Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spigot maintenance by Miller Lite!

Little known or understood by the non-beer drinking masses are cleanliness issues of those little spigot's from which bartenders, all across the nation, pour out a refreshing mug of beer!

Like anything else, beer spigots can become gem infested. Think about it, beer is a nutrient rich liquid and were I a microbe, I'd high tail it to the nearest orifice from which that wonderful nectar burst forth! After all, what self respecting microbe doesn't want to imbibe a brewski?

Enter the spigot maintenance personnel whose job it is to make sure the innards of each are pristine. As a frequent customer of a local bar and eatery aka Charlie's Rib Steak and Ale located in Forsyth Missouri, I've noticed only one spigot – the Miller Lite one, to be serviced on a regular basis. Here we see a gentleman named Cody cleaning and servicing the Miller Lite spigot. Those other beer brands? I'm not sure... I've never seen one actually being cleaned.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Random thoughts on food!

Is chili becoming a gourmet dish, cost wise?

Circa early October 2015. Here was the cost breakout for a pot of homemade chili:

Ground beef, 453 g $4.59
Petite tomatoes, 441 g $0.97
Red beans, 411 g $1.25
Williams chili mix $1.49

Total $8.30

Was this kind of expensive for a bowl of red? You betcha. I purchased my ingredients at a Country Mart grocery store located in Forsyth, Mo. I estimated there were about five servings at a per serving cost of $1.66. Ergo, homemade chili is still cheaper than buying it at a restaurant, but the margin is getting more narrow all the time! Note that back in 1970, a bowl of chili purchased at a diner cost only about fifty cents!

Stretching restaurant food!

Case in point: An order of ten chicken wings with fries and a tub of Ranch dressing. Cost $12.

Take home orders offer distinct advantages over eating at the venue. My purchase was also without tip, a savings of 15%! When I got it home, I broke up the order into three servings at a cost per serving of $4.00 with the Ranch dressing serving as a bonus that went on a simple salad I made myself! This was a win win as not only did I enjoy three great meals, but the smaller portions also helped to keep the calories at a manageable level!

Monday, September 28, 2015

FDA to issue rule requiring paper spoons, knives and forks!

After receiving complaints from numerous political action groups; the EPA has determined that some food services will no longer be allowed to use plastic knives, spoons and forks as part of their offerings. Citing both environmental and HLS concerns, the FDA has decreed that plastic utensils do indeed pose a 'clear and present danger' to the public. Additionally, the environmentalists state that plastic utensils are not a 'green' product, while the Homeland Security people feel that plastic can still potentially 'penetrate' a human body under extreme circumstances, and therefore should now be considered contraband by law!

In response, the EPA has now directed that all food services in 2016, who cater to select select mass transportation carriers, be required to serve only paper based utensils! And, while they freely admit that these items will be fragile in nature, they promised to issue pamphlets advising consumers to please 'eat rapidly'.

President Obama was said to have hailed this move as a 'fair, progressive and safe' direction for Americans and discouraged the hoarding of the plastic variety.Your friendly government is everywhere - protecting you from cradle to grave, whether you want them to or not!

Are the End Times coming?

It will be most enlightening if this last Harvest Moon eclipse does bring about the End Times as foretold in Bible in Acts 2:20 and Revelation 6:12....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shadowrock Park emeges from beneath the waves!

Forsyth MO - According to Forsyth City Supervisor, Chris Robertson, 'efforts were now underway' to clean up debris that were a result of flood conditions that affected two popular parks on the outskirts of the town.

Mr. Robertson went on to state that 'there are no plans to reopen the park for camping until next year'. He also implied that the barricades would remain in place in order to allow the ground under the roadways to thoroughly dry and thus prevent potential damage from vehicular traffic.The author of this post assumes that situation would also apply to Shadowrock's sister park, River Run, which is still mostly inundated as of late September.

At some point in time, during the fall, a public announcement will be made to request volunteers to help with the final cleaning. This will have to wait, according to Supervisor Robertson, until the park is completely dried out and the bathroom facilities can be made available. That could well be sometime after mid October, assuming we do not get any more significant rainfall.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Critique: Best Choice frozen beef patties!

As many of my readers might have already guessed, frozen beef patties run in a wide range, as to ease of preparation and overall taste. Schwan's fire grilled Angus beef steak burger #444 is one of the best I've ever prepared or eaten! They are fully cooked and are ready from the microwave in a matter of minutes! Other frozen burgers required time to cook, either in a frying pan, broiled or from the grill. This offering from Best Choice is of the latter variety, but, not by much!

