Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Man of Too Many Words

My dad is visiting this week and I’ve almost forgotten how carefully I choose my words. I’m frequently accused of being short or abrupt, but I really abhor excessive detail. Too many wasted words. Too much time lost. It’s not that I have anything important to do, but my ADD makes it incredibly hard to focus. In normal conversation, my eyes glaze over and I’m often left wondering how I will be able to endure the conversation. In effect, I never hear any of the conversation because the details distract me.

My dad likes to spend words frivolously with unnecessary detail and halting conversation as he thinks of more to say. Don’t get me wrong, I like spending time with my dad. I just wish it didn’t involve so much talking. Ironically, it’s his loose lips that have conditioned me to try to save my breath. In that respect, I’m a lot like my grandpa.

We were visiting my grandparents long ago. I think I was twelve at a time. Since my grandparents ran a farm, there was a lot of heavy equipment. This particular time, a Caterpillar was digging out the manure lagoon. My grandpa sees my brother and I in the house and asks, “Do you boys want to see a Caterpillar?” We were watching cartoons so we replied with an emphatic no.

His response was classic. He barked, “Get in the car!” We scurried to his Cadillac and he drove us about a quarter of a mile away to where the lagoon was being dug. I’m still staggered by this surreal situation, because he merely stopped the car, pointed to a big machine and said, “That’s a Caterpillar.” After about a minute and a half, he turned the car around and drove us back to the house. I don’t recall him saying anything else.

The differences in communication vary greatly between these two men. Nevertheless, I know I don’t have many more visits left with my dad as he is getting old. That doesn’t make ignoring his superfluous conversation any easier. As a matter of fact, he is talking to me right now. I’m just going to smile and nod my head so that he will think I’m listening.

Advertisements

Scotch Egg Sandwich on Pretzel Roll With Horseradish Mustard

I woke up this morning in a funk.  I’ve been fighting my autoimmune aches and pains and really thought I was going to camp out on the couch and watch House reruns on Netflix.  I would have if I wasn’t tasked with taking my fourteen year old daughter to the bank to open a savings account.

Boiled eggs encased in bratwurst.
Boiled eggs encased in bratwurst.

By the time we got to the bank I began thinking about sandwiches.  My kids think I should be famous for my pepperoni grilled cheese sandwiches and they always welcome new sandwich additions to my repertoire.  One night we had chimichangas for supper.  Chimichangas stuffed with banana, peanut butter, marshmallow spread, and Hershey bars.  Though not technically a sandwich, they were perfectly happy to eat a crusty and gooey conglomeration of delights.

Dredged in egg wash and coated with panko bread crumbs.
Dredged in egg wash and coated with panko bread crumbs.

I have been wanting to try Scotch eggs for some time now.  I decided they would make a great sandwich.  I was right.  I found some pretzel rolls and determined that I needed to use bratwurst for the eggs.  Add a nice mustard sauce and we have a German/Scotch egg.  A Scotch egg by any other name tastes just as sweet, right?  I knew that 400 level Shakespeare I course I took in 2 1/2 weeks one summer was going to be useful someday.

I decided to borrow a horseradish-mustard sauce from Martha Stewart.  I added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to increase the drizzle factor.  It took maybe five minutes to make the sauce.  The rest was pretty straightforward as well.

Fried scotch eggs.
Fried scotch eggs.

Ingredients:

4 eggs, boiled to your desired consistency

2 eggs, beaten (to hold the breading)

5 links bratwurst, casings removed

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 quarts vegetable oil (for frying)

4 pretzel rolls (or whatever bread suits your fancy)

scotch1

Method:

Heat oil in cast iron dutch oven to 375 degrees F.  While oil is heating, peel eggs.

Take approximately 1 1/4 bratwurst links without casings and flatten.  Place egg in the center and carefully work sausage around egg to completely encase it.  (At this point, I stuck the eggs in the freezer for about fifteen minutes to firm them up.  It’s not necessary, but if you choose to do this, wait until you remove them to start heating the oil).

Coat meat covered eggs with egg wash and roll in breadcrumbs to coat completely.scotch3When oil is hot, carefully place eggs in oil.  I cooked two at a time so that they had plenty of breathing room.  Fry approximately ten minutes and periodically roll egg balls to make sure it cooks evenly.  (I didn’t have enough oil to completely submerge my eggs).

