Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monkeying Around With Alcohol

I was amused this morning.  I was reading through the daily slog of web pages promising get rich quick sales jobs, and inappropriate job prospects when one of my "break" pages came up with a video.  When you're surfing through over 150 pages a day, you know you're not going to be able to do it all at once.

One of them had a video to a snippet of a BBC TV documentary.  It's safe for work unless you're living in a repressive regime where you have candidates using groups of people as scape goats for their own bread and circuses... oh wait that could be here.

The idea was that we may be more refined, but we're still just animals.   There was a beach in the Caribbean that had folks sunning and sipping drinks.  I'm assuming it was the Caribbean since there were steel drums being played in the background and I rather like that sort of thing.

They also had a troop of long tailed monkeys having a raid.  These creatures were doing just what humans do when they've got access to free drinks.  Some were drinking fruit juice, some were drinking a little alcohol, and some were getting totally wasted and falling down drunk.  The presenter made it a point to say that the ratios of all of that were exactly like in humans.  Some are teatotallers and won't touch the stuff, most will have a little bit and occasionally have a bit too much at the party, and then there are the sloppy drunks.

Just like anywhere else in any resort town.

So if you like that sort of thing, have a short two and a half minute video and enjoy the little monkeys.  Awww look, that one's trashing the table!   The other one is falling over drunk!

Safe for general viewing pretty much anywhere even if it does trash my formatting.  Here's the HD link below:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You're Being Watched

I'm used to noise here. 

There's the distant road noise from the highways way over "thataway".  I've grown to like having the couple of freight trains and their whistles coming through roughly when I am going to bed and waking up.  The winds through the palms are fairly constant once the sun is up and the heat island is pulling the air into large updrafts for the hawks and buzzards to soar on.

It's not really a quiet place.

This morning was quiet, at least until the trash truck started picking up our big blue bins, but even that was short lived.

I've stood on the corner late at night when I couldn't sleep, waiting for the dog, and I've heard snoring from the homes nearby, sometimes two or three houses away.   He really should have that fixed.

So when I was sitting here listening to some Lizst on the Classical Music Channel on my phone, I did not really think twice about the snoring in my own home.  My noise cancelling headphones muted most of it.

Even in the house, there's the ticking of two mechanical clocks, the rattling of the parrot in his cage, and the occasional moan of the dog as she readjusts herself on the mat.

I didn't give it a second thought.

I did however realize I Was Being Watched.

Looking over the top of my reading glasses, I noticed two brown eyes staring directly at me.  They were boring holes through me like a brown laser, if such a thing exists.

Who knew that a dog could stare and have her eyes open, at the same time?  After all she's a McNab Dog and not a bulldog or a pug. 

The things you notice when you allow yourself to do so may surprise you.  After all, she isn't a sea monster or a water buffalo, but she is finally asleep.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sea Monster in the Back Yard

Standing at the sink, stirring the coffee, and munching on a sesame bagel with cream cheese and lemon curd, I caught movement out of my left eye.

Seeing that I forgot and left the reading glasses on, I dismissed it. 

30 seconds later, I saw it again.  Air bubbles in the swimming pool.

It's periodic.   It's the breathing of the sea monster that lives out there. 

After finishing the other half of that bagel, I walked out, coffee in hand to the yard.  There are creatures out there.  At night it can be a constellation of little shiny eyes looking back at you wanting you to leave so they can go about their business.  They seem to dislike our presence out there after dark.  The snakes have gone to hide, lizards are sleeping in crevasses and have chased the geckos out for their night feed, and the raccoons and opossums may just be lurking.

So of course the first thing that came to mind is that we have a Sea Monster in the pool.  What else would there be?  Giant Green Monster of doom floating out there just below the surface ready to attack passers by.  It could be an iguana in that 72 degree winter chilled water, or maybe not.

As I stepped outside I realized that my headphones were still on playing some gentle "Uplifting Trance" tracks when it was interrupted by Joanna Lumley saying "You've got Post!". 

Removing the headphones I realized that what sounds that replaced it was the usual background drone of life in the big city, and the filter pump for the pool.   It was on its normal morning cycle, and there was air in the lines. 

My Sea Monster was vanquished and I'll have to remind someone to inspect the equipment.

Here I was hoping for some Sea Monster Brazed on the Grill for lunch, I guess I'll settle for fish and chips instead!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Solving the Mid Life Crisis - Humor

I really do have to reduce the scale of this picture.  When I link to these Velma Posts in Facebook it beheads her and generally doesn't look great.

Anyway, I will eventually solve the picture dilemma, and Velma solves your Mid Life Crisis here.   Just read along and you shall see...




Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Coat Hanger - Humor

Going through my humor emails, I stumbled across this one from Velma.  You see, for a while, I was the guy riding a motorcycle around and I kept a slim-jim in the back saddle bag of the bike.  I got pretty good at getting into cars when I had to help in an emergency. 

When I spotted a stack of slim-jims at a flea market, I picked up a couple of them.  It's a lot cheaper than when I broke the driver's side window of my old Honda Accord trying to get an old wire hanger in there to open the blasted thing.

I still miss my old motorcycle, but you have to be insane to ride in South Florida.  These fools are aggressive and consider it a contact sport here.

The Coat Hanger
A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her small daughter was very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication. She got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys in the car. She didn't know what to do, so she called home and told the baby sitter what had happened.  The baby sitter told her that the fever was getting worse. She said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door."

The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been left on the ground, possibly by someone else who at some time had locked their keys in their car. She looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this." She bowed her head and asked God to send her help.

Within five minutes a beat up old motorcycle pulled up, with a dirty, greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head.

The woman thought, "This is what you sent to help me?" But, she was desperate, so she was also very thankful.

The man got off of his cycle and asked if he could help. She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure." He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank You So Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison today. I was in prison for car theft and have only been out for about an hour."

The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud, 'Oh, thank you God! You even sent me a Professional!'

