Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Something New

In spite of what happened when trying something new as described in my post entitled Chris' Cooking Disaster, I was at Forest Hills Foods just now and they had a sample of a food I had never tried, but heard about countless times, particularly during reruns of Hogan's Heroes:

So, what was this new thing I tried today? Wiener Schnitzel!

One of Colonel Wilhelm Klink's favorite foods on the aforementioned TV show. It was very good! So good in fact that I took a copy of the recipe they had out. I will have to make it one day with some Sauerkraut.

I was surprised that my preconception of it having something to do with hot dogs or sausage was not true; it's always good to learn something new. I am glad I tried and liked it because I must admit my "try something new" philosophy took a beating with last nights kitchen disaster! I can still taste it.......ugggggghh!

Fun Food Facts

I learned something new about food today while watching Dinner: Impossible during my exercise bike ride. I learned that true Sushi chefs spend 3 years learning and practicing how to just make the rice part of Sushi!

Chris' Cooking Disaster

You know I enjoy posting my recipes that pass my own rigorous standards. I will not post an "OK" recipe; in my humble opinion it has to be really good, delicious, fantastic even! I am truly proud of every recipe I post and refuse to hoard them like state secrets. Good food should be available to all!

I am not a master chef, I've not attended any formal cooking classes though one day I would like to. I do think that from cooking since I was around 10 years old that I have some skill in preparing tasty and nutritious food after 40 years experience.

While I may post recipes, I've rarely talked about my failures and I have mentioned on occasion that a recipe did not turn out as good as I thought it might. In fact, over the weekend I made some stuffed grilled red peppers that I filed with a mixture of broccoli and chicken marinated in olive oil. oregano, and garlic. It was good but not great and needs to be revised before I can consider posting it here. In any event it all gotten eaten and was certainly better than fast food or anything packaged at the store.

Note though that last night's food failure was remarkable enough in the fact that I fed an entire frying pan of a new recipe to the food disposal in the kitchen sink after a single taste! That's how foul it was. Tails had been sitting around meowing and begging so I just took the spoon from the pan and held it out for her to smell. With a loud Meow! she took like a shot off and hid under the couch.....I think she came out hours later.........

With a failure this bad, I just had to blog about it here. I'm human, and with 42 years of cooking experience, as well as many pounds under my belt, I make mistakes. This one was a doozy!

It started out innocently enough; I wanted something using Steak-umms. For those who have never enjoyed them, they are chopped, formed and frozen thin steak slices perfectly suited for a quick and very tasty steak or cheese steak sandwich.

Keeping with my quest for better nutrition I decided to fry up onions and peppers and use those with the Steak-umms so I could stay within my nutrition guidelines. Besides, I have done onions and peppers with Steak-umms before and it is great!!

The biggest thing that set me up for failure here was trying something new, something I am always after the kids about.

SO! I went to Forest Hills Foods in search of onions and peppers. Of course, since some lunatic (cough! cough!) had been buying up Poblano peppers all week long, there were none to be found.

I could have gone with a safe bet of Sweet Red peppers, and kind of made a steak fajita type roll up as I was planning to user tortillas anyway, but oh no! I had to try something new!

There was a pepper type I had not tried before, a bit bigger than the Poblanos and simply labeled Hungarian Peppers. I thought about how much I had been enjoying the Hungarian Paprika I had bought at the start of Poblano Pepper Madness days, and thought these peppers would be worth a try!

So, I went home and in a pan I sauteed onions and these peppers with some of the aforementioned paprika, cumin, and chili powder. I then took three Steak-Umms and broke them into pieces.

I also made an interesting discovery after putting my finger into my mouth, THESE PEPPERS ARE VERY HOT! Not too hot for me mind you on a heat basis, but talk about your staying power! I had a shower last night plus I've washed my hands numerous times after the dinner preparation, I rubbed my eye this morning and the BURNING from the pepper residue was unbelievable! And impressive! Now, for the first time in my life I understand how pepper spray can totally incapacitate a crazed 300 pound attacker!!! If the staying power of these peppers could be put into other products, well............

