Thursday, April 30, 2009

Holy Waste Of Time, Batman

I know I promised everyone the recipe for Jamaica Smiles, but I am still working on the correct breakdown of ingredients. So for now I wanted to bring you something funny to hold you over. This story ran locally here in Cincinnati and well it just made me laugh. In all fairness this guy is tying to do good but unfortunately for him it is just too funny. I can't say I am sleeping any better at night knowing he is patrolling the streets.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jogging In Quicksand

Hi there, I know its been a while since I have updated the blog and well its been kind of a long week. Been struggling with some personal demons and well I think it has passed, for now. It seems sometimes you think you are moving just fine and then BAM! You are hit upside the head with thoughts and emotions that you are not prepared to deal with at that moment. I won't bore you with my issues but lets just say when making a life and career change creates some drama in my head. I have seemed to sort it out for the moment and I believe it is just a speedbump on my road to greatness...okay I would take meritocracy.

So how do you deal the pesky demons? What do you do? Do you turn a blind eye to them or do you just ignore them and move on with life. Most would say I suppose that they have their own way to deal with the demons of doubt. I know some of you don't have to deal with them because you are very confident. You are lucky. For me I question everything and sometimes the answers I get don't add up. Sometimes in life I feel like I am jogging in quicksand. Trying to move faster than I should and end up sputtering like a beetle on its back. Where you able to visualize that? I hope so.

So as I jog I look forward to an exciting but scary path to the next chapter of my life. What does it bring? I am not sure, but I can say if I stay committed I should be fine. I often look back to look forward. What I mean is that this week I thought what would my Dad say when I presented him with all these issues. I think he would say, " Ken, you know all you can do is do you best. If your best isn't good enough then try harder." Thanks Dad.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An April Thanksgiving

Well today it was gray and gloomy outside so I decided that it was a good day for some comfort food. With Nicole having some trouble sleeping lately I decided to help her out with a good ole fashion Thanksgiving dinner. Hush it, why does it only have to be once a year?

I started off by heading up to the local grocery store where I had the butcher cut me a turkey breast from a whole frozen turkey. I encourage doing this, because it keeps the breast on the bone, which is great for flavor, and it ends up being very affordable. Then I had to decide on what sides I could have with my dinner. I decided on Cheesy Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Italian Sausage and Apple Stuffing cupcakes, and Fresh Cranberry Compote.

So I began to roast the turkey breast in a roasting pan with a rack. The I proceeded to give the turkey a nice bath in olive oil and then stuffed it with general aromatics (onions, carrots, lemon, lime, and basic herbs or rosemary and thyme.) Then I put a couple cups of water under the under the rack in the roasting pan. I finished the prep by putting a nice layer of foil over the top of the breast, this will keep the top from burning and lock in the the juices. You can remove the foil 15 minutes before pulling it from the oven. This will give you a crispy crust if you desire.

For gravy discard the turkey breast from the rack. Then remove the everything from roasting pan except all the drippings or liquid is left. For best results make sure it has had time to chill to room temperature. Add flour and butter and whisk together on moderate heat until coated spoon consistency is achieved.

Below are the side recipes of the sides:

Fresh Cranberry Compote


1/2 pound fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch


Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool completely.



1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 bag herbal seasoned stuffing
4 red apples chopped (leave skin on)
1 cup sour cream
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 raw eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper


In a pan, over medium heat, brown sausage pieces and drain fat (make sure the sausage is crumbly)

In another large pot, sauté the apples, celery, and onions in butter (or butter) until tender

Place dry stuffing in a LARGE BOWL and add the chicken broth until soft. If not moist enough, add some water.

Using your hands, combine the stuffing with all ingredients: sausage, sautéed apples, celery, onions, raw eggs, garlic, chopped parsley, nuts, sour cream, salt, and pepper.

Place the stuffing mix into a cupcake pan, and bake at 350 degrees in oven for 20 minutes or until brown.

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes


2 pounds potatoes
3/4 cup milk and or sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste


PLACE potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain.

RETURN potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter. Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: Chopped green onions, chopped parsley or cooked, crumbled bacon may be added to mashed potatoes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

O Basket, Where Art Thou?

