Category: cooking/baking

Thur. Apr. 11, 2024 – Just ‘cuz they say it, doesn’t mean it’s true…

Cooler, clear, and still damp. But should be nice later. It cleared out yesterday and turned into a nice day. Sunny, a bit gusty, and low 70s. More of that would be nice.

I spent most of yesterday at home. Did some domestic bliss, and will do more today. Put a pot roast in the slow cooker, and fixins in the bread machine and ended up with a fine dinner 6 hours later. And for not much effort. I tried to test the goodwill bread maker, but I’m obviously missing something about how it works. When I hit “start” I got a 6 hour timer. Should have been about 3 1/2 hours, so I dumped the bucket into my tried and true maker, and proceeded. I should d/l the manual and try again. I made “honey french” instead of my usual “old fashioned oatmeal” bread, and it came out great. Could have used a bit more salt, but other than that, soft airy inside, crunchy outside.

I also hit Costco for gas and groceries. Gas was $2.99, so 32c cheaper than Chevron. That makes a difference in an Expedition. Maybe not so much in a Geo Metro. Spent $400 at Costco and didn’t even overflow the cart. Two bales of Charmin, not on sale. It’s definitely not going on sale with the old frequency as I’m running out before the next sale. I have backup at the offsite location, so I am letting the home supply get low, hoping for the sale to stock up. Didn’t work this month so I sucked it up and paid the $30 per bale. Worse, it feels like there are fewer rolls now. I’ll have to check against the deep storage at some point. USED to be $18 on sale.

Between Costco and HEB, I spent about $800 this week on groceries and sundries. That would have been a HUGE week back in the Trump era.

I found the bin of medical supplies I was looking for. It didn’t have the stuff I needed in it. I’ll have to do some more organizing of medical preps at some point. I need to sort, label, and separate home and away kits. My two main home medical bags need to be refreshed too. I built them when the kids were little, and that was some time ago now…

There’s always more to do.

My auctioneer waved me off as they’ve been working on an in-home estate sale this week. I’ll just stack the bins and have more for next week I guess. I didn’t win anything in the last couple of days’ auctions either so I find myself without any pickup pressure today. I still have a couple of things to pickup, but I won’t be rushing all over the place.

Plan for the day is continue cleaning the house and putting stuff away, as well as processing auction wins, and outgoing auction stuff. Maybe plant some stuff in the garden if the soil isn’t too muddy, and I don’t run out of daylight. The water feature pond pump needs to be fixed or replaced soon too. The thing is getting stagnant. It’s part of the house and yard that I’ve been neglecting in favor of the BOL. Too much to do, not enough time or motivation.

All I can do is keep plugging away. At least I don’t have livestock making demands on my time too. Oh, I do have the kids, and they do need an hour or more of ferrying around every day, and it’s right in my most productive part of the day too. Oh well. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, I’m sure of that. Time is flying by as it is.


Stack, organize, refresh, build, renew, network, upskill, downsize, and monetize… while you can.


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Wed. Mar. 20, 2024 – there once was a man from Nantucket, whose …

It certainly wasn’t warm and overcast yesterday. Weather liars are liars. Dunno what it will be like today, but I’m hoping for more cool and clear, but not quite ‘cold’ and clear. We’ll see.

I did auction and kid stuff yesterday. Had my drop off pushed to today, but made a couple of pickups. Then it was Tuesday night, and for some reason that means a lot of local auctions closing all at the same time. I did manage to win a few preps. Couple more kerosene heaters and some propane hoses. Some bleach and cleaners. Couple small things for the BOL. Couple things for my non-prepping hobby. Another 100w solar panel. I passed on the beekeeper stuff. Keeping bees looks like a lot more work and trouble than I have time for right now.

I passed on the chicken stuff too, but there has been a fair amount of it. Waterers and feeders, incubators, automatic coop doors, water heaters for their water bucket… even chicken plucker machines. Nesting boxes and shredded bedding too. I think the reality of chicken raising led to a lot of stuff being returned. Some is estate stuff, but the majority is returns. My thanks to @stevef for his ‘slice-o-life’ tales from the coop. I’d like to have eggs, but keeping the chickens sounds like a million ways to screw up to me, and a big project. It’s definitely one of those things you should start BEFORE the need arises, but I’m already a bit past “maxed”.

Which is why you need a network and a community. No one can do it all by themselves. It’s why humans are social creatures who form groups and bonds- so we can work together.


