February 3rd, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

I have been receiving some things I bought at an online auction and a few other goodies.

On Monday I got this week’s HelloFresh box. I got beef bulgogi bowls, cheesy smothered mushroom chicken with mash and roasted carrots, and plant-based protein enchiladas rojas. I am not doing them every week so I can have other stuff too plus it saves a little money.

I also won an auction for a vintage off-white Le Creuset porcelain-coated steel stockpot with lid and colander and it came Monday too. It is much larger than I imagined so I need a garage to park it in. I really like this porcelain stuff for clean up and this will be great for cooking spaghetti, linguine, and rice noodles for stir fry. I still want to try to can some home-made pasta sauce. I can’t do it yet since I would like to use my Instant Pot to help with the canning part. I need to fire-roast some tomatoes somehow; maybe on my grill after I get it here too. I have to research that.

The box of 17 Zwilling/J.A. Henckels knives showed up yesterday so I got them washed up and used a couple to cook dinner – beef bulgogi bowls. What a difference a good-quality knife makes. A little disappointed that the most expensive of the bunch – an 8″ chef knife – has a broken tip but the whole lot was still a great score for the money. I will take it to the knife sharpener guy and see if he can do something to fix it. I still need to get a sharpener but they are in pretty good shape for now. A couple of the handles have a melted spot on them but I can work on smoothing those marks out with my Dremel.

Today I got two Le Creuset salt cellars I won on an auction for way less than the price of one. I plan on using one for salt and the other for pepper. and they will be a help in the kitchen when cooking. I got another package today from a friend – a really nice bell for my bike and some chocolate Guinness candies that look like a little pint.

Tomorrow I am finally getting some Espresso cups I won in another auction. These are vintage Italian but they have no matching saucers. The price of the four (two red, two black) with shipping was less than a single cup on eBay! They are heavy ceramic and will come in handy since Monday my coffee order came in and I got several espresso pods in this box.

Also I have a few other needed things showing up tomorrow, and one of the items is an OBD-II vehicle code-reader that sends info about my truck to my phone on an app. This will help me clear out the codes and see there are any other things wrong without going anywhere and having to have it done. I hope to get the fuel filter and the vent solenoid changed in the next few days and it will be handy after that is done. It has been wet and it is certainly no fun laying on cold, wet pavement so I have put it off and the stuck fuel line needs to soak up some oil to loosen up so more time won’t hurt. Tomorrow I have to call and find out if they have the solenoid in stock then go get it and install it in the parking lot since I don’t know if it will cause any further problems.

I still have not gotten my airline plans done yet. I have been trying to get it finished up, but I have been back and forth quite a bit on what to do with Europe, vouchers and my miles and trying to make the most sense out of it. I think that with everything going on Europe will just have to be pushed to next year. I was hoping to go back in the Fall but now that is one less thing to figure out. There are so many unknowns and I don’t want to have to straighten out things if there is a border closing or a flight cancelled or a pandemic. It’s also some extra time to shop for fares. Now that I got that part decided on I have been looking at a different place to go along with the other two options that I have been considering. Notes are being taken and I think I have somewhat of a plan.

I will be getting my passport in the mail in the next few days so I can start the renewal process with hopes of getting the new one back in a reasonable amount of time. They are saying the turnaround time is only 10-12 weeks so that is not bad considering the country has been needlessly on fire for a year now.

There really is not much I can do in the trailer at the moment. It is too cold and damp to do much as far as re-sealing windows and the shower floor pan so I still have to wait to do that. I cannot really do much organizing since I ransacked some things out of it to use in the house until I get to MT for my things.

So there has been a little going on but not much, and I am sure that we all have a little different version of the same story right now – day in and day out. And, also much like many of you, it gets to me a little sometimes but that’s okay. We just gotta hang in there.

Have a good day!

January 25th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

I had to buy a stick vac to clean my house. I do have a broom but it just doesn’t work on the rug that well. I guess the one I have in storage in MT will get sold and hopefully I can get rid of a few other things as well so I don’t have to haul some of it again. It’s really looking like it may be a bit before the ‘rona calms down but I need some of my things and am thinking of alternatives on getting my things.

One thing that I have been needing to get (that I do not have in storage) is some decent kitchen knives but they can be expensive. To get a really good one you need to spend some real money, but there are a couple of low-cost ones that get great ratings. I found some on an online auction so I what bid an amount that I considered to be kinda high (but low compared to what I though they were worth). Looking at the pictures of the knives, all 17 of them, I saw what looked to be a decent collection of hardware so I started checking the values to figure out how much to bid.

