Things may be a bit lite here as I get ready for the surgery later in the week. Thanks to some of you, I have breakfast bought and the freezer fairly full. Plan to cook up a bunch of hamburgers today or tomorrow to finish things out. To all who hit the fundraiser, my sincere and profound thanks!

One thing I have gotten done was I put up five containers of Puttanesca sauce for later. For those unfamiliar with it, it is allegedly the pasta sauce used by prostitutes in Rome to give them the stamina for their work. Hence it being named ‘whore sauce’ or ‘sauce of the whores’ depending on who’s doing the translation and how nice/diplomatic they are being.

There may be as many myths behind the sauce as there are variations of it. Some foodie types hold that it is mostly vegetarian, as whores did not have money for meat other than the anchovies, and can only be made with a specific type of tomato picked in the light of a waxing moon by girls dressed as Vestal Virgins. Others hold that it was a much more robust meal including minced meat. I tend towards the latter, as did some colleagues from Italian space efforts with whom I enjoyed a delightful time discussing the sauce, variations, and food in general. Lot of laughter, and some delight that I knew about it and the roots of the word.

My own recipe is constantly evolving, often based off what I can find at the time. However, what sets a puttanesca sauce apart are two things: the use of olives and the use of anchovies. Both are good sources of nutrients, and for most of history not terribly expensive. Roasted garlic is also a common ingredient, as it might be offputting to clients if you had extreme garlic breath.

I started this batch with a shade over 2.5 lbs of fresh ground chuck (on sale for $3.99/lb). Browned and drained it.

Then began adding various ingredients. The olive mix/tampenade I used to get pre-lockdown no longer being available (big FU to the health nazis who used the chance to get rid of most salad/olive/food bars), I found one that is for making muffuletta sandwiches and went with it. I also found some smoked kalamata olives at a good price, and decided to give them a try. Normally I use fire-roasted tomatoes, but came across these (at a better price) and decided to give them a try. Homemade Italian seasoning, though very little is needed. Smoked salt, fresh ground pepper, raw garlic, roasted garlic, and mushrooms also came into play.

As mentioned, anchovies are a key feature of this dish. I dump a can in just after browning the meat, and by the time everything is in they have already dissolved. You don’t get chunks, but lots of salt and an interesting addition to the flavor that if you don’t tell people anchovies are in it they rarely can tell. DO NOT ADD SALT UNTIL THE VERY END AFTER TASTING! You usually don’t have to add much because of the hairy little fishes.

I crushed and chopped three or so cloves of regular garlic and added it in. Going in early helps get the flavor spread around IMO.

To my mind, it’s hard to add too much roasted garlic, and I almost always wish I had put in a bit more. That’s just me. In this case, I had roasted a head of garlic a couple of days before and had it in olive oil until putting all of it into the pot. Again, with simmering/cooking, it tends to dissolve.

I tried the smoked olives and they are different — and very tasty. So, got a bunch out of the jar, did a rough chop (remember, this was a peasant/prostitute dish, not fine dining for the aristocracy), and added them in. Covered, threw in the oven at 250 for about three hours, and the result is what you see in the first picture. Final seasoning included a little bit of smoked salt and some balsamic vinegar to make the brightness of the olives pop. Very tasty, and became dinner and five decent-sized containers for the freezer.

NOTE: I used very little of the Italian seasoning, as the olives/mix and anchovies really do a good job of seasoning all on their own. Be careful and taste before adding anything.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Happier Post, And Why I Was AFK

My apologies for the lack of posting and response to comments since the middle of last week. Thursday was my pre-op appointment for the next shoulder surgery, and it turned into a longer (and somewhat annoying) experience.

The actual appointment wasn’t that long, but it was a different nurse and different doc, and a reminder of why I don’t take portions of that provider too seriously. Yes, I paid attention to the instructions, but could have done without the smarmy attitude and with a bit more paying attention to my answers. Not to mention having all the test results reported back piecemeal (one at 0230 hours no less) which got me separate e-mails and texts (and alerts). Also loved the ‘oh my gosh your urine was dark yellow’ freakout, given that no it wasn’t but it was an odd shade because I took B vitamins as noted. If you’re not going to reference the notes… This is something that went on for three days. Like the surgeon and his office, but this group (not the same office) is something else. Only thing I will give them is they did get the blood first stick — this time.