While I do not remember what I paid for these burgers, Value Mart sells them online for $18. Each patty is advertised to be a quarter pound or about 113 grams. That comes to about 1.3 cents per gram while Schwan's came in at 2.5 cent a gram! So, if the cost is a valid factor, it's established that perhaps the Best Choice burgers maybe not as high a quality as those offered by Schwan's on a gram for gram basis.

I choose to prepare my burger in a stainless steel frying pan on an induction plate. (I choose this arrangement due to the fact that induction cooking uses way less electricity that a regular stove top would). I also used a bit of Mrs. Dash steak seasoning. The directions were not very clear as they indicated you needed to cook the meat until the temperature had exceeded 165 degrees. If you don't happen to have a handy dandy meat thermometer, then you are forced to guess. I went ahead and guessed.

After cooking for a number of minutes, I allowed the meat to 'rest' on a paper towel for about a minute. I used that time to slice some onion and grab a few leaves of Romaine lettuce. Then, with some mustard and ketchup slathered on and a side of broccoli, I took a bite...

The taste was not all that bad. Mind you, it was not as good as the meat from Schwan's (could have been the seasoning), but definitely very edible. I gave it a 7 on a scale of 10. And after the package is used up, I'll have a decision to make, won't I.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My stir fry attempt number 812!

'Making a great beef stir fry is not a piece of cake. I get that! This is especially true, if you are going for a truly winning recipe!' DanO Demento circa 2015

OK, so this was going to be my stir fry attempt number 812. (Please dear reader, just don't fault me for trying). At the ripe old age of 65, I was still bravely carrying forth a culinary effort originally begun at the tender age of 15. And yes, while my peers were moving on to Junior High, and then to High School and even college; I was existing in a damp basement with only a Janis Ian record, a dented wok and an old propane grill for company! At night, I'd scrounge around in back alley dumpsters for bits of green pepper and other edible odds and ends. Most days, my stir fry efforts were an abysmal failure. I remember once on the 70's, while in a drug induced stupor and listening to Jimi Hendrix, I'd assembled a truly nightmarish mix! It contained only some chunks of meat, Worcestershire sauce and chopped cantaloupe... seriously? Hey, I was surviving back in those days, just not eating very well...

2013 AD- Man, the decades came and went by so darn quickly... (Alas, opportunities to make something of myself also came and went even more quickly). Sadly, all those years I spent in a basement attempting recipe after recipe, were not very kind to me physically. Yet over that time, I did became a man, (abet a person who was sullied and intellectually shallow), as I had foregone any formal education while engaged in my search for the Holy Stir-fry Grail!

Looking back. I realized I was abnormally obsessed with that effort, even to the point of self destruction! (I'd even had a tattoo placed on my forehead that read 'HSG' for crying out loud)! A mark that I'm sure chased many a promising young woman away. And still, time moved ever forward...

2015 AD – At last! Now, an aging and decidedly ugly old gnome, I'd finally stumbled across a recipe that I thought just might vindicate myself lo these many years! Please, let me share.... In the background Janis sang 'At Seventeen'.....

1/4 cup beef, cubed
1 banana pepper, sliced
1/4 bell pepper, sliced
1/4 onion,sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Rosemary, just a twig
Oregano, a dash
olive oil, ½ tsp

Heat all the above in a frying pan over medium heat until done! See! That's pretty darn easy and awesome. Refrain: 

'I've learned the truth at 65, on stir fry beef you can survive. While others strive to be supreme, I've been living a hot pepper dream....Yes, small town eyes will gaze at you when exceptional food exceeds accounts received!

Anyway, enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Critique: Chicken Margherita by Healthy Choice! Horrible!

Tasted like crap!

After mentally noting that the term Margherita translates to 'a pizza topped with tomatoes, cheese, and traditionally also basil' and not that wonderful drink. I elected to purchase one of these meals, anyway, at a local grocery for $3.94. I mean who could resist 'Chicken tender-kins with angel hair pasta, burned garlic and tomato sauce all swimming in a balsamic vinaigrette soup. [Note: I took some liberties with the wording, but you get the point].

Nutritionally, this meal really shines! Calories were a mere 280 while the cholesterol came in at 35 mg and the sodium was a measly 530 mg. For a frozen TV dinner, these are very good numbers, (and also part of the reason why they cost more when compare to Banquet offering you might get for a buck)!