I watched the auction when it was getting ready to close and I still had the high bid by quite a margin. Suddenly it started to make a run and my bid was in serious danger. It got to the last minute and I won it…but by only 89 cents. What a close one since I had to refresh the screen to see how the bids were going. The last few bids told me that I had made the right call bidding the amount I bid on this lot.

One or two of them may have a little damage on the handle but I really think I scored a major deal. They look to be mostly, if not all, German-made J.A. Henckels/Zwilling knives. It’s an assortment of several different types. I think that just one knife is worth about what I paid for all 17. They will need some cleaning up and I guess with 17 of them I better start learning how to sharpen them.

I also got a Le Creuset enameled steel stock pot with colander at another auction. I think it may be vintage and from what I can tell they don’t sell the colander any longer except in stainless steel. It is in very good shape from what I see in the pics. I am also looking for coffee cups to fit the different sizes of my coffee pods as well.

After doing the laundry I went to the store to grab a couple of things to make up some more burritos. This time I will make up some with Southwest ranch chicken, black bean, and lime cilantro rice with some roasted salsa verde. Luckily I forgot the limes as I have no room in the freezer! All of the other stuff I made up has filled the freezer so I will be eating that for a bit to make some room. I have another meal kit coming this week, then another break for a couple of weeks. I certainly won’t be starving!

The forecast for snow was wrong and it was a sunny day for most of the day. I really need to get the filter on the truck changed so maybe I can look at that tomorrow if the weather is good. I might even make another attempt at the last spark plug. My arthritis hand still hurts so I don’t know if I can get it changed or not, but I did get 7 of 8 replaced and it does seem to run a little bit better. I need to call the dealer service department to see what the other part needing replaced was; that is on the reminder list for tomorrow.

That’s it for now.

January 22nd, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

What day is it? Other than Wednesday being trash day and the garbage was taken out, they are all the same anymore.

A few days ago I got the parts to fix my truck so that was on today’s to-do list since it looked to be a sunny day when I got up this morning. I got the new fuel filter, spark plugs and wires. Even with the cost of the parts I am still saving over $600 by doing it myself. I don’t really enjoy working on vehicles but I can do some things. These things are easy and fairly quick to fix but my hands didn’t cooperate with me to get it done without much problem. I struggled a bit to get the plugs changed and had trouble trying to get one of them replaced so I will have to come back and revisit that last one. The fuel lines on the filter were stuck so I sprayed them with some PB Blaster to soak a day or two then I will try again.

My arthritis hand is really mad after working on the truck earlier. The only real option, other than a surgery that will only be a temporary fix for ten years or so, is getting a big needle jabbed into my hand at the base of my thumb and pumping it full of cortisone. I have had a similar thing done before and it is really not pleasant in the slightest bit. I think getting a shot in my neck without sedation (which I have done it several times) didn’t hurt as bad as that one needle in my index finger. I think I am going to have to get this injection done though. I cannot deal with this much longer but am trying to put it off as long as I can tolerate the pain and swelling and lack of dexterity.

It is good to see the sun more every week and it really helps with our moods; really…who doesn’t need that right about now? We are gaining about 15 minutes a week so in a month it is another hour of daylight each day. It is still dark until 7:00 A.M. but instead of the sun going down at 4:00 P.M. it is now setting at 5:00 or so and actually gets dark around 6:30. I am so ready for some spring and summer and the long Spring/Summer/Fall days are really nice for being outside. Of course the time will change sometime in March (as usual, for no good reason) since we can’t quit trying to control the things that we cannot control.

No meal kit in this week’s mail, but I finally got the last one from last week cooked last night and it was something different – beef banh mi bowls. It was pretty good and it made quite a bit of food. I won’t have to do much cooking until the next one gets here, but I will still be cooking and try to use up some stuff like pasta.

I went to get something out of the trailer yesterday to use at the house (glad I have that stuff to fall back on) and it was odd in a sense. I kinda missed it, yet didn’t miss living in it. I spent a lot of time in it over the summer and into the Fall so I got used to it but at the end the dog and I were ready to have room to spread out. It is fine for trips but staying in it full-time is difficult with the limited space. I am excited to get it back out for some trips and it’s really looking like that is going to be the only real travel option for some time yet.

