Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Posts From the Road - The Quitter

When you're lost in the Wild,
and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
 And you're sore as a boil,
it's according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it's easy to blow . . .
It's the hell-served-for-breakfast that's hard.
"You're sick of the game!"
Well, now, that's a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
 "You've had a raw deal!" I
 know -- but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
 It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
 So don't be a piker, old pard!
 Just draw on your grit;
 it's so easy to quit:
 It's the keeping-your-chin-up that's hard.
 It's easy to cry that you're beaten -- and die;
 It's easy to crawfish and crawl;
 But to fight and to fight when hope's out of sight --
Why, that's the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
 All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try -- it's dead easy to die,
It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.
 - Robert W.  Service

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1911's, Spaceships and Waffles - Just another Sunday

This coming weeks Range Review,  the Springfield Armory 1911, the perfect blaster for targets and spaceships.

Until then, a clip from one of my favorite movies and Sunday Morning's Kitchen Experiment (made without the assistance of a cookbook OR Minions)

 

"It's So Fluffy!" Waffles with Maple Bourbon Cider Syrup

These waffles have a consistency almost like pastry or pancakes, very fluffy, tender and light in crumb with just enough crisp on the top to hold in those delicious pockets of butter and  homemade syrup. If you're used to a Crisp Belgium Style Waffle, give them a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

The hot syrup can be made with ingredients you likely have on hand - a cup of maple syrup, a cup of cider, a pinch of cayenne and a half a shot of Bourbon (more depending on your relatives).   The directions are in the link above for the waffles.

Serve with butter and add some crisp bacon or sausages and sliced peaches. Drizzle all with a bit of the syrup for a nice "breakfast for supper" Sunday meal.
click to enlarge photos

And the corn version below, replace 1/4 cup of the flour with corn meal and replace the sugar with honey.  The rest of the directions remain unchanged.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Drop a Bomb on Me, Baby

I'll SIT for a treat,  but do you have any idea how COLD  my butt is right now?

That had BETTER be a really good treat.

Barkley's No-Bake Nut Butter Bombs

3/4 cup 100% natural  unsweetened peanut or almond butter
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup almond milk
1  and 1/4 cups slow cooking rolled oats (NOT instant oatmeal, it can contain salt)
1 Tablespoon fresh flax seed (ground in a blender first)

These treats are dairy free but always check with your vet first if your dog is food sensitive.  Peanut and almond butter based treats are safe for dogs, served in moderation.

Mix nut butter, cinnamon and almond milk. Add in oats and flax seeds (mixture will be thick but you can add another Tbsp. of almond milk if it's too hard to work with).

Use a teaspoon to scoop and shape small balls.  Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate a couple of hours.

Keeps 3 weeks in airtight container in fridge or freeze some for later. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back to the Grinder - A HOTR Sandwich Review

There's been lots of talk about Subway sandwiches in the news lately, including a lawsuit.  I can't say I've ever measured my sandwich with a ruler, but I've done worse things with tools when bored.

But the Subway issue caught my eye when it showed up in my unit in a report from a colleague,

"Reward offered for information leading to the discovery of the whereabouts of a six inch  Subway Italian Bravo Mike Tango with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, salt, pepper and spicy mustard on a nine grain honey wheat bun. Subject was last seen at approximately 1300 hours Tuesday in the west most refrigerator in the lunch room wearing a Subway wrapper surrounded by a cellophane Subway sandwich bag."

Being the ever on alert, stalwart professional, I replied

"So we're looking for the unsub?"


I will happily eat a cold Subway sandwich if the alternate is most burger type fast food.  Actually, I'd eat a live carp if the alternative was Hardee's but that's just my preference.  My former Squirrel Partner used to hyperventilate over the original Hardee's Big Shef.  Taste is very much an individual thing.

But for "sub" style sandwiches, there is no competition for me.

Bellecino's Grinders.  They are located in IN, MO, Ohio,  Illinois and Michigan and possibly other states. (www.bellacinos.com)

There's all sorts of stories about the origin of the name of the Grinder, and the difference between one and a "Sub"  sandwich.  One story regards a A New London shop (Capaldos Market?) who made sandwiches and sold them from a cart at the entrance to the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton during WWII. The sandwiches were a favorite with the welders and grinders (the guys who grind the weld down smooth), and were usually called "Grinder's Sandwiches", later shortened to Grinders.

