Thursday, 22 November 2018

of Red Shirts and Yellow Pants: A Day on the Galleon

A very nervous first time crew member says to the skipper, "Do yachts like this sink very often?" The skipper replied, "Not too often. Usually it's only the once."

😝😝😝

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, a Spanish captain was walking on his ship when one of his solders rushed up to him and exclaimed, "An enemy ship is approaching us!"

The captain replied calmly, "Go get my red shirt." The soldier ran off and got the captain's red shirt.

The enemy ship came in closer and soon heavy rounds of gun and cannon fire were exchanged. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Spaniards won the battle.

The soldier approached the captain and said, "Congratulations, Sir, but I have to ask; why the red shirt?" The captain replied, "If I had gotten injured, I wouldn't have wanted my blood to be seen, as it most certainly would have caused my men to lose hope."

Just then another soldier ran up to the captain and said, "Sir, we just spotted another twenty enemy ships!" The captain calmly replied, "Go and bring me my yellow pants."

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Health Benefits of Beards?

"Kissing a man with a beard is a lot like going to a picnic. You don't mind going through a little bush to get there!"
Minnie Pearl

I've been bearded most of my life. When I got married almost 40-years ago, I was bearded, and other than a couple of very brief periods since then (when I apparently lost my mind), I am bearded still today. When people ask me about my beard, I've often answered something to the effect of, "I wear a beard for religious purposes. I figure that, if God gave me the ability to grow a beard, He must have meant me to have a beard." Makes sense to me.

Once when I gave that explanation at a family gathering, an uncle retorted, "God also gave you the ability to father hundreds of children, but He probably didn't mean for you to do so." Fair enough, but as he himself was suffering from beardlessness, I realised that he wasn't likely able to understand these deeper religious mantras, and so I left the subject alone.

Yes, I am being a little facetious. πŸ˜‰

It would seem now that there is another very good reason for men to exercise their God-given ability to grow and wear a beard … health.

According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, beards contain a type of bacteria which apparently promotes the development of important antibiotics. The study tested facial swabs of 408 bearded and beardless hospital staff. The results? Beardless men were more than three times as likely to be carriers of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), and ten percent more likely to suffer from food poisoning and respiratory illnesses than their bearded brothers.

Well there you have it. In other words, beards may actually help to promote men's health.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Lest We Forget ...


Armistice Day

The final day of the First World War, or as it was also known, the Great War. The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, one hundred years ago today, November 11, 1918.

"The war to end all wars," a term said to be originally coined by H.G. Wells and used by several others since, was clearly utopistic. Unfortunately, the "war to end all wars" had not succeeded in ending war after all. A few short years later, the world would be at it again, followed by a plethora of still other wars.

Some might argue that we're at the brink of yet another global war. I hope not, yet when we look back to the earliest of ancient history, this "sin" does seem firmly rooted in our DNA. Will we ever learn to truly live at peace with one another? Will the guns ever truly go silent?

So today, on this Remembrance Day, I am taking time out to remember. In honour of my wife's parents, who both served in the Canadian military during WWII, and in honour of all others who also served, I take time out to say, Thank You. But I also take time out to pray for the day that mankind will not just remember, but also remember enough to never to let it happen again. Peace.

Lest We Forget …



Saturday, 10 November 2018

Your Politics May Be Broken If ...

"Reader, suppose you were 
an idiot. And suppose you were 
a member of Congress. 
But I repeat myself."
~Mark Twain

😝😝😝

Though I try very hard not to get caught up in its drama, I must confess that sometimes I do get bugged by what I perceive to be the stupidity of politics. I mean, really; what the sh*t was that?! Case and point, this from the recent US political landscape …

In one state's recent elections, 70% of voters apparently voted for a candidate that they knew was … wait for it … DEAD! Yup … DEAD! Stop, and let that one sink in for a minute. Hmm.

Your politics may be broken if …

As I delved into this weird polling booth story a little further, it would seem that in this case, the Republican party encouraged their supporters to vote for the dead candidate rather than cast a ballot for the opposing Democrats.

Sorry, but if I were to be just a little facetious in reading between the lines, I would have to wonder if they were suggesting that a Republican corpse would be better able to support the local constituents than a live Democrat. Ouch! At the risk of sounding too simplistic, is that what was being implied? It certainly sounds that way, though in all fairness there's no doubt more to the story. The more likely truth is that the Republicans were simply trying to force a by-election rather than accept a default Democrat win, since it was apparently too late to get Dennis Hof replaced on the ballot after his recent death. OK, fair enough.