I definitely won’t be going far if I do go someplace with the trailer, and it will just be within the state until some things calm down. It also won’t be very soon – there is some colder weather with snow (BOOOOO) forecast so I don’t want to unwinterize the trailer yet – once I get it ready I don’t want to redo it. With all of the things I have worked on, the trailer is in pretty good shape and is ready to go. I still need to fix the shower and reseal the windows. I will start working on that when I can, hopefully next month. I should have done it last year but didn’t since I was staying in it; I did not want to live in a 15′ construction area.

For now it will just be some day trips. Pack a lunch and find a quiet place to sit on a beach and enjoy nature. It is the safest way to get out of the house and maintain some sanity while limiting exposure.

January 15th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a busy afternoon today.

I got up this morning and it was time for coffee, then I got the dog out for a walk. He never seems to be in a rush to get out in the mornings so I am gonna caffeinate myself first. It seems odd that he doesn’t wake up doing the pee-pee dance, but then again he is odd. He didn’t even eat his breakfast until a few hours before dinner.

I locked the dog in his crate and got the bike out for a longer shakedown ride around the block (2-3 miles or so). I need to make a few adjustments – the front fender is rattling a bit against the front fork and the brakes need tightened up some. I really don’t know much about working on bicycles but these are minor things that I feel comfortable with tackling. I can look at some videos online and figure it out if necessary.

It is definitely a different feel riding this bike and it will take some getting used to it. Small tires and sitting up so high are not what I am used to but I will adjust. I also need to get mirrors, a bell, and more lights along with maybe some other things for more visibility. My motorcycle wreck affected my neck and I now cannot turn my head very well to see if anyone is coming so some mirrors are high on the list before I ride it again very far. It does move along pretty good without the Class III setting, but I DO like speed…

I got back and we went for another walk, then came home and started cooking. I made some beef & bean burritos and some beef stroganoff. I got everything labeled and in the freezer; I have a total of 12 meals frozen as of now. I still have to cook dinner yet, and I got another EveryPlate box yesterday so that will be for the next few days’ meals.

I went to Costco yesterday to get a few things and got the 1000-pack of tortillas (you know what I mean), so I used some for the burritos and I will be making up and freezing some breakfast burritos the next few days. I am still trying to do the cold oats with berries and cashew milk for breakfast every morning but breakfast burritos are great any time of the day. I always like doing something different for breakfast on Sunday mornings so since I cannot go out for breakfast I cook something for myself and forgo the overnight oats. It breaks up the week and when it is possible I’ll be meeting up with friends for a restaurant breakfast on Sundays.

While cooking I decided to listen to some music. Last night I watched a couple of videos from the new AC/DC album. Damn, that album rocks and sounds like the old days. I got on Apple Music and added that album and Highway to Hell. I listened to Highway to Hell while cooking and that is a great album. I am waiting until later to listen to the new one; I have a giant playlist of new music I have added but have not listened to yet so I am trying to knock that list down a little before listening to anything else. I listened to some old Porcupine Tree while cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes.

After taking my truck in to get fixed, the “Check Engine” light came on again; it is why I took it to the dealer to start with and they replaced the part that THEY said was bad after I replaced parts I thought were bad. It is going in early next week to get looked at again. I am really hoping to get it fixed correctly this time and get out for some long day trips to help maintain sanity. I don’t need (or want) to be around groups of people…I just need some new scenery to look at. Once I get this fixed I will feel better about going in the forest to explore or on a longer drive, plus the fuel mileage will improve.

I guess I could even take the trailer out to get away once the truck is fixed, but I must say it has been nice being out of it for a while so I have not been too excited about getting back in it yet and I am fairly certain the dog agrees. I would have to de-winterize it so I will wait a few more weeks to do that to make sure the danger of freezing is past. With the last-minute storage after finding this place I had to put water line anti-freeze in it again so I would have to go to a campground to de-winterize for the first trip. I am glad I did dump some in it since it did freeze several nights, but I still hate putting that stuff in there. It makes that first trip a pain and it takes a while to flush it out of the system.

I am still working on the airline tickets but I am finding more places, even in the US, are talking pre- and post-arrival testing and quarantines. With these things looming, and the additional concerns of new strains being discovered, it is extremely difficult for me to get very excited about even looking at flights let alone actually booking one. I won’t let it get me down and I will keep looking. There are still a couple of big U.S. cities I would like to go visit but I have big reservations about doing that since I travel to cities to explore and try the local foods. On top of that, I don’t feel safe with all of the nonsense going on and that is also a problem for me wanting to go on long road trips. I will get something booked before my vouchers expire.

