Friday, November 28, 2008

WARNING! Stuffin' Muffin Recipe Recall!

WARNING!! If you have not made the Cornbread Stuffin' Muffin recipe I posted earlier today, and you have pets, then for heaven's sake DO NOT MAKE THIS RECIPE!

Tails ate most of one of the muffins a couple of hours ago and I heard her making strange guttural noises in the other room. Below is the picture of her that greeted not let your pets eat these muffins!!!

Humans appear unaffected by these side effects. I wonder about small children.......

Recipe - Cornbread Stuffin' Muffins

So, I was really missing my cornbread sausage stuffing this year! Last night when I was doing my shopping prior to Scott getting off of work,I picked up a couple of packages of Jiffy brand corn muffin mix.

Today, an idea hit me, and while I was out running errands I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up some sausage and onion. A new recipe was born.

Note that in the spirit of Thanksgiving dinner this is NOT one of my healthy recipes though I may go back and do such a variation down the road. This is bad food, but, for a first try it came out fantastic!

1 8.5 oz box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
5 oz sausage (Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans Original recipe)
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs butter
1/3 cup Egg Beaters
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground back pepper

Flatten out sausage in frying pan and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp freshly ground back pepper. Cook until edges start to brown, flip over and cook other side. Remove from pan in place in bowl lined with paper towels to drain grease. After sausage has cooled, crumble coarsely.

Reserve 2 tbs sausage drippings and add to this 2 tbs butter. Once butter has melted add onions and sprinkle with remaining spices. Stir well and cook, stirring occasionally until onions start to brown.

Return sausage to pan, stir well and cook an additional two minutes. Remove mixture to a bowl lined with paper towels to remove grease.

Make muffin mix according to package directions substituting the 1/3 Egg Beaters for the 1 egg and increasing the amount of milk from 1/3 cup to 1/2. cup This will be needed to make mixture a bit thinner so it seeps down into and over the sausage and onions..

Spray a 12 muffin pan with PAM or other cooking spray and then divide sausage and onion mixture between the 12 compartments. Top each muffin with the muffin batter and if need be carefully smooth to edges. Let set for 3 minutes and then bake per package directions.

These Stuffin' Muffins can be eaten as is, substituted for stuffing with your favorite poultry dish, covered with gravy, or served however you like.

Thanksgiving 2008

The X's mother invited me over for turkey dinner yesterday. A few weeks back I had announced I was not making a Turkey this year, I just needed a break from that, I've done Thanksgiving every year since we moved out here in 2000 even after the divorce.

Since I had been up late the night before I did not roll out of bed until 9 AM which is late for me. I gave Tails some canned Turkey for breakfast (she normally only gets canned food at night) as it was Thanksgiving. There were chores to be done, such as laundry, cleaning up the house, dishes, etc., so I got all this done and still had some time to watch some TV.

The X (who was packing a cake for Scott's birthday) along with Scott and Danielle picked me around 2 PM and we headed down there. Dinner was supposed to be by three as Scott had to be at work no later than 5 PM. I supplied two Sara Lee pies (blueberry and dutch apple), plus vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for dessert.

While we were waiting for the bird to cook the X chatted with her mom, and dad I chatted while watching the umpteenth rerun of Miracle on 34th Street. I know this is a classic, but it was not until 2006 that I first saw this movie, which I really like.

The X was not feeling the best, she had a lot of pain in her neck and shoulder, and it was making her a bit grumpy at times. Owning regular back and leg pain from my curved spine I could really sympathize.

For as far back as I can remember Thanksgiving day has always been the gathered family celebration for the boys birthdays who fall before and after Thanksgiving. This year Christopher opted to head to Louisiana with some friends for a road trip so he missed out on an excellent dinner. Years ago at a thanksgiving dinner at Mom's house in New Jersey one of her sons made the statement that they liked my thanksgiving dinner better, particularly the stuffing. You have to wonder what type of an idiot would say that in the room with their mother?!?? Mom makes a good Turkey dinner, just as good as mine I would say (except for the stuffing, but for me that's just a personal preference.) I love my cornbread and sausage stuffing seasoned with chili powder and other spices. Mom makes the more traditional bread stuffing with apples and such in it. And, it was Delicious, just not as good as mine, IMHO.

