Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Thought For Today

"The artist finds a greater pleasure in painting than in having a completed picture." - Seneca

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rec: Black & White Vegetarian Chipotle Chili (Crock Pot)

1 (15 oz) can black bean, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can navy bean, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomato
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
or diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 cup onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon dried cilantro (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle chile, minced

Stir everything together in a 4 1/2 quart or larger crock pot.
Set power to LOW and cook for 6 to 10 hours. Serve with
cheese or sour cream if you wish.

Serves 2 to 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Rec: Crockpot Spanish Rice

1 1/2 lb Ground beef; browned & drained
1 medium Onion; chopped
1 Green pepper; chopped
14 1/2 oz Tomato, whole; OR
2 large Tomato; sliced & quartered
16 oz Tomato sauce
3/4 cup Water
2 teaspoons Chili powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup Rice, converted; raw

Stir all ingredients together. Cover and cook
on LOW 7 to 9 hours (HIGH 3 hours). If you
like a spicier (hotter) flavor and a moister
casserole, replace the tomato sauce with 2
tablespoons Hot Thick & Chunky Salsa,
1/4 cup sherry and 15 oz of tomatoe sauce.

Serves 2 to 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Rec: Crockpot Turkey With Sweet Potatoes

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 to 2 pounds turkey thighs, skin removed
1 jar (12 oz) turkey gravy
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaf
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
salt to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen cut green beans

Layer sweet potatoes and turkey in crockpot. Combine gravy,
flour, parsley, rosemary, thyme and pepper. Stir until
smooth. Pour mixture over turkey and sweet potatoes. Cover
and cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW and cook for 5
more hours. Stir in beans, cover and cook on LOW 1 to 2
hours until turkey is tender and juices run clear. Remove
turkey and potatoes to a serving dish with a slotted spoon.
Stir sauce and serve over turkey and potatoes.

Serves 5 to 6
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Rec: Crockpot Turkey Ranchero

3 turkey thighs
Salt and pepper
1 pkg. enchilada sauce mix
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 cups grated Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 can (4 oz) sliced ripe olives

Cut each thigh in half and remove bone. Sprinkle
with salt and pepper and place in crockpot.
Combine enchilada sauce,tomato paste, and water.
Spread enchilada sauce mixture on top of turkey
thighs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours,
or until turkey is tender. Turn control to HIGH;
stir in cheese and continue stirring until cheese is
melted. Place in shallow casserole dish to serve.
Top with sour cream and sprinkle on green
onions. Garnish with sliced ripe olives.

Serves 4 to 5
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Thought For Today

"Of all the music that reached farthest into heaven, it is the beating of a loving heart." - Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Deano Sez: Wireless Extenders

These were featured in PC-World...I got to play with a desktop version for a while, but if the office models work as touted, this is a serious product for those "on the fringe". Devices with comparable features for industrial applications will run you damned near a grand; those I have used extensively, and they're not something you simply hand to an intern and expect to be installed properly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rec: Microwave Fettuccine With Alfredo Style Sauce

3/4 pound fettuccine (dried)


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 cups low fat milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2/3 cup leeks, chopped finely
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


4 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Cook the fettuccine according to the instruction on the
package. To make Alfredo Sauce, place the flour and
margarine or butter in a microwave safe bowl (4 liter
or 4 quart) and cover. Cook on HIGH (1200W) for
30 to 40 seconds. Take the bowl out and stir well with
a wire whisk. Gradually add 1/2 cup of milk at a time,
stirring constantly until you use all the milk. Cover with
a vented microwave lid and cook on HIGH (1200W) for
2 minutes. Take the bowl out and stir. Cook on HIGH
(1200W) for 2 more minutes. Add the leeks, cheddar
cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts.
Gently mix in the pasta until it is well coated with
Alfredo Sauce. Transfer to warm serving plates and
garnish with parsley.

Serves 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Thought For Today

"A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time." - Henry Ford

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Thought For Today

"An armed society is a polite society." - Robert Heinlein

The Hard Truth From Orlando

Ice cream truck runs over boy playing on back

That's the story from Atlanta . A 10-year-old was run over by an ice cream truck and died. The 7-year-old, who was with him, fell from the truck and broke his leg. The driver is not being charged because he's not the idiot in this story. The parents or guardians are the idiots, and they were obviously hell-bent on raising another set of idiots. Apparently, the truck driver saw the kids playing on the truck and told the parents to get them off the truck. Driver does what he has to do, gets in the truck and pulls away and the little idiots, who never got off the truck -- or who got back on the truck after he wasn't looking, fell. One was run over and died and the other broke a leg.