Anyway, after adding the meat I cooked gently for about 10 minutes and then took a taste to see if the onions were tender. IT WAS HORRIBLE! I did not mind the heat, and once again I must inform you that I have never sauteed and eaten an old sneaker, but, I think I know how a spicy one would taste!

I hesitated only a moment (while quick and easy Steak-umms are NOT cheap) and ended up dumping the entire pan into the disposal. I did notice that this morning the stainless steel sink was unusually shinny, so, at least there was some benefit to this exercise is culinary sabotage! I will NOT be trying these peppers ever again.....besides.....I am sure another load of Poblanos will arrive soon, and there were still a couple of varieties of pepper I had not tried, but still will.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I hate September 28th

This is, and always will be a crappy day of the year for me. It's the anniversary of my Mom's passing and my former Wedding Anniversary, in fact my mom died on our first anniversary. That put a stigma on the day while I was still married. Now at least that's not an issue.

I managed to do my exercise bike ride, and went to the store to get the ingredients for dinner. Just me and Tails, the kids are at their Mom's this weekend.

Tails and I are weathering the day as best we can. I just started pre-heating the oven for dinner, if this recipe works out well it will be posted tomorrow.

Sigh....I really hate this day of the year......... It's even worse this year with my dad gone. I know many people are without their parents, but, it takes some getting used to.

Poblano Peppers with Stroganoff Stuffing

I have really been enjoying the Poblano peppers this past week! I picked up another batch at the store yesterday and was trying to decide what to make with them. For some reason I thought of Beef Stroganoff and decided this would make a fine stuffing as shown in the picture below:

Click for a tastier, larger version in a new window!

1 large sweet onion
12 ounces sliced mushrooms
8 Poblano peppers
2/3 cup light sour cream
1/2 lb 92% lean ground beef
2 tbs Hungarian Paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

Chop sweet onion. Spray a large frying pan generously with PAM-type Olive Oil spray and put on medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally for five minutes. While onions are cooking, coarsely chop mushrooms. Add mushrooms to pan, remove from heat, spray top with olive oil spray, and add chili powder and paprika. Stir well return to heat, cover pan, and stir occasionally.

While onions and mushrooms are cooking remove stems from peppers, remove seeds, and cut in half. Add ground beef to frying pan, crumbling when adding. Cover pan.

Now's a good time to go pre-heat your outdoor grill. Cook contents of frying pan another five minutes or until onions are tender.

Spray both sides of peppers with butter flavored cooking spray and place skin side up on the grill. Cook for three minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and remove from grill.

Make sure ground beef is well broken up and remove frying pan from heat. Stir in sour cream, mix well, and leave covered for five minutes.

Spoon mixture into pepper halves and place back on grill for an additional three minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Ramon Journals
Entry Number 5

This selection was labeled New 200 Nyang Ramen noodles- Spicy

You can click the product name above to open an order page on the companies web site in a new browser window.

This was the only Ramon selection that came in a bag verses a cup or bowl. For this variety you had to boil water in a pot, then add the noodles, seasoning pack, and dehydrated veggies pack. You then simmer for 4 minutes. The advantage over the bagged Ramon soup is usually cost. Yes, you have to prepare it and wash a pot, but it costs less, usually at least 50% less than the price of a comparable bowl of noodles. 

This was a very tasty bowl of Ramon! Spicy as well, but not overwhelmingly so for our more......sensitive diners out there! The veggies included welsh onion, dried carrot, and dried mushroom.

This item will be re-ordered!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Unusual Tails Tale

Yesterday Danielle picked up Tails and something must have startled her. She kicked in with her back claws (front is declawed) to get away and left several 6+ inch and smaller scratches on her arm and hand. One hour, half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and most of a pack of cotton balls later I had it all cleaned up and the bleeding stopped. There was no way band aides were going to handle this mess however! I ended up having to run off to the drug store to get a bottle of liquid skin to cover and protect the injuries. Since it has antiseptic in it, it stings until it dries.  On long scratches like this too it pulls the skin a bit when the affected areas are moved.

