Thursday, January 25, 2018

Polpette Con Ricetta

La Perfetta Polpetta Italiana

I've been making homemade pasta sauce since I learned from my grandmother when I was very young.  While I have many variations of my sauce, today's for example got a good portion of its flavor from a large red bell pepper, I consider the base or mother recipe finished.

For nearly 4o years on and off I have been tweaking my meatball recipe looking for the perfect meatball.  Not too bready, not too hard, not too soft, and with a good meaty taste.  Today I think I found that recipe.

3 pounds ground beef (85/15)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 1/2 cups of whole milk ricotta

3 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
4 shallots, finely diced

1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp freshly ground sea salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In large bowl add all ingredients and thoroughly mix by hand until mixture is uniform in color.  Form 3" balls pressing mixture tightly. 

You can either fry the meatballs in olive oil, turning until all sides are lightly browned and then add to simmering sauce cooking for an additional 40 minutes, or you can put them directly in simmering sauce for an hour. 

Yields 16 meatballs 

If you don't make your own sauce you can try my crockpot sauce recipe from 2008, but please, don't use jarred sauce, if you want to do that just buy some frozen meatballs  😊.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spicy Chicken with BBQ Beer Brat

Spicy Chicken & BBQ Beer Brat
 with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions

1 tsp ground Ancho chili powder
1 tsp ground red chipotle powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp salt, I prefer smoked sea salt for this dish
2 tsp BBQ spice powder (see bottom of recipe for ingredients)
2 packets Herbox sodium free chicken broth powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tbsp water
6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
1 beer brat
4 ounces sliced white mushrooms
3 ounces of baby spinach
3 ounces diced white onion

Freeze sausage for 45 minutes and then slice placing in Ziploc bag with the BBQ spice powder.  Toss evenly to coat and refrigerate for an hour or longer.  Toss chicken breast with chili powders and freshly ground black pepper in a Ziploc bag, and refrigerate for at least an hour or longer.

Spinach, Mushroom, and Onion in a Chicken flavored sauce
Add onions, mushrooms, turmeric, and salt to a small covered saucepan with a tablespoon of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, and add the baby spinach and chicken broth powder packets.  Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced.

For Chicken and Sausage
In a hot covered skillet add the chicken and cook on both sides; time depends on thickness of chicken breast, about 3-5 minutes per side.  When chicken is flipped to other side add the sausage and cook until browned.

Once completed, add vegetable mixture to one side of the pan; serve and enjoy.  

Makes one serving of about 475 calories and 12 grams net carbs.

BBQ Spice Powder:
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp granulated onion powder
1 tsp artificial sweetener, I use Stevia
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder

Friday, January 27, 2017

Spammers, move along, move along

Spammers, every comment on this blog is moderated.  Go post your garbage somewhere else, or better yet, go get a real job.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chef Jack's smoked meatball recipe

Yesterday I smoked chicken, sausages, and a new first for me; meatballs.  Everything turned out great.

For anyone who wants to try my smoked meatballs, here's the basic recipe I used.

Chef Jack's smoked meatball recipe

3 pounds ground Angus sirloin
1 pound ground pork
1 cup three cheese bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
½ cup whole milk
1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs Tabasco or other pepper sauce
1 tbs granulated garlic
1 tsp sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked or hot paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp Carolina Reaper Pepper Flakes (Optional)

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and weigh out 5 ounce portions of meat, press together and shape into balls and place on smoking rack.  Smoke until a minimum internal temperature of 160. About  1.5 to 2 hours at 225 to 250 degrees.

Makes 20 5 ounce before smoking meatballs.  Serve with BBQ sauce or your own dipping sauce.  I mixed 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/8th cup yellow mustard, dried dill, granulated garlic and a 1/2 cup of spicy honey BBQ sauce which made an excellent dip.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Review: Meijer's Curbside Pickup Service

So I tried Meijer​'s curbside pickup for the first time today.  Early this morning I had created an order of about 25 items for the Cascade Michigan Meijer I use.  Below are some pros and cons for the process.

o For a large or heavy order this saves you from having to fight the usual Meijer crowds and their inability to ever have sufficient checkout lanes open unless you go at 2 AM or some other ungodly hour for shopping.
o Process was fast;  I drove up to the curbside pickup station, announced myself, and my order was brought out in about 7 minutes.  My credit card was swiped, my groceries loaded into the trunk, and I was good to go.
o Agent was friendly and cheerful.

