Friday, November 30, 2007


Woke up this morning at 8:00am it was the first time I did not have to be onsite at 8:00am and training and being responsible for the past few days.

I got some office work done from the Hampton. The wireless was SLOW!! Man that's some annoying stuff ti have to get caught up with slow wireless.

I got My client in DeRidder caught up. I then took to the Airport and I hated giving up my caddie at the rental car drop off.

Took the Southwest flight to Tampa and got there in time to pick up the kids and give them their M&M's from Vegas and the CSI hoodies I got at in Vegas as well.

We had dinner at Applebee's and headed home for some football.

Cub Scouts has Rocket Races tomorrow and Katie's Parade at 4:00, Amy's Company Christmas party at 7:00pm and we are staying at the Rocky point hotel after the Party. Should be a fun Saturday.

WOO HOO!!!! My thirtieth POST!!! Thanks NABloPoMo for the push to blo everyday for 30 days. I loved it!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crossing my mappings

Holy cow you forget how much work is involved in mapping a Lab interface. I think I'm seeing double now that we finally have the process down. The Lab group has some work ahead but we are getting the mapping completed and the Dr will be able to get his labs sent over.

The task is always a little more difficult than you expect. We had to not only make sure the panel had numbers that matched but that they were in the correct order with the correct number of line items. They also are getting the demo and charges interface to the PM system so that will help later in the month to eliminate duplicate keying.

We had lunch in today but it was again from the Thai restaurant. Man that is a great spot to eat if you are ever in DeRidder. Thai Basil is the name of the place and it's a family run establishment.

Great service and they can make many tasty things off the menu as well. The Stagecoach inn was the only real hotel as a choice. They charge $60.00 p-er night and had a free breakfast. I had mainly bananas and yogurt but he pays out a nice spread if you wanted more. Not use to paying less than $100.00 per night now that the hotel prices are so high.

Wal-Mart has no Nintendo Wii's anywhere to be seen. I have checked at a few places and no such luck. I think I;m going to hit Dell for the Presents later this week they came out with another EPPS coupon but it's for higher priced laptops. Might wait till after Dec 6th... not sure.

The ride here to LaPlace was long and tiring last night. I left the practice about 7:30 or so got gas from Wal-Mart and checked once more for a Wii and then headed to LaPlace. It was about a 3.5 hour drive. I stopped at a Wal-Mart in Moss Bluff and no such luck on Wii's he said Lake Charles was out too.

I hit Pat's of Henderson for one final meal. I had the Grilled Red fish with Crawfish Etouffee on top. Man it was good. The Stuffed potato looked over cooked so I saved the calories.

I-10 was low volume so I made good time hanging around 75-80 mph. I saw 5 or 6 troopers so it paid to stay under 15 over. I got VERY tired after about 2 hours and had 70 miles left and I was getting sleepy and noticed some times I was doing 80-85 so I stopped at a Luv's to get some Caffeine and an energy drink . I bought a Starbucks double shot light, a large Starbucks frappaccino in the bottle and a Full Throttle Blue Daemon. I down the double shot and then hit the large frappaccino. I felt much better and refreshed ... I decided I may still need the Full Throttle so I popped it and drank about 2/3. I was up for good after that. I made it to the hotel and had to put up with the rude front desk lady. Man I felt like I was getting a loan she was asking me all of these questions. She asked me what company I worked for and I was tired and not in the mood and did not want any more of her crap so I replied. "It's on the Card" I felt bad but she deserved it.

I got to the room and of course could not get to sleep so I logged online and did some work on my flights and directions to the airport and read emails etc. It was too late to call Amy.. or so I thought she later told me she was up till 2:30am.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Go-Live in DeRidder

Today was go-live day. I spent most of today working with the nurses and the Dr to get the patients scheduled, seen on time. The clinical group did very well. One thing that is hard to forget is that there are not many breaks in the work flow here. If the Dr wants an X-ray it's done on site. If he wants stat labs they are done next door. Sleep study ... no problem... Nuclear study... Yep got that too.

There is not much time to rest between patients. We did get the Lab interface people talking finally so we should have the interface done after we complete the cross mapping.

I jogged last night at the Hotel. It felt great but was kinda weird running in circles around the Stagecoach inn.

