Kitchen Activities #3 – Apple Fritters

My most recent experiment definitely toes the line on not being the most healthy, but this isn’t an everyday sort of recipe for me, so I don’t feel bad having made it. The recipe: Apple Fritters.

I actually found this recipe as a result of the suggested links on YouTube. The recipe is different (according to it’s author, Chef John, from Food Wishes) in that it involves sauteing the apples first in a butter / sugar mix before actual inclusion into the rest of the batter. It definitely made for a nice flavor and I’d handle the recipe this way again. About the only thing I need to change in the future is the amount of apple and how finely I cut it out. I admit part of this might have been my misjudging the size of the apple chunks, but also I appear to have had bigger apples than what the author of the recipe used, because I ended up with a bit of leftover, which the kids and dogs graciously accepted in lieu of raw batter (which I know some people are scared of).

Nevertheless, the rest of the recipe was just terrific, so come fall, I may have to try this one again, along with the candy apple recipe I have.

An absolute hit

Included below is a link to the original recipe page.

https://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2016/09/apple-fritters-not-raw-deal.html

Progress Report #1

So I figured it’d be a great idea (slight sarcasm) to post an update about where I am with various projects I have going. Sadly, a lot of things have been waylaid by a combination of work, health and weather issues, but such is life. So…

Workshop Project: Work Tables & Miter Saw Station

I have most of the materials for the table frames themselves, plus the casters. So if I can manage to squeeze an hour or two in during the next week, I should be able to have the work tables up. I’m hoping (desperately) to get the material for the table tops and the remaining 2 x 4 studs for the miter saw station this upcoming week. The 2 x 4s aren’t a problem to transport, but the tops are going to require me borrowing a friend’s truck, on a day when the local lumber yard is open late and the weather is convenient. That’ll hopefully be in the next week as well, but it happens when it happens.

Model Railroad Project: The Tables

This project is essentially on hold until I get those work tables and miter saw station done. On top of the fact that I am NOT going through the struggle of trying to do any more of this work on the floor from now on, I have to manage my budget reasonably, so it’ll probably be a couple more weeks. That and I am still debating the layout of the tables. I’ve been going back and forth on a few things, but it really all comes down to: do I do a layout with full walk-around space or something up against the wall. Given the space restrictions, the up-against-the-wall option is definitely a better option, but I’d love to have a full walk-around layout. I still have time to think this one over.

Kitchen Projects

You’d think this is an easy one, but it’s mostly time & energy lately that gets in the way of this. Probably in the next week I’ll make an older recipe of mine and document it here. Possibly do a home-made bread loaf again, too, if I can squeeze in enough time.

Electronics

I actually have nothing planned for this right now, so there’s nothing new to see.

Humor

I’ve had so much in my mind lately that I haven’t had a chance to come up with new and funny material. Honestly, there was more stuff to use as a jumping-off point when I still had some social networking accounts, but by the same token, not having that has eliminated a major source of annoyance, anxiety and depression, so it seems a fair trade-off to me.

Google Ad-Sense Integration

Not really a project, but the honest-to-goodness truth is it counts for something on this site. Right now I am still working on building up enough content so Google will finally agree that my content is worthwhile enough for advertising. Hopefully when some more of this other stuff progresses, I’ll have better new on this front too.

At any rate, that’s everything lately – yeah, boring and not much to speak of at this point, but there my update on everything and anything…. such as it is.

Kitchen Activities #2 – Simple Homemade Lemonade

After last week’s success with the freckled lemonade, I decided to play with the recipe a bit to get a plain lemonade that does NOT require you to actually juice lemons. The upshot to this is that the recipe can be made in as little as 10 minutes.

The problem with that other recipe (problem is loosely used in this context) is that it requires you to buy a lot of lemons to juice. Now if you have an juicing machine, it’s not a terrible ordeal, but even so, you need at least 10 lemons for that recipe, and that alone is like $5 with of supplies for a single batch. Don’t get me wrong, the flavor is outstanding, but it is a lot of work to do, and if you want more than one batch, you’re going to be doing the juicing thing for a few hours.

So this recipe is done instead with a bottle of Lemon Juice, typically found in 32 oz sizes in grocery stores, and for about $3.00 per bottle. This will get you 2 – 3 batches of lemonade, depending on how strong you like to make it.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz (1 ½ cups) lemon juice
  • 16 oz (2 cups) water
  • 1.5 cups of white sugar

Procedure

Bring the 16 oz of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan on the stove. Slowly add in the sugar, a half-cup at a time, stirring until it dissolves. Once you’ve dissolved in all 1.5 cups of sugar, let it boil for about another minute, than set aside.