Taking the subliminal title hint to heart, I prepared the meal while sipping on a few true margaritas. It wasn't a problem. The directions were pretty easy, even after my third drink when things began to get a little fuzzy. Take the meal out of the box, nuke for about four minutes and dump into the provided sauce bowl. Yes sir! Even a drunk could do that!!

Unlike most of the meals produced by Healthy Choice, this was a most horrible offering, even for someone in an inebriated state! Most importantly, the pasta was very mushy. That was a sure turnoff. And, while the chicken was tender and moist, I found myself gagging and so dumped the whole meal into the trash! Scored this one a 4! I'd eat it, if I was dying and had no other choice!

Is the Freedom from Religion Foundation a group of nut jobs?

Oops! Wrong picture!
PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701
Email: info@ffrf.ord

No! Despite the rumors that this group is largely comprised of homosexuals, atheists and Democrats with a smattering of neo Nazi’s thrown in for good measure, I’ve found one or two to be highly intelligent as they were able to respond in words that had more than one syllable.

I can even see their point as outlined by my friend who is a member. According to him, a government that was founded on moral principles as defined by the Bible, should never have any mention of that actual book, (which shall not be named here again). No! The Federal government, according to their supposed viewpoint, should be a highly sterile construct where everyone (no matter how loony they may be) is allowed in as a citizen – (Uh, just so long as they don’t start blowing stuff up)! So, all you whack jobs, hairballs and genetic misfits! This is the club for you!

Last word (as in not The Word from you know who) – Anyone who yearns to tell other people how to live their lives, what to think, how to dress and what to believe… Well, now you have an organization that doesn’t have the word Democrat in it somewhere! Please! Send this group some email describing how much you love them....

Monday, September 21, 2015

Got a call from (415) 946-5707? Why it's those wily Synergia people!

Alert: That calls from (415) 946-5707, (which is in really a 'robo' number from the Philippines) is associated with a group that I understood is directly funded by ISIS is merely a very persistent and nasty rumor. That they were hired by the Synergia Cybercare Inc. representing Automated Health insurance is also patiently false. Also everyone, there is no truth to the rumor that they do a very lively trade in fetal tissue.

Both these companies stand head and shoulders above many of the better known and it's a mystery to my why so many people all across the US refer to them as shams, scams and crooks!

So, next time you get hundreds of untraceable calls from an automated robo system, just remember these folks are on the up and up and I think of them as my fiends.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Frosted Mug revisited!

An aging, though venerable, watering hole! AKA, the Frote Mu!
It was a Late September day, overcast with a cool tinge to the air, a possible sign of colder fall weather to come. I had decided to stop at a bar known as the Frosted Mug, located on Hwy 160 in Forsyth Mo. A bar and restaurant that had been around since the time of Moses. There were nine patrons sitting at the bar when I came in, all of whom were drinking, with the sole exception of a gal to my left who was busy eating a large bowl of mashed potatoes with sausage gravy slathered on top. She eye me suspiciously as I sat a few chairs over and unlimbered my Kindle Fire. She was watching NASCAR on some kind of tablet and it wasn't very long before she began to accuse my tablet of interfering with her tablet. Such was life in a very strange century. When I glanced over at her, some gravy was dripping from her lower lip... I quickly looked away and studied the rest of my surroundings. 
The Frosted Mug, structurally, is a squarish looking building that has a full bar that holds about 24 seated patrons (more if you crowd them together). There is also a small stage for performers, a dance floor and a pool room with two tables that are generally in use. The rest of the open space off to one side of the bar area contains about 10- 15 tables that could hold sixty or more eaters. Something that rarely happens as the establishment is almost never crowded.

While most of the service personnel are OK at what they do, Tuesday's now sees the return of a popular bartender that worked there almost a decade ago by the name of Judy. She is very efficient and rarely leaves one waiting for a fresh libation. In the evening hours, after 5PM, a younger set of bartender staff take over to handle the generally younger crowd that stops there after getting off of work. Sunday's in the early fall feature no less that five large screen TV's that display both racing and football. Howrah!

Over the years, I've had occasion to eat at the Mug both sit down and take home. Of the many and varied menu items offered there, I'm told it is the beer batter perch offered on Friday and cheeseburgers during the rest of the week that are the most popular. The pricing at this venue is competitive with the other five or so sit down eateries, while only the Mug and a nearby place called Charlie's offer full service bars.Be a little wary of who is cooking, however, some cooks working there are much better than others.

The ETM Core breakfast! It's what's good for you!

