the_gneech: (Default)
Finally, a sport for me!

Tony Gemignani is equal parts chef and athlete. The Italian-American restaurateur is a pro at tossing pizza dough, and can perform complicated feats like tossing the stiff flour mixture high into the air, spinning it around his shoulders or through his legs, and even juggling multiple pizzas-in-progress at a time...


Andy's! :d

Jan. 25th, 2016 11:10 am
the_gneech: (Yebor)
It's official! [ profile] lythandra and I will be having dinner at Andy's Bar-B-Que on Saturday, February 13th.

In case, y'know, any of you want to join us.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
I understand why fries are bad for you; I mean basically they're "carb sticks boiled in butter." Of course they're bad for you. But I've never understood why burgers are so friggin' bad. It's nuts! Using the Weight Watchers point method the average grilled burger starts at something like 20 points for a lean turkey burger, and goes up to 50+ for Ye Olde Bacon Deathburger at a sports bar-type place.

To put this into perspective, a 200-lb healthy adult male has a daily points budget of somewhere around 35 points. So, yeah. Burgers not a great choice. Put a 15-point order of fries next to those and you can see why so many people have that distinctive Body By Diabetes shape.

So in our continuing quest to find food that won't kill us that isn't "wheat germ sprinkled on half a cup of plain yogurt" [1], [ profile] lythandra picked up some Morningstar Farms veggie corn dogs. Because let's face it, if you can make a friggin' corn dog be relatively healthy but still actually taste like a corn dog, you can probably do just about anything.

So we tried the Morningstar Veggie Corn Dogs and discovered that... holy crap, they were actually good. O.o They didn't taste exactly like the last "real meat and corn meal" corn dog I'd had, but they were definitely within the functional parameters of what a corn dog should be like, in both taste and texture. And at 4 points per, they're on the low end of snack foods, points budget-wise.

Emboldened by this, we searched online for reviews of veggie burgers, and came to the conclusion that Morningstar Farms seems to win again in that category. So we went out and picked up a package of "Grillers," which are approximately the size and thickness of a McDonald's "quarter pounder," or maybe a little larger. To keep things simple, I sprayed a pan with some cooking oil and just fried 'em up, topped with a little Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, and served on a toasted english muffin. With a side of oven-baked crinkle fries (which are much better points-wise than deep fried fries), the entire meal came to a total of 11 points(!), plus beverage. And was delicious. :d

Again, it wasn't "just like a quarter pounder" (I consider that a feature not a bug), but it was within the parameters of what I recognize as a burger. It scratched that "I want a burger" itch, but more importantly, it was just a tasty meal in its own right. Besides being a great choice for my health goals, this is something that I'm looking forward to having again because it was yummy. :d I'll be trying more stuff from these folks soon.

-The Gneech

[1] Something a personal trainer once swore to me with a straight face was "a tasty snack," and has since become my ur-example of how to convince people not to eat healthy foods.
the_gneech: (me am writing!)
On Halloween of 1993 [ profile] lythandra blew my tiny little mind by actually marrying me, in a quaint row-house hotel in Richmond. Thanks, sweetie! ^.^

The twenty-years-ness of it all kinda snuck up on us; neither Laurie nor I are particularly calendar-centric. But when we realized that it was such a momentous occasion, Laurie took off from work (some of which she was going to do anyway 'cos we've got a lot to do this week), and now we're trying to decide what to do with the day. Right now it looks like we'll be trolling a few used bookstores, in that living-dangerously sort of way we do.

I started the morning by trying to make some chocolate-chunk scones, with less-than-perfect results. For some reason I can't figure out, the dough came out both fluffier and gooier than it should have. Maybe not enough flour? I followed the same directions I've been using, but there's always variation I suppose. The scones were still edible, tho, so it wasn't a total disaster.

Oh! One other bit of news here: we have officially taken the house off the market until spring. The gov't shutdown pretty much killed what little interest there was in real estate around here right now. So, belts will be tight for a while, but at least this way we don't have to worry about keeping the house in showable condition, and we can get the stuff back out of the storage place and save $185/mo we don't need to be spending.

Anyway. Cheating is bad, Richard Baseheart is good. And so is Laurie, for having put up with me for all these years. :)

the_gneech: (Kero asleep)
Today was spent in HTML 5 training, which was fun; but for some peculiar reason, I hit a big ol' wall when I got home and crashed. Nap + dinner gave me just enough energy to make a second attempt at banana pudding, then my energy flagged again and all I had energy to do was run around LotRO with my lowbie champ.

