Category Archives: Gadgets

InstaPot Moroccan Chicken

This was pretty good.  I wanted to do something in the Instant Pot with a whole chicken I bought the other day. (Those poultry shears worked great.)  I liked this recipe when I skimmed it for ingredients, pretty much everything it called for I had on hand.  Subbed regular raisins for the golden kind, and used green olives instead of ripe, and added turmeric to the spice mix, maybe 1/2 tsp.

The couscous was from a box mix with a packet of garlic powder and other spices, it worked pretty well and was in keeping with the Mediterranean feel of the dinner.  They eat broccoli in Morocco?  Well, I like broccoli.


Gadget Post – Poultry Shears

I’ve been using the wrong search term when looking for good scissors for cutting up chicken.  Amazon offers tons of listings for kitchen shears/scissors.  I have several pair that are just okay.  Then I saw these!  Had to have them!  They do a good job of cutting a chicken into smaller pieces.The red latch tab is pretty flimsy and I worried that it would break off, sooner rather than later, but it folds away into a slot while the shears are in use.  Of course they come apart for washing.  I like that they are spring loaded, and that if you need to really bear down to cut a bone you can let the bottom handle rest on the cutting board and put your full weight on the top.

Critter Cam

Bobcat!  We’ve seen this one several times on one camera or another.  I’ve never seen it in person but Mrs J came up on one and it scared her and the dog, both.A healthy and happy looking coyote.  Lots of these around, much more so than the ‘cats.

I’m pleased with the newer trail cameras we have out.  This location seems to be productive, the other new camera is mounted on the picnic table overlooking the feeder.

Kind Of A Gadget Post: Me-Mover

This has been on my wishlist for a few years. A half-price sale tipped the scales from wishlist to purchase.

Between walking the dogs and still un-restored trails after the flood of 2013, cycling has lost it cachet. I do miss my rides, but walking the dogs out by the lake or up in the mountains takes precedent.

Yet…walking dogs is not exactly an aerobic sport. More like an exercise in patience as they explore their world in fits and starts.  Especially now that I’m tasked with leash training a puppy. So my workouts needed something more. And this was it.

It operates like a stairmaster on wheels. It’s a heck of a workout in a short amount of time. Twenty to thirty minutes is exactly what I wanted, outside and in the fresh (cold) air. I’m not a fan of the gym.



Gadget Post: Splatter Guard

A silicone spatter guard. Genius. It comes in some fun colors and I kinda wish I’d chosen something besides black.

I know it looks funny. But it really works. And despite the awkward appearance, it does not get in the way of cooking. I’ve prepared bacon, hamburgers and eggs with it in place. Next up I’m going to do battered fish – I usually avoid because of the mess it makes.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. Until then…


Critter Cam

A healthy looking coyote from last night.  This camera is being retired in favor of a newer model from Browning that offers a higher resolution capture.  Won’t help with the fog, though.


We managed to eat up most of the holiday leftovers.  This plate is nearly meatless, there were a few crumbs of sausage in the dressing that is mixed in with the sweet potatoes in the back.  I hear a lot of “too cool to like green bean casserole”, I have no such qualms.  There was still a good hunk of the rib roast left – I turned it into a pretty nice stroganoff last night.I bought some kinda sorta fresh dill.  I put it into some water and it perked up some, should have taken a before picture.Breakfast Pr0n!  That place we go for fresh pork belly makes a really killer garlic pork sausage.More breakfast pr0n!  Today is Mrs J’s birthday and she said she wanted French toast.  Good choice!I cracked some eggs for the toast and found a double yolked egg.  Success!  Lucky!  Maybe lucky and successful?  Seemed a good omen at the time, anyway.I love my new stove!  I’m using the griddle more and more.  Look at that turner/flipper thing!  Dexter-Russell makes some pro-grade utensils, I’ve had a small version of that one for years.  I splurged for the holiday and got myself the bigger one and a couple  of their lighter, more flexible, spatulas.Post needs moar Bea Kitteh!


Cookies!  These are those very tasty chocolate chip oatmeal coconut raisin cookies, the recipe does not say raisins but I like them so I added a handful.  And nobody does chocolate chunks anymore, all the cool kids are into the very retro and hip chips.I tried this the other day, wanting to get some more use out of that heavy tortilla press.  It really makes some thin hamburger patties!  I backed off on the ones I actually cooked because nobody has an 8 inch burger bun.  They do fry up fast fast fast.  LOL  I love my griddle.

I splurged on this ultrawide monitor.  It’s a 34 incher and it’s wide enough to fit 2 web pages in without squeezing them too hard.  It came with a couple of software drivers – one that purports to add a settings screen to Windows (adjust brightness and contrast and so on), plus something they call a Dual Monitor Something or Another.  I think the DM driver is meant to fool the computer into believing there are actually 2 monitors hooked up but I didn’t get that far because one or both of those drivers made my computer go insane.  I managed to do a system restore and got back to normalcy.  The Nvidia graphics card handls the monitor just fine.Cats and dogs living together!  The cameras in cell phones are getting really good, but I sent this through a photo editor to brighten it up and correct the colors.

More cookies!  These are from a recipe put out by the Splenda sweetener people.  They are quick and easy and really are delicious with a nice crisp texture.

More kittehs!  Ollie and Toby like to hang about on top the the couch.  Ginger Boy is usually up there, too.

Soup!  This is that Hungarian recipe mushroom soup we’ve been making lately.  It’s full of paprika and sour cream and dill.  It’s easy to make and delicious.  Even better the next day.  I used brown buttons this time, and I ran out of tamari soy sauce so I subbed in a shot of mushroom soy – it’s a very thick and dark soy sauce that works very well in this recipe, I think it’s going to be in mine from now on.

Ribs and Fries

Rummaged around in the freezer yesterday for something quick to fix for supper and found some ribs in vac seal bags.  Oh boy!  I’ll just drop these into some hot water right in the bag and peel them out for supper with some oven fries.  Didn’t turn out well.  Much to my chagrin, the ribs were uncooked – warm, but essentially raw.  Teach me to not label stuff.

So I resealed the contents of the one package I opened in a new bag and set up the water bath for an overnighter – 12 hours at 165.  I pulled them out this morning and set them in the fridge for a replay.  This evening I warmed the bags in a simmering pot, opened them and patted the ribs dry, brushed on bbq sauce, and finished them under a broiler for a few minutes.  They were excellent!

Pressure Cooker Italian Beef

It’s just like crockpot Italian beef, only faster.  I’m liking my Instapot cooker more and more.  It’s the only way I make stock these days – just pile in the bones and odds and ends of celery and carrots and what-not with water and give it an hour on the timer and you’re golden.

Anyway back to the beef – sear a good chunk of that on sale chuck or what have you, cover it with some of your stock, add a couple of coarsely chopped onions, a handful of garlic, Italian seasonings (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley), and a jar of pickled pepperoncini.  The peppers are not as important as the juice.  You can add some red pepper flake to spice it up.  I set the timer for 75 minutes – it was easily shreddable when done,I baked some rolls to go with the beef.  I’ve been using the reliable KA bun recipe for several years now.  My hamburger buns usually turn out better looking than these hoagie type rolls but I’m working on that.Bonus Bea pic!