Core Ingredients: An egg (made your way), a slice of toast and a cup of 2% milk! Other ingredients: a simple Romaine salad with Catalina dressing and mandarin oranges.

As a highly nutritious breakfast, an ETM Core breakfast has a lot going for it!

Eggs: OK yes, eating an egg brings with it a lot of cholesterol. Is that good or bad? Something that the nutritionists will be debating for ever. So, if you're afraid of consuming eggs, please stop reading and move on. On the good side of things, eggs are almost the perfect form of protein! So good, that little, if any 'detritus' survives the passage through the intestines. About 99% is absorbed and thus utilized by the body's cells...

Quote: “If you're ever stuck on a desert island and you get to pick one food to live on, choose eggs. They're as close to a perfect food as you can get. They contain more vitamins and essential protein building blocks than any other common kind of food, and they won't raise your blood sugar or insulin levels a bit. Don't worry too much about the cholesterol. You don't get high blood cholesterol from eating cholesterol, you inherit it from your parents.”

Toast: We all need some carbohydrates to help jump start our bodies in the morning. However did you know...”Similar to other carbohydrate sources, toasted bread contains significant amounts of starch that provides 'slow' energy. Getting your starch from toasted bread is much better in contrast with getting it from eating normal bread. Actually, eating some kinds of bread alone without toasting them can raise your levels of blood sugar because of their increased GI (Glycemic Index) values. Toasted bread offers sufficient starch without any drawbacks linked to excessive starch intake.” Hmm, that's interesting.

Milk: We're talking 2% milk here. “One serving of milk is approximately one cup (244 grams), and one cup of whole milk has 150 calories and almost eight grams of fat. That's quite a bit of fat – out of that, 5 grams are saturated fat which is not good for you.

But you can get around the saturated fat by drinking low-fat (2%) or non-fat milk. That way, you're cutting down fat and calories while still getting all of the nutrients in milk. For example if you drink eight ounces of skim milk, that's just 90 calories. And, the fat will be minimal, plus it's low in saturated fat!
CPG = Calories per gram

Remembering that we're talking breakfast here, this core meal deal will hit you for only about 277 calories. Ergo: The glycemic impact of this meal is very low, your body is getting slathered with essential nutrients and due to the low calories, you can feel free to augment your custom breakfast plan with the fruit and or salad of your choice! [The meal as pictured above contained ~ 466 calories].

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A chili from hell!

Some people like their chili on the warm side, others prefer it pretty hot... and then there are those few who make a true Chili from Hell!

The head cook at Charlie's Rib Steak and Ale, located in Forsyth Mo, is very good at what he does. David is his name and grilling is his game! But, David it seems, has a 'hot side' when it comes to making chili for himself and his friends...

Anyone who uses ghost peppers as one of the key spices in a bowl of red must really likes to challenge those taste buds with heat! Bhut jolokia, which is the other common name for ghost peppers, are right below pure pepper spray in terms of hotness – They score one million plus Scoville heat units. [They blow the fabled Habanero right out of the water]! And David, (who grows these peppers). likes to use liberal amounts in his personal chili – Enough so you're eyes will water and your nose run freely! Now, that's hot!

And no! You can't buy a bowl of this sort of stuff at Charlie's – when they do serve chili, it's mild and seasoned by the book!

Friday, September 18, 2015

When you live at the bottom of a steep hill!

Many years ago, I lived in Kimberling City MO on a street called Hilltop. And, while going up and down that steep hill was not a problem for most of the year, the wintertime sometimes poised a real problem. When that old road got snow or ice on it, travel was pretty much impossible. Now, many years later, I've moved to a location that requires me to go up yet another rather steep hill just to get into the town of Forsyth Mo, where I live.

So, here it is, late September and my thoughts are looking ahead to that time of year when snow and ice storms become a definite possibility. This is generally sometime right after Christmas for anyone living in southwest Missouri. And, while I would never try to navigate icy streets, I might find myself wanting to move about if it snows. My Jeep is 4-wheel and it has knobby tires, so there is every likelihood that I will be able make it up and down the approximately quarter mile stretch of a road called Sunken Forest Drive. At least someone didn't name it Suicide Run or some such...

My backup option would be to park my vehicle at the top, just across Highway 160, say in the Frosted Mugs parking lot. And while the walk down to my condo wouldn't be so bad, going back up would be a bitch! Still, that is something I could do in the event of a heavy snowfall. I'll make sure and relate my travel experiences this coming winter if such trail presents itself!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Flu season 2015-16 is upon us!

