Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 26 October 2008

Here is a Emeril recipe from the Food Network Web site. I would cut everything in half.

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice

Prep Time:
30 min
Inactive Prep Time:
0 min
Cook Time:
3 hr 30 min


6 to 7 cups, 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces
4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
1 tablespoon Essence or Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
9 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon file powder
White Rice, recipe follows
Hot sauce

In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Season the chicken with the Essence and add in batches to the fat remaining in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flour in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.

Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Stirring, slowly add the chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Add the reserved chicken to the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.

Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken thighs from the gumbo and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred, discarding the bones and skin. Return the meat to the gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and file powder.

Spoon rice into the bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle the gumbo on top. Serve, passing hot sauce on the side.

I love the fall and fall cooking. It is a time of year when on a chilly fall Sunday afternoon, football games are on in the background, Lions getting their ass kicked, you can put the dutch oven on the stove and let it brew up a Sunday Dinner all afternoon. This week is a good example of a meal for that chilly day. What is it? Let's take a look.


Now do you know what it is? It's GUMMMMMMMBOOOOOOO time. I love my gumbo there are so many different ways to cook it. You can put ham in it, turkey in it, chicken, shrimp, crab, sausage, okra, or just about anything else you can think of. For this week I chose chicken, shrimp and sausage. Just take a look at this weeks cast of characters.


Once again can you tell what ingredients I forgot? Well if you can stayed tuned long enough the answers are down below.

Gumbos are pretty simple to make, really. The hardest part is making the roux and if you follow Alton Brown's way even roux is pretty simple. The traditional way of making roux is to use equal parts oil and flour and stir with a wooden spoon over medium low heat for an eternity. As Emeril says it takes two beers. In other words as long as it takes the average person to drink two beers is how long you need to stand by the stove and stir. There is a better or simpler way however. There might be some gumbo purest out there who will disagree but for me this is a no fail way to make roux. There is nothing more annoying than to stir roux for 20 minutes or more and end up burning it in the end. But no fear there is the Alton Brown method of making roux. First preheat the oven to 350 degrees. stir up equal parts of oil and flour, stick it in the oven for 1-1/2 hours and give it a stir every 20 minutes or so. In 1-1/2 hours this is what it will look like.


Almost perfect everytime.

Once the roux is made put it back on the stove over medium low heat or so and add the chopped up veggies.


I'll admit once again I don't remember if this is a trinity or maripoix. Does it really matter? Nope.

Cook those veggies for a few minutes and dump in the meat. In this case boneless skinless chicken thighs and andouille sausage. I should mention that I browned the chicken thighs and sausage in the dutch oven before I cooked the roux. Mix everything together, add the seasonings, in this case bay leaves and fresh thyme.

Now it is time to add some stock. My choice is shrimp stock. You can use chicken broth you buy from the store or make your own but since I had a bag full of shrimp shells saved in the freezer I decided to use shrimp stock. Shrimp stock is easy to make just dump the shells in some water and let simmer for a hour to a hour and a half.

Don't forget when you are about a 1/2 hour from the end to make some rice.


Ahhh good eye if you said there is one of the forgotten indgrediants.

Let all this goodness simmer on the stove for an hour and a half or so and then add the shrimp.


Don't forget don't let that shrimp cook to long or you will over cook it. Once the shrimp is cooked here is what it will look like.


Now it's time to add this stuff.


Oh another good eye if you said this ingrediant is missing from the above photo too. Do you know what File' Powder is though? I will let everyone guess or google it and leave your answer in the comment section.

Right now it is time to take a look at the finished product though.


Mmmmmm good. I will rate it a 4.75 out of 5 forks. I made better gumbo the last time I made it so I can't rate this one as high.

If you have never made gumbo don't be afraid to try. Follow the instructions above for making roux and after that it is as easy as making microwave popcorn.

This is totally unrelated to my Sunday Dinner post but I received this today and thought it was one of the funniest things I have seen this campaign season.

Since I can't figure out how to make a link work from my post you will have to cut and paste the link into your browser by yourself. I think the funniest part is Bill Clinton.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Hey Vern Round Up the Cows We're..........

I decided to take a trip yesterday after the Michigan Michigan State game to East Lansing to see how much of the city the students would burn after MSU defeated Michigan in football. I like a good bon fire as much as the next guy so I didn't want to miss this opportunity.

When I got to East Lansing there were these two guys standing outside Spartan Stadium having a conversation. One was named Earl. Earl was about 55 years old, 5'6" tall and weighed 280 pounds. His face looked like an old piece of leather that has been left outside way to long. He wore and old insulated flannel shirt with the elbows worn out. Because of his stature the flannel shirt hung out over his beer gut and kept his feet shaded quite nicely. In that true Michigan fall fashion Earl wore an orange hunting cap. Earl also chewed tobacco as evidenced by the dried tobacco juice running down the corners of his mouth.

