Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Comment on Comments

Just a quick note that your comments are always welcome here. Click on the "COMMENTS" link at the bottom of each post.

Note that here on the blog, comments are moderated, meaning they will not show up under the post until I read it and OK it. That's mainly just to keep out the spammers, hackers, inappropriate, and obscene comments. I don't mind criticism but do ask that you keep it civil and family friendly.

You can also leave comments on our Facebook fan page, where they will show up immediately. Find us on Facebook at The World on Wheels Facebook page or click the link below.



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

To Spray or Not to Spray, That is the Question

Maybe I'm like the Danish prince, haunted by dead plants past so that I want my current crop to do well. For the most part, I'd say I'm pretty organic. In the back yard, I weed pretty much all by hand.  The front lawn, however, can hide massive amounts of intruders that, left on their own, would pretty much take over from the grass.

Some lawn mallow, oxalys, or this as yet unidentified weed above...can be pulled with a fork and some elbow grease.

The dandelion, on the other hand, can quickly get out of hand. 

In this year of drought, many of my neighbors have completely ignored their lawns. I've let mine go, too, but still tried to keep it in a kind of 'mothballs' situation, waiting for the rain to return.  

With all the lawns in our area ignored, dandelion seeds have spread like crazy and when the green came back, so did hundreds of these little lawn killers.

In years past, I could dig in with a trowel and at least keep my head above water. This year, I stopped counting a one hundred.

OK, I hate to do it, but the only way I'm going to have a chance with this lawn is a judicious application of weed killer.

Fortunately, the biology of a dandelion means I can just apply a few drops to the center of the plant, which is basically a funnel, where the poison will settle into the interior of the plant and not disturb the grass around it.

Yes, I know you can pick them and eat the leaves but I also need some control of what I grow and these are beyond that point.  Hopefully, I can get a handle on this huge, new crop and go back to hand weeding for the future.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 21, 2016

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Wine Tasting for Lent

It's the Lenten season where many forego hard liquor for forty days.  In the meantime, we’re tasting wines and beers for this week's Cocktail Hour.
This week, we taste a white and a red…just like you’d get from your wine club shipment!

The white is the Thornton 2008 Gew├╝rztraminer.  Thornton is a winery in Temecula, California that is best known for their sparkling wines.  Temecula is a popular place to visit due to its proximity to Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego which are roughly all equidistant from it.  It’s a hot, dry area sitting south of Lake Elsinore and north of Escondido off of Interstate 15 inland and over the mountains from Camp Pendleton on the coast.
My gripe with the area is that they’ve succumbed to the Napa Valley disease…charging a lot for tasting, and charging a lot more for their wines even though  you can buy them at various retailers for less…because swarms of tourist descend upon the area each weekend.
That grievance aside, they do make some good wines here.
This Gew├╝rztraminer is an example.  From grapes grown in the area, which is known more for reds than whites, this pale, greenishly yellow wine pours like syrup into the cup.  A sniff reveals a citrusy tart, sweet nose with a strong pear scent along with hints of honeysuckle and peach.  It smells like it’s going to be another tarty, immature white.
Drinking is another matter.  Like the pour, there’s a syrupy taste and mouth feel.  It’s not nearly as fruity or tart as the nose would suggest.  The taste is a nice, mature balanced flavor with hints of honey and apple.
Easily the best white wine I’ve had in at least eight months. 
At the winery, this will set you back $22.  The Wine of the Month Club has it for $14.99, while Tom’s Farms…alongside the 15 in Corona…has a 2004 for $9.99.  I’d bet a buck that they’d also have this vintage for less than the winery price too.

For the red, we’re going with a wine we’ve tasted many, many times and picked up while filming our California’s Hidden Wine Country video a couple of weeks ago.  It’s the Centro Basco Red from Galleano Winery in Mira Loma, California.
Here in the Cucamonga Valley it’s hot, dry and dusty…which makes it perfect for bold, red wines like zinfandel.  Centro Basco is a very good Basque restaurant not too far away in Chino.  Galleano produces their house wine, a red table wine blended with their zinfandel grapes.
The nose is peppery with hints of plum and currant.  It’s a dark, inky pour into the glass.
That pepper nose carries over into the taste.  It’s spicy with tastes of cherry and a tannic, oak smoothness.  Slightly pucker.  A perfect complement to the big, bold dinners served at Centro Basco.

There are only two places on this earth to get it.  As the house red at Centro Basco (where they call it a Claret) at $8 a bottle or here at the winery for $5 a bottle.  Yes, those prices are not typos.
You can also get a coupon for a free glass with your dinner when you have a free tasting at the winery.