Still, I cannot help but chuckle at my former facetious explanation. Vote for __________. After all, what's life got to do with it? A bit of a double entendre there. What do politicians really know about life, and specifically, the lives of those of those they supposedly represent? The only time there is any semblance of pseudo-caring of constituent's lives is at election time. Even then it's questionable. But whatever the motive, it all sounds shady, underhanded and shyster-ish. Hmm.

Your politics may be broken if …

Ironic? Maybe, but if the shoe fits ...
Ultimately I guess it really doesn't mater what one's political persuasion is; ALL politicians have their own political blunders and agendas on their resumes, and the truth of the matter is, one will NEVER completely satisfy all voters anyways, no matter how hard one tries. In the end, as someone has so eloquently stated, one has to vote for the "lessor of the evils." Unfortunately, voting for the "lessor of the evils," is still voting for evil.

Maybe it is time to completely abolish party politics. Maybe it's time for real regional representation that is free to vote in favour of their constituents wishes rather than those dictated by the party leader. Maybe it's time that we re-evaluate and re-think our so-called democratic systems, which of late seem almost more like dictatorships than democracy. Maybe it's time that we stop kidding ourselves and stop voting for dead men, be that literally or figuratively.

Just my two-cents worth. End of rant. Peace.

See Also:
The Friendly Dictatorship?
I Vote For: "None of the Above"
Democrazy: Is it time to re-think this whole Democracy thing?

First Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, 9 November 2018

I Love Cuddles, Especially from a … Cow?

Something in the way she moos, attracts me like no udder lover.
(Sorry, I couldn't resist)

πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

One of the weirder stories I read online recently, has to do with … cow cuddling.

Yes, you read that right.

Apparently one of the latest fads that is supposed to be good for us and help with our stress levels, is wandering out into a farm field and getting cozy with … a cow. Hmm, I can honestly say that the thought of this has never crossed my mind before. Cow cuddling? I guess as with all things in life, to each their own.

Now, I'm not suggesting that I am totally against cow cuddles, but I usually prefer to wait until mine comes off the grill or out of the smoker before getting intimate with it. I especially get excited when it's accompanied with mashed potatoes and gravy. Yum! I wonder if after the $300, 90-minute session, they send clients home with a few steaks? After all that cuddling, a guy's bound to be good and hungry. Hmm.

For more of this bizarre fad, see also:
Business InsiderMountain Horse Farm

First Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Second Photo Credit: Unknown (via Facebook)

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Share a Coke with Will

Woo-Hoo! I won the lottery!

Well, not quite, but I did find a Coke with my name on it. That's more than I can say for ever finding a winning lottery ticket. So I guess in a sense, I'm still a winner.

Yes, I am a Coke fan. Not the diet sugar-free varieties with their artificial sweeteners, but good old fashioned, real sugar infused, Coke. I'm not into the so-called No Name colas, such as Pepsi (with all due respects to Pepsi fans; sorry, I couldn't resist a friendly little poke. LOL). As Richie Sambora is quoted to have said, "At the end of the day, if you're going to buy a can of Coke, you want the real thing." I couldn't agree more; why simply settle for less? Coke fan? Maybe that's too soft a term. Coke snob is probably more apropos.

When I discovered the Coke bottle with my name on it in our workplace cafeteria, a coworker mentioned to me something to the effect that she will never find her name on a bottle of Coke. I used to think that too. But as it turns out, for all you fellow Coke fans/snobs who still cannot find your name, Coca-Cola apparently has a solution. If you visit their online store at cokestore.com, you can order your own personalized bottle of Coke, be it with your name, favourite sports team logo, or almost anything else. Also, if you're still struggling to find that perfect Christmas gift for that hard to shop for person, here's an idea. You're welcome.

So here's to finding that beautiful bottle of Coke, made even more beautiful with my name on it. "Share a Coke with Will?" Why, yes, I think I'll do that. Oh, and by the way, lunch today just became that much more enjoyable too. Cheers!

"The Coke bottle is a masterpiece of scientific, functional planning. In simpler terms, I would describe the bottle as well thought out, logical, sparing of material and pleasant to look at." - Raymond Loewy

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Help Wanted: The Perfect Side Job?

While scrolling through a social media site the other day, I discovered the perfect side job:

Generic Father Figure for Backyard BBQ.

That's for me, I thought! I can do this! Why didn't I think of this before?!

I absolutely LOVE cooking outdoors, be it on the smoker, a charcoal grill with a little hardwood to provide the smoke, or even old-school over the trust old fire pit. I'm not much into gas or propane grills, however. Yes, I'm a "Foodie" junkie.

Back to the job ad.