o Agent could not shut my trunk.  She tried several times.  I got out of the car and shut the trunk with no issue using one hand.
o Agent was unable to give me a receipt as her receipt printer was not working.  She seemed to have no idea what the issue was or how to fix it.  As I am a mPerks customer I knew I could get my receipt online so no worries for me and I told her I did not need a receipt.
o Agent had trouble understanding me over the speaker/mike when I checked in.  Had to say my name three times and then spell it.  There was no wind or other background noise.
o The ordering system is not 100% accurate.  Some items I knew the store had did not show up online when I was creating my order.
o Takes awhile to go through the online ordering though subsequent orders should be easier as you can bring up past orders.
o As there's a flat rate for your order regardless of the size it's not worth using to just pick up a few items.
o Scheduling could be better;  after placing my 25 item order the first pickup time was almost 12 hours later.  There were no other cars in the curbside area when I made my pickup.

For things like produce, meats, etc. you are basically at the stores mercy, though there is a comment field for every item you order.  I ordered some boneless skinless chicken breasts, some ground beef, and some produce and was quite pleased with the results of what was selected for me.  It will be interesting to see if this is maintained as I envisioned damaged produce and extra gnarly chicken, but it was almost as if my mom had picked the items out for me.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Falco's Fall Chili Recipe

6 Red hot chili peppers
8 Serrano peppers
3 Habanero peppers
3 Bulbs of garlic
1 Large white onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon each of the following powdered spices
   Cayenne pepper 
   Hot chili powder
1 tablespoon Carolina Reaper pepper flakes*
4 Pounds chopped chili beef
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons masa or all purpose flour
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained

Sour cream & extra sharp cheddar to taste

* Carolina Reaper flakes are quite spicy and in fact are hotter than the Ghost Pepper..  For those who can't stand this much heat simply omit this.

Yesterday was the first cool fall day we had here in West Michigan.  I decided to make a pot of spicy chili to chase away the chill.  Made with beef, red kidney beans, fresh Serrano, habanero, red hot chili peppers, garlic, and onion this recipe makes 8 bowls of chili. For some extra heat there's a tablespoon of Carolina Reaper pepper flakes.  It's a good amount of work prepping all the fresh veggies but I knew it would be worth it for the taste it would impart.

The aforementioned veggies

Remove the stem from each pepper and cut in half lengthwise. Removed the seeds or you can leave them in for extra heat of course. Cut the halves in half again lengthwise and proceed to dice into smaller pieces.  Cut the white onion in half and dice each half as well.

A nicely diced onion if I do say so myself

Vegetables all diced

For the garlic remove the cloves from the bulb.  I 'peeled' them buy hitting them with a meat mallet to make removing the skin easier and then hit them again to slightly crush each clove.  I like chunks of garlic in my chili, but you could also dice each clove or run them through a garlic press.

After the vegetables were all prepped I sauteed them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium heat,  and added a teaspoon of salt.  I reduced the heat to low after 3 minutes and covered the pot and let them cook for 10 minutes.

Next I added the chopped beef and the tomato sauce along with the powdered spices and Carolina Reaper pepper flakes, bringing the heat up to medium until the chili began to simmer.

Four pounds of beef

I reduced the heat to low letting it simmer for about an hour, stirring it several times.   I drained and added the red kidney beans and simmered for an additional 10 minutes and then, to thicken the chili a bit, I added the masa flour mixed with a small amount of water.  Do this slowly while stirring  until it is incorporated..

Looks pretty tasty!

After ladling some chili into a bowl it was topped with extra sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.  It really chased the chill of the fall day away!

For those who live in the Grand Rapids area all the ingredients except the Carolina Reaper Flakes were procured at Forest Hills Foods, an excellent store with a great selection.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

My Windows 10 Upgrade Experience

From start to finish on my quad-core i9 series CPU with 12 GB of DDR3 memory, an NVidia GTX 670 video card, and a solid state disk drive (SSDD) used for the C drive it took an hour and 5 minutes from start to finish of the install.  Note during the install It's a good idea to customize the settings a bit where that option is displayed  otherwise your computer is setup to share your contacts, typing information, and web browsing history with Microsoft and 'selected partners'.

Known problems thus far is one of my external disk drives is no longer accessible and my video card is no longer recognized by PowerDVD 14.  I am a reboot away from the video card issue I believe as I have manually updated that driver.  And I just noticed while proofreading this post that Windows has no audio devices installed and I have a couple of unknown devices shown in Device Manager so there are still obviously some issues.  When I went to do a test connection to the work network via Firefox and our SSL VPN it stated I had no plugin installed yet it still worked and let me connect.