That’s about all for this update. Forgot to send it before I passed out last night!

January 7th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Yesterday I went to town to pick up a new porcelain-coated Dutch oven. The one I have is just a bit small for meal prep so I wanted to get a bigger one. Costco had a good deal on a set of two Tramontia pots so I just got the set. I will take the one I have in the house and put it back in the trailer. I have found that in the last few months I have used my Dutch oven for more cooking; I have used my cast iron skillet once in that time. I like the versatility of cast iron, as well as the taste it imparts in foods, but the Dutch oven is even more useful and versatile plus the clean-up is easy. I would love to have a couple off Le Creuset porcelain-lined saucepans but they are expensive ($400 for a Le Creuset Dutch oven!). I will keep an eye out online at some auction sites. I almost had two yesterday but got outbid.

Before I picked those up, I made a stop at Goodwill to see if just maybe they had one but no luck. I DID, however, find something I always wondered about…a Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. It was priced reasonably and was 50% off so I brought home a $40 appliance for $3.50. No loss if it didn’t live up to the hype.

So, I cleaned it up and this morning I gave it a try. I have to say, I was totally surprised at how well it works. It is awesome in its ease of use and simplicity. I think I won’t be making sandwiches ahead of time anymore. They taste better fresh than frozen (at least the egg part doesn’t reheat well) and fresh is always better if possible. This makes it easy.

I also got something else I have been wanting to get but never have yet – a mandolin slicer. No, it is not to slice mandolins (aren’t they small enough anyhoo?). It is to slice fruits and veggies easily and more uniformly to cook evenly. It looks to be new and I got it for just a few dollars. It is a pretty basic one but it is all I need.

Last night I ended up eating my leftover cottage pie instead of cooking the next meal kit of “Silky Sicilian Penne”. I wanted to get the Dutch oven cleaned out and set aside to take back to the trailer. I still had one meal of flautas left to eat so I had that for supper; it had fresh salsa and it won’t freeze. Today at lunch I made that last kit with the penne and it was delicious; penne, zucchini, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes in a butter and crême fraiche sauce with lemon and chives. Silky indeed! So delicious. Glad I have leftovers of that one. I even got to try out the new slicer!

I got that cooked up just in time as another box from EveryPlate showed up this afternoon. Garlic rosemary chicken with roasted root veggies, chicken sausage gnocchi bake in a cream sauce, and something called “Super smashed” burgers on a potato bun with caramelized onion, chipotle aioli & potato wedges on the side. I will probably cook two of these meals tomorrow to get a jump on it.

The one thing about these kits I have found is the produce is fresh so you gotta use it quick before things wilt. I do try to cook one each night as soon as I get them because of this. In the EveryPlate boxes all the ingredients are in one open box, whereas the HelloFresh has all the meals separated out in labeled paper bags. That is a better way to get them but the EveryPlate method uses less bags/packaging and a smaller shipping box so there are a few tradeoffs. EveryPlate is a little cheaper by cutting a few corners that can be cut. I like the bagged meals a little better just from first appearance but I will know more tomorrow after I make the first one. The bags just make it easier and help if you have OCD; otherwise EveryPlate is just like groceries from the store loose in a box. Both are well-packaged though.

I have not been traveling much at all lately (as you know), just going the few miles to town and back along with walks and hikes. My pharmacy is not close and I need refills so I will be making a drive soon (by choice; it’s a local mom and pop – old school). It is a nice drive though and I can enjoy the scenery and spend several hours of the day doing it. It would be nice to get out for a road trip of some distance. It is looking like showers tomorrow morning and then some sun on Saturday so maybe I can get the bike out.

My truck goes in next week for another repair but it won’t be too bad of a bill. I looked underneath to see about the emission part needing replaced and I decided to let them do it for the price. Not worth the little bit of savings for me to crawl under there so they can. They did quote me a sky-high price for plugs and wires getting replaced so I will be doing that myself. It is starting to get in my pocket and this needs to stop. At some point I will need to make a decision if it is still worth fixing. Until then I have to do a few things to it or it will not last long. At least it will be ready to go after doing these things.

That’s about it for now. Gonna go finish my cup of decaf and find a movie.