The other named Vern was 35 years old and 6'2" tall and weighed about 160 pounds. To say he looked like a telephone pole would be and understatement. His nickname was slim. Anyway Vern wore old Carhart bibs with the pant cuffs all but worn out due to them dragging on the ground for years. Underneath the bibs he had a old MSU hooded sweatshirt on with tattered sleeves. The hat he wore was one of those with silk screen printing,vinyl mesh back, looked like it had been soaked in used motor oil, left outside for a couple of years then washed in his mothers washing machine.The printing on the hat said "A BAD DAY FISHING IS BETTER THAN A GOOD DAY AT WORK." Vern had a stubble of straw sticking out of his mouth and held a Bud Light in his left hand.

Both are alumni of Michigan State in fact Earl is head of the Alumni Association.

This is part of an actual conversation that took place outside of Spartan Stadium on the campus of Michigan State between these two MSU alumni.

Earl: "Hey Vern round up the cows were takin' em home."

Vern: "What did ya say?" You see Vern was to busy watching the Coeds walking past on the opposite sidewalk to really care what Earl was saying to him.

Earl: "I said 'Git your head out of your ass and round up the god damn cows we're takin' em home!'"

Vern: "We're takin' em home? Why for?"

Earl: "Word comin' from the east of here that Sparty just beat those arrogant asses of Michigan and they'll need the football field after all."

Vern: "We're takin" em home? Oh darn it I was hoping we could leave em here to fatten up for the winter."

Earl: "If State would've lost to those arrogant asses then we could've of left the cows here to graze because State wouldn't need the football field anymore. They were gonna shut the program down."

Vern: "Why were they gonna shut down the program?"

Earl: "Well Michigan is so bad this year that everybody beats them like a dirty rug. If Sparty were to lose to them it would've been such an embarrassment the school was going to shut down the football program and let our cows graze on the lush grass of the football field."

Vern: "What's happened to those arrogant asses to the east? They always beat us like a rented mule."

Earl: "Not really sure but I heard they have a new coach and a new offense they are trying to learn, something called the dinner spread or something like that."

Vern: "What happened in the game?"

Earl: "Not really sure but I heard that Ringer guy had a big day. Also heard something about AA's defense giving up a lot of big plays."

Vern: "I thought AA's defense was suppose to be good this year?"

Earl: "Not really sure but I heard that Ringer guy had a 60 yard gain for a touchdown just before the end of the first half and one of AA's safteys took a bad angle and gave up a long pass play for a touchdown to start the game."

Vern: "Well regardless it a great victory for Sparty today."

Earl: "Yep, but it reminds me of that Japanese captain that said 'I'm afraid all we did today was awaken a sleeping giant' after they bombed Pearl Harbor." Earl is staring blankly to the east.

Vern: "You think we will back here next year?"

Earl: "Yep."

Vern: "Do we have to clean up all this cow shit?"

Earl: "Nope, I don't think anyone will notice."

Vern: "Can we go to the bon fire tonight?"

Earl: "Not really sure we have a lot of chores to get done tonight."

Time to talk Notre Dame football. Okay let's not turns out they had another bye week this week.

Michigan Tech didn't fare so well this week either. They lost to Saginaw Valley 40-23 yesterday at SVSU. If you want to read the article here is the link.

Here is this weeks top 5.

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Texas Tech
5. Southern Cal

I still am not including Penn State in my top 5 because when I look at the teams in my top 5 and ask myself 'Can Penn State beat any of these teams?' I answer myself 'No!' I also dropped USC to No. 5 because of their less than impressive victory over Arizona. I think I may have them over rated.

My Heisman is as follows:

1. Colt McCoy - Texas
2. Tim Tebow - Florida
3. Gramham Harrel - Texas Tech

I think the Heisman race has come down to three finalist with Colt McCoy having a huge lead on the other two right now. Next Saturday will be interesting because Texas and Texas Tech play each other.

Vern and Earl Update:

Vern: "Hey Earl wake up I think we're lost."

Earl: "Cough, cough" Earl spits tobacco juice all over the cab of his 1978 Chevy truck. The truck is a beautiful two tone color of brown and white with most of the brown on the lower half of the truck being that lovely Michigan rust. When you look in the bed of the truck the first thing you notice is the fenders have rusted away years ago. As Earl likes to say "Now I can see how many cords are showing on the tires from inside the truck."

Earl: "What the ....., where are we? I was dreaming I was at a Motel 8 sitting around the pool watching all the babes. You better have a good reason for waking me up."

Vern: "I told you I think we are lost."

Earl: "You were suppose to turn left at US 127."

Vern: "I never saw US 127 so I kept drivin'."

Earl: "Awww jesus chr......were's the map."

Vern: "We don't got no map you always say you can find your way out of anywhere."

Earl: "You dumb ass .....look right there it says 'Ford Field.'"

Vern: "I don't know where Ford Field is but maybe we can ask one of these nice people coming out of the place for directions."

