Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In Your Life, Have Something To Look Forward To...

It doesn't have to be Earth shaking or life-changing(even though it could be!), it just has to be something to look forward to. Anticipation can be as exhilarating as the event. Remember when you were a kid? The circus? The beach? Almost anything out of the ordinary routine? When was the last time you felt that excited? We all get so worn down with the mechanics of living,we forget life can be fun-at least once in awhile!
We are taking a vacation in late March, and going to Las Vegas. It's been about 10 years since we went, and haven't flown, or got away like this since our kids went into & got out of college! I'm trying not to see the hassle of it all, just the fun I imagine it could be......

Monday, February 26, 2007

Snow Day Means Cook Neat Meal Day!

Sunday main meal was kind of good! Bone in split chix breasts, and the dark meat guy(ME!) got thighs. Marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar,water,garlic,onion, salt,redpepper,basil&oregano. Baked for 1-1/2hrs at 300F, uncovered-for crispy skin.
The side today was cauliflower-steamed for 5 minutes then cold shocked with water. I make a lighter Alfredo sauce to go on it before baking like this; butter melted in sauce pan, add flour black pepper and salt. Milk next, bring to simmer stirring often. When it thickens I add grated Parmesean and Romano (Both the real deal!) and a touch of garic. Pour on cauliflower and bake along w/chicken for 30 min. uncovered. Rasberry muffins w/butter (I bought 'em!).
Dessert was simply a box fudge brownie mix that I added cherry extract, cherry juice and chopped marchino cherries to. Simple and tasty!
The rest of the day was spent pis*ing and moaning about the weather!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Loose Ends Tied, Made It To Weekend

After more time than it seemed worth, my son is now back in a car! Searched newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. Looked at car lots(alot of them!). Finally, he hit a search engine that showed some rides we hadn't seen before. Private party, test drive, some hard questions, and then the haggling. In one fell swoop two cars came off my insurance, along with one driver! He got a preety sharp car! It's a black Dodge Intrepid ES ,3.3L( the good motor!) leather, 2-way auto transmission, premium sound system, short answer- loaded. Now we can get back to what passes for normal around here!
Last night made it down to the club-first Friday in a long time! Two friends of ours were celebrating their birthdays, and this is where it gets a little humorous... Kevin and Mike are exactly 10yrs apart in age, both happily married(to women!). Mikes' wife works office in a bakery, so she had a cake made up w/both their names on it. Both guys will drink about any kind of drink, and were doing just that when I came up to the table. This is what I see; a cake with 2 guys names on it, the 2 guys drinking purple hooters. I'm not homophobic but it looked kinda gay to me! I mentioned this, which wives thought was way funnier than the guys did. It kicked off an entertaining conversation with stories about things not being as they appeared!
Another weather report telling us more snow on the way-great! Looks like quite a bit of the country is gonna get something unusual, so be careful out there!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

There Is A Rant In Here Somewhere.....

Let's start with used cars. We have begun in earnest to look for a replacement auto for my son,who totaled a car (we were selling him) a couple weeks back. Found a nice car, good price, being sold by someone I actually know and trust. Well, I trust him but he really doesn't know jacksh*t about cars. Upon further investigation the car in question has a 2.7L v-6 motor that showed up as a problem child on the Internet like a rash. It happens to be a Chrysler, and the motor is prone to disaster if you don't change the oil like a religious ritual. This guy has maintained the car to these standards, but my son is not the most trusting of individuals, and what was a done deal yesterday is now a "Hold the Phone!". Naturally, all this makes me look even stupider than usual, and I grew up on a car lot(Dad sold cars for 40yrs.!) and know more about these things than anyone so far mentioned during this rant! I am tons more patient these days than I was when I was younger(Imagine Donald Duck freakin' out like he did in his cartoons!), however when I forgive debt, give extra money towards project, and take time off work to help look for vehicle and nothing gets resolved- I am getting close to losing it!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tonight, We Attend A Retirement Party!???!1

Tonight, a friend of ours is the reason for the party. Dave has worked for almost 40yrs in a skilled trades job, and decided enough was enough! He is in his late 50s and has had his last parent die w/in the last year, in addition to the fact that he and his wife never had children. These circumstances have led to the decision to not work like the rats the rest of us all still are! I'm happy for him. Until a few years ago, I never thought of retiring-now it crosses my mind more and more frequently. Not to stop working, but possibly doing something more community- minded, and on my own timetable! Not going to happen for the next 5-10 yrs, but your goals and values change on you in quiet, subtle ways. Got to get his Prune juice,Senior Citizens punch card, and funny card for the party. Someday this will be YOU.......

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Update on Totaled Car, And Other Sundry Musings...

