SEE YA!

29 12 2011

Last year I promised to write a blog a week every week for a year – accomplished.  I hope to never make as stupid a commitment as that again.  To volunteer to perform the exact same task one day every week for a year?  No way!

This year I will try to do something different once a week, every week, and absolutely NOT blog about it.  One day I might have breakfast at a greasy dive; one day maybe visit a homeless man at the Vietnam Memorial Park and talk;  buy flowers for Laura for absolutely no reason;  go into the Apple Store and NOT buy anything.   It really doesn’t matter what I choose to do – just one thing completely different every week.   Fix a few things around the house and then hire a professional to fix whatever I screwed up.  But don’t worry, you’re not going to have to read about it anywhere any longer.

Some things bear repeating – blogs do not fall into that category.  Who knows, I might actually learn something.  At least I won’t be blathering away at a keyboard while the world passes by outside my window.  And you won’t be compelled to watch through the window while nothing happens.  Thanks!  John

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52nd Post This Year

28 12 2011

WordPress sent me an email this morning asking me to respond to a number of questions regarding my commitment to blog once a week in 2011.  They asked how my blog has changed over the course of a year (not at all); whether I am ready to commit to a blog post a day in 2012 (hell, no); and a number of other questions prompting me to consider my future in the blogging universe (virtually none).

Despair, Inc. (a website everyone should have on their “favorites” lists) has this quote about blogging:

“Never Before Have So Many People With So Little To Say Said So Much To So Few”

I have now fulfilled my commitment to write a blog for every week of the year, which was a sort of New Years’ Resolution from last year.  Tomorrow will be my last blog and will briefly (I promise) describe my New Years Resolution for 2012, which is a very direct result of what I have truly learned from my experience with WordPress this past year.  ‘Nuff said!





Beef Tenderloin (by request)

26 12 2011

Ingredients

  • 2 (2 to 2 1/2 pound) center-cut pieces beef tenderloin
  • High quality extra virgin olive oil, for coating roasts, plus 3 tablespoons for sauce
  • Grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning for Steak by McCormick – warning: all I could find was the “hot” variety – use the regular mix – this is just too spicy for many people)
  • 1 large jar whole roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped, well-drained and pat dry
  • 5 cloves garlic, popped from skin
  • 2 full handfuls flat leaf parley, chopped
  • 1 cup (no more than one cup – this is plenty for this recipe)  high quality pitted kalamata olives, drained well
  • 1 cup italian herbs, either store bought or create your own favorites
  • Juice from two freshly squeezed lemons (thanks to my daughter Jessica for this suggestion – it made all of the difference in this sauce)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Liberally coat the meat with extra-virgin olive oil and grill seasoning. Place the meat on a roasting rack and place in oven.  Roast the meat 10 minutes on high then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cook 30 minutes more. Do not open oven during those first 10 minutes. Remove meat from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Slice into 1/2 to 3/4 inch steaks and shingle two or three on each plate.

(This part can be done well in advance).  Place all other ingredients in a food processor.  Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary – I chose to only add a little bit of freshly ground pepper, but it is really not necessary.  Turn the processor on and stream in high quality extra virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons until thoroughly blended.  The sauce will be pretty thick.  Pour into squeeze bottles to drizzle over meat just before serving.  If you do not have squeeze bottles, just be careful how much your pour over the tenderloins – the sauce is pretty rich and goes a  long way.

Serves approximately 8 people as a main dish, and 12 people as a secondary entree dish.

 

 





Healthy Holiday Treat

22 12 2011

OK – after my last blog, the least I could do is include a recipe that won’t make you look like the Michelin Tire Man, so here goes (they are easy too!)

PB and Craisin Clusters

Ingredients:
2 bags (approximately 20 ounces) Peanut Butter Chips
1 cup dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 cup regular oats, uncooked
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Microwave chips in a bowl on high power until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir. Add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly. Using your hands, firmly roll into 1-inch balls. Cool.

Yield: 60 – 70 treats






Happy Birthday Laura!

15 12 2011

In some ways this will be easy to write because I love you and it is simply a matter of documenting a few of those things.

In other ways this will be difficult to write because (for me) a birthday is just another day in a long string of days (hopefully).

So let’s begin by celebrating who you are, and why you mean so much to so many people. To me, you are my rock, my best friend ever, the one who stays by my side through thick and thin (and there has been a lot of thin). You are compassionate and caring, loving and sweet, generous and giving, kind hearted and gracious, the perfect companion, and my soulmate.

You were a fabulous daughter for your mother, and I am sure she would echo all of the sentiments I listed above. You were the best friend she had, and the countless hours you spent together are a true testament to that.

Your two daughters, easily our best accomplishment together, both love you and think the world of you. I talk to so many parents who never hear from their children, and hardly a day passes when you don’t talk to each of them. You have so much to be proud about!

Today when you are celebrating your birthday, I hope you can take a few seconds and reflect on what your life has meant to all of us. And I didn’t even cover but a few close relatives. You are loved and appreciated by so many more.

I hope you have the best birthday ever, and many more to come!





Best Use Of Local Products Ever!

14 12 2011

You WILL feel guilty eating this, but it is worth whatever price you must pay for the experience.

Ingredients:
One half dozen fresh cinnamon rolls
One pint Vietnamese Cinnamon Ice Cream from Christopher Elbows Ice Cream Store
One pint Roasted Apple Ice Cream from Christopher Elbows Ice Cream Store
Caramel Ice Cream Topping
One can Apple Pie Filling

Cut cinnamon rolls into approximately 1/4″ cubes and layer in large baking dish. Pour caramel topping to taste over the chopped cinnamon rolls (I use a lot, but fat and sugar free).

Thaw the ice cream and mix together with a wire whip or a food processor. Pour ice cream mixture over the entire dish to cover, sprinkle with cinnamon and allspice to taste, cover and refrigerate for two hours for rolls to absorb the flavors.

Bake at 350 degrees, allow to cool on a rack for about 15 minutes and serve. I have no idea how many this serves – there is never any left!





Whiny Whiny Whiny

13 12 2011

I know damn good and well I have no reason to complain. My lifestyle is awfully great, especially in light of the 99.9% of people who are in dire straights instead of my minor discontent.

My major problem is work, and yes at least I am employed. We opened our company 10 years ago with no pay (because that’s how starting a new business usually works.) Within one year we were not only paying ourselves, but had insurance, a small business retirement plan, and began to hire other employees. Life was sweet!

The economic downturn did not affect us too horribly until this year. My business partner handled money very well, and we tightened our belts to weather the storm. However we appear to be back on the ropes again. Our expenses outweigh our income (largely due to a city entity defaulting on a large sum of money that they feel was a risk we should absorb rather than their organization). That is a whole other story however.

The biggest problem I am facing now is that I am bored with the BS part of my job, the fun is not there anymore, my enthusiasm is gone, and I don’t know how to rekindle it. I am very good at what I do, and I absolutely love my clients, but work is drudgery, annoying and completely unexciting. I know that’s why it’s called work and not vacation, but less than three years ago, I could not see a distinction between work and vacation.

Perhaps it is time to retire – I really don’t have that answer yet. I realize this is a very dull blog, but this one I am writing for me.

I am not sure how I’ll get out of this blue funk, and my heartfelt apologies for so many of you who wish this was the biggest problem you were facing. I think we all have some kind of cross to bear, and although mine is an awfully small cross, it feels very heavy and is extremely annoying. I wish all of you the best in the burdens you are carrying, and sincerely hope this does not come across as too much self pity. Each and every one of us deserves better – I hope you all find it!