Monday, May 7, 2018

Um. Nope. Just. Nope.

I normally reject trends and gimmicks out of hand.

A recent trend in the bar world is the pickleback. You have a shot of pickle juice alongside your whiskey. Oh.... I kind of file it away with a "shrub".

An extension of that

Dill Pickle Martini

Yes. A distinctly green cast. Instead of vermouth, you mix your gin with dill pickle brine. I decided I'd go ahead and try this. I love pickles. My friends tell me I'd probably eat a sneaker if it was pickled. And pickles are wonderful companions to martinis. And ...when I have a Gibson I really do like that little touch of brine. And...I wanted to have an opinion based on first hand experience.

Well. Know what? I can't ever remember dumping a cocktail in the sink before. It was just awful. The real reason being...the salt. While not even a drop of brine from a cocktail onion delivers a pleasant little something to your martini...a large dose of salt simply does not, in my opinion away, play well with gin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Third time!

In two weeks. I remember saying to a neighbor just a few weeks ago there's still plenty of time for winter weather. And here we are with our third nor'easter in two weeks time.

These storms can be pretty ferocious. The last one hit the coast really bad with some people going without power for up to 5 days.

This one dropped the most snow of the three. There's about 2 feet out there this morning.

View from my living room, looking west, 08:30 14 March

I sure hope this is the last it. Couple more weeks and we'll very likely see no more wintry weather this season.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A little more like it

A week ago I went out and broke up the ice and spent an hour working a shovel underneath to lift it off the ground in sheets. I was determined to get horses out there if it was the last thing I did!

So after a week of weather steadily in the 40s and 50s we're *finally* getting horses out every day.

Tuesday 27 February. The sun is very nice this time of year!

And I'm pleased beyond words to have the horses out there enjoying the sun. This has been a really challenging winter. For everyone. Now if I can just get myself organized well enough to ride!

Another good sign! The local maple sap is running!

Friday 23 February

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Nutrition Labels!

I'm that guy in the supermarket squinting at the nutrition label on every package. And of course I read the ingredients as well. Some things hide in the ingredients. Anything "partially hydrogenated", for example, is trans fat. Be sure to note "hydrogenated" is not trans fat. Partially hydrogenated is trans fat.

I don't eat products with HFCS. HFCS is converted directly into triglycerides bypassing the Krebs cycle and I am of the opinion that's a bad thing. And don't confuse corn syrup with HFCS. Corn syrup and HFCS are two different things. And beware of glucose syrup. Glucose syrup is what they call HFCS in Europe and it often appears in the ingredients lists on imported products.

So. What has me carrying on about nutrition labels?

I stumbled across this nutrition label calculator on the web. You input your recipe in the space provided and it displays a nutrition label for your recipe. It's very cool! I found a couple of issues with it. It doesn't know about kosher salt, for example. It insists on using table salt data. And, after calculating the label, changing an ingredient or a serving size doesn't always work. Either delete the ingredient and add it back or just start over again.

The most interesting thing however is that one can use these labels to compare their homemade food with supermarket products. So, for example:

My homemade 100% whole wheat personal pizza. The serving size is one whole pizza.

My homemade cabbage soup. Serving size is one and a half cups.

I think that's very cool and I find it fun just to satisfy curiosity as I wonder sometimes is homemade really the most nutritious option?

Monday, February 12, 2018

The year in ice

This will long be remembered as the season in ice. The property doesn't drain well. A little rain. It freezes. A lot of snow. More rain. Snow melts. Property floods....and freezes...

11 February

And that's *nothing*. That's after several days in the 40s and 50s and some rain. I really should have taken pictures last week.

The kids were literally playing hockey in the ring I train in

It was a 12 acre ice skating rink.

Of course it just kills me keeping the horses in the barn. I think we've had 3 days outside since before Christmas. And two of those days were strictly in hand. But there's just no way a horse can navigate that. It was much worse this year than last and the only relief will be to find another place to go when the weather permits.

And of course meanwhile...there's work to be done! And every one of us fell down on that ice at least once and by the middle of last week it was just downright dangerous.

Product Review!

This is a Yaktrax

It's a hard rubber frame with coiled stainless steel wire wound around the framework. Making for "traction cleats". You stretch this rubber frame around the sole of your shoe or boot.

They're marginal in the snow. At least this model which is the one I have. On snow covered ice they clog with snow and you have to stomp your feet a lot and shuffle. If you don't? They're not worth much. But. On ice? On clear ice? They work *really* well on clear ice, no question at all.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Crafty little devil

Sometimes I do very smart things.

I got a new couch. Of course it quickly became The Little Bastard's favorite thing to scratch.

I also have a spiral staircase in my kitchen. So. What's that got to do with anything? Well. I did some research and found cat scratch rope is called sisal (and it's made from cactus!). So, I found a spool of sisal at the hardware store. And I wrapped the spindle of the spiral staircase with the sisal. Making it into a cat scratching post!

The Little Bastard loves it!

And he's clearly accepted it belongs to him.

Now this is seriously cute. Cute counts for a lot.

Oh he still claws the new couch too but nowhere near like he used to.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Chicken soup!

Well. Chicken noodle soup.

I make soup all the time. Soup is the one and only good thing about wintertime. But...hard as it is to believe..I've never made chicken soup! I'd had chicken quarters for dinner ending up with a leftover quarter. The light clicked on! I decided I'd make chicken with that leftover quarter.

I picked the chicken from the leftover quarter, boiled all the bones for an hour and a half. I had roasted the quarters in garlic and parsley so there was enough seasoning there.

I sweated some onion, coarsely chopped celery and carrot in some olive oil, added some garlic, the broth and some Hodgson Mill whole wheat egg noodles. Product review! I don't know how they did that but those are really delicious egg noodles! Then I added the chicken I'd picked off the leftover quarter. Oh, and I splashed in the juice from half a lemon. It still needed a couple pinches of salt for it to really come to life. Managed to prepare two servings.

I don't have much room in my freezer so I freeze my soups in quart sized zip lock freezer bags. It's easy when you put the bag in a measuring cup and then just dump it in.
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