Danielle did not like this and suggest I wrap it up in gauze and I explained to her how that would rub in the scratches and  and would have to be changed often and if she though the liquid stuff felt weird the gauze rubbing her scratched skin would feel a lot worse.  The nice thing about this stuff is you put it on int he morning and the evening and you're done with it and it brushes on very quickly.

She got hugs after medicating and Tails got glares, I got her (Danielle, not Tails as I was a bit ticked because it's not like a gunshot went off outside the screen door!) Chinese food for dinner and let her eat on the couch and helped her as her hand and arm were still drying. She even tried some of the stuffed grilled Poblano peppers I made for myself.

Bless Danielle's heart though she took it in stride and was not upset with the cat, though she was not really happy about having to have the stuff applied this morning; it smells like nail polish on steroids.

This morning, while holding her arm over the gale force breeze of my tornado vortex fan in an attempt to speed the liquid skin drying process, she was joking that her friends and teachers thought she might have gone Goth and be scratching herself. I said if the school called me I would say I knew nothing of cat scratches!

"Oh my god she did what to herself! She said the cat did that? We don't even have a cat!!!!"

Contrary to my expectations she was amused by this!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recipe - Roasted Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Why should I go to bed when there's a recipe to write up??

As the 8 new varieties of Ramon noodles arrived this evening after buying the ingredients below this will probably be the last recipe for awhile; in fact, as my 'dessert' I had one of the smaller Ramon varieties and it was awesome!

In any event this meal turned out really well, and Danielle, who, had no interest in it based on the description was intrigued by the smell after she had her dinner, and ended up eating one of the pepper halves.

1 large sweet onion
5 Poblano peppers
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 lb 92% lean ground beef
4 slices Kraft fat free cheddar cheese
4 large leaves of fresh basil
2 tsp packaged taco mix (I use Old El Paso)
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt

Chop sweet onion. Spray a large frying pan generously with PAM-type Olive Oil spray and put on medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally for five minutes. Turn on outdoor grill for preheating.

While sauteing onion remove stems and cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Add curry powder, basil leaves, and taco mix to frying pan along with ground beef. Cover, and cook another five minutes or until onions are tender.

Make sure ground beef is well broken up and add frozen corn, cooking an additional two minutes. Add cheese slices, turn off heat, and leave covered.

After adding ground beef to pan above, spray both sides of peppers with olive oil spray and place skin side up on the grill. Cook for three minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and remove from grill.

Stir mixture in frying pan until melted cheese is thoroughly mixed in. Spoon into pepper halves and place back on grill for an additional three minutes. Remove from heat and serve. A dollop of fat free sour cream makes a nice topping but is of course optional!

Not only is this meal healthy and low in fat and calories, it was absolutely delicious!

Recipe - Southwest Cheeseburger Roll Ups

I guess I still have not had my fill of peppers......I offered this to the kids last night and they balked so I made them Ramon from Forest Hills Foods, while I enjoyed this recipe:

1 Habanero pepper
1 Poblano pepper
1/2 lb 92% lean ground beef
1 clove garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Hungarian Paprika
1/2 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 slices fat free Kraft Cheddar Cheese
4 Smart & Delicious Tortillas

Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Those who like more heat can retain the seeds from the Habanero pepper. Reserve half of the Poblano Pepper. Finely dice (I used one of those kitchen helper type chopping tools) remaining peppers and garlic.

In a bowl combine all spices, diced peppers and garlic, and olive oil thoroughly with ground beef. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat your outdoor grill. Shape meat mixture into a large rectangular patty about 1/4" thick. Ideally it should be a tiny bit longer than the width of the tortilla. Spray both sides of the remaining Poblano pepper half lightly with olive oil spray and very lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place meat and pepper (skin side up) on grill and cook three minutes. Flip meat and pepper and top meat with 1.5 slices of the cheese, with the remaining half slice going into the 1/2 Poblano pepper. Grill an additional minute and remove from heat.