Earl: "Well I'll be a monkeys uncle you finally have a good idea for once in your miserable life."

Vern: "Let's ask this guy with a Michigan hat on carrying the sign that says 'Fire the Entire Lion Organization and Start Over NOW!!!'"

Earl: "Hey mister can you tell us how to get to US127?"

Mich Man: "Screw you, first my football team gets beat yesterday by Moo U and now today I had to endure another loss by the Lions. Go find your own way out of here. I'll bet you guys are Michigan State fans too."

Vern: "Yep" with his chest puffed out looking all proud "I was the valedictorian of my class too."

Mich Man: "That figures now I know I'm not helping you." The Mich Man jumps into his new 2008 Hummer SUV, fires up the motor and slams the transmission into drive and squeals the tires all the way out of the parking lot and heads west.

Vern: "Jeez Earl what was his problem?"

Earl: "I don't know but what a moron. Hey let's ask this guy over here with the CMU hat on and wearing the Washington Redskins sweat shirt. Hey buddy little help over here, can you tell us where we are at?"

Redskins Fan: "Sure you are in Detroit at Ford Field where the Detroit Lions play."

Vern: "Detroit Lions? Aren't they a football team?"

RF: "Well yeah, at least they pretend to be. They haven't won a game all year."

Earl: "Sounds like that team in Ann Arbor."

RF: "Haha boy how the mighty have fallen, it kind of reminds of Notre Dame a couple of years ago."

Vern: "Hey I think we beat that Notre Dame team a few weeks ago. Boy I gotta tell you they weren't very nice to our cows when they came out of the stadium. They were tellin' us if they were an agricultrual school they would engineer some type of cow that could produce twice as much milk as ours."

Earl: "We're not sure where the city of Notre Dame is but we don't ever plan on visiting it."

RF is thinking: 'Boy what a couple of dummies not wonder they are lost.' "Hey what do you have in the trailer?"

Earl: "Cows, we were going to unload them at Spartan Stadium yesterday if the football team lost because someone said they wouldn't need the field for the rest of the century if they lost the game against those arrogant asses to the east."

RF: "Well I will tell you what boys right here is a football field and it appears nobody is using it. Why don't you unload your cows here and let them graze."

Vern: "Why that is mighty nice of you mister, what do you think Earl?"

Earl: "That's a hell've of an idea, I think we will do it."

Vern: "Look Earl it even has a roof over to protect our cows for the winter."

Earl: "Oh yeah another bonus. I'll tell you what Vern why don't you back up to that door and we'll unload 'em."

Vern: "I'm all over it Earl guide me in."

Earl: "Okay stop that's good, open the doors and let 'em go!"

Vern: "Look at 'em go, they're gonna love this."


To be continued....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are You Ready for Some More Football?

Yep hard to believe but it is the end of the week again so that means it must be time for some more silly football game predictions. We have a full slate this week so let's get on with it.

I think I will start with the Detroit Lions they are playing the politically incorrect Washington Redskins this weekend. Normally this would be an easy pick to make because the Lions usually give up 21 points before they decide to put on the pads and play football. The Redskins have only lost twice this year while the Lions have yet to win a game. The Lions are starting a quarterback that has one total start under his belt in the NFL and the Washington Redskins have beaten both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on the road this year. Aw who am I kidding Redskins 38 Lions 6.

Let's talk about the big in state rivalry this weekend. No WMU and CMU played last week the rivalry I am talking about is Michigan State and Michigan. I say rivalry but let's be real here it is only a rivalry for MSU, remember little brother. This really isn't a rivalry for Michigan it just another game. Michigan biggest rivals are Ohio State and at times Notre Dame. These are schools with real football teams and real football traditions. Michigan State is basketball school that tolerates football while waiting for basketball season to start. This will be interesting this year only because I am waiting to see if MSU goes in the tank like they normally do after getting trashed by Ohio State. As bad as Michigan has been this year if MSU doesn't win this game they might as well close down Spartan stadium for the rest of the century and let the cows graze on the grass. This is MSU's best chance and probably their only chance to beat Michigan for the next several years. You see MSU is dominated by seniors and their best player, Ringer, is a senior. The pressure is clearly on MSU to win this game and we all know how MSU does when the pressure is on. I think MSU will get lucky, yes I did say lucky, and somehow beat Michigan this year. Final score will be 23 to 13. Enjoy it little brother it will be your last for awhile.

Notre Dame travels to the wet state of Washington this week to play the Washington Huskies. On paper this seems like a no brainer with Washington being 0-6 on the season and they have been blown out of most of the games they have played but we have a problem people. It seems Ty Willingham, the coach of the Huskies, once coached the Irish until they unceremoniously fired him and brought in some fat guy who knows where every buffet in the state of Indiana is located and replaced him. The only thing wrong with my theory is while Willingham will be fired up and ready his players won't be. You see they probably don't know where Notre Dame is or even care and most of the players probably don't even know Willingham coached at Notre Dame. This revenge game will only be played in Willingham's head. Notre Dame 45 Washington Puppy Dogs 17.