As October approaches, so too does the cold and flu season. This year, a few so-called weather 'experts' are predicting a very hard winter! And so then, they are also predicting to a potentially rough ride with the flu virus as the two seem to often go hand in hand.

Author's Note: This year might be a good year to get your flu shot early, especially if you are in the over fifty crowd.

This years trivalent vaccine will contain the following:
  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus. (This is a B/Yamagata lineage virus)

Whether or not this will work, considering that the vaccine was formulated six months ago, is the big question!

Random thoughts for Mid September 2015!

Mid September 2015 and gas at $2.10 a gallon!

Forsyth MO - What the heck is going on? As the price of a barrel of oil continues to plummet, prices at the pump for most of America is expected to dive below $2 a gallon before the end of the month!
While lower prices at the pump were a welcome change for most motorists, the wild market fluctuations continue to highlight serious troubles in the world's financial markets. And, with the Fed meeting for two days starting on Wednesday the 15th, rumors of a rate increase have left investors wary.

That synergistic effect everyone is waiting for!

We certainly live interesting times. There are many issues that seem to be coming together and which may interact in ways that may do the word synergy justice! Lets skim over just a few, shall we?
1) The vast explosion of hate for the US by all Muslims seems to be growing exponentially.
2) International money markets continue to remain unstable and in bubble status.
3) Russia and China are working hand in hand to destabilize the Mid East, and are succeeding.
4) America seems ready for a major show down in 2016 as she fights to regain her world status. Disenchantment with Congress grows ever more widespread.
5) The EU is in trouble and could easily dissolve. This alone could cause a partial or even a complete collapse of the American dollar.
6) The US southern border remains ultra porous, allowing a flood of illegals to enter freely. A situation that places American support programs under crushing weights.
7) Federal entitlement programs are in dire straits and seem certain to fail in the long term.
8) Potable water reserves all across the planet continue to shrink.
9) Key states are likely to go bankrupt and will require a Federal bailout.
10) Iran will use limited nuclear strikes in an attempt to erase Israel from the map.
Any one or a number of the topics mentioned here could come together and form the basis for world disaster. And, on a scale of 1 to 100 the probability for disaster of that magnitude is at 200.

Obama, a man on a mission!

The question is... What mission? And, for whom? One could easily argue that this individual is actively working for ISIS. The only exception is that he hasn't personally beheaded anyone...yet. The damage he has manged to do, will take a generation to undo.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Critique: Hunt's Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce!

There's is no doubt that eating a good old Sloppy Joe is one of life's great pleasures. But, is Hunt's one of the best?

I recently bought a can of Hunt's Manwich Sloppy Joe sauce mix at a local store for $1.73 for a 15 ounce can. As in most commercial products, the artwork on the can was pretty awesome, and so I succumbed to an impulse purchase.

According to the direction, all you needed to do was to brown up a pound of hamburger, drain off the grease, stir in the can of Manwich sauce and heat. Then, just grab a hamburger bun, slather on the Sloppy Joe mix and go to town! Really? Sounded too good to be true, and had I not enjoyed this meal deal many times past, I would have been suspicious. Didn't need to worry, this whole meal comes together in a snap!

After heating the mix up, I added some to a couple of buns I'd defrosted in the microwave. (You see, in my world, one serving is actually two Sloppy Joe's). Amazingly, they disappeared in a Missouri second and the taste was simply awesome!

Nutrition: Remembering that this is a tri-combination meal; bun, Sloppy Joe mix and hamburger – it's hard to nail down the real caloric content. But, I'd say, from experience, that each serving will run in the 300 plus calorie range. [Truth bet told, these guys are really not very healthy to eat. They are best consumed on a strictly part time basis and should ideally be supplemented with some veggies or fruit on the side]. But, it you're like me – eating this kind of stuff is so sinful, (and therefore enjoyable), that one often thinks 'to hell with it all' and so goes for a second helping! Which I did!

As to the Hunt's rating – well doggone it all. This has got to be one of the best sauces around. I gave it an 8 on a scale of 10. So, please give it a try!

Monday, September 14, 2015

BBQ Chicken on a Weber Smokey Joe!

Late summer in southwest Missouri brings some of the best grilling weather of the year, in my opinion. Now living in a condo, on an 80 degree afternoon, I decided to break in my brand new Weber mini grill.

For not a lot of money, I was able to order a Weber Smokey Joe grill along with a functional table that locks the grill into place! This is my second such grill, the first lasted many years and produced many a memorable meal.