When cooked, carefully remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate to drain.  Let cool for about ten minutes and slice with a serrated knife.  Place on roll and drizzle with delicious mustard sauce.  Enjoy.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

My wife and I don’t eat out much as normally we are feeding our three daughters as well. We were able to escape for a short while to enjoy an intimate brunch.

I’ve been to Another Broken Egg Cafe a couple of times and it tasted great, but I always went to eat lunch with a dude. Or maybe a dude and his girlfriend. This just kills the atmosphere.

It’s another story when you are with your wife. We both had a nice meal, but the breakfast sausage really stood out. It tasted great, though it’s not something you would want to gorge on. It’s a bit too salty for that. They had a decent house made cream gravy, and the eggs were perfect. If only the diced potatoes weren’t frozen.

I like fresh potatoes, but sometimes a restaurant goes for the quick and easy solution. I’ll have to take a star away for the mediocre potatoes, but overall, this is a great place to escape the din of arguing children.

Next time I’ll try the Bananas Foster pancakes.

20140702-202109-73269831.jpg

Best. Meatloaf. Ever.

Image

One of the preeminent comfort foods is meatloaf. It appears to be one of those dishes that is publicly jeered at, but secretly is coveted.

I have eaten meatloaf from many places. There certainly is awesome meatloaf and there is meatloaf that is only suitable for Gallagher’s Sledge-O-Matic. It’s still meatloaf and I hungrily shovel it in.

This particular meatloaf is an amalgamation of my experiences in trying different recipes, but it leans heavily on the freeform method that is typically in a mobile kitchen with Mercy Chefs. I just happened to write down the process today.

I look forward to your critique as I’d like to know where on the spectrum it belongs. Maybe Gallagher and I need to eat smashed meatloaf.

If you really want to enhance your experience, try serving with fresh remoulade sauce.

IMG_5302

 

Ingredients:

3 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 ounces Hormel crumbled bacon with black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix ingredients thoroughly, but do not over mix as it will make the meatloaf really dense.

Form into loaf on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Coat meatloaf with homemade sauce (or ketchup).

Cook for 75 minutes or until internal temperature is 150 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest. Internal temperature should rise to 160 at rest.

IMG_5306

Images courtesy of Stacy Crumpley.

 

 

 

Is Anything More Evil Than Comcast?

CC image courtesy of Masayoshi Sekimura on Flickr.
CC image courtesy of Masayoshi Sekimura on Flickr.

I’ve had Comcast against my will for nine years. I have no other comparable option for high speed internet. I don’t have access to DSL and I’m not paying exorbitant fees for satellite internet. I’m over a barrel and I’ve been seething for a long time. They bent me out of shape so badly a couple of years ago, I wrote letters to the Mayor, the Governor, and the senators and congresspersons for Louisiana. It was a pointless endeavor but it was cathartic.

As far as the product goes, it’s good as long as it is working. I’ll even say that surfing the internet is generally fast and frustration free. Except when I have to call customer service.

A typical call has someone reading a script that is riddled with empty apologies. At least that is what I hear. Today’s debacle stems from a billing snafu.

There was a nice addition of modem rental fees when I have owned my own modem for years. My broadband plan was suddenly changed and I’m magically being billed for installation and franchise fees. My bill had increased 50%.

I have had nothing installed and I’ve had nothing but an antenna and Netflix to feed my television consumption for two years. Before we pared down our expenses, we had DirecTV, not Comcast.

I called customer service today just like I had done on numerous occasions for nearly a decade. Today was different because I was informed that I was not authorized to discuss my account. It’s in my wife’s name, but I was listed years ago as one who was privileged to discuss the account with the intrepid souls at Comcast. Until today. All because my account has been updated or modified on June 1 without our knowledge or permission.

I spent thirty minutes that I’ll never see again attempting to get some answers. The only response was that my wife will have to call to put me on the permission list.

The reason given is because Comcast has received a rash of calls of unauthorized people to discuss accounts. My reply was that I was unconcerned as long as these rogues weren’t calling to discuss my account. I asked how they would know if they were speaking to my wife or not if I had an imposter call with the account information to place me on the permission list.

There were no satisfactory answers. There never are from Comcast. Heather had to call to straighten this mess out.

Now that I’m able to discuss the account, I should call to report that an imposter called to place my name on the account. I better keep my mouth shut because I’m sure there will be another nightmare scenario in three months. If there is anything consistent with Comcast, it’s that their customer service is incompetent and sometimes adversarial.

Suspenders Make the Man

20140515-005934.jpg
CC image courtesy of Roberto Rizzato on Flickr.