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Rare Floridian Water Buffalo and other Wildlife

Is it getting warmer up there?
Sitting in my chair, looking at the scene before me, the morning breezes off the ocean have started.  It is beautiful, only 82.  It's late February.   I'm guessing Winter is done in South Florida.  It's supposed to go to 87.

Watching the mango tree blooms go from light to dark as the bees work their magic, I'm noticing other more subtle changes in the weather.   The flight of the North American Snowbird is in full force.  They've arrived and are walking through my neighborhood as if we're on the beach.  Yes, I have spotted the first bathing suit of the year walking down the drive toward the corner and beyond.

The rare Floridian Water Buffalo has shown itself as well.   Baggy shorts down too low to hide below its belly, the vast expanse of blubber to feed it through the slow season has been stored.  The slow season that never quite arrives, this particular Water Buffalo has taken up residence nearby guarding its valuables so prized that they may only be gotten from one single source here on this wild island, the City Government.  

What valuable could this be that the Floridian Water Buffalo be so carefully guarding?  It would be the giant blue vessel of course.  These vessels are to be left out only twice a week to be collected gently and set back down once emptied of their treasures of banana peels, palm fronds, and other household wastes.  The Water Buffalo wanders through his territory moving the giant blue vessel from high ground to low always guarding it while coveting other blue vessels.  He is to be feared in his frenetic maintenance of the blue vessel which may happen at any time of day, or night.

Once the Feared Floridian Water Buffalo disappears from view, peace reigns on this little slice of paradise.  Other more peaceful creatures can come out of hiding.  Species of Northern Snowbirds, fearful of leaving the safety of their waterholes will peek into our area unsure whether their welcome will be a good one.  Usually with odd songs of "eh?" and "aboot" they will come through, speeding and careening through at a high rate.  These Northern Snowbirds cause fear and consternation as we who are here all year have to watch for them.  Often they will simply melt away after visiting, and never to be seen again.

We have an interesting collection of wildlife here.  Some are even four legged.  They can be the most fearful beasts ever.  Having originated in places like Mexico and the British Midlands, their size belies their fury.  These can be the most aggressive of the species as they will charge you when you are on your peaceable rounds because their leaders generally are not the best in controlling them.  Beware the small and fierce as they may bite your ankles!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hypothyroidism in my old McNab Dog Lettie 3 weeks on

Back at the beginning of the month we loaded Mrs Dog into the Jeep and took her to the Family Pet Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale for her shots and annual checkup.  They drew blood, she was stressed but all in all if you're in South Florida this is the vet you need to have for your dog.

A couple nights later, I got a call from Dr Glass saying that I should come in tomorrow.  Mrs Dog had a "text book" case of early stages of Hypothyroidism.   It was common in an older dog and she'll survive well and may just rebound.  I went silent and took in the information, it was a bit much to take in at 845 when the dog walk was looming but we dealt with it.

Three weeks on, I've got a dog who has more energy back than I remembered her having for a couple years.  She has her will back too, which means that sometimes she tells me she wants the walk cut short by pulling me toward the house when we get to the end of a block.   I have a habit of walking her 3 miles a day, and sometimes she just doesn't want to do all that. 

Her hearing had improved too.  In fact greatly.  I had given her hearing up for a loss before the appointment thinking that maybe the vet could help, maybe there was a clot of something in the ears that could be coaxed out but didn't really hold out much hope.   Oddly enough I was shown recently just how much better her hearing had gotten.

She has a couple soft toys, in fact outside of the nearly empty peanut butter jar or rubber kong we've got here, she doesn't care for hard toys.  Her favorite is a small green frog with a squeaker in it.  She tends to keep that palm sized thing near her mat when she sleeps and when it is gone, she'll look for it.

Wednesday I tossed it into the laundry with some things that needed the "Superhot Sterilize" cycle on the washer since it was starting to have a definite fragrance.

She noticed.

When I pulled it out of the washer, she was there, watching me put it in the dryer.

When it came out of the dryer she wasn't in the room.  Her hearing is better, not perfect and she hadn't followed me out immediately.  She was standing out in the kitchen looking through the laundry room sniffing the air that flowed through the house in the cool breezes that are here this time of year when I squeaked that toy.   She couldn't see me, but she did step into the room and sniffed the air looking at me.  One more squeak proved that she could hear that noise.

So today, my lazy old soul was half asleep and we tried the squeaky frog again. 

One squeak and an ear perked slightly.
One more squeak and the ear perked upright.
A third and the ear found the source and she lifted the head.

Smart girl.  Decide if you want it when you're comfortable and your bones are telling you it's not exactly comfortable to move.

So basically she's on the pill a meal club for the rest of her days.

Her energy is better.
Hearing is better.
She is sleeping less.
She is acting like she is less achy.

I'm sure there are more symptoms that she's got but basically I've got "more" of her back now.   The benefit is that those little pink pills aren't nasty tasting and she just gobbles it down with her food.  None of that wrap it in bologna and hope for the best nonsense.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being Watched By My Outdoor Pets - Picture

It seems that there are beady little eyes everywhere watching me.   They are getting bolder.  My Ring Neck Doves have graduated from the Tiki Bar under the Lanai to the chair next to the kitchen window and the Bougainvillea behind the Florida Room. 

Instead of them just hanging out at the bar like so many people do here in Wilton Manors, these doves have found that they can hide between the Bougainvillea and the house.  Since I don't pester them, they tend to be there all day when they need a rest, and leave when it is time for feeding.

I don't mind the company, in fact I'm thinking that I will have to clear a spot so Oscar the Parrot can hang with them too.  Might get him to stop tearing up the cage when he's bored.

They seem to be a couple, and have been coming back to the bar just before my lunch every day.  Very predictable when the windows are closed. 

They are the best kind of house guests, they stay outside, they're quiet, and you don't have to wash the sheets after they've gone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bikini Babes in the F-ing Bar

Living in a resort town, and this is definitely a resort town, you get to see some rather amusing escapades.  No matter what, if you have a chance, come on down for a visit, it can be fun to watch the tourists have their own little slice of heaven.

Sometimes you just want those tourists to go home, back over the river and off the island.  Other times you just want them to chill out.