Mom's bird was running a bit late, I suggested she increase the oven temperature a bit as she knew Scott was under a deadline. As it was we did not eat until almost 4 PM.

Dinner consisted of the turkey, gravy, baked potatoes, a casserole of summer squash (which was delicious though I normally will never eat squash!), salad, cranberry sauce, stuffing, cauliflower with Velveeta cheese sauce, a vegetable medley, and two kinds of biscuits. In true Thanksgiving fashion, I seconds of everything as did most of the table!

Because we ate later than planned there was not enough time for dessert. Scott kept stressing out that he was going to be late for work, and he also got into a bit of a fight with his mom over his plans this weekend for his birthday tomorrow. He wanted to have a multi-night sleep over with friends and she said no, reminding him that his attendance has been off at school and there was no way he was going to be staying up most of the night two nights in a row before heading back to school Monday. Since the kids are at her house this weekend I just mentioned I agreed and let it go at that. Scott was not pleased, but,sometimes he loses sight of the importance of school.

Since we had to dash before dessert I suggested Mom and Dad develop a strategy for eating pie with every meal for the next couple of days to eliminate the pie and ice cream I had brought!

We dropped Scott off at Meijer about 10 minutes before his 5PM start time and then I was dropped off at my house. I settled in for the inevitable napping in front of the TV which seems to follow a turkey dinner!

Around 6:30 PM I was finally starting to feel a bit hungry for dessert, so, I headed out. Meijer was the only store open (the local grocery store was closed) so I headed over there, calling Scott's mom to let he know she did not have to go get Scott. She was happy because she was still in a lot of pain and could now take some medication and go have a lie down. I did not tell her that I planned to pickup him up anyway because of the way she was feeling.

So, I spied Scott in the parking lot industriously gathering up shopping carts, told him what was going on, and then did some shopping. He met me at my cat when his shift was over and I dropped him off at his mom's.

I headed home and enjoyed some apple pie with vanilla ice cream. I gave Tails an extra helping of her canned (Turkey of course!) to top off Thanksgiving for her. She seemed very pleased by this, purring extra loudly as she settled down to her repast.

All in all it was a good thanksgiving, though as this was the first year without my dad around, I really missed him, and, that made me miss my mother too who has been gone for 20 years now.

Things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

A roof over my head
A good job
My three children
An X wife that wants to be friends
Former in-laws who still want me to call them Mom and Dad
Kevin and Family in New Jersey
My Friend Steve in New Jersey
My Brother and his wife
A few close friends at work
Other friends back east
All my regular blog visitors, some who I have known for many years, though most I have never met.

So! How was your Thanksgiving??

Oh, note that the picture in my previous post was from last year's thanksgiving, I mean in case you though that I had made a turkey a 1 AM thanksgiving morning......

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving
Eat, Drink, and be Scary!

However, wherever, and with whoever you celebrate Thanksgiving this day, may you and yours have a good one! So, eat, drink, and as the picture below shows, be scary!
Click the crazy man for a larger version of this picture

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Video of the Day
Gummy Bear

Today's video comes courtesy of my daughter Danielle, so, it's suitable for viewing by all ages.

You'll never feel the same way again when you go to eat your next Gummy Bear. I tell you what!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Random Ramblings for Saturday

It's been a week since I posted last, but, I've had not much to say. The holiday season is upon us starting with Thanksgiving next week, and I'm already feeling the blahs about it. Divorce just ruined this time of year for me which I had always loved as a kid. I still enjoy holiday music and all the holiday specials.

I decoded I'm not making turkey this year as I have every year since we moved out to Michigan, it just feels too weird cooking for the me, the kids, the X and her folks. We're not a family and I just feel weird doing dinners like that. Sigh!