Not that I have anything against "subs", but once you've had a hot Grinder it's hard to go back.

I'm  not sure if that's the true origin of the term "grinder" but all the ones I have tried have one similarity.  They are baked.  And not "toasted" like in the Subway "toasted" which is done in this sort of combined microwave/toaster oven/linear accelerator that magically sucks out all of the freshness out of otherwise recently baked  bread leaving it the consistency of a chalkboard eraser. No, I'm talking about baked in a PIZZA OVEN,  and not in 3 minutes either.  The combination of this incredible homemade bread baked slow with gooey cheese and sauces and meats with lettuce as a "garnish", is hard to beat.  You won't 'get your sandwich in 2 minutes, but that 10 to 15 minutes will be well worth the wait.

The one I stop at frequently is the Bellecino's in Plainfield IN as it's not far from the Indy airport, being only a few miles West of the terminal. I try and eat before I go on a flight, to avoid the "carbon dated for freshness" airport sandwiches.

The Plainfield location is spotlessly clean and the young man that  takes the ordersthere most days that I stop in pre or post travel is very welcoming  and makes sure everyone has good food and good service.

All of their locations have really good pizza (they put huge pieces of bacon on the bacon /pepperoni pizza), salads, lasagna and other oven baked pastas and $2 and change garlic cheese bread you'll want to order every time.
Still, what has me make that out of my way "dog leg" in my trip to the airport is the hot, cheesy Grinders.

This is Partner's sandwich one day when he went with me. This is a HALF, not a whole (the six inch Subway is hiding in a closet now).

Look at the size of those tomato slices, heck, look at the size of the sandwich.

I don't like cold tomatos so here's my  plain turkey grinder with just lettuce. It's probably not as "blog photo pretty" as some of the sandwiches with all sorts of Italian Meats and real bacon on them, but this is my favorite, "pre-flight" sandwichBut I just took these for pictures of a fun day, not intending to post  them until the whole Subway debate reminded me I should tell readers about this hidden little gem.

Again, this is  HALF of a sandwich.  The menu said this was 9 inches.  I didn't bring a ruler, but I'd say. . . based on a forensically trained eye :-) yes, that is, at least.

When you have to cut a HALF sandwich in half to handle it with two hands, that's a big sandwich.

The Plainfield location is tucked into a small, older mall complex about 3/4 mile East of Plainfield Shooting Supplies.  From  Highway 465 on the west side of Indy, take the Washington St. exit. Go West a few miles.  Look for the Kohl's and Applebee's on your left and turn left into the mall area and you'll see it on your right by Massage Envy and some other sandwich place.   

The "small" club
You know, I think if I get one of these Grinders for my colleague, he'll close his missing sandwich investigation as a cold case file.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Working All the Angles

If

[sin 4x - cos 4x] / [sin 2x - cos 2x]

and you factor the denominator

 [sin 4x - cos 4x] / [sin 2x - cos 2x] = [sin 2x - cos 2x][sin 2x + cos 2x] / [sin 2x - cos 2x] 

and simplify 

 = [sin 2x + cos 2x] = 1 

and further simplify 

x = whiskey  (and yes, I'll have 1)

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

You all have a good night.  My brain is tired and it's cold in Hoosierville so I'm taking a night off to relax. No computer, just music, a warm, furry lab and a small neat glass.  Those of you that can, should do the same.  

Cheers - B.

Monday, January 21, 2013

LAB Rules


Angus, the black lab that belongs to my friends Six and his wife Lu at the Warrior Class broke his leg. (click for link)  Go on over and drop them a  kind word.  Young Angus is going to need surgery and everyone is understandably worried.

Brigid and Barkley

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tools that Bind, Tools that Free


I was cleaning out a storage unit that I had rented when I sold my last house, with the  last of the lightweight gear loaded in the truck, tied together and down by strands of paracord. Like baling twine to a farmer, it's the thread of life for someone bent on surviving. Shelter building, gear repair, snares and traps, securing gear either to yourself or your ruck so if you and thick brush do a tango it doesn't come lose. The inside strands can make a fishing net. Hanging food out of reach of animals, makeshift clothes line, a sling, multiple uses for something that coils quietly like a snake in the dark of my pack.