Cut meat patty lengthwise into four equal potions and put one in each tortilla. Add whatever additional accompaniments you desire such as diced tomato, lettuce, etc. Enjoy the cheesy pepper on the side! I did and saw it as an excellent alternative to a pickle.

This dish, in spite of the Habanero pepper came in at a medium heat on the commercial scale. Note that's with the seeds removed from the pepper. Keep them in at your own risk.

Beware that this meal gave me an idea for something I may try this evening; stuffed grilled Poblano peppers; if that works out well I will post the recipe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ramon Journals
Entry Number 4

Note: Post updated with correct picture on 9/24

You can click the product name above to open an order page on the companies web site in a new browser window.

This was the only 'cup of soup' size I had in this order. The taste was similar to the product described in Ramon Journal Entry Number 1, though perhaps not as spicy and a bit less savory. That is not to say in any way that it was not a delicious cup of Ramon as it was. The veggie bits in this variety included Kimchi and green onion.

It was your typical preparation of peeling the lid back partially, dumping in the contents of the seasoning pack, filling to the line with boiling water, covering, and waiting five minutes.

Note that the smaller size is perfect for lunch or a snack, verses the larger ones I've posted (except the bean curd one!) which are perfect for dinner.

This item will be re-ordered!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Posting from the road

This is a test using my mail to directly send a post to my blog!
As if you did not have to put up with when I had time to sit at home and post!

Recipe - Chicken Chorizo Sausage Roll Ups

I've been enjoying the produce at the local store and after Friday night's chili I decided I had to use most of the same spices yet create something different on Saturday. I had some leftover tortillas in the fridge and I decided some type of roll up was in order. Here's what I came up with.

1 Habanero pepper
2 Poblano peppers
6 ounces (two sausages) Chicken Chorizo sausage
6 "Smart & Delicious" low carb, high fiber tortillas
1 cup Egg Beaters
1 large white onion
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp hot chili powder

Spray the bottom of a large frying generously with olive oil spray. Slice onions lengthwise, cut peppers in half, remove seeds. Slice Poblano peppers into strips, about 8-10 slices per pepper and dice the Habanero pepper.

Heat frying pan on medium-low heat and then add onions and peppers sprinkling salt on top. Stir occasionally and when onions just being to brown add last three ingredients above, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low for five minutes.

Remove casing from the sausages and crumble meat. Add to mixture in frying pan leaving uncovered for five minutes before adding Egg Beaters. Cover and cook on very low heat for five minutes. Stir mixture, cover and let rest for five minutes.

Divide between tortillas and top with optional items such as shredded cheese, fat free sour cream, or use what I did, some nice imported hot Mexican taco sauce.

Serves three.

Note this is less spicy than the chili in spite of the use of the Habanero pepper whose heat is mitigated somewhat by the cooking process. I'd rate this a medium on the commercial scale.

Recipe - Three Alarm Chili

I decided to take a break from Ramon posts because last night I made some ground beef chili and it turned out awesome! So good in fact I had to share the recipe! The two types of fresh pepper plus the imported Hungarian paprika give it a unique taste. If you can't find Hungarian paprika at your local store use any good smoked paprika. There are many variations on chili recipes; I hope you enjoy this one!

1 large white onion chopped
3 Chili peppers chopped
3 Jalapeno peppers chopped
1/4 cup Sambal Oelek
1.25 pounds 92% lean ground beef
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
8 cloves garlic
1 small can red kidney beans
1 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
2 tsp hot chili powder

Note: Once again I must caution you to use GOOD Sambal Oelek; I have tried over a dozen brands and only the Conimex brand has the heat with the subtle tastes of the peppers! The rest are just tasteless heat. Click the link above under the ingredients and rest easy as I have ordered from this place multiple times with no hassles.

Spray the bottom and sides of a four quart sauce pan with olive oil spray. Using the flat edge of a knife crush the garlic enough to remove the skin. Cut peppers in half and remove the seeds if you want three alarm chili, use them if you'd like a three.5 or 4! I removed them in this case.