Then came a truly wonderful thing: I had the house and kitchen to myself for several days, and was in shape to take advantage of it. I’ve had FUN! Let’s start with having a large chunk o beef from the restaurant supply store.

I really need to get with a chef or butcher to relearn how to break down some of these cuts, but managed to do a fair job with this one even with a thick and tough fat cap. Almost enough to make me wish I could render it down into tallow… But, it all worked out.

Got five good steaks out of it, bunch of cube meat for both a savory pie and at some point some chili, some scraps for stock later, and some of what I am calling pseudo-carne. The latter were from various pieces and I cut them small, for later cooking.

Two of the nice thick steaks got frozen as is, the other three got marinated in olive oil, garlic, and pepper. Two of them were grilled and pulled just before done, the other was supper and inhaled. Sorry, too busy eating to get photos but here’s what they looked like just before going on the grill.

One of the prime goals of the weekend was to make a steak and mushroom pie. I had wanted it to be a beef and oyster pie, but there were problems getting acceptable oysters, so… Half the cubes went into this project, and were coated with flour, salt, and pepper then browned with the onions and garlic.

Add in some Taxman Quadrupel in place of stout, add in the mushrooms, throw in the oven at 250 for three or so hours, and you get this after adding some arrowroot for thickening.

I let it cool overnight, and the next day I made my pie crusts using a lard recipe that was roughly two cups of flour, 1t salt, 2/3 cup of lard, and about 5T of ice water. I used smoked salt for part of my salt, and worked the dough by hand. Next time I do a savory pie, am thinking of substituting bacon drippings for part of the lard, using a bit more smoked salt, and turning some dried rosemary, basil, and garlic into powder and adding it. Here’s the start:

Snarksalot on Twitter was a huge help in getting this going, and in referring me to the King Arthur website which has a massive help section. Highly recommended! Here’s the bottom crust getting pre-baked using my fancy and expensive (snort) pie weights:

Filled, top crust in place, and coated with egg wash:

Baked and resting:

Finally, the pie being cut up and frozen:

The pseudo-carne asada got marinated overnight, then cooked and frozen for later use:

The housemate gave me permission to raid his basil patch, so I did up a small batch of pesto. I left the cheese out as it does not always take well to freezing. So, filled the ice tray and froze it overnight.

Next day, popped them out, bagged, and put them back in the freezer. Over the winter, I can pull out a cube or cubes, thaw, add cheese, and make what I want with it. Great way to make it last and have it all winter.

I also cooked up some chicken to replace what was lost in the Wilton incident, and made up a pan of enchiladas that are now portioned and frozen.

Finally, I cooked up a package of bacon, and most of it made it to be individually frozen then bagged for later use. Most of it. It is bacon and I am weak.

My goal is to have as close to a month’s worth of meals frozen before the surgery. Wednesday, even though all will be home, hope to make up a batch of puttanesca sauce and freeze it in individual containers. Then, cook up a dozen or so hamburgers at some point and freeze them as well. I’m going to cheat and buy burritos and other frozen breakfasts once my monthly stipend arrives.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the last few days. Think I left something out, but those are the high points at least. It also kept my mind off the horror I was seeing online starting Saturday, and that did hit hard. More soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Cookware Question (Updated)

I had picked up some Wilton cake pans for cooking and baking as I caught a deal on themn and I’ve had very good luck with the brand before. Didn’t have a choice on the non-stick, as I really prefer plain metal. Hugely disappointed this morning that after cooking some chicken yesterday to find that the non-stick coating is flaking off one of the pans and into the food. Entire tray of enchiladas gets to hit the trash.

Not sure you can see them, but there are also some bubbles forming on the bottom of the pan.

So, anyone got any recommendations for some good bakeware since I’m likely to have to replace the Wilton pans completely?