You'll see what I mean here.

You see last night on our evening dog walk, we took a long lap around town.  We walked past Hagen Park and as we neared the Wilton Towers, we saw a commotion.  Then the commotion fell out of the building and saw us.

It was one of those laugh out loud then grab the pepper spray moments you sometimes see when someone's not exactly having a good time managing reality.

Falling out of the main doors of the Wilton Towers was a rather pretty young thing.  A brown haired babe, beautiful woman with long hair in a tropical floral style bikini.

Now, if you were out last night with us on the dog walk you'd have thought why is this beautiful woman stumbling out of a tower block of apartments into the cold February chill?   This being Wilton Manors, Florida, "cold" is a relative thing, but I think even those in Anchorage Alaska will admit that 64F or so is too cold to be outside on a breezy night with the wind off the ocean.

Nudging Mrs Dog onwards we were entertained.  I laughed and that was when her ire was directed at us.

You see, this particular woman, beautiful though she may be, was an unhappy wench.   She was most likely "impaired" as she was stumbling around on the darkened street in bare feet screaming more F Bombs than the Germans had dropped on London during the Blitz.

Naughty girl then looked at us and said loud enough so we could hear even if we were a block and a half away "F" You Too!.   I mean she was LOUD.  Who knew that such a little thing could make that much noise.

Well, she was someone's baby once, and now she's all grown up and learning how to party like the big girls.

Wilton Towers is rather close to the South end of Wilton Drive.  Between her and traffic was only the laundromat.  She's stumbling her way forward and shrieking F Bombs at everyone, telling them that they can F themselves, and having a great deal of trouble remaining upright.  Whatever she was on, it wasn't alcohol since her F's were perfectly unslurred.

View Larger Map

I turn to Kevin and laugh and say she's heading for the drive, I hope she doesn't end up a hood ornament when she disappears around the corner and in front of the Tropics bar.

Thanks to distance, the F's got quieter so we knew she was still alive.   Looking for her we rounded the corner.  After all, being entertained by a little babe throwing Fs is one thing, having her come at you, your partner, or your 11 year old dog was entirely another.

When we rounded the corner we were able to see her bikini bottom just disappear into the outside bar of Tropics.  Apparently this Floor Show was going to entertain the older gentlemen there.

We took the time to wander up past her and into the City Hall Police Desk and fill in the woman at the desk about our entertainment for the night.

I don't know how it all ended up, but the person at the desk agreed with a laugh and wrote down the particulars and handled it professionally.

I wonder what kind of fun we'll see tonight?  It's a Tuesday night so it should be a quiet one, but living in a resort town means that quiet can be a very different thing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

No Thanks, Rip Off Texaco, Competition is Cheaper

I drive a Jeep Wrangler.  They're thirsty beasts when they are driven.  It is 11 years old and it has 42000 miles on it.  I don't drive much.  When I do drive, I do enjoy the car.  They're fun to drive and if the weather is nice the roof comes off the thing and I have even more head room.   Being as tall as I am, head room is important.

Today I was out driving around, not exactly something I do often.  He decided that he was hungry and the fuel light came on.  Jeep Wranglers are "he", especially when they're dark colors...

Coming through Fort Lauderdale and back to Wilton Manors, I thought I'd watch prices since I walk past the Texaco station at NE 9th Ave and Wilton Drive enough with the dog to know that today the gas price was and is 3.67 a gallon.

View Larger Map

That was the going rate elsewhere so I thought I may as well just stop there and get gas before going home.

Pulling into the Forecourt, I went through the motions of feeding the gas pump my American Express card and entering my zip code when I noticed that this particular pump was confused.  It had added 8 cents a gallon to the price because I was not using cash or a Texaco card.

So I left since I don't have Stupid tattooed on my forehead and wasn't willing to pay 3.75 a gallon.

Cursing the whole way and being convinced that it was this particular Texaco that liked to charge too much in the convenience store for all its items and that I never went there anyway because it was too damn expensive, I drove the .4 miles down to the Valero station on NE 26th Street and got gas there.   Same price, 3.67 a gallon.  No surcharge.

View Larger Map

False Economy?  No, I did the math, I came out slightly ahead.  Average MPG 16.82 since I had the roof off for a quarter of the tank and that turns the Jeep into a gas guzzler.  .8 miles distance at 3.67 cost me 17 cents.

Had I realized that the same rip off Texaco was ripping people off by charging another 8 cents a gallon for credit cards just like it tacks a dollar onto items like the Quicky Mart on the Simpsons, I would have stopped somewhere else on the way instead of driving the extra distance to get there.

I won't any more.  Should have known better, that place has a bad reputation as it is.  I was warned when I moved here 6 years ago to avoid the place.  Yet another reason why.

Yeah it's a rant.  Then again a rant once in a while is good for the soul.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Men Are Just Happier People - Humor

I'm not so sure about this list but I have seen some of this at times.   Especially the Bathroom thing.   Women have freaky stuff in the bathroom!

So thanks to Diane, I've got some more reasons why Men should be Happier People.   See if you agree!

Men Are Just Happier People

If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman.

When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel.
The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I Want - Humor

 My good friend Velma back in Philadelphia had gotten busy and sent me a couple of emails this week.  This one is a list of what "I" want in a man.  I wonder what she's trying to tell me?  Hmmm And just where would you fit on that list folks?

What I want in a Man, Original List
1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)
1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 42)
1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)
1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
5. Doesn't re-tell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off the couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 62)
1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6.. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Two Years To Bloom - Picture

It used to be that I just could not grow orchids.  Of course, I moved 1200 miles south and now it seems I just have to be patient.

The nurseries up there understand how difficult it is to get these plants to flower in a climate that would freeze them solid in winter so you just won't find seedlings, or find many of them.  Normally you will find full plants in bloom and those will be mostly the ones that are easier to bloom like the Phalaenopsis.

Perhaps that has changed in the years since I have been gone.  After all some people do like challenges.

I put this particular seedling on the irrigation stream around two years ago.  Orchids don't grow quickly so I thought I'd have something interesting taking its time and a little green on a grey fence. 