Using medium-low heat add the onion, pepper, and garlic to the pan and sprinkle salt over the top. Sweat for a few minutes stirring once or twice. Break up the ground beef into the pan and cover for five minutes.

Remove lid and using a large wooden or plastic spoon break up the ground beef. Sprinkle in paprika, cumin, and chili powder and mix well.

Add tomato sauce and water, stir well. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add kidney beans, stir, cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove lid and adjust heat to that mixture simmers slowly. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or longer until liquid is thickened.

Stir in Sambal Oelek, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest covered for 15 minutes. Serve as desired with your favorite toppings such as fat free sour cream, low fat shredded cheddar cheese, etc.

This is a nice spicy chili, maybe not for those who can't tolerate any heat, but not too fiery. it goes down easy and leaves a nice sweat on the forehead after eating! For people with normal taste buds I would rate this between medium and hot for commercially labeled products.

This evening I think I shall make Mexican roll ups featuring Poblano peppers, onions, chicken chorizo sausage, and egg beaters. If it turns out well another recipe may follow, if you would like to see it.

Footnote: I made the roll ups I mentioned above for dinner, and they were great!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Ramon Journals
Entry Number 3

This selection was labeled Japanese UFO Ramen Bowl Noodle soup
You can click the product name above to open an order page on the companies web site in a new browser window.

This is what started me down the entire Ramon trail.  Lili, my x-brother-in-law's wife, gave me one off these to try when we visited New Jersey at the end of August.  I brought it home and made it a week later and it was excellent.

This was the only Ramon sampled thus far that has the seasoning pouch in liquid form;  the rest were all powdered.  In addition, there is an optional pack of .....something....... that look like little tiny balls or seeds.  I added them as well.  The little bits of vegetable in the green variety (mostly cabbage I am thinking) were in with the dried noodles.

It was your typical preparation of peeling the lid back partially and filling to the line with boiling water, covering, and waiting five minutes.
Perhaps it is the liquid based seasonings on this, but, thus far having sampled all 8 varieties in the shipment I ordered, this one is my favorite though Entry Number One would be a close second!  The flavor is very rich and pronounced, and while following along with what I call traditional Ramon flavoring, though very rich and pronounced.  I will have to ask Lili what is in that second seasoning pack.....if anyone would know she will.

This item will be re-ordered!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Ramon Journals
Entry Number 2

This selection was labeled Japanese Noodle Bowl with Fried Bean Curd -3.99oz

You can click the product name above to open an order page on the companies web site in a new browser window.

In all my 52 years this has been the worst Ramon I have ever tasted! Perhaps even the worst food! I'll have to ponder that for awhile.....

In addition to the noodles, spices, and some bits of vegetable this had a large sponge-sized piece of fried bean curd in it. Sponge-like indeed! I have never eaten a sponge before, nor have I ever been possessed by the urge to do so!

It's a moot point however,because now I truly believe I know the flavor of a dirty fecund 3 month old wet kitchen sponge! It was terrible! Even the soup and noodles were inedible due to the flavor. This was not just my opinion, but my younger Ramon connoisseurs Scott and Danielle agreed with me.

Usually I enjoy bean turd....uh.....curd....but....not in this case. Thinking about this just now made me queasy!

I have another variety of this soup from the same manufacturer, I am hoping the seasonings will be different! I dread making it! (Note: Turns out I will be eating this in a few minutes!)

Is it needless to say that this item will never, ever be re-ordered!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Ramon Journals
Entry Number 1

This selection was labeled Very spicy Hot ramen noodle bowl.

You can click the product name above to open an order page on the company's web site in a new browser window.

This was the first variety I tried out of the 8 I ordered and it was very, very good! If the rest of them are half this good it will be a most pleasant experience!

The soup was spicy, but in my opinion it did not rate a very spicy as the description indicated, and it was also very flavorful with your typical Ramon broth. Because of the different spices and other ingredients vary by brand and type, the tastes vary, though most share a similar 'base taste'. Where a selection features a notable deviation from this I will mention it.