In case you didn't hear the saga of the banana pudding, a few weeks ago I tried to make some, using the recipe on a box of pudding. It basically consisted of 20 vanilla wafers, 2.5 cups of pudding, three bananas, and a package of Cool Whip.

In order to add a little flourish, I used French Vanilla Cool Whip, a seasonal flavor currently in the stores, as well as adding a few liberal dashes of cinnamon.

French Vanilla Cool Whip, in case you don't know, tastes exactly like a Yankee Candle Store.

Anyway! My first attempt, was not so hot. There was nowhere near enough pudding, and way too much of everything else. It was sorta like eating banana slices in Cool Whip, which could be good if that's what you're looking for-- [ profile] hantamouse said of it, "Taken on its own merits, it's good, as long as you completely forget about the context of it supposedly being banana pudding."

So tonight I just doubled the pudding, added a few more vanilla wafers to accommodate the larger dish, and left all the rest of the portions the same. Net result? Better. Not perfect, but better. I'm thinking a deeper, narrower dish, four bananas instead of three, and half a package of Cool Whip next time. You can at least tell it's banana pudding, this time, which is an improvement.

In any case... now of course it's bedtime, and so of course, I'm wide awake. I missed being able to hang out with the #TwitterPonies today, and I resent not having the energy to do art tonight after I was looking forward to it during the day all day. But the world is what it is, not what you or I would have of it, so I'll just have to get over it. Maybe tomorrow will go more to plan.

Speaking of which... goodnight world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Jeeves Satisfaction)
It's amazing the difference that even a small dash of red pepper flakes will make in one's scrambled eggs. Use with caution!

That said ... NOM. :d

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (NIMH Scariest Icon)
It's been a long, long time since I made Rice Krispies treats. Marshmallows melting in butter, aaauuurrrmm... *drool*

Beware, interstellar marshmallow menace! OMNOMNOM!

-The Gneech, gettin' ready for the office Christmas party
the_gneech: (Default)
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Shredded green bean casserole with sliced almonds on top. Bleah.

Also, gigantic Jell-O molds filled with nuts, marshmellows, fruit bits, and other weirdness.

I'm not keen on pumpkin pie, but it's easy enough to avoid.

Other than that, most of the traditional dishes are fine by me.

-The Gneech


Nov. 24th, 2008 01:16 pm
the_gneech: (Blank)
Garlic! Garlic, garlic, garlic, garlic!





-The Gneech

PS: Garlic.
the_gneech: (No Duh)
Dolly Madison Zingers are not as good as Hostess Twinkies.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (It's a Lion)
One of the big things I wanted in a house was enough backyard to put a grill into. Not a ginormous barbecue pit, nor a fancy-schmancy gas grill with stereo and jacuzzi attachments, just a plain ol' Weber that you pile up with charcoal and sear the $&@#!! out of stuff with.

Well, we've got that. :) In fact, we've been cooking on the thing for nearly a year now, whenever we managed to have both some free time and decent weather. The first several attempts were iffy at best, but as we've been practicing, we've gotten noticeably better. In fact, tonight I managed to grill just about the Platonic Ideal steak, a feat which I'm quite pleased with. :) Our first ever attempt at grilling corn in the husk, however, didn't go quite so well, the kernels ending up still just a bit too tough. I think perhaps the corn needed to have another layer of husk still on it — the husks were charred and peeling off within roughly 30 seconds, whereas that should have taken a good two or three minutes at least.

Still, that just means that next time, they'll be better. :) I don't consider myself a foodie by any means (I'm not about to turn up my nose at good ol' Matchlight in favor of marinated hardwood chips any time soon, for instance), but I am enough of an aesthete to enjoy good food, made well. :d

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
A random meme nicked from [ profile] indigoskynet...

1) Do you like blue cheese?
Uck, no. I like cream cheese, tho, does that count?

2) Have you ever smoked heron?
Heck, I've never even smoked salmon.

3) Do you own guns?
Toys, yes. The real things, no.

4) What flavor do you add to your drink at sonic?
What's sonic?

5) Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Not generally. I'm usually too busy being annoyed at sitting in the waiting room for 20 minutes past my listed appointment time.

6) Last commercial jingle you heard?
I don't actually remember, but my guess would be "Ba-dap bap bap baaa, I'm loving it."