I had four large chicken drumsticks and after I got the coals hot, I divided them for indirect cooking. I then placed the chicken legs in the center of the grill, covered it with the domed lid and cooked them for about an hour. I did turn the legs a couple of times and also applied the KC Master sauce during the last fifteen minutes with a basting brush. The end result was some of the best chicken I've ever tasted!

Taneycomo Terrace Condominiums! Are they in creeping decline?

Forsyth MO – after recently moving to a small condo located in Taneycomo Terrace in Forsyth Missouri, I found it to be a mostly enjoyable experience. What has made it less to perfectly enjoyable has the the apparent confusion among the condo owners as to who is responsible for what via the Home Owner Association the is responsible for the monthly collection of fees from a 150+ units, the funds of which are supposed to be used for grounds and building structure maintenance! Yes problems seem to exist that are not being addressed for what ever reason. Let's look at a couple of examples:

  1. Roof gutter runs in a retrograde manner and thus does not properly drain rain when it falls. Hmmm. OK, I'll grant that this is not a major problem as far as structural integrity goes, but that not the real problem. It is my understanding that this condition with this gutter has gone on for some time! When I asked one of the workers why it wasn't being addressed, I was informed that 'management' was no willing to provide the safety equipment needed to allow the staff to make repairs in a safe and good manner. That rings true as I did submit a repair order some weeks ago to no avail. I was also informed that there currently existed many such gutter related problems and that few if any  were being repaired either. 

  1. Some parking garages also may be slowly falling into a state of disrepair. The question here seems to be whose responsibility it is to maintain the inside of the garage – it is the unit owners or the HOA? This problem becomes even more exacerbated with the knowledge that owners may simply be to old and or low on funds to be able to remedy the situation. Adding to the complexity are areas like entryways, as seen here. Whose responsible for these?
What's strikes me as strange is that you'd think that such issues would have been settled decades ago. Apparently that is not the case. Even the low income dwelling, located in the midst of Taneycomo Terrace seem to enjoy much better care!

New roof, flashing and gutters? No problem! And the joke is that taxpayers are paying for that too!

Breakfast and induction plate cooking!

As a practicing electrical geek, I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve the efficiency of my use of electricity around the house! And, one of the appliances that caught my eye was an induction plate for cooking purposes. According to Wiki, 'Induction cooking heats a cooking vessel by magnetic induction, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame, or an electrical heating element. Because inductive heating directly heats the vessel, very rapid increases in temperature can be achieved. That seemed to me to be leaning towards higher efficiency.'

The site went on to state, 'Induction cooking provides faster heating, improved thermal efficiency, and more consistent heating than cooking by thermal conduction, with precise control similar to gas. The induction element has heating performance comparable to a gas burner, but is significantly more energy-efficient. The surface of the cooker is heated only by the pot and so does not usually reach a hazardous temperature. Because the temperature of the cooking surface matches that of the pot, this permits precise control of the cooking temperature. The control system shuts down the element if a pot is not present or not large enough. Induction cookers are easy to clean because the cooking surface is flat and smooth and does not get hot enough to make spilled food burn and stick.' That was good enough for me, so I jumped over to my Amazon account and ordered a Duxtop 1800 watt counter top model for about $60 bucks. I've used it for a number of months now, and it has done a great job! And since there are no moving parts, I expect it to last a very long time!

I've found that while not all frying pans and pots will work, stainless steel and cast iron gets the job done extremely well. This morning I fried up some bacon and cooked an egg sunny side up in just a few minutes. Cleanup was a snap and the food was done to perfection!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Slow cooked stuff potatoes!

Scenario: There was a post on Face Book about slow cooked stuffed potatoes. I clicked on the link and viewed the recipe with some interest. After reading it, I was intrigued, but wondered about exactly which type of potato would do the best after hours in a slow cooker? Russet, red or one of those larger bakers? I had no idea and so went to the purveyor of all knowledge these days – the Internet and Googled it. One link informed me that Red potatoes did the best in holding together in a slow cooker environment. True? But, aren't they sort of smallish? I decided to find out which was which and what was what!

