[Lethal is mumbling to himself from behind the podium] “Let’s see Tube socks and fleece slippers – check. Flannel skivvies and fleece pants- right. T-shirt, turtleneck fleece pullover- ok. Thinsulate watch cap pulled low and fingerless gloves with mitten option at ready- good to go. Spectacles testicles wallet, watch, smartphone- ok all in place. Giant fleece Notre Dame blanket ready to don as shawl soon as this bloody issue gets rolling right here in the insulated bag with the hand warmers making it toasty. OK let’s hurry this along I’m bloody well freezing still!” <Steps up to podium>
AHEM! If I could have your semi-frozen attention please! I know it is a LOT chillier in here than normal. When we sized the heating units for the place we didn’t envision Impish being gone out of commission this long and the lack of contribution of all his hot air to the heating system or it ever getting quite this cold. Since auxiliary heating units are currently as scarce as the preverbal legal age good looking virgin we’ll just have to make do as best we can until Impish gets back on (both) his feet. So let’s just move right on and get this ball rolling shall we? Moving might help us keep warm.
Well its back to the grindstone all the holidays are over, no more parties no more family gatherings and no more paid time off until President’s Day, until you’re a teacher (Winter recess) or in College (Spring Break). That’s sort of our underlying theme to today’s issue to help get you back in the swing of things. Good thing too because those credit card bills should be arriving any day now.
As I have stated before it’s an old Irish adage that every moment of pleasure in life is purchased at the cost of an equal moment of pain. (Lethal dons a pair of noise canceling headphones). Considering how good a time some of you had for Thanksgiving and Christmas I don’t think I’m going to be able to stand the anguished sounds of pain and despair when you open those bills so I think I’ll just wear these for a couple weeks.
Some of you whom I exchange e-mails with off the blog have been enquiring about how cold it is here and if the ‘Artic Vortex’ has made itself known this far south. Well let me answer you like this:
Here is the our current weather situation as summed up by one of your more accurate local weather guessers:
Temperatures fell into the 20s in Houston Monday morning with wind chill readings in the mid-teens, thanks to a brisk north wind. High temperatures Monday will stay below 40 degrees for most of the region. The wind chill won’t make it above 30.
It’s one of the coldest outbreaks in Houston in years. Monday morning temperatures fell to freezing in Galveston for the first time since February of 2011, according to the National Weather Service.
The affect of the cold air is amplified by the wind. With a persistent north wind at 10 to 20 miles per hour through Monday afternoon, the temperature will feel like 25 to 30 degrees to us!
Temperatures will tumble Monday night through Tuesday morning as the wind relaxes and skies stay clear.
By early Tuesday, we’ll be in the mid teens north of Houston, 20 degrees in town, and 30 degrees in Galveston. If the temperature dips below 20 at Bush Intercontinental Airport, a distinct possibility, it will be the first reading in the teens for that location since January of 1996. IAH has only registered a temperature below 20 degrees TWICE since 1990!
The cold air will moderate quickly, beginning Tuesday afternoon.
Our north wind will shift to a southeast breeze off the Gulf of Mexico. By Tuesday afternoon, temperatures will be in the upper 40s with no freezing temperatures expected overnight Tuesday night. On Wednesday, highs will reach 60 degrees, and we’ll be flirting with 70 by Thursday and Friday.
Of course he neglects to mention the temps plummet again starting Sunday back to the low 60s and high 50s. Lastly I take exception with his open line that the temps fell…they were obviously pushed!
Hey! It’s the first Leprechaun Laughs of the 2014- so I figured might as well start it off in a big way !
Here’s a little motivational pep talk song to help get that shoulder back to the wheel and your nose back to the grindstone!
Phil Everly dies at 74; half of vocal duo the Everly Brothers
The Everlys charted nearly three dozen hits in the late ’50s and early ’60s, among them ‘Bye Bye Love’ and ‘When Will I Be Loved.’ Their harmonies influenced the Beatles and Beach Boys.
Phil Everly, who with his brother, Don, made up the most revered vocal duo of the rock-music era, their exquisite harmonies profoundly influencing the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Byrds and countless younger-generation rock, folk and country singers, has died. He was 74.
Everly died Friday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, due to a life time of smoking.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Phil Everly and his brother, Don (now 76), as the Everly Brothers, ranked among the elite in the music world by virtue of their pitch-perfect harmonies and emotive lyrics. Phil’s tenor injected the pair’s repertoire — among the best known are “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream” — with quivering harmony, embodying the roller-coaster confusion of young desire.
Rolling Stone labeled the Everly Brothers “the most important vocal duo in rock,” having influenced the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and many other acts.
Along the way, they notched 35 Top 100 songs — more than any other vocal pair.
Phil and Don were born in the business, the offspring of country and western singers Margaret and Ike Everly.
The Everlys sang with their parents in live shows and on the radio. In the mid-’50s, while still teenagers, they moved to Nashville to be songwriters before signing a deal in 1957 with Cadence Records. They became international sensations over the next five years with tunes such as “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” In terms of record sales, their chief rivals during this stretch were Elvis Presley and Pat Boone.