This winter it was a happy plant.   I noticed around New Year this little stalk growing with a ball on the end of it that looked nothing like the thin green leaves you see here.   It has avoided iguanas, survived heat and drought and decided to grace me with these yellow blooms.  This Vanda is a plant I just would not have attempted before moving here.  It's still a surprise when I can walk outside and see these beauties here.  In my own back yard!

Just don't tell the iguanas they are here.  The plants would be gone in an eye-blink.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carnitas in a Crock Pot - Recipe

I'm a fan of Pork.  It wasn't something that Mom or Dad made when I was growing up.  I didn't even have Chinese food until I was 17.  Mexican food came around the same time, and it was what we were used to in South Jersey and Philly area at the time, the Tex Mex stuff that's easy to find.

Now that traditional Mexican cuisine is becoming more available, I'm discovering that I like it much more than the old Tex Mex that you'd need fire prevention gear to eat.   Savory but not spicy.

When I would go to a Mexican restaurant, I'd look for Carnitas.  Slow cooked pork with some seasoning that is typically served on a tortilla.  It became a bit of an obsession with me.  Scan the menu, look for Carnitas, and have it served, typically as a Tostada

Since I have time to do this sort of thing, cooking Carnitas is a long time "Background" sort of task, I thought I might try to do it myself and look for either a crock pot recipe or a very simple one.  Found it, first time out.  "Right on one". 

The recipe is dead simple.

Get crock pot set up.
Get Pork, I used tenderloin but traditionally more fatty cuts are used like Boston Butt.
Season Pork with a spice mixture used as a dry rub.
Set Pork in Crock Pot.
Pour Chicken Broth around the Pork taking care not to wash off the dry rub.
Press Slow and 10 hours and flip the Pork after 5 hours.

The recipe is promisingly flexible because we will be trying this one with chicken at some point. 

I made this yesterday.   The house still smells faintly of a pleasant spice mixture that didn't get over-masked until I roasted some decaf for a friend just a half hour ago. 

Remember, this is savory food, not what I would call spicy at all.  

After it was cooked I sampled it and thought it was one of the best Pork meals I have ever made.  I wasn't sure if it was "Accurate" or "Authentic" since it was so simple to make so I brought over a pound of the stuff to my neighbor Lisa.  She said I nailed it and told me that since she already had dinner in the oven she was not going to tell her son Bill about it until AFTER dinner.  She wanted some for herself!

Ok, Simple Recipe:

Spice Mixture:

  • 1 Teaspoon Salt - omit if chicken broth is not low sodium
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crumbled Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Mix above until Even.  I used a coffee mug and a teaspoon. 

Main Ingredients:

  • 4 Pounds Pork Tenderloin, Boston Butt or similar meat
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth - Preferably Low Sodium

  • Rub Spice Mixture onto the Raw Pork.
  • Add to the crock pot two Bay Leaves.
  • Set Pork on top of Bay Leaves.
  • Pour Chicken Broth carefully on the edges of the Pork taking care not to wash the Spice Rub off of the meat.
  • Cover crock pot and cook on low for 10 hours or until the meat flakes easily with a fork.
  • Turn the meat at 5 hours.
  • When Meat is Cooked (I used a thermometer and tested for 160F), shred with fork in the liquid to allow the meat to be moistened if you desire.
  • Serve and enjoy, we did!  It REALLY was that simple!

Pretty simple, huh?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Carnita in the Kitchen, Ants in the Chocolate

Sitting atop the newspaper stand were two roses in almost pristine condition.  A simple removal of a few petals and it made someone very happy when they were discovered before this morning's shower. 

They sat on the bathroom vanity looking beautiful in a glass carafe.  

I heard the AWWWWW! before I was sure what it was, then I realized I had made someone I care for deeply very happy.  The day after Valentine's Day with a small gesture can be a wonderful thing.

Time moves forward.  Looking at my watch, I realize that the time was perfect to make a recipe I have been craving for a while.  You see, I've got a definite liking for Pork.  Anthony Bourdain is correct, Pork is a Gift From The Gods.  I'm learning different ways to make it.  

If you don't like it, you have never had Pork cooked to perfection by my wonderful neighbor, Lisa.   She has her spice mixture that she uses, goes out and gets a Boston Butt and roasts it until it is absolutely perfect.  That night, she has been bringing me over a plate full of Pork and Veg, and it has been going on a while now.  We trade recipes across the drive, I bake, she cooks, and it's a wonderful exchange of warmth from the kitchen.

When I go to a Mexican restaurant, I look for Carnita on the menu.  It's a savory dish, not overly spiced like some of that Tex-Mex stuff that people tell me I have to like, or the stuff you see when you go to a fast food place like where food goes to die with a plastic bell on the roof.   No thanks, I'll pass on those Tacos.

Carnita is a dish with various spices, slow cooked, and served on various tortillas with sides.  When you have it at a "true Mexican" restaurant, it is cooked Light and Tasty with minimal fat and grease.   Luckily the Mexicans who have come to the United States have begun to reclaim their national dishes and share them with us El Yanqui.

I went for an easy recipe and found one for the crock pot.  It's in the kitchen now.  I will probably write about that later.   The preparation took me about 10 minutes.  

As I was rubbing down the four pound Pork Tenderloin I was feeling all warm and fuzzy and realized that I had a big Valentine Heart of Chocolate sitting in the bedroom.   I keep chocolate in the bedroom because when I'm home it is further than where I tend to sit.  After all, they do tend to be high calorie, so I limit myself.

Walking past the Bathroom Roses into the bedroom, I opened the box.  Smiling I reached for a buttercream and immediately realized I had made a big mistake.

Ants had found it.

You see one of the things you are told when you are coming from a Cold Climate like Philadelphia and moving to the technically Semi-Tropical climate of South Florida is that you never leave food out unsealed.   Wrap it, freeze it, can it, jar it but never leave food out in the open.   The paper box heart that was so heartwarming was no barrier, the Ants were beginning to attack the chocolates.

Stupid mistake!