Here's the way this story was originally laid out. 'Your wanting to enjoy a great stuffed potato, but lack the resources or time to bake one the old fashioned way' – [The real truth is you're like me – you are very, very lazy]. And so, the fabled slow cooker comes to the rescue! You get up, you wrap a tuber in foil, drop it into your crock pot, set to low, and then head off to work. Eight hours later, you arrive exhausted but can quickly sit down to a great stuffed potato meal! Sounds good, in theory. Let's see how it really worked out in practice!
8:00 AM – The coffee pot was doing its thing (it was set on automatic), I emerged from my shower and grabbed a cup of hot Joe.... It was just about that time that I realized that I was retired and didn't even have a job, so I finished my coffee and headed back to bed. Zzzzzzzzzz

12:00 Noon – I arose, got dressed and decided to FORGET ABOUT IT! – Instead, I nuked a Russet potato in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Loaded it up with sour cream, broccoli and bacon bits, a little grated cheese and enjoyed it while watching the Chiefs on the tube! Hey, it is the 21st Century after all! (The taste, by the way, was all it could be)!

Note: If anyone does try this out in a slow cooker, please comment. Also, everyone should go easy on how often they consume this tuber. It has one of the highest glycemic indexes of all the foods we like to eat!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Will this forecast win out?

Forsyth MO – It was late December, 2015 and I had just barely made it home before the snow began to fall under moisture laden and dark clouds. My 'home' was in reality a condo located at the bottom of a long and steep hill. Thankfully, I had made to the store and had loaded up on provisions before the 'freak storm' really got wound up!

Turning on the TV the announcer was using words that should never be used in the same sentence. Words like dire, biblical, dangerous and blizzard. Sitting in my easy chair my eyes widened considerably, as I took in the full impact of what the weather guy was saying. Outside, the wind had picked up to the point that occasionally the windows rattled in their frames. Sighing, I got up out of my easy chair and walked over to gaze outside. I saw that the snow was coming down harder now abet in a more or less horizontal fashion. In the distance, I thought I could even hear thunder.

Well, ain't that swell, I thought as I moved to my chair, after first stopping at the fridge. I had just sat myself down, beer in hand, when there was a brilliant flash of light followed by a peal of thunder! The condo shook! Seconds later, the lights went out. In the dark now, I popped open the beer and took a drink....outside the storm continued to rage...
Was this a work of fiction, or is the author perhaps psychic? Time will tell....

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dani and Lizzy - Dancing in the Sky!

This track has been re-recorded and will be used in the series Left Behind - due to air Oct 3, 2015!

Cool stuff!

Longhorn Restaurant in Forsyth MO was enjoyable!

Forsyth MO – Eating at the Longhorn Restaurant is normally a rather pleasant affair. This burger joint, located in Forsyth Missouri on the main drag, is always clean with great tasting food offered from a surprisingly varied menu. And, I would have enjoyed myself, on this particular visit, were it not for my obnoxious friend in the persona of Daniel 'da gut' D.

Old Daniel was definitely someone that wasn't cut from the common mold of mankind. No, if you could imagine a bell curve of humanity, with dull normal being some where's in the middle, old Daniel was off to one edge or the other. And, while this meant that he was a bit strange, he could also eat like the dickens!
Salad Bar was fresh and inviting!

On the occasion of this luncheon, I ordered the Country Burger Deluxe (only it was spelled with a K), a combo including a hamburger, French fries and all the fixings. Daniel, being of slow wit, also ordered the exact same thing. I was actually thankful that he did order a hamburger as opposed to a large plate of spaghetti! Watching that human garbage disposal fling noodles and sauce around would have been too much for me to bear.

After a short time, our server, a man by the name of Rex brought out our meals. (Rex is on the tall side and I therefore remembered his name as T-Rex). As I daintily assembled my hamburger with the finesse of an educated man, my 'Neanderthal friend' across the table, quickly demolished his food to the point that it resembled the scene of some horrific accident. Bits of food were hurled out in a circle all across the table as he devoured everything in much the way a hungry dog might eat. As I carefully nibbled at my burger, I forced myself to remember that he was buying. 

Yet all, in all, this Longhorn was an enjoyable eating experience!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

River Run and Shadowrock Parks likely to remain flooded!

The straight line is not representative of what might happen!

Two popular parks near Forsyth Missouri are likely to remain flooded, in this author's opinion. A conclusion that most anyone could come to after a summer of little progress. As the current graph shows, the trend line when extended and assuming no significant rains, would not return to near normal levels until sometime around January 2016. Then, just a couple of months later the area would be right smack in the middle of  the spring monsoon season! Could a drought occur - sure! Then again, we might just get hit with record breaking rainfall. The thing is, it's apparent to me that the climate (even if it is short term) is changing and some government agencies seem clueless as to what to do. Stay tuned for more as the year progresses!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Critique: 5 pepper Bloody Mary mix!