There you have it, my predictions. Bring on the ridicule, your arguments, and your biased opinions and see how you stack up with your predictions this week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out Kiddies

I thought I would show you my dinner for tonight. This was so good I think it will be a future Sunday Dinner Episode. This was a trial run for a meal I was trying to duplicate from a restaurant. I did add a couple of my own twist to it though.


And look no peas.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 19 October 2008

With this post I will officially be caught up on my Sunday Dinner Episodes and get on to bigger and better things like football predictions. I know you all look forward to those.

This may be a record for a Sunday Dinner for how short it will be. I didn't take near as many pictures as I normally do because the Lions were on while I was cooking. Yeah I know, I know, why am I wasting time watching the Lions when I could be doing more constructive things like cleaning toilets or castrating pigs. Well I guess I like to be disappointed on Sundays.

This weeks Sunday Dinner Episode isn't a disappointment at all. This weeks Sunday Dinner is the ultimate in comfort food.


Beef Stew. I love the stuff, I could eat it once a month. The leftovers are even better come Wednesday night.

Let's take a look at this weeks cast of characters.


As usual there are a couple of ingredients missing see if you can guess which ones.

Beef stew is pretty simple to make, start by browning some stew meat.


Once the beef is browned add some wine and scrap all the yum yums off the bottom of the dutch oven. Once that is done add some beef broth and other seasonings and add the beef back in and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil cover and let simmer for an hour or so. I then add the carrots and a half hour later I add the potatoes, pearl onions and mushrooms.


Let it cook for another half hour or so until the potatoes are done and then guess what?


That's right add those nasty peas. And don't forget to take out the bay leaves.

Once the peas are cooked it's time to serve.


There you have it the Ultimate Beef Stew courtesy of Tyler Florance from the Food Network.

Did you notice the big ole onion in the middle of all that goodness? That's the best part about making beef stew, eating the whole onion that has been cooked in the stew. Don't get in my way when there is a whole onion in beef stew you might get hurt.

I'll rate this stew a 4.75 our of 5 forks. I'm not sure what to do to give it a 5 but I'm sure I forgot something or other besides it gives me something to shoot for the next time I make it.

Once again let's take one more look.


The ultimate in comfort food right there my friends.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 5 October 2008

Finally I'm back to full operation again. Not only was my wireless modem bad but my wireless Internet connection to my pc was bad too. Verizon was good enough to replace my modem buy I had to replace the wireless connection. Oh well somebody has to spend money and get this economy going again.

I have a mini backup for my Sunday Dinner Episodes so I think I will do two this week and get caught up. I will be skipping one week because while my computer was on vacation last week I didn't make a Sunday Dinner. If you remember that was the Sunday before I had to take the LEED test so I was busy studying up for the test. I do have, however, an episode from yesterday that I will be posting later this week.

This Sunday Episode meal is a perfect type meal for a cool fall day. It is a old comfort food that should get more attention paid to it. If you are a chicken lover and always looking for different ways to use chicken this may be the one for you. I normally use Rachael Ray's recipe but this time I opted for a different recipe. If could remember where I got it from I would tell you but since it has been a couple of weeks since I cooked it I can't really remember. If somebody really wants it I am sure I can come up with it though.

Without further adieu let me introduce you to this weeks Sunday Episode.

Chicken A la King or something like that. A couple of times a year I get a craving for Chicken A la King and like most cravings I get I can't get it out of my mind until I make it.

Let me introduce this weeks cast of characters for you.

First thing we must do is marinade the chicken in some buttermilk and probably some other indgrediants which escapes my mind at this moment.

Stick the chicken in the ice box for a minimum of 2 hours. Meanwhile we can get started with the preparation of the other characters of this episode.

Start with hacking up some veggies.

Throw them in a good ole cast iron skillet.

And cook until soft.

Add a little bit of flour and stir in and let cook for a couple of more minutes.

Add a little wine, now I know it is suppose to be white wine but all I had was red wine so I used it. You can cut out the wine completely and just use chicken broth too if you want.

And speaking about chicken broth it is time to add it along with a little half and half. Yeah I know it is suppose to be real cream but I think I have told you before I don't really need the cream and milk just doesn't get it so half and half is a good compromise. Most of you out there probably know already but if you don't half and half is half cream and half milk. Now doesn't that just make a whole lot of sense? Pretty original name eh?

Time to add the chicken and let cook until done. Once cooked it is time to add the peas and I would show you a picture of the peas being added but it was out of focus so I threw it out. Not all my pictures turn out.

While the chicken is cooking we can take this time to toast up some bread. Our choice this week was an Italian loaf brushed with a little butter and toasted in the oven.

Once done this is what it all looks like.