There went the warm and fuzzies.   The chocolate heart went into the trash outside, the chocolates themselves are in the freezer waiting for me to decide whether they've been tainted or not.  Now there's a little orange square of ant bait sitting on my high boy dresser getting ready to feed those little brown monsters.

That's it no more chocolate in the bedroom, self-restraint will have to win on its own. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Ganache Recipe and How Not To Use It

The reality is that the name "Ganache" is off putting.  It is a technique of softening chocolate so that it can be used as a filling for Truffles.   Truffles are nothing more than Ganache that has been cooled down, rolled into a ball and coated with something so that you can handle it.  Typically either cocoa powder or dipped in a standard mix of chocolate.

Chocolate melts at 86F.  You are 98.6F roughly.  Chocolate melts on you.  Ganache will melt faster.

Chocolate Ganache is Chocolate that has been melted in cream in a 2 to 1 ratio.   Pretty simple, right?

If you reduce the cream, you get a firmer Ganache.   If you increase it past 1 to 1 you get soup eventually.   2 to 1 is the ratio I see everywhere.

First get a saucepan.  I use a 2 quart saucepan.  If you are Imperial Measurement Impaired think 2 Liters.  Roughly the same. 

Fill the saucepan around 1/2 way and put a medium to low heat under it.   You do not want the water to boil, a nice even warm is needed, maybe a little bit of bubbles forming on the bottom but more than that is overkill.

While the saucepan full of water is warming, find a smaller saucepan that will fit inside the larger one.  You will want that smaller one to float on top of the larger one and don't let the water overflow.

Now, just what are you going to do with all this water?  Melt chocolate.   If you are using the stuff to dip cookies like in the picture, remember this is a recipe that gives you a higher moisture result that may make the cookies a little soggy so you'll want to serve them quickly or chill immediately after dipping.   If you're going to make truffles, you will chill the ganache when you're done and use a melon baller to make the little balls to be coated later.

Add to the small sauce pan 1 cup or 1/4 liter of chocolate chips.   If you like the chocolate, you will like it as a ganache.  If it tastes cheap, then get some new chocolate.   Dark chocolate is best since you're going to be adding cream to it.

Add to the chocolate chips 1/2 cup or 1/8 liter of heavy cream.   The heavy cream is full of fat and will taste better than milk but I have used 2% milk to make ganache.  If you don't tell I won't.

Stir the chips and cream together until silken.  Remove from heat and use for dipping or chill to allow for "balling" and coating later.

It really is that simple.

Now "How Not To Use It".   Simple, Ganache is not like your garden variety chocolate bar.   It is silky and has a very quick melt since the added cream will allow the chocolate to be a softer consistency.   Don't use it to dip anything you want to be firm and dry that may take up the moisture - like the cookies in the picture above. 

If you want to dip cookies in chocolate, then try just the chips in the method above.  Leave out the cream.

The other thing is that the ganache will find a way to get onto your hands since it has a consistency very similar to cake icing.  I've used the ganache to ice a cake, and it takes some fiddling with the recipe to get it to work.  The result is a very bold tasting icing since you're basically using dark chocolate to ice a cake.

So if you're pressed for time, it took me about 10 minutes to get the ganache, another 10 to dip the cookies, and 10 to chill.  Say 30 minutes total.  Since Chocolate and Valentine's Day seem to go together perfectly, you're probably already late unless you've started.  You may want to slip out and get a pound box of candy and skip the kitchen.  Don't forget a card and maybe some flowers.   Good luck, you're partner deserves it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Redundant Rainbows in Wilton Manors - Picture

This comes from the "In The Right Place At The Right Time" Collection.

The other day as the rains were waning, I was on the phone with a good friend in Key West who is planning on a trip here this week.  I don't know that that that will actually happen, he has been trying to get here since June and it keeps getting delayed.

While on the phone, talking about the weather, the rain clouds opened up with a deluge.   Since the sun was still in the sky I knew that there was a rainbow in the making.

This being Wilton Manors, Rainbows could be considered a bit redundant, but the positioning was just right.  I managed to walk onto the grass in front of this house and get the picture of the rainbow over top of this flag.

The "PACE" on the flag means that it is an Italian Peace Flag, and not a Pride flag.  If you would like to read more about that, you can find the Wikipedia page here.

In the case of this particular Peace Flag, it was a happy coincidence.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why Men Are Never Depressed - Humor

I think Diane was trying to tell me to cheer up one day.  She sent this one along to help brighten the day so I've decided to share it with you.   Some of it's very true... on the other hand, I've never shopped for Xmas on the 24th of December in a gas station.   Personally I try to avoid shopping from Thanksgiving until the New Year.  Too many amateurs there!

Men Are Just Happier People --
What do you expect from such simple creatures?
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack...
You can be President.
You can never be pregnant.
You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
The world is your urinal.
You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Same work, more pay.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.
People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you,
He or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough..
You almost never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes..
Everything on your face stays its original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life.
One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Three Ears of Corn - Humor

This one I found while doing some reading.  Shouldn't do that, it gets you in trouble and helps you find bad jokes to use for the weekends.

Since I was told that last weekend's jokes were "Corny" I thought this might be more appropriate.  Hey someone laughed to it... So make some popcorn and enjoy!

On her deathbed, an old woman tells her husband of 60 years he can finally open the chest at the foot of their bed, which had been off limits to throughout their marriage.

To his surprise he finds it stuffed with cash and, oddly, three ears of corn.

“Why are there three ears of corn in here?” he asks.

She replied, “Dear I have been unfaithful to you, and each time I placed an ear of corn in that chest.”

“I forgive you” said the husband “but where did all that money come from?”

With her last breath, she explained “Every time I got a full bushel of corn, I sold it.”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dog Vs Mustang

Last week I got a new toy.

Rarely, when I can win one, I get a box of "random crap" from a website.  You pay $8 and they toss in whatever they think they want to get rid of.  You wait about 3 weeks and the box arrives.  It's a little like your birthday.  Sometimes you get socks, other times you get something that you need but never knew you wanted.

