Archive for the 'retirement' Category

Friday the 13th Chow

Cowboy Lasagna and Sides

Don’t mind the paper plate under this delicious array of good stuff. The Better Half put away one of our previous weekend cuisine specialties, leftover “Cowboy Lasagna” in the freezer a few weeks ago and she revived it today, served up with a nice salad and a slice of garlic bread. I poured shots of limoncello to complete the sumptuous dining experience.

There was nothing spooky or unlucky about this Friday the 13th. We simply had a peaceful Friday where the weather cooperated with our “second spring” by having clear, sunny skies with the waning crescent moon this morning setting in the west before noon. The temperatures were in the 70s this morning and rising to just over 90 this afternoon. It’s a good time of the year in upper Sonoran Arizona.

What’s for Dinner?

Clickable Image

We started the smoker on Friday night with a seven-pound pork butt roast and cooked it overnight with mesquite smoke in the chamber. On Saturday, we added more smoke and liquids to keep the roast moist. Prior to Dinner time, we took the roast into the kitchen and started shredding it with a pair of “bear claws.” After removing the bone and excess fat, the roast rendered over five pounds of good, lean smoked pork.

The Better Half was prepared with homemade BBQ sauce, some high quality sandwich buns and her Angel-hair Gorgonzola Cole Slaw. Yes it was quite good.

Our smoker has a nice remote control which allows us to monitor and adjust the smoker (which sits outside near the garage) from the office where our computers and a TV are located. Regardless of the remote access, we still have to add wood chips and liquids to the smoker by physically being there.

The (clickable) image above shows the smoker, the finished pork roast, the dinner plate and the remote.

Enjoying the Spa in the Summertime

Being Prepared

During the Summer Months, The Better Half and I keep the spa at temperatures in the mid-eighties to ninety degrees F. That is plenty cool enough to contrast with our normal daytime temperatures of 100 degrees plus. Once in the spa, the water cools us right down.

Prior to getting in, we go through our Spa Checklist:

  • Towels for drying when getting out - check
  • Drinking water - check
  • Water temperature/level OK - check
  • Spa jets activated - check
  • Personal defense accounted for - check

We aren’t terribly remote from civilization, but our lot size is the better part of an acre isolated on three sides by hilly, natural desert. If some danger were to present itself in the two-legged form, it would likely have to enter via the driveway which encircles the house. If something like that sort of threat were to occur while we’re in the spa, we want to ensure our personal protection by providing for that ourselves, thus the loaded Glock 30 (Fat Man) next to the spa.

The day I took this photo, the temperature on the patio was 105° in the shade and the water temperature was 87° in the spa. TBH and I had an enjoyable fifteen or twenty minute dip in the spa. Clickable image.

Another Milestone

seven-four.pngAs of about 3PM this afternoon I have officially made seventy-four trips around the sun. By the grace of God and the phenomenon of modern medicine, I am still here to brag about my longevity.

The Better Half prepared a wonderful corned beef dinner for us, complete with strawberry shortcake dessert with a lit candle embedded in the whipped cream. :)

We will be celebrating for the remainder of the weekend. Tomorrow, I will be doing surf ‘n’ turf on the grill with filet mignon steaks and Atlantic salmon. That will be served with grilled corn-on-the-cob and TBH’s bacon, cheese and pea salad. I had a taste of the latter just now and it’s some real good stuff. TBH prepares it today and refrigerates it overnight.

I hope that everybody will be having as great a weekend as we are having here.

Do It Yourself RV Repair

RV Screen Door LatchA few weeks ago, we had the big RV down to the dealer in Avondale for some warranty work. We squawked several items, most of which were resolved to our satisfaction. One additional squawk that popped up due to one of the technicians errors was a broken latch for the screen door.

(Clickable) Image: The New Screen Door Latch

Our service advisor immediately ordered a replacement part for the door. In the meantime, we accepted the RV as it was and brought it home.

To shorten the story, the part arrived at the dealer’s place and the service advisor told us that we could pick it up. Well, the dealer’s location in Avondale is a one hundred mile round trip for us. I asked the advisor if they could ship the part to us. He went one better and said that since he commuted to his place just a few miles south of Wickenburg that he would meet us and hand over the part. We drove to a Family Dollar store and met him there.

We’re not used to someone going the extra customer service mile (actually several) to accommodate us. We thanked him profusely and took our latch home and installed it this morning. #campingworldofavondale

Smokin’ Sunday

Electric SmokerWhen the summer weather here gets above 110° as it has for the last ten days or so, The Better Half would rather not prepare food in the oven and heat up the kitchen. Alternates for oven cooking, in our case, include Crock Pot, Steamer (out in the patio), Electric Smoker and the BBQ Grill, none of which result in heating the kitchen up.

The latter item above, the BBQ grill, is also somewhat undesirable in this weather since one has to tend to it while being out in the heat, although we have been known to “tough it out.”

(Clickable) Image: Our Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Yesterday, we opted for the crock pot with TBH preparing a tasty Tex-Mex Casserole dish. Today (starting last night, actually), we employed the electric smoker. Late last night, I put a pork loin into the smoker and cooked it on low with smoke overnight. This morning, I put a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker and cooked it along with the pork with smoke all day at 250°.

This is actually the first time I have used the smoker for preparation of two different meals simultaneously. Today, we enjoyed smoked brisket with baked beans and potato salad. During the coming week, we will be having pulled pork sandwiches using shredded smoked pork loin.

What’s for Dinner?

Jägerschnitzel

Deutsches Küche ist zum Abendessen (German cuisine is what’s for dinner).

One of our favorite entrees is breaded pork loin cutlets (Jägerschnitzel) served with sides typical of German cooking. Today’s meal consisted of the cutlets served with braised Brussels sprouts (Rosenkohl, or “rose cabbage” in German) and an excellent hot German potato salad (Heißer Kartoffelsalat) recipe that The Better Half found. She also put some tomato and avocado garnish on the plate for color.

Lately, we have been dipping into our ancestry in hopes of locating some of the graves of our forebearers as we tour parts of the country in coming months and years. Despite our love of German, Italian and some French cooking, my family lines mostly seem to have come from England, whose cooking we can do without (Spotted Dick?? Really??).

The ancestry quest has gone pretty well, having located two cemeteries in Colorado, a couple in Massachusetts and one more in South Carolina which contain the remains of ancestors going from grand parents to a couple of generations back from that.

During our excursion to witness the Great American Solar Eclipse, we are planning to visit my great grandmother on my Mom’s Dad’s side in Montrose, Colorado and to visit numerous relatives’ graves in Pueblo, Colorado, including my paternal grandmother and grandfather as well as that grandfather’s folks, another set of great grandparents.

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