UPDATE I: Whatever else happens, I have to commend Wilton’s customer service. I got a reply yesterday that was friendly, professional, and not scripted. I sent them the information they requested and the two photos above. I also offered to ship them the pan if they wanted to examine it. Today they took me up on that and are paying to have it shipped back. They also asked me to confirm my mailing address as they are offering to ship me a replacement. Will keep posted on how things go.

Homemade Mayo And Corned Beef

Monday morning, I did my usual of asking if anything important happened on Twitter since I try to take Sundays off from social media. Snarksalot popped up to let me know she had posted her easy mayo recipe.

Intrigued, I decided to give it a try. Into the jar went one egg, 1t of salt, 1t mustard powder, pinch of chipotle, 3T of lemon juice, and 1.25 cups of olive oil. I use olive oil and avocado oil for almost everything since they are on the lifestyle (only partly a diet). In went the immersion blender, and in less than a minute I had rich and delicious mayo.

Me being me, I immediately made a second container of chili-lime mayo. Another jar, one egg, 1T Tajin, pinch of cumin, 3T lime juice, and 1.25 cups of olive oil. Less than a minute later, done. It is tasty, but next time I will be adding 1t hot smoked paprika and probably 1t of chipotle.

This is going to save me some grocery money. I’ve been getting a keto/keto friendly mayo and chili-lime mayo for a while now. To be honest, mostly the chili-lime as I have started using it as a regular condiment with a number of foods. Problem is, it is quite expensive and only gotten more so the last few years. Checking back into my source for bulk regular (not EV) olive oil as I see more mayo in my life. Healthy mayo with no additives, preservatives, and the like, and a much lower price point.

I began to wonder how the chili-lime mayo would do with corned beef. It being early, I decided to find out with breakfast. I got a slab of the corned beef I cooked up last week out of the freezer, got it thawed and warmed up, put some cheese on it, covered with some of the chili-lime mayo, and dropped two sunny-side up eggs on top and managed not to break the yolks (I like them hot and thick, not solid).

Short version: it worked very well with the corned beef. For dinner I might still go with a good mustard, but this was quite tasty and good. Definitely a good match for breakfast or even a brunch.

Meantime, I’ve been enjoying both. Even made some dilled mayo to go with some canned asparagus that came my way. That was a real (and expensive) treat growing up, and still rates as a comfort food because of that. Yep, it was good.

My thanks to Snarksalot for sharing this! Hope you enjoy it too.

Cholula Tequila & Lime Review

A while back, Cholula hot sauce launched a new “special” hot sauce, Tequila and Lime. At the time, they asked how you would use it in a brunch and I put together what I thought was a decent entry. And I waited, and waited, and waited for anyone in Indianapolis to stock it. As far as I can check, no one ever did.

So, recently, I broke down and ordered it online. There were a couple of places i looked that had decent recommendations. One admitted they were out. The other appeared to indicate they had it, so I ordered from them. It wasn’t immediately, but they got in touch and admitted that they didn’t have it. Got my money back and did something I haven’t done for more than three years: order from Amazon. Decided to get more than one bottle, which was lucky as the packing was crappy (one bottle not even given a token cover of bubble wrap) and the mailer (not box) had apparently had a rough trip. Down one bottle at the start (broken), and Amazon said too bad, no replacement and no refund. Let’s see if I can avoid using them for six years at least this time…

That adventure aside, I immediately tasted the product. While the hot sauce blend is the base, you also immediately get the bright notes of the tequila on the upper side of the palate for a well-balanced taste. Yes, it does go well with eggs, and I’m experimenting a bit with different dishes and uses.

Above, I added a bit to a classic margarita (Cointreau, lime juice, silver tequila, pinch of black Hawaiian salt). A tasty add that didn’t overwhelm the drink. I really want to try it in a Bloody Mary and in a Bloody Maria.

I used a bit this morning with a corned beef dish (likely another post) and it went very well with it. After tasting it however, I think I should revise my brunch menu a bit. Thinking buffet brunch here.

