Category Archives: Gadgets
I had a great time visiting friends and family in the Los Angeles area. Pictured above, good friend Jackie and new friend Thomas.
I had some awesome beach time at Zuma, Oxnard and Santa Monica beaches. I always feel better and more centered when I can spend time near the ocean. And luckily there are plenty of opportunities. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
There was a great afternoon tea with old friends and catching up with lots of family. I have the best cousins (and my Aunt and Uncle are pretty special, too).
I started my trip in Camarillo, which is a beautiful, quieter oasis north of LA. We went out to eat some pretty amazing food – prime rib, fresh fish, fresh veggies. Then I headed down to LA for the weekend. My first night there was cooking and cooking lessons. But first we had to buy a frying pan.
Then it was a trip to Trader Joe’s for supplies for the menu of Chicken Piccata, Butter Potato Pie and Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cookies. After that we were ready to start the cooking lesson. Chicken Piccata is definitely a good choice if you want to make something simple that looks elegant and tastes amazing. It’s usually served over buttered egg noodles, but this night I let them loose on the blog to pick what they wanted me to cook. It all went together very well. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
The after dinner view was pretty amazing, too.
The next night we went out to eat again. An amazing place, Mercado La Paloma near USC and South Central LA. A place where restaurants can rent a small space in the food court to try out 5-star menus. Flavors abound. The atmosphere is casual and fun. Check out the link here.
We also saw Monuments Men, which despite lackluster reviews I recommend heartily. Good movie, excellent cast and an amazing piece of history. The book is now in my Kindle queue.
Then I wrapped up the trip in Santa Monica, probably my very favorite place in the Los Angeles area. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a great deal of time there and it’s always special. I think that wraps up my travel diary for this trip. Except..
…did I mention there was a cow? And one final picture:
Grateful for good people in my life…..
LA skyline near Dodger Stadium/Four Square Church.
I really am enjoying what this little camera can do. The shot above is zoomed (42mm), the one below is not. Love how it captured the lights. As I scanned through the multiple shots, the detail is such that the traffic lights move forward down the road. The random white dots in the sky are planes heading into LAX. Click photos to embiggen and see them uncompressed.
Wait till you see the food shots from the dinner I cooked one night. I’ll post those, hopefully, tomorrow.
This is a photo from the back yard trail camera. I cropped it and tweaked the brightness and contrast. Lots of grain in the picture due to the high ISO the camera switches to for low light pictures. It has an array of LEDs for a flash – they glow a dim red to the eye but the camera is tuned to use that wavelength. Anyway the relatively bright horizon beyond the pines caught my eye.Here’s “Tanner”, he was sent out with a family for adoption but they brought him back. They said he wanted to sleep in their bed with them and they used that as an excuse for the return. He’s a good boy – walks well on a leash, housebroken, all the good stuff. Knows basic commands, he’s been fixed. I like his ears. Better luck next time, pal, they don’t deserve you.This is a small tablet that is running Windows 8.1. It’s a Dell Venue 8 Pro. I have it set to boot to the desktop, bypassing the new tiled start screen. The photo of Ginger is what I’m using for the desktop background right now but it’s a tad too busy and I’ll be changing it out. I’m using it for web browsing when we are out somewhere, Googling for recipes while in the store for the ingredient list, things like that. I have it paired with a small bluetooth keyboard that works well, and also a bluetooth mouse but that stuff is just clutter and is left behind when I am out. At home I’m using full sized keyboards and big screens with more competent CPUs so those toys don’t see much action.Food Blog! Really!Here’s a PB&J with bacon and cheddar. I really wanted to put some banana slices on the thing but we didn’t have any.I’ll leave you with this pair of puppy girls. The momma was found abandoned and ready to pop. The rescuer brought her to the shelter just in time. There is one more pup in the litter, another girl.
I am so sorry, the week completely got away from me. I had a vicious cold during most of it and just as I was coming out of that, this happened:
My new car arrived. Woot! I ordered it in October, been planning on it since summer and finally, finally it drove up to my front door. Thankfully they delivered it, because I was not really up to par yesterday and could only muster a quick drive around a block or two.
Today I was much, much better so we went out and about. Had quite the work out. High wind warnings on a treacherous section of hilly interstate, deep snow drifts and ice on country roads, and the usual bad drivers. She handled it all beautifully and getting good gas mileage to boot.