We got a lot of customization done but there is still a lot to complete. When we came back from lunch the power was out. The whole EMR was down and there were a few workstations that came back up quick. I finally traced it to a switch that was under the front desk. It did not power up after the power outage. I cycled power to it and it came right up.

I let the Dr and staff know we should probably get the Modem, Switch and firewall on a battery backup to keep it from going down during a brown out. They had one there in about 2 minutes. I have spent a lot of time getting the hardware running at this location more so than any other client...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Small Town Louisiana

I'm in DeRidder Louisiana this week. The Practice I'm working with is pretty awesome. The staff are great and the nurses are really smart. The Dr never ceases to amaze me. He is an internist with certifications in just about everything.

In addition to internal medicine he is also and Opthalmologist. So he does normal vision tests etc as well as more advanced eye laser surgery. He also has a full Lab that services not only his patients but all the Dr's in town as well. He has a sleep study room with 2 beds to perform sleep studies. He also has a nuclear camera to do adenosine and persantine stress tests prior to imaging the heart. Most of his patients are not able to run on the treadmill prior to the imaging so he ends up doing mostly adenosine stress tests. He has the normal X-Ray, and bone density tests but he also performs bone marrow biopsies as well as Lumbar and cervical epidurals. The list keeps going on and on I'm amazed. They are like a mini - ER.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Travel day from heck

Today started early with a 7:00am flight to Atlanta on Delta. I woke at 4:00am after doing laundry last night from the Vegas trip and finished packing my bag and folding the dryer contents this morning. I left home about 4:30am and started the commute to the TPA airport. About 5:00am I got a call from an 800 caller ID number. I ignored it and stopped to get breakfast at Mickey D's. I got another call and after thinking it over I answered and it was an automated call from Delta letting me know my flight from Tampa to Atlanta was delayed and I have been rebooked. Crap... I got the airport and hit the delta Line to get rescheduled or rebooked. The line was huge and they only had 2 customer service agents. I called Delta and they let me know it was a mechanical problem... (Right..... sure...) This moved me back to 9:30 departure and this of course placed me to late into ATL to make my connectring to Alexandria , Loisiana to get to my client by 3:00pm to start training. ( I was defenitely kicking myself for not flying direct from Vegas to my client Sunday night) I called Southwest and they had 2 flights available. One to Houston thet left at 6:30am. ooohhhh tight fit on that one at it was now 5:45am. I asked about the next one and it was late in the afternoon... not good. I then asked about MSY (New Orleans) they had availability on the 7:30 am departure arrive 8:30am . Only one seat left. I asked her to hold that and I would then move over to Southwest. I called delta and asked about addl options and nothing was looking promising so I brought ut the laptop and checked online as well. Nothing better than MSY... I cancelled my Delta and Booked the Southwest flight to Nawlins. I then switched my Avis rental from Alexandria to Nawlins, hit mapquest and emailed directions from MSY to the client to my cell so I could have good directions handy in the car. My flight back is on Friday and gets in about an hour earlier so that's a bonus. I might stop by Harrah's Thursday night and see if Pap's craps lessons pay off later this week.

Today is Cyber Monday. In case you have misse dit the past few years the online retailers have been sending out deals on the Monday Following Thanksgiving to drive up business similar to Black Friday after Thanksgiving for the brick and mortar retailers. I looking to get a few deals for the kids and family for Christmas this year.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Money shot from vegas

Leaving Las Vegas with more money than you came with is defenitely a great feeling! It took some time but I finally hit a few runs on rolls at the craps tables. It took me from 11:00pm till about 3:00am and I had to graduate from Papa's Craps 101 course to craps 202.. but I finally made it!!

The ride to the airport was a nice surprise.. Papa and Grams got a limo to take us to the airport. We left in style and Morgan was excited that she got to ride backwards in a limo. Thanks to Grams and Papa for a great week in Vegas and a fun ride home in style. What a great trip. I can't wait to come back and see the sights I missed on this trip.

You never know what to expect some times when you go to a city you have never been to before. I knew Vegas had tons of entertainment and I was aware of the competition between Vegas and Orlando for Total Hotel Rooms available. I never knew how luxurious and extravagant these hotels are in Vegas. I think I need to volunteer for Vegas Clients whenever available.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sports Saturday

Today we watched the games in the Sports Lounge. All the right teams won so everyone was happy for a few hours.