Their style — a product of their blend of rock ‘n’ roll with Appalachian folk, bluegrass and other genres more closely aligned to their Kentucky roots — helped them earn inductions in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“The amount of music that can be directly traced to the Everly Brothers is incredible,” wrote one admirer on Twitter. “Thanks, Phil…and ‘Bye Bye.'”
The Everly Brothers: 12 Essential Tracks
Look back at Phil Everly’s beautiful career in a playlist of his key work
Gwen’s Old-Fashioned Potato-Beef Casserole
Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008
Prep Time: 40 min | Inactive Prep Time: —
Cook Time: 45 min | Level: Easy
Serves: 6 servings
3 pounds red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Vegetable oil, to coat pan
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Potatoes cook quickly. Test often for tenderness and don’t overcook them. Alternatively, cook the potatoes in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes, releasing the pressure immediately to prevent overcooking. Drain the potatoes and arrange them in a 6- by 9- by 2-inch casserole dish.
In a large skillet, add a little oil to coat the pan. Combine the beef and onion and cook together over medium heat until the beef is browned and the onion softened, about 10 minutes. Drain excess fat.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and the flour turns light brown in color. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to stir while cooking over medium heat. When the mixture thickens, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the cheese and browned beef and onions.
Pour the ground beef mixture over the potatoes and bake the casserole for 20 minutes, until heated through and bubbling. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the casserole and bake until the crumbs are toasted, about 5 minutes longer.
Cook Notes: Because all the ingredients are fully cooked, if they are still hot when you assemble the casserole, the baking time can be greatly reduced or even eliminated; simply brown the crumb topping under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
One of my (Molly supplied) New Year’s Resolutions is to find ways to reduce the non fixed costs of our budget. This was received with the caveat that she didn’t want to feel like we weren’t eating healthy or eating on food stamps (hey from my observations some of those people are eating better than we are!)
One of the things I had gotten away from doing was making my own copycat recipes of things we liked, for example spice blends. Buy buying bulk spices and spending about an hour making my own blends I can save quite a bit of money. It also cuts way back on your salt intake (go look at the label on things like taco seasoning and see how close to the top of the list salt appears and look at how much of it there is!) The trick is having the recipe for those blends.
Here are two of the more popular ones to try making yourself. If I get positive feed back I’ll post some more of these copycat style recipes for you.
Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Store in an airtight container away from light. Use within three months.
Yield: 1/2 cup
Generally I make a double batch of this as we tend to go through it quite fast. Our personal tastes dictate only 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and I substitute onion powder for the coriander which we find bothers us. You don’t normally keep crushed red pepper flakes on hand and don’t want to buy a whole jar just for this? No problem just ask Popa John’s for a few with your next pizza.
Emeril’s Creole Seasoning:
- 2-1/2 Tbsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp cayenne
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Store in an airtight container away from light. Use within three months.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
In both cases I omit the salt from mine. This allows me not to have to worry if I am cooking for someone who is on a Low Sodium Diet (basically which of us isn’t trying to limit our sodium intake these days?). It also I feel gives me better control over the salt in my dishes because some dishes already have a great deal of sodium inherent in their ingredients.
Also I do my combining in a very dry blender. This assures even mixing and with things that are coarser like red pepper flakes I put those in first and give them their own spin so that they get broken up down to consistent size with the rest of the ingredients.
When certain of Molly’s family come to visit they always want to go out to eat at Chili’s. We’re blessed(?) with one right at the end of our road which it intersects the main drag so its easy to get to and hard to invent excuses no to go to. It’s not that they are in love with the the food there or the ambiance they just love the salsa.
Chili’s Copycat Salsa Recipe:
2 cans (14.5 oz each) whole tomatoes, drained
3-4 canned, whole jalapenos (not pickled)
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
Directions: Place all of the ingredients together into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.
Since canned tomatoes already come with a good deal of salt, I swapped the garlic salt for garlic powder. We generally don’t keep jalapenos even pickled around the house so I simply grab a few fresh when I make this. Most grocery stores offer them year round now. Remove the seeds and membranes for less heat and either buy one of those coring tools or wear gloves to do it or you’ll be sorry the first time you rub your eye nose or mouth.
Finally, if I want to impress people not hooked on Chili’s Salsa, I add fresh cilantro and used canned fire roasted tomatoes.
Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
Cajun chicken pasta is Cajun seasoned chicken tossed with a cream sauce and linguini. The highlight of this recipe is the cream sauce, this well seasoned alfredo style sauce is nothing short of amazing. The good news is, you probably have a lot of the ingredients for this recipe on hand. I really enjoyed the sundried tomatoes, but they can be left out if you choose. For the chicken, you can season the breasts, fry them whole and then slice them instead if you choose. This chicken pasta dish is sure to please almost everyone. Enjoy.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into small strips)
4 ounces linguini (cooked all dente)
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (See Emeril’s Creole Spice Above!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 green onion (thinly sliced)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Step 1: Place chicken strips and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, toss the chicken with the seasoning until the chicken strips evenly coated with the seasoning.