The tiny bits of veggies included green onion, mushroom, carrot, and red pepper.

Preparation was simple; peel back the lid a third of a way, tear open the spice packet and add to the bowl along with boiling water, reseal the lid and wait. While times for steeping a bowl of noodles varies, I find five minutes works great on all varieties.

All an all an excellent bowl of Ramon!

This item will be re-ordered!

The Ramon Journals Revisited

After getting some comments and e-mails I have decided to go through with the Ramon Journal Posts after all.

So, for each post there will be a picture of the packaging, a link to that particular item on the web page of the company I bought it from, and their name for the product.

Of course there will also be my (half?) witty repartee as well as I review each selection and share my impressions on it.

I may post the first one this afternoon if time permits and there will be eight posts in total. If you read them and like them, please post a comment, as I will be ordering another 8 varieties to sample and will be happy to post reviews of those here as well.

Waiting for the repair man......

Working from home today waiting for the gas company to come look at my refrigerator.

Yes, that's right. The gas company!

Tails, my faithful feline companion, is resting comfortably on the foot rest next to mine, curled up in a ball, washing herself. She will undoubtedly remain positioned near me for the majority of the day. Ahhhhhh!

Update: Tails has moved to my Chest and is purring loudly!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 12 of I have the Kids

As I had mentioned in a previous post about Scott and I being sick, I've had the kids for over a week now as the X has been out of the area working on a project that overran because of manufacturing defects and the rainy weekend.  Last night the kids were supposed to go back to her house after Danielle's birthday dinner.

Evidently there were additional problems at the job site that she heard about via a phone call during dinner, and she decided she had to head back instead of departing early this morning.

So, the kids came back to my house at 9PM last night, and Scott's stomach was bothering him intensely, though, bless his heart, he did make it off to school today even though he still had not fully recovered this morning.  I've had them now for 11 nights and 12 days, the longest I think since the divorce, with the possible exception of that time her company worked down in Florida.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Danielle!

My 'little girl' turned 14 today!  We'll be taking her to dinner this evening with the X's folks and giving her some presents.

The one plus side of the X's job taking so long is I got to see my girl this morning before she left for school!

Because she's at those teen years where she sometimes has trouble talking to us about certain things I wrote her a long heartfelt letter and emailed it for her to read, reminding her how much we love her and will always be there for her in good times and bad, and other mushy sentiments like that!

Seems like just yesterday I was breaking all land speed records rushing to the hospital for her delivery.  For those of you who do not know the X had MAJOR complications with Danielle's pregnancy.  She spent weeks in a special wing of the hospital with an operating room right by her room.  Danielle was born weeks early and the X ended up with medication induced asthma from all the medications she had to take to get the baby's to mature quicker so she could have  a normal birth.

Every time I see my daughter I realize what a miracle it is to have her!

And yes, I'm very happy too that the X made it through!  We could easily have lost one or both of them!

Sick with Scott

Scott and I have been sick since last week. A bad case of fever, clogged head, congestion, scratchy throat, and noisy cough. With only a single wall between his room and mine sleep has not been easy, particularly with him coughing a lot more than me.

What makes it worse is that the kids were supposed to go home Friday evening for their week with their mom, but the job from hell she's been working in another part of the state went bad because of all the rain we've been having from hurricane Ike over the weekend, so, they will not be going back until this evening. 

It was a rough weekend all I wanted to do was.....nothing! As much as I love my kids I was looking forward to them heading to their Mom's so I could retreat to my bed and stay there.  Since I was having trouble breathing and needing to clear my throat I would stay up in the living room until Scott settled down (evidenced by the cessation of coughing from his room) and then I would head to bed so as not to disturb him.  The idea of making food or cleaning house was just too unreal to even think of!  I ended up ordering out food each night which I will regret when the credit card bill comes in.

Scott and I spent most of the weekend on the couch with him spending some time on the computer.