We toured the Strip and Walked to the M&M Store. I got a few sample bags for the kids and headed back to the Mirage.

Kokomo's for dinner. Nice steak, I had the Kansas City Strip. It was huge. I heard Vegas was big on large steaks. The wine and conversation were a great respite from the football of earlier.

I hit the Mirage shop for a few memorabilia prior to the Flight home tomorrow. The 8:15AM flight will require a 6:00am departure. I think I'll pack and hit the hay early. I'm up from the craps game last night... so why risk it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shopping Vegas Style

We toured the Casinos and shopped the malls today. The Ballagio, Venetian and the Wynn were on the agenda today.

We took lots of pictures. The shopping was confined to the Venetian Shoppes for myself and Amy. Grams charged onward and did the Mall too while we got Oxygen.

The Venetian has a booth in the mall that is an oxygen bar. You can sit for 5 mins and get a stream of oxygen that has 4 different aromas added. This is to lift your spirits and provide energy. Amy, Mark, Deborah and myself all sat and had a session.

Unfortunately it took over 30 mins to get a stool and much tension and crabbiness was emitted by me when we had a few line intrusions... Let's say their workflow was not up to par on getting a place in line.

It was very relaxing with a nice eucalyptus scent to rub on your palms and inhale as you inhale the other 4 scents. They attach a calendula to your nasal passages. (Shovesd in your nose like a geezer

Thursday, November 22, 2007


More Vegas fun as we toured the Ceasar's shoppnig complex. IT was amazing. Nice fountains and we saw the 2 shows from th anamatronic fountains. I ttok a few pictures to post here.

I bought a SinCity Las Vegas T-shirt. We watched some football and Played Roulette and craps. A fun time ws had by all. Larry gave us a few pointers on craps.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

We hit the Southwest Trail and Flew to Las Vegas Today. We had a nice flight and the flight attendant made it fun with a few trivia games.

They were asking sports trivia for a few of them and I was too busy wearing my noise canceling headphones to get teh first few questions.

Once I took off the headphones Amy let me know it was for free drinks so I buckled down and took it seriously. The first question was which NFL team has no logo on their Helmet. I knew it was Cleveland Browns but did not get my Flight attendant call button on first. The next few were difficult but we finally got one that sounded like we could answer it.

"What year did Coca-Cola Come out with the TV commercial I'd like to buy the world a coke?" We guessed 1976... Nope, So Then I guessed down... 75, no , 74, no ,73 no, 72 no, 70 no, Arrrrgghhh... Then 71? Yes...!! Woo Hoo. The Same year my wife was Born. It was also her birthday so the whole plane sang happy birthday and we got free drinks. Morgan webkinz got a hold of my Bacardi... Picture posted is When webkinz go bad.

We took a taxi to the Mirage and met the parents and had some fun taking in the Casino.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

To Jax and Back

This morning started at 4:00am with a quick morning routine and then jumped in the truck and headed north for Jacksonville, FL. I ended up taking I-75 to I-10 since it was so foggy and I got to Gainesville about 6:15 which would mean morning traffic in g-ville. I prefer to take the "Long way" when the weather is inclement rather than risk getting stuck on the short cut through Starke and Waldo. I got to JAX at 8:15 even with some traffic and stopping in G-Ville for breakfast. 3 hours and 15 mins is pretty good.

The group I'm working with today has been live since August. They have struggled a little and I feel we made a ton of progress today. I taught one of the DR's how to create a really nice Chief Complaint and we cleaned up a few forms and streamlined some workflow processes. I have a little work to do over the next few weeks to get them going towards great.

The ride home was uneventful but I was glad I had XM radio to listen to CNN Headline News and Fox News. Got to listen to Glenn Beck and Britt Hume. Laura Ingram was substituting for Bill O'Reilly. She had some heated discussions.

Th kids finished the Christmas lists. Woo Hoo! They are getting older and it's hard to shop for them now. Michael and Katie want Laptops so I'm trying to get a few people to chip in and get one for each. They really miss their old desktops that died 2 years ago. I know my life will get easier with them not hogging my laptop for a change.