It’s a much better wine than the price suggests and one of the true bargains in wine but you’ll have to travel to the Inland Empire to get it.  Definitely worth the trip, especially if that includes dinner at Centro Basco.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

GREAT GADGETS: Westbend Mini Chopper

I love a gadget that makes my life easier in the kitchen and this is my current favorite.

Just maybe half a cup capacity, my wife bought this for a dollar at a local yard sale.

Dump in an onion, zucchini, cilantro, chili...whatever you fancy.

Push the button...

...and a few seconds later, you have a bowl of chopped up goodness to go into your dish.

It appears this is no longer made but you can find similar food processors on Amazon for around $12.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 19, 2016

This Week's Menu: Lasagna and Sunday Sauce

Well, I guess it's time for the sauce this blog was named for, it's a Sunday Sauce recipe here on the Sunday Sauce blog.  We'll be using it as an ingredient in what has turned out to be the best lasagna I've ever made...and I've made a few.

So get your grocery list ready, have a bottle of wine handy, and spend a few hours making this delicious sauce for an outstanding lasagna.

Recipes at the links below.

DINNER: Lasagna with sausage and spinach cream sauce

SAUCE: Sunday Sauce

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER: Lasagna

We're making a lasagna for dinner this week. The lasagna itself is not a lot of work but the sauce is so be sure to do this ahead of time (recipes via the links in the recipe below).

Lasagna is basically just layers of whatever flavors and stuffings you like, stacked up between flat ribbons of pasta and baked.

As certain cartoon cats can attest, it's delicious!

1 box lasagna pasta (we're using a diabetic friendly whole wheat version)
1/2 pound shredded ozzarella
1/2 grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon olive oil
24 oz. Sunday Sauce 
16 oz. spinach cream sauce
1 pound Italian sausage
1/cup ricotta cheese

In a sauce pan, cook the Italian sausage until cooked through and browned. Pour in the tomato sauce (Sunday Sauce) and mix thoroughly. Let boil for a couple of minutes.

In a square or rectangular baking pan, put in the olive oil. With a paper towel, wipe all interior surfaces with the oil so it is well coated.  Put in two lasagna noodles, side by side.

(NOTE: We're using a whole wheat version that does not need cooking ahead of time but many lasagna noodles do need to be boiled in water until al dente first)

Spoon in just enough of the tomato Sunday Sauce to cover the pasta completely. Put a handful of mozzarella over the sauce. 

Put two more noodle on top of that. Press down and try to make level and flat.  Sprinkle a layer of Parmesan, then a layer of the spinach cream sauce.

Two more pastas, and another layer of the tomato sauce with a layer of ricotta. Two more pastas and another layer of the Parmesan and spinach cream sauce.  Two more pastas, the rest of the mozzarella.

Cover and tent (with an air space between the top of the lasagna and foil) with foil.  

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday Sauce

No, not the name of the blog but an actual Sunday sauce. It's a basic ingredient for many Italian dishes and is named because it takes an entire Sunday afternoon to cook before it's integrated into a satisfying Sunday dinner.

I'm not saying I'm an expert in Italian cooking, far from it, but I've been experimenting with these sauces for awhile and found that even a novice like me can make a sauce from scratch that's better than anything you can buy in a bottle.

You can too.

This is just one of many variations of a Sunday sauce you can make. Once you get rolling with it, you'll find your own way to put your own personal stamp on it.

1/2 white onion, chopped.
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 sherry
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon shredded parmesan
1 can (28oz.) peeled San Marzano tomatoes

In a medium sauce pan (I'm using a 4-quart pan for up to 6 people), heat up the oil on high heat and put in the onions and cook until translucent. Add the sherry and stir up to deglaze the pan.

Empty in the tomatoes. Rinse the sides of the can to clean it for disposal and dump that water in the pan, too. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

Lower the heat to a low simmer and add the parmesan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for around 3-4 hours. When reduced to a fairly thick consistency, almost a paste, you're done.

Be sure to taste at various points along the way and add ingredients to improve taste if it needs it.

The sauce can be used in a myriad of dishes, especially pasta, and can also be put in jars and frozen for future use.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hanging by a Thread

I love this dendrobium. It has beautiful flowers, is very prolific, and grows very well under our eaves.

It's so prolific that it's grown way to big for the pot it's in. Time  for a repot.

I've separated it into two plants and will plant it into two pots (follow along with our epiphytic orchid repotting instructions here).

It's an epiphyte (meaning it grows on the side of trees in nature) so I'm planting it in bark chips.  A hammer helps to make sure the new potting mix is very tight on the roots.

Time to water in.

All done, now I have a fresh, hanging basket of orchids. I'll give the other pot away.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

SAUCE: Spinach Cream Sauce

Need a creamy sauce to help an entree? Here's a quick, creamy sauce for you. I use it in pasta dishes.