Today I am feeling somewhat better, past the worst of the symptoms but very weak. So weak in fact that Tails sense this before I left for work and pinned me to the ground until I promised her an extra serving of canned cat food!

Farewell my iPod!

For those who have been reading this blog you know I've mentioned my iPod Touch on a frequent basis; believe it or not I may be selling it and all my iPod equipment in a very attractively-priced 'bundle' to buy one of these:

Click the image below which will open a detailed description in a new web browser. I am just waiting for them to come into local stores so I can do some hands on before making the final decision to purchase one. I figure with what I can get for the old equipment and some Amazon gift certificates I already have, my net out of pocket cost will be around zero!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Jersey Trip Picture

One of these days I must write up a post of our vacation trip to New Jersey at the end of last month. For now, here's my favorite picture from that journey.

We were at the Cranford Canoe Club with my brother who happens to know the owner. To snap this picture, I had to run across the street (which being a bridge over the river made it more difficult) and then cut through some parks on the riverbank to get to the spot I could snap this before they got out of range. They were moving quite quickly!

Click the picture for the full size image of Scott and Danielle in a canoe.

Thus ends The Ramon Journals

I posted the Ramon Journal entry two days ago, since there are no comments I'll take that to mean no one is interested in that series. 

I guess my idea of what's interesting varies with those who visit, I thought this would be more interesting than my usual ramblings.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Ramon Journals

Scott and Danielle have been enjoying packages of Ramon Soup from the local grocery store for many months now. Unlike some of their previous food fads it seems to be something that they are going to keep eating for awhile. I like it as well, but, not as much as the two of them.

While we were in New Jersey their aunt Lili made Scott some of her style Ramon which unlike the ones the kids are used to contained herbs and some decent flavor. Scott did not like it as much as his usual bowl of noodles because of this....it was a change over the typical noodles and chicken broth he was used to and Scott does not like change. I, on the other hand, loved it.

She gave me a package totally written in oriental to take home of another variety which I did. I had that early last week and it was just so much better than the ones the kids have been eating. It had little bits of vegetables and herbs in it, and such a rich flavor as well.

So, I decided I wanted more and went online in a effort to find them which I did from an eastern importer. I also found countless other varieties and thus ordered eight different packages to sample.

I hope you can join me on what promises to be a tasty journey!

And so it begins! "The Ramon Journals" will unfold as I, your intrepid taste tester and connoisseur of all things edible share with you my findings of the following 8 Ramon variations.

For a much larger image click on the picture above; do it NOW!

After I had written the above, Danielle and I ended up making three of the eight packages. Originally I figured we would make two, splitting each one, and that would make a serving for each of us. This was not to be the case however!

One of them tasted horrible, and the food disposal ate heavily of it after we each had a taste.

So, which one was that? How were the other two? What three varieties did you sample???

If you hunger for the answers to these questions dear reader, you'll just have to return as I post the reviews for each variety.

Have A Better Birthday With Worms

My 52nd Birthday on Sunday was nothing special , and I had a decent day.

I thank those of you who sent birthday greetings, and well, for those of you who did not....... :)

I arose around 8:30 AM, puttered on the computer for awhile, played cone of the video game I got from Kevin and Lili when we were in New Jersey, and then rode the exercise bike.

After getting cleaned up, Scott and I headed off to McDonald's to get a lite bite since we knew we would not be eating dinner for awhile, and we brought home something for Danielle, who was too involved in teenage drama to come with us.

Around 1:45 PM we headed to the vet with Tails....which means I need to mention that Saturday when Scott was petting tails something white, small, and wriggly ended up on his hand, and, a visual examination of her......uh.......posterior showed an additional worm peaking out! So, we made her the Sunday appointment (which surprised me because heaven help a human who needs to see a doctor on a Sunday!!!)

So, we arrived at the vet, the doctor did a patient history and examination of Tails and a topical medication was applied to her neck behind her head. In two weeks she would be tape worm free. Tails being an indoor cat I was puzzled about this until it was explained that the eggs can be tracked indoors on footwear, and, Tails does love playing with our sneakers and sandals and such. usually though outdoor cats get this from eating infested rodents.