I use Backblaze for backing up my files and it can be kind of finicky but as far as I can tell it seems to be fine and has preserved my backup state  which is great as I have close to 7 terabytes backed up with them and that initial sync took many months!

In spite of the issues above I'll have to say that overall Windows 10 is OK.  It's easy to see it's targeted at tablets and touch screen PCs and I'll have to tweak the UI somewhat to take care of it as I have no desire for the mini tiles interface that appears when one clicks the Start Menu.  Windows 10 does not seem appreciably faster navigating around, using the control panel or system management tools but it is not any slower either, and I'll see if it can shave any time off my already fast 24 seconds boot time I had in Windows as soon as I reboot.

One thing to me that is impressive I have a very old and dirty Windows 7 install.  I had been putting off upgrading my C drive to a bigger drive as the current SSDD is only 250 GB until after installing Windows 10, so the fact that the install ran to completion and allowed me to login and web surf etc. is a testament to the stability and quality of the installation.  Yes, I have a few issues but considering the install has to work across potentially millions of dissimilar PCs it's easy to understand why there can be a few bumps.  I would have liked to just do a clean install but with the free version you have to install it via an upgrade and then you can make a kit for a clean install.  Go figure, huh?

I'll let anyone who is interested know how this proceeds for me.  I have a LOT of Programs to check, and the first one I tried had the video card issues so I do not know if that is a harbinger of things to come.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Mission To Mars Boarding Pass

I just sent my name to fly aboard NASA's Mars mission, InSight, scheduled for launch March 2016!  The InSight lander will listen to the heartbeat of Mars to find out how the rocky planets formed.

Get your own boarding pass on NASA's #JourneyToMars!    

Send your name here:


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Homemade ramen

I made healthy ramen noodles for lunch, recipe and picture are shown below

4 cups unsalted chicken stock 
1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp granulated onion powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger or ginger paste 
1/2 tsp chopped garlic or garlic paste 
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 tsp MSG
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
4 ounces ramen noodles
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
Optional garnish such as veggies or 7 minute egg

Mix stock with all ingredients except chicken, noodles, and garnishes and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. 
Add chicken cook until done 10-12 minutes.
Remove chicken and add noodles cooking three minutes. While noodles are cooking slice the chicken breast on the bias.
Remove from heat, add broth to bowl, add noodles, sliced chicken and any optional garnish.

Serves 2, about 260 mg sodium and 350 calories as shown

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Crockpot Pot Roast with Carrots, Potatoes, and Onions

Crockpot Pot Roast with Carrots, Potatoes, and Onions

It's been awhile since I've posted here so I thought I would share a recipe I made a few weeks back which turned out quite delicious.

4 pounds beef chuck roast
One bag baby carrots
One large sweet onion, quartered
3 large baking potatoes each cut into 16 pieces (cut in half, cut those pieces in half, etc. until you get 16 pieces)
I can Campbells condensed cream of mushroom soup
I pouch Lipton Beefy Onion Soup mix
8 cloves garlic, smashed or pressed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground Cayenne pepper
3/4 cup water
2 tbs corn starch

In crock pot add condensed mushroom soup and 1/2 cup water, then mix in Onion soup mix, garlic, black and Cayenne peppers.  mix thoroughly.  Add meat, onion, potatoes, and carrots

Cook on high for an hour and then reduce heat to low.

After 4 hours skim fat off surface of crockpot.  I got over half a cup of fat doing this!

After another hour mix remaining 1/4 cup of water and cornstarch and add into crock pot.  This will help thicken the juices into a gravy.  

Cook an additional hour until meat is fork tender.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Low Sodium Ramen

Now that I'm recovering from heart issues that  hit me in September of last year, I've had to make a lot of changes, particularly in my diet.  It's also kept me away from this blog and really reduced my online time.  At the very least I'll try to share some additional recipes going forward.

I'm a huge fan of Ramen Noodles but the prepackaged variety have way, way too much sodium.  I began a quest a couple of months ago to make a homemade recipe that mirrors the taste (improves on it in my humble opinion) and reduce the sodium.

After many batches I've come up with the following recipe.  You can add veggies, use different meat, etc.