Packing for Vegas. We leave late Wednesday and come back Sunday. Thanks Grams and Papa for such a great suggestion. I have been to Vegas airport many times but I have never been to the City itself. Amy wants to make sure I ride the Roller Coaster with her on top of New York New York. We are staying at the Mirage. Wish me luck. I practice on my Roulette last week when I stayed at the Isle of Capri. i did pretty good. I played for 2 hours and was up $20.00 at the end of the evening.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Waiting in Vain

This Morning I waited till 11:32am to get my laptop. So FedEx is now know as the ... " When it's absolutely positively has to get there overnight but later than we promised" company. We had even checked the 10:30am delivery time.

The Laptop was a little faster. evidently I was infected with spyware. Ooops.. Forgot to run spybot search and destroy since like April I guess.

I was wondering why it took so long to boot up. I got upgraded to IE 7.0 finally also. I now have all my favorites and auto settings in the process of getting entered again. bummer. I saw the post office delivered my expense report and another item I had mailed to my home office in these pre-stmaped pouches to my home for some stupid reason. DOH. Guess the post office sucks again. I sent them UPS to the home office today so they would get there. Maybe UPS needs to give an in service to FedEx and the USPS..??

Found out my Dr does not give a rats rear end about calling in scripts for you. I have been to the Dr a ton these past few weeks and I needed a maint drug refilled and the pharmacy had let me know the 3 mo script had expired. I called the Dr and let them know My script had expired. She had this smart alec reply of... "Well I guess u need and appointment huh?"

I replied nah not really if you check my chart you will see the Dr wrote me a refill and I had it on file at the pharamacy and they list it so I just need you to call it in for me. She gave me some stupid answer about how she will check on it for me and placed me on hold. I can't stand Dr's who write scripts on 3 months at a time so they can guaruntee office visits every 3 months. He better be doing some fasting labs and I'm going to get my money's worht out of him if I go every three months. He will be giving me x6 and x12 refills before long... :-)

When she came back she had a much different tone... I love these $7.00 an hour power trippers that only turn away business at these Dr offices. Give a High school flunky a little assumed power and they go nuts.... huh?

It finally got straightened out but it did not reach the pharmacy in time to get it when I stopped by it was still not called in. Guess that's why it pays to be in the biz so to speak and get samples of what you need in times like these... Take that you flaky receptionist... I was nice I found out a long time ago you get more with sugar than with vinegar.

A wier thing did happen today. When I left the UPS store I was waiting for a car to pass and she stopped and motioned me on. I nodded no that's ok... and waived her to go on. She waived me on so I stepped off the curb and started crossing and half way across the lot she revved her car and drove behind me. What a complete idiot! I was so mad I turned and yelled... You need to wait for me to cross Lady... Make up your mind you dork! I was so livid I'm glad I had a few seconds to calm down or I may have chased her down and caused a road rage incident. I was tempted to flatten her tire while she was in Publix but I was in a hurry and I did not want to appear on page 10 of the Laker next week. "Cubscout Denleader causes road rage incident on illegal immigrant housewife shopping for Thanksgiving Turkey" Just my luck it would twist into me being the bad guy.

I ran down to scouts tonight and we continued work on the Forester achievement pin. I had an ice cream party for the boys since they have worked so hard an got dissed by the pack meeting on the raffle tickets. They loved it. I even had an inactive kid show up tonight. He had been playing Volleyball and the games were on Monday night. So I'm glad we are back up to 5 now. Plus siblings makes 7 boys.

Well off to Jacksonville tomorrow so I'm heading to bed early.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sleepy Sunday

Woke up at 7:00 am and piddled around the house for a few hours. I found out that the reason the I-10 was closed was sue to a natural gas fire. The whole I-10 corridor is shut down. Amy woke at 10:00 she really needed some sleep to catch up from this past week.

We went running and I did the first run for week 3 couch 2 5k. The podcasts really help but this week was walk 5 mins jog, 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, jog 3 mins., walk 3 mins., then jog 90 seconds walk 90 seconds, and jog 3 mins. Felt like I needed to jog one more 90 seconds and then do a 5 min cool down.

Amy let me know week 4 and 5 will take care of that..... You take quite a jump in week 4. You alternate 3 min and 5 min jogs. Wow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The End of a Season

The kids had their final games of the season today. I spent most of the AM waiting for a package to arrive. Amy was going to give me a ride when the Delivery Van pulled up at 11:00 and dropped of my keys. She took me to the airport and I got my truck and drove to The game. Yeah !! I got my wheels back.