Mmmmmm good, leftovers for the middle of the week too, can't beat that. I am giving this meal a 4.5 out of 5 forks because I was suppose to use white wine instead of red wine. Other than that I thought this chicken A la King was better than the Rachael Ray recipe I have been cooking. If you are after a quicker way of cooking Chicken A la King Rachael's recipe is a good one to use though.

Let's take a look at that first picture again.

My, my that does look good. Long live the King.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday Recap - Redwings 5 NY Rangers 4

At least one of my teams is winning to bad it's a hockey team and not a football team. But we must talk football this morning and not hockey.

I'm not sure what else I can say about Michigan that hasn't been said already. The bowl game is out of the picture breaking their streak at 33 or something like that. I'm not sure there is another winnable game on the schedule either although I am sure they will pull an upset somewhere when we all least expect it. I'm not going to complain though because I have been following Michigan football for 40 years and this is the first losing season I can remember. Oh I remember one year when they finished 6-6 or something like that but still not a real losing season.

What upsets me is everybody complaining about the coaching and the people who think he should be fired. I'm not sure what everybody expected this year but anyone with any knowledge about football knew a year ago this year was going to be tough because the entire offense was graduating. Michigan has one person left from last year on offense everyone else is either a freshman or sophomore. This fact along with Rich Rod installing a completely new offense at Michigan and you are left with a team that is going to struggle for a year if not two. The other problem with Michigan is they were left without any quarterbacks from last year. Their starter graduated and the second string decided to transfer when Rich Rod was hired as coach because he didn't want to be in the spread offense. I not sure any of the quarterbacks Michigan has left would start for any other Division 1 school. Threet is the only one that could possible start for another team but even he needs more time.

Michigan will be back if everybody stays patient. And for those of you not Michigan fans enjoy it for now because in a couple of years when they finally get the personnel they need for the spread offense Michigan will once again be back on top.

Yesterdays game was a surprise at least for the first half. I didn't think Michigan would hang on to the lead because Penn State is too good on offense this year. What I did like in the first half though was Michigan finally ran the spread offense like it is suppose to be ran. The quarterback ran the ball for yardage and that opened up the inside for the running back to gain some yards. I'm not sure why Michigan got away from this but they did in the second half. Once again I'm not sure why Rodriguez changed quarterbacks in the second half but I thought it completely changed Michigan.

Let's talk MSU football. What is there to say they got their clocks cleaned by Ohio State. MSU is just what I thought, one dimensional, and OSU exploited them. If you stop Ringer you stop MSU. What will be interesting is will MSU fold like a cheap lawn chair like they do every year or will they bounce back? They better not sulk to long because I think next week is the MSU/UofM game and MSU doesn't want to lose to Mich this year. MSU is loaded with seniors and this is their best chance to beat Michigan and if they don't it could be years before they do.

Michigan Tech won again this week beating Indy 31 - 28. If you want to read the article here is the link:

Michigan Tech is now 6-2 and plays Saginaw Valley next week.

Here is this weeks top 5. It sure has changed since I last posted my top 5 from two weeks ago.

This weeks top 5:
1. Texas
2. Southern Cal
3. Alabama
4. Oklahoma
5. Texas Tech

You may be wondering why I haven't included Penn State? Well I still am not sold on them or the Big Ten. When the Big Ten team can beat a team from another conference other than the MAC then I will give them some consideration.

My Heisman is as follows:

1. Colt McCoy - quarterback - Texas
2. Sam Bradford - quarterback - Oklahoma
3. Tim Tebow - quarterback - Florida
4. Gramham Harrel - quarterback - Texas Tech

For now I think this is a four person race. Stayed tuned it will probably change by next week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Here Come the Lions

Oh boy a lot has happened with the Lions since we have talked football. Millen has been fired, Kitna is gone, and Roy Williams was traded. All good moves in my opinion.

First of all Millen had to go, the experiment has ended. He had 8 years to right the ship and all he did was sink it. I still don't understand why Ford stuck with him so long but thank goodness he is gone.

Kitna is as good as gone too. He was actually put on injured reserve but I think the real message was "Its been nice knowing you but...." I think Kitna quit on the team in the first couple of games and the players knew it. I really don't think the Lions had any choice.

The Roy Williams trade was a steal. They sent Roy and a number seven pick to Dallas for a No. 1, No. 3, and a No. 6. Dallas got raped. Roy's contract was going to expire at the end of the year and he was free to sign with anybody as a free agent. I would have traded him for just the number one pick but let's give the Lions credit here they finally did something right. It was a good trade for Williams too because Texas is home for him so he should be happy. I don't have a problem with Roy but the Lions need draft picks right now not receivers. Now we just need somebody with the Lions that knows how to use these draft picks. Good luck with that one eh?