I was at Lowe’s today when I saw a guy wearing measuring tape suspenders. I’m sure you’ve seen them. He didn’t even have them on right. His left suspender was twisted. You know the kind of twisted your seat belt sometimes gets when you hurriedly buckle up?

This guy was completely dorked out with these yellow suspenders. He even had a belt on. Seriously. Belt with suspenders? It’s like having redundant systems on a 100 million dollar fighter jet. This guy was serious about keeping his pants up.

You want to know what I thought as I gazed upon this Renaissance man, a perfect specimen of awkwardness? I could rock those shoulder straps.

I’m fascinated by how I have developed over the years. In my youth I was always scared I’d look like some boob. Now I don’t care. I actually will wear things that make me look ridiculous. On purpose. My wife hates it.

I have my old man shoes. I’ll wear shorts with a jacket. My white socks are glaringly obvious. Heather actually will scrunch my socks down so I look a little less clownish. I view the world through scratched up glasses that are noticeably crooked. To complete my ensemble I wear a salt-crusted baseball hat. That’s character. I imagine myself as Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales. Except I’m cooler.

An Endurance Race

20140511-143253.jpg

Today marks my twelfth year of marriage to my beautiful wife. The first seven years or so were difficult as we were both bull headed heathens and refused to submit to each other.

Around five years ago, something special began to happen as we placed Christ at the center of our marriage. I’m more in love with my bride today than when we were first married.

The majesty of Christ has allowed our relationship to not just endure, but to blossom. As a blessing to our commitment, we have three beautiful girls.

I know Heather didn’t realize she would be caring for a physically broken husband, but in my weakness we can see Christ’s strength.

I love you, Heather, and I look forward to whatever we are called to endure. Even if you have to push me around in a wheelchair. I’d like to have flames stenciled on it, though.

11 Questions

20140424-204221.jpg

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Nicole Davis. Swing by her blog! Thank you so much for the nomination!

The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules of the competition are as follows:

•The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.

•Provide 11 facts about yourself.

•Answer 11 questions set by the person who nominated you.

•Choose 11 more people and ask them 11 questions.

Here we go:

11 Facts About Me:

1. I love to cook.
2. I’m a volunteer for Mercy Chefs where I have plenty of opportunities to share Christ’s love through cooking.
3. When I’m not cooking I’m thinking about food. (I know you think this is a copout answer, but it’s the truth).
4. I have chronic pain from a botched vasectomy.
5. I’m presently seeing a rheumatologist to diagnose an autoimmune disorder. Ankylosing spondylitis is on the table right now.
6. I ate street food in Haiti. I didn’t get sick though the “restaurant” was next to a dump.
7. I’m funding a mission trip to Honduras for my wife and I by selling lasagna. This is our third year.
8. I started learning how to cook within two weeks of meeting my wife. She invited me over for dinner and we had Hamburger Helper.
9. I once put a dead cottonmouth in bed with my wife. I had cut its head off after I caught it stealing fish off my stringer.
10. I jumped off a railroad bridge into the Mississippi River when I was eighteen. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds.
11. I rode a camel in Israel.

Questions for me:

1. What is your simple pleasure in life? That one thing that puts a smile on your face.

That’s a tough one as I like being cranky. Cooking for others is probably the best.

2. If you could talk to one dead person, who would it be? Why?

Lavrentii Beria. There is a cloud of suspicion around Joseph Stalin’s death, but most think Beria poisoned Stalin with Warfarin. I’d like to ask him myself.

3. What is one thing you lost that you wish you had back?

I didn’t lose it. I traded in my first vehicle. I’d love to have my first truck back. It was a 1987 Dodge Ram 50. I loved that truck.

4. If you were in your dream home, describe how the view from your back window would differ from your current view.

All I can see is wooden fence and trees. I’d like to see a nice swamp out my back window. Or mountains.

5. Do you share your blog with family/friends in real life?

I told my wife about it, but I don’t think she ever looked at it. My kids know about it. Other than my household, I haven’t told a soul.

6. Do you have any annoying habits?

My wife hates it when I say, “Huh?” I have rotten hearing and will yell that across the room.

7. What habit do you find most annoying in other people?

Giving too many details in a conversation. Listening is work.

8. What is one life event you never saw coming?

Easy. The way my world was turned upside down because of a vasectomy.

9. At what age did you truly grow up? If you haven’t yet, what age do you think you will grow up?

I started around five years ago. I have a long way to go.