7) Favorite Christmas song?
Carol of the Old Ones. "Real" Christmas song, probably "Feliz Navidad."

8) What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Either white chocolate mocha, or bottled mocha frappuccino poured into a cup and microwaved for two minutes to make it hot.

9) Can you do push ups?
Yes, but I loathe them.

10) Can you do a chin up?
Never have successfully done one, no matter how much pumping iron I do.

11) What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
Probably my grandfather's "R" ring, which is way too large for my fingers.

12) Favorite hobby?
Does my writing count as a hobby? Then that. Otherwise, roleplaying games.

13) Ever been in a car wreck?
I've been in collisions; none of them were bad enough to be called a "wreck," tho.

14) Do you have ADD?
I was in school before every kid with high idea flow was called "ADD" and given stupefying drugs. So I don't know if they'd say I did or not. Certainly I had a problem sitting still in class.

15) What's one trait that you hate about yourself?
Hate? I don't know, after getting over my depression I kinda stopped hating myself. I dislike that I've got a permanent spare tire and a pudgy face, that I have a hard time maintaining focus, and that I'm a bit of a slob. Pick your favorite.

16) Middle name?
No thanks, I've got one already. (Robert, specifically.)

17) Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1 - Ow, my leg hurts.
2 - *random snippet of music going through my head*
3 - I need to clean up my desk.

18) Name 3 things you bought yesterday:
1 - breakfast (cheese danish + white mocha)
2 - Cat Fancy magazine for [ profile] lythandra
3 - lunch (buffalo chicken fingers)

19) Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
1 - mocha frappuccino
2 - root beer
3 - unsweetened iced tea

20) Current worry?
Too much to do!

21) Current hate right now?

22) Did you get followers for Valentine's Day?
I have had followers in the past, actually. But I didn't get them for Valentine's Day.

23) How did you bring in the New Year?
Hanging out at the Rathbun house playing games we got for Christmas, IIRC.

24) Where would you like to go?

25) Name three people who will complete this?
I could make an educated guess, but I would prefer not to.

26) Do you own slippers?
Yes. I only wear them when it's really cold, tho.

27) What shirt are you wearing?
An incredibly beat-up old blue-ish t-shirt I wear for sleeping in.

28) Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Don't know that I've ever tried it.

29) Can you whistle?
Yup, although I can't do that "two fingers behind your teeth super-loud" whistle.

30) Favorite color?
It varies. Sometimes it's purple, sometimes it's pine green, sometimes it's a deep sort of blue-green. I have been rather keen on a deep reddish-brown lately, also.

31) Would you be a pirate?
Like a real "kill the merchant and take his stuff" pirate? No.

32) What songs do you sing in the shower?
Usually stuff written in or before the '30s and '40s and very often by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, or Gilbert & Sullivan, although anything peppy and upbeat stands a good chance.

33) Favorite girl's name?
Laurie is my favorite girl, is that what you mean? If you mean my favorite name that happens to apply to girls, I tend to like long and elaborate names like "Jennifer" or "Stephanie."

34) Favorite boy's name?
I'm not going to tell you who my favorite boy is, 'cause the rest will get jealous. ;P As for favorite name that happens to apply to boys, Alexander. No contest.

35) What's in your pocket?
At the moment, I've got no pockets on me. The ones in the closet, I would assume lint and possibly bits of thread.

36) Last thing or person who made you laugh?
Buddha being playful last night.

37) Best bed sheets as a child?
When I was a kid, all my sheets were plain cheapy white ones. Although I had a Peter Pan pillowcase I was very fond of.

38) Worst injury you've ever had?
My back going out just before Dragon*Con 2002. It was only through the exertion of great willpower (and a lot of drugs) that I was able to walk for a period of about a month.

39) Do you love where you live?
I love the house and I'm cool with the yard. I don't really like the neighborhood. If I could have this house over in the neighborhood I lived in before this, I would probably never want to move again.

40) How many TVs do you have in your house?
One, although we've got six computer screens.

41) Who is your loudest friend?
[ profile] jamesbarrett. Unless you're referring to snoring, in which case [ profile] hantamouse.

42) How many dogs do you have?
None now. My household had three when I was growing up.

43) Does someone have a crush on you?
If so, I'm not aware of it.

44) What is your favorite song of all time?
I don't know that I could pick just one. Possibly the overture from H.M.S. Pinafore, if only because I loved that one from such an early age and still love it now and the question says "of all time." But I love so many, I'm hard pressed to pick a single one.

