Friday, May 31, 2019

Perfect Filet Mignon

When you splurge for Filet Mignon, the last thing you want to do is cook it too little or (gasp!) too much.  This recipe is simple and straight-forward, just follow the instructions to the letter.  That includes two of the most important cooking tips we repeatedly hear on The Kitchen.  First, set the meat out until is reaches room temperature.  You simply can't expect to get even cooking when the middle of the meat starts out cold.  Second, and much harder to do because as humans we just have to fiddle, is leave the meat alone when it's cooking.  Just put the utensil down and step away.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Calling Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos islands are directly east of Cuba and north of Hispaniola (i.e. Dominican Republic and Haiti) and the site of our upcoming summer vacation.  In setting up some fun activities, I was asked the cost to make phone calls from the U.S. to the islands. 

Calling from our Verizon phones is almost two dollars a minute, but if I use my Google Voice/Hangouts app, the cost is reduced to no more than a quarter per minute, as the screenshots taken from their respective websites below demonstrate.  If you have any kind of large bill for international or long-distance calling, checkout this Google Voice link.

Verizon pricing 😱

Google Voice pricing😊

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Google Chrome users will see the message below when their internet connectivity dies.  The blocky animal in the shape of a dinosaur is called a downasaur.  Perhaps this will help your trivia game some day and give Google at least some credit for a sense of humor.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Progressive Web Apps

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a hybrid between a website and a mobile application, and seeks to minimize the issues inherent with either pure approach.  A PWA can be installed (no app store required), improving performance.  If that option is available, you will see an option similar to the highlighted "Install Pinterest..." in the first screen shot.  A PWA runs in its own window, providing a cleaner interface, and some apps (e.g. Google's image reducing Squoosh) will run totally without an Internet connection.

Monday, May 27, 2019


A couple weeks ago I posted on our newly planted Lavender Veranda knockout roses and they are doing beautifully (pun intended), but I had to build these cages to keep the rabbits from gnawing them to the ground.  Little bas**rds love any kind of new growth, even if it has thorns.  So we'll have to enjoy the muted view until they are fully established and not succulent enough for the bunnies.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Asparagus Wrapped In Prosciutto, Cheese And Puff Pastry

All you do is spread 6 tablespoons of soft garlic and herb cheese across two sheets (one package) of thawed puff pastry, top with 8 slices of prosciutto and cut into 30 strips.  Twist each strip, as shown below, meat side in, around a trimmed asparagus spear and bake seam down at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Fancy, colorful and delicious!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Remote Desktop Web

Google has extended their Chrome Remote Desktop (CRD) with a web browser version so you can access your own systems or help out family and friends.  The target system still needs the CRD app installed, but you only need a web browser.  The screenshot below is my Acer Chromebook laptop accessing my home office Mac Mini as I began to write this post.  This link can help you get started.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pay Less Liquor Sale

During a recent trip to a Pay Less grocery store in Muncie, Indiana to grab a couple bottles of Buffalo Trace bourbon (wish they did that in Ohio), we stumbled upon a half-off sale on to-be-discontinued items such as the handle of Woodford Reserve bourbon and fifths of Patron Tequila and Sexton Irish Whiskey you see below.  Stunned, but not too stunned, to snatch up these incredible bargains.

Shout out to Pat D for the trip to Pay Less!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Slow-Motion Video

This isn't to show that my golf swing needs more than a little work, but rather that until last Saturday I had no clue that my Android phone could capture slow-motion video.  That option was behind the "more" in the camera app, somewhere I never have the inclination to look.  But when I saw that an iPhone could do it, it spurred me to investigate and find this hidden gem.

Shout out to Emma D for the assist!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Elaine's Veggie Soup

From time to time my wife makes a huge pot of vegetable soup and each one ends up being a bit unique because it includes whatever bags of end-of-life vegetables, fresh or frozen, happen to be available.  She starts by sautéing onion and garlic in some oil and adding that to one box each of chicken broth and chicken stock, a couple cans of diced tomatoes, a small head of cabbage (shredded), sliced carrots and celery, and rosemary, thyme and sage.  She simmers all that until the carrots are tender, then adds spinach leaves and finishes with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Guanabana, also known as soursop, is a fruit native to the tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean and tastes like a combination of pineapple, banana and papaya.  I had never heard of it until a friend mentioned it on some advertisement in Fort Lauderdale last March.  Then a couple months later I saw this Welch's drink in our local Kroger and decided to give it a try.  It was delicious and a nice change of pace.

Shout out to Evelyn for bringing Guanabana to our attention!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Amazon Day

In the past I waited to order Amazon's low-cost "Add-on Items" which are not shipped free for even Prime members without a larger purchase, but no more.  Amazon now allows you to select "Your Amazon Day" (I picked Friday below for no particular reason) and if you select that for your delivery option, the Add-On Items are shipped free (I love free), even with no other purchase, and you don't lose your normal free two-day delivery (which is rapidly headed to one-day).  Totally cool!

Monday, May 13, 2019


Thanks to more fortune than skill, we just saved almost seven hundred dollars off our resort room on Turks and Caicos.  We booked it months ago at full price, but recently they ran a 25% off sale and a simple phone call to their reservations desk secured the lower price.  This will ultimately result in our entire party saving nearly three thousand dollars.  I'll be keeping a closer eye on future trip reservations to keep more dollars in our pocket.

Shout out to Steve and Karen P for the major savings!

Friday, May 10, 2019


The trifecta of diet-friendly, easy-to-make, and stores-for-days in the refrigerator make Frittata's a winner in our kitchen.  What you put in yours is up to your imagination and taste preferences, but the chopped asparagus spears are a mainstay in ours, and we prefer half-n-half over plain milk to give it some extra fluff.  We used ten eggs in our 12 inch cast iron skillet below, but the number of eggs you need will vary according to size of your frypan.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Lavender Veranda

It was time to reimagine our circular garden, so everything went and the ground throughly rototilled.  The two sets of wind-powered blades on the new centerpiece turn in opposite directions, creating a soothing effect.  The six new knockout rose bushes seem a little lost now, but in a few years they will fill in and deliver a stunning sea of lavender rose petals.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Fine Wine Sunday has been a tradition for many years now and the one below featured Bobby Flay's Grilled Shrimp Skewers.  The shrimp was grilled for just a few minutes then brushed with simmered olive oil, garlic and chile flakes that's blended with oregano, salt and pepper.  It was accompanied by jasmine rice, baked Parmesan green beans and a bottle of Sanford “Vista al Rio" Pinot Noir.

My wife knocks it out of the park once again!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ground Bison

This was a welcome sight a few weeks ago, as ground bison made a big comeback at our local Costco.  We've found it at other grocery stores from time to time, but we like Costco's the best.  Don't limit your summer grilling to everyday hamburger, but the low fat content of the bison does call for a spicy topper.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Excel /x

Normally Excel opens all spreadsheets in a single instance, but I had the need to open an Excel spreadsheet in a separate process.  Fortunately Microsoft added a startup switch, "/x", back in the memory-constrained 32-bit days, to allow multiple, very large spreadsheets to be open concurrently.  While that's not the reason I needed it (it's more than a tad geeky), I was glad to have it available and led me to the discovery of a number of other startup switches, detailed at the link below.