Dinner last night was a bit of an experiment. It worked out so I’m sharing. I’d previously cut some thin pork chops from the “dark meat” end of the pork loin, pan-fried them and served them to the kids successfully. I was looking at a pork shoulder roast (pork butt) in the fridge, thinking about breaking it down into my normal big chunks for pulled pork or carnitas, when I thought I could carve off a couple of big steaks. They’d be like the “shoulder chops” sold as cheaper alternative to pork chops, only sliced thicker. So I boned out the roast, and sliced off a couple of 1″ thick steaks from the biggest chunk of meat. Battered and put in pork fat in the big cast iron skillet…

Well, the batter was just panko crumbles, so really just ‘breading’ and it didn’t stick, but the steaks browned up nicely anyway. For sides I did instant potatoes (baby reds, mashed), and pork gravy from a packet. Probably could have used some more color on the plate, but it was all delicious, and I should have cooked a third steak. Kids were licking the plates. One more cheap meal in the rotation, hooray.

While I had the pan hot, I cut the rest of the roast into big chunks and browned them for carnitas. 2 3/4 pounds will go in the slow cooker today, the other 2 3/4 pounds got vac sealed and frozen.

Preps used- cheap meat, instant potatoes, instant gravy mix, cast iron cookware, and saved up bacon fat. A can of peas would have been nice too.

There you have it, another cheap meal that was simple and delicious. I used Adkins spice mix on the pork but it’s basically just salt, pepper, garlic, and maybe some citrus zest? KISS principle in action.

Cast iron cleaned up easy so I’ve got a decent ‘seasoning’ going on that piece too. Love it when I get a chance to use a piece in every day cooking.


So, stack some stuff, but also try some new things. You might find a new fan favorite.


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Mon. Mar. 11, 2024 – live via satellite… not just for sports anymore

Cool and clear. Yesterday ended up being cool to start, warm in the afternoon, and cold at the end. Today should be similar.

I had a leisurely morning, but worked hard on the grounds all afternoon. Grass/clover/weeds grew enough I had to mow on the highest setting and in most places I could only cut half the width of the mower deck without bogging down. So that took twice as long as usual. I also cut about a third of the common area. The neighbor on the other side cut the other 2/3.

That was followed up with trimming and blowing the debris off of hard surfaces.

When I finally got done, I had a bit of daylight left so I went to see the progress in my shared garden. Stuff was sprouting! Far better result so far than pretty much any gardening I’ve done on my own. With the 1″ of rain a couple of days ago, it was well watered and the plants were putting that to good use. Now, if we can keep the deer from eating it, maybe we’ll get some veg in a few weeks.

Dinner was a pot roast in the slow cooker. Small potatoes, celery, onion, and turnips made a very nice sauce. I used the McCormick packets for seasoning, and I like them better than what I was using. I’ll have to stack some more.

Played a card game with the kids and in-laws, and then had a small fire down on the dock. It as pretty dang cold by then, so I didn’t stay too long past midnight. Shortwave doesn’t have a lot of general interest stuff Sunday night, but I heard New Zealand on 17.500mhz pretty well. Florida was only moderately loud.

There was a woman talking about central bank digital currencies on the same frequency that carries Alex Jones and she had some very interesting stuff to say, based on press releases and other battlespace prep that TPTB have been releasing for the past year. It’s more control and more tracking, and it’s probably coming sooner than we think. I missed her name, but she has a substack. I’ll try to find her later and see if the talk is online somewhere.

Sky was black but there were patchy clouds, so I didn’t see much. No meteors.

One of the other neighbors I don’t see very often was driving around on his side by side, and we had an interesting chat about gardens, and prepping. He’s in Houston most of the time, and considers this his BOL. He was headed to his deer lease to see if he could get some hogs. I mentioned I had freezer space and a bone saw. We’ll see if any pig comes my way. It would be nice to get some, and put the smoker to good use.

FWIW, he thinks the lake would only feed about half the people on it. He hadn’t thought about how many of those people are dependent on insulin and other drugs that would stop flowing in a real collapse, and what that would mean wrt the number of mouths to feed. It’ll be interesting to see if he gives it more thought the next time I see him. It was also interesting that he commented about how much work I was doing, and how hard I was working at it. People do pay attention, and they are making judgements. Hopefully, I’m making the right impression. Being seen as a hard worker can’t be a bad thing.

Today will be more work, stuff that I didn’t get to with all the lawn care yesterday. Family is headed into town to see what there is to see on a Monday, when there isn’t a Christmas festival going on. I’m betting on “not much”.

