Of Pooches and Human Treats

Happy Wednesday everyone, today and tomorrow can’t seem to pass fast enough for me.  Friday evening I go meet “Abe” a beautiful lab mix that with any luck will be coming home with me!  A man needs a pooch plain and simple!

So this morning I was rummaging around the kitchen trying to figure out what to pack as a good energy snack for breaks at work.  The kitchen is slightly bare til payday Friday in the realm of quick items so I’ve got to get creative.  I noticed I had a bag of cashew pieces and a bag of almond slices in the freezer that I use for brownies and such so here’s what I came up with:

Sweet and Salty Nut Mix

I melted about a tablespoon and a half of unsalted butter, mixed this well with a cup and a half of cashew pieces and a cup of almond slices.  

Added 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar mixing well as I added these.  

Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet evenly and baked @ 350 for approximately 15 minutes (sorry I just eyed this step).  Removed from oven and set aside to cool.

After it was cool I poured the whole thing loose sugar/salt and all into a ziplock bag and shook vigorously I ended up adding a little more cinnamon at this stage as I was tasting as I went.

And now I have a tasty snack that should give me a good protein/carb/fat profile and a quick energy boost throughout the day!

Now usually I thin slice a can of spam (fyi the bacon flavor or jalapeño flavor spam is awesome) spread the slices on a baking sheet, dust with whatever curry or rub I’m in the mood for and bake at 425 for around 10-12 minutes.  This gives me Spam chips that I can bag up and snack on during my breaks.  Unfortunately I’ve burned through my Spam stockpile over the last few weeks with my long shifts.  Don’t judge till you’ve tried it!! (Most people that claim Spam is disgusting have never actually tried it).  I can’t fight the Hawaiian in me I love the stuff.

Spam on!!!

~J

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You Say Potato

I say tasty!!

One of my favorite staples to keep in the kitchen just happens to be fairly cheap and keeps for extended periods of time with little effort.  I love the wonderful potato!!  At around 80 cents a pound for big honkin Russets it makes a perfect staple!!

Quite often I’ll quarter one length wise to fit through my cuisinart (which I absolutely adore) and fry the resulting shreds in olive oil for fresh hash brown taters in less than 15 minutes!!

Tonight I sliced one up, seasoned with pepper, sea salt, and a tap of one of my favorite chile rubs (ghost and habanero blend) did a quick sear fry in olive oil and baked to a crisp.  Home made potato chips!!!  20 minutes for the best chips I’ve ever had!!

Tomorrow I’ll mix some rosemary, sage, and dill in olive oil and brush a tater down to wrap in foil and bake. One of my favorites!! 

So baked, fried, mashed, hashed, french fried, you name it!

Cherish the potato!

~J

Cleaning the Fridge

So this evening I decided to whip up a nice red sauce and do some spaghetti with some sausage and veggies and what not.  Lo and behold I had a few small baggies of veggies that just weren’t fit for consumption.  Not a lot mind you as I love my veggies but I did have to toss a bell pepper a few small celery hearts and about a quarter head of lettuce.

What I didn’t throw out was the few bad garlic cloves (I had a whole garlic that was good for my sauce so it wasn’t a big deal).  I had a couple of cloves that had actually sprouted in my crisper drawer so while waiting for my sauce to cook down a touch I got a whim to try and plant the cloves in a small pot that I had empty out front.  I used some good soil I had from another planter that is now empty (lettuce from earlier in the season) and kicked it up with a bit of bone meal, a very small amount of miracle grow, and this fertilizer I have called “eco scraps”.

This Eco Scraps stuff is interesting, I have been using it on our pepper and tomato plants in front of the apartment all season with pretty great success.  The fertilizer comes in pellets and is fairly easy to use but get this… it’s made up entirely of food waste!  Effectively a couple of guys got this brilliant idea to collect food waste from retailers across the US and process it into compost then pelletizing it kind of a slick idea I think.  Anywhoo it’s available at Lowes and Home Depot if your in the US (not sure about worldwide) its worth a look see!

So here’s to hoping for some fresh garlic, I’ve never grown it before but hey why not the pot was empty and the cloves were sprouting meh worth a shot.

~J

Some Thoughts on Healthy Living

And So I Decided to Quit Smoking….