The Lions are at the Houston Texans this week and the Texans have been struggling just as much as the Lions. The Texans did, however, win their first game last week so they are ahead of the Lions in the respect. My predictions is if the Lions play with the same intensity as last week they will finally get their first win of the season. I think they will because they had a game taken from them last week and they are going to play like it's us against the world. I don't expect the offense to score a lot of points but I think the defense may have found their identity last week and keep the Lions in the game. I think this will be the Lions 17 Texans 13.

Michigan is favored by 23 points today against Penn State. Wait......what did you say? Penn State is favored by 23 points? Holy cow what has happened? Has the world been turned upside down? You say Michigan lost to a MAC team last week? UUUUUUUHHHHHGGGGGGG......what in the world is going on? Doesn't everyone know PSU hasn't beat Mich for the last 9 years? Doesn't everyone know PSU coach is 80 something years old and the team plays like that at times? My my how times have changed at least for this year. PSU 35 Mich 3. Michigan doesn't have an offense and without an offense against Penn State they will have a long day.

Michigan State plays Ohio State today. Let's not discount MSU's chances today because OSU has not scored an offensive touchdown for a couple of weeks. If MSU stays with its game plan and pounds the football at OSU they have a chance. This is the week Ringer can propel himself into the Heisman trophy race. OSU Suckeyes 24 MSU 17.

Notre Dame has a bye week this week which is probably good since they lost last week. Their schedule is about to get a little tougher to finish up so they can probably use the extra time to heal up and get ready.

That's it for this week, good luck to all your favorite football teams this weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Baaaaack

Well I am kind of back anyway. I have an internet connection but my computer will not hook up to it. My wireless connection doesn't want to work and I can't find my disk to reinstall it. So for now I am using my laptop from home until I get my other computer figured out. What that means is no pictures for awhile until I get my other computer going. Or I will have to install the software in this computer so I can upload pictures, edit them and upload them to my photobucket site.

So what has happened since my crash. Well the stock market crashed with my internet connection, the Lions still haven't won a game, Michigan can't win a game, the Red Wings have started their defense of the Stanley Cup, the leaves have turned all sorts of colors here (if I could upload a picture I would show you), I passed the LEED test so now I am a LEED Accredited Professional, and the bears are still shi...............whoa stop right there, what did he say? What the hell is a LEED Accredited Professional?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is part of the U.S. Green Building Council and they are responsible for expanding sustainable building practices that lead to responsible environmental design, energy efficient design and healthy working environments, blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to take this test for the past year and I finally decided to do it. Why? Well it gives me a little credibility among architects and engineers when it comes to designing energy efficient buildings. It means more opportunity for designing buildings for clients that are interested in energy efficiency and registering their buildings with LEED as being energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

I will admit anybody can take this test but it does help to know a little bit about building construction. It also helps if you have been through the LEED certification process too. The test isn't easy either (at least for me) only because it is closed book, only 34% pass the test. Now I know all you young ens out there will think big deal. Well it is a big deal because most test I take, at least in my profession, is open book, open notes. There isn't really any reason to memorize anything because in the real world you can always open a book to find out what you need to know.

My problem with closed book or memorization test is my brain or hard drive is already full. If I want to remember anything worth remembering I have to get rid of something from my memory. This isn't easy. I know I have all sorts of useless information floating around in my hard drive but you never know when I might need it. This is where I am like Grandma W I just can't throw nothing out. You never know when some of this information might become useful. Let's say you don't have any buttermilk to make your pancakes well I happen to know if you take a glass of milk and a tablespoon of lemon juiced or vinegar you can make a substitute for buttermilk. Or how about my old '72 Cutlass taking 5 quarts of oil whenever I changed the oil. I know useless information but if I ever run into someone with a 1972 Olds Cutlass and they want to know how many quarts of oil it takes I can tell them. Or how about the real dimensions of a 2x4 piece of lumber is really only 1-1/2" x 3-1/2"? I know who cares but you never know when it might come in handy.

So here is the problem my hard drive is full and how do I remember LEED info for a test? Easy, it's called RAM. That's right random access memory or the temporary memory I use when I am awake during the day. I crammed my head full a half hour before the test and I hoped I would be able to recall it when I needed it. It must have worked because I scored a 190 out of 200. When I left I did a brain dump and immediately forgot almost all I learned. Now just so you know I didn't just cram a half hour before the test I also spent a weekend and two nights reading and taking sample test. And just so you know I think I only passed one of the three sample test I had. I think the reason I didn't pass the sample test is I hadn't memorized anything yet.

Tonight I am happy because I agonized over this test for the last two months and it's finally over. It is like a big weight lifted off my shoulders. A month ago I got blamed for us losing two jobs because we didn't have a LEED AP person in our office. I got blamed because they expected me to be the person with the LEED AP. The real reason we lost the jobs is because the owners didn't go out aggressively enough to land the jobs for ourselves. They screwed up but they used me for the convenient scape goat. Needless to say as soon as a job opens up in either Michigan or back where I worked in Virginia I will be leaving here.

