Friday, November 29, 2019

Zucchini Gratin

You need a few vegetarian side dish recipes that are simultaneously delicious for all and this combination of zucchini, pumped up with Gruyere cheese, yellow onion, butter and bread crumbs, should be on your radar.  I suggest using a mandoline to make each slice of zucchini the identical thickness and to speed up the entire process.  Getting the top brown to your liking takes some well-worth-it attention at the end.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

This recipe starts on the stove, ends in the oven and requires minimal cleanup.  A paste of rosemary, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and olive oil infuses the chicken an amazing amount of flavor and throwing in the leftover lemon husks and a couple sprigs of rosemary is over the top.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Roman Shades

These Roman Shades have added a splash of color and whatever level of extra privacy we desire.  It seems odd, but the new French Doors just seem to be more open to the backyard, even though it's probably more illusion than reality.  This is our second purchase from Sophisticated Shades, which located in the Cross Pointe Shopping Center, so we're obviously happy with their service.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

ZIP Codes

At last night's game of trivia at Romer's in Bellbrook, one seamingly simple question stumped our group of eight: What does the word "ZIP" in "ZIP codes" stand for?  None of us even knew it was a acronym, much less its meaning.  The answer is "Zone Improvement Plan", using ZIP to suggest that mail travels more quickly using ZIP codes.  These were introduced nationwide on July 1, 1963.  Lots more information at this Wikipedia link.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Then Ring Gradually

A very nice new feature on my Google Pixel 2 is the "Vibrate first then ring gradually".  When a call comes in the phone vibrates for about five seconds before beginning a gradual ramp up in ring volume until it gets to whatever max volume you've set.  It's a considerate way to catch most calls before your phone blasts out a full power ringtone.

Monday, November 11, 2019

August Moorman

I guess my great-granduncle August liked them younger and pregnant.  He fathered a total of 21 children, the first 6 by Anna, who was 7 1/2 years younger.  He remarried after Anna passed in her early thirties, having 15 more children by Rosa, who was almost 14 years younger.  And it didn't stop there.  August and Anna's first 2 children, Frank and Ferdinand, gave him 24 grandchildren.  When I have a day or two to spare, I'll try to figure out how many great-grandchildren (i.e. my generation) he had, but it's probably enough to have their own zip code.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Hasselback Apples

To properly cut the apples Hasselback style, lay a peeled and cored half-apple on a cutting board flat side down and the cut-out core running left to right.  Then lay a chopstick at the top of the apple and another at the bottom of the apple, also both running left to right.  Then make cuts, about 1/4 inch wide, from top to bottom (i.e. perpendicular to the chopsticks) allowing the knife blade to make contact with the chopsticks to prevent cutting all the way through.  They get baked with a butter and sugar mixture, topped with a streusel of oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, butter and brown sugar, then baked some more.  Your house will smell awesome!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

$700 Over Grates

If you look at the way some people carry their smartphones, it's no wonder that the cracked screen industry does a thriving business.  To help myself be more cautious, I picture my Pixel 2 as seven, $100 bills (its actual cost to replace) and that I'm walking over grates with large openings ready to swallow my money into a sewer below.  Those imaginary grates are sized to roughly represent the probability that I will lose some, and possibly all, seven Benjamin Franklin's if I don't handle them with the care they deserve.

People act more responsibly when using cash and using this technique leverages that fact.  Try it and see if you notice a difference in your behaviour.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Smartphone Emergency Information

Both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) phones provide a way for anyone with your phone to get critical medical information or dial an emergency contact without unlocking the phone, but you have to configure it now if you want it to be used later.  Most commonly this will be used to allow someone that has found your lost phone to return it, but can be a life-saver if you're not conscious during a medical emergency.  Don't hesitate, do it now.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Peyton's Places

We've watched several Peyton's Places episodes on ESPN+ and they are a delightful, funny and informative trip through the history of the National Football League.  The scene below, from the episode The Draft, included an IBM mainframe, specifically a System 360, which was the first computer I worked on back in my Wright State college days.  This one was used by the Dallas Cowboys to select potential draft picks based on analyzing a variety of player qualities.  While computers have gotten smaller, faster and cheaper, I miss flipping the switches, turning the dials and pushing the buttons on these "big iron" machines.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Running Profits - October 2019 Update

It had to happen.  After three consecutive months of increasingly finding more money, I only found 23 cents in October.  I think a lot of that is due to the number of leaves that have fallen, which hide these already-hard-enough-to-find jewels.  With two months remaining on my six-month ice cream cone quest, my total findings are $2.82.  With a little luck I'll be able to get a large, chocolate-dipped DQ cone as a result.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Tacos Carne Asada

This is a nice twist on your everyday taco.  Marinate flank steak, skirt steak, or similar cut, for one to eight hours in a "Mojo" consisting of garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, orange, white vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Ignore the directions calling for a mortar and pestle, and use a small food processor instead.  Grill the steak for 7-10 minutes per side until medium-rare, then rest for 5 minutes. If you're a glutton for more chopping, you can make the Pico De Gallo yourself, but I opted for fresh store-bought. Add lettuce, onion, and cheese to all that and, BAM!, dinner is served.