Pour the 12 oz of lemon juice into a large (48 oz or larger) pitcher. Add some ice. After the sugar / water mixture has cooled, you can add it to the ice and lemon juice. After that, you’ll need to fill up the pitcher slowly with cold water and stir it regularly. This part will need to be done to taste. I like a slightly more sour flavor, but some people prefer it more balance and others prefer sweeter, so you’ll need to mix it to your preference. I suggest playing with the balance of the portions until you find one you and / or your guests will like.

The best balance seems to be 2.5 cups of cold water to 12 oz lemon juice and 16 oz of syrup water, but again, that’s something you do to taste.

Dose of Humor #1 – Getting Wood for Greg

I am considering a new segment where I encourage you, my viewers, to aid in my articles on woodworking. The biggest struggle for me as an amateur woodworker is obtaining material to work on. Let’s be honest, lumber isn’t cheap these days, and aside from not having a pickup truck, the actual cost of material is probably the biggest challenge I have to overcome to some basic projects.

Therefore, starting today, you can make a monetary donation to my new fund, Getting Wood for Greg. I’m hoping that this will generate more interest and less lawsuits than my previous charity, the SPCA (Society to Provide Cash to Awarskis).

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

Much as it’ll be a while before I’m at this stage of the process, I’ve had a few thoughts of where I can integrate some of my knowledge of electronics into my future railroad layout. Obviously with the large assortment of kits, tools and whatnot available from commercial sources, there’s already so much you can do for scenery in a layout, but given my background, limited though it might be, in electronics, I think I might have a use for some of the stuff demonstrated below. Enjoy!

LED Light Circuit – Drive by Arduino
Fiber Optics drive by Arduino

Farewell to Social Media

So at the end of the day tomorrow I will be shutting down and deleting my final Social Networking / Social Media account – Facebook… which I’ve had since at least 2006. It was a decision that took a bit of time to work through; at a few points in the past, I’d strongly considered it only to be swayed by the idea of “but then I will loose contact with so-and-so”. The thing I’ve realized over the years is that if I can’t maintain contact with people because of my own (or their own) direct commitment to do so, forcing that process with on-line Social technology tools, maybe it is time to let go of certain contacts; the same way it is healthy to let go of some parts of my past.

But I’d be less than honest to not say that a big part of why I am letting go is the very nature of people I’ve encountered over the years. On the one hand, I have met some very nice people and reconnected with some friends through social media. But on the other hand, there is a blatant annoyance to the fact that a lot of people never really understood that when it comes to social settings (on-line included) there are some things you just shouldn’t publish and discuss. The two that I was always taught to avoid are politics and religion.

To be perfectly fair, I’ve not always been the best at skipping those topics myself, but I’ve gotten to the point where I realize that Social Networking brought out the worst of those tendencies in me… and it seems to do the same with other people as well. I’m not going into my feelings about any particular politician or party or anything here. I have decided, however, that being bombarded by that content has pushed me to the point of not wanting to interact anymore.

And my position on religion has changed greatly over the years, to the point where I can’t and won’t make organized religion a part of who I am. It’s not that I don’t believe in the possibility of God or anything. I’m not going to pass judgement against whether there is or isn’t. I sure as heck don’t have the ability to make that determination… and I sincerely doubt anyone else in the world does either. I will say, however, that nearly 40 years in, I just cannot see a value to participating in organized religion; nearly every Western-based one has proven to be lead by groups that contain, at the least, liars and connivers who have ruined the concepts of their own faith and demonstrated that it was more meant as a form of mind and population control than a genuine gathering of people who believe.

I don’t know what God would want, but I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t be the attitudes I see everywhere in the various organized branches of religions. So I choose to not participate.

What does that have to do with Social Networking and Social Media? I have seen yet another upswing in people attacking other religions, political opposites, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. It was bad enough when it was individuals posting that garbage on their walls and I ended up un-following and blocking a lot of individuals posts because it was tiring. For a time, that seemed to work. Unfortunately, people started then posting that sort of crap into the various groups and whatnot that I wanted to follow, and it seems like it just keeps getting worse.

Who you support politically / religiously / whatever has nothing to do with recipes for lemonade or N-scale trains. Yet I would see people posting that sort of crap all the time… and they’d claim it was subtle, but these people would apparently consider it subtle if you decided to stop termites from damaging your house by using nuclear weapons. What I’m saying is that this wasn’t the “Thank you, God for this day” stuff that is passive, and positive or at least can be taken as “this person is grateful for what they have and I can respect that”. No, it’s the “I need to push my version of belief in something that is an act of faith on everyone and if they don’t agree 100% they’re wrong and evil and it would be OK if they were bombed back to the stone age”.

You can believe whatever the heck you want to believe… but keep it to yourself.

