Perfect Coffee with no Electricity – Picture

Ok, I’m stretching the truth and there’s a back story.

Someone said that if we get hit by a hurricane I’m going to be a wreck without coffee.  I’m not “quite” that badly addicted to it.  I drink Half Caff anyway, and the picture below has one of those 16 ounce mugs that I have two of.  Works out to two regular coffee cups worth of caffeine so I’m managing that.

First off toss your percolator or your Mr Coffee.   One recirculates everything to make it bitter, the other introduces flavors through a filter.

The way I do it is seriously old-school.  Like Byzantine.  I basically use the “Turkish Method”.  The coffee is absolutely fresh, in fact that popcorn popper was roasting some regular coffee beans while I was making the first mug of the day.

While I have to use electric to roast the coffee, I can cheat here and say that since I have a battery inverter, I can do it in the car.  Kevin’s car even has a 120VAC outlet in the back that we used to make mashed potatoes in once in a power cut.

So I get fresh beans.  Now how to actually make the coffee.

Boil at least 2 cups of water.  Starbucks makes lousy over roasted coffee, but they’re right about one thing – if the coffee sits more than 20 minutes, it’s gone off.  Pass it off to a less discerning character since the flavor faded.  Same thing about the beans that you bought in your local supermarket.  If the beans are more than 3 weeks old, the flavor has begun to change.  Vacuum packing only slows the inevitable.

While you’re waiting on the water to fully boil, put four scoops of espresso ground coffee grounds into the pot.  Yes, Four.  I use two regular and two decaf.

I also add three packets of Sweet N Low and one tablespoon of coffee creamer to the empty coffee mug.

Pour exactly 2 measured cups of boiling water into the measuring cup.  I use a plastic cup because it’s handy and I have some non-scientific belief that it adjusts the temperature of the water down to the 190F that is supposed to be the holy freaking nirvana of coffee brewing.

Immediately pour the water into the grounds.  Set your timer to 4:30 Seconds.  Exactly.  Begin to stir.  Your coffee grounds should bubble to the top.   Stirring will break the oxygen bubbles off of the grounds so they will sink.   You do not need to stir constantly.  I typically stir it enough to get the stuff spinning, and do so three times over the next two and a half minutes.

Allow the coffee to rest for the last two minutes.   By now all of the grounds will have sunk to the bottom.  If not, you either just pulled the beans out of the roaster or they’re seriously old and dried out.  Like more than three weeks old.  Spoiled Coffee is lighter.  Freshly roasted will not have evaporated all of the CO2 so it will be lighter.   If you let the beans sit for a day as ground, on the second day you will have the best taste.  On the second day the coffee will have rested, biblically so, and be more dense.  Since I only roast about 4 days worth at a shot, it will be in the “sweet spot” always.

Now that the timer has sounded, turn it off, and get your permanent filter.  The one I use is from an old one shot coffee maker, but any permanent filter will do since the filter medium is “inert” and flavorless.

Hold the filter over the mug and without burning yourself, pour the coffee from the pot into the mug.

You burned yourself?  I did say not to…

Now stir the remaining coffee and enjoy after emptying the grounds from the permanent filter and pot into the trash bin or over your garden once they cool.

You see you can do this on a camp stove or in a kitchen.  I just did earlier and it turned out great.

After all, my gas grill out back has a gas burner on it and I can put the tea kettle on the thing for my boiling water!

Certified Wildlife Habitat – Picture

Near me is a little park.  M.E. DePalma Park.  Too small to be a “workout” park, it excels at being a showcase for Native Species.

In the park is this little map in a stand.  The map says that it shows where the Certified Wildlife Habitats are in Wilton Manors.

Apparently this little lizard thought it was an appropriate place to try to catch the waning sun that rainy day.

Wildlife on the Certified Habitat Map.  I guess, they were right, if you build it, they will come.

Border Collie Vs 5 Pound Peanut Butter Jar – Picture

Border Collies and related dogs like my Mc Nab Dog are said to be the dog that returns to the shelters in the highest proportions of all breeds.  

They require mental stimulation. 

You find yourself looking for ways to keep them occupied just like a child because if you don’t they have been known to “tear the place up”. 

I’ve been very lucky with my Lettie.   She has lived with me since I got her in 2002 roughly at Thanksgiving and I’ve always lived within walking distance of shopping districts.  My choice, I prefer the mental stimulation of new people as well as she does. 

So what do you do?  In my case, long walks work.  Three times a day, three miles total with her.  Just ask the Police here in Wilton Manors – they’re friendly folks and most of them wave hello as I’m well known for walking around the place.

When you get home how do you keep her happy?  Plenty of soft toys are a start but dogs do like a challenge and a good chew.   Also a treat here and there.   Peanut butter.  High protein and good for you.  Part of my breakfast today was a little Peanut Butter on some saltines.