A warm drink with a happy ending!
While wandering around the liquor section of my grocery store recently, I noticed a bottle of '5 pepper Bloody Mary Mix'. I thought to myself that it had been many moons since I'd changed my course from drinking only beer to something a little more adventuresome. Seizing the moment, I brought a 1 liter bottle along with a bottle of Gordon's vodka home with me.

Let the good times roll, I thought to myself, as I headed home. Visions of drinking a glass of pepper enriched spiked tomato juice  spiked with vodka, swam languidly in my head.

It was just around 8PM, the sun had set in the west and I found myself out on my balcony with an ice-chilled glass of the 'good stuff' in one hand, while the other hand was busy swatting at a squadron of mosquitoes. Slowly, I lifted the glass to my mouth, while watching the afterglow of a late summer sunset...

OMG! I could not believe warm this drink was! The capsaicin content must have been in the 20,000 plus Scoville heat range! A quick inspection of the label revealed that the peppers they used in the mix included; habanero's, red cayenne and Jalapeno's! No wonder!  My mouth burned, but after a moment or two, the vodka kicked in and numbed everything out. I sat back and sipped my way slowly through the evening.... And, after my third glass, I would swear I couldn't feel a darn thing! One annoyance was the small bits of pepper that float around in the juice - I decided to strain them out. Their other standard mix was awesome!

Critique: Steamed chicken, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms!

Great recipes are also simple recipes, at least in my book. In order to qualify they have to use only a few ingredients, be easy to make, yet be nutritious and economical. When you find one that fills that bill, please make it often and enjoy!


1chicken breast (112 grams), cut into small chunks
1 stalk (25 grams) of broccoli, sectioned
4-6 large fresh mushrooms (45 grams), whole
1/4 cup baby carrots (25 grams)
1/4 cup cauliflower Note: the veggies were purchased as a mix)
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a steamer, place the carrots in first and steam for about 2 minutes. Next, I added in the rest of the ingredients and steamed them for about 12 minutes.
After checking the veggies for doneness, I removed them to a serving dish and seasoned to taste. See! A very easy greasy sort of recipe! Serves 2.

STATS: The cost breakout for this meal was .90 for the chicken, $1.50 for the mushrooms, and $1.00 for the broccoli, carrot and cauliflower mix.. Therefore the cost per serving was $3.40 divided by 2 = $1.70. Not bad! The calories per serving were also pretty good at about 350.

And the taste? Well, the meat tasted like chicken with the veggies tasting like veggies! Duh. (Sorry, I get flippant from time to time). The taste was great! This meal scored a solid 8 on a scale of 10.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Boneless chicken breasts still a good deal!

Recently purchased at a local Country Mart: 1.6 pounds (725 grams) of boneless chicken breasts – enough for six servings (112 grams) at a cost of only $2.70. A price that worked out to $1.69 per pound. A pretty good deal in my book!

As I like to enjoy numerous recipes that use chicken breasts as main ingredient, I will admit to being a little nervous about buying any due to the bad press the recent culling of millions of chickens has produced. My fear was that the cost of chicken, eggs and egg products would soar. Well, so far, that hasn't been the case!

And at just 118 calories per serving, I can afford to throw together a very nutritious combo of chicken, broccoli and mushrooms to enjoy for an evening meal! That is one of my favorites and all three items can be quickly prepared in a steamer (about 18 minutes).

And while the price of large eggs has certainly gone up, you can still by a dozen for under four bucks!

Random thoughts for September 2015!

Attention all illegals! California is the place to be!

If you plan to cross our border in illegal fashion, here's a heads up. Go to California – they love you folks and even have special cities like San Francisco where you can commit a crime, leave and then come back to welcoming progressive arms. What a bunch of Jack Wagons work that city! Even Obama has put his stamp of approval on this, overriding Federal Immigration law in the process! Wow.

The USPS – a great example of our imploding government!

There is nothing better I could point to, as an example of government incompetence than the postal system of this Republic. They are the poster child, when it comes to how not to run an efficient company. If you want you mail and products to arrive safe and on time; use either FedEx or UPS. They actually work and make a profit. On the other hand, if you don't particularly care what happens to your package or letter, then the USPS is certainly the way to go. They are a company in complete free fall, in my opinion.

Obama's not so grand library?
I would hope everyone makes a small donation too!

To me a library is a repository of knowledge, history and other great works. So, how it is that they are referring to this abomination of emptiness, a library? I'm just curious what accomplishments which Obama engineered over the course of eight years will go into his President Library? Bet there will be loads of crap!