Friday, March 22, 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019

More Things I Don't Understand: The Animal Version

     You all may know my love of things strange and wonderful -- even if I don't understand them. I've been collecting, but haven't had much of a chance to pass them on. So here we go...four-footed-style.

I don't want to know.

Picking your nose will do it, too.

Godzilla sets a good example (albeit under duress)

And there you go. Like Vin Diesel says,

What can I say -- it's an animal thing.

Garbage Plates...And Cincinnati Chili

It's been a long day, with lots of clouds and wind. The fridge is full of leftovers, and you've had plenty to do, without even thinking about what you're going to eat tonight.

It may be time for a Garbage Plate.

Before you register a mental 'ewwww,' bear in mind that garbage plates have a long and honored tradition. The first mention seems to be Nick Tahou Hots in Rochester, NY; Alex Tahou, Nick's dad, is said to have invented the original Garbage Plate in 1918.

    The Garbage Plate, according to Nick Tahou Hots, starts "with a base of any combination of home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans or french fries topped by your choice of meats and dressed to your liking with spicy mustard, chopped onions and our signature Nick Tahou's hot sauce. Each plates comes wiht two thick slices of fresh Italian bread and butter."

    Sounds like the perfect dish for a customer who can't make up their mind. ("Hey Nick -- give me a little of everything!") 
     Another site described Tahou's mixture as "two hamburger patties and a choice of two sides -- usually some combination of home fries, macaroni salad, and beans. The contents are often laced heavily with ketchup and hot sauce, and mixed together before eating. Rolls or white bread are served on the side."

New York's Tom Wahl's burger chain makes a similar dish, but calls it the "55 Junker Plate." So, to my surprise, does the national Culver's chain. According to one review, their "Hot Plate" is made up of three cheeseburgers, home fries and macaroni salad lumped together on a platter, with "sneaky good" meat sauce ladled over all. (Bread is extra.)

Culver's 'hot plate'

No fuss, garnishing or arranging here -- the food is lumped on, sauce poured over and the plate is slapped out on the counter. (I remember George Orwell asserting, in his 'arranged' memoir, Down and Out in Paris and London, that the less fuss paid to a dish, the more it was probably not dropped on the floor, picked up, moved around with sweaty fingers that had been licked, etc etc. Yum.)
     This actually looks a lot like what The Mama called 'Slop:' various leftovers mixed together in a frypan, then served topped with sauce or gravy, if we had any. Her comment, after that, was usually "Shut up and eat." Even now, that command is still used, with much giggling, at family gatherings. (The Mama generally blushes when it's trotted out.)

All this slopping and pouring reminds me of another regional specialty:

 Cincinnati Chili. This interesting dish features spaghetti heaped with a spicy tomato sauce that's not traditional chili... but something else. Word is it was invented, c.1920, by two Macedonian Greek immigrants for their restaurant, The Empress. (They'd been using the same sauce on their 'coney' dogs shortly before.)

I'm pretty sure this is 5-way -- see below

This is not your typical chili -- it's considered a Mediterranean thin soup, rather than a stew. It uses spices not associated with traditional chili, including cinnamon, allspice, bay leaf, cloves and nutmeg. Cumin and chili powder are in there too...but they show up in a lot of chili recipes, including Colorado's famous green chili. Some recipes even include a little dark chocolate, though Dann Woellert, author ot The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chili, says that's not the case for any chili parlor in Cincinnati.

The 'ways' are important in this dish. According to Wikipedia, they are:

  • Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili[4] (also called "chili spaghetti")
  • Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese[4]
  • Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese[4]
  • Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, beans*, and cheese[4]
  • Five-way: spaghetti, chili, beans, onions, and cheese[4]

*usually kidney beans

So what's served with it? Oyster crackers, of course!

Here's the recipe, as interpreted from AllRecipes.comdirect from a Cincinnati native.


2 pounds lean ground beef
2 chopped onions
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate  (optional)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
5 whole cloves
5 whole allspice berries (or a teaspoon of allspice)
1 bay leaf  (optional - I am not a fan)


Step 1:  BOIL THE MEAT. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Cover the hamburger with water, then boil until cooked, breaking up the meat to give it a fine texture. Cool (preferably overnight), then skim the fat off. Keep the broth -- you'll need it.

