On turning 50 … and fathers day

I have been thinking a lot about turning 50 over the past month or so, it might be my friends turning 50 or it could be the AARP membership. This year more that any past birthday is forcing me to reflect on my past and what I could have or should have done and where I am going in the future.

It was also fathers day and I really miss my dad who passed away in 1991 at the age of 51. I miss not having a father to ask for “dad” advice, to assist in teaching my boys the fine art of camping, and not being able to call him on fathers day. I would have like to tell him how much I would have loved to go to the boundary waters with him on one more trip. How much he would have loved watching his grandchildren grow, I know he would have doted upon them. And although he saw me graduate from high school and college, he never saw me get married or receive my graduate degree.

I am very lucky to have an incredibly funny, smart and athletic wife making an impact on the educational system. Very smart and energetic kids that I think are keeping me young. My life is really better than I sometimes acknowledge. I have a job that I enjoy, family that loves me and keeps me on my toes, and I still have my mother, brother (original typo: bother) , nieces, and plenty of cousins, uncles, and aunts.

I really don’t know what the future holds, but I know that my friends and family will be there with me to discover what strange avenues open up and lead us to places we have never seen. I am truly lucky with what I have and the knowledge that I can choose where I want to go and what I want to do. That ability comes with great responsibility to choose wisely – I have not always chosen wisely, but hey failure is part of growing and I plan to fail again and continue to grow.

I have always enjoyed that my birthday was during summer solstice; and along with a full moon tonight here is to all the fathers out there and those turning 50. Enjoy life, love those who love you, be positive, and do some wise things, and occasional unwise things.

Gluten, Dairy, and Egg Free Pancakes

My boys love pancakes, and just to make it difficult; son #1 has a gluten issue, son #2 has a dairy issue, and their mother has an everything issue – no eggs! What is a modern dad to do on pancake day. Well, I have had some success and failures, but none of them have measured up. That is until today – everyone loved them – everyone! So here is the winning recipe:

½ Cup white rice flour
¼ Cup Tapioca Starch
¼ Cup Potato Starch
1  Cup Almond Flour
1  Tablespoon Baking Powder
1  Tablespoon Sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Put the above dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until blended. Then in a 2 cup measuring cup mix the following ingredients:

¼ Cup applesauce
1  Tablespoon Baking Powder
1  Cup Almond Milk

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon. Heat a non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat and ladle the pancake on to the griddle, turn over when brown.

That’s it  – very fluffy pancakes that everyone will love. Enjoy.

I put your cheese back

After a few bugs and a theme change we are stable a again.  Apparently not everyone was thrilled with the change to a light theme for the NexTrip application.  Obviously some people who have better eyesight than I that did not like the light theme and preferred the dark theme so I have put it back as a preference.

We should be up and running again and everything should be calm in the world of free software.  Now, I need to decide where to spend my time – using gps to find stops close by or build the app on IOS.  Hmmm, stay tuned not sure where my mind will go.

If anyone wants to help the github repository is https://github.com/quasma/nextrip-android

You can get the app from the Google play store

Better Visual Colors for My MetroTransit NexTrip

Ok, I have heard the feedback that the black theme does not work well in daylight and the red color of the real-time text is very hard to read. I am releasing a new version with updated with a white background for lists and black text. In addition the background on realtime trips will be in green.  In addition I added the flag to allow for the app to be moved to the SD card.

stoptrips

My NexTrip Android 4.0.5 now available

Well I finally found the time to add a feature to the NexTrip application that I built and sometimes update. I have had many requests for the ability to rename the description on favorites.  Well I just pushed out 4.0.5 that adds that ability.  Using the long click on a favorite you will be prompted by a text field in which you can change the name of the favorite.

See it in the Google Play Store

I may add a few more feature if and when I have time, which I never seem to have.

Enjoy …

Peaches, bourbon, and jalapeño’s

peaches

When we travel to Atlanta in the summer to visit my in-laws we feel the need to go pick peaches because you can’t do that in Minnesota (and peaches suck in Minnesota). So what do I do with all those peaches?  This year I decided to can some peaches for winter enjoyment as well as some jam’s.  I usually just make some plain peach jam, but I had other requests this year – spice it up I think was the statement.  I decided to make Peach-Jalapeño Jam and Peach-Bourbon Jam.  What follow are the recipes and I think they taste great.

 

 

 

Peach-Bourbon Jam

This one had a great response from everyone and I think it may replace the standard peach jam that I usually make each summer.