Low Sodium Ramen

Ingredients:1/8 tsp extra hot chili powder
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp powdered ginger
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
1/4 tsp MSG
1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp granulated onion powder
1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp Wyler Sodium Free Chicken Broth Power
2 cups No Sodium added Chicken Broth
3 green onions, sliced
4 ounces Ramen or curly Chinese noodles
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast sliced into ¼” strips.

In a pot add chicken broth and all dry spices reserving 1 tablespoon of the Wyler chicken broth power.  Bring ingredients to a boil and add chicken.  Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes then add noodles.  Stir occasionally and cook on a low boil for 4 minutes.  Stir in remaining chicken broth powder, turn off gas and cover pot.  Leave stand for 5 minutes.  Top with the sliced green onion.

Makes two servings at about 420 calories and 250 mg sodium .vs. traditional packaged Ramen which has about 1800-2000 mg sodium.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Due to multiple personal health issues and some family issues I've not posted here in quite some time, and can't say when I might again, but as it is Christmas I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas quotes:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farewell Scott my Son! Best Of Luck to You!

This afternoon my number two son Scott and his friends had been loading a big van full of his belongings as he starts his move out of my house.  It's sad but humerous too as I overheard them in the hall while the three of them were trying to move Scott's large dresser at other end of house; after much thumping; and exclamations I heard one of them say:

"It's too big, how will we get it out??!"

"You'll have to stand it on it's side!" I yelled down the hall after which there was and more thumping, banging, and an exclamation of how heavy it was.

'You took the drawers out first, right?"  I yelled.  "That would make it a lot lighter and then you don't have to worry about the drawers sliding open and hitting the walls!" I added, followed with "That would just be stupid if you didn't take the drawers out!"

Dead silence, followed by the sounds of drawers hastily being removed from the dresser.

All the time this activity and the rest of the moves Tails was confined to my bedroom so she would not sneak outside.  I could hear her meowing out the window at them.  Finally when there was a long lull in the proceedings I went and got her and she curled up in my lap.  There she sleeps, oblivious now to the fact she's lost her young master!

While I'll miss my son Scott I'm very proud of him.  On limited funding he's starting a new chapter in his life, moving into a house in the city with his girlfriend and other friends of theirs, and continuing his college education.  Fare thee well, my son, fare thee well!

Scott & Tails First Meet 8/2007

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bagger Dave's Grand Rapids Review

I ate at the Bagger Dave's in Grand Rapids Michigan yesterday; it was the first time I had been to a Bagger Dave's.  I really love a good burger and and I had heard they makes a good one. Before going I talked to multiple friends and read quite a few reviews.

Friends were split between liking it or saying it was OK or nothing special.  Most of the reviews for the Grand Rapids location were negative citing cold food, rude staff, incorrect orders, long waits when picking up orders, and other complaints.  I decided I would take my kids yesterday, and two of them were avialble so off we went arounbd 4:45 PM.

We were greeted and seated quickly and our waitress was there as soon as we were in our chairs.  She asked if we had even been to a Bagger Dave's before and we told er it was our first visit  She proceeded to tell us how things worked there.  One of the things that I liked was by default all burgers had two patties.  One thing I did not like as the server explained, was nothing extra came with the burgers or sandwiches.  You want fries?  That's extra.  The same thing for building your own burger for things like meat, cheese, chili, etc.  Even sour cream and cheese on a small cup of chili is another 80 cents. 

In addition to the menu they have these little cards for making a custom burger and/or an order of fries to go with it.  I chose this route picking three beef patties, lettuce, tomato, raw onions, cheddar, bacon, their Santa Fe Chipolte sauce, and Mayo.  In reference to what I said above about everything costing extra, in my opinion there was not enough of the premium toppings such as cheese and bacon on my burger to justify the cost.

My daughter picked their Bacon BBQ Burger, my son their Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana sandwich.  We all ordered their Fresh Cut Potato Fries, and soda.

Our food arrived and I was very pleased to find all three orders of fries were pipping hot, and I have to say they were incredible! You could almost justify the trip for those alone!  Another area I was impressed with was the service.  Our server was very attentive, and fast, and seemed like she knew when we would something, and she just appeared at our side.  The soda was well carbonated and tasted very good.

The first problem I had was with my burger;  they had forgotten the Santa Fe sauce and the onions.  A quick chat with one of the servers fixed that.  Another issue was my son's sandwich;  he said the way the banana was cooked left it like mush with a bad consistency and no taste.