The kids were ddefinitely worn out and you could tell they were ready for the game to end. After the game everyone had pizza and I was surprised that I was able to keep it to one slice.

Came back home and worked on the garage. Amy sold her Washer and Dryer so we had a nice big hole to fill with all our other garage stuff.

I went to Home Depot. (First time in over 2 months) and bought 2 of those workforce 18 inch shelves and installed them moved a few things around and cleaned the coolers and took the time to clean my white mail box. The neighborhood has these white mail boxes that mold over time and the home owners association will send you a letter if it gets too moldy.

I cleaned mine and the neighbors on my right and left last night. Wonder if they will even notice?

I'm getting up tomorrow to run the first week 3 run for couch to 5k. Should be interesting.

Amy let me know she was over the vegetable soup phase. :-) I think the last pot has lasted a week now and I'm still hitting it strong every chance I get. I had some Today for breakfast. The last recipe made filled a 20 quart stock pot. So I estimate at least 20 servings came from it we have about 5 left. Yum.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Friday was full of training and flying. I started in Gretna Louisiana and was able to get a ton of customization completed for the client.

The ride to the airport was interesting. I-10 drive was a mess. The Interstate is still closed between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. A gas well caught on fire. That's what I saw the other night that looked like the shuttle was taking off. Man it was bright.

The flight to Tampa was nice and quick. Amy met me at teh airport and we went to Channelside and had dinner at Stump's Supper club.

We hung out listening to the house band Jimmy James and the Velvet explosion. Good house band.

Waiting for FedExor UPS to deliver my brief case...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Homer Simpson Day

I'm definitely missing the laptop. I found out it took more than today to get virtual machine installed. The "Company Policy" is that we don't ship for Saturday delivery, and we don't ship laptops without signature required. So now to save $20.00, I'm going to sit idle all day Monday and not be billable at $180.00 per hour. This in order to save 15 mins of my billable time, on shipping costs. Not sure who is making that decision.

Anyway life gets better. I left my client in Lake Charles after a GREAT visit. I run into a shut down of I-10 to New Orleans about 70 miles into my trip. They just dump you onto a road with no explanation and no signs for a detour. So I follow the traffic and eventual we get on this small surface road with 4 lanes. Turns out we go 20 miles north to route 192 and then head east to Baton Rouge. I think there was a fire on I-10 and they had to shut it down. This takes a while as all traffic from I-10 is now on this small road... Large 18 wheelers and all.

I have to endure about 70 miles of this through small towns where the stop lights are still set to change to regular traffic patterns. So I have to sit sometimes for 5 light changes or more to get through one light.

I decide to stop and eat at an Outback on the way since the plans for a nice dinner in New Orleans are shot now. I stop and have THE WORST server Outback has ever given a staff shirt and name tag to. She was horrible. No silverware when the food arrived ... did not know the menu... never refilled my drink unless I asked, rang up my meal wrong... Blah Blah Blah.... you get the picture. So I'm walking to my car and realize at that moment I have left my Briefcase at my clients office back in Lake Charles. It's now 10:15pm and my keys to my truck in Tampa airports parking deck are in that bag. CRAP!!. I call the Dr and get his cell phone voicemail. I call the office and leave a message on their answering machinw. I guess the only thing now is to get them to UPS or FedEx my keys and a few other items and then come back in few weeks on my return trip to this area and retrieve it.

Oh Well... Insert a loud Homer Simpson DOH!!

I'm really bushed now and got to the Hotel in New Orleans late and checked in.. All I feel like doing is blogging and then it's straight to bed. It's now 11:18pm so I need to get to bed in order to get up and be on site by 8:00am. I printed my boarding pass and got an A group.. thanks Southwest...!!

Oh well things can only get better tomorrow.... Later yall.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NOLA Bound in Laptop seclusion

I ran the couch to 5K with Amy this morning and It was easy to do the week 2 3rd run this time. I remember how I felt like passing out the first run last Wednesday. Sunday was better but today felt like I was ready to move on. It's amazing how these podcasts keep you motivated and on track once you get the drive to run 3 times a week. I graduate to week 3 now where there is a 5 min walk, 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 min run, 3 min walk, 90 second run 90 second walk, 3 min run and 5 min walk.