When I unsubscribe to people who espouse that stuff but then still see it because they proceed to post it in common public forums, and keep doing it over-and-over, I choose to stop being part of those public forums. After seeing it in nearly every place I was trying to go to enjoy the actual topic in the title, I’ve realized that Facebook serves no purpose for me anymore.

And there’s more.

I’ve lost track of the number of data breaches that have explicitly or implicitly been reported with these social media services. I’m not blaming them for it happening. I know it’s hard to try to secure services like that, but frankly it’s just too much of a risk factor to stay involved on those services. It’s been a frustrating thing to see the sheer amount of data that is at risk from using a service that was meant to unite and connect people, but there you have it.

And of course, 1 or 2 jackasses that would best serve the planet by not participating in the natural cycle of breathing. I mean there is or are, specifically, 1 or 2 people who have harassed or annoyed my family and I for the past few years with direct evidence that they really have nothing of value in their lives. Facebook has served as their last means of conducting that sort of activity over the years, and if none of the other stuff about Social Networking seems worth holding on to, than this sure as heck is an even better reason to be done with the platform.

Don’t get me wrong. The idea of a platform to bring people together is a great concept. The technology to make that happens really is there. Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and other such services are mature enough to use… but I don’t consider humanity to be mature enough to use them properly; maybe some day they will be, but that sure as heck hasn’t happened yet.

I’m not sure where it started going wrong, but I know now that it definitely isn’t right. I will miss some aspects of these platforms, but I will not miss a great deal of the garbage that is out there.

So if you need to reach out to me in the future, you can do so through this site. If you want to keep up with my own doings, I’ll have them posted on here. If you want to know my views on topics… well, you can ask, but I’ll be reluctant to discuss some of those topics because they’re topics that I don’t feel need to be seen as a major part of me beyond what I’ve already said.

If you find that my reasoning is silly, or foolish, or you think less of me for not sharing your views – sorry to disappoint, but that’s exactly why I’m not discussing those topics further… it’s obvious we don’t see eye-to-eye on them, and I’d rather not discuss them at all given the choice.

Anyway, this will hopefully be one of the few serious (negative-sounding) posts I write. I’d prefer not having that sort of stuff out regularly. It’s not really what this site is for so hopefully the topic can be left to die from this point on.

Fully modular design

One of my realizations over the past few weeks is that a truly modular layout design would likely be the best thing I could do for my own sanity. If we should ever buy a home and move, I really don’t want any of my invested resources to go to waste, so I redeveloped the designs of the tables to 5 foot long, 18 inch deep modules which could be put into a rectangular formation. This lets me build a continuous operation that allows for expansion.

To accomplish that, I updated my design in Sketchup to what I hope fill be the last stage of redesigning a table structure.

Kitchen Activities #1 – Freckled Lemonade

Technically not my first successful experiment in cooking / baking / etc… not by a long shot… but this is the first one I’m documenting on here. I don’t have a bunch of pictures or anything, but hopefully this will serve as a decent springboard of content.

So I have a major addiction to freckled lemonade from Red Robin. Of course, It’s like $3.50 to get it with your meal, and I certainly don’t want to have to drive 25 minutes every time I have a craving, and have to get the meal, just to get a taste of their drink.

Well, Pinterest comes to the rescue. I found a copycat recipe that I gave a try, and amazingly it worked… it worked VERY well. I’ll include a link to the original recipe, but I’ll also post my variations here in the future.

You don’t need a lot for this recipe, though it did call for manually juicing 10 lemons, which is a LOT of work if you don’t have an automatic juicer. Still, the flavor was excellent, so it might be worth the investment in a small counter-top juicing machine if you want that fresh flavor.

As a follow-up to this experiment, I will try creating the same recipe soon using store-bought lemon juice, and also see if a limeade version works out. My only other thought is: this stuff is pretty potent, so I watered it down a bit after I made the initial batch, and it still ended up with really strong flavor.

At any rate, I considered this first experiment a success and I encourage you to give it a try if you like strawberry lemonades. Any I apologize in advance that the picture I have for this isn’t super attractive. I took it right before bed and not in a really fancy setting, but frankly, I was less worried about presentation than just making a good drink. Mission accomplished!

The presentation might not be the greatest, but the flavor is fantastic!

Link to original recipe: http://lifeispoppin.com/strawberry-lemonade-just-like-red-robin/

An Old Version of the Layout

This was the previous version of my layout (I say previous with the understanding that I haven’t actually put up the new one just yet). The only problem I had besides a lack of space to expand was the fact that the only space at the time was in the dining room, and the floor allowed for too much bounce of huskies going by. Now with having space in a basement that is strictly ours, I can build something more substantial. Enjoy!