45) What is your favorite book?
Right now, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. In the past, I've had others.

46) What is your favorite candy?
British chocolate, unsullied by nuts.

47) Favorite Sports Team?
Duuuuh... the Gryffindor Quidditch team? I dunno. I root for the Redskins for social reasons, but don't really care about it that much.

48) What song do you want played at your funeral?
I kinda like the idea of "Move Your Dead Bones, Bones, Bones," but I'm not sure it would be appreciated. ;) A dixieland-style wake might be good.

49) What were you doing at 12 AM last night?
I think I was asleep by that point. If not, either reading or trying to get to sleep.

50) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
"Buddha is having a sneezing fit."

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Boot to the Head)
I've been watching all sorts of "______ and Barley" go by at the Tyson's Corner Original Soupman. Chicken and Barley, Crab and Barley, Shrimp and Barley, Veal and Barley, Tofu and Barley, Giblets and Barley, etc., etc. -- but today they finally had Beef and Barley, so I broke down and gave the place a try.

All I can say is, they've got a lot of nerve to charge that kind of money, for that kind of soup. I'm not a foodie, but I am enough of an aesthete to know good food when I see it, and this isn't it. A can of Campbell's Chunky would provide as good or better an experience, at 1/10 the price. Adding a banana, a flavorless (and effectively crustless) bit of french bread, and a Hershey's Kiss to the tray does not justify $7.50 for a cup of extremely mediocre soup. Especially considering the endless hype and looped CNN footage of people raving about how they've transcended soup and made art. For all my bagging on Panera, they do at least have very good soup and real bread -- at half the price "Original Soupman" is charging. I guess he has to pay royalties on all that "Sienfeld" footage.

So my advice is, when confronted with The Original Soupman, just say "No money for you!" Then head over to Panera and get a cup of the chicken w/ wild rice. Now that's soup.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
Once a year or so, I make for myself a batch of fried chicken livers, and this year it was yesterday. I make them for myself because A) almost no restaurant I know of makes them, and B) very few other people in my circle are the least bit interested in eating them.

I love 'em, myself, particularly on a bed of rice with some beef gravy. (Strange combination, I know. Comes from growing up near a Hot Shoppes Cafeteria, now sadly long-gone. But don't knock it 'til you've tried it.) However, they're not exactly the healthiest things to eat and are a bit of a pain to prepare, hence my only having them once a year. And every year, I have to guess again from scratch how to make them.

So this time, I'm going to write down what I did, so that next time I can do it better. 'cause this time it didn't have enough "too much pepper".

Starting with 1.25 lbs of chicken livers, I washed them off, discarding one or two that didn't look so happy to me. Then I mixed about 1/4 cup of corn meal into 1 cup of flour, putting in what felt like a ton of black pepper, a couple of teaspoons of salt, maybe a teaspoon of paprika, and a dash of garlic. In another bowl, I mixed a cup of milk with a raw egg and more pepper. I dipped the livers into the milk/egg, then rolled them in the flour/cornmeal/spices, then fried them in about 1/4" of canola oil for 7-9 minutes.

Lessons learned:

  1. I don't need that much flour. Probably 3/4 of a cup at most would be necessary. Having so much flour diffused the rest of the ingredients too much.

  2. The oil needed to be hotter at first. It heated up nicely after the first batch. So let it warm up more!

  3. More pepper. Like way more. Probably a bit more salt, paprika, and garlic too. More corn meal? Not sure. Other recipes I saw suggested breadcrumbs.

Well, these are good enough 'til next year, anyhow! ;)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Kero Power Tie)
Wow, that was a big honkin' apple! Had to be at least the size of a softball.

Crisp, sweet, and juicy, too. :d

Yum. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Kero Power Tie)
I know, I know, I'm supposed to be losing weight. But today, I need a Twix bar. I've done plenty of workout to compensate for it.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
It was interesting ... it was like Starbucks was giving me a day of everything I didn't like about the job, all rolled into one, as a sort of farewell "Remember why you're leaving!" gesture. :) About the only thing missing was that I only had to be in at 6:00 a.m. instead of 5:00 ... but it was crazy, it was busy, we were vastly understaffed, and I had to stay two hours over my scheduled quittin' time.

Don't worry, Starbucks, I'll remember. You don't have to remind me. :) More miscellaneous stuff... )

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