Prerequisites include: Generic father figure (though not by blood, over the years I've been "Dad" to many - totally generic); knowledge of the operation of a grill, ability to drink beer, ability to use generic names instead of real names (perfect, since I struggle remembering people's real names anyway, and beer is but 'mother's milk' for me); ability to talk about "Dad things" (easy-peazy; Dad jokes are a part of my repertoire; and as a grandfather, all the more so); a minimum of eighteen years experience as a father (I've got over 30); minimum 10 years grilling experience (been grilling since before dirt was invented); hot summer days with "a" nice cold beer (here we may have a problem; I may want more than just "a" nice beer); preference given to applicants named Bill, Randy, or Dave (my name is "Will" which is close to Bill, so I should be good).

The only problem is, the job doesn't pay in money, but rather in food and beer. Well what the heck; there are more important things in life than working for money; food and beer is good.

Now it said that this was a "real ad," which then begs the question, "Where/how do I apply?" Spokane is not that far away. A little road trip might just be the icing on the cake.

To Whom It May Concern: Please find attached my resume for:
Generic Father for Backyard BBQ.
_______________
Postscript:
As it turns out, it was quite the party. See here for the awesome conclusion.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Ghost Peppers: The Perfect Snack Food?

I have for a long time now been a spice-lover. From time to time, co-workers would drop off a little bottle of hot sauce that they picked up somewhere in their vacation travels. Cafe staff at work, when asked for hot sauce to complement their meal, on more than one occasion have directed their customers to my office. They all knew that there was usually a bottle or two of some exotic hot sauce with some crazy warning label, such as: "Caution: contents are 650 times hotter than jalapeno peppers."

Clearly not for the faint of heart, as I observed one cafe guest throw out his lunch after disregarding my warning and applying too much Mega-Death sauce.

Imagine my delight when a friend gave me a bag of ghost pepper chips! Wow!

Ghost peppers were once said to be the hottest pepper known to man, though there are now a couple still hotter varieties. To compliment this already hot pepper, the ingredients label tells me that they also contain Cayenne Pepper and Chipotle Pepper. Perfect! If the ghost peppers don't kill you, the reserves of cayenne and chipotle peppers will drive the final nail in the snack food coffin. LOL. Love it!

Like my previously mentioned hot sauces, this bag of awesome chips also comes with its own warning label. It's comforting to know that the manufacturer accepts no responsibility for injuries associated with my snack food cravings. Interesting too to note, that the label speaks of "burning pain." After a few chips, I suddenly felt a bit of burning in the old sphincter. Coincidence? Hmm.

So don't worry, be "Paqui," apparently an Aztec word meaning "to be happy." As for me, I can honestly say that I am "Paqui" to see that someone has finally come up with a snack chip to accommodate my love for heat and spices. All other pseudo-hot chips that I've tried thus far have failed miserably to satisfy. My only complaint is, as these hail from Austin Texas, I've yet to find these on the store shelves here in western Canada. What a shame!

For more on this, visit paqui.com and discover the amazing ghost pepper chip.
__________

Postscript: If you've been brave enough to try these, drop me a comment; I'd love to hear your take on them. Likewise, if you've seen these on a Canadian store shelf somewhere, do me a favour and let me know.  Peace.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

How to Get the Rest of the Day Off Work

One day George and Frank, two factory workers, were talking to each other on their morning coffee break.

George says, "I can make the boss give me the rest of the day off work."

Frank replies, "And just how do you intend to do that?"

George says, "Just wait and see."

A little later George hangs upside down from the factory ceiling. The boss soon comes by and says, "What are you doing, George?"

George answers, "I'm a light bulb."

The boss then says, "You've been working so much lately that you're starting to go crazy!" I think you need to take the rest of the day off!"

George climbs down and starts to leave, and Frank promptly follows him.

The boss says, "Frank, where do you think you're going?"

Frank replied, "I'm going home too. I can't work in the dark!"

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Story Source: Unknown

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Witch Doctor Returns?

Meanwhile, from my "Weird Shit" files, there's this one ...

I've read a lot lately about doctor assisted suicide, and depending upon your views on it, the pros and/or cons concerning it. At first read, this article I saw in the May 1, 2018 edition of the Calgary Sun, almost sounded like a twisted version of that.

Are you entertaining doctor assisted suicide? I hope not, but …

There's apparently a doctor in the state of Georgia, USA, that has offered to slit the throats and/or decapitate employees. Hmm; not your typical "Family Medicine" doctor, I think.

There was no word as to whether or not this was a one-time offer for employees only, or whether patients were offered the same services. However, it appears that until this mess has been sorted out, the good doctor's licence has been suspended. Go figure!

So if you're looking for a new family doctor, you might want to continue your search; this one appears to have ... "lost her head."
__________

Meanwhile, on the lighter side, did you hear the one about the urine sample?

A young patient was handed a urine sample container and told to fill it up in the bathroom. A few moments later he returned with an empty cup. "I didn't need this after all," he said. "There was a toilet in there."

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Saturday, 31 March 2018

When the Cabbage Roll Weds the Perogie?

The Ukrainians have a few interesting foodie-related proverbs and sayings, such as: "No cook ever died of starvation." Or, "If you chase two hares at the same time, you will catch neither of them." And then, "No matter how hard you try, the bull will never give you milk." And finally, "Only when you have eaten a cockroach do you appreciate soup."

Though I've never had the privilege to visit the Ukraine, my daughter has. And in honour of that visit, today's foodie experiment was, not only another first for me, but also a tribute to a couple awesome Ukrainian dishes. For those of you who love perogies and cabbage rolls, this might be of interest to you. I, for one, love them both.

But what would happen if one took those two wonderful Ukrainian dishes, and combined them into one? As I pondered that, it quickly occurred to me that, as with other foodie creations that I've previously embarked on, I was about to find out. Perogie cabbage rolls? Why not?!

The experiment started with a package of frozen potato, bacon and romano cheese perogies. These were dropped into boiling water and stirred occasionally to keep them from sticking to each other. When they had surfaced on top of the boiling water, they were removed from the boiling water and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

While this was happening, in another pot of boiling water there was a whole head of cabbage that had been pre-cored, removing the stem. As it's leaves began to fall away from the rest of the head, and became soft, they were each removed one by one and set aside on another paper towel-lined tray.

The spine of each cabbage leaf was removed and set aside. (Along with a little salt, these became a great snack throughout the preparation process). Each perogie was then wrapped in a leaf (or half a leaf, depending on size) of cabbage. A toothpick was used to temporarily hold everything together throughout the rest of the cooking process, and removed before serving.

A jar of our favourite pasta sauce was then preheated and stirred, and then poured over the perogie cabbage rolls. These dishes were then covered in foil and placed in a 300 degree F oven about an hour before being served with a dollop of sour cream.



They were wonderfully yummy. πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Smoke and Whiskers

A few years ago, when I was given a new Bradley Smoker for Father's Day, I suddenly discovered a new passion and hobby … smoking meat.

Since then I've experimented with everything from beef jerky to sirloin tip to meatloaf, from pork loin to sausages, from chicken to salmon, and even a variety of veggies. Often I would wrap some of these in a bacon-weave to make them even more exotic. Most weekends, if you were over at our place, you would see and smell the smoke rising from the old smoker. And if you followed my blog, The Other Side of Will, you would see the story and some pics behind many of these foodie creations.

I've enjoyed following several websites and social media communities that share the same passion for the smoker and barbecue, such as the BBQ Pit Boys. I've learned a lot from them and their members, and also shared a few posts of my own of some of my experiments. As such, I was only too happy to support the BBQ Pit Boys by starting an official chapter of my own here in Southern Alberta.

So, I'd like to introduce you to, Smoke and Whiskers, an official BBQ Pit Boys chapter. We can be found on Facebook at: Smoke and Whiskers.

OK, as any foodie will tell you, they understand the "smoke" part, but what's what's with the "whiskers" part? Well, the "whiskers" part simply pays tribute to the fact that I've been bearded for most of my adult life; I was bearded in my wedding pictures over 36 years ago, and though a little greyer now, I remain bearded still. Ah, whiskers! As someone once said, "God only made so many perfect faces; the rest are clean shaven."

So, what keeps you up at night? What do you mediate upon?

For me it's often the next exotic foodie idea, such as my plan to smoke a whole pig this summer for an upcoming family reunion. I confess that I've never tried that before, but such is the life of a foodie. No recipe, no magic formula; just an idea to be experimented with and sometimes tweaked on subsequent attempts. But you know you're doing something right when leftovers are often scarce and even the wife goes for a second helping.

Happy smoking. Peace.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Don't Let Will Get Your Goat

Among the many childhood experiences that I fondly remember, and to this day am grateful for, is that my parents introduced my siblings and me to a plethora of exotic dishes. When introduced to one such strange new dish, one of my brothers only question was, not the often too typical, "Yuck, I don't like that," but rather, "How do I eat that?" I cannot remember exactly what the dish was, but it obviously was something unique and different enough, that my younger brother's question was quite valid.

I suppose you could say that this past weekend's foodie creation was a tribute to those wonderful childhood cuisine experiences.

The original plan was to make a hearty beef stew on the charcoal grill in my trusty cast iron pot. While in the meat department looking for some beef bones to add to my stewing beef, I discovered some bone-in New Zealand goat. I thought I had won the lottery! Plans quickly changed. Now dinner was going to be a goat stew. I texted the idea to my wife and met no resistance, so I quickly hurried to the nearest checkout with my exotic find.

I was reminded of something my daughter said many years ago on a university trip into an eastern European country. She came back and said that they tried to have all foods at least twice. When I asked why, she said, "First to get over the shock of something different, and the second time to try and learn to appreciate it." Wise words, I thought. How can we rightly say that we don't like something different, unless we first actually try it?

After heating up my charcoal grill, and since I already had beef stewing meat thawed, I decided that my goat stew would also contain beef. Why not?! The goat and the beef were seasoned with some favourite spices and seared a bit on the hot grill before finding their way into the pot. I added some water, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, Crimini mushrooms, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and beef broth. Later I added a little flour in order to thicken up the stew. After pre-soaking it in some water, I then added a couple chunks of rum oak barrel wood directly on top of the hot charcoal to give me the smoke I wanted to enhance my stew with.

One certainly could have made something like it in the kitchen on the stove top, but there's something about slow cooking outdoors over charcoal and smoke that gives food a unique flavour that I defy any indoor kitchen to even come close to.

After a few hours, it came time for the moment of truth; dinner was served. It looked and smelled good enough, but how about taste? We weren't disappointed. Goat certainly has a unique taste all its own that is not easily compared to most of the more common North American fares.

Someone once said in jest something to the effect of, "Everything tastes like chicken that doesn't have a taste of its own." Well, goat definitely doesn't taste like chicken. Perhaps the closest thing I can compare it to is lamb, but even that's not really a fair comparison. Goat tastes like, well, goat.

And if I still have not yet convinced you of this amazing meat, let me just close with this. Often times the best testimony of a meal is someone going for a second helping, as my dear wife did. Maybe the way to a woman's heart really is through a man who likes to cook. Hmm.

Postscript: It is interesting to note that the reheated leftovers on the second day were almost better than the first day. Hmm.

πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹
For Further Reading: 28 Health Benefits of Goat Meat
First Goat Picture Credit: Nick Bianco, Flickr Creative Commons
Final Goat Meme Source: Unknown

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Onion Rings: Breakfast's Other Perfect Food?

Onion rings for breakfast?

Sure, why not?!

I discovered a bag of frozen onion rings in our freezer recently, which gave me an "aha" moment. What if I took my love for onion rings and combined it with my love for bacon? As the old adage says, in that way I can "kill two birds with one stone."

And so yet another foodie experiment was born. Breakfast will never be the same again.

Opening the bag of onion rings, I selected some of the larger ones. Taking a slice of low-sodium bacon, I wound the bacon around each frozen onion ring and placed them on a rack on top of a parchment paper lined baking tray. The idea behind the rack, as opposed to simply laying them directly on the baking tray, was to create a barrier between between the onion rings and the bacon grease. In retrospect, I'm glad I did that. They then went into a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until they started to crisp up nicely.

I wasn't surprised to see some shrinkage in the finished product, and some ended up a little more twisted than they started out as. Didn't matter; the taste of onion rings and bacon woven together was awesome. Besides, from personal experience, I've long since learned that all food twists and breaks up more as you eat it (ha, ha).

Finally, for all you nay-sayers who think this all too unhealthy, the way I figure it, I was only being half-bad. I did, after all, serve it with poached eggs on lightly buttered Canadian rye bread. Self justification is a wonderful thing.

πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹
"Bacon is just another word for meat candy"

Friday, 23 February 2018

Comfort Food Extraordinaire: The Meatloaf

"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort." (Norman Kolpas)


My latest foodie experiment focused on comfort food, or at least what I think is comfort food: the meatloaf. However, if you have followed any of my past foodie experiments on this blog, you will likely have noticed that "ordinary" is far from my vocabulary when it comes to my culinary creations.

Like all good meatloaf, I started with a bunch of lean hamburger. To this I added some familiar meatloaf ingredients, and some not so familiar. Eggs, oatmeal, chopped onions, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, a little salt, chopped mushrooms, and … chopped jalapeΓ±o peppers. JalapeΓ±os are simply one of natures more wonderful foods. It really is a shame that they don't find their way into more foods.




After mixing the ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, it was set aside while I made the stuffing. Yes, you heard that right, my meatloaf was going to be stuffed. "With what?" you ask. I'm glad you asked. I happen to make an awesome mashed potatoes, and since we're talking comfort food, and since my comfort food includes mashed potatoes, it only seemed logical to combine the two.

My mashed potatoes start with washed red potatoes, cut, but not peeled. I prefer the skins on, as that's where much of the nutrients lie. Once boiled, they are mashed with butter, milk and … a tub of Philadelphia jalapeΓ±o cream cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?

Now it's time to begin the finicky process of building the masterpiece.