Scrambled eggs, of course, with some of the sauce on top or a bottle there for people to decide how much to add. Soft-boiled eggs (do the health nazis even allow these any more?) open, and a dash blended into each egg, with a shot of reposado on the side. Eggs Benedict two different ways: a more traditional version that incorporates the hot sauce into the hollandaise, using concha (a Mexican sweet bread) as the base; and, the other using a Mexican corn bread base, covered with chorizo with the hot sauce added on top, cheese, egg, and the special hollandaise. Chicken and waffles with the chicken marinated in the hot sauce for at least 8 hours, longer if possible, then dredged and fried, and served with a tequila-agave nectar reduction in place of syrup or gravy; though, one should allow the guests an option of pan gravy from the frying with both hot sauce and some silver tequila blended in. For those wanting more lunch, some form of barbacoa incorporating the hot sauce, and maybe a nice white-fish ceviche with hot sauce as well. For drinks, Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria, hot traditional margarita, and a hot fruity margarita. Not really into the latter, so would need to research.

So, it was worth the adventure to get and I see a number of uses for it. Won’t be my everyday as I want to make what I have last, but it will get regular use. If you are into tasty hot sauces (and not just heat), recommended.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Real Corned Beef Hash

Growing up, a favorite morning meal when we were up in the mountains was corned beef hash with a poached egg. Times and budget being what they were, the corned beef was from a can. In fact, I preferred it kept in the round, sliced, and then the slices fried up and the egg put on top. Add in a fresh-from-the-oven blueberry muffin (sometimes including blueberries we had picked), and it was nirvana.

Over the years since, I got introduced to real corned beef hash. It was always at diners it seemed, where yesterday’s corned beef and baked potatoes were diced and grilled up in front of you. Poaching eggs being a rarity these days, it was most often an over easy or sunny side egg or two on top. Comfort food.

I think the best I’ve had was at a diner just down the street from the King George Hotel in San Francisco. Jerry Pournelle had recommended the hotel to me for a science conference, it being his preferred hotel. At the time, I found the rooms up and back to be quite nice for SF, and available at government per diem. He may have also recommended the diner on the corner nearby, and if so it’s one more thing for which I hope I thanked him.

The memories are fragmented now (stupid lightning), but it seems like I went out the front door of the hotel, turned right, and the diner was on the corner. It may or may not have been the Mason Cafe/Diner, as this was a few decades back. I do remember sitting at a counter watching the cook dice the corned beef and potatoes then fry them up on the griddle, and the amazing smell as it cooked.

I can’t imagine wanting to go to SF right now, but if you have to, check out the King George and the Mason Diner. From the website, the hotel has had a renovation or two since I was last there, and no longer lists an afternoon tea, but was a solid place to stay back in the day. If the diner is the one I remember, I also remember never having a bad breakfast there. Can’t speak for today, but back in the day if you didn’t like the food options where you were in SF, walk another block.

Recently, I’ve been craving real corned beef hash and eggs. There are several places in Indy that advertise having such, including my two favorite breakfast places nearby were I do my monthly splurge breakfast.

Turns out, one of the two fibs about that. If the corned beef hash didn’t come out of a can, their cook should be shot. Sadly typical these days.

The other, however, was and is the real deal. It wasn’t so much diced as chunks of corned beef they had corned and cooked themselves with some of the house potato. Tasty, meaty, filling, and oh-so-good with two eggs over easy.

I’m seriously looking at the budget and thinking of adding some brisket to my grocery list. I have the corning spices, I have the means, and would kill for some good corned beef right now as I’m still craving beef after the surgery. In fact, would love to do enough to put up several meals of corned beef for supper, and then chop up the rest and fry it up with maybe some onions or such to make hash to have for breakfast(s). Not that great at over easy, so more practice would be good. Really shouldn’t bake any blueberry muffins, but sure is tempting. Corned beef hash and eggs, blueberry muffin dripping with real butter, and a good cup of black coffee. Breakfast just doesn’t get much better.

So, what are your favorite comfort food breakfasts?

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Preparedness Pays: Biltong Edition

Air drying meat done right is delicious, safe, and not all that hard. Done wrong, however, it can be sickening or even deadly. Just like home canning. There is risk in everything, the key is to finding what works and making use of best practices.

