Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday Night on the Hill

It was a meat and potatoes night at Walnut Hills Wednesday night.  I love cooking for the church family and last night I went with comfort food.  Meatloaf and Tater Tots.  It was a hit.

Here is the recipe that I used - "Meatloaf for 50".  It was very easy and tasted great.  Then I threw in 2 packages (5 lbs. each) of tater tots as my side dish.  The oven did most of the work and I got the credit.  I love those deals.  I'm getting this reputation as this great cook.  If they only knew.

But really, this is what fellowship is all about as far as I am concerned.  Sitting down and sharing a meal - there is little better.

As it seems the world gets crazier and crazier, it is good to share a good meal with friends.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Farm Fresh Eggs

No, I'm not rushing the season.  That is not a collection of Easter Eggs.  I just got back from picking up our fresh eggs.  The Rev and I have bought a share in "Small Potatoes CSA", a local farm.  This will be our first experience with the concept of CSA - Community Supported Agriculture - and we are looking forward to enjoying the produce this summer.

What you see in the picture is the first benefit of this collaboration, fresh eggs.  These are from real chickens that run free on the farm.  They are not housed in a barn and crammed together.  And they are from different breeds thus the different colors.  I get a kick out of that alone but let me tell you, these eggs are good.  This is actually our second batch and the first batch has me eating eggs again.

I don't know if it is just because these eggs are so fresh or if it is because the chickens are allowed to run free, but I am convinced that they taste different.  The flavor is richer and the texture is smoother than any store-bought eggs I have eaten.  These eggs actually have me getting up earlier in the morning so I have time to fix a couple for breakfast.  And that, folks, is saying something.  Anyone who knows Sunbob knows I am NOT a morning person.  For years my morning routine was to sleep as late as possible, give myself just enough time to fix a strong cup of coffee, then rush off to get to work.  This morning I got up early even though I had the day off from the store.

I have read on other web-sites that the way to test an egg's freshness is to put it in water.  A fresh egg will lay flat on the bottom.  As the egg ages the air pocket in the egg gets bigger and the large end of the egg starts to raise up.  Older eggs will actually stand on end in the water.  The eggs are still good to eat but they are getting to the end of their shelf life.  If the egg floats to the surface it is time to throw it out.

Well, you know me, I had to test these eggs.  I tested two of them and they laid perfectly flat on the bottom of the glass.  Just to be sure of this test, I took a couple of the eggs from our first batch that have been in the refrigerator for two weeks and tested them.  Both of those eggs were starting to lift and rested at about a 45 degree angle on the bottom.  I haven't tested any store bought eggs so I'm not saying anything about them.

As I said earlier, the Rev and I are looking forward to this summer.  We will be getting periodic shipments of fresh produce from the farm as the crops are harvested.  I really don't know much about the concept of CSA but we will be learning this summer.  The basic idea is that you buy a share of the output of the farm.  You share the harvest and you share the risks.  Here is a link that says it better.  I will try to post about our experience this summer.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dual Monitor system

I have a new toy.  I have been putting together a new system and now I have two monitors.  You might call this an "economy" system.  A local business was upgrading their workstations and sold off their old computers and monitors.  Thirty-five bucks got me a Dimension 2400 (no operating system) and a 15" LCD monitor.  I couldn't pass it up.

The Dell has a Pentium 4 cpu and came with 500mb of RAM.  The first thing I did was upgrade the RAM to 2 GB from my old box.  Then I dropped in my wifi card.  No OS is not a problem for me because I prefer Linux anyway.  This time I went with Ubuntu 10.10.  I fired it up and everything worked right the first time.

But the D2400 has on-board video and only one video outlet.  That meant I couldn't plug in the second monitor.  Newegg to the rescue.  I found a Radeon PCI video card with both VGA and DVI outputs for only $40.  Add on a $12 DVI cable and I just upgraded my video from a 33mhz clock to 333mhz and digital output to boot.  The DVI cable is going to my 20" LG monitor and the VGA to the 15" Gateway.  The last add-on was to pop in my CD burner from my old system as the Dell just had a player.

I fired everything up and Ubuntu found everything the first time.  All it took was some minor tweaking of the displays and I am off and running with my new toy.  I know this isn't cutting edge technology.  Actually it is several years old but that's what is fun for me.  I'm not a gamer so I don't need cutting edge speed and power.  I use my computer to feed my internet news addiction, email my friends, track my sales, and write the occasional blog post.  I figure I should be good for a couple more years at least.  All for less than $90.  What I really enjoyed was playing with the hardware and setting everything up.

Now I get to learn how to use a computer with dual monitors - multi-tasking is my dream (yea, right).