Stack. Make connections to a community, whatever that means for your area and your life. I’m as convinced as ever that where you are, and who you are with, is going to be critical for whatever comes…


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Fri. Feb. 23, 2024 – Friday the 13th happened 10 days ago this month…

Warmish, and clear. Yesterday started with a lot of overcast, and very wet, but turned into another beautiful day. Today is forecast to be the same. It’s definitely time to get the garden going.

Bit of a mixed bag yesterday as far as getting stuff done. I was able to get the plumbing parts I need, and should be able to get the tub back together today. They even had the transition fitting to attach to the lead pipe sewer connection. Good thing the HD managers are allowed to pick some items to stock for their local market. We have lead sewer pipes coming up through our slabs, and it’s been long enough that they are falling. Probably not something you needed to stock 20 years ago.

I also got the Ranger smogged and inspected, so I can remedy my registration issues. Expy too. Maybe I’ll do both at the same time. I have some maintenance due on the Ranger too, that I’ll have to find time for. Won’t be this week or next.

I wasn’t able to do my auction drop off, so that gets pushed to today. I have one pickup on the south side of town, and one near me that I forgot to do last week. Then I’m loading for my trip to the BOL. Still not sure if I’m going up today or tomorrow, but today would be better. Turns out I need to cut the grass there, which means doing some service work on the mower first… and pitching in on my neighbor’s garden plot. I might try to get something planted in my own plot too. Then the irrigation needs to be sorted out, with the broken line fixed, and the sprinklers re-installed…

It’s fractal. The closer you look at a task, the more tasks there are to do.

And when I get back, I’ll spend the next week getting ready for the Hamfest, and getting my hobby website up. Whoohooo. Fun times.

Better to be busy than bored I guess. Meatspace. It takes more work than a hermit’s life, but it’s worth it.

Stack some facetime with people. Start on your garden.


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Thur. Feb. 22, 2024 – 02222024 – and just like that, half the week is gone…

Cool but not cold, forecast says mid 60s F. And clear. Warming later. Sometimes we’d call this nearly perfect weather. Yesterday was certainly nice. More driving around with the windows down…

And I did drive around. Pickups all over the south side of town, and beyond. Got some good stuff though, so even with mileage and tolls it still saves money. Went to Lowes for the plumbing parts I need and came up empty. I’ll have to hit HomeDepot today.

Doing another pickup today, a chest freezer. It’s the season for them again I guess. The retail prices have come down from the wuflu peak, and so they are even better in the auctions, if you don’t mind a dent or a scratch. I’ve mentioned before that I prefer several smaller freezers to one big one. Better chance of not losing everything if you have a failure. Plus they fit into the space better, being only 24″ deep.

After the pickup, I should be doing a drop off too. More stuff to the auctioneer.

I’ll be loading the truck for a run to the BOL too. Wife and kids are doing Girl Scouts, so I’ll head out for the weekend. I’ll have the dog with me, and I’m sure I’ll find stuff to do beyond just dropping off a load of stuff. I’m bringing the huge ladder, the meat saw, a 40 gallon water tank on wheels, a patio heater, and whatever else I can fit in the truck. Maybe I’ll be taking a freezer up with me too. Just brought one home, but then bought another. It’d be a sickness if it wasn’t so useful. Dunno when I’ll leave, probably Friday, but maybe Saturday. Depends on if I have to do any pickups on the way. I’m bidding on more solar panels and another generator. Don’t really expect to get the gennie, but the panel would be a nice addition.

Time to start cobbling something together with the solar, so I can find out what I don’t have and don’t know.

There’s always something that needs doing. I don’t understand how someone retired can have “free time”…

Stack up some more stuff. It’s getting sporty out there.

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Sun. Feb. 18, 2024 – yep, lazy slacker, that’s me

Cold. Blustery. Day. It was pretty unpleasant most of yesterday. Wind was gusting hard enough to blow the truck around while driving on the expressway. There was a beautiful sunset though. You take your joy where you find it.

And I didn’t find any joy in plumbing. Pickups took longer than I hoped, and I decided to shop instead of lay on my belly doing plumbing. Sometimes, I make the bad choice. I’ll be paying for that today, I’m sure.