The only downside to us is this medication will stay somewhat moist for days so you have to remember not to pet the cat there.

Anyway, after returning home I watched TV with the kids, and played more of the aforementioned (Dark Sector) video game. Around 4PM the X arrived and we headed over to Texas Roadhouse where the X's parents met us, and I had a marvel opus T-Bone and dessert. Scott and Danielle had their usual prime rib though Danielle shared hers with her mom.

They overcooked the X's Mom's steak and took quite awhile to rectify it, so, instead of the birthday treat of a small bowl of vanilla ice cream they brought out three of their chocolate fudge cake and ice creak desserts for all of us and took the price of the steak off the bill. The X's dad paid for dinner, and her Mom gave me a bottle of spicy Buffalo Wing sauce, a bottle of After Death hot sauce, and a bottle of Bone Sucking sauce which I really liked.

The X gave me one of those motivational books which I promised to read....hey....I love fiction after all!

Scott and Danielle gave me an amazon gift certificate. The X dropped us off back at my house where the rest of the day was spent in TV watching and Game Playing, plus I made some Ramon soup for all of us as a snack later in the evening.

All and all an OK birthday. not great, but, not too bad.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Tails Kitty
First year in Pictures

Last month marked the end of Tails' first year with us! It has been a most enjoyable year for all of us whose lives Tails have affected. We really love our kitty.

Press the play button below to see all 13 pictures; enjoy!

Note you can click on any picture in the album to see them in larger size.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Video of the Day
My Morning Walk

This would not have been my first choice for my morning walk but I must have made a wrong turn somewhere!  Click below to play the video as it is most awe inspiring!

This is the El Caminito del Rey (The King's pathway) is a walkway, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Málaga , Spain . The walkway has gone many years without maintenance, and is in a highly deteriorated and dangerous state. It is only one meter in width, and over a 700-meter fall, and over time it has also lost its handrail. Some parts of the walkway have completely collapsed and have been replaced by a beam and a metallic wire on the wall. Many people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years. After four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the loca l government closed the entrances. However, adventurous tourists still find their way into the walkway.

Friday, September 05, 2008

South of the Border Chicken Nachos

I've been trying really hard before and after vacation to stick to the diabetic dietary requirements. Last night I wanted something good, without exceeding those. I created the following and was quite pleased with the results!

1 pound frozen boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
1 cup white onion diced
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp crushed garlic (I used jarred here)
1/2 tbsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp powdered cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Slices fat free Kraft Cheddar Cheese
6 ounces Tortilla Chips (I used soy chips for less carbs and more protein)
PAM type Olive Oil Spray

Optional for topping:
Fat Free Sour Cream
Taco Sauce
Sambal Olek

Spray a non-stick saucepan with PAM spray. To bottom add water and crushed garlic. Add Frozen Chicken, and spray top lightly with PAM. Sprinkle on chili powder, paprika, cumin, and black pepper. Cover, and and simmer on very low heat for an hour.

Stir contents. At this point chicken should be soft enough (you used tenders, tight?) to break up. Using a wooden or plastic spoon press down on tenders until they break into smaller pieces.

Add chopped onion, cover, and again simmer on low heat for an hour. Remove from heat, add cheese, stir, cover and let sit for several minutes.

Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on a large platter and then spoon chicken mixture on top. Add whatever else you like at this point such as guacamole, taco sauce, fat free sour cream, etc. I just topped mine sparingly with some Sambal for extra heat!

ENJOY! Serves four as an appetizer or two for dinner.

Birthday Blahs

Feeling kind of bummed with the birthday coming up this Sunday. Birthdays used to be such a fun family thing....now....they are just another day to me. Nothing really to Celebrate here.


That's not the main reason I have not been posting a lot. I had lost my lunch time internet connection but it's abck now so there will be some posts, including a new recipie shortly!