Step 2:  Stir in everything else, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for three hours. Check occasionally to see if more water is needed. Pull out your bay leaf, if you used it, and serve as a topping for freshly-cooked spaghetti. Makes enough for 4-8 hungry eaters, depending on how many 'ways' you add. (Variation: Serve 'coneys' first, with the sauce spooned over hot dogs in buns -- then use the rest of the sauce later in the week for Cincinnati Chili.)

     Plan ahead, and you can have just enough leftovers from other dishes to make a quick Garbage Plate or Cincinnati Chili some cold and overcast March evening. Top your meal off with a goold old Irish Eton Mess, and you've got a messy, satisfying meal.

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(This post was also published in my 'other' blog, Holiday Goodies. Our third blog, Christmas Goodies, is taking its annual long winter's nap.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Trip To See Terry Tedford...

Yes, he's our friend.

And also our dentist, at Tedford Dental.

We've known this guy since our girlies and his and Linda's kids were babies. We did a Brazil missions trip together -- Terry did his stuff, with the Brick as his assistant and me as his sterilizing technician.

We are very fond of him and his wife Linda.

But he drives me absolutely CRAZY.

I needed a good cleaning, x-rays and a front tooth was showing a yellow spot. The Brick also needed his teeth cleaned. Good enough.

It had been a long day, to start with. I still haven't completely beat this flu germ...and was feeling bad that I would be passing it around. (No matter: they take precautions, and wear face masks, as well.) I'd done a piano lesson. Worked on appraisal stuff. And had a crappy night of sleep, because I couldn't breathe that easily. Life was a bit fuzzy.

Nearly finished with all the scraping, buzzing, filling and polishing. Starting to relax now.. I'm thinking: GREAT. No huge problems this time around. It seems like the Brick and I alternate having crowns, cavities, etc. And though we have insurance, we always end up paying, as well.

Terry's kind voice interrupts my thoughts. I've got a huge cavity developing underneath a crown -- and another one starting under a second crown. He'll need to take both off, fix the problems, and put two new crowns back on. As soon as possible, of course.


At least I have a shiny new front tooth, and everything's suitably clean and polished.
And the Brick doesn't need anything fixed this time around. (Guess it's my turn.)

If you're looking for a kind and gentle dentist in the Denver area, Tedford Dental is your place. (They work with insurance, and payment plans, too.) Tell Brenda that Cindy sent you.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: The Fear Edition

     We made it back from Santa Fe, after a nail-biting trip along I-25 from south of Colorado Springs to home. At least the scary part was only at the beginning, and about two hours at the end. 
     After a work gig for me, we spent the weekend hunkered down, fighting off an attack of flu. It was then that I noticed -- there are an awful lot of scary things going on lately. 

On a serious note:

My heart goes out to the survivors of the mosque shootings in New Zealand. If they only had security guards -- they could at least have stopped the shooter at the first mosque. At least there were those who were brave enough to stand up to him.

Now on with the fun. 

'When your internet and your truck conspire against you:' the monthly report from the Frugalwoods. Hey lady, I've had a few days like that lately...

Diamonds and candy necklaces, worn together.  Do that all the time, too. (Okay, that's not scary. Weird, yes. Frightening, no.)

A moose home intruder. Yet another thing to worry about in beautiful Breckenridge, CO. And if that isn't enough:

Goats on the lam in Boise, ID. Lots of 'em.

Anyone can give you the finger now -- and it's protected because it's a right of free speech. Tell that to the teenagers who almost ran me over -- then expressed their 'free speech' most abundantly.

The United Airlines pilot who got busted for walking naked around his hotel room! He thought the frosted windows meant no one could see him -- we would have assumed that, too. I did wonder whether the slightly-sheer curtains in our room at Cabo Pulmo were hiding everything.
     Next question: why did the District Attorney's office wait for a judge to dismiss the case? This seems a clear-cut mistake, but it went on long enough to partially ruin this poor guy's life.

Visiting your folks' grave -- then the ground opens underneath you. That would freak anyone out.

Ten amazing liars -- who should have stopped while they were ahead.  (From Listverse) Listverse is good at this game, including:

Ten horrifying things doctors don't always tell you.