Dinner worked out though. I made brisket in the crockpot. After reviewing several recipes, I put 4 pounds in the ‘pot, liberally dosed it with Atkins (black pepper, salt, garlic) and a Texas rub (same plus paprika and some other stuff), thin sliced 3 sweet onions as a topper, 2 cups water, and more of both seasonings, and let it cook for 8 hours. It was like an extra beefy pot roast in onion soup. REALLY good. Served with instant mashed potatoes (also surprisingly good with added butter), and the shelf stable sourdough bread loaf. Just the sort of hearty stuff to fill your belly after manning a GS cookie booth for several hours on a blustery day. In other words, everyone licked their plates. Oh yeah, I finished it in the oven at 420F for 15 minutes while the bread warmed up. Nice brown crust…

Now I’ve got another crock pot dinner in the repertoire. Still learning!

Not counting last night’s dinner, I’ve put more than 35 pounds of brisket in the freezer this month. It’s the cheapest beef in the store right now, and only 50c/lb more than cheap pork. No clue why it’s on sale but I’ll stack it while I can.

I’ll be doing yesterday’s work today, if I can. Kids are home Monday too, so that pushes any normal Sunday domestic bliss down the road a day. Lots of laundry sitting on the floor by the machines waiting to be done… and plenty of time for me to do stuff around the house. If I get off my @rse to do it.

At least the food experiment was a success. Try new things and build off your successes. And stack the good results.


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Thur. Feb. 15, 2024 – Guess I should have mentioned Valentine’s Day…

Cool and crisp. Clear and warming somewhat later. I could see my breath yesterday morning, but was happy in a t shirt and shorts later. I should probably start getting the garden ready.

Did some errands yesterday. Did some personal maintenance. Did a bunch of relationship maintenance. It was The Feast of St. Valentine, and Ash Wednesday. (As an aside, a LOT more Catholics in my area than I thought. Refreshing to see young adults wearing the ashes.)

Some of that stuff involved a visit to my local HEB for a card, so I figured I’d check the meat aisle too. Prime sirloin, $6/ pound. Yes Please! I’ll take all you have left. I got three picanha roasts (the cap removed from the sirloin before slicing into steaks), and two packs of two sirloin steaks. I’d have gotten more if I could.

Coincidentally, I was making a picanha roast for dinner. I’d already defrosted one, so it was nice to replace it with more. At roughly 3 pounds, they are the perfect size for my family, and they cook in under an hour. Plus, they are delicious and look good on the table.

Dinner turned out well. Beef roast; asparagus sauteed with butter, garlic, and red onion with a splash of soy sauce; fresh bread (supposedly a french baguette, but that was a lie. LOOKED like a baguette. Wasn’t.); and garlic clusters baked in chicken stock with gorganzola cheese crumbles. Strawberry tres leches cake for dessert. Really a pretty simple meal, but dressed up a bit to LOOK and TASTE like a fancy restaurant. Garlic was to smear on the sliced baguette…

As a bonus, the whole house smells great while everything is cooking.

These are the good old days. Enjoy them while you can.

Today will involve more of the same. Nothing specific or out of the ordinary, just trying to keep the list under control. Some small progress is being made. Every day is a gift.

Stack the gifts.


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Thur. Feb. 8, 2024 – fast or slow, here we go!

Cool and overcast. National forecast is clear for a couple of days, while openweathermap says “light rain” but the daily hour by hour forecast says “0%” chance of rain. Liars gonna lie… We’ll see what actually happens. Only impact on me is if the stuff in the back of the truck gets wet or not…

Did my big loop of pickups yesterday, then did my kid stuff. Nothing of interest with either. Then stopped at HEB grocery for my prescriptions, and to see what was on sale. Bought some more meat. Tasty cow. If it’s on sale, I’m a buyer. I’ll break that down today, and maybe put some brisket in the slow cooker. Gotta find another solid slow cooker recipe.

Hit the chiropractor too. I’m sore. I let my misalignment go too long. Y’all might remember I’ve been trying to learn to manage my typical issues without outside help, for when there isn’t any available. Well, I let the experiment go on too long this time. I’m paying for that now. Use civilization for what you can while you can.

Today I’ve got one more pickup. There have been a ton of dewalt and Milwaukee tools in the auctions lately. I own both, so I’m always looking to get more if the price is right. And it was last week. Dunno why all the brand new tools in unopened boxes are in the secondary markets right now, but there are a LOT of them. Maybe the manufacturers need to generate cash so they’re dumping stuff? I can’t really think of a good reason for it. New unopened current production. Nuts.

