Lessons Learned

ImageSometimes things seem so simple. That’s generally when you get into trouble. Have a recipe you have made before? Awesome. Be sure to make sure that you have all the ingredients before you begin said recipe, or, end up like me using three different kinds of flour when making cinnamon rolls. Now I will say, they didn’t turn out bad, really, they just weren’t quite the same either. So, lesson learned.

Another lesson I learned last night, never make more dishes than you really want to wash in a night. In our house dishes get done every night, no matter what. Thank goodness for portable dvd players to keep you company though when doing them alone. Not so long ago though, well, long enough, in my bachelor days, it was not completely uncommon for me to let the dishes go a nigh, or two…….. before getting washed (mom, dad, you don’t need to chime in here, I know I know) So guys, once you get married, that’s all done, trust me, I know. Oh, and the other thing, you will be sure to wash them the way she wants them washed, because most likely that is how they are supposed to be washed. Lesson learned.

The third lesson I learned last night was that you should always reward yourself for doing an hour worth of dishes by yourself with a piece of homemade chocolate cake with chocolate mousse frosting. Now, keep in mind, I made the cake from scratch on Sunday, which contributed greatly to the dish count, and it was my third piece, but who’s counting and that’s not really the point, the point is if you have something to look forward to at the end of a tough chore, it may not go by faster, but it sure tastes better in the end.  Lesson learned.Image


I Believe …

Image“I believe in the soul, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, good scotch….I believe in the sweet spot, chocolate chip cookies, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last for seven days”  and ” I believe in a good night cap after a long day” well, I added that last part into Crash Davis’s Bull Durham speech, but thats ok, I don’t think he would have minded much.

I’ll admit it, I have a thing for dark, mellow, sweet rum, mixed with a bit of coke, and it tastes even better after a long day at work. You see, sometimes we all have things about the job that we hate to like, and sometimes, just don’t like, period. I covered a large fire down in Port Trevorton today, and when I say large, it was the biggest fire I have photographed in my 10 years on the job. Thankfully no one was hurt, buildings and business’s can be rebuilt, and the owners seemed to have the right attitude about it. The thing is though, when I go to a fire like that, I can’t help but get a adrenaline rush. It almost always makes for good photos, and in this case, some really good photos, but the cost is high. I don’t like the fact that sometimes good work comes at the loss of others, but as my colleagues know, it comes with the territory in this line of work. We all have our own ways of handling it, hopefully always with professionalism, and we all have our own ways of dealing with it afterwords. It’s not really the glamour part of our job. 

So tonight, I am going to have a night cap or two, find something enjoyable to do, and spend some time with my wife. Sadly enough, I was not the only one in the office to have a day like today, so heres to you Ashley, I hope you have a good night, and enjoy a weekend off, good job today.

Knowing when to fold em

So Saturday wasn’t my best ever day in the kitchen. I am almost embarrassed to admit to this, but I almost messed up a Oreo Pie box mix. Yes, a box mix. I don’t really know what was going on, whether I reverted to a first grade reading level, was a total space cadet, or if my blonde hair color was casting a veil over my brain.

Thankfully I was able to salvage the pie because my wife was really, really looking forward to it for desert, but I was scheduled to make dinner that night and I knew it just wasn’t my day in the kitchen. So what do you do when you know you need to cook dinner, but it just ain’t your day, keep it simple, and I mean real simple. Cut up some potatoes, fry them up in a pan with some butter, oil, a pinch of salt and a few seasonings. Take a couple pork chops, don’t do a thing to them other then cook them properly and let everyone put on what kind of sauce they want afterwords.

See, we all have days like this, whether we admit to them or not, but it’s key to realize when you are so you know your limits and how to fix it. Whenever our girls start to have what we like to call a meltdown, the first thing I try to do with them is get them to actually breath and then talk to them on their level, starting with the basics. Everything in life is built off the basics, math, science, computers, and even cooking. Before you can break the rules, you need to know them first so that when you do break them, you know what happens.