This post got started last week (I think) when I found out that Aldi is now carrying an American-made commercial version of biltong. For an American commercial product, it is surprisingly good. I shared the news elsewhere, and some nice discussions took place.

Biltong packages
Original and Smoked Biltong via Aldi

Biltong is often described as South African beef jerky. I get the comparison, but despite some similarities it is so much better than beef jerky and healthier (IMO) too. The closer link is to the air-dried cured/smoked meats of Central and Eastern Europe, which is no surprise since the Dutch knew of them and Dutch foods comprise a lot of the historical food of South Africa.

If you’ve ever had any of the Central/Eastern meats and sausages, you know what a treat they can be. Times like this I really miss the Ukrainian deli that used to be up in Lafayette. Not only good sausages, but also more than one variety of smoked/dried beef you could slice with ease. Tasty, shelf-stable, and never in any danger of hitting the sell-by date.

American beef jerky is made from sliced (far too often chopped, shaped, processed and formed) meat that is then cured in a mix that includes a lot of sugar and often other chemicals and preservatives. It is then dried over heat to some extent. While it can be quite tasty, it is often full of carbs, chemicals, and a bit chewy. If you make your own you can avoid a lot of issues, and frankly I’ve used Alton Brown’s furnace filter jerky recipe to good success. The hardest part of the recipe is finding paper filters these days.

Biltong is made from whole chunks of meat, usually carved off a silverside or other roast. Better the meat, the better the biltong. Think steaks for the chunks, as the roasts are often sliced about an inch thick. It is cured with vinegar (usually malt/brown or cider), spices added, then air-dried. The air drying is very much like dry aging beef: it is going to intensify the flavor of the meat, so it’s another reason to use good meat (no need to stick to just beef, as game, lamb, etc. work well).

Now, you can get quite fancy with things and there are those who are really into things, such as The Greedy Ferret. Then there’s this guy and this guy. They each have decent methods and you will get good product. That said, even though I want to try more of the Travel Gigolo’s recipes, I am going with the late Ben Kruger.

While known as an actor, he apparently had a real passion for historical food and did a number of videos looking at traditional cooking, most of it from the Dutch. Thankfully, that included his take on biltong.

How to make biltong Ben Kruger’s way

Particularly if I’m having to do an emergency batch to save meat because of a power outage, I want to use this recipe. Vinegar is a great cure, antimicrobial, and relatively inexpensive. Good cleaner. Good for pickling veggies and more. You really should have a fair bit on hand for emergencies. Honey, while not inexpensive, is another great antimicrobial cure. As an aside, honey buried in tombs in the BC have been found that are still quite good and edible. Just don’t feed any honey to small children.

As he points out, you can air dry it anywhere — the Biltonginator 3000 just speeds things up. Love that his grandfather hung it under the bed to air dry. That’s thinking outside the box. The 1/3 recipe is great and keeps things simple. As others have noted, you can (and should) play with proportions. Just don’t cut out your key antimicrobials.

Right now, I’m going to look into making my version of the Biltonginator (4000 model?) as it is very simple. Storage box, wooden dowels, and a muffin fan. If memory serves, you can even set up the fan to run off flashlight batteries and it will do so for a long time given the low draw. Very useful in an emergency.

Then, to make a good batch. Maybe add smoked paprika to a couple of the chunks, chipotle to a couple, and maybe used smoked salt in part of it. Oooh, maybe add some berbere or peri-peri to a couple. Thing is, have fun but be sure to make at least some “original” recipe as it is a very distinct (and tasty) flavor.

I love good jerky. If I have a choice, though, I will go for almost any variety of biltong or European dried beef hands down. The difference in flavor, tenderness, and healthiness makes that almost a no-brainer for me. My advice is try them out, see what you like, and go for it. Meantime, particularly in an emergency, biltong is your friend and a great way to save meat. Especially as it does have fat, and you are going to need that tasty, tasty, nutritious fat more than you may realize.


Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Even if I could have afforded it, I would not have done the “traditional” meal yesterday. First, it’s just me and the traditional meal is a bit much even with how much I enjoy eating. Second, it’s a labor of love that needs to be shared. The last time I cooked the full meal was for a military unit, and it wasn’t that much more effort and ingredients than some past family gatherings.

Besides, I do try to keep Keto though I did go off it yesterday rather thoroughly. Most of my favorites growing up don’t qualify these days: rice and gravy, sweet potato casserole with pecan crust, a green congealed salad with cream cheese and pecans, and the stuffing. I do miss a good pecan pie, and while she was not a part of the Thanksgiving crowd, my cousin Ann was a baker who could hold her own against some professional chefs, and her pies and cakes were amazing.

Also, I have to admit, that after the lightning strike and all that happened, I don’t eat as much as I used to. Even a normal meal can make me feel bloated and uncomfortable for hours. Dinner can be as much a snack as anything else these days.

So, I opted for a full meal but with reduced portions. I have salmon in the freezer because I needed a couple of portions a while back for a recipe, which meant I had to get a package of the thankfully individually shrink-wrapped portions. Salmon was a luxury growing up, a rarity, and I will have to give my mother props for her salmon croquettes. I don’t think I had fresh salmon until I was in high school. So, luxury meat I bought when prices were much, much better it is. Grilled with a smokey bourbon glaze.

At the doctor’s recommendation after the open heart surgery, I went off Keto a bit and discovered I don’t miss a lot of the standard carbs. Exceptions are pecan waffles, mashed potatoes (real is better than instant, but…), and crackers and corn chips. Since I had decided to have a waffle for breakfast, I opted to go for mashed cauliflower instead of potato. With additional butter and cheese, not bad and filled that spot. Did cheat and buy it on sale.

The veggie was another treat from childhood, asparagus. Rare treat growing up was canned asparagus (you almost never saw fresh in the store back then) with mayo. Bit of dill maybe. So, Aldi had some fresh in and on sale, and while I prefer to grill, our little porch grill is not good for that. So, I did a sautee with a bit of white wine, butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and a hint of smoked paprika.

I had a can of the green ripe olives in the emergency stash. Growing up, the black ripe olives were a huge hit with pretty much everyone. Not sure if it is true, but heard a tale of one alleged adult getting into a fist fight with two or three of the toddlers, and not coming out ahead. I may or may not have been one of the toddlers involved. Toddlers tend to punch out and up. Male or female adult groins are quite sensitive and make a good target. Enough said. For all that I do still enjoy the black olives, I found the tree-ripened olives many years back and have not looked back. Amazing flavor. Second major comfort food niche filled.

For those who want to try it, the glaze for the salmon is easy to do. In a bowl, I put a dollop (precise measurements people, precise measurements!) of raw local honey, about a half a teaspoon of bourbon, a couple of drops of lime juice, chipotle, smoked salt, fresh ground pepper, and a bit of hot smoked paprika. Don’t drink? Leave the bourbon out. Want to double down on the smokey flavor? Use a good Islay Scotch instead. Mix well, place on top of the salmon, and cook. Yesterday, I fashioned a container around the salmon with aluminum foil to ensure that when the glaze melted it stuck around to give max flavor.

Desert was a slice of Key Lime Pie. It was okay, though I wish I could have gotten it from Publix, as that chain does amazing Key Lime pies! The white wine I used with the asparagus was not quite a two-buck-chuck, but close enough that I had wondered if it would even be good. It was, with some wonderful citrus notes that worked well with the asparagus and tasted good when drinking. Pro Tip: if you would not drink the wine, do not cook with it. Later, I did have some bourbon as I relaxed in my chair.

So, I hope your day was filled with love as well as good and tasty things. I got started on my giving thanks ahead of time as on the day things can get hectic.

Oh, and nice thing about my meal was that I had everything prepared and cooked in right around an hour. Clean-up took maybe 15-30 minutes. Not bad for Thanksgiving.

A Chili Weekend


My breakfast this morning. Plating not perfect, but I was hungry.

It’s cold, I’m dragging, so it’s time for chili. Didn’t hurt that I found some beef (steak) that had gotten lost in the freezer and needed to be used. So, seared (sorta) on the grill, and made a cowboy-style chili. Basic recipe is at the link above. Let it cook at 250 for quite a while (3pm-5am), pulled it out this morning, stirred, and had it with egg over diced avocado for breakfast.


It was a riff on a favorite Japanese breakfast, where there was smoked fish in hot rice, and they would crack an egg over the mixture. The heat and steam from the rice cooked the egg. For today, I cracked an egg into a bowl, put hot chili over it, then put some shredded cheese on top of the chili. After waiting a minute or two, stirred and put it over the avocado.

For camping, or just for fun, another way to do it is using a real mug (not some small thing), crack an egg into the bottom, put hot chili over it to about two thirds full, then put shredded cheese. Wait a couple of minutes, stir, then top with sour cream. You can use some guacamole with the sour cream even. If the egg is not cooked to your taste, nuke for a few seconds if at home.

Before I forget, two quick ways to change-up your standard chili. First, throw in an ounce or two of unsweetened dark chocolate. It adds some depth and works well with the various peppers in chili powder as well as cumin and other spices. Think how it works in a mole sauce.

The other is to add some strong black coffee. I know people who just add the ground coffee, but I prefer to go with the liquid. Again, adds to the range of flavors.

Enjoy your weekend!

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Kroger Update & More

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A few weeks ago, I had a most unexpected and unpleasant experience with Kroger Fuel. Since then, I’ve neither gotten fuel there nor shopped at Kroger.

Funny thing is, I’ve been finding some much better deals elsewhere. The eggs I prefer (and yes, trying to stay brand specific as started them for nutrition profile and right now because my bloodwork is so good! Changing as little as possible given how good) I’ve found elsewhere for less. Excellent and even better sour cream to replace the Kroger Natural? Yes indeed and for about the same price.

I am having to make a few more stops, but have been able to keep mileage pretty close to what I was doing. Interesting thing is finding some neat things along the way.

I also need to note that the Aldi near me has much better produce than the one I used to shop. At the previous, that section could literally stink. At this one, it looks like it is worked daily and I’ve been finding some wonderful stuff including avocados which I use every day. Their avocados beat all the other stores easily on price and quality.

As I noted on Twitter earlier, I got some New Orleans French Roast coffee beans (with chicory) from The Fresh Market yesterday. Tried them this morning and while it is not the same as sitting at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans (and eating things I’m not supposed to eat), but it is a good second. The Fresh Market does bulk coffees, and the price works out close to what most stores charge. Pro tip: whole beans last longer, just like whole grains, and are better for prep (and coffee in my highly biased opinion). Also, before buying from that bulk bin, check those beans out. If dry and dull, skip. Good fresh beans will have an oily sheen to them. That said, you really need to buy the sealed and pre-done bags of whole bean for prep. They also have some amazing deals each day of the week.

I was buying Seattle’s Best Post Alley beans, but that is one of the few things I’ve not been able to find at other stores. In fact, most stores have even less a selection of whole bean coffees than Kroger these days. May have to save up and see about ordering direct. Sadly, I was paying $4.99 a bag before the election. Now, $7-$8 is not unusual for it. That’s one reason the bulk at The Fresh Market works out about the same, or even less if careful.

The other thing are supplements. I had switched some to Kroger brand, but will switch to others of similar quality or even higher if the price is right. Going to have to explore that a bit more here soon, time to stock up again. May be one of the things I get from the big box (WallyWorld, Meijer, etc.) stores.

Fresh Thyme does have some bulk (no coffee) and a number of products that are hard to find elsewhere. I also love the bulk meats, especially bacon. They have sold me as little as three slices (needed for cooking) and when I can I like to splurge and get six or so pieces to have Saturday morning. Yes, I do save my bacon drippings. 🙂

Even without all the coupons I used to get and use, coming out a bit cheaper on my boycott. That said, if you are on Twitter and want to save, follow The Crazy Coupon Lady for a lot of good tips and bargains.


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