And the question, as always, is, who is supervising the children? We have the sorriest batch of parents in this generation across the world. One supposes it's because we live in an enlightened society where you don't have to work in order to eat, you just have to qualify for a government subsidy. Stand in line at a soup kitchen if you're hungry; you don't have to do anything to get fed and keep on living. And if you pop a kid out, no big deal. It's not like you have to take care of it, grow food to feed it, dress it, teach it, educate it so it can survive on its own. The government is going to do that for you through all kinds of programs that you can use to pad your own pocket and make your own life easier, even if you don't use it to benefit the child. And because you don't have to do any of those keep-the-kid-alive survival things, you don't care about supervision. You're not capable of enough self-discipline to do the right thing for yourself, never mind training some little rug rat to do the right, smart and safe thing.

But goodness! Let something happen to that child and you're wringing your hands and looking for someone to blame so you can collect a big payoff for your lousy parenting.

It's not about being downtrodden, disenfranchised or any of the rest. It's about having absolutely no self-respect, no motivation, no sense of community, no sense of family -- no sense of responsibility. I can't think of a single 10-year-old in my old neighborhood growing up who would've been so stupid as to climb up on a stranger's truck to play around.

First of all, if the truck didn't belong to family, you didn't go near it because it's someone else's and your parents would tear your butt off for messing with something that belonged to someone else. If it did belong to family, you wouldn't play on or near it or take a chance on damaging it for fear your butt would be torn off by your parents. As the older kid, you didn't let your younger sibling do it either. You'd tell on him in a heartbeat because if he got hurt or messed something up and you knew what he was doing, your parents would tear your butt off for not stopping him.

Starting to sense a pattern here?

You didn't do stupid things because your parents were watching you. They were watching you because they cared what you did. They cared what happened in their community and what you were doing in the community. Your parents knew what you were doing, where you were doing it and they took action if they saw you doing something that was dumb, dangerous or just plain destructive. Your parents cared if you got into trouble. Your parents were the first line of discipline in your community, not the first to excuse you from your responsibility to yourself and the community. And you knew, absolutely knew, that if you got into real trouble that wasn't your fault, your parents were going to be there to take care of you and protect you -- you weren't utterly on your own.

Where are the parents today? I think if I hear one more parent say, well, I've got a life, too -- I'm going to get a little postal. We've got two-year-old Caylee Anthony murdered and dumped because her mom wanted to party. There are the two little kids dead because their mom went up to visit and have sex with her boyfriend and left the kids for hours in a locked vehicle in record-breaking heat. The mom who left the baby strapped in her car seat in the summer heat because she had to go to work and "forgot" she had her only child in the car and didn’t remember until she found her baby’s body at the end of her work shift. The thirsty, malnourished toddler in diapers found by neighbors drinking from beer bottles in the yard because dad's drunk and been drunk and passed out on the porch.

Keeping your children safe is tough enough, even when you are paying attention. Failing to pay attention is a prescription for tragedy and the parents of these boys have no one to blame but themselves.

I'm sorry for the boys. I'm sorry for the truck driver, who probably feels responsible even if he did all the things a prudent person would think necessary to prevent this accident. But if it were up to me, the next government checks to the dead and injured boys' parents would be for their voluntary sterilization so they can go on their merry way and never have to worry about supervising any more children -- ever. Let's make the world a safer place; Parents, quit staring at your own navels and do something about your kids! Do it now!

Florida Cracker

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rec: Crockpot Cauliflower Casserole

3 Cups cooked rice
1 Head cauliflower, cut into flowerettes, slice stems
1 Can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 Cups grated cheese, Cheddar or Monterey Jack
1/2 Cup water
1 Medium onion, diced

Spray crockpot with Pam. Combine all ingredients.
Mixture will be chunky, but mix well. Place in crockpot
and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours.