10. If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be and why?

I was a disc jockey for a dozen years. I would tell myself to get a marketable degree. Radio never paid the bills.

11. Tell us about something that has made an impact on your life.

Definitely my conversion to Christ. That was around 5-6 years ago. My life made a complete turn around. The botched vasectomy was a gift that drew me nearer to Him.

11 questions for my Nominees:

1. Is there anything you hope to accomplish with your blog?

2. What is your current occupation? What do you wish it was?

3. What is the stupidest thing you have done?

4. What is your favorite 70s sitcom?

5. Are there any obstacles in your life that make you not want to get out of bed in the morning?

6. If you could put one band on a bus that careens off a cliff, what would it be and why? (Not that I advocate violence, but there has got to be a band that annoys you).

7. If you would live in any time period, what would it be and why?

8. Do you talk to your neighbors? Why or why not?

9. What is your favorite food? The least favorite?

10. If you had to choose between phantom pain from an amputated pinky finger or a hip replacement, which would you choose? Why?

11. What is your number one priority in life?

11 Nominees:

1. A ‘Mike’ for Christ
2. Mostly Cloudy With Some Bright Spells
3. RA the Natural Way
4. Transplanted to the South
5. Spinebook
6. simpson BBQ
7. carbs&cardio
8. Lavender Gables
9. Kitchen Sanctuary
10. Alive in You
11. Dinner Daydreams

Apple Flaxseed Muffins

20140424-180116.jpg
I prefer bacon.

The Luoma house usually isn’t known for health food. With all of the sausage, bacon, and pig parts to season beans, gumbos, and pastas in addition to the cakes made with sweet cream butter, Heather decided she wanted to try a “healthier” menu. I’m willing to give it a shot, but I’m concerned that our meals may suffer from a flavorectomy.

I found a great looking recipe for flaxseed muffins. Yeah, I don’t know what flaxseed is, either. It smells kind of nutty and reminds me of the remnants at the bottom of a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran. This flaxseed stuff is nothing like cracklins.

That reminds me of a time I hit the drive thru of Southern Made Donuts. They had a sign that they had fresh cracklins. They did not disappoint. They even gave me the end of a crackled snout. It had one and a half nostrils and some hair was still implanted. I enjoyed every bit of that hairy snout.

I adapted this recipe, and I have concerns trying out coconut oil. It looks like petroleum jelly and it tastes like coconut. I’m not a huge fan of coconut, but I promised my wife I would try cooking with it.

1 1/2 cups flaxseed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange peel
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 chopped apple
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease cupcake pan.

Mix all ingredients together.

Let stand about ten minutes. I presume it is to allow the flaxseed time to absorb some liquid, but what do I know? I don’t know what flax is and I’m too lazy to google it.

Pour batter into pan.

Bake approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 15. I know the pan only makes 12 muffins. You’ll have to get creative.

I have to admit, these muffins polarized our household. Heather thought they were yummy, Alli thought they were great, Zoe’ liked them so much she had to go back for more, and Maddie licked the mixing bowl clean. I didn’t care for them. Maybe if they were Bacon Apple Flaxseed Muffins I would enjoy them. I don’t know if I’m compatible with health food.

Tomorrow Might be Better

Who decided that procrastination is wasting time? Relaxing is key to my creative process. I realize I need to relax more than others, but I’m results driven. It doesn’t matter what task is at hand. I just happen to know that even simple tasks like cleaning toilets require two or three days of preparation.

The way I see it, if I remain productive I never have time to take it easy. There is always something to be done. Some people, like your boss, may say you are wasting time, but I say you are biding your time, or you are analyzing potential outcomes. I like that one. It sounds technical.

I was a quality technician at a manufacturing plant. It’s the perfect job. There really is no work to complete, you just have to create the illusion that you are working. If you have a clipboard and occasionally scrawl some incoherent scribbles people will leave you alone. When you are wandering around the plant to stretch your legs, management thinks you are on a mission. That daydreaming on the loading dock appears to be important work. Because it is. You are analyzing potential outcomes.

This method can be expanded if you adopt the Wimpy Model. He wants hamburgers now. He promises to pay Tuesday. It’s simple. Make your demand. Make empty promises about future repayment. Just don’t try it on your spouse.

Philosopher Garth Brooks posited the idea that there may be instances where tomorrow never comes. (I think he was singing about a woman, but if you twist hard enough, you can make anything support your argument).  If tomorrow does come, I hope you were thinking about the task at hand while watching ‘Judge Judy,’ because you’re out of time.