My meat mixture was rolled out using a rolling pin. Mashed potatoes were added to one half, and then the other half of the meat was gently rolled over the potatoes and the edges crimped. If I would have stopped here, the foodie experiment would already have been a success.

But, like I often desire to do when cooking, I needed to go the extra mile. How about some bacon? Bacon; the other perfect food! Oh yeah!



I created four bacon weaves on a sheet of wax paper, one for each meatloaf. The stuffed meatloaf was then laid into one end of the bacon weave, and gently rolled in the bacon weave, tucking the end pieces of bacon into the roll, and thus making a perfect bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

Finally it was time to cook the masterpieces. But here too, an oven was just too ordinary for my purposes. I decided to put them into the old Bradley Smoker and cook them over apple wood. Is your mouth watering yet?



A temperature probe was inserted into the meat and it was left alone for several hours. Had I not been trying to do this in the midst of a southern Alberta snow storm, it likely would have cooked a little quicker. But being a true Canadian, a little winter doesn't scare me away from outdoor cooking.

Admit it, they're pretty, aren't they? πŸ˜‹



"Patience is a virtue," someone once said. Our patience once again paid off with an amazing dinner. A lot or work? Yes, but for me being a foodie is much more an enjoyable hobby than a chore.

Look at those beautiful meatloafs . As an aside, when I showed this picture to a friend recently, he thought it looked like one of the "Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles." LOL. I guess it does.



After making a few freezer packs there was still a few left overs the next morning. Hmm. Suddenly another foodie idea came to mind for breakfast. Baked eggs and smoked jalapeΓ±o meatloaf? Why not? One never knows unless they try.

Four eggs were whisked and poured into two small glass oven-safe dishes that had been pre-sprayed with cooking spray. The left over meatloaf, including its potato stuffing and bacon wrap, was finely chopped and dunked and fully submersed into the eggs. This concoction was baked in a 300-degree oven until the eggs were fully cooked.

Ah, breakfast will never be the same; nor will dinner the night before.

The life of a Foodie. 😊


Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Stool for Better Stools?

Do you suck at pooping?

Well my wife and I learned something when we visited Walmart this morning. It appears that we've been using the toilet the wrong way.

Who knew?!

πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

Ever since I was a potty-trained youngster, I always thought that pooping was simply a case of finding the nearest toilet, dropping your shorts, and letting it rip. Add a good bathroom reader and some decent toilet paper, preferably a brand that doesn't easily allow your fingers to poke through causing one to self-administer his own prostate exam, and you're good to go. Add a few good farts for good measure, and it's even better. None of it seemed like rocket science.

Who knew that there was more to it than that?!

Apparently the position of your feet  also has a role in creating better poops. We've since learned that the correct way to use a toilet is to have your feet elevated and thus creating more of a natural squat. The answer to all our pooping problems is the Squatty Potty; a stool for better stools. So now you know. You're welcome.

πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

But all joking aside, and as hilarious as all this sounds, maybe there's something to this. Maybe a little more research into helping out the health of the old sphincter is warranted. Maybe a return trip to Walmart to get my own Squatty Potty is justified so that I too can learn to poop right. The old adage of "old dogs and new tricks" comes to mind. Hmm ...

Monday, 12 February 2018

JalapeΓ±o Pork Stuffing to Die For

I love being a Foodie! It's quite possibly one of the best parts of my weekend; whether it's cooking on the charcoal grill, in the old Bradly smoker, or simply inside on stove top or oven. I find foodie creations an excellent stress-relief valve and a pleasure to do. I simply do not view cooking as a chore; rather it's a blessing in which for a short while, I can lose myself in culinary experiments that give me much joy. Some turn out; others not so much. But it doesn't matter because I'm enjoying what I'm doing, I'm learning, and most important, I get much satisfaction from it.

A couple days ago I took my culinary passion in a new direction, in that I experimented with a stuffing mix for a pork loin. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but such is the nature of the Foodie; forget the recipes, and play with your ideas. Once again, I would not be disappointed.

The experiment began with a pork loin roast of about three pounds in weight. It was seasoned on all sides with Keg brand chicken and rib seasoning. The loin was cut through the long side to a depth of about 2/3. The inside was then seasoned as well.

Next it was time to make the soon-to-be-famous, "Will's Stuffing."

For this concoction I took one large jalapeΓ±o pepper, finely chopped, seeds and all. About 1/4 of a medium onion was also finely chopped and added to the same bowl. Next came approximately 3 heaping tablespoons of Philadelphia brand jalapeΓ±o cream cheese, followed by approximately a 1/4 cup of Cracker Barrel Habanero Monterey Jack shredded cheese. Finally, a liberal sprinkling of about an 1/8 of a cup of processed bacon bits. These were all blended together into a paste using a hand blender.