I've always gotten a lot more than the $8 so that is why I try for them.  Money is tight but I've always been able to give away more than the $8 that I paid for simply by getting rid of the extra stuff I didn't want.

Last time I got a car.  Not a big one, one of those silly battery powered toys that eat up batteries.  This one takes 7 AA batteries.  Luckily I have that many rechargeable batteries in the house.  It took me a while to find enough batteries that would take the charge and power this beast of a yellow car, but once they were charged, I had to try it out.

So lets see.  Aging Mc Nab Dog being curious what Dad is doing.  Dad is a big kid.  Floor is clear of wires and other obstacles but the furniture is still in the room.   Car is about as long as your forearm.

Dog is still curious.

Power on car.
Power on controller.

Dog sniffs car.

Pull back gently on controller.
Nothing happens.

Pull back a little more.

Hilarity ensues.

First it turns out that this toy has no middle speed.   When the so-called engineer made this thing, they didn't realize that two speeds, on and off, weren't exactly useful.

Oh sure, it has on and off and backwards and forwards, but that means it basically had all the control of the real thing ... on ice.

Secondly that dog.   She's older, at 11, and slowing down, but she had a Good Day.

Pull back the lever on the control gingerly and all the sudden the contact inside the controller fired off.

The car ripped tire, then started to move loudly.

So did the dog.

Luckily for the car, it was too large for her to grip as it shot out from under her.   Turning the steering wheel made for another realization.  It turned all the way to the side or not at all.

Turning that steering wheel meant the car, now going at a fast running pace, whipped around crazily, knocked over the recycling bin, pulled under the dog.   The dog taking this as a personal affront decided to try to herd the yellow beast and barked at it while giving it the McNab Dog Stare.

Yellow electric cars having no care for a dog's sense of order continued to spin around in tight circles under the dogs feet until she jumped straight up into the air to around her height all the while barking and knocking the junk from the display shelves in the room divider.

That noise meant that yours truly turned around to see what fell, nothing broke, and then back to the dog in an eye blink.   The steering wheel at the mean time had been released and the car broke from its tight circles to wedge itself under the coffee table.   Mind you, the coffee table is elevated so it had to do some sort of Dukes of Hazard trick to jump into the air two inches off the ground.

The dog was still angry at the evil yellow beast, and tried to catch the car.

By this time, I had slipped my finger off of the car's speed "control" and the car stopped resting on top of the laptop that had been closed there.

I could see that this would not be an ideal place to play with an electric car that the dog did not like.

There is a term called "Fitness of Purpose".  It's an old concept that says when you buy something, it should do what is advertised.   The car did, the human was a bit confused as to what that exactly was meant to be so it was time to have a change of plans.


That same car that careened madly over the "slightly" cluttered floor was much better suited for being brought outside.  Outside was the driveway and the street in front of the house.  One difference.  Even on it's best day, a street is nowhere near as smooth as a floor with wall to wall Florida Tiles.  The car drove over pebbles as if they were boulders, cracks were as potholes, dimples filled with a drop of water became lakes.

Sure, once it got to the street, it could be controlled better but the dog still didn't like it.  She was chasing after it again and finally decided to sit down next to me and give it the stink-eye.  It didn't move all that quickly across the street since the 1/12th scale pebbles were slowing it down and it drove more like my Jeep does over a washboarded dirt road.

It decided that it had had enough of driving around when it's "generous" 10 meter range was reached.  It stopped dead in the middle of the street, and a truck was approaching.

My inner 12 year old child decided at this time, it was best to take this yellow thing back into the house before the big red "whistle truck" turned it into a crunched pile of yellow plastic.   That would please the dog but disappoint the moose that owned the thing.

All in all, well worth the $8 price of admission.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Early Start on Running From The Noise

Rain on the shutters, again, was the first thing I remember when I awoke bolt upright at 5 AM.  Sunrise wasn't for another two hours.  Trying but failing to fall back into slumber, I reached over for the phone to check the radar and it was going to rain for a while.

The next thing I was surprised to see in the gloom of the morning and the glare of the little screen was a wet black nose. 

How on Earth does this dog know when I wake up?

After petting her for a bit, I gathered my senses and decided it was time to get up and move with the day.  An extra 30 minutes at this time would be helpful. 

Pull apart the bed and throw the linens into the washer.
Pick up the wires and close the doors in the house.
Get all the odds and ends off the floors and get the Roomba going.

The floors had packs of chihuahuas worth of fur rolling around, it had been busy this week and it only takes two days for dog fur to begin to find places to hide.

The problem is that that Roomba is loud.  At "before 6AM" it would be slamming into doors, growling and getting under the furniture.  Basically turning into an electronic nuisance.

Hey I don't mind that, it's getting the vacuuming done and I can be out walking the dog while it is happening.

Problem one.  Mrs Dog Doesn't Care For The Rain.   She doesn't hate it, she just doesn't see the point in being outside in the rain when you're an 11 plus year old dog.  We walked around just my block which is 1/2 mile almost exactly and got back to the house when Problem Two showed its head.

Problem two.  The house was silent.   After the 15 or so minute walk, the Roomba should be steadily annoying the parrot by making a growling path around the cage and banging into furniture.  It didn't.  It got stuck.   That means that it would have to start all over again.   With a full charge, I was going to have to listen to that thing for at least another half hour.

That also meant that before 7 AM I was giving the world a parrot song concert of squawks, growls, and HELLO!s. 

Sorry folks... 7AM came and the noise was still going on.  After roasting the coffee, grinding, and brewing the first mug in the French Press, I had to hide.

I have a 4 hour routine of banging against the job boards each morning.  Every Morning including Holidays, I'm busy at work looking for permanent work.   It is around 30 hours a week, and varies somewhat but it is a steady drain.  The morning is shot surfing the job boards and sending out resumes and ignoring phone calls from recruiters with strange out of town phone numbers that are almost universally calling from India. 

Settling into the Florida Room with mug of coffee and laptop, I sat down next to Mrs Dog on her mat.   The Roomba then shortly thereafter stopped its growling and was done banging into furniture.  It had finished its job and was charging.   My feet were up on the couch, shhh, don't tell Mom! 