We get the stuff in five pound jars, larger than the little jars you get in the supermarket, from GFS.   If you have a GFS in the area, who ever they’re sourcing their Chunky Peanut Butter from is giving us an excellent treat because I swear by the stuff!

But what to do with the jars when you’re through?  The Parrot watches me eat the stuff and begs.   Lettie shows up and glues herself to my right calf wanting some too.  It’s a large jar, and sturdy too… but it’s too big to carry so I’ll stuff a few dog biscuits inside, shake them around to get some of the “leftover” peanut butter out and give her one a day.

So now we’re at a week and a half since there were about 10 dog biscuits in that jar soaking up Peanut Butter. 

It sat on my room divider in clear view of the parrot who gave up trying to open it because the jar was SO big.

Lettie’s too polite to climb on the furniture to grab the Jar so it sat there.  Taunting her to give up the peanutty goodness inside for a solid week and a half, it was watched and guarded by her.

It’s also clearly within reach, sitting on the laptop mat. 

I finally decided on day 12 that it was time and gave it to her.   This jar as you can see can’t really be carried by a 47 pound dog who is too polite to shred it just yet.

I set the jar on the ground on it’s side.  Put my size 11 shoe on the jar from the side and gave it a push to make it squirt out from the bottom of my foot. 

At that point, Mrs Dog went into a Border Collie Frenzy! 

The jar was rolling along but not moving very far until friction slowed it enough to get a purchase on the floor and allowed it to roll out of sight.

Usually under the table.

Meanwhile the low friction of the floor plus the low friction of the plastic jar meant that little Mrs No Thumbs Dog couldn’t grasp the silly thing.  She’d be chasing it all over the place.

Bat at it with one paw and it would shoot under her legs and under the table.   Another paw would knock it over to me and of course I’d squirt the thing across the room with my shoe.

We had kept up with this for days.  Literally a week.  She never did get the jar open.   The lid was way too big for her to get in her mouth, and eventually she’d begun to cool towards it.

Eventually she’d figured out that she could just carry the thing around the house but didn’t realize that if she had chewed the lid off she’d have the prize inside.

Needless to say if the peanut butter jar was in play, I was actively watching and participating in the fun.

Finally she did get into the Jar.  

What happened was she got so frustrated at the whole process of  “Keep Away” that she started to yip at the silly thing.  This got me more excited by the process and instead of popping the jar from under my foot, I managed to step on the lid.  

The lid split cleanly in two and she went to town.  The prize of the Peanut Butter was hers!  After around three weeks, she FINALLY had her joy of peanut butter.   The jar was too small to fit over her head so she only managed to get about 1/2 of the brown gooey treasure out and into her.

She’s not used to people food, I keep her on a strict diet, more strict than I keep myself on in fact.  So one thing to concern yourself with, Peanut Butter Is A Rich Food for a Dog.  Just watch out because the next morning, long after the jar was in the trash can, I woke having to clean up after a bit of “dog sick”.

Next time, I’ll do a better job of getting the peanut butter out of the jar.  You see there’s another jar of Chunky in the cupboard and there’s only about 1 pound in 5 left.  Good stuff though, We’re going to make another trip to GFS…

Meat Lover’s Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe

I’m a carnivore.  I have a godmother and her husband who are more evolved than I am and they’re vegetarians.  If you have read this blog more than once, you also know that I tend to cook.   We’ve made this particular recipe with vegetarian “meat” crumbles and you would not know that those brown specs in there aren’t meat.

On the other hand if you’re still craving browned cow bits in your food, you can change it to browned burger meat and you’ll get your fix.

The one thing that I will say is that Vegetarian Friendly Cheese tends to be of a higher quality than “regular” mass market cheese.  The Mass Market stuff has an enzyme called Rennet which comes from the gut of the cow where as there are really some fine alternatives that are better for your overall health.  So when I’m able, I use rennet free cheese.   It’s a small victory for quality over crud.

Meat Lover’s Vegetarian Lasagna

Sauce

1 lb frozen vegetarian crumbles (or ground beef substitute)
2 cloves garlic
2 T parsley flakes
2 T basil
1 ½ t salt
4 cups low sodium canned tomatoes (put in blender to crush)
24 oz tomato paste

End of sauce

1 box lasagna  (not the pre-cooked or non-cook version)

Filling
3 cups creamed cottage cheese (part skim)
Egg beaters equal to 2 eggs
2 t salt
½ t pepper
2 T parsley flakes
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb mozzarella cheese sliced thin.

Brown vegetarian crumbles in a large pot breaking up with a fork in a little olive oil

Add remaining sauce items and simmer uncovered for 45 minute stirring occasionally.  This can be done a day ahead of time.  In fact,  I recommend it.