Ingredients

8 cups diced fresh ripe peaches (I suppose you could buy frozen in a pinch)
5 cups sugar
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean (split)
2 cinnamon sticks
8 teaspoons of powdered pectin (Bell Real Fruit Pectin)
1 cup (or so) of good bourbon – I used Wild Turkey 101

Directions

  1. Prepare and sanitize jars and lids
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and file a very large bowl with ice water
  3. Score the peaches and place them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove them and place them in the ice water.  Repeat for all the peaches.
  4. The skin should slide off the peaches so remove the skin and compost.
  5. Dice the peaches in 1/2 inch cubes and place in large stock pot until you have about 8 cups.  Don’t do any more in a batch or it won’t set correctly.
  6. Add lemon juice, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and bourbon to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes and enjoy the aroma.
  7. Add the pectin and bring to a full rolling boil.
  8. Add the sugar and return to a full boil where you can’t stir it down.
  9. Boil for 1 full minute and remove from heat.
  10. Fill half pint or quarter pint jars to 1/4 from top
  11. Clean the rim on all jars with damp paper towel
  12. Place lid on jar and screw on ring.
  13. Put all jars in water bath (boiling) for about 10 minutes and remove.
  14. Set aside and let cool.
  15. Enjoy (should last 12-18 months if stored in cool dark place)

Peach-Jalapeño Jam

I loved this one, it has a hint of heat but not too much.  My other half would like a spicier version and I may include seeds in the next batch and boost the heat.

Ingredients

8 cups dice fresh peaches
5 jalapeño’s
5 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
8 teaspoons of powdered pectin (Bell Real Fruit Pectin)

Directions

  1. Prepare and sanitize jars and lids
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and file a very large bowl with ice water
  3. Score the peaches and place them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove them and place them in the ice water.  Repeat for all the peaches.
  4. The skin should slide off the peaches so remove the skin and compost.
  5. Dice the peaches in 1/2 inch cubes and place in large stock pot until you have about 8 cups.  Don’t do any more in a batch or it won’t set correctly.
  6. Remove the core, seeds and stem from the jalapeño’s and mince
  7. Take about 1/3 of the jalapeño and crush it
  8. Add lemon juice, pectin and jalapeño’s to the pot and bring to a boil
  9. Add the sugar and return to a full boil where you can’t stir it down.
  10. Boil for 1 full minute and remove from heat.
  11. Fill half pint or quarter pint jars to 1/4 from top
  12. Clean the rim on all jars with damp paper towel
  13. Place lid on jar and screw on ring.
  14. Put all jars in water bath (boiling) for about 10 minutes and remove.
  15. Set aside and let cool.
  16. Enjoy (should last 12-18 months if stored in cool dark place)

Karmesan

So, we have no lack of food issues in our house and we are always looking for ways to improve our repertoire.   Here is the ven diagram on what we can eat:

foodissuesAs you can see we don’t have a lot of wiggle room. That said, I was brought up on lots of pasta. Many of the dishes I love I have not figured out how I can eat with my family yet.  I need to sneak out more and get myself some good Italian food.  But I have solved, as best I can, the parmesan cheese problem – don’t worry this won’t provide any challenge to true Parmigiano-Reggiano, which I do sometimes sneak into the house.  So using salt, raw cashews, nutritional yeast, and the magic bullet I have created what my family seems to love.

 

Karmesan

1 cup raw cashews
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

Put all ingredients in a the magic bullet (really food processors and blenders are too big) and pulse for a few seconds.  You want it to be chunky, about the texture of grated parmesan.

I started this recipe by using a hand food chopper – love those things, but the magic bullet makes this much easier.

Enjoy your fake parmesan on all your pasta meals – it really is surprisingly good, and I keep finding more uses for raw cashews.

And why do I live here?

Where am I going to find the worm?

bird blog

Continue reading And why do I live here?

Lentil and Cauliflower Curry

So since I am doing a lot more cooking around the house lately, I am always looking for something I have not made, but is easy to make.  It needs to be easy because I am an engineer and engineers are generally lazy.  But I do like very delicious food and I don’t like food that comes in a frozen box.  Looking around the kitchen I realized that I had lentils, zucchini, frozen cauliflower and some mango chutney I canned last year (time to do that again – future post).  The whole family enjoyed this curry and I have plenty to take with me for lunch this week.

Here is the recipe:

1 Onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of sweet curry powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of ginger (I used frozen crushed)
1 14oz can of diced tomatos
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup mango chutney
2 small cauliflower (I used 2 bags frozen)
1 zucchini halved and sliced
2 cups lentils (I used brown, but use what you have)
1 bay leaf
  1. Put 4 cups of water in a pan and add lentils and bay leaf, bring it to a boil cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking.  Saute the onions and salt in deep pan or dutch oven until soft
  3. Add curry power and garlic and cook for about a minute
  4. Add tomatoes, water, ginger, chutney, cauliflower, zucchini bring to a boil and simmer.
  5. When lentils are done, drain, remove bay leef and add to the curry.
  6. Serve over rice with cashew sour cream
  7. Enjoy your meal

I will post the mango chutney recipe soon …

Cashew Sour Cream

We have two family members that can’t eat dairy in this house.  But what do you do when you need a little sour cream to jazz up a dish?  Say hello to simple cashew sour cream, there are a number of recipes out there that have you soak the cashews overnight, but I am lazy and would never remember to soak.  The key to this recipe is a good blender that can handle small amounts, I happen to like the magic bullet.  Here it goes.

1 cup raw unsalted cashews (I get mine from trader joes)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water (and maybe a bit more)

Put all the ingredients in the blender and crank it up, blend until smooth – not grainy. You may need to add a bit more water to get to the correct consistency.

Enjoy your vegan sour cream, much better the fake sour cream made with soy.