The Silence was deafening.

The Ambient Noise became apparent in a beautiful symphony.  Chords of rain dancing on the tin roof.  Sheets of water dancing on the pool surface.   The irrigation system wheezing to life and quietly whispering water onto the orchids hanging from the fence.  White Noise in Wilton Manors Back Yard opus 134.

I'd managed to get through the first fifth of the job search when I was interrupted.  The magic was broken by an insistent beeping from the washer.  Time to get up and deal with that while starting a second batch of coffee roasting and finish on breakfast.   Growling from the Roomba was replaced by a louder more purposeful growling from the Popcorn Popper that was roasting the coffee.

Of course the parrot joined in.  The brief spell of the tone poem of the back yard was broken, it was time to continue the day. 

Settling back into the chair by the door wasn't quite the same.   The irrigation system was silent.  The rain had stopped and now the dog had went from merely napping to a full on snore that you could hear in every room of the house.

The magic was done.  Time to head back to the regular seat by the window and get back to work.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy 20th Anniversary

There is so much to say but we've said it to each other before:

I've lived with you longer than anyone including my family.

I've known you longer than just about anyone.

We've been through ups and downs that rival anything you'd find at an amusement park.  I think the Log Flume is ready to climb and I'm sure we can find some cake later!

It has been so long that we had to look at an old calendar to verify the date.  Birthday, Anniversary, Valentines day each a week apart for all this time.  Rhythm of life establishing itself, getting unsettled, then always reestablishing itself again.  Challenges are never really that difficult because of your help.

Thank you for 20 truly amazing years.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Problem Solving In The Rain

The first thought I had this morning was that it was raining.

I heard it through the windows, through the earplugs and through the dark of the predawn hour. 

After reaching for the phone to check the weather radar I realized it would be a wet walk.

One thing you learn when you have an active breed dog like a Mc Nab Dog, or many others, is that you are going to go out into the weather regardless of what it is doing out there.   Be Prepared.  Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Mottoes aside,  you're going to take that dog out or you're going to have to deal with the chaos that will ensue.  Besides, not only will the dog benefit from the exercise but so will you.  Look down at your waist and no matter what I bet you will agree.

Gathering up the dog after I threw on some shorts and a T Shirt, this is Florida and February after all, I went out to inspect the weather.   Usually I let her go out and water the yard before feeding her, but not today.  She wasn't having any of that foolishness.   She looked up at me then turned and walked inside.

You didn't know a dog could talk did you?

She did.  I fed her and then got her leash.   She will go out in the rain even if I don't want to.  Our normal morning walk is a solid mile and a quarter, 2 KM worth of wandering, sniffing, and pushing palm fronds aside.  It takes around 45 minutes and usually is through the Central Business District here in Wilton Manors. 

We set out on a normal route, with me holding an aging golf umbrella against the slowing rain, Lettie sniffing the same spots she usually does.  Just like clockwork, she did her normal morning business and waited for me to get out plastic bag and remove the offense from the pea gravel in front of a neighbor's home.

When I stood up, flashlight removed from my mouth and umbrella at the ready I noticed that I was being spoken to.  Today was different, I had left my MP3 player at home so I wasn't walking with a series on British History playing in my ears, today I was being spoken to by the dog.

Lettie had just been to the Vet this weekend and one of the things they did was to clean her ears out "professionally".  It must have had an effect because her hearing is better.   She's 11 years old, it isn't perfect but she is reacting to me and my babbling.  I thought why not test it out.  

Lettie was also facing away from our usual walk.  While not still looking at the house, she wasn't looking like she wanted to do any more of this.   We had only walked half way down the block, maybe only 500 feet, but I knew this was not going to be a normal one.

"Show Me!" I said, "Lettie, Show Me!".

6:45 in the morning, the neighbors were beginning to leave for work, the rain was steady but lessening and I'm talking to a "Senior" dog in front of their house.

"Lettie, OK Girl, Show Me!"

Come On Grandma, show me you can still hear.

Just like that, she looked up, then back toward the house and kept going.   We were on the way home.  No more of this rain, she was saying, I'm too old for this and you look silly in shorts and a T Shirt and the dreaded long white socks.

Taking five steps, she looked up at me with those big brown eyes and smiled that gap mouthed doggie smile as if to say "Good, you can still hear" and we walked home.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Look Of Fear

This Weekend I did a terrible thing,

I took Mrs Dog to the Vet.

It was time for her shots, her annual poke and prod and time for a general exam.

She didn't care for it.  You see, a Mc Nab Dog has a "Soft" Personality.   There are things she just doesn't do well with like, say, Personal Maintenance or generally anything outside of the ordinary. 

That is to say anything outside of the ordinary is "Weird" and she doesn't like "Weird".

The preparation is simple.  Confuse her.  Get her all wound up and excited and tell her we're going for a RIDE! then stop off at the Vet's.   A Week or two early.  Mind you, I use an amazing vet.  They saved her life twice.  She had seizures twice in her life and was basically on life support for a couple days until she was able to shake it off enough to be able to come back home.   Then it was a month of therapy which consisted of me feeding her steroids and "walking" her by holding her up by the harness and letting her weak and wobbly legs do the rest.   The damage cleared and we're now into our third "Bonus" year.  

It has left her afraid of the vet and probably rightly so.  All that happened and it's been a while, but she's not exactly a fan of the place. 

I am a huge fan of Family Pet Medical Center on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.  Dr Gonzales and Dr Glass are great people and treated all of us well when we went through all of that.  They're on Facebook too just like everyone is these days.

This year wasn't a big deal, it was more of her just being cranky.  After all we were returning to "The Scene Of The Crime". 

Of course we had to get there an hour before the appointment could be filled.  We sat and watched the trippy TV that was trying to die, and she just wanted none of this.

I practically had to drag her into the waiting room, then when I sat down she became Vector Dog.  She'd try to be as far away from any other dog and as close to the door as possible at the same time.   Hard to explain that particular episode but believe me, an insistent 49 Pound Dog can figure a way to do that.