550 cord has its name due to its strength capacity. Each of the 7 strands is rated at 50 foot lbs. . Its good to know that info if you need to use the individual strands. Knowing the strength of the individual is as important as knowing the strength of the group and it might save your life sometimes.


Each strand, 50 pounds. With the empty sheath rated at 200 pounds. I think you could flatten that out and use it to temporarily replace a fan belt if you had to (though you might need an overhand knot every so often to keep it from slipping).

It's hard to describe the sort of predicament that paracord could get you out of, but if you've ever ridden into one, you will know.

Yet, it's a common item that gives outdoor survival some substance, a reminder of doing with what you have, what you need to do to survive. Holding it in your hand, it becomes second nature, what hands and fingers are for, the dexterity of your fingers, the willful outcome of your intentions, formed into something useful. Something that can hold life together.


I'm not any sort of expert in anything outdoors. I'm never going to have my own reality show (and note to those that do, please actually HAVE some fishing and shooting acumen before you try and pass yourself off as someone that does). But in addition to basic camping and hiking, I've been survival trained by a couple of employers and if it hasn't given me definitive skills, it's taught me how to THINK about surviving.

It was supposed to be a day hike, though I had lightweight sleeping bag (OK, it's only rated at 30 degrees, but at 3 pounds and it being summer, always worth toting along). Plus I had tarp for a tent just in case I got running behind. Friends knew I'd be back no later than the next morning and if I failed to appear, where to come looking for me, my route laid out ahead of time. The weather was forecast to be good, I was in good health. Then, like something out of a Stooges movie, I stumbled in some loose rock putting a big gouge in my knee. It was deep enough to hurt, not to hobble, but it slowed me down. Enough to know as I headed back I was unlikely to make my truck before dark. Pushing it in the near dark was only going to get me lost.

I figured I best set up for the night near the trail. I had food, water, a way to build a small fire, stuff for a makeshift tent. As I set up my camp for the night, a sound crashed out of the brush, rising up and away, a parabolic curve of sound as a large deer sped away. I could only watch, my head turned to pace his invisible flight, in the wan light, watching the shadow flee into the spell bound woods beyond.And it dawned on me. I'm not the only one out here. This is bear country, not grizzly, but bears nonetheless, though frankly, in all the times I'd hiked up here I'd never seen one. Still they are here. I needed to sleep upwind of my food, and where I prepared it. And I needed my food up off the ground. The trees were tall, I climb about as well as a carp. What to use?

Paracord. I only had a little, Lesson learned, you can NEVER have too much duct tape or paracord. But I did have enough if I separated it out into strands. So I cut off a good piece., leaving enough for other uses. Normally, I'd burn the ends with a lighter so the individuals strands didn't come out (be careful on this, Dante's inferno has nothing on melted 550 cord that drips on bare skin). But this time I needed those strands. Tying each one to each other with a simple square knot and I was able to lift up my gear. Food, breath mints (bears like the smell of some minty toiletries and it wasn't like I was going to meet Mr. Right out here), the shirt and shorts I prepared my food in. All well out of Mr. Bear's reach, about twelve feet off the ground and four feet away from the truck. It wasn't a lot of of weight for just a day hike but it was up and safe as I would be for the night, with just a little planning ahead.

I thought about it that day when I was   putting away the last load from the truck.  I think about it as I hang up the coat I wear outdoors to the range, I find a single round. A live round, not tarnished or touched, the primer embedded firmly into its form. Not much longer than a match, it's large enough to contain a life. Someday it might have to.

Tools are all around us, simple things, necessary things. Learn how to use them. You can sit home, enveloping yourself in the smoke of useless and perpetual passivity, that you can almost smell on a person. Or you can learn. Learn to recognize fear, often as lost on the very young as love and passion.


Then one day, when you stand still with the taste of brass there in a mouth gone dry, a knot in your stomach, you know it's time to use those tools you have to survive. You feel it, in blood, bone, skin, awareness rising out of experience. Be it a city street, the protracted shade of undying woods, or simply face to face with someone who wishes to steal something within you you are not ready to give, you reach into your pocket, into yourself and unleash those threads that bind you to passivity.