So keep things simple and clean and go from there and the sky will be the limit for you food. Sorry about the lack of pictures for the post, hopefully there will be a couple this week, I am on deck to cook at least a couple times this week.

A work in progress

ImageImageSometimes I get sick of the saying “Practice Makes Perfect” and would love to be able to get it perfect the first time, but I know that rarely happens. Oh well. It gives me an excuse to try a good recipe again, and again, until I get it just right.

You see, I tried making a fancy cake for the first time the other day, I had a vision of it in my head and knew exactly how I wanted it to look and taste, and then reality sunk in after I finished it. It’s not that it tasted bad, or even looked all that bad, but it wasn’t what I planned on, and I am still chewing it over in my brain. I had never made any of the recipe’s before that went into this cake. It was a yellow buttermilk cake (using real cake flour) and chocolate butter cream frosting, and pink fondant icing. The cake was supposed to be as light as a feather, instead it turned out almost like a pound cake, not that it tasted bad, actually it tasted pretty good, but not what was expected. The chocolate butter cream frosting actually turned out really well despite my almost blowing it by trying to halve the recipe but forgetting half way through that I was halving it. Now the fondant icing I was really, really excited to make, and truth be told, I was quite pleased with my first attempt of it. I always think fondant looks so nice on cakes and silky smooth, and would like to make it for my daughters birthday cakes. It wasn’t as difficult to make as I thought it would be, as far as getting it made, it’s when the rolling out and putting it on the cake things get messed up a bit. I rolled it to thin, put to much powder sugar on the table to roll it out, and only managed to put one hole in it, not to bad an effort all in all.

What I took out of it all though is that I can do it, I just need to practice it a bit more, and that’s really not a bad thing considering it tasted pretty good. I am sure my daughters won’t mind either because they ate about a third of the cake by themselves in two days time, a good sign for birthday cakes to come in the house.

Be Brave (and then reward yourself)


ImageWhen I was growing up, my parents did try to get me to eat new foods as most parents do, and like a typical kid, I fought them on it as much as I could. ( I thank God every time we sit down to eat that our girls are not fussy eaters) Now that I am not a kid anymore, I have surprised them on more than one occasion about the food I will eat now. ( In part thanks to my wife, and in part because when you are hungry enough you will eat what’s on your plate) So I hope they are sitting down when they read that I actually tried scallops. You see, I am not the biggest fan of seafood in the world, it’s not that I think it’s gross for people to eat, or it looks awful (some of it looks quite tasty), it’s just not my thing. With this blog though it forces me to go out of my comfort zone a bit in order to keep things juicy for you all to read. So, when I had to cover a luncheon at the Watson Inn and unexpectedly was told I could get a lunch because there was a no show, I wasn’t going to turn it up. Then I found out my plate was to be scallops….. and that’s where my internal dilemma started…. how hungry was I, and how brave was I feeling. I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to try something new for the blog, and not to mention, the plate of food looked great, and then the count down began, I actually closed my eyes for the first bite, and then, to my surprise, found out that what I thought would taste bad, was actually ok. Now, with that said, everyone around me who had the scallops said they were great, and I am sure they probably were, but they just weren’t my thing. I think the fact that I could eat them though says a lot for the dish with me not being a sea food fan. I will say though the baked potatoes that came with the dish were terrific, nice soft, fluffy, not dried out, good flavor, everything a baked potato should be.

Since I was a good boy as my parents would have told me, I decided I could get desert, and I am really glad I did. I picked out a slice of Oreo pie that looked like the biggest piece on the table and sat down to enjoy it. It wasn’t what I was expecting honestly, it was actually better. Most Oreo pies you have are thick, and a bit heavy, not really in a bad way, it’s just how they are made. This Oreo pie had been whipped, and was light, fluffy, creamy and sweet with a good sturdy cookie crust. I was really shocked, to find out that there was a new way to make Oreo pie, and improve on it. 

In conclusion, go forth and be brave, like Dr. Seuss says, if you read with your eyes shut, you never know what you will miss, and be sure to reward yourself after.

Watson Inn Scallops 4 out of 5   Watson Inn Oreo Pie  4.5 out of 5