Well that's enough catching up for one night maybe tomorrow I can get back to football predictions.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Temporarily Unplugged

I have been temporarily shutdown at home this past week. I have been having troubles with my dsl connection lately and I finally found the problem this past week. I have a bad modem. The new one is due to arrive either Saturday, if UPS delivers on Saturday, or next Tuesday.

Since I can't do my normal Sunday Dinner Episodes I will probably do 2 back to back next week to get caught up.

As far as football predictions let's just say the Lions will lose, I think that will be a safe bet.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday Recap - How Long Before Hockey Starts?

It was a rough day on Saturday for my football team. They looked like a young team again trying to find their way. I expected these kinds of days this year because Michigan is so young on offense but this game was lost by the big plays the defense gave up yesterday. Oh well what are you going to do? I look forward to watching them again next week. At least there is hope for them right now I am watching the Lions and the score is 31-7 in favor of the Bears.

What a joke.

Again I didn't watch Notre Dame play but they must of had a good first half. It looks like Sarah will have a bowl game to go to this year.

As far as Michigan State is concerned their defense won the game yesterday. Just as I thought if you can stop Ringer you have a chance to beat them. Ringer didn't have a great day yesterday and MSU only scored 16 points. As more teams figure out how to stop Ringer MSU will start to struggle to win games.

Michigan Tech had a good afternoon. Once again here is the article from the MTU website:

Written by: Michigan Tech
Release: 10/04/2008

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Phil Milbrath rushed for a career-high 202 yards and Michigan Tech’s defense came oh-so-close to a shutout in a 21-7 Homecoming win over No. 25 Ferris State at Sherman Field this afternoon. The seventh-largest crowd in school history of 2,989 saw the Huskies outgain the Bulldogs 389-240 in total yards to improve to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Tech held possession of the ball for more than 37 of the game’s 60 minutes. Nearly 10 minutes of that possession time came during the only scoring drive of the first half. The Black and Gold started on their 14 yard line and ran off 18 plays before Milbrath tallied his 13th touchdown of the season on a six-yard run.

The score was 7-0 at halftime, and game remained a field position battle until early in the fourth quarter. Ferris State downed a punt at the one-yard line to pin the Huskies back.

Quarterback Steve Short then guided the hosts on a 99-yard drive to paydirt. A 46-yard pass to Bobby Slowik was the key play on the drive before Short sprinted inside the right pylon for a 14-0 lead.

After Tech’s Ben Foelker intercepted his first career pass on FSU’s ensuing possession, Milbrath put the game away with a 52-yard run.

Ferris pulled starting quarterback Tom Schneider in favor of Kyle Parrish on the Bulldogs’s final drive of the game. It paid off as Parrish found Rahseem Jones-Salaam for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining.

“Our defense played really well today,” said head coach Tom Kearly. “They maybe deserved to get the shutout. To hold the No. 25 team in the country off the scoreboard until under a minute to play was big.”

The Tech defense allowed just 13 first downs and only 100 yards passing in the game. Junior safety David Carmody led the defense with 10 total tackles. Senior linebacker Sean Spellman tallied eight tackles.

Milbrath’s 200-yard performance was the first of his career and boosted his season total to 806 yards. The sophomore, who entered the game as the GLIAC’s leading scorer, added two touchdowns to run his season total to 14 TDs.

Short finished 11-of-18 for 130 yards passing. His favorite target was Keith White, who snared four balls for 44 yards.

“Steve managed the game well once again. We took what the defense was giving us, which was a normal box and extra coverage downfield. The running game was there all day, and Phil was a real workhorse today.”

Michigan Tech improved to 3-1 at home this season and 10-2 in its last 12 games at Sherman Field.

The Huskies will travel to Findlay next Saturday (Oct. 11) for a noon kickoff.

Notes: Tech has won six straight games over Ferris State including last year's Homecoming contest. The Huskies have won six consecutive Homecoming games overall ... The Huskies were 34 seconds away from their first shutout since Nov. 11, 2000, a 34-0 win over Findlay."

A least one of my teams are doing good this year.

Here is this weeks top 5 and I am sure it will change by next week.

This weeks top 5:
1. Oklahoma
2. Missouri
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Texas

I moved Missouri to No. 2 because they were impressive and Alabama only had a so so game other than that no other changes this week. Look for changes next week because Texas and Oklahoma play each other.

My Heisman is as follows:
Max Hall - Brigham Young University - Quarterback
Tim Tebow - Florida - Quarterback
Chase Danials - Missouri - Quarterback
Sam Bradford - Oklahoma - Quarterback
Javon Ringer - MSU - Running Back
Colt McCoy - Texas - Quarterback

If you don't know already we had visitors this weekend. Mom and her friend Helen Grass stayed for the weekend. Now I have to ask how many of you out there have ever had your second grade teacher over for a weekend? Mrs. Grass, as she was known way back when, was my second grade teacher. She even taught me a couple of things this weekend. She knew what kind of pear tree we had in our yard and explained what the pears are good for. She took some home with her and she is making some pear relish. I am looking forward to trying some of her pear relish.