I woke up this morning after getting what I consider to be a good nights sleep (more than 4 hours uninterrupted) and for the better part of this morning found myself in a severe funk.  Not so much angry but full of anxiety and maybe a touch of depression and a whoooole lot of that frustration thing.  It seemed like everything just frustrated me, for the first morning in a while I even slacked on making breakfast which is just not like me.

Granted, I have a lot to have anxiety about with the recent job applications / interviews and everything else going on with my life and add into that PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome) and I’m already a ball of stress.  So like an idiot a few days ago I decided to  quit smoking….. I’ve got lozenges (almost out) and a stack of patches (never really worked) along with tins of flavored toothpicks (probably going to be crapping splinters for a while) but the edge still comes and goes.  What the hell was I thinking?

I’ve got a good support system in place but it’s still difficult and so now I suppose I’ll rant about it.  Just after noonish I decided to indulge in one of my favorite dishes to eat as well as cook (and don’t laugh, it’s a big deal) a big bowl of Ramen (Or in the Hawaiian culture “Saimen”).  Just the time it took me to prepare it, my focus on chopping the vegetables, frying the perfect egg, simmering the pork to make the perfect broth, mixing my own seasoning blend, and putting it all together made me feel better.

Eating it in traditional style (quickly, slurping as to cool the noodles and unlock the broth flavor) gave me a sense of calm and happiness that I have been missing the last few days.  Now some might think “healthy living is in the title, isn’t Ramen horrible for you?” NO!  If done right it’s a very nutritious dish not to mention a very fulfilling one to explore.  A quick google search on traditional Ramen houses will yield a very interesting culture and a whole new world built around this wonderful part of my life.

Unfortunately throughout the rest of the day I lapsed in and out of the anxiety over and over, at the beginning of this post I was feeling it with a heavy edge to my demeanor overall.  By the time of this paragraph I am finding myself a touch less on edge and feeling better overall.  I know the nicotine and the overall habit will pass with time and I just need to hang in there.  I know my health will only get better and I will be able to extend my hiking enjoyment by sacrificing my smoking habit.  And then there’s that whole money thing, I sat down on day one and started calculating the cost of my smoking over a years time ($2445.00 a year on average).

Just uhm, wow!  So $203 a month on the low side that’s insanity considering all it does is appease a self imposed edginess from starting up in the first place.  So, wish me luck and I hope I can keep this up!  I’ll keep everyone updated!

~J

Of not sleeping and avoiding going absolutely nuts!

So, it’s been a while since my last entry as I’ve been running at 100 miles per hour for a while now. Moving is hard enough but being a pack rat definitely exasperates the str- er frustation.

I hesitate to say struggle even though it seems that way. I have received unparalelled support from family as well as the upstairs neighbors.  I always knew I was a packrat but I was not expecting to have packed so many emotions away as well.

In particular the last two days have been filled with emotions good, bad, sublime, regretful, fearful, strong, even guilty. I have found myself so high strung and stressed that sleep has evaded me now 3 nights in a row.  It comes in little 15-45 minute spurts and I wake up with night terrors or a severe panic attack.

So I change my sweaty pajamas and try again as I know it will get better soon.  I find myself stress cooking which I don’t think of as bad.  In fact not only is it a more positive way of dealing with stress than many other methods I’ve engaged in but, I’m eating healthy food which I suppose is keeping me going.  Maybe I’ll write a cookbook on that someday “Cooking yourself sane”??

All in all I’ve made great strides, I am still throwing/giving away a lot and have listed a lot to sell.  I’m also remembering a lot of past experiences and people in my life and realizing that I’ve been amazingly blessed and lucky.  

It’s almost as if I’m reading my past as someone else’s story sometimes and thinking “this guys a few fries short of a happy meal”.  It’s not that I’ve come to realize most of my struggles and problems are self inflicted, it’s more that I’m beginning to accept it. I have always known I self destruct but change is tough.

I’m still working on changing and I suppose it’s going to be a long task.  For tonight though I’m feeling pretty okay about tomorrow, I even managed an entire 2 hour nap without waking up badly!! 

I have to confess though being on my inversion table and absolutely exhausted from putting it back together might have contributed.  In any case I figured while I wait for my “ham and bean with stress reducing veggie” soup to cool enough to freeze / refrigerate I would stop digging in boxes long enough to post.

A good friend once told me “Don’t be afraid of life”

~Joe 

(Note the image is yesterday’s stress cook not my soup lol)