1/2 pound spinach (frozen or fresh)
1 cup half and half
4 oz. heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup all purpose flour

In a medium sauce pan, preheat the oil on medium. Put in the spinach and cook until well reduced by cooking.  

Add the half and half, salt, pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil for 2 or 3 minutes.

Lower heat and slowly stir in flour.  Simmer for five minutes and turn off heat.

After two minutes, add heavy cream and stir in.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: The Most Interesting Sleep Machine

We all know that eating a well-balanced along with regular exercise are some of the keys to living a healthy, happy life for anybody.  Most of us also know that maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is not always easy for any number of reasons we come up with.. That is not breaking news.  As the title of this post mentions however, I'm not going to write a in-depth guide about diet and exercise  Instead, I'll touch on a third element of overall health and wellness. That is a good night's sleep.

First off, I have to say that it wasn't until about a year ago this time when I learned just how important sleep is to someone's overall health firsthand.  As I've mentioned before, I can't really speak for anybody who doesn't have a disability in terms of what effects a lack of sleep can have on their health, but for other members of the disabled community, I'm here to tell you that there are different treatment options for a good well-rested night of sleep. It is also important for the disabled community to consider that not having a good night's sleep over an extended period of time can have an impact on not only your physical health but your mental health as well.

For the mental health aspect, it is important for those individuals with disabilities to not be afraid to speak up to a family member or caregiver if something is bothering you.  That is one skill I've gotten better at particularly over the last year when I started having my own mental health issues that stemmed from a lack of sleep.

Over the last year, I went to a psychologist when my sleep deprivation issues started roughly around April of 2015, which included hallucinations and emotional outbursts that didn't make sense.  At the end of those sessions, I had been diagnosed with Insomnia.  For those that may not know, Insomnia is defined by Web MD as a sleeping disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and or staying asleep  

During this time, I also started having issues with my breathing or lack thereof while sleeping.  To address this issue, my primary doctor referred me to a sleep specialist where I spent the night at said doctor's office to see if I had Sleep Apnea, where you stop breathing while sleeping, in addition to Insomnia.

Turns out I did and it is easily treatable with the use of what is known as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine that helps open up your airway to breathe easier so you can have a good night's sleep on a more consistent basis.  One thing that does take some getting used to is the mask a sleep apnea patient has to wear.

You should also consider that a CPAP machine doesn't solve all the issues from not getting enough sleep, but once your used to it, it doesn't hurt.  Another thing the machine does is it keeps track of how many times you stop breathing throughout the night.  The lower the number in the EPH (Events Per Hour) section of the Sleep Report the better.

For those who might be considering the use of one, just remember to breathe and green faces are good.  The machine does give out red faces from time to time based on certain factors that I can't fully explain since I'm not a certified sleep doctor who specializes in this particular field of medicine. The only advice I can offer is don't get discouraged by red faces and it helps to have a positive attitude each and every day.  

Tim Musick
Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cara Cara!

Just a quick post to cover the last of our crop of Cara Cara navel oranges. That big one in the middle is my blue ribbon fruit, it's as big as a grapefruit.

Now that the tree is bare, I'll prune those branches back off of the sidewalk.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 12, 2016

This Week's Menu: Grilled New York Steak with Garlicky Asparagus and Mushrooms

Garlic spices everything up this week, from our New York steaks to the asparagus and mushroom side dish.

Recipes below...

DINNER: Grilled New York Steak

SUPER SIDE: Garlicky Asparagus and Mushrooms


DINNER: Grilled New York Steak

My wife called this a Fred Flintstone dinner. I think that's a compliment.

We really cooking with gas, really.  I haven't used my gas grill for at least two years so I take off the tarp and clean the cobwebs off for today's meal.

I want to use the gas grill mainly because it also has a side burner I can use for the sauce.

That sauce will be a sherry/garlic reduction.

The main thing with a meal like this is to get great ingredients. In this case, it's USDA Prime New York steaks that I found for $9.99 per pound at Costco.

2 - 1 pound New York steaks (Prime, if you can, but at least Choice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup sherry
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

About 3-4 hours before cooking, put the steaks in a sealable bowl. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Splash the top surface with Worcestershire sauce, seal the bowl and put in the refrigerator.

In a skillet big enough to easily accommodate your steaks, heat up the olive oil on med/high heat.  Sear the steaks on each side for two minutes. You can also see why this is a good meal to cook outside with all the spatter.

Move the meat to the grill, about 300 degrees, and cook on each side for 6-8 minutes.

Back over in the skillet, put the garlic in the oil with the meat drippings. Stir in with the sherry. Use a spatula so you can scrape the meat bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. 

Turn the heat down to low/medium and continue cooking as long as he meat does. Put the sauce in a bowl or cup and set aside.

When the meat is done, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with some of the reduction sauce ladled on.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved