Dog ~vs~ Trash

It all started with the Dog.   How many times have you achieved a level of trust and understanding with your dog that anything on the counter or trashcan is off limits?  You leave your home for, let say, 10 minutes to run an errand.  You get home, and you’re not greeted in the normal, you have been gone for years, happy dog anxiety that your accustom too.   You call out to your dog to come, but no answer.  You walk into your living room  to find your dog on the family couch, and your meet with the no eye contact, head bowed, and the “I’m in a world of trouble” posture, that your accustom too when your dog typically gets into trouble.

You then, are put on red alert to find out  what they have been up to.   It doesn’t take long to find the evil deed.  You walk into the kitchen and see the trash can tipped over and everything spread from one end of the kitchen to the other, and in some cases the transfer of that trash to the bedroom, because its much more comfortable to lay on top of the white goose down comforter,  to chew on the Christmas Turkey carcass.

Ever have this experience to some degree?  Me too.   So I put my pallet re-purpose skills to work and made a trashcan holder.   With very little effort or skill, it took me about an hour so to complete.   no sanding needed or staining.  Let face it, its a trashcan holder, it doesn’t need to look like a full on furniture accent piece.

So, far I have had this in our Kitchen since the summer and haven’t had any problem.   Well, that not totally true, I had problems getting my kids to take the trash out, but as yet, I haven’t figured out what to build to help with that, other than a Paddle for there backsides to get them motivated.

Good luck!

Elijah’s Candy Shard Treats

Its the day after Christmas and what should I make in the kitchen?   I know, I’ll turn it over to my Son this time and let him show you how to make his most favorite recipe.  He has been asking me for some time, to take a stab at my Blog and YouTube hobby.

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I have to brag, that there was more laughing and fun than cooking going on this afternoon with the two of us behind the same counter filming.

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You see, in my opinion, the kitchen should be a place of laughter, fun and taking flavors and technique seriously, yet constructively.  I try and convey that to my son and I think he is getting it at a young age.

WATCH THE HOW TOO VIDEO

Here is what you need:

4 Cups of Sugar

2/3 Cup of Light Corn Syrup

2 Tsp of flavoring (your Choice)

2 Drops of Food Coloring (optional)

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I would explain this recipe step by step, but I think his video best explains the method though in a bit of a hap-hazard way, but its just a Dad and his son in the Kitchen having a good time making his Sons favorite candy recipe…….Pretty much a Father and Son bonding moment on camera.

 

Enjoy and have a few laughs

Rack em up Grape Drinker

Ever have those times when you have so many great ideas you want to try,  you feel overwhelmed with anxiety to get them accomplished?  That’s me during the holiday season.  Things to bake, build, write, and sing.   The list goes on and on and Christmas comes faster and faster.

This year I wanted to give my family gifts that we either cooked from scratch or built from the ground up.  As my pallet skills grown and I learn more techniques and methods of building,  my projects get a bit better and more functional.  This summer I worked on perfecting a style of wine rack that I feel has a good look and is pleasing to have mounted on a wall in your house.

I started with making a medium rack, but then moved to making a bigger is better rack, but after making about 4 or 5 I discovered people like them but who has room on a wall to mount one?  Took forever (most of the summer) to sell them.

The medium racks did better.  4 bottle racks seem to be right up most peoples ally.

So, then,  I went for the single/Dbl rack and I wanted to make it more unique but still have a similar feel.  The Dbl rack, in the end,   by far is my favorite.

Now to see if my family likes them as gifts.  Did I fail to mention that wrapping these racks is like giving a cat a bath?

Enjoy!

Five Minute Fudge

HOW TO VIDEO LINK

Fudge is not my favorite Christmas treat, but it does make it to the top 10.  Over the years I have tried many and I have the fat rolls to prove it.  It seems that I have tried many varieties both good, very good and oh so very bad, but I have always returned to this simple recipe.  I saw this same recipe reinvented on the food network many times and I don’t lay claim to it other than I like to use it as a base recipe.

IMG_2008Let get started:

1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can walnut halves or any nut, just not a relative
1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) currants
8 -inch cake pan or any cool mold, lightly oiled with spray

Place a heavy pot on the stove and preheat it over low heat. Add chips and milk and stir until chips are melted and milk combined.

Stir in vanilla and remove fudge from heat. Add nuts and currants and stir in immediately.

Spoon fudge into pan or mold.

The fudge will set up almost immediately but still be soft and pliable.  Set in your fridge for about an 45 min to cool so it will completely set up.

Once set remove fudge from pan/mold then set on a serving platter and garnish however you like.  powder sugar.  Little candied cherries…..or whatever spins your crank.

Now the fun part!   EAT IT!!!IMG_2011

 

Quesa-eggllia

Ever get into a rut with cooking the same stuff every morning   Sometimes its fun to mix things up.   For instance, today I wanted to make something weird.   Since my Son was the only other person in the house he was the lucky guinea pig and the inspiration for the dish.  I chose his 2 favorite Breakfast items, Gooey Eggs and Quesadilla’s and smacked them together in a Cardiac nightmare of gooey goodness.

Not very many ingredients.  Most of these are in your fridge this very moment, if not all of them, So let get started:

Flour Tortillas (small or medium)

Sharp cheddar cheese shredded (blocked cheese tends to be less expensive)

Eggs

Butter (unsalted)

Salt and Pepper

 

Preheat your pan to medium/low Heat. after a few minutes add a little pat of butter and wait for it to melt.  If your butter smokes your heat it to high and should lower it.  Cook the Eggs making sure not to overcook the whites. Make sure to slightly salt and pepper the eggs when you put then in the pan.  I prefer a subtlety cooked egg white so you don’t feel like your chewing string or something plastic.

Remove the eggs to a plate and set aside.  Add a little more butter to the Pan and wait for it to melt.  Then add a tortilla to the pan making sure to move it around so that the butter coats the side your cooking.  Add a little cheese to the top of the tortilla.   Once the cheese has mostly melted remove the tortilla and put on a plate and set aside.

Repeat the process with a 2nd tortilla.  When the cheese starts to melt place the cooked eggs on top of the cheese, then add the other cooked tortilla on top of the eggs, melted cheese side down.

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Once the Bottom Tortilla is brown a crispy, transfer to a plate.

Weird, but yet comforting.   I certain this little breakfast treat is not American Heart Association approved, but it is 11 year old Boy Approved.  Hope you enjoy.

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Bedside Tables

“Dad, I need a table next to my bed!” my Son said to me as I was in the midst of an emotional breakdown trying to get the legs on a coffee table to become level.  “What do you need a table for?” I asked him, as I fought the urge to launch my level across the backyard lawn. “Dad, I need a place to put my stuff like, my glass of tea, Legos, Nerf guns just in case we get robbed.”  I forgot about my coffee table leg wobble issue, because my instant response was, “You think we are going to get robbed?” And he simply responded “Yes”, as if I just asked him if he was hungry.

Shaking my head, I told him I would create his Table.

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After I had finished his table, my Son’s best friend said he wanted a table for his room as well.  When I asked if he needed one that has a place for his Nerf gun,  just in case his house gets robbed also?  He looked at me as if I grew a 3rd eye.

Feeling a bit awkward, I started working on the 2nd table;

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This one I experimented with some wood from out Firewood supply.  Just wanted to play around and give it that Old Faithful Inn look

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After many modifications and a lot of Sandpaper, I finished the tables.  I don’t think I nailed the Old Faithful look, rarely my 1st attempts are successful, but they get me going in the right direction.

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Latkes

I have many family traditions.  Some going back several generations and other that are more modern.   Making Latkes started with my Dad.   I’m not certain if this is something my grandmother did for him, but I would suspect it was.   Since the Christmas Season has officially kicked into gear and I spent the morning outside removing snow from the sidewalks and the trees dumping handful after handful of snow down my neck, I decided to make our traditional Latkes.

Lets get started:  Latkes  How to Video

2 Medium Potatoes  (I used our own Garden potatoes.   As I have said in a  previous page It still thrills me that we grew our own)

1 Cup of Krusteaz Buttermilk pancake Mix

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Just a Little Bag

2/3 Ish cup of Water

Cranola oil  ** I just add enough oil to the pans to fill the bottom of the pan.  Just enough that lightly covers you batter when you put it into your pan (maybe 2 cups)**

Preheat medium to medium high cast Iron Skillet with your Cranola Oil.

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Start by shredding your spuds into a bowl.  Once its shredded transfer the potatoes to a hand towel on a flat surface. (Preferably not the floor) Place another hand towel on the top pressing firmly down to remove the excess moisture (starch).

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In a bowl add your Pancake Mix and water and then whisk togeather.  You may need to add a little more water to bring the batter to the point that when you lift your whisk your batter falls from your whisk and it looks Ribbony (if that’s even a word?)

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Combine your Potatoes to the batter and fold together till they are evenly combined with no clumps.

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Test to make sure your oil is ready by dropping a little bit of batter in.  If it crackles and bubbles, your good to go.

With a Spoon add a dollop of your mix into the oil.   With your spoon spread the mix out in the pan making sure that they stay connected.  I try to be a little Artsy by branching out the batter so I get cool arms and branches.   That’s more of a presentation thing…not so certain that it improves the latkes, however you will get more crispy bits.

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Remove Latkes from Skillet and place in place with a hand cloth on it to help remove excess oil.

Our latkes traditionally just get a little butter before you eat, however my kids eat them like they do Pancakes by adding Syrup.  If truth be told, I kinda like them better that way too.

Fear The Chair

Being fat, has many disadvantages, but little discussed is Seatophobia.  Yes, that’s right, I said Seatophobia, The irrational fear of chairs.   Not to be confused with, Cibophobia (Sitophobia) — Fear of Food/Eating.  Yeah, I’m not even close to having that one.

I didn’t have this as a child.  In fact I didn’t even have it as an adult until I did an overseas trip to the island of Trinidad.   It began on an 8 hour flight in coach where my thighs had been permanently imprinted with the seat adjustment button that was stuck in recline, also, not to forget the volume control panel with the earphone jack that I only new was there later that night, after I got undressed and saw the panel on my right leg.   I read someplace that the average coach seat was 31 to 35 inches in width, and the average waistline of an overweight 30ish year old is 44 to 48 inches.     Can you say, “large ball in small hole”?

That brings me to my experience with the little plastic chairs that you can pick up from Walmart for $9 per chair.    You see, they had those chairs everywhere you go in Trinidad.   Seems Like a great deal right?   Until I put my full weight into one.  The explosion of plastic that ensued  was staggering.  little bits of plastic shrapnel flew everyplace.   The look on the locals faces, was one of disbelief.   The only thought that seemed to cross there faces was, “That fat American just made our chair explode!  Wow, that was loud! How is that even possible?”

And that my friends, is how I acquired the condition known as Seatophobia.

This was what eventually lead me up to my inspiration for making myself a Pallet Adirondack chair.  I have several Adirondack chair that we purchased over the years from yard sales and such, but if your like me, when you sit on them,  your seriously afraid to give them the full force of your weight. Even then,  your never quite confident that they won’t taco under your mass, leaving you with an afternoon of pulling wood shrapnel from your super sensitive and fleshy areas.

So, with a plan in my head and a few measurements from one of the untrustworthy Adirondack chair’s, I made myself two,  as I  christening them, “thrones of un-exploding” to relax my weary thighs.

Funny thing is, they kind of look like bad recreations of  the “Game of throne” throne chair, but whatever, they are comfy and unique and serve my purpose.  Many people who walk by the house seem to get a kick out of them and usually are a curiosity and a conversation starter.

Po-Waffle-ato

One must ask themselves, “Why do I take great care to detail when I cook?”  Many different answers are possible.  My answer, is fairly simple.  I am an Artist deep down and care how my medium feels to the eye.  The other part of this answer is, I love when something taste great.

Can I make art on the plate on a Saturday morning that my Kids won’t turn their noses up too,  because its overkill?  Can I do it relatively quick and simple?   Yep!  I do believe I can.

 

Let get started.

5 Medium Potatoes (I used our own Garden potatoes.  It still thrills me that we grew our own)

2 Eggs (Duck, Chicken, Goose, Ostrich or Dinosaur….whatever you have in the fridge)

Butter (because butter makes everything better…..My wife makes me use Coconut oil on hers BLAH!!!)

Cheddar Cheese (optional)

Salt and Pepper

Waffle Iron (any type)

 

Start by plugging in the Waffle Iron to preheat.

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If you have a food processor, uses the grater option (fine) and blast away.  If you don’t have a food processor just use a cheese grater, trying not to add a bit of knuckle skin, though it has no taste, it’s a bit chewy and can be a distraction to your meal.

With the grated potatoes in a bowl add a little salt and pepper and give it a toss with your hands.IMG_1742.JPG

Put a little bit of butter to the waffle griddle, by doing this, it will help your potatoes get brown and crispy.  Add some potatoes to the griddle then close the lid and let it sit.

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At this point fire up your skillet and start cooking your eggs how you like them.  In my family we have a wide range of preferences, from Gooey (over easy) to Hockey puck (cooked to resemble a flat rubber Bathtub drain stopper)   my wife likes hers that way and it seems the longer you cook it the better she likes it.   Here is when you add the cheese if you want….just before finishing your egg just add the cheese and cover the pan to melt it.IMG_1749.JPG

Once your Eggs are done your potatoes should be ready as well.  That’s the great thing about the waffle Iron; it cooks the potatoes pretty quickly and makes them look cool.  Now it’s just a matter of putting the potatoes on the plate and topping it with the eggs.IMG_1753.JPG

 

IMG_1754.JPGmade this dish this morning and my family enjoyed it.   It’s a cool creative way to add a twist to the Artist side of your cooking but yet simple and familiar to your kids and most importantly, Fun!

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IMG_1750.JPGHope you enjoy.

Cozy Coffee Table

My house has a strange L shape living room and I have always had trouble getting it to have a comfortable feel.    It always seemed that it lacked a place to sit and read.   That made me think of building a Coffee table to go along with our love seat, so since never making one and not really knowing what I was doing I started with simple measurements from another coffee table we had.    17″ high………and that’s all I measured.   Can you say This Old House? NOT!   Bob Villa eat your hart out, I’m going building off road.   I built my first table just from an Idea of what I was looking for with a general idea of how high it needed to be to fit the decor of my home.

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I was seriously please with this piece, however, my wife took a look at it and said “its a beautifully cool coffee table, but its kinda big for the living room, don’t you think?”  RATS!!!!!!  I was having so much fun free hand building, that I didn’t consider that it might be a bit too big for our living room. About that time I was approached about donating something and this fit the bill perfectly.

So later this summer, I attempted my 2nd Coffee table with a little less off road building and a bit more measuring and the result was unique and the coffee table now, sits happily in our cozy little reading corner of our living room.

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