Next on the docket it was time to spread the paste generously into the opening of the pork loin. The loin was then tied together with string.

Apple juice was then injected into the pork loin in several spots. Oh, I could almost taste it now!

Finally, the loin found its way into a roasting pan with some chicken broth to help maintain the moisture. It was covered in foil and placed into an oven preheated to about 300F. The original plan for this pork loin was to cook it outside on the charcoal grill, but high winds and an uncomfortably cold snowy winter day, forced a chickening out on my part, and a resignation to inside cooking.

Still, when all was said and done, Mama raved about the dinner her favourite husband created, so all was good. Some might no doubt think the stuffing too spicy, but the apple juice injections seemed to offset that rather nicely, without completely removing that much-loved spicy flavour. Also, when topped with some of my wife's awesome homemade applesauce, well, the word "ecstasy" just got redefined.

In the words of Virginia Woolf,

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

Well there you have it, my fellow foodies; dine well.

We will definitely be trying this one again. Happy eating.

Cheers.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Single Awareness Day

"If love is blind,
why is lingerie so popular?"
(anonymous)

😍😍😍

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day? A nice romantic dinner out? A box of chocolates? A mushy card? A quite evening at home with that someone special and perhaps a bottle of wine? That's all great for couples.

But what about singles? Recognizing that some singles choose that lifestyle and would rather not be in a relationship, I cannot help but think that they get the short end of the stick on Valentine's Day. I mean, what do they care about a day to commemorate romance and sweethearts?

In honor of my single friends, whether they are that way by choice or not, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce another holiday: Single Awareness Day.

So as not to take away from Valentine's Day, perhaps Single Awareness Day could be celebrated the day before or the day after Valentine's Day. In this way, mid-February celebrates both; the singles and the couples. The way I see it, celebrating the one and not the other is discriminatory. Nobody wants to be discriminated against, not to mention that fact that in most places it is actually illegal to do so. If nothing else, recognizing Single Awareness Day is simply a sign of political correctness.

How would we celebrate Single Awareness Day? Well, being the humorist that I am, in my way of thinking it should be with humour (much like this post). I am going to kick off this year's February Valentine's / Single Awareness days with little "love" notes left on people's car windshields. No name; no phone number; just a simple little note that says: "Call me! I'm pregnant!"

Now doesn't that sound like fun? I can just see the look on some people's faces now!

Happy Single Awareness Day. 😏😏😏

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Four Important Barbecuing Lessons

I learned some very important lessons while trying to barbecue some ribs the other day that I thought I should share here on TOSoW.

They are:

1. Be Prepared. It's really important to have all your ingredients together before you start cooking. Check your pantry and refrigerator, make your shopping list, and visit your favourite grocer before firing up your grill. There's nothing as bad (and embarrassing) as being ready for the final basting of your foodie creation, only to find out that you're out of your favourite barbecue sauce. Your guests will never let you live that one down.

2. Read the Ingredients. It's really important to take the time to read the ingredients on the label before simply grabbing the package and hurrying to the checkout. I know, you need to hurry; the ribs are probably drying out by now anyways. However, just because the package has a picture of succulent juicy-looking ribs, and just because it even says "BBQ Rib Flavored" on the package, doesn't necessarily mean that you're about to buy what you think you're buying.

3. Shop Sober. This point is directly related to point number two above. If you've already had a few beers at the grill-side, and who doesn't enjoy a a couple cold ones at the BBQ, you're much more likely to make an error while shopping too. Besides, unless you're walking to the store, you probably shouldn't be behind the wheel in that condition anyways.

4. Don't Have the Wrong Kind of Party. If you still managed to mess up on points 1-3 above, cheer up; on the bright side you may still find yourself prepared for a party. Unfortunately, it's probably the wrong kind of party, in that it's likely not really the kind of BBQ rib flavour your guests had in mind when they accepted your invitation. But then again, I could be wrong.

Well there you have it, my fellow barbecue enthusiasts; my Four Important Barbecuing Lessons. Be prepared, read the ingredients, shop sober, and don't end up having the wrong kind of party. Your guests will probably thank you for it, and you won't have to face the embarrassment of their ridicule and joking for years to come.

Your welcome 😏😏😏
_______________

But Seriously: While it made for great blog fodder, is that picture for real? LOL. Hmm πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 9

One year after his birth, my grandson continues to teach me lesson after lesson. Why does this still surprise me? Hmm, I wonder.

First, time flies! Old cliche perhaps, but recently a mantra that has been refreshed in this old man's baby-mushed mindset. How could it be that this little boy, who was only born yesterday (?), has already celebrated his first birthday? Really? If I wasn't personally there to witness it, I never would have believed it! I have a one-year old grandson? It would seem that we have just graduated from infant to toddler. How did that happen?

