a whole cart full) and then got out a handful of coupons. I gave up and went into another line…

I finally got out of there, swearing to never grocery shop on a Saturday again. I stopped at the Aco hardware at Five Mile and Middle Belt and found the fixture I wanted for $6.00. As I stood in that line, I looked outside and it was snowing. And snowing HARD! With the wind, it was literally a whiteout! I decided to wait it out at Leda’s Coney Island.

I had two eggs over easy with their famous corned beef hash and rye toast. I know I’ve bragged about this corned beef hash before, but seriously, it’s fantastic. They make their own corned beef and fry it with potatoes, onions and green peppers. You can opt out of the onions and green peppers if you want, but why? I had a cup of coffee for dessert. I don’t normally get restaurant coffee (it’s too expensive and doesn’t taste all that good) but I was waiting out the snow squall. When the storm left, so did I.

But the snow that covered the road had been packed down by cars and was slick as ice. If it wasn’t for the ABS brakes, I would have slid through the intersection at Five Mile and Inkster!

When I got home, I found two things in the mail I had been waiting for: My new vehicle registration and license tab and my first Medicare card. Yes, when you are about to turn 65, you have to apply for Medicare (whether you are going to use it right then or not). I think it’s a government plot to track us old farts…

So, I laminated my registration (I always do) and the Medicare card. I went to put the registration in the car and found I hadn’t put in the new insurance care I got in October. So, I dug that out of the closet and laminated that, too. I put that in the glove box and washed off the old license plate tab. When it was dry, I put on the new one. 

I checked the weather outside through the kitchen window. Oddly enough, the sun had come out and melted all the snow!

So, I got everything I needed, (tools, wire nuts, electrical tape, gloves and hat), turned off the power to the patio light and went outside. I took off the old light and installed the new one (not that easy wearing thick, warm gloves, BTW). I tested the new one and it was fine. I still needed to caulk around the fixture, but I went inside to warm up for a while! It was DAMN COLD OUT THERE!!!

Old light

New light

It was after 2:00 p.m., so I warmed up with a cup of hot chocolate while filling in the Blog entry to date. Then I processed the two pictures I took. I looked outside and it was snowing again… Not the whiteout we had earlier, but still... I tried to take a picture from the front porch, but I don’t think it was clear enough. You'll have to click on it to see the snow.

The next time I looked, it was sunny! Michigan!?

Then I went back outside (Brrr) and put white silicone caulk around the fixture. As I said, it’s under the eaves so I am not that worried about water. But I don’t want an entryway for insects or the cold. Before I went back inside, I filled up the bird feeder, the squirrel feeder and the suet cage (for the little woodpecker).

I took a break and watched a couple of taped shows. Then I got started on the Friday night’s dinner I couldn’t make: Tex-Mex Lasagna.

Let me explain and apologize. As I mentioned, my daughter Melissa gave me a jar of home-made canned salsa. She pointed out it was a little too “juicy.” So, I had some with tortilla chips and she was right. It was delicious, but too wet. So, I started looking around for what I could use it for.

I found this recipe for a vegetarian Tex-Mex lasagna. Please do not repeat this or I will lose my status as a carnivore!

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, I was missing an ingredient: lasagna noodles. So, I bought them today at Kroger’s. I put six of them in boiling, salted water, cooked them and let them cool.

Meanwhile, I took my 8-inch square casserole dish and sprayed it with canola oil. I took 3/4 cup of Melissa’s salsa and mixed it with 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin, one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and one can of 8-ounce can of tomato sauce. That was my sauce.

I thawed out a cup of frozen sweet corn in my small sieve and then went to drain a cup of black beans.  Here’s where my pantry let me down again. I had NO black beans! I know! I searched!! So, rather than go out in the cold, I decided to substitute drained pinto beans (Hey, it’s Mexican lasagna, right?)

Note to Self: Do a freakin’ inventory of your pantry, okay?

Anyway, when the noodles were done, I drained them and let them cool. Meanwhile, I spread 2/3 cup of my “sauce” on the bottom of the oiled 8-inch baking dish. I tried to follow instructions and put two lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, but I had an overlap on length and a gap on width. I used my kitchen shears and cut off the remains. So the two noodles turned into three with full coverage.

I sprinkled half of the beans and corn mixture on top the noodles and then topped that with 2/3 cup of the sauce and 1/2 cup of four-cheese Mexican grated cheese. I added another layer of noodles (two cut into three) and repeated the process. Finally, I added the last layer of noodles, the last of the sauce and the rest of the cheese.

I stuck that into a preheated 450 degrees F. oven for 30 minutes. I read my book in the living room while I waited. Finally, it was done. It looked great!

I cut a piece and plated it. It was excellent! And, it was very filling! But, I don’t think a little ground chuck would have hurt it.

I had a second piece (just to verify my findings) but couldn’t finish it. When it cooled, I put the baking dish in the fridge, covered with aluminum foil. I cleaned up the mess and found I had just enough dirty dishes to justify running the dishwasher, so I did that as well.

I wandered in and checked out tonight’s TV offerings. Nothing really jumped out at me. So, I watched a couple more taped shows (one cooking and one DIY). I got tired of lying in bed, so I went out and read in the living room until I got drowsy. Then I went back to bed for the night.