So it is the Easter Weekend and I figured I would share a funny Easter Day story from the old childhood. To tell you this story I have to preface it with telling you that my Dad was a huge practical jokester and the funniest person I have ever known. He was the kind of guy you didn't know if he was playing a joke or being serious, which made things always more funnier in the end.

So for the story, I believe I was about 8 years old, and at that age I had already realized there was no such thing as the Easter Bunny, but still loved the candy! I also had a sister five years younger than me so I was able to take advantage of it longer than I probably should had, bonus. So it was Easter morning and I awoke with such anticipation of mountains of cadbury eggs and jelly beans that would occupy my diet for days. Now my Dad always was a little sneaky on hiding the baskets. Sometimes he would put them in the garage or in closets but I was nosey enough to sniff them out pretty quickly. I think my Dad was wise to this so he took it upon himself to set me up for a little challenge when it came to locating the basket of goodness. I would love to go back into time and watch his reaction when I looked through the normal spots with no luck. What? Come on, I should be tearing through bags of jelly beans by now. I should be chomping down on my one pound Easter bunny. But no, I was denied and I was a little upset. I looked everywhere and soon realized that this was more than just finding an Easter basket, no it was a battle of wits. Kind of like the drinking of wine in Princess Bride, inconceivable!

I was not going to be out witted nor was I going to ask to for any help. So as soon as I realized I haven't found the basket I just acted like it wasn't a big deal. That lasted about 30 seconds. I was growing frustrated and I went back through the places I just checked twice already. I can still hear my Dad say, "Ken, you haven't found your basket yet?" He was trying to sound concerned but really he was saying, "This year you are going to work for it and I am going to enjoy watching you storm around in a tizzy."

With the power of the sugar controlling my brain I finally conceded and asked for a clue. My Dad just said you may want to expand your search to the outside. Outside? You have to be kidding? So I walked out the front door and searched through the bushes, no basket. Then I searched through the two cars in the driveway, no basket. Then I proceeded to walk to the back yard, and yet no basket. At this point I was beyond frustrated because my sister was laughing hysterically. I looked all over the yard and no basket, I was defeated. I couldn't stand being kept from the sugar goodness any longer. I said, "Where is the basket Dad?" He was sitting on the deck by now and asked me to come up there and he would help me out. So I ran up the steps to the deck and sat down at the table. With a grin a mile wide he said, "Look up." I looked up and discovered my basket was sitting on the roof. The freaking roof, are you kidding? I think my Dad laughed for years about that and I did too. Thank you Dad for making memories for me that I will never forget. You are missed but never forgotten.

The Real Michael Scott

Monday, April 6, 2009

" the ole ball game."

I don't know why but I love the start of Baseball season. Seems like I have always used it as an unofficial start to Spring. Well maybe not this year with temperatures struggling to get into the mid 30's and some snow. Well snuggle up and get you your favorite beverage and tune in ESPN and watch the Cincinnati Reds!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mediterranean Quesadillers!

This play on quesadillas starts off with cooked chicken, a great use for planned leftovers. All quesadillas fit on the griddle at the same timefor quick cooking.

Antipasto Relish

1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup pepperoncini
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp Basil oil or olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed


1 cup shredded cooked chicken (6 oz)
1 cup shredded Provolone cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 6 inch flour tortillas

1. For antipasto relish, chop red peppers and olives. Thinly slice pepperoncini and chop all basil and set aside 1 tbsp for quesadillas. Combine red peppers,olives and pepperoncini in a small bowl. Add basil, oil, and pressed garlic; mix well and set aside.

2. For quesadilla, shred chicken. Combine chicken, cheese and remaining basil in a bowl. Divide chickenmisture amoung tortillas; fold tortillas in half.

3. To finish quesadillas, lightly brush griddle or grill pan (you can also makes these on the grill outside too) Heat to medium-high for 1 to 3 minutes or until hot. Cook quesadillas 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until tortillas are golder brown and cheese is melted.

4. To serve, spoon 1 tbsp of the antipasto relish into each quesadillas. Serve with additional relish if desired.