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.

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"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 jalapeรฑo peppers. Jalapeรฑos 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 jalapeรฑo 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? ๐Ÿ˜‹



"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 jalapeรฑo 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. ๐Ÿ˜Š


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?!

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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.

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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

Jalapeรฑo 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 jalapeรฑo 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 jalapeรฑo 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)

๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

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. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

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 ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
_______________

But Seriously: While it made for great blog fodder, is that picture for real? LOL. Hmm ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

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

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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.

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____________________

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