Step 2: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add chicken and sauté the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees).
Step 3: Reduce heat to low. Add green onions, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook until heated through. Pour over hot linguini and toss with parmesan cheese.
(Makes 2 Servings)
There are more stupid people than dreamt of by WalMartian photographers and here’s the proof!
So I guess its packaging you open like the woman on the label?
Nope she’s not drunk- just Blonde!
Certainly bring a whole new dimension and meaning to the Dispatcher’s call for a stiff at the beach!
In case you can’t read the circled area of the card it reads ‘black person like you’. Someone is sleeping on the couch for a LONG time!
I ain’t even touching this one, its too easy no challenge.
Prime example of why I buy my hardware at a real hardware story and not Wally-world!
In name only Mom, in name only.
Stop AT&T from collecting your data!
Of course, it makes the data “anonymous” before it collects that data. However, the fine print in AT&T’s plan reveals some scary details it seems to have no problem selling.
AT&T wants to collect all of your browsing data from your smartphone. It also wants to grab your location, passwords, security codes and more. It can do so much with that data!
Luckily, there is a way to opt out. Head to this page and log in with your AT&T account information.
You’ll see a list of the numbers on your account. Each one will have a “Check to opt out” box next to them. Click it on each of your accounts to opt out of AT&T’s data collection.
I sort of forgot to put this next one in last weeks New Year’s issue. My bad Calvin! Thanks for the assist though.
OK I’ve got to hurry this along as Friday just texted me that they finally got my plane started and warmed up and the same with my limo. I’ve got urgent business in Cabo, Acapulco and South Padre Island overseeing the staking out of sites and setting up my spray suntan concessions for Spring break. Yup, that’s right- I’m abandoning ship for anyplace above 70 and sunny.
Anyway we all I’m sure watch some version of reality TV which is hard to avoid now a days and runs the gambit from things like Honey Bo-boo & Keeping Up with the Kardasians to Sons of a Gun & Duck Hunters and then on to things like This Old House & Extreme Makeover.
While I have been watching This Old House for so long now I’ve seen it through 3 different hosts I became hooked on Extreme Makeovers several years ago primarily because they seem to really make an effort to help out and make a positive change in the lives of people who are really deserving of it as opposed to people who will just make good TV.
But have you ever wondered about what happens to those house and people after the cameras leave?
Kemah family given “Makeover” home trying to sell it
KEMAH, Texas – A Galveston County family given a house for free by the TV show “Extreme Makeover” is trying to sell the place because they say they no longer need such a big home.
Less than four years after the team from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crafted a beautiful, brand new home for a Kemah family, the house is on the market — at a greatly reduced price.
After their home was destroyed by Hurricane Ike, the Beach family— known for fostering more than 85 children over a 23-year span— was selected for the seventh season of the TV series in 2010. Larry and Melissa Beach had been living in a travel trailer with their 13 children when Ty Pennington and his crew, including celebrity volunteer Jessica Alba, built the home and revealed it on national TV on Easter Sunday.
Melissa Beach tells The Galveston County Daily News she’s grateful for the time spent in the home but the family of 13 is downsizing and only uses part of the eight-bedroom, 4-1/2 bathroom home in Kemah.
The Beaches have been trying to sell their house — located at 1013 Delesandri Lane — since February and have reduced the price by 33 percent, from $700,000 to $535,000. They say they must sell because the house is too expensive to maintain, especially now that many of their children are grown up and no longer live there.
“It is a big decision,” Larry Beach told the Houston Chronicle. Beach has four children with his wife, Melissa, in addition to the 13 they adopted and dozens more they’ve fostered. “It’s costing us 12- to 15-hundred dollars a month just in taxes and insurance. It’s costing us more to live here than it would to sell it.”
The two-story house — which was essentially given to them as the materials and labor were donated — is located only a few blocks from the Kemah Boardwalk. The home, which sits on a one-acre plot, features eight bedrooms — each with a different theme, including the nearby Boardwalk, four and a half bathrooms, a game room and media room.
“We are torn. The community put a lot into this house and that’s really the conflict we have struggled with,” said Beach. “A lot of people volunteered and gave for our house and family. After months of talking about, it we made the decision that it doesn’t really do any good to keep digging a hole for ourselves.”
In 2009, CBS highlighted six families who said they initially benefited from the Extreme Makeover experience but later found themselves unable to afford high taxes and maintenance bills and some had even taken out mortgages against the properties, which subsequently increased costs.
The Beach family said they were very happy with ABC, but that things changed when Mercy, their 2-year-old daughter, died from a seizure only weeks after the house was finished. They then decided they no longer wanted to foster kids and the sizeable house became unnecessary as their children started moving away.
Maybe a little less focus on grandiose gestures and a little more on practicality and affordability would be a good idea you Reality TV producing folks!
I hear you Calvin muh man I hear ya! Just try having a trouble prone Dragon for a side kick instead of a Tiger and see how much it slows you down!