Friday, March 31, 2023


I made the Gnudi (pronounced "nudie") shown below as a lower-carb alternative to Gnocchi.  The dough is a combination of ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, spinach, and spices, with a small amount of flour to get it pulled together to form flat circles.  They are placed in boiling water until they float, about 3-4 minutes, plated, and topped with a little marinara sauce.  I added more cheese on top of that because "nobody criticizes the chef for having too much cheese."

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Paul's Martini Recipe

In our opinion, there are very few places that make a great martini and, fortunately, that includes our house and Bartender Paul.  The keys that make ours great are the gin (Bombay Sapphire), the ratio (4 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth), and the mixing.  After I place the combination in a shaker half-filled with ice, I gently rock it back and forth for 10-15 seconds and let it sit for a few minutes, which results in the crystal-clear cold drink you see below.  Bartenders tend to shake the geebers out of it to get it cold faster, but the result is usually a cloudy drink which is not nearly as appealing.  Two large ice cubes, which melt slower, and a few martini olives complete my masterpiece.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Apple Watch Water Ejection

When Chef Elaine told me that she could eject water from her Apple Watch, I got one of those "did I hear that right?" expressions on my face.  As the video at the link below demonstrates, you must first enable water lock mode and then turn the crown to start the water ejection process.  The watch goes through ten cycles using a frequency of 165 Hz to expel water from the speakers, the only part of the watch that water can get at while it's in water lock mode.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Clean Energy Charging

When Chef Elaine plugs her iPhone in to charge, she wants it to charge, not have the demi-Gods at Apple decide that it's not a good time to do so.  The "Clean Energy Charging" setting at the bottom of the screenshot below was on by default and as you can read at the link below, this was torking off users whose phones were charging slower than expected.  Whether this is a good idea or bad corporate Orwellian behavior is up to each of us to decide, but people need to opt in to an idea, not have it decided for them.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Unique Lineup

Chef Elaine and I went to the 1st and 2nd round NCAA basketball games in Greensboro, NC, and saw some great games.  We saw the usual highlight plays, 3-pointers from way beyond the arc, alley-oop dunks, and rejected shots but the unusual is captured in the photo below.  Notice that at one point in the game Xavier's lineup consisted of numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4, a sequence I've never seen in any game ever.  

The photo also demonstrates how awesome the Pixel 7's camera is, capturing a decent picture of the electronic scoreboard while using full zoom.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Sous Vide Chicken Thighs

Not sure why the recipe at the link below started with deboning bone-in chicken thighs, but we saved ourselves that hassle by buying boneless.  A simple salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika rub adds flavor as the thighs slowly cook and a short sear followed in a cast iron skillet to give it visual appeal.  While we made only four thighs, our Sous Vide could have handled at least a dozen, making this a nice recipe for larger groups.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Guinness 0

Guinness is my go-to beer and despite its dark color and malty flavor, it's a reasonable 125 calories per 12 ounces.  When I saw that they make a non-alcoholic version, shown below, I thought I'd give it a try and compare the two.  I was very surprised that there is very little difference in taste and even more surprised that Guinness 0 is only 57 calories per 12 ounces.  I think I'll keep a few on hand.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Disinfect Washcloths & Sponges

I thought Chef Elaine was going wacky when she put a washcloth in the microwave, but she kindly explained that it's a quick and easy way to disinfect her kitchen sponges and washcloths.  She puts them in, damp, and zaps them on high for a minute.  The steam that gets produced kills the germs.  This 1-minute YouTube video explains in a little more detail.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wedding Reception

Last November I wrote about the Eichelberger Pavilion at Carillon Park and below you can see it set up for our son's and daughter-in-law's wedding reception.  It was catered by Bernstein's Catering and they knocked it out of the park with delicious appetizers, main courses, and dessert bites.  We used the upper level for the cocktail hour which allowed the staff to get everything set without having to dodge a whole slew of people.  Many people commented that this was one of the best receptions they had ever attended, and we agree, even though we're not exactly impartial judges.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Figlio Private Dining Room

Not only does Figlio have a private dining area that fits groups of up to 40 people, but it's also one of the few we found that's available on a Friday night, which is, of course, the most popular evening for a rehearsal dinner party!  The buffet of salad, pizza, and pasta was terrific and the wait staff was on top of everything.  

