Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Formula For A Sleepless Monday Night

First, you get all comfy in your nice warm robe. Then you settle down to watch a little TV with a pillow and a blanket. You doze off(as you always do!) with the TV blaring. Suddenly you are awakened by a ringing phone. You look at the time(to know if someone is calling late enough to be pissed about it!)and its' midnight. Your wife is talking to someone on the upstairs phone, so you know it wasn't a wrong number. "Who is it?" you holler up the stairs. It's Craig(our youngest-26)and he knows better than to call us after 10pm-unless something is wrong. How wrong you wonder? Wife comes down stairs. He was in an accident coming home from 2nd shift job. A drunk ran the red and my son T-boned him, deploying both airbags. He is fine, not injured. The guy he hit says in a slurred voice,"I'm in ALOT of trouble". Definition of Trouble: Not his car, no drivers' license, drunker than a fiddlers' bitch, with priors. My kid got his insurance info,cop shows up and the guy has fled on foot! No problem. After talking with witnesses & my son, the cop thinks he knows who it is(he did,caught him, got a confession and gave him a free nights' stay at the Gray Bar Hotel!). Here's where I come in. It's one of my cars my son was driving, on my insurance. The cop said car is probably totaled, so now it's argue with the insurance company for a fair price time! Instant insomnia!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Saturday On The Road And Shopping

It looked like stockup time for the pantry and the freezer,so we got rollin'. First stop, oil change for new van, then down to a specialty grocery store in our old neighborhood. Great selection of quality cheeses, coffees, and cooking/baking supplies. Hit the bank for more ammunition, then over to Walgreens. This stop was actually for my youngest son. His workplace is going "smoke-free" so he is going to try and quit(again)! His mom volunteered to pay for the chemical aid for his program to the tune of $60. I'm OK with that, as long as he quits!
We then decided to head for Birds'-a country store 40 miles north of us, famed for their meat counter and deals. On Sat. this place is always packed, mostly rural types stocking up big time. You take a number for the meat counter and hope it goes fast. There was probably 20 people in front of us(remember now this place is in the middle of nowhere!)with no one buying less the $60 worth of meats! Everyone waiting is pretty amiable about it, and you end up having a conversation or two Mayberry RFD style. I got a whole boneless rib (16lb),boneless pork ribs,boston butt, and thick cut bacon. When I got home,I cut and trimmed the beef into steaks, and 1 boneless prime rib roast. I then vacuum packed it all for freezing. Alot of work, but worth it(I think!). You folks in the big cities must have a different way of dealing with supply procurement. I'd be interested to hear about it!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chili Dogs- Natures' Perfect Food...

If left to my own devices, I would have a chili dog at least once a week, for the rest of my life! Finding a good chili dog is a hellofalot harder than eating one,though. A few random tidbits- Detroit has more chil dog stands than anywhere else in the USA, why I don't know. On the other side of the state where I live(thank God!) finding a good chili dog is hard. Muskegon has a chain called G & L (home of the Greek chili dog) and I couldn't wait to try one! One, the only Greek thing about it is the family that owns it. The dog was a hot dog with every thing, with dry ground beef sprinkled on top. It was as bad as it sounds. In Grand Rapids, Yesterdog is popular. It is in an eclectic neighborhood, you stand in line and order cafeteria style and then go sit in a hard booth and open your surprise. Surprise! A pretty ordinary hot dog that you paid too much for and waited too long for. In Rockford we have the Corner Bar. This is the place where if you eat a dozen or more you get your name on the wall. These are 8 to a lb. food service hot dogs with runny, tasteless chili sauce in a steamed bun. All reputation, no quality. There are more, but you get my drift. When you are Buffalo Dick, you get righteously pissed and invent your own chili dog sauce! This is what I think a chili dog sauce should taste like:
1lb ground beef (chuck or round)
1 12oz can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 " " garlic powder
2 " " chili powder
2 " " salt (or to taste)
1 " " brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper ground
1 " " ground cumin
1 oz. prepared yellow mustard
1 oz. catsup
1 oz. white vinegar
1 finely minced hot dog (your favorite brand)

Put all ingredients into pot (do NOT brown the meat first!)excluding the cumin.
Bring to boil, then simmer for 20+ minutes until thickened
Add cumin, turn off heat.
Chill overnite. Can be frozen for future use also.
My perfect chili dog would have 1/4lb beef hot dog, Buffalo Dicks' chili dog sauce,dill pickle sliced,melted cheese, and a light stripe of mustard. Everybody- Tell me what you like on YOUR chili dog?