I downloaded them all from Itunes just search for Couch to 5K on the podcast section they are free. I loaded them on My son's Nano... He is wanting to run them at home or on the weekends.

We are all planning on running the Gasparilla 5K on the 9th of February. I'm going to register all the kids once the laptop gets back from Cary. It's going up to get Virtual Machine Installed on it. So I'm busy erasing non-sanctioned programs and backing up my Pictures and Itunes Songs on a USB Hard drive. This Western Digital Book Drive is hot. It's a USB Drive I bought last year and it's so quick to install and back up on things. I just switched my Itunes to run on it so I can store all my Songs on this drive rather than on my Laptop Drive. I have over 5 GB now so it will impact performance of the Virtual machine install If I don't erase them off my Laptop.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Haven from winter

The Drive to winter haven was a replica of Monday for the first 90 miles. Winter Haven is a small town in Central Florida it used to seem so far away. Now that Tampa and Orlando have spread toward each other it's more like a suburb now. The Polk County parkway has made getting to this part of the state easier than the 90's. I noticed that the toll loop around Orlando is mostly complete as well, minus only the North east section from Apopka to Sanford.

The Urology group was excited to see me and they were very anxious to get started. We completed system admin training and I laid out an install plan for them so we have dates on the calendar. I have Most of January and February in Florida now. YEAH!!! So I FINALLY get to enjoy a Florida Winter in Florida for a change.

I'm headed to New Orleans tomorrow and will see two accounts for follow up. One in Lake Charles Louisiana and the Other in New Orleans.

I'm staying at the Isle of Capri Casino instead of the Hampton Inn. It's $50.00 cheaper per night and You HAVE to save the client money whenever possible right? :-) This should be a nice warm up for Vegas this Thanksgiving. The family is doing a Vegas Vacation this Thanksgiving. Thanks Grams and Papa!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

This is Citrus Country

Had a nice drive to Ft Pierce today. It's about 2.5 hours from Tampa. I traveled a few back roads and got to see the HEART of Central Florida. Bartow, Lake Wales, and passed through Yeehaw Junction. Definitely the city that is the most fun to pronounce!! I had not been through this part of the state in 5 years or more and it was great to see the changes as well as all of the industry in Citrus and Phosphates that takes place in this part of the state and is the backbone of the Central Florida Area.

I passed through Indian River County, and Port St Lucie County which are part of the Indian River Citrus district. Which gets it's name from the Indian River that runs along the East Coast of Florida from Daytona Beach down to Port St. Lucie. The Indian River is more like an inter coastal water way than a river.
There were quite a few trailers with Grapefruit and oranges loaded up headed to the juice extraction plants. The trailer you see is full of Pink Grapefruit. You can get stuck behind these guys for miles if you are on Route 60 and some of the smaller roads. There is no real main Highway or Turnpike that you can take so I did back roads from 39 to I-4 to the Polk County parkway to 98 to 60 to the Florida Turnpike to 70 and 2.5 hours later you hit Ft Pierce. 80% of the citrus in the Unites States comes from Florida Citrus. You pass roads like Minute Maid Drive Tropicana Blvd. Etc. Minute Maid and Tropicana have Massive Groves as well as many independent groves. They stretch for miles and miles in rows upon rows of neat trimmed citrus groves.
It's hard to imagine this huge industry got it's start from a couple of explorers back in the 1500's who carried citrus on board to prevent scurvy. They are credited with the first groves near
St. Augustine and Tampa over 500 years ago.
Capella Triple c is one of the independents that has a nice website.
Picking season is here in most places but when they trim the trees that is something to see. They use large bush hogs that trim the trees. The irrigation systems look like large Fire Hoses Nozzles mounted on street poles. They also use large fans mounted on poles that look like a large propeller on a light pole. These fans are used to move the cold air from the ground and mix it with warmer air when the cold weather settles in prior to picking the fruit. They also use water as well as coat the trees during a freeze to keep the fruit from freezing. Click here for citrus facts...
Citrus and the groves that produce them have always fascinated me. I guess it stems from my childhood dream of owning an apple orchard.

The Internal Medicine Group in Ft Pierce were nice and eager to get started implementing the EMR/EHR... The Dr looked really familiar... Must have worked with him when I was at Misys (+Medic) .