You can't even trust a television game show?!? Actually, we knew that a number of these had been rigged in the past. (Or people cheat.) One more to add to the list: Olivia Jade Loughlin, she of the 'I-can't-make-it-into-college-so-my-mom-has-to-pay-somebody,' lost a trivia competition. But executives insisted the ending be re-shot, showing her as the winner. Can't this girl accomplish anything on her own? (At least her news is taking the heat off Jussie Smollett. For now, at least.)

Seven viral stories that didn't have quiiite the ending they implied.  (From Cracked)

Eating eggs increases your risk of heart attack. First they're good...then they're not. Then they're good...

And in case that didn't do it:

Eleven things you're afraid of -- but shouldn't be.

Let's all get out there and panic this week. Or not.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We didn't do much today...but hey, we're still Irish. Erin go bragh.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rude, Rude, Rude...

...but as a person of Welsh extraction (and a larger woman than I would like to admit), I still laughed!

Home -- Again

There's been a big conference for personal property appraisers via ASA down in Santa Fe, NM, this week.

The American Society of Appraisers is one of my two affiliations. The conference was GREAT, filled with seminars about Southwestern art (one good example -- how to tell a repro Remington bronze from the 'lifetime' real one); posters and photographs as art; case studies; and even a final couple of seminars by IRS agents. (Okay, they were a little scary.)

It was a lot to jam into 3 1/2 days, but I also had the pleasure of the Brick, not to mention Charley and Ruby, since we brought the fifth-wheeler down. We stayed in a Sam's Club parking lot, next to a walking trail. It was surprisingly peaceful and quiet. What a nice break --

Until it started to rain.

Which meant that our solar power array wasn't charging properly, thanks to the overcast skies. The Brick was having to start the truck up periodically to charge the batteries enough to give us a little heat and some lights.

Tuesday night, it snowed a couple of inches. We woke up to temperatures of 49 degrees inside the trailer. (Fortunately, we all slept warm.)

Wednesday was the last day of the conference -- and I really wanted to hear what the IRS ladies had to say. But it was also the start of a big blizzard in Denver. DIA cancelled its flights. All the schools and many of the businesses closed their doors. We were planning to leave right away after the last seminar -- when we found out that I-25 was closed, as well.

Visits to a couple of thrift shops, and a relaxing lunch out. Then a nap. One more night in the trailer. The batteries weren't holding their charge at all, but at least the propane was going strong. We had supper, talked a lot and made some plans, then went to bed.

Two more inches of snow when we woke up this morning. Lots of big soggy puddles by now. (Santa Fe doesn't get much moisture normally.)

With the highways STILL closed up north, we crossed our fingers and took off out of Santa Fe, anyways. It was rainy, snowing and a bit scary until Las Vegas, NM -- then dry, albeit windy, until about Colorado Springs. The highway must have opened just an hour before, because there was still plenty of ice here and there on the roads. A few stranded cars decorated the gullies, and we made a snail's pace crawling north, along with umpteen semis and other vehicles who obviously had been waiting. We were moving. Sort of.

No, I didn't see Bigfoot. Darn it.

We finally pulled in late this evening. The huge drift by the garage has to be shoveled out first before we can pull the trailer back in and clean it out. (Memo to self before we start living in the trailer: Get more batteries for power storage. And  more solar panels.)

The Brick is soaking his tired muscles in a hot bath, after a steak and grilled shrimp dinner. I can barely keep my eyes open -- but have a full appraisal day tomorrow, Friday the 15th, at Holly's Quilt Cabin in Littleton. There are a few openings left in the afternoon -- come on over and show me your quilts.

Then, maybe tomorrow night, I can draw a deep breath and crash. For a little while, at least.

This might be me tomorrow...except for the stabbing, of course.
But the quilts will be wonderful.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Snowing Again -- Big-Time

    I honestly cannot remember this much snow and cold in Colorado for a long, long time.

Sure, we get storms -- but after two or three days, they drift on their way (usually in the direction of Michigan and The Mama). And the sun comes out.

Not this winter.

Another Mom Moment That Fits

Which may have led to this: Did I ever do that to our girlies? Naahhhh....