My daughter and I enjoyed our burgers;  I wish they did not have to cook everything medium well however.  I like my burgers pink on the inside and the patties in both mine and my daughters were kind of dry.  At least with the sauces we had chosen they were still very tasty, but they could have been so much more so if they could have been cooked a little less and had some juices left in them.  If the kitchen is following safe handling practices and they are using good product, there is no need to so cook a ground beef patty to this  extent.  I will say, and I hate to use this phrase but I feel I must;  their Santa Fe Chipolte sauce is to die for!

We decided to order a dessert and we shared one of their Sinfully Sweet Brownie Sundaes.  The one disappointment in this otherwise fine dessert was the brownies tasted like those cheap ones you get out of vending machines or low cost multipacks, with each one wrapped in cellophane.  They were obviously not baked on the premises, and we all agreed they were of a lower quality which affected the rest of the dessert which was very, very good.

The bill came, and I was able to see how quickly all the extras added up!

One of my friends had asked how this compared to Smashburger.  I mentioned it was different.  Same thing as trying to compare it to a double bacon burger at Culvers or Steak & Shake;  it's different.  I could see myself eating burgers from all three establishments depending on my mood at a given time, but I will say the fries at Burger Dave's totally thrash the competition's!

So, the big question is would I go back?  I believe I would but I would be more careful;  I'd order one of the stock burgers and just an order of fries, and I'd skip their dessert which should help keep the cost down.  Perhaps a beer or two would have helped and made me a little less critical, but alcohol should enhance a good meal and not masquerade its shortcomings.

Samsung UN60ES7500 60-Inch 1080p 240 Hz 3D Slim LED HDTV

With the Tax man coming with a refund I thought I would do a review on my recent TV purchase.

As with any major purchase I did so much research before selecting the Samsung UN60ES7500 60-Inch 1080p 240 Hz 3D Slim LED HDTV.  I looked at all the major brands including LG, Sharp, Toshiba, Panasonic, and Sony.  I spent several weeks in my free time doing this, reading and comparing specifications, and checking customer reviews on sites like Amazon and Google Shopping.  Where available for each model I looked at I read CNET and Home Theater site reviews as well.

Based on the available technologies I had to decide between Plasma and LED for starters, and then Active or Passive 3D. From my research online I discovered there were proponents in each camp, and finally I reached critical mass and realized without some hands on comparison I would never be able to decide.

My older son and I went down to the local Best Buy and basically tried all the brands mentioned above and both active and passive 3D technologies.  The  Samsung UN60ES7500 immediately blew away the biggest myth I had read of with Active 3D and that's not having enough of a viewing angle when move away from the center of the screen.  In 2D and 3D TV we could see the picture fine when being on so much of angle where you wouldn't be able to see the front of the TV!

The TV picture for both 2D and 3D is FABULOUS!  Totally blows away, as I would expect, my 5 year old 50" Panasonic plasma, and my 2 year old LG 22" LED TV.  I could not be more pleased!
On the rare occasions I use the pass-through mode of my AV receiver, the sound quality if the TV speakers is decent;  certainly far better than the two aforementioned TVs.

Of course while doing my research I came across complaints for this line of TVs from Samsung, such as you could not use a mouse or keyboard with it, but under mine int he setup mode are setting for a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.  I'll have to try that on a later date and update this report.  I also read complaints of different color lines down the display, light bleeding around the edges, and other issues, but as I said previously the picture on this unit is amazing!

More than a few of the reviews I had read mentioned the Samsung line my TV was a part of were turning themselves off for no reason.  I'm theorizing this might have been because they had automatic power setting set to do this, or perhaps the voice command feature misinterpreted some TV dialog as a command to turn off the set.   One reviewer mentioned when they removed theirs from the network this issue stopped, mine has been on my home network since the day it arrived, with no issues.  The wireless network setup was quick and easy in fact and I've had no network related issues on either of my home wireless networks, both of which use different security settings.

Speaking of Voice Commands, this is one of Samsung's 'Smart TVs', meaning you can use a set of predefined commands and hand gestures to control it.

It should be noted I did NOT buy the set for these features, which is good because they are, in my humble opinion, not ready for prime time.  Trying to get the TV to recognize, even with the TV muted, voice commands is a hit or miss proposition.  It either does not recognize the initial command phrase, or it can easily misinterpret commands.  How it thinks "TV Power Off"is the command for "Current Time" is beyond me.  The hand gesturing also needs work.   Trying to get the on screen menu to come up when holding using the waving gesture it expects, even after going through the setup calibration,  rarely works, but get a bit tired and raise your hands while stretching, and Bam!  it appears!