Nice day full of great sightseeing. I'm headed to Winter Haven tomorrow. Similar area but mainly interstate to get there.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Nice sleep in until 10:00am. We got up and the whole gang Me, Amy and all 4 kids went on the couch to 5K run. The boys hung with me and the Girls jogged with Amy. We all did a great job and finished strong.

I got the cooking bug again so The Kids and Amy and I cooked 2 pots of soup. I went to the grocery Store and got fresh veggies and the ingrediants we needed and we made Taco Soup and Vegetable soup. The kids helped and they had a blast the whole afternoon makign the soups. They all liked both and wanted more. The Taco Soup is pictured here... <-----
Here are the soup ingreeds:

Grams' Taco Soup
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp table salt
1 cup cooked onions
1 1/2 cup water
2 cup canned kidney beans (drained)
2 cup canned pinto beans (drained)
2 cup canned lima beans (drained)
6 cup canned diced tomatoes
3 cup chopped green chilies35 oz
raw lean ground beef
2 cup canned hominy (drained)
1 Packet McCormick Taco dry seasoning mix
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Packet
Brown onion and beef.
Add all other ingredients.
Simmer for 1 hr.
Makes 12 servings - 6 points a piece.
Serve with chips and cheese (optional)

Mike's Vegetable Soup
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 1/4 Tbsp olive oil
4 cup cooked green beans
3 cup carrot(s)
5 small stalk celery
1/2 clove garlic clove(s)
2 cup onion(s)
16 cup water
4 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried basil
8 uncooked Bliss potatoes
1 can Bush's Black Eyed Peas,
1 can Thifty Maid Sweet Corn
10 serving Wyler's Instant Beef Bouillon Cubes
1 CubeCut up Veggies
Saute the onions and celery
Stir in garlic and curry powder and basil Saute until onions are transparent
Add carrots Add 16 cups water
Add Buillon cubes
Add green beans
Simmer 1 hr Add potatoes, and cook for30 min
Add canned veggies and cook for another 30 mins
Makes 20 servings - 1 point each
Enjoy... The points are weight watcher points.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fred Clause Delivers a Double

Great day of kid time and lots of fun with everyone. Started at 8:00am and we were in Brandon within 45 mins. I even convinced the boys to eat bagels so we could skip the stop at Mickey D's. I'm trying to stay away from fast food when possible.

I fell on the floor when they both said OK!.. We got to watch Katie's softball game. She had a great day and her team won. She had a great hit between second and Short and it went into the out field. She scored a few times and had a few plays where she threw out the hitter running to first on her fielding. We had snack for the team today so Michael and Chris went with me to Sweetbay's to get a cool snack since we were the cool parents.

We decided on 3 ft Fruit roll ups and Gatorade (Red and Blue). And Slim Jim's for the adults. I jokingly said, in my best southern redneck accent... "We got some slim Jim's... Powk rhyns... and Yoo-Hoos" ... That was a friggin hoot. I cracked myself up with that.

We headed to the Movie theater after the game and a quick change of clothes. The Movie was GREAT. I highly recommend Fred Clause. Its the best Christmas spirit movie I have seen in a few years. It even has funny Elves in it. We all know everyone loves funny Elves now ... come on.... Willie is a hoot. Esp when he smooches Charlene in the last part. I still think the song where the elves were all dancing with Fred in the workshop and it was like a concert atmosphere and Fred's up on stage dancing with some elves and he just grabbed one by the belt in the small of the back and tossed him head over heels cartwheeling through the crowd and they caught him like a mosh-pit and passed him around on their upraised arms.

The Group all headed to the ball field after that and watched Michael's game at 4:30. It was a NICE Day. These awesome days you just love to be in Florida. Beautiful Blue sky with hardly a cloud and the Sun was nice and bright and the Temp went from 54 to 68 in just a few hours this morning. I was comfortable in a T-Shirt and Shorts all day. It was funny to see how thinned blooded these Florida people are. I think my frequent trips to cold weather are getting me acclimated sooner to the drops in Temp. It was down in the 30's in The Georgia Area this week. Definitely a day you are glad you decided to move to Florida all those years ago back in 1989.