I call her Belle. (I name everything! If my test drive of my new robot vacuum turns out, I’ll write a gadget post about it and you’ll see, it has a name, too). I’m very happy. But still no recipe tonight. - TaMara
Here’s that puppy out of the Chow momma that looks like the daddy was a wiener dog. Mrs J says he has been adopted already. Cute little fellow!This one is a Husky mix. Mrs J says there were several of them. The woman who brought the litter in said that she heard that a dog chained outside wouldn’t get pregnant. She’s wrong, though it doesn’t really seem sporting, now does it? LOLI’ve mentioned these cameras before but I don’t remember if I’ve ever said much about them. This is a new one we just bought to replace one that has its screen going bad. I left the battery cover askew to show the batteries, and there is a photo up on the little LCD screen, just to show you that feature. All the settings are done by scrolling through menus on the screen. Pictures are saved to a memory card and that’s the thing that we bring in to look at the pictures it has captured.The camera itself is housed in a waterproof case that straps to a handy post or tree.Bonus! Here’s a shot it took of some old fart. The battery on the motherboard that runs the camera was dead and it wasn’t keeping the right time and date, I’ve changed that out so it’s good now.More puppies! Mrs J says this is one of a big litter that came in the other day. [Edit to add:] These are Border Collie/Labrador mixes.This one is a poodle/pug cross. I Googled that and they are called pugapoos by some folks. Not by me.Ramen! This one has smoked pork and broccoli and mushrooms and carrots and tons of chili garlic paste. Spicy!
This was a great article, so I thought I would share:
BY NATASHA GARDNER SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 9:07 AM
Frozen food doesn’t have to mean blocks of spinach or chicken nuggets. Instead, cooks in-the-know fill their freezer with stocks, farm-fresh produce, and ready-to-eat, healthy meals. Here, tips for making your freezer your grocery store.
1. Pace yourself: Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t overbuy the first time you head to the butcher. (A family can only eat so many grass-fed steaks.) Stock up on basics over time by buying two of something at the store. Plan to roast chicken? Buy an extra bird and tuck it away. Want to grill salmon? Purchase two pounds, cook one and freeze the other. You get the idea.
2. Cook for a crowd: I grew up in a large family and have always had trouble downsizing recipes. Now, though, I greedily look at a recipe to see if I can double it (this works well for baked goods, like cookies) or make two (think: lasagna).
3. Take stock: Create a freezer inventory….
(You know the drill, click on the link and read the whole thing, there are some nice additional book recommendations at the end.)
I’m an avid freezer user – mine is stocked full of frozen veggies, meats, meals, leftover – ice cube sized – tomato paste, wine, juices. I also freeze leftover lime and lemon zests – I never waste a fresh lemon or lime peel. For more tips, head to the Meal Planning Page at the top of the blog.
From the kitteh playroom at St Francis. Somebody has to do it.This may be the last hummer of the season. We’ll keep a feeder up because birds passing through late may need a little something. I think we saw one in November last year.The last pastrami we made was so good I put another corned beef out in the electric smoker and set it for 175 degrees. It spent the night out there cooking. When I went to retrieve it for steaming I was shocked to see the thermometer stuck into the top vent reading past 300 degrees. Thermostat fail! I hoped to salvage a little and managed to save enough for a couple sammiches. The pups were not a bit disappointed as they got most of it. The manufacturer has a good customer support staff and they are sending me a new module.A bowl of ripe Anaheims. The mature red peppers are a little bit hotter than the green ones but not by much. I may dry these to see how well they work for a pepper sauce for enchiladas and such.
Shrimp fried rice with a few more of those dumplings I bought frozen at the International Grocery. I think these were chicken and veggie. They can be boiled or steamed. Pan frying works but you have to pay more attention to the process. I opted to steam these because I am lazy and a neighbor had dropped in for a chat.
The hummers are slowing down a bit from their peak. We took down 2 of the 5 feeders we had up. Those 3 were pretty busy this morning.
A neighbor came by with a loaf of beer bread for me to try, he had talked it up yesterday when we were all gathered to watch the tree eating machine clear the power line right of way.A busy day! Anyway, back to the bread. It’s a simple enough recipe: 2-3/4 cups self rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 stick melted butter, and 1 12oz. can of Busch beer, bake at 350 for an hour. No mention in the recipe he handed me of kneading so I’m going to go to teh Google. Ah.. no kneading, just some minor differences. You can mix in the butter or pour it over the mixture.I ate the heel with a little butter, not bad at all. The crust was chewy, it had a decent crumb. Seems like a worthwhile thing to try. About the beer… he swore that Busch was the only beer that would work, I have my doubts. He left me with a can out of his own stock just to be sure.This is a companion rig to the tree eating machine. It’s exactly what it looks like, a buzz saw on a long arm. The boom is fiberglass so it won’t fry the operator if he gets into the power lines with it. The boom telescopes in and out, it has a pretty long reach.Closing Kitteh. Mrs J says they named her Biscuit and she has been adopted out so don’t be flooding the switchboard at St Francis calling about her. Of course, there are kittehs left so, on second thought, go ahead!