Sunday, 31 December 2017

Cheese Buns Remake

My dear wife made some amazing homemade buns for part of our Christmas dinner this year. They were enjoyed by all (my wife has the best buns; take that any way you want -LOL) 😉. However, as is often the case with special holiday meals, there are usually lots of leftovers from which to attempt a little creativity. Those awesome buns were no exception.

And that's where my foodie-ness spirit came in. How about some cheese buns, I thought, with which to watch the football game (my condolences for your loss to Seattle, Dallas 😉 - sorry, couldn't resist). But these must not just be the usual ho-hum type of cheese buns; these needed to be stepped up a notch. We wouldn't be disappointed.

The buns were sliced in half and dipped in a little melted butter (butter, NOT margarine). Then were added some thinly sliced raw onion, and some thinly sliced Armstrong Old Cheddar (my favourite). Next came some slices of pre-cooked bacon, but not overcooked so as to dry it out. Finally, after a nice slice of fresh tomato, it was time for a generous sprinkling of Cracker Barrel Habanero Monterey Jack grated cheese. After spending enough time in the oven to melt the cheeses and slightly toast the buns, it was time to enjoy the game with some awesome munchies.

Well there you have it, my fellow foodies; cheese buns will never be the same again.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 7

Well yet another Christmas has officially past. This one, however, was marked with three new "firsts." It was the first Christmas that my son was unable to make the trip home with his lovely wife due to work restraints. Thankfully we had the opportunity to celebrate with them three weeks earlier in their home. Secondly, it was the first Christmas in perhaps a dozen years or more that my wife and I decided to put up a Christmas tree. Though there have always been some simple decorations, conspicuously absent in recent years has been the Christmas tree. Thirdly, it was the first Christmas that we got to share with a precious little man; our grandson's first Christmas.

The third "first" explains our decision on the second "first."

The Christmas Eve that we got together saw opportunity for my grandson to once again teach me a few new things; important things, amazing things, awe-inspiring things.

I learned that a Christmas tree can be a beautiful thing. I guess, though we haven't had one in a long time, I always knew that. However, it took an almost eleven month old little boy, sitting on the floor looking up at a massive seven and a half foot tall Christmas tree, with its 600 blinking LED lights and its many beautiful decorations, to make me sit down with him, stare at the tree, and for at least a few moments, be equally in awe. Just the look on his face alone made the whole day almost magical. I guess it took my grandson's first Christmas to teach me that.

I learned that the time that followed that initial Christmas tree discovery was equally precious. Though we've always prioritized family time at Christmas, this year was different with a little man crawling around the floor, walking around furniture, and playing with toys. My grandson taught me that apparently its perfectly alright to throw a ball in the house. He's already got a throwing arm that makes me think that his Nana and I may very well be spending some time at the ball diamonds before long. Wow!

I learned that my little grandson, at less than eleven months of age, has already figured out what to do with toy vehicles, as he was busy driving (yes, on its wheels) a little red fire truck across the floor. Balls were for throwing; trucks were for driving. Smart kid; how did he learn that already?!

I learned that fear is not something that he has yet learned, and that one has to always be on the proverbial ball with him. I turned my back for a fraction of a moment, only to find out that he had crawled over to my favourite chair, stepped on a toy, and pulled himself up face-first into the seat of the chair to retrieve his little yellow ball. Good thing his Mom and Nana were close at hand.

I learned that walking appears to be just around the corner, as he's constantly pulling himself up on furniture and walking around it by holding on with one hand, all the while either grasping a toy in the other, or taking a brave step away from the furniture to something else that has caught his attention. Having said that, I'm starting to wonder if he'll spend much time actually walking at all; he'll probably go straight to running.

I learned that, despite my objections that he's certainly still much too young for such adventures, he himself obviously thinks differently. I've come to understand the old adage that says, "They grow up much too quickly."

I learned that with this little man in our lives, his Nana and I will likely not need to visit a gym again for a very long time; chasing him will give us all the exercise we need, and we're perfectly okay with that. We thank God every day for this precious little bundle of (active) joy that He has blessed us and his parents with.

Yes, Christmas 2017 was filled with "firsts" that I won't soon forget.

You may also want to see: Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 6

Friday, 22 December 2017

Good Food: Nothing is More Blissful

I confess that I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy. My ideal dinner will contain both, at least if I get my way it will. Being somewhat of a hobby cook, you've got to believe that I also like experimenting  with different culinary creations, and I usually do so without recipes.

Today's foodie experiment saw a slight twist on another recent steak experiment that I called Not Your Mama's Steak Sandwich.

"Let food be thy medicine
and medicine be thy food." (attributed to Hippocrates)

Today's "medicine" started once again with sandwich steak meat, rubbed with some Weber Chicago Steak Seasoning. I then boiled some red potatoes, skin on, and mashed them with some jalapeño cream cheese, some chopped raw onions, and a little milk. Next I spread the mashed potatoes directly on top of the seasoned sandwich steak.

Then it was time to loosely roll the meat up, not too tight, lest the mashed potatoes get squeezed out. As with the previous experiment that I linked to above, the rolls were held together with toothpicks.

Would you look at that? That's almost exotic! I'm afraid I'd make a lousy vegetarian; I simply cannot imagine not having meat in my diet!

"Vegetarian, an old word that some say originally meant Poor Hunter." (LOL. Probably not)

Anyways, I've digressed; back to the foodie experiment.