So we wait.   They had on the dog show on the TV that was dying.  It was giving me and the others there vertigo since it was weird trippy trails of color on the screen that sometimes settled down to a picture, only to get swooped away into another realm of trails of blue.  Consider it a radio program with two demented presenters.

When we got up to go in to the waiting room, she again was trying to squeeze through the door crack.  It looked so sad that I snapped that picture above.  She's putting on a brave face but none of us believed it.

When it came time for attention, our grumbling girl got the muzzle treatment.  Just easier that way especially since I use one of those cloth muzzles for her when I have to give her a bath.

I think what happens in those kind of situations where you're there and the dog is being prodded you can take two attitudes.  One of just let it happen, two would be get involved.   The latter probably makes things more complex and takes longer but that's what we did.  Who knows whether it helped her or not but it helped me get through that.

70 thousand mile/11 year check up all done, she's good for another year.  Three for the rabies shots. 

Getting her home that day was a big change in personality.   All weekend she was glued to me like 49 pounds of fear fur.  If I got up to go into another room, she was there like a shot.   If she didn't notice me leave, it was going to be her obsessing until she sniffed me out. 

Yes, she turned into a very loyal tower of jello.  That's not a bad thing, but it did mean that she had a weekend of finding where she could stare at me as she laid down and would fall asleep.   With her hearing going I came to the conclusion it was a toss up as to whether or not I should make a lot of noise for her to follow me or just to get up and do my thing quietly so she wasn't disturbed.

Not like I'm exactly the quietest thing on the planet, mind you.

Dogs can be a puzzle can't they?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Football and the Blonde - Humor

I guess this would be the perfect day to post this.  I won't be watching the Superbowl, too long, and it always seems like I'm watching one group of Millionaires fighting another to be the biggest group of Millionaires.  Plus I don't live in New England or New York.  


Out of all the blonde jokes, this one has to be the best!  Football FINALLY makes sense...........

A guy took his  girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked the experience.

'Oh, I really liked it,' she replied, 'especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents.'

Dumbfounded, her date asked, 'What do you mean?' 

'Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was: 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!'

I'm like.....Helloooooo? It's only 25 cents!!!!!!!!!!!'

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You Were In My Class - Humor

Somehow, all my friends seem to like to send me jokes about aging.  This one comes from Kevin... Careful pal, I know where you live!  :)

Sorry about the CAPS, that's how I got it!














Friday, February 3, 2012

This Year's Birthday D Cake Pictures and Hints

It's actually the same as last year's.   Every year I bake these cakes for Kevin.  It is his favorite cake, ever.  I make it faithfully to the recipe, and every year I get different results.   The reason is that every time I make the cake, something different and strangely wonderful happens to it. 

One year I forgot the baker's chocolate until the last moment and it had chunks and an interesting marbleizing effect through out when it decided to congeal as soon as it hit the batter.

One year it didn't quite turn out right and ended up uneven.  The Leaning Tower Of Cake.

Last year was the black icing cake.  

This year I got little pale "white" speckles throughout.  Interesting effect.   What happened was I got cocky and added the flour all at once then turned on the mixer.

There are two problems with that.

If you have ever turned a stand mixer on with flour in the bowl the word that describes the result best is ... "Pouf!".   Yes, a snowfall of epic proportions of a fine white dusting of flour over everything.   Pouf! goes the flour and you will be cleaning it all up sometime in the future.

The second was what caused the little white bits in the result.   It formed concrete along the bowl.   The cake flour bonded with the wet ingredients and made a yellowish layer of concrete on the bowl that I chipped off and turned the mixer onto.  Full speed.  It was more like a Pouf! followed by an interesting grinding action while ice floes of yellow concrete got blasted into little balls of sugary sweet goodness.

The cake ate well, we had the first layer as a D Cake the other day, and it even kept into the second day.  There are two more layers sitting in the freezer for when we're feeling the need for cake.   You can just make out the little speckles in the result here.

I do have two ideas for this cake.  One will be using a sweet chocolate to change the taste a little.  The other will be using un-melted chocolate chips.  After all, if you can't play with your food, why bother baking it yourself!

Just remember to add your flour slowly, a tablespoon or three at a time!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

If You Don't Talk To Your Dog About Beer, Who Will? - Picture

So very tragic.  This kind, dear, Senior Dog is now sleeping right next to the case of beer.   This, she thinks is her place.  Guarding the beer...

Actually it's one of those happy coincidences.  She has a habit of migrating her mat across the room, sometimes as much as 15 feet in a day.  I got up out of the chair when she was napping in a dog-ball, and was able to snap this picture.

Besides, she can't stand the smell of beer or any alcohol.  She recoils as if stung when she gives the stuff a sniff.  Maybe she's right.  

Still with a plate of fish and chips....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolatey Goodness at a Manageable Size

Yes, I right-sized a cake.

You see, a home made from scratch chocolate cake will not keep more than 2 days without turning dry and crumbly.   You really can't bring it back to life without a gallon of milk and even then it isn't great.

The recipe I use for cake will make two 9 inch layers or three 8 inch layers.  A while back I got another one of my patented brainstorms.  Why not freeze all but one layer and treat that last one as a cake?

One round layer didn't look right so I sliced it in half and made a two layer cake out of it.  Four generous slices made for a less-guilt birthday cake.

Since I made three layers and will make this cake into three separate "D" cakes, I'll get 12 slices out of it and not feel too bad about the results.  

Since it was half a cake or more like a third of a cake, we sang "Happy." and stopped.  Not the whole song, just the word "Happy".  It seemed enough.

The Jimmies are leftover from Halloween.  I've got this Warehouse Sized container of the things and they just don't get used up as fast as you'd expect.  There is enough for one or two more cakes at this rate.  D Cakes that is.

I've got the pictures of the before and during of the cake baking episodes so some day I may share the recipe.  It's really quite good even if every time I make the thing, I do it wrong but differently.

Happy Birthday just never quite says it enough when you have a freezer full of chocolate cake "discuses" wrapped in cling film.