Speaking of new, I was behind a flatbed truck loaded with the wheel carriages for freight trains- boggies? No wheels, but the huge casting with the springs inserted. New old stock, casting dates clearly visible from the mid and later 90s. That stuff has been sitting for a long time. It was strapped and stacked, so I think it was finally being delivered for use, and not sent to the scrapper. If they’re just getting to inventory that is 30 years old, I wonder if anyone is still making the parts currently? Houston features a locomotive on the City Seal, and we have a lot of track, switchyards, and other RR infrastructure in use. I see them switching out ties, reballasting, and updating grade crossings, so it’s still important to someone here.

But there is a lot of infrastructure that is going un-repaired, and un-replaced. I don’t see that as a good thing. Wait too long and you lose the facilities and craftsmen who make the stuff. You lose the stuff when it fails catastrophically instead of just having small issues routinely fixed. Look around your area. If you don’t see infrastructure projects, whether new or maintaining the existing, your area is probably in decline and it won’t be long before the failures start, or worsen to the point of no return. Get out while you can if you are facing that.

Whatever happens in the next 5-10 years, where you are is probably going to be the biggest factor in how well you do, or how poorly.

No matter where you are though, preps will help. Stack!


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Wed. Feb. 7, 2024 – !adelantando!

Cool and clear. Warming later. Nice day in other words. Like yesterday despite the chilly start.

I started the day doing some auction stuff, then messing around on the internet with my friends. Decided to make the carnitas in the slow cooker, but forgot to start that process going. Worked on fixing some things, but after spending 2 hours on it, failed.

Then I checked my texts and saw that I’d missed a call from my auctioneer. They wanted me to bring some more stuff by! They’d used up all the bins I had there already, and needed more stuff. Well. I’m your man! The boss had previously waved me off for this week because they were full up, but I guess they got that taken care of. So I scrambled to get the bins I had ready at the house, and to swing by a couple of storage units and grab a couple of bins worth of items…

D1 didn’t want to ride with me, so she got her own ride home from practice, and I did my drop off. That was the only way the timing would work. Eh, it all worked out and I got a few more things into this week’s auction. And I learned that D1 CAN get herself home, if she’s motivated. Funny how that worked.

I did get the carnitas in the cooker before starting all that mess and it was ready for dinnertime, and it was delicious.

I’ve got 4 solid crockpot meals that I can do with minimal prep and no extra shopping. If I can get a couple more, I’ll be even happier. The crockpot saves a bunch of effort and produces tasty meals, and it will do it for less expensive cuts. If it’s been a while since you used one, take another look. There are plenty of sauces and prepared seasonings to help you succeed.

Today I’ll do a couple of pickups, and kid chauffeur duties. I’ll try to knock a few things off the list in between.

Keep stacking.


(title means “advancing” or “moving forward” (literally “forward-ing”) or so I’m told. It’s also the title of a pretty good album.)

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Tues. Jan. 30, 2024 – Cookies will brighten your day…

Cool to cold-ish again, then warming with the sun… like yesterday. It was pretty chilly at the bus stop, watching my breath condense, but the driver was on time and I was back in the warm house lickety-split. And isn’t that a strange turn of phrase? It did warm up as the day went on, until I was in shorts and a t-shirt in the afternoon. I’m hoping today is the same- cool enough to work in the attic, and to strain, but not so cool I need extra layers.

Spent the day getting caught up on some auction stuff, knowing I had to get both kids from after school activities within 15 minutes of each other… Stayed close to home and didn’t get into any involved projects.

Dinner was my biggest project. I found the freezer door slightly open, and a pork roast pretty much thawed out… The rest of the freezer was still rock hard, so that was a plus. It meant cooking the roast pretty soon though, and yesterday was one day later. It was delicious. I made sauteed cabbage and onion, and honeyed baby carrots, with naan bread on the side. Which got me thinking about this year’s garden. Cabbage. Onions. Carrots. Collards. Turnips. Beets. Potatoes. Staples that last all winter. I hope they will grow in my soil. I personally only had luck with the beets and carrots and collards in the past. I’ll run it past my neighbor, and see what he thinks. Tomatoes and peas are nice, but will they feed your family in January? Put some thought into it.

And then stack some cans in case the deer, or the neighbors, or the weather, or the pests get your garden.

Today is more of the same. I’m really trying to organize and move stuff to get ready for cookie season. Selling it would be good too, but moving it has to happen.

I looked at prices and availability of ammo at my local sporting goods store. They had a lot in stock. I’m swinging by there later today, as I didn’t get to it yesterday. Hope I beat the rush. Some of the online sellers have stock too, check the usual suspects. There are always shortages and panics, but really, can you say that you have enough?

Stacks. Lots of stacks.


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