Next it was time to brown the rolled steak in my trusty cast iron fry pan that had been preheated with some Canola oil. The meat was repeatedly turned until the outer edges were nicely browned (and until the dog went crazy with the smells and started salivating on the kitchen floor).

Finally the rolls were transferred into a glass casserole dish. To keep it moist and to create a bit of a side dish, some canned chipotle BBQ beans were added. A little foil covering, and into the oven to finish cooking the meat, as well as heat up the beans.

Well there you have it. Another foodie experiment turns out to be a success.

"Eating good food is my favourite thing in the whole world.
Nothing is more blissful." (Justine Larbalestier)

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Frozen Dead Guy Days

One of the stranger things I've seen lately is this picture. A little Google research taught me that apparently it hails from a rather quirky festival in the town of Nederland, Colorado, called "Frozen Dead Guy Days."

It is a three-day festival of live bands, coffin racing, frozen t-shirt contests and polar plunges into icy water, and more.

As the story goes, there was a Norwegian man by the name of Bredo Morstol who had passed away and whose family had him cryogenically frozen in the hopes that one day, science would advance to the point where he could be resuscitated and restored to life. Bredo's frozen body lies chained and entombed in a garden shed on dry ice. Apparently that is legal in Colorado.

Frozen Dead Guy Days will celebrate its 17th anniversary in 2018. So if you're looking for something a little different, if not outright bizarre, then circle March 9, 10, 11, 2018 on your calendar and head over to Nederland, Colorado.

Well there you have it; celebrate life and death at Frozen Dead Guy Days.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Not Your Mama's Steak Sandwich

My dear wife took out a package of sandwich steak meat out of the freezer yesterday, thinking some form of steak sandwich might form the basis of our supper that night.

As is often the case, when dinner is left up to me to create, you had better step aside; this hobby cook is anything but predictable.

Here's how this particular steak creation happened:

Like all good steaks, I began with a generous sprinkling of steak seasoning as a rub. In this case I used Weber's Chicago Steak Seasoning. To this I added Heinz's yellow mustard with jalapeno.

I could almost taste it already!
Then the creativity continued with the addition of some left over chili I had in the fridge. "Waste not, want not," says the old proverb, and so a little fridge cleaning seemed appropriate. Besides, it looked like a combination that could work.

Next a half garlic pickle on each steak seemed like an interesting touch that could also work. At this point I was reminded of an similar German recipe Mom used to make called Rouladen to which she also added pickles. Oh, how I loved that dish with its dumplings and red cabbage! To this day it's one of my favourites, but I've digressed.

These steaks were then rolled and held together with a couple toothpicks. Mom used to use sewing thread to tie hers up, which is something that I too thought of doing before settling on the toothpicks. I guess it doesn't really matter, so long as they're held together through the cooking process. I imagined the toothpicks a little easier to remove later than the sewing thread.

Then it was time for some serious quick cooking in my favourite cast iron fry pan, which had been preheated with some Canola Oil. They were then regularly turned to create a nicely browned surface on all sides.

Once browned on all sides, the steaks were transferred from the cast iron pan into an oven-friendly casserole dish to continue their cooking process.

But first, one more step ...

I then took a can of Heinz Chipotle BBQ Style Beans, added one medium sized chopped onion, some cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder, and mixed it all together. I poured this concoction on top of my rolled sandwich steak.

This was then put into the oven, covered in foil, for about three-quarters of an hour to finish the cooking process on the beef, and to allow the beans to heat up. In retrospect I thought that I maybe should also have wrapped the rolled steaks in bacon, but at the time, I forgot. Oh well, when you're shooting from the hip and working without a recipe, that's a risk one takes. Besides, there's always next time.

Well there you have it, fellow foodies. I enjoyed it, and perhaps more importantly, I wowed my wife with this creation. So at the end of the day, I guess that's all that matters. As someone once said, "Happy wife, happy life." 😍

One caveat, however: I wouldn't recommend eating the toothpicks; they didn't brown very well and they were a little chewy (ha, ha).

Until next time, my foodie groupies, happy eating. Peace.

* For another similar foodie creation, see Good Food: Nothing is More Blissful

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Men's Fashion Faux Pas?

A quick errand to a local store recently left me scratching my head. Did I really just see that? What was that? And this wasn't even a Walmart!

What ever happened to men's fashion?

Now I admit that I'm not the classiest dresser in the world; I like bluejeans and plaid shirts,  but I've also dressed it up a notch with dress slacks, shirt and tie. And while I will lounge around the house in pyjama pants and a t-shirt, I don't believe in going out in public dressed like that. Maybe I'm just somewhat old fashioned, but again, did I really just see that? What was that? As someone once said, "It's a strange new world." For me, that mantra was yet again confirmed today.

Now if you really want to be confused even more, Google "Men's Spring Fashions 2018." If I didn't know better, I'd think they are modeling halloween costumes. Men in skirts appears to be a common new theme. Huh? What am I missing here?

Call me a prude, but what ever happened to the Cary Grant's of yesteryear? Now there was a man who knew how to dress like a man and not a clown. Please understand that I am not suggesting that men need to dress like they did in the golden age of film, but in my humble opinion (and last I checked, we're still all entitled to those) even jeans and t-shirts would be more acceptable than what seems to be paraded on the so-called fashion runways of today.

Lord help us!