Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Naturally 7

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Best Chicken And Noodles Ever...

I will start out by first apologizing to my mother, God rest her soul. My mother and I had a great relationship, and I inherited her sarcastic sense of humor that has helped through a many of dreary days as well as got me in deep trouble. She raised and fed 8 kids as a stay-at-home mom on a strict budget that at times involved some questionable strategies like the soybean meatloaf era.

I can remember my mom cooking supper as we were leaving for school in the morning. She would have the huge cast iron pan frying hamburgers at 7 AM while she was seeing us off to the bus. When we would come home from school, the burgers would still be in the pan on the stove cold with nice layer of white burger fat securing them to the pan. All we would have to do was fire up the stove long enough to melt the grease and we were in burger business. Amazingly enough, we very rarely ever got sick, and to this day I can eat leftovers that are beyond most normal people with no ill effect. (I still think mom invented the macaroni and chee-a pet from things we found in the fridge weeks later).

This method of cooking evolved when the microwave was invented. Now instead of leaving the cooked food in the pan, she would make us all a "plate". Customized with our own known liked foods and covered with a sheet of clear plastic in our "spot" on the kitchen table. At that time we were mostly busy teens with different schedules, we could just pop our plate in the microwave when we got home. The microwave, of course, was as big as a console television.

What I am leading to, is even with good and loving intentions, mom got set in her ways as she knew what was good for us despite our negative feedback. Case and point was the Crockpot. When the Crockpot came out, it was the answer to her prayers. Just pile in a bunch of stuff in it in the morning and set it and forget it. In some cases the results came out edible, but for the most part the end product was a gray mass of unidentifiable goo. She would do this with pot roast and the worst offender; chicken and noodles. My mom's method of making chicken and noodles was to throw the whole chicken, some noodles and water in the crockpot all at the same time. Set the heat to low and let it simmer (decompose) for 6 or so hours. She would then give it a stir and spoon out the bones and large debris that she could get to. Yes, it was technically chicken and noodles, but that is where the similarity ended. To this day we do not use a crockpot and I still get an uncontrollable gag reflex if I find any small bones or debris in my food.

So zoom forward 15 years and I am married and hungry. My wife Sue said she was going to make chicken and noodles. The look on my face must have looked the poster child for post traumatic stress syndrome and I had to relate to my wife the story above. Sue had to explain to me there was a proper way to prepare chicken and noodles that was guaranteed to erase years of despising one of the best dishes on the planet. I was skeptical and insisted on watching (or helping) the "real" preparation method. Here is my wife Sue's recipe as I recall it from my grandest culinary dreams:

  • Find a chicken - as far as I know she is not picky whether it is a fryer, roaster or whatever name they can give to a chicken. A fresh one is better and it doesn't have to be a huge one. Wash it very well to remove any feathers or packing debris.
  • Remove the crap they put inside the chicken and I hope she throws the guts away - and I really don't want to hear your comments - if you like chicken guts, that is your problem.
  • Put chicken in large 5 quart sauce pan. Throw in one whole onion with the skin on, several stalks of celery with leaves and a carrot. Add enough water to cover the chicken completely and add 1-2 tablespoons of salt depending on your taste.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover with the lid cocked just a bit to let some of the steam escape. Simmer for around 4 hours.
  • THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: Tun off the heat and let it sit for a half hour to cool. This is where the broth really takes on the "Famous Subee's" chicken flavor.
  • THIS IS THE 2ND MOST IMPORTANT PART: Remove the entire contents from the broth and set the chicken on a large platter. Dispose of the celery, carrot and onion.
  • THIS IS THE 3RD MOST IMPORTANT PART: Strain the broth with a screen ladle to remove all stray debris and that sneaky small bone that I will undoubtedly get on my plate.
  • Bring the broth back to a boil and throw in your noodles, the amount of noodles you will use will depend on how big your chicken was, and how soupy or thick you want your final product. (I prefer soupy)
  • While the noodles are cooking, separate the chicken meat from the carcass. Do this very carefully as to not add any bones or debris back into the broth! Add all of the dark meat back into the broth and only some of the white meat. (save the rest of the white meat for chicken salad or something) Even if you are really not big on dark meat, as I am not, this is still the desired thing to do, as the flavor is mostly in the dark meat.
  • Throw the chicken meat back in the broth / noodles and simmer uncovered until the noodles are done.
  • Check your salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop this over some mashed potatoes in a big bowl and it is heaven! Yes, this recipe may be common knowledge to most cooks, but it was a learning experience for me. It is now one of the greatest dish my wife makes. We are still working on the pot roast thing...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ron Mohr Slideshow

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Ross Sisters - Solid Potato Salad

This freaks me out. You have to watch the whole thing...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cool Sites For Online Web-Based Photo Editing..

I always like to play around editing photos. I even like it more when it is free. The following sites are my favorite online (web-based) photo editing programs.

(Updated December 11, 2012)

Online Photo Editing Websites

Fun with photos - these sites are not actually online photo editing sites, but you can create cool stuff with your images.

  • http://pikipimp.com/ - My favorite fun online site to add stuff to your photos - play around with the "elements" section of this program and you will be entertained for hours.
  • http://www.pizap.com/ - A free online photo editor featuring fun free photo effects, photo stickers and one click effects for your digital photos.
  • http://bighugelabs.com/ - They live up to their name - a library of around 40 cool things you can do with a photo. I like the badgemaker.
  • http://www.faceinhole.com/us/ - Upload a picture of a face and put it a bunch of different scenes. Pretty cool as you can edit the hue, saturation to match. Hint: click the categories above the photos to get more choices from that genre.
  • http://www.writeonit.org/ - Here you can easily create your photomontage, free cards, magazine cover and face in the hole effects.
  • http://funphotobox.com/ - Pay attention to the top toolbar here to make face effects, photo effects, animations, cards and tools.
  • http://www.magmypic.com/ - Make a fake magazine cover with your images.
  • http://www.photo505.com/ - Photo505 enable you to select from numerous digital photo effects to add into picture for fun. Their digital photo effects is almost updated daily so be sure to check them out.
  • http://www.dumpr.net/ - 21 cool things you can do with your photos. I like the LOMO effect, puts a glare / sheen on your image.
  • http://www.photovisi.com/ - Photovisi lets you create collage style wallpapers using your own photos. There are many templates to choose from and very easy to use.
  • http://wigflip.com/ - Several different free cool things you can make. Not all allow you to upload photos, but go anyway, you won't be sorry.
  • http://lunapic.com/ - Over 100 different cool photo effects.
  • http://repperpatterns.com/tool/ - Upload a photo then drag the box around to create cool patterns. These can be used for your desktop backgrounds or web page backgrounds. You are using the free online version of software that is for sale - the image you save is a low quality image, but still good for web page (and desktop) backgrounds.
  • http://www.photofunia.com/ - Uses facial recognition software to place a face from your uploaded photo onto some interesting objects.
  • http://picfont.com/ - Easily add text to your photos.
  • http://instyle.com - Seems kind of girly at first, but you can really come up with some interesting photos with this "makeover" program.
  • http://www.chami.com/html-kit/services/imge/ - Kind of stupid, but with the right photo, you may be able to come up with something interesting.
  • http://tools.dynamicdrive.com/imageoptimizer/index.php - Optimize your photos for use in email and webpages. Shrinks the file size so the photo will load quicker. If you don't know what I am talking about, you probably don't need it.
  • http://www.morphthing.com/ - Combine two or more celebrity faces to come up with the ultimate celebrity.
  • http://www.polaroin.com/ - Turn any photo into an old school (style) polaroid.
  • http://www.werofl.com/ - Create a rippling water effect on your photos.
  • http://www.familylobby.com/fun-photo-creator.asp - Easy to use - ad a few trinkets to your photo to liven it up. Exports finished photo as flash.
  • http://www.effmypic.com/ - Upload your photo and place it in different scenes. Some are pretty cool.
  • http://www.freeflashtoys.com/ - Some of the flash toys here involve doing things with your photos, so I thought I would include this link.
  • http://imagechef.com - A boatload of frames and cool effects for you to insert your photo into. Best waste of time ever.
  • http://www.needlepaint.com/ - Convert your image to a needlepoint pattern. They will even send you the thread and pattern (not free). You can save your converted photo for free - right-click on the image and choose "save picture as".
  • http://patternsforyou.com/en/pattern_maker.html - Similar to above, but convert your image to a cross-stitch pattern and download the pattern for free.

Free Downloads of Useful Photo Editing Software

  • Umark lite - Add watermarks to your photos or images to prevent people from using them without your consent. Also used to advertise your site.
  • Microsoft Ice - (Image Composite Editor) An advanced panoramic image stitcher. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the application creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images.
  • PhoXo - Use the effect tools to get creative and insert shadow text, speech bubbles, fade effects, gradients, image frames, clipart objects and more.
  • Riot - A free download I thought I would include. A great tool for bloggers that compresses photos so they will have a smaller file size and load faster.
  • IrfanView - Ask anyone who knows photo editing and they will know about IrfanView. Be sure to download the plug-ins.
  • Gadwin PrintScreen - Not for photo editing exactly, but the darn best free screen capture program out there.
  • BorderMaker - BorderMaker enables you to add borders, text overlays, and watermarks to your images.
  • Poladroid - A free downloadable program to make polaroid-like photos.

There is also a great list of photo editing sites at http://dottech.org/tag/windows-photo-editor/ 

report unlisted image editing programs and bad links to: freegamesite(at)gmail.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The War Is On...

Ok, here is an ant update. The good news is we are really only seeing an occasional indoor ant visiting the ant bait hotel in the bathroom. There seemed to be 3 waves so far. There would be none, then 20 - 30 ants, then none, then several and now none (almost) again for the last couple days. I think I have identified them as "pavement ants", or "littlus basturdus" for you entomologists.
But while mowing the yard, I saw these at the end of the driveway about 20 feet from the house at the end of the driveway. I guess I should have shot a photo while they were still alive, but I panicked and went and got the bug spray and killed them with Ted Bundy frenzy. There were like 10 times as many as seen in the photo.

Step 1: Broadcast spread Spectracide over the entire lawn. Kills on contact... YEAH!


Step 2 and 3: Spray the Bayer advanced liquid and create a 1 - 2 foot perimeter all the way around the home. Use the Amdro ant block (bait) in the shrub beds and around any visible ant mounds.












And just for a backup plan, Roach Ridd, which is boric acid and is deadly to ants. This is unproven, because I had this last fall and all I had was white powder coated ants in the driveway (but at least not in the house). And Diazinon which I already had too. I am not even sure you can still buy it still. Turf Ranger granules which also last year just seemed to be an expensive ant food.
And of course... more ant bait hotels!

It's getting expensive, but I am sure there will be an Obama ant war bailout.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Jerry Baker Lawn Tonic..

About twice a year I spray our lawn with a lawn tonic that was originated by Jerry Baker. It is a combination of liquid ingredients that accomplishes several great things for your yard. I am often asked for the recipe so I thought I would post it an everyone could have a beautiful lawn.

The ingredients are generally found at the local dollar store:


  • One bottle of liquid dishwashing liquid (not anti-bacterial)

  • One can of beer

  • One can of regular cola (not diet)

  • 1 cup of household ammonia

  • 1 bottle of antiseptic mouthwash like Listerene (or store brand)

  • 10 or so drops of hot sauce like Tobasco


Mix the ingredients in a bucket and apply to your lawn in some type of hose-end sprayer. The above amount should cover around 5000 square feet. Hose end sprayers vary, so you may have to move fairly quickly as not to run out.


Here is my understanding as to what these ingredients do:

  • The dishwashing liquid breaks up the oily film on the surface of your lawn's soil. This allows water to reach the deeper grass roots for a healthier lawn. It will also allow the other things you do (like fertilize) to go deeper in the soil. Dishwashing soap is also distasteful to insects and critters.

  • The yeast in the beer feeds on the sugar in the soda and helps to break down thatch.

  • The ammonia is liquid nitrogen for a greening boost. (but don't overdo it)

  • The mouthwash helps fight lawn diseases.

  • The hot sauce is an insect and critter repellent.

I apply in the spring and fall and have had great results. The following picture is of our lawn.