Hopefully subsequent firmware upgrades will improve this, but if you main reason for getting a Smart TV is for these features, you will be sorely disappointed.

The TV comes with a number of pre-loaded applications, such as a Netflix library and there is an application store you can choose more from.  There are both free and paid apps.  As the TV has a built in camera, there is also a Skype application.  This is also a decent web browser;  with a wireless keyboard and mouse this would be a very easy way to surf the web, check your email, etc.

So, in closing, if you're looking for a TV based on being able to dump your remote and use hand gesturing and voice commands to control it, this is NOT the TV for you.  You'll be very disappointed in the poor implementation of these features based on today's firmware. 

If on the other hand you're looking for a large screen, network connected 3D HD TV with a fantastic picture, a boatload of applications, and a plethora of other features this is an ideal purchase.

Because of the poor implementation of the Voice Command and Gesturing features, I'd give this TV four out of five stars.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Damn!  It's been a long time since I've published on my blog!

Here's a food tip I just had to pass on about cooking bacon. Put it in a sheet pan and cook in a 350 degree oven. After 15 minutes turn the tray 180 degrees, and if cooking multiple trays swap them on their shelves. Cook another 15 minutes or until cooked the way you like it; the photo below shows the bacon after 30 minutes cooked as above.

Each slice comes out cooked to the same degree and nice and flat, and t tastes much better than pan frying. You can also do things like sprinkle freshly ground pepper or other spices, such as ground chili for different flavorings.

Typically I do several pounds at a time because the cooked bacon keeps in the fridge for weeks, I store it in a heavy duty freeze bag.

My two favorite sandwiches are Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese,and the other is turkey with a bit of mayo and some crisp bacon. I think though if I added bacon to the Taylor ham sandwich it might come in first!

Two Pounds of Deliciousness!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Memorable Moment

Yesterday my daughter Danielle and I were riding in the car.  The area we were in was in the woods and the trees have started changing colors heralding in the fall season.  It was quite beautiful to behold.

Looking at the trees I was reminded of how when I was much younger, probably around 10 or, of the love my mother had for the fall colors.  Every year she and my father would drive from New Jersey into upstate New York just to see the splendor of the many colors the leaves were sporting at this time of year.

I remember most often, until we were older, my brother and I being 'dragged along' for the trip, yet here I was many years later totally enjoying the painting of colors that adorned the trees.

Danielle said she was enjoying the colors too when I asked her, so I shared this story about my mom with my daughter and concluded with how happy I was to share a story with her about the grandmother she had never met, who would have most certainly found such joy and pride in her granddaughter, and most likely would have spoiled her rotten over the years!

Such moments, that capture love, life, and memories across multiple generations, are extremely rare these days and I will cherish it, as I cherish her and my mom.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Picture Of The Day 06/30/11

Reflections on the conference room windows showing I'd rather be
outside in a gorgeous day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day Dad!

I'm really missing my dad a lot today.  Next month will be three years since he passed away.  For all of you with your dads (and moms for that matter) still with you don't make the mistakes I made.  Always thought there would be more time to talk, to ask questions, and learn more about him, and have him learn more about me.  Don't take your dad for granted, he won't be around forever!

For my dad, I'll just say thanks for being there, in good times, and in bad, and dad, I miss you so much, and I love you with all my heart!


Dad and I the last time I saw him in July 2007

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sometimes Life Hands You a Shi* Sandwich

I just feel bad for my daughter. Last month she was in a motorcycle accident and spent weeks, scabbed, sore, bruised and black and blue. She gets past that and this month has another accident. She was at the pool Wednesday and twisted her leg pretty bad. A trip to the ER with her boyfriend and her mom and they suspect cartilage damage, they want to immobile the leg to prevent further damage but it is too swollen, so they send her home on crutches and Vicodin for the extreme pain, and of course that makes her so nauseous she's vomiting. Watching her hobble back and forth with her crutches to the bathroom was really tugging at my heart strings. She goes and sees a specialist next week.

Because she has to keep the leg elevated the only way she is comfortable is in one of my recliners so she's been camped out in it since Wednesday night. I working from home this morning and she's fast asleep over on the other recliner, and I hope when she awakens today her stomach will have settled down and she will feel a little better. When I hear her cry it just cuts through me like a knife, all I want is for my three kids to be healthy and happy. They are good kids after all!

As to me, I'd probably sell my soul to the devil fora good nights sleep. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Picture Of The Day 06/15/05

AWESOME picture of the sun rising this morning! Click for a higher res version.