Last Friday, the insurance company finally got back to us with the information that the car(son hit drunk that ran red light car) had been offically "totaled". On the phone, I waited for the settlement amount, ready to do battle for more money if it was a dime less than $3000. She starts "Because of the high mileage(104,000) this is the total of the check we are prepared to cut-$5,451.00". The only thing I could utter at that moment was"Okay, that seems fair". That was like replacement value, not trade- in worth, and that was great! We are now looking for a car to replace the destroyed one, and it's not easy right now to choose a good one because of all the snow, and crappy driving conditions. We are giving my son $4000 and are wiping his debt clean($1200) because having to hit someone going 40mph and having 2 airbags go off in your face should be worth "combat pay"!
Speaking of accidents, today I had to drive south to N. Indiana, which was in the middle of a blinger of a storm. Snow, drifting,wind gusts were sending cars and trucks off the road on the Turnpike. Some of them were rollovers, and it was getting worse as the day progressed. South of that was even worse-according to the radio. Stay warm and safe, everyone!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sunday Dinner Made Ahead (Thank God!)

This morning, I had a spare 2 hrs, so I figured it would be a good time to make a traditional lasagne ahead for Sunday dinner. Ground sirloin,Italian sausage-all seasoned and browned with diced onions and garlic. In another pot, the tomato base sauce was mixed & simmered(tomato sauce,red wine vinegar,garlic,salt,pepper,red pepper flakes,brown sugar,basil,oregano, onion diced,fennel seeds,marjoram and olive oil. Drained the meat mixture, combined w/sauce to simmer another 40minutes. Mixed Ricotta cheese with 2 eggs and grated Parmesean cheese. Had my Mozzerella,Provolone,Romano/Parmasean(shredded)mixture ready for layering. Noodles boiled 8 min. and cold shocked with water. Assembled Meat sauce base layer, noodles, Ricotta mixture, shredded cheese,meat sauce, other cheeses. Repeated for total of three layers of noodles. Tomorrow, all I'll have to do is take out of fridge 1 hr before cooking, cook 1 hr(1st half of time covered, last half,uncovered) at about 330F . Let sit for 10min. or so before cutting. Ta Da! Italian bread heated in oven for a come-along, and a white chocolate cheesecake for dessert. I hope the weather breaks soon, or I'm gonna weigh 400lbs.! Can anyone out there make a lasagne that weighs less than 8 lbs? Me either!

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Quick Supper From My Youth...

Last night, we weren't that hungry, so it was "stand in front of the fridge with the door open" and ponder the stash available. Suddenly, after seeing my supply choices, I asked my wife "What about Frank-Cheesies?" Yeah! We haven't had one in a year, so I began production. Oh, what's a Frank-Cheesie you ask? I have heard them called a least 3 different names, but what they are is a hot dog, with a V-shaped cut down the length of it, filled with a strip of cheese, then wrapped with bacon and broiled. served in a hot dog bun with whatever you think would taste good with it(we just use catsup and/or mustard!). The method I used last night was, thick bacon fried, then hot dogs V cut and fried, then cheese put on hot dog in bun with bacon running along side it in bun, micro'd to melt cheese(25 seconds). Healthy? Hell, no! Good? Oh, yeah!

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Blizzard of '07 Keeps Blizzing Along...

It was -6F this morning, with a wind chill of -18F ! There's about 10"-12" of snow on the ground where they haven't pushed it around yet. Where they have pushed it around, the mounds are 6' high(residental) and 15' high in some parking lots! This isn't just cold, this is stupid cold! At these temps, salt really doesn't melt anything. I checked with the insurance co. on my car that was in an accident last Monday. I said "You must have alot of claims in the past few days". Her reply was "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." I reminded her that we had beaten the rush, and expected an answer soon.
I cooked alot while holed up in the warm house. Sunday, I tried a Korean beef short rib recipe. Nailed the sauce, but the ribs were a little tougher than I expected. Went well with the brown rice,though. Today, it's vegetable beef soup, with home made bread. We are going to have to shop tonight, which will be fun I'm sure! To the warm weather bloggers-count your blessings, to the cold weather group-stay warm, and be careful outside!

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Good Night To Stay Home Alone

It's Friday night, my wife and one her girlfriends went off to see the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "Pirates of Penzance" starring my sons' girlfriend! In other words, I wormed out of it.After working all week in serious winter weather my idea of a good Friday night is holing up where it's warm and relaxing. I made dinner for my wife before she left to ease my guilt. When she gets home, she will find I made a serious-from-scratch lemon pound cake, which came out really well! I have to start following recipes more closely when I bake-it works! Everything else in cooking seems alot more forgiving. The insurance people haven't even inspected my totaled car yet, as the weather around here apparently caused alot of insurance claims. Borderline annoying...
Super Bowl must come soon! The hype is getting more irritating with every hour that passes. I mean, when they have air time hyping the damn commercials-enough!
Hope it's warmer where you are, our West Michigan forecast for Sat. is "Blizzard-like conditions". Wouldn't that make it like a-what do they call it? Blizzard?