Serves 4 to 6

Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Rec: Microwave Three-Cheese Rice Lasagna

1/2 (14 oz) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1/2 (4.5 oz) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 egg white
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, combine spaghetti sauce and mushrooms;
set aside. In another bowl, combine the cottage cheese,
mozzarella cheese and egg white; mix well. In a microwave
8in. square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray,
layer a third of the sauce, half of the rice and half of the
cottage cheese mixture; repeat layers. Top with the
remaining sauce. Microwave on MEDIUM for 10 minutes
or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 2 to 3

Rec: Lemon-Herb Alligator Stew

1 1/2 lbs Alligator, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 leek (white and pale green parts only) thinly sliced
1 1/2 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
1/6 cup all purpose flour
3/8 cup dry white wine
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 cup whipping cream
tarragon or sage sprigs or chopped parsley
thin lemon slices

In a large crockpot combine leek, garlic, tarragon, lemon
peel, thyme, white pepper and sage. Coat alligator cubes
with flour, then add to crockpot and pour in wine and lemon
juice. Cover and cook on LOW 7 1/2 to 8 hours, until
alligator is very tender when pierced. In a small bowl, mix
cornstarch and cream. Blend into stew. Cover and cook on
HIGH for about 15 more minutes, stirring every 2 to 3
minutes, until sauce thickens. Salt to taste. Garnish
servings with tarragon/sage/parsley and lemon slices.

Serves 4
Refrigerate remainder
Do not over heat leftovers in microwave as alligator will

Rec: Crockpot Monterey Spaghetti

2 oz spaghetti, broken into pieces
1/2 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 (6 oz) can French fried onions

In a large pot with boiling salted water cook spaghetti
until al dente. Drain. In a large bowl mix together the
sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese, and minced garlic.
After beating the egg in a small bowl, transfer to the
large bowl and blend together. Transfer to a greased
crockpot. Mix cooked and drained spaghetti, 1 cup
grated Monterey Jack cheese, thawed spinach, and half
of the French fried onions to the crockpot. Stir contents
of crockpot until just blended. Cover and cook on LOW for
5 to 6 hours or HIGH heat for 2 to 3 hours. In last 20
minutes of cooking, turn to HIGH if cooking on LOW and
add remainder of grated Monterey Jack cheese and
French fried onions to top of casserole. Serve when cheese
is melted.

Serves 3 to 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Thought For Today

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.

”Said the old man, “I do that too.

”The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”

“I do that too,” laughed the old man.”

Said the little boy, “I often cry.”

The old man nodded, “So do I.”

“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.“I know what you mean,” said the old man. - Shel Silverstein

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Thought For Today

"Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer; into a selflessness which links us with all humanity." - Lady Nancy Astor

The Hard Truth From Orlando

I think the price of “recognized and certified” higher education is ridiculous. Some years back, college administrations admitted that they were cutting back on the number of mandatory classes offered each semester, despite growing student enrollment. That meant that the courses would only be offered certain times of the year; miss signing up or not being able to get in to one that’s already over-booked, you were stuck for another year trying to get that course to finish your degree. This policy meant it was taking five to five and a half years to get a “four year” degree and it was going to cost you more money to finish your degree.

Now they’ve just jerked the price up to where all your money is spent on the “basic” courses and so you can’t afford the specialized courses for the graduate degree studies -- or you can spend the rest of your working career trying to pay back what should have been an entrance fee to higher earning and learning.

I still think they need to go back to the original CLEP tests, where you paid $50 for the whole battery (now it’s like $45 per subject and you can only take two tests every six weeks or something – anything to drag it out and get money) and could earn up to 15 credit hours toward a degree in a single sitting, English, Math, Physics and I forget what else. But you could get your two-year degree in a year or less. And it meant you didn’t have to take courses in things you were already proficient in just to go to the next level of the program.

We’re pricing our population right out of advanced degrees and working diligently to discourage critical thinking, invention and design. I think it’s interesting that cursive writing and all other basic brain/learning enforcement techniques are being discarded. We’re definitely working toward a culture of hyperactive, attention-deficit, impulsive monkey people who can neither read a novel without pictures nor solve a problem without a HELP button.

Eventually, those of us folks who can read and write proficiently will become like the scribes of old. People will hire us to write letters and poetry and to read documents and record business transactions for a general population that is wholly and completely illiterate.

It’s true I think education is a privilege. I just never believed that in the USA , it would become solely for the privileged.