I asked the kids if they care if I decorate the house for Christmas, and they said they really do not care, so I won't be doing any decorating this year either. Thy are sadly past the childish delight of Christmas and I hate to say it, it seems the only thing they get out of the year is the presents.

On another front gas is down to $1.69 a gallon here by my house, I just can't believe it! I must fill up this weekend and fill the gas can for the snow blower. We've had some light snow already. Yesterday I came home, the sky was clear. I was inside for a couple of hours and then needed to go to the store for some groceries, imagine my surprise as I found a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground and roads. It was gone by this morning though them temps at night have been in the 20's and today it will be in the 30's.

Last Tuesday, the second Xbox 360, which was a replacement from Microsoft fr our first unit that did earlier this year, died too. Fortunately it was one of the infamous 'Red Ring of Death' failures so even though I am out of warranty it gt fixed for free. I just dropped it off at UPS this AM to send it out for repair.

Tomorrow is my older boy's birthday; he will be 20. Seems like just yesterday I was holding him in my arms for the first time. Th five of us will be going out for dinner later (another melding of the 'Dysfunctional 5' and tomorrow I will make him buffalo wings with our own sauce recipe (previously posted on this blog, use the recipe link at the top of the page to find it). The X will be out of town, she has business so I will get extra time with Scott and Danielle as this is the X's week, and she will be gone Sunday through Wednesday.

Scott fell at work the week before last and really screwed up his leg. Fortunately it turned out to just be a sprain and a soft tissue injury, originally they thought he might have cracked his kneecap. He was limping for days and is not feeling much better and went back to Work Wednesday night. He has to work Thanksgiving (Welcome to the work force my son!), and in fact is working all week this week as they kids are off of school.

Danielle is still doing much better since she went back on restricted, filtered Internet and is still spending lots of time with me and her mom.

Not much else to tell, just trying to deal with the blahs and keep busy. I am off from work until December 2nd, so that is nice!

If I do not post before hand, you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Rant of the day

KUDOS to the jerk in the silver Volvo XL70 who pulled out of Forest Hills Foods this morning around 9:30 AM and cut me off. I was doing 40 and this idiot barely made 30 after he cut me off and then, a mile later when the speed limit dropped to 25 for the school zone, he hit 40 and left me behind!

Geeze!!! What an idiot!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's on TV?

The fall season of TV has been upon us for a couple of months now; what's everyone been watching?

In the area of shows that premiered this season I've been watching Knight Rider (I love the new KIT Mustang!), The Mentalist (like a serious version of Physc), Fringe, Life on Mars, Caruso, Worst, Week, Gary Unmarried, Sanctuary, and 11th hour.

I've also been enjoying the new season of Dirty Sexy Money, Bones, Two and a Half men, How I met your Mother, Samantha Who?, Ugly Betty, House, Little People Big World, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Stargate Atlantis, Chuck, Heroes, The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy. My food network choices include Diners Drive-ins and Dives, Grill It, Iron Chef America, Dinner Impossible, Unwrapped, Thrown down, The Secret Life of..., and Good Eats.

I also watch selected episodes of the following in syndication: Scrubs, Bewitched, Stargate SG-1, Walker Texas Ranger, Married with Children, The X-Files, Star Trek (all the series), Charmed, Angel, the original Knight Rider, Night Court, The Bill Cosby Show, Sabrina the teenage Witch plus earlier episodes of many of the new series listed above as they have been on for years.

AND coming soon to a TV near you the kids and I are eagerly awaiting new seasons of Scrubs (moving to ABC from NBC), Monk, and Physc in January!

I'm sure I've missed shows in all three categories above but remember this is my lunch break at work and I am doing this from memory!

On the surface it may seem like I watch too much TV! Oh well, I have free time particularly when the kids are at their Mom's house though the three of us watch quite a few of these shows together. When my son Chris comes to visit his dad he and I watch a subset of these.