With visitors comes some responsibility to entertain. What do you do to entertain to senior citizens? Well apparently not much, all they wanted to do was take a drive and see the diary farms in the area. One of the impressive things in this area are the farms. They are taken care of with many of the old barns still standing and still in use. They also wanted to see the wind generators in the area. You see we have lots of wind generators for producing electricity around us. The last I knew there were more than 200 in this area.

This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago from atop of a cheese plant. This is a small sampling of the wind generators in the area.

Our first stop of the day though was at the local farmers market to pick up our produce for the weekend.

We also took a trip to the cheese factory, at least that's what we call it. The real name is Cedar Valley Cheese. It is an actual cheese factory with a store in the front. We all spent way to much money in there it's not hard to do if you like cheese.

After that we bought some groceries for out Saturday night meal. Even though I was doing the cooking I wanted to cook something on the grill. I wanted them to choose but they left it up to me and if you leave it up to me this is what you will get stuck with.

And if that isn't good enough for you you will also get stuck with some of this.

Mom bought some beets and roasted them. Once everything was on the table this is what it looked like.

How do you like that kids? This is the best meal I have had in a long time. Did you take a good look in the upper left corner of the table? What is it? Could it be? Want a closer look? Here you go.

Not quite sure yet? Want a better look?

Oh yeah red cake. It don't get no better than that. What a great way to top off a great meal.

Normally on Sunday mornings I will just have some eggs and toast but since we had company I normally make something different like pancakes and eggs. The last time mom was here I must have mentioned the french toast I make whenever Amy is here. She asked me to make it because she wanted to try it. This isn't just any french toast this is................
.........Banana Stuffed French Toast.

Ohh this is good stuff especially if you have homemade maple syrup to go with it.

With breakfast being done the women packed up and left for Door County here in Wisconsin.

It was nice having visitors here for the weekend since we don't get to many around here. What isn't nice is the Lions just lost 34-7. Maybe they will fire someone else this week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 28 September 2008

Okay so I'm running a little late this week, again. I've been getting home at night and been a little lazy this week. I have no real excuse its not like I have been overly busy at work this week. It's just one of those lazy weeks. Maybe reading about the 49 mile bike journey wore me out. I guess I'm not sure but that's my story for now and I's sticking to it.

This weeks Sunday Dinner Episode isn't about any great ideas I came up with this week or about any inspiring cooking shows I watched this week. Nope this weeks Sunday Dinner comes from the freezer. You see I am trying to clean out the freezer right now so we can start to load it up again this fall with soups and gumbos. By having soups and gumbos at your fingertips in the freezer you always have something to eat on those lazy days. I know, I know my freezer isn't big enough right now for those lazy days.

Enough about that let's get on with this weeks Sunday Episode. Let me introduce you to this weeks episode.

Barbecue pork with cole slaw. One of my favorite meals of all time. If you slow cook the pork butt (I'm not sure why it is call a pork butt since it comes from the front shoulder of the pig)it will turn out nice and moist and some of the most favorable meat you can eat. Mmmm I love the stuff.

This weeks cast of characters includes the following.

Pretty simple really. First thing we must do is make up a rub for the pork butt. To do this simply dump a few ingredients into a bowl and mix them up.

There are so many different rubs out there you can buy or like me you can make your own. The most important thing to remember is use what you like and like what you use. I think we have heard that before eh?

The idea of a rub is to just what the name implies, rub it all over the meat. Pretty obvious huh? After the rub is rubbed all over to your liking it's time to go to the grill.

As you can see I have added a pan of apple juice, water and some left over white wine I had. Why the white wine? Because like I said it was left over and why not use it up.

While the pork is cooking away its time to make up some cole slaw. Normally I will just buy the jarred stuff off the shelf buy today I decided to make my own. As you can see it pretty simple ingredients.


Let's check in on the pork butt.

Mmm, looking good. I did try one thing different with this pork butt. Normally I would cook the pork butt for 10-12 hours on the smoker somewhere between 200-225 degrees. I have read a couple of recipes lately that said to cook the pork from 300-350 degrees and it will cut the cooking time in half. I decided to try it to see if there was any difference or not and see if cooking the pork butt is worth the extra 4 hours or so.

Let's take a look at the finished product.

What do you think? Can you tell I cooked it in half the time? Well to be honest it looks good and it tasted good but, but it isn't as good as cooking it for 10-12 hours. It was lacking some good smokey flavor I can get when it cooks for 10-12 hours. I will give it a 4 out of 5 forks this time, good but not excellent.

To be honest though it did come out good enough to do it again. When the time doesn't permit and I am feeling like bbq pork I will definitely do this again.

Oh should I mention the bonus of cooking a whole pork butt? Just in case I didn't I will now, with the leftovers you can make bbq pork pizza. Take a look.

Good stuff.