Florida Cracker

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rec: Chili Tofu Donburi

4 cups white rice, steaming hot
1 tofu (1 lb.), cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube, crushed
1 cup boiling water

Mabo Sauce
1/2 pound ground pork (or turkey) (5 - 6% fat)
1/2 cup leek, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger root, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 teaspoon Tobanjan or Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons sugar

12 olives, salted

Combine the Mabo Sauce ingredients, except pork, in a
3 quart casserole. Mix in pork. Toss in the tofu. Combine
the cornstarch and chicken bouillon in a small cup. Pour
in the hot water, stir until it thickens and pour it over
the casserole. Cover with a vented microwave lid and
cook on HIGH(1200W) for 10 – 12 minutes. Stir. Put 1
cup of rice in each serving bowl. Pour the Mabo Sauce
over the rice and garnish with olives.

Serves 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Rec: Donburi Tanuki

4 cups warm steamed rice
2 cups lettuce, sliced in 2 inch long strips
24 potato chips
16 pecans
4 to 8 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons green onions, chopped finely

Place steamed rice into 4 warm serving bowls and top
with lettuce. In each serving bowl, stick 6 potato chips
into the rice, sprinkle with green onion and 4 pecans.
Pour the soy sauce over the top, just before serving.

Serves 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated (except for chips) in microwave

Rec: Microwave Furong Egg

5 eggs
11 oz. of shrimp meat
1 cup of chives (cut in 1" length)
3 mushrooms
3 slices ham
2 tablespoons of chopped green spring onion
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Beat the eggs in bowl. Add in soy sauce and salt,
and mix well. Soak the mushrooms in water till soft.
Remove the stems. Shred mushrooms and ham. Put 3
tablespoons of oil on a plate. Put in shredded
mushrooms, ham and chopped spring onion. Cover
with cling-wrap. Cook on HIGH for 3 minutes.
Remove and mix well with 2 tablespoons of oil and
chives. Pour in the egg mixture and cook on HIGH
for 4 minutes.

Rec: Black And White Rice Donburi

White Rice
2 cups cooked white rice, steaming hot

Black Rice
2 cups cooked white rice, steaming hot (for spicy rice)

Soy Sauce & Jalapeno Pepper Sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 red chili peppers, sliced thin
1 green chili pepper, sliced thin

2 chives, cut 5-inch-long

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small microwave-safe
bowl. Cover with a vented microwave lid and cook on
HIGH(1200W) for 1 minute. Place 2 cups of rice in a
bowl and pour the sauce over the rice and mix together.
Place 1/2 cup white rice and 1/2 cup spicy rice in each
serving bowl. Garnish with chives.

Serves 4
Refrigerate remainder
Can be reheated in microwave

Rec: Soba Noodles In Broth With Spinach And Shiitakes

1 ounce kombu seaweed
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
3/4 pound dried soba noodles
12 ounces spinach, stemmed and washed thoroughly,
or 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon sake
2 tablespoons mirin
2 to 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (to taste)

Place the kombu and shiitakes in a large bowl, and cover with
4 1/2 cups hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. Place a strainer
over a bowl and drain. Squeeze the mushrooms over the
strainer, then rinse. Remove the mushroom stems and discard.
Slice the caps thinly. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles. Bring
a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When
the water comes to a boil, add the soba. As the water comes
back to a boil, add 1/2 cup of cold water to prevent it from boiling
over. Allow to come back to a boil again, and add another 1/2 cup
of cold water. Check for doneness, and if necessary bring back to
a boil one more time and add another 1/2 cup of cold water. The
soba should be tender all the way through but al dente -- slightly
firm to the bite. Transfer immediately to the ice water, and
allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain. Bring the water back
to a boil, salt generously and add the spinach. Blanch for
minute, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze out
excess liquid, and cut the squeezed bundle of spinach into four
pieces. Divide the noodles, spinach, mushrooms and green
onions among four large soup bowls. In a saucepan, combine
the soaking water from the kombu and mushrooms, the sake,
mirin and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust
seasonings. Pour over the ingredients in the soup bowls,
and serve at once.

Note: If you do not wish to include the sake in the broth,
simply omit it.

Variations: You can add protein to this dish in the form of
diced tofu or shredded chicken.

Serves 4
Refrigerate remainder
Will not reheat well

Monday, August 01, 2011



Today let's look at the weird and whacky happenings around the world, carrying on in the grand tradition of Charles Fort. Updated Mon through Fri.