Friday, January 19, 2007

How Long Do You Leave Your Christmas Tree Up?

We seem to have gotten into a "tradition" over the last few years, we leave our (fake) Christmas tree up far past the holidays! We are basically too dam lazy to take it down and put it away promptly. Add to the fact that I got the bright idea to have all the lights red, and top the tree with a red angel(with red lights)-well it looks pretty much like we worship Satan! We have always named our Christmas angel something. Our first one was "The Eat-At-Joes" Angel, as it blinked on and off in a diner-like sequence. The second one was named "Our Lady Of Landing Lights" as she held a bright,non blinking light in each of her hands. Now we have "The Devils'Mistress" glowing eerily in red. We are going to have to invite company over soon,(besides the coven) as the old record was Good Friday!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sort of Healthy Eating Today...

Mahi-Mahi was on sale today-and so was aspargus! I am amazed that in the good old USA we can have these exotic and/or out of season offerings presented almost year 'round! The fish gets a light soy/ginger/honey/lemon/garlic/pepper marinade, then broiled. Aspargus will be simply steamed-butter,salt,pepper,lemon added to your taste! a good fresh bread with butter, and a homemade peanut butter/choco chip/dried cranberry cookie(or two!) to round off the meal. Nap time! See ya!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Short Rant On A Changing America

Yesterday, I made joint sales calls with a decent guy from one of our Indiana facilities. About my age, and well educated, we did alot of observing & discussing. The main topic was a Good Job. 30yrs ago, Manufacturing was king. A good job meant you worked in the office of an established manufacturer, or were part of the strong union in the shop. As materials and products(cheap!) started coming in from other countries, the cushy days in Mfg. were ending. Yesterday, we drove past shuttered plants that employed thousands, then we went past the building project that is creating the largest medical campus in West Michigan. They are now the largest employer in kent county at about 8500 people. There are, and will be good jobs in the future, but they won't be the same ones they used to be!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday Dinner-The Experimental Eat Well Day!

For many years now, Sunday dinner (and in the Midwest, dinner on Sunday means the midday meal, not at night-which we would call supper!) is the meal where I might try something new or special. Today, I will bake some rather large chicken breasts (size of Rodan!), that have been marinating for 12 hrs(red wine vinegar,olive oil,garlic,onion,salt,red pepper, oregano, basil, marjoram, and a bit of orange juice). A little bacon draped over these monsters should baste them well as they cook. Gnocchi! The potato-grain little dumpling thing from Italy will be the side. I am inventing a chicken gravy/ alfredo cheese sauce that should work nicely with the chix and the side! Fresh Italian round loaf bread, and a choc/walnut brownie from scratch should take care of any missing hunger points.
One day a week, do not eat out(Fast food or otherwise!) Fix something from "scratch" for the people you care about-and spend some time talking(not arguing!)about life over the meal. America has lost something to convenience- let's take it back!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mildest Winter I've Ever Seen! Knock On Wood!

As a lifelong resident of Michigan, I have watched winters get milder. I don't know if it's Global Warming or what, but I LIKE IT! People who make a living with snow (plows,ski resorts,winter related retail products, etc.) probably don't! It has helped some folks with their heating bill, and most retailers see more activity when the roads are clear. Salt trucks aren't wearing out the roads(or using taxpayer salt!)and the homeless aren't dying in cold-related incedents. I don't think alot of people realize when something goes well for you, somebody else may suffer the concequences! In Mich. I'm surrounded by more fresh water than anybody else on Planet Earth-do we take it for granted? Probably. There are many of you that live in states where it never snows-do you take it for granted? Probably! Think about the "other guy" today- for a perspective.