Friday, March 17, 2023

Bologna Sandwich

Half of my lunches are bologna sandwiches, a remnant of my upbringing, along with the two other most popular mystery meats, namely SPAM and hot dogs.  So when I saw this 3/4" bologna sandwich on the menu at our local Geez restaurant, it was a no-brainer.  Fried up nicely and topped with pickles, onions, tomatoes, and mayo (omitted the lettuce), it made a pretty substantial dinner.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Dr. Motion

The last pair of compression socks I bought is really good but pricey.   In need of several new pairs, I opted for the Dr. Motion brand that Chef Elaine favors.  The four pairs that are shown below cost about the same (~$20) as one of the previous pairs and are great for our morning runs.  I prefer the low cut while the Chef likes the no-shows.  To each their own.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Pixel 7

After five years of splendid service, my Google Pixel 2 has been retired and replaced with a Pixel 7.  The 7 is just a little bit bigger than the 2, has twice as much storage (yeah!), wireless charging, and 5G, but the biggest boost will come from the Google Tensor 2 AI (Artificial Intelligence) chip which should make, among other things, even better photos.  So far the only thing I miss is the fingerprint unlock on the back of the 2, which is much more convenient than the 7.

The picture below shows part of the migration process and ends up moving all the data, apps, and settings from the 2 to the 7.  Very painless process.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Kettering Bus Stops

It's amazing how often I can pass by something and not take any notice, for example, the bus stop seen below.  They were designed back in 2007 by Dayton-based artist and architect, Mary Rogero who served as a principal architect with Rogero Buckman Architects.  They are part of a city-wide collection of art known as CitySites which includes paintings, statues, structures, and even the decorative sides of bridges on West Schantz Avenue and Ridgeway Road.  You read about all twenty-six of them at the link below.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Little Pillow

The little pillow in the forefront below serves two purposes.  I'm a side sleeper and I put it under the arm that I'm not lying on to prop it up and relieve pressure on my shoulders.  It makes an amazing difference.  The second use doesn't work 100% of the time, but when I jamb it up against my chin it helps keep my mouth closed it prevents some bouts of snoring.  And that's really appreciated.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Cocoa-Rubbed Flank Steak

Here's a very different rub for your steak, a combination of unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, brown sugar, chili powder, ground coffee, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.  Cocoa powder and coffee?  Yep, that's different.  And delicious!

We opted for the easier-to-find flank steak instead of the hanger steak used in the recipe at the link below.  Her Sous Chef (aka me) mixed the spices, covered the steak with it, and wrapped it in plastic for an hour or so.  Chef Elaine then used an oiled cast-iron iron skillet to cook the steak to a perfect doneness (which is, of course, medium-rare), flipping it to give both sides a nice char.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Purple Bag Project

Our local liquor stores have containers like the one shown below where you can donate your leftover Crown Royal bags and for each bag, they will donate a dollar to support our troops.  They partner with the nonprofit organization Packages From Home whose mission is to send care and comfort packages to deployed American military heroes stationed on active duty around the world.


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Bike Yard at Welcome Park

The picture below is a section of the new bike park currently under construction at Welcome Park in Dayton, which is located behind U.D. Arena and Welcome Stadium.  Access to the park is on Hopeland Street, off of West Stewert a couple blocks west of Edwin C. Moses Blvd.  The bike park will have sections for all skill levels and this section is very advanced with jumps and sharp turns.  Scares the 67 in me, but I'm sure the kids will love it.

A grand opening celebration is expected in May of 2023.  See the link below for more details.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Magic Eraser

The two photos below started out as the same photo on my Google Pixel 2, but the golf cart in the first picture was removed with Google's very cool "Magic Eraser" feature in Google Photos.  It will analyze your photo and suggest things you might want to be removed, or you can circle or brush over specific areas and it removes what's there and replaces it with an educated guess of what was likely behind it.  I now have a way to defeat photobombers or those beach walkers that spoiled a perfect sunset photo.

Sorry, but this feature is currently limited to Google Pixel phones and Google One members on Android and iOS, but I haven't seen the update yet on my iPad.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Finished Workbench

Chef Elaine thought I should share a picture of the finished workbench...

Just To Get An Outlet

Our workbench didn't have an electrical outlet but had available wiring.  To get to the final result below, I had to rip out the old 8'x4' pegboard because it was nailed in and not possible to remove without damaging it.  I then installed the new outlet, and used two, smaller and lighter, 4'x4' pegboard pieces, cutting off 7" one of them to get the right fit.  Perhaps the smartest thing I did was to attach the pegboard to the studs shooting black screws through some of the pegboard holes.  Not only does the black color make them almost unnoticeable, but if I have to get behind the pegboard in the future, I can do that without damaging it.  The final step was to paint the surface to cover up all the paint spills, nail holes, and other damage that has occurred over the years.  

All of that, just to get an outlet.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Caramelized Parsnips

Chef Elaine bought a bag of parsnips at Trader Joe's and had to look no further than the back of the package to find this delightful recipe.  She cut up the parsnips into finger-sized sticks, sprinkled them with nutmeg, added them to her cast iron skillet, covered them, and cooked them golden brown.  Finally, water was added and by the time it evaporated, the parsnips were done.  

Thursday, March 2, 2023

1913 Flood

The structure shown below, at Deed's Point, shows the peak water level during Dayton's 1913 flood.  When you stand next to it, look down to the river below and then out to downtown Dayton, it's scary to think that three days of heavy rains resulted in waters reaching 20 feet in low-lying areas.   Even worse, those flood waters were moving up to 25 miles per hour.  The link below describes a little about The Great 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Park.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Greater Dayton School

The building shown below, located where Great Miami and Mad rivers join in downtown Dayton, will be the new home for The Greater Dayton School, Ohio’s first private non-religious elementary school exclusively dedicated to under-resourced students.  Their core values are defined as:
  • Student-first, student-centered
  • Dream big; work hard
  • Ownership by everyone
  • Do the right thing
They look at education differently, starting with how they view success when their students are 27 years old.  Their goal is that at least 80 percent of them are …
  • Successful by their own definition
  • Physically and mentally healthy
  • Living lives of character and integrity
  • Financially independent
  • Established in a career
Sounds to me like they're onto something and it will be interesting to see if they turn their different approach into many successful outcomes.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Cell Phone Waiting Lot

We would love to give a gold star to whoever invented the Cell Phone Waiting Lot, but apparently, it just sort of happened.  I remember the old days when you circled around the airport until whoever you were picking up finally appeared.  All the extra traffic and the congestion it brings are eliminated with this free (I love free) lot.  Just park, wait for a text or call and be at passenger pickup in a minute or two.  Brilliant!

Monday, February 27, 2023

Plastic Expansion Wall Anchors

The anchors shown below are my go-to when hanging anything that will put significant stress that will try to pull it out of the wall or door, for example, a Roman shade hanging in front of our French doors to the deck.  The flanges on the anchor are first bent in to make it pointy, inserted into a hole drilled into the door, and tapped flush.  The red key is inserted to pop open the anchor open, pushing the flanges back out and when the screws will pull the flanges tight against the door.  

Friday, February 24, 2023

Pesto Pizza

The work of art shown below was our Superbowl dinner.  Chef Elaine started with a store-bought Boboli thin crust pizza crust, thawed a few cubes of her awesome pesto, mixed in some olive oil, and spread that on the crust.  Then lots of the cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms were piled on and slid into a 400-degree oven, and baked for about ten minutes.  It's can't-stop-from-eating-another-slice good!

Big shoutout to Kim V for introducing us to no-red-sauce pizza!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

St. Vincent de Paul Dayton Needs List

St. Vincent de Paul is our favorite charitable donation location but recently learned they maintain an Amazon Needs List filled with in-demand items like blankets, sheets, towels, clothing, and body care products.  We sent them a couple of sets of sheets and it's nice to send them brand-new items that you know will get put to good use.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Motli Light

The Motli Light is a safer alternative to gas-flame-based lighters, using an electric arc (the purple at the bottom of the picture below) to easily light candles or gas stoves, but takes a bit more work to ignite paper.  It's rechargeable using a standard Micro-USB cable, a nice change from throwing away disposable lighters.  It also has an LED light (kinda useless), but the four-light battery indicator lets you know when needs charged, which is very nice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Golf Ball Stamp

Golf Rule 6.3a, "Holing Out with Same Ball Played from Teeing Area", is made much easier if you have a unique marking on your golf ball to identify it.  Instead of making a dot pattern with a Sharpie (boring), we opted for a script "M" drawn by the handy tool shown below.  Even though we're using the same "M", I play with white golf balls while Chef Elaine likes yellow.  

The stamper is supposed to last for thousands of impressions, so maybe it will last, for us, a year.  :-)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Smart Air Pump

Manually pumping up bicycle tires and footballs, and the several yearly trips to the Speedway station to fill up car tires, are now a thing of the past thanks to this battery-powered air pump that I snatched up for $40, a 50% savings, at Amazon.  You select the type of device you're inflating, set the desired PSI, attached it to your device, hit go, and it does all the work and shuts off when the set pressure is reached.  It also has a built-in LED light and can charge your smartphone or other tech device.

I know it's February, but it's not too early to add this to somebody's Christmas list. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Apricot-Glazed Chicken Thighs

The crazy combination of apricot preserves, vinegar, and finely chopped rosemary that makes this sauce is such a delicious combination that you could put it on just about anything, but it pairs perfectly with these dark-meat chicken thighs.  Chef Elaine did not make the couscous featured in this recipe for no better reason than to avoid their carbs.  If you're looking for a 15-minute-or-less dinner treat, you found it right here.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Sparkling Meyer Lemon Cocktail

The sweeter Meyer lemons and aromatic rosemary give this simple vodka, prosecco, and simple syrup cocktail a refreshing must-be-summer vibe.  The garnish was Chef Elaine's idea for a more appealing photo.  If you're stuck drinking the same ol' same ol', expand your palate with one of these on your next Thirsty Thursday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

iPad Air 5th Generation

Both of our iPads were old and struggling so we replaced them both, opting for the little older 5th generation to save a chunk so we could use those savings to get the lighter iPad Air instead of the bulkier standard iPad.  Of course, when jumping over multiple generations of technology we expected the new ones to be much better, but wow are we impressed!  The screen looks a lot larger compared to the old iPads even though the device itself is about a half-inch wider and longer.  While the performance of the older iPads was OK, it's amazing how much faster pages load on the new ones.

The link below has all the technical specifications for the 5th gen iPad Air.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

American Flag

A friend noticed that the flag patch on Chef Elaine's jacket was backward, with the stars on the right instead of the left as we normally see them.  A quick search found that on military uniforms the flag is displayed this way and since her jacket came from the 2022 Military Bowl game, it was proper.  

As the article at the link below explains, the blue star field must always face toward the front followed by the red and white stripes and as the patch is on the right shoulder, the flag must be reversed.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Slim K Cup Holders

In another effort to free up kitchen counter space, we have moved the Keurig K-Cups from their carousel into a drawer using a pair of slim, 5-slot holders.  They can be deployed in several more ways including clinging underneath a shelf or adhering to the side of a wall.  Getting even one additional square foot of counter space is precious.

Before we retired we used the Keurig quite a bit, but now we brew a pot to enjoy during our morning read-in-bed routine.  The Keurig is now mostly used by family and guests and ten pods are more than enough for an average day.  

As you can see below, Chef Elaine is a Steelers fan.  Her sous chef is a Browns fan.  Love conquers all!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Dayton Street Eats

We ran across this carry-out-only sandwich shop last summer in Kettering on Bigger Road and it did not disappoint in either quality or quantity.  I ordered the "The Bearded Lady", their spin on the classic Rueben.  Other sandwiches include the pulled pork "Not The 'McRib'", the roast beef "Hardly 'Arby'", and the chicken salad "The Mother-In-Law".  The menu, hours, and pictures that will make you slobber can be found at this Instagram link.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Stadium Jail

Our vote for the worst fans in the NFL rests with the Philadelphia Eagles.  You might think that pelting Santa with snowballs would land you on the permanent naughty list, but back in 1997 when an Eagles fan fired a smuggled flare gun across the field and dozens of fights broke out, they needed a serious deterrent.  They built a courtroom and a jail inside Veterans Stadium to dispense quick justice, hefty fines, and the revocation of season tickets.  This continued for several years until cases had tapered off and a new stadium was built.  You can read more details at the link below.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Analiti Speed Test And WiFi Tester

This free (I love free) Analiti test tool is available for Amazon's Fire TV and on the Google Play app store.  It's one of the best I've seen, combining Internet and WiFi and displaying the results in a (somewhat) less technical way.  As shown below, our home Internet and WiFi are in excellent shape.  Spectrum is delivering on their 300 Mbps service and our home WiFi is capable of speeds that would allow for 8K streaming, thanks to our triple-hub Google Wifi mesh.  

You can install the app to your Amazon streaming devices directly from the link below. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Moving Art

Moving Art is a Netflix series that features beautiful aerial views of exotic locations accompanied by what would best be described as calming, massage-room music.  If you're just wanting to sit back and relax, this would be very helpful, or if you're the type that just likes having the TV on (we're not) for background noise, this might be for you.

Big shoutout to Dan for this introduction.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Montgomery County GIS

Montgomery County, Ohio publishes a GIS (Geographic Information System) site (link below) that contains a lot of information related to each parcel of land, including its owner.  One way to search their database is by an owner's last name, which is shown below, for my surname.  I downloaded the results and trimmed down the rows and columns a bit to make them more readable.  Turns out there are several dozen Moorman folk in the county, most of which I don't know. 

In this day and age of tighter privacy laws, it's strange to stumble upon this type of data, even if it's public information.  

Friday, February 3, 2023

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chef Elaine made the most delicious chicken cordon bleu (translation: blue ribbon), a dish of Swiss origin made in a moment of inspired desperation (read about it at the link below).  It boasts a combined twenty ingredients between the schnitzels and the cream sauce, so it's not for the faint of heart, but Chef Elaine is fearless.  The lemony cream sauce would also work well with beef or fish.  

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cleaning Wiper Blades

When my windshield wiper blades begin to leave water streaks I usually head up to Autozone for a new pair that they install for me or buy a new set and install them myself.  A few months back I had a new thought, "should I try cleaning them first?".  A little research led me to the link below and I followed their directions on cleaning them with isopropyl alcohol.  As you can see in the picture below, I removed a lot of black gunk from the blades, and they now are back in good working order.  

I wonder how many hundreds of dollars I've wasted over the years on prematurely replacing wiper blades.  Probably best not to dwell on that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

RYO Shelving

Another demonstration of an RYO ("Roll Your Own") project is the custom-made mini-shelving shown on the right side below.  We've put up with the before version (on the left) for several years and could never find the exact dimensions we needed.  I cut a couple of 2'x4', 1/4" PVC panels and screwed them together with 3/4" wood screws into pieces of quarter-round.  The final product was just what we needed and we're not going to talk about the half-dozen screw-ups along the way.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

RYO Non-Slip Cutting Board

We have a number of cutting boards including a few that say they're "non-slip", which has never been true enough to be useful.  The board shown below started out with such a promise but failed to deliver so I bought a 12"x12" Adhesive Non-Slip Solid Rubber Pad from Amazon, cut a couple of 2" strips from it, peeled off the release paper, and stuck it to one side of the cutting board.  It's now close enough to "non-slip" as I think is possible (push hard enough and anything will move).  Sometimes you just have to "Roll Your Own".

Monday, January 30, 2023

Pelonis Space Heater

Our east-side guest bedrooms are at the farthest points from the furnace and are always too cold in the winter.  Our #1 requirement was that any solution made absolutely no noise, not a fan whirl, not a tink, nor a click.  I found the Pelonis Oil-Filled Space Heater shown below at Menards and it was the perfect solution.  The most significant tradeoff is that it doesn't heat up as quickly as other options, but a little planning ahead solves that.  And for $50 bucks it was a great buy, particularly since they will not get all that much use.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Roasted Pecans

Raw pecans are a tasty treat but a little roasting takes them to the next level.  Chef Elaine puts a layer of pecans on a cookie sheet in a 400-degree oven for 5-7 minutes, watching over them very closely for the moment they turn the perfect shade of dark doneness.  The smaller pieces bake faster, so save those for me.  A little more char is my thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Windows Logo Key Shortcuts

Along with the mind-boggling number of Windows CTRL, ALT, and Function key shortcuts, there are dozens more that start by holding down the Windows Logo Key, that oft-looked key that looks like the image below.   Which ones you might find useful depends on how you use your PC.  The five I use the most are:

Windows logo key + E - Open File Explorer
Windows logo key + L - Lock your PC
Windows logo key + R - Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + D - Display and hide the desktop
Windows logo key + P - Choose a presentation display mode

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Apple Watch Storage Full

As you can see in the left screenshot below, Chef Elaine's Apple Watch was very low on memory (only 0.3 GB remaining) and over half of the total storage was being used by "Other", whatever that means.  Most of that "Other" was reclaimed by a simple restart of the watch, freeing up 2.4 GB seen in the after-boot picture on the right.  There is still another 2-3 GB of "Other" remaining, but that would require totally resetting and restoring the watch and that's not worth the effort.

It used to be that remembering to wind your watch was the only thing to worry about.  Miss those simpler days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

EZ Pass Holder

Instead of getting an electronic toll device from the rental car company (a considerable cost), we used our own EZ Pass inserted into the triple-suction-cup holder shown below that we bought at the Amazon link for just over $10.  It worked flawlessly during a recent trip to central and eastern Florida, not even having to slow down as we flew by the fare readers.