Secondly, while the party was fun, chasing the balloons with Opa was more fun than the cake. Having said that, discovering the marshmallows on Opa's cheesecake, was pretty awesome too. Sorry, Mom, but they were pretty good. Ahh, sugar! Balloons are pretty neat too. My grandson and his Opa spent a significant amount of the birthday party punting those balloons around the party room's floor. So much fun! Unfortunately, I suspect that, based upon what I've seen in friend's posts recently, it may be not too far down the road, before expensive electronic games become the "fun" of the day. Sigh; the very thought makes today's lessons that much sweeter. Innocent old-fashioned fun! How wonderful is that?!

Thirdly, my grandson appears to think that girls can be pretty awesome too. Is it too early for a one-year old to have a girlfriend? LOL. At least one young lady at the party thought that he was pretty hot. As she and her sibling and Mom were about to leave, this little girl came over to my grandson and gave him a big hug. How sweet! There's something about an older woman, my boy; we'll continue this discussion at a later date. For the record, your Nana is older than your Opa too. LOL.

Fourth, my grandson and his Opa's fur-baby seemed to hit it off pretty good. There really is something about a young boy and a dog that is hard to explain. Fur baby and my grandson seemed to be quite interested in each other. The look on my grandson's face, immortalized on digital film, of my fur-baby sticking her nose in my grandson's ear, will never be forgotten. And when he crawled across the floor, only to be followed by fur-baby, not in an act of aggression, but rather in an act of motherly-protectivness, well, that sealed their communal understanding of each other. Grandson, One; Fur-Baby, One. Yes, the lesson my grandson taught me is, surrigate mom's sometimes wear fur. Heaven help the person who ever tries to harm my grandson, at least while my fur-baby is within strike zone. Generally, fur-baby is not much of a people person, like me, but she has seemed to have developed a bond and understanding with my grandson. For that, I am grateful.

I cannot wait to see what lessons he will teach me next. Peace.
__________

Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 8
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 7
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 6
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 5
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 4
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 3
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 2
Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 1

Thursday, 1 February 2018

of Politics and First Ladies

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."
- Groucho Marx

😜😜😜

For the most part, I'm not that much into politics. The old mantra that suggests we should always do our patriotic duty and vote, even if it means voting for the lessor of the evils, has never sat well with me. The way I see it, such an approach really means that, no matter which way you slice it, you're still voting for evil. I am convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that, ultimately all politicians, must have some measure of shyster blood in them. In my way of thinking, there is really no other explanation for the circus performances we are forced into witnessing day after day from our duly elected leaders, regardless who or which party is in power.

But I would like to further weigh into the political arena with a suggestion.

What if we voted, not so much in favor of the actual candidates, but based our votes upon the potential first ladies that they'd bring with them if elected? Wouldn't that throw an interesting spin  on the election process! Call me a sexist prude if you must, but it seems pretty clear that in the last US election, based upon that criteria, the right candidate won. But then again … Hmm. Could you imagine Bill as the First Lady?

And now that I've planted that image in your head, have a nice day.

😜😜😜
____________________

Post Script:
All jesting aside, however, I think old Bill would have made a more interesting First Lady.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Leftovers: Waste Not, Want Not

Leftovers don't have to be boring. All you need is a little creativity, a bit of a foodie gene within your bones, and you're good to go.

Today while my wife was out I had the opportunity to surprise her with another foodie creation, but this one was made up almost entirely of refrigerator leftovers. It was a huge hit, as proved by how much we both ate; clearly more than we probably should have. Yum.


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So here's how it all began. Into a fry pan I dumped my leftovers: rice, peas, steak (cut into small cubes), raw onion and yellow pepper. To this I added a couple jalapeΓ±o peppers, some HP Bold Steak Sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, and a little salt.

I stirred this over medium heat until everything was well blended and heated through. As always, I used up several spoons along the way sampling the concoction.





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I remember thinking that this by itself would have already made a decent casserole. But that was not to be this time; I had other plans.




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Frozen puff pastry dough was thawed and cut into rough triangles. I confess that I cheated here and did not make my own pastry from scratch. Forgive me; next time I'll make that from scratch instead of buying the processed version.





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The steak and rice concoction was scooped out in small portions onto the pastry dough. These were then rolled up and placed onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I next brushed a little melted butter onto each of the rolls, before putting them into a 375F oven.

Well there you have it. Not sure what to call them yet, but they are a take off from another family South American favourite: Bolivian SalteΓ±as.

So here's to all those wonderful leftovers. It might just be that, the second time around, they're even more interesting than the original dish.

"It's not leftovers that are wasteful, but those who either don't know what to do with them or can't be bothered." - Julian Baggini