There's strength in even the small things that are causes for wonder.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Come to the Dark Side. We Have Cookies

Dark Chocolate and Espresso Gingersnaps 

A family can always disagree on what to have for dinner, but no one ever argues over "want me to make some cookies?" These aren't for the kids, infused with coffee and a bit of chocolate and laden with spice.  Crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle, they are perfect alongside of or dunked in a cup of hot coffee or cold glass of milk.
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Tablespoon  unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1  heaping teaspoon. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 
  • 1 Tablespoon finely ground coffee
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, warmed to room
      temperature
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  •  3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfered molasses 
  • extra sugar for tops of cookies (4-6 Tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg coffee and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, (about 1 and a half to 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla, egg and molasses, mixing well. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in thirds,  beating  well until each addition to incorporate the flour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Using  a spoon create balls of dough a little more than an inch in diameter.  Roll top portion in sugar (I used a mix of Artesano's espresso sugar and regular sugar).  Place on lightly greased pan and press down slightly with a glass dipped in sugar. 

Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes for a chewy center cookie (bottom of cookie should just be getting slightly brown) 10-12 for a crisp cookie to dunk in coffee.  Immediately transfer the cookies with a spatula  to a wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 3 small cookie sheets full.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Irish Cure for Winter Weather.


How to tell if you're Irish.

You are not a professional basketball star.
You've never heard anyone say "nice tan!"
Instant potatoes are a mortal sin.
There wasn't a big difference between your last wake and your last keg party.
There isn't a big difference between you losing your temper and manslaughter.
At least one person in your family is named Mary, Catherine, Eileen or Margaret.

Most cures for common ailments involve whiskey.
Blas Meala - a traditional Irish recipe, it's more like dessert than a drink, and you will debate whether to sip or eat with a spoon. But on a snowy, icy day, it's perfect, whether you're part Irish or not.

The recipe serves two

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (fresh does makes a lot of difference).
2 teaspoons clover honey
3 Tablespoons Irish Whisky (a bit shy of a shot glass)
a  few Tablespoons whipping cream, whipped til soft peaks form
a  few pinches of oatmeal toasted in a hot pan til dark brown and then crumbled with your fingers.

In a saucepan, heat the OJ to JUST below boiling, add honey and stir.  Pour into a glass, add whisky and a layer of whipped cream.  Sprinkle with the toasted oatmeal, give it a minute to let the whipped cream sort of meld into the liquid and then toast and drink up.

A nice way to spend the evening, no matter how big your castle.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Get the Lead Out

When it says Midway Midway Midway
On the Ladle Ladle Ladle
You Will Like it Like it Like it
On your Table Table Table

The only good part about being away from home for a while is fun stuff waiting in the mail on return. Especially packages from Midway, even if back ordered, as shooty supplies, even of the lead casting variety, are in short supply.

I did smile at the warning on the back of the label of this little Lee lead ladle.

WARNING: Melting lead and casting lead objects 
will expose you and others in the area to lead, 
which is known to cause birth defects, 
other reproductive harm and cancer.

I'm thinking I should have a warning sign on my front window

WARNING - 
Breaking into my home 
with the intent to steal and harm
will expose you and others to lead, 
which is known to cause reproductive harm.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'm Home -

So Mom -

There had better be smoked salmon or elk jerky treats in your suitcase. 

If you brought us a box of Aplets and Cotlets from the airport gift store, I am SO eating your new leather boots.

- Barkley

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Waiting Begins


Big Bro's surgical biopsy is today.

There's no question it's cancer, just what variant, which will help them with treatment.  I'm  getting checked to see if I'm a possible match for a bone marrow donor if needed later.  I reminded him that when he was 14 and got mono, I did his paper route faithfully for two weeks. He promised me the moon - fame, glamor, big bucks, snack cakes.  He paid me a measly Fifty Cents.

On the plus side, it's probably why I did NOT register as a Democrat when I turned 18.

But I'll do what I can, even if I HATE needles. Because I have my secret lucky charm  (even though he lost his tail in a tragic Hot Wheels accident).