I used to have my major creative outlet making computer screen savers. In particular the Christmas one each year. Sadly since the divorce I find even four Christmases later I am still lacking the passion it takes to do this. In the past I would start the Christmas one right after Halloween and work on it nights and weekends instead of TV viewing. I did do one for the second Christmas after the divorce which turned out well, but, it was a labor to do and not really fun, so, until that feeling comes back....TV it is!

I must admit though between work I do at home, video games, computer time, taking care of the house and kids on my weeks, it can be quite a challenge, one that I am up for however! Thank goodness the DVR records up to 130 hours of programming and now that AT&T has enabled the Whole House DVR function I can watch recorded TV in my bedroom. The kids can watch recorded content in the family room too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Video of the Day
Harmonica Virtuoso at Carnegie Hall

You have to watch this whole clip, it is simply amazing what this guy can do with his Harmonica!! Incredible! A bit of culture here on me blog!!

Gas Prices Going Down

Over the past weeks gas prices have been falling. I was shocked this weekend that they fell below $2.00/gallon for the first time in what seems like ages.

This begs the question, why did they have to go up at all? You hear all kind of weasel speak about supply shortages, OPEC, etc. but if gas can be less than half the price it was earlier this year when it went above $4/gallon. I challenge our legislators to keep the prices reasonable going forward!

Of course this could all be a move by OPEC and the oil companies to stall and delay the wave of alternative energy initiatives that people had been talking about since the higher gas/oil prices. Let's hope they are not lulled into a false sense of security by these low prices and continue to explore alternative methods of energy.

I wonder if this means lower costs over the winter for heating as well. While I use natural gas, if heating oil prices fall steeply the gas rates may go down too in an effort to retain customers.

On the one hand this would be great, on the other hand I have to wonder just what is behind this.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Some Ramblings

Danielle got her Internet back after two weeks of no access. I gave her one of my older laptops and have K9 Web Protection and VNC server loaded on it.

The k9 Protection blocks content and records all access and the VNC server let's her mom or I instantly connect to her screen and see exactly what she is doing without her knowing it (though she knows we can now do this).

She has no IM client and knows if there is another infraction she'll lose the Internet for a month next time.

She has been so much better since she lost unlimited, unrestricted Internet, happier, doing more in her arts and crafts, reading more, spending more time with the X and I, it is simply amazing, and I am hoping she sees that the people she was spending time with online that she did not know were a negative influence on her.

Around my house last weekend I continued cleaning things up and emptied my entire bedroom closet, and in a few I am off to Lowes to get a closet organizer for the bedroom downstairs that Tails uses at night so I can better utilize that storage space. Next on the target is the front hall closet and then the kids closets.

Last Sunday I also made Chicken Parmesan and it came out killer, I used a slightly different recipe and of course I made homemade sauce for it as well. There was enough for leftovers for two nights!

The door at the bottom of the basement steps is now in place and primed, it just needs a final coat of paint.

The weather, which had been slowly creeping up since a couple of days before Halloween (it hit low 69's here for that) hit a peak of 70's Thursday, 70 Friday, and then overnight into this weekend temperatures plummeted, being in the 40's and 50's during the day and 30's at night.

And, I saw the dreaded first snowflakes of the season Saturday and some more today, but, it's still not cold enough for any accumulations.

Speaking of Halloween I bought candy and did not have a single visitor so down the street from me I saw scattered traffic, I guess no one wanted to brave the house at the end of the road! The kids were pleased as they had plenty of candy all week, and neither of them went out trick or treating this year. I miss the years walking them around the neighborhoods. Even the X has little traffic and her development has many children.

Scott is in his second week of his part time job and doing well! He has been told if he keeps up his performance he will be promoted at the end of his probation! I was most pleased to hear this, and they gave him a $10 merchandise card as a bonus for his hard work.

I think that's about it here in the Midwest....the kids are at their Mom's this weekend and the house is way too quiet! I hate the weekends without the kids.

Video of the Day
Chuck Norris Sings Meatloaf

This is so very, very, wrong!