baseball 2017

The pitchers and catchers for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reported today. Pitchers and catchers for the Dodgers report tomorrow. The Super Bowl is over and we can start thinking about baseball.

baseballNot that my Southern California teams are giving me any big reasons to be delighted and to look forward to the season.

The Angels have a limited budget, and they did not even try to sign their former pitching ace, Jared Weaver. Are you kidding? Perhaps he was past his prime, but he was still solid in 2016. It’s not like he got a lot of run support.

The Dodgers have pitching galore, but have made only a few moves to improve their performance against left-handed pitching. The television situation is unchanged and Terry and I are unlikely to be able to see the Dodgers on TV this season.

But it’s baseball. It’s spring training. The Dodgers play their first spring training game on 25 February. The Angels first game is the same day.

Baseball being back atones for a multitude of unpleasantries on the national political stage, even if I am slightly irked with our local teams. It’s still baseball and they’re still my teams.


pressure cooker pulled pork

This is so incredibly simple that I’m almost ashamed to share it. But sometimes we’re busy and need something extremely simple to fix for dinner. This recipe is for an electric pressure cooker, but could easily be adapted for a stove-top.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork loin
  • barbecue sauce, your favorite brand, ⅓ bottle
  • water or broth

Procedure

  1. Cut the pork loin so the pieces fit into your pressure cooker in a single layer.
  2. Coat the pork with half of the barbecue sauce.
  3. Put the rack in your pressure cooker and add water or broth up to the bottom of the rack. Put the pork on the rack. Leave ample room around the sides for the steam to rise.
  4. Cook for 75 minutes on high after coming up to pressure.
  5. Use natural pressure release.
  6. Take the pork out of the pressure cooker and shred it using two forks.
  7. Set the pressure cooker to sauté, put the pork back into the pressure cooker, add the rest of the barbecue sauce, and stir.
  8. Serve.

The original recipe called for 4 lbs of pork and specified so little liquid that I wasn’t sure how it could come up to pressure. My version turned out very nicely.

pulled pork

file photo: Pixabay


Secular Music Friday: Change of Heart

This Holy Near song is from 1993 and the video is from 2012, but both are as appropriate as ever today. There is an inspiring message of hope here.


sandwich thins

It’s sandwich thins wrappereasy to get into the habit of eating frozen Indian and Mexican meals for lunch each day. It’s simple, straightforward, and not a lot of work. And while not terribly unhealthy, it is not the optimal healthy lunch.

Terry and I like to buy deli meats and cheeses from the full-service deli at Sprouts. We can buy small amounts (often a quarter pound) and if we’re lucky we’ll use them up before they go bad. Add some Romaine or buttersandwich thins sandwich lettuce from our container garden and it makes a nice sandwich. The only problem: too much bread.

Terry discovered a new product from Orowheat. They’re called Sandwich Thins. They are round, thin, and larger than an English Muffin. They make for great sandwiches without too much bread.

Great discovery, Terry. Thanks!


enchilada sauce

enchilada sauce canSomehow my cooking repertoire never included recipes that contained enchilada sauce. That’s not to say that I don’t like enchiladas. I do. When we go out for Mexican food my meal frequently includes an enchilada. Terry makes a marvelous enchilada which I absolutely love. She follows the recipe to make her own enchilada sauce from scratch, and it is superb.

But buy a can of enchilada sauce? I don’t believe that I have. Or if I have it’s been decades. Until recently. In January I made two recipes that called for a can of enchilada sauce.

The first was a spiralizer recipe. It was Spiralized Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole. It turned out great and was delicious.

The second was a one-skillet meal. That was Chicken Black Bean Enchilada Skillet. Again, excellent.

I guess I’m going to have to add enchilada sauce as a pantry item in our kitchen.


healthier snacking

roasted almonds I have this habit of trying to clean up my act (at least somewhat) in advance of my annual blood work. So I have, for the time being at least, sworn off bags of fun size Snickers in favor of roasted almonds. I used to make them all the time up in Gilroy and I thought I needed to get back to that. Healthy. Good for cholesterol.

It’s really easy.

Ingredients

  • Raw almonds from the bulk section of the grocery store
  • Olive oil
  • Your favorite seasoning (preferably salt-free)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put enough olive oil in a bowl to cover the almonds.
  3. Add your favorite salt-free seasoning.
  4. Toss the almonds in the mixture
  5. Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for ten minutes.
  7. Let the almonds cool off and then store in an air-tight container.

Voila! A tasty, healthy snack!

roasted almonds


Martha

At Good Shepherd Episcopal here in Hemet most of the acolytes are part of one family. In fact they are siblings. They constitute the entirety of the Sunday School class. There are five of them. The oldest, a girl, started college last fall.

Good Shepherd Hemet logoThese kids have not had it easy. I don’t know what happened to their mother, but they were initially being raised by their father, I believe. A number of years ago their father committed suicide. The children’s grandmother, Martha, took on the responsibility of raising them. She took the task seriously and made sure that they were active participants at Good Shepherd.

Last week the kids came home from school and discovered their grandmother dead. How shocking can that possibly have been for the youngsters. For the short term the four youngest have an uncle with whom they are able to live. For the long term almost everything is unknown.

Amazingly, the kids were all at church on Sunday, and three of them were acolytes. But maybe not so amazing. Being with their church community is best possible place they could be right now.

The good news is that Good Shepherd is a tight-knit community. I know that whatever the five might need someone in the church will find a way to provide. In fact, based on Father Rob’s comment on Sunday, members of the parish immediately sprang into action on hearing the news.

For right now the best thing I can do is to pray for the family.


Sacred Music Friday: Song of Simeon

Yesterday was the Feast of the Presentation, the story and song of Simeon found in Luke 2:25-35. The Latin version of the Song of Simeon is Nunc Dimittis, which I shared a couple of weeks back. This is my favorite version of the Song of Simeon in English, both because of the music and because of the message conveyed in the video. If you are stressed by the current political climate please listen and watch.


bam!

Do you remember Emeril Lagasse’s hour-long show on Food Network with a live audience? It was called Emeril Live and it had a surprisingly long run. According to my Google search it aired from 1997 to 2010. Ultimately, I believe, it simply became too expensive to produce. In addition to the live audience it generally had a band on the set. But it was fun all those years it lasted. It was where we got “Bam!” and “Kicking it up a notch.”

our spice drawer

our spice drawer

That’s what I do when I cook. I try to kick it up a notch. I’m surprised by how many otherwise tasty recipes are so bland, and so limit their seasonings. They may just call for salt and pepper. Or maybe just salt, pepper, and garlic. Really, people. Come on!

As Jean Luc Picard said to Whopee Goldberg’s Guinan in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when she was not being forthcoming with answers to his questions, “Not good enough, dammit! Not good enough!”

Terry and I demand more robust seasoning. Cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, ginger, adobo, whatever. Please, let’s make this dish a little more robust!

That’s how Terry and I roll.


continuing the vinaigrette trend

I wrote lavinaigrette dressingst October about how I was starting to make vinaigrette dressings for my green salads, made from romaine or butter lettuce harvested from our container garden. It’s so amazingly easy that I’m either baffled or disappointed (I’m sot sure which) that I’d never done it before.

In fact it’s so simple that I don’t bother using recipes any longer. I mix up the dressing according to my mood at the moment. I always start with olive oil. I then add either red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Then I’ll add garlic (or not), mustard powder (or not), thyme (or not), and maybe some other seasoning (or not).

It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a bottle of dressing at the grocery store.

I love it.