Final Assembly.
Cook the lasagna noodles following the instructions on the box.
Rinse with cold water to cool
Mix up the filling mixture

Pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 lasagna dish
Take a papertowel and coat the entire surface of the inside of the dish with the oil removing the excess (to keep everything from sticking)

Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish
Place half the noodles over the sauce overlapping slightly
Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles
Add half the mozzarella cheese and then cover with half the sauce.

Repeat the whole thing for another layer

Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minute to firm up before serving.

Perspective

I can’t call this one humor but it is from Velma.

Life is all about perspective, and sometimes you need a small nudge to see things that way.  On those days that things seem the worst, this could be a good thing to read.  Maybe those “things” are really inconsequential.  Always allow yourself the option to be objective.  You may come out of that objectivity with a totally new view of life.

PERSPECTIVES

One day, a financially comfortable father decided to take his son to the country, with the purpose of showing him how poor people live, and that the son could understand the value of things, and realize how fortunate they were.

They stayed overnight at a very humble family’s farm for 1 day and 1 night..  As the trip ended, and during their return home, the father asks his son:

So what did you think of the trip?  It was great, dad!  Did you see how poor and needy some people have to live?  Yes!  And what did you learn?

I saw that we have one dog in the house, but they have four. We have a huge swimming pool, but they have a river that never ever ends.  We have imported lamps in the patio, they have the stars.  Our backyard ends at the fence, but theirs goes on and on into the horizon. Especially though, dad, I saw that they have time to talk to each other and live as a family.  You and Mom have to work all day, and I hardly see you both!

As the conversation ended, the father remained silent, and his son added:  Thanks Dad, for showing me how rich we could be!!

— Author Unknown

A Lesson

A while back, Velma sent me this allegory about life.   She did promise to send me another picture, but since I have this one and enjoy seeing it, I’ll use it! I have to say I try to live by this, but being human sometimes I miss the mark.  Still it’s a wonderful goal to strive for.

A Lesson

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a  package. “What food might this contain?”  The mouse wondered.  He was devastated to discover it was a  mousetrap

Retreating  to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning:  “There  is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell  this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray.. Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a mousetrap in the house!   There is a mousetrap in the house!

The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose..”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap … Alone …

That very night a sound was heard throughout the  house —  the  sound of  a  mousetrap catching its prey.   The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap.

The snake bit the farmer’s wife…The farmer rushed her to the hospital.  When she returned home she still had a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup.

So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient:

But his wife’s sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. 

To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.  But, alas, the farmer’s wife did not get well…  She died.

So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.

And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn’t concern you, remember — When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.   We are all involved in this journey called life.   We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.       

Stonewall Parade Pictures

Woo Hoo Pictures are working today! 

Ok folks here are some more pictures from the Stonewall Parade 2011.

You know, it just wouldn’t be the same without a long line of Motorcycles in the parade.  This one is from the Stonewall Knights. 

Yes, I want my motorcycle back.  Not in South Florida!

Rex, you look like you’re having a blast on that bike!  I should have hopped on the back or at least sat on the thing when it was in my driveway later!

I’m not exactly sure which specific band played as they marched past.   I looked at Roy’s profile on Facebook and didn’t find the “right” name so I’ll just say “South Florida Pride Marching Band” since that was what I saw on the shirts when I zoomed in on that clarinet…

The Wells Fargo Wagon – I’m glad they’re keeping this tradition alive.  So are the ladies up front.  The lady in orange on the right has a massive smile on her face and just looked so happy to be here to share the time with us!

True to their roots, The Wells Fargo Wagon is led by a smiling Cowboy and a team of horses.   Looks like a fun group of folks there!

Some beautiful woodwork and details on that Stage Coach.  These folks are having a blast!

The float from the Florida AIDS Walk came by.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this big guy!  There’s still work to do, and he’s helping us remember.

Equality Florida came out to support Stonewall and Wilton Manors.  In this Republicant led, Tea-bagger infested state we have a LONG way to go before everyone is free and equal!

Some amazing Asian dancers and their non-Asian friends came by with some beautiful costumes.

Latino Pride stops by with their Carnival inspired costumes showing the flags of many Latin nations and the diversity of Wilton Manors.

At the end of the parade is the float from The Alibi in Wilton Manors.   After that, the tradition is to have the rainbow flag unfurl from one end of Wilton Drive to the others.   These folks are starting the display of color for all to see.

From one end of Wilton Drive to the other, the entire drive is covered by a mile of Rainbow Flag.   Everyone is invited to take part of the celebration no matter who or what you are.

Welcome to Wilton Manors…

         

Everyone.