Michael had a great game he played catcher 2 innings. He was called in to finished off the last batter in the second inning from his short stop position. And he pitched the final inning. He only gave up one run in his inning....and he fielded the first hitter in the inning on the first pitch from Michael. With that out the other coach gave a look like... This is going to be a tough inning.

Michael then struck out the second batter and there were a few walks and hits and then Michael ended the game with a second strike out for the third out. He got two doubles and a walk on three at bats.. And one kid on his team got an inside the park home run. Michael even had a great tag at the home plate when he was catching. There was an over throw by the pitcher and he got the rebound off the backstop fence and he rushed up the thirdbase side and dove at the runner as he was nearing home plate. Michael made the out when he lunged and tackled the kid before home plate. He made the play on the third base side Like I had been telling him for a few weeks now. It was something to see he seems to be more willing to give up the body on the play more now this year. IT makes watching more fun now., Too bad next Saturday is the last game.

We all went to Olde Towne Pizza and had a great meal and enjoyed the pizza rolls with mozzarella and marinara sauce and then some nice hot extra large pizzas. Amy had somw flex points left over rfor the weeka nd I had not had Pizza in over 3 weeks I think neither had Amy so we figured what better way to use up the flex points. Man it was good but I'm going to have to run tomorrow to compensate.

We are now home watching the Florida South carolina Game and flipping between that and the UVA Miami game and the Oklahoma State and Kansas Game. I turned on the Hawaii SanJose State game and Colt Brennan was tearing it up again...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Home Again Yeah! and Way to go Southwest Airlines!!

Today started at 6:00am when I could sleep no longer with that annoying voice nagging me to get up and get some work done. I awoke with a ton of items on my plate and decided to get up and do something rather than lay in bed. I logged in to the clients site and attempted to download a few updates to their software. I was not able to work from the Hotel last night due to the clients system running slow. Hampton Inn was not the culprit for once... I think their backup may have been slowing down performance..

None of the downloads worked until I got on site and started it from the clients server. I did get to the practice early and worked on getting some notes together prior to them opening at 8:00am.

I cleaned up a few loose ends and got their immunizations in nice shape. I'm finishing notes to email now.

I left at noon with plenty of time to get from Athens to the ATL airport.. I had that same feeling before when I missed my plane. I was pretty nervous with a 3:16pm flight and a good 1.5 hour drive with good traffic. The ride on 316 Atlanta Highway was nice and quick till I-85... Slowed a little and then I-85 was light. I got to the downtown section and we were in stop and go past the curve. I made it to Virginia Ave Shell to fill up at about 1:50 0r so. I was fleeing good. I hit the turn to the airport and boom there was all the traffic for some reason.

This was the worst back up I have ever seen at ATL. GREAT... Dropped the car at Avis and I was still in good shape. Checked a bag and then realized the line was horrific. worst I had ever seen for Security. It was 2:00pm now and I had and hour and 15 mins to get to the gate. I can't believe how rude people can be at cutting in line at the Atlanta airport. This really was looking bad. I made it through security and it was now 3:00pm.. Thanks Delta for going out of T2 today. I just had a short walk to the gate from Security and did not even have to get on the train. I heard rumors that the C gate had lost power so that may have added to the chaos but I think it was just a Friday in Atlanta and i will try to avoid these 3:15 flight from now on.

Got the boys and met Amy for Dinner. We had a nice family dinner and even had some fireworks while we ate. I'm looking forward to a nice quiet weekend with baseball and softball games and helping the kids get some homework projects done.

News of note this week:

BlogWorld in Vegas kicked off the first Blogger convention yesterday and today in Las Vegas.

The Best News of the week for me has been Southwest finally implementing their changes for business travelers!! Woo Hoo!! I'm on the A-List and I'm 5 credits form a companion pass right now. Sweet!

I looked today on my Southwest login and see I made the A-list already. Southwest will give you an Auto A boarding pass 36 hours before your flight. Which negates Iboard A which I used for a few months. They also will Board you by the number assigned on your boarding slip . It's about time and totally does away with the Cattle Call standing in line for 45 minutes prior to a flight. Thank you Southwest Management. This should definitely draw more business travelers. I have always flown Southwest when possible just Please Please Please add Atlanta to your route map???

Here is a link to their changes.

Here is addl info from Southwest website:

Rapid Rewards A-List Membership
Effective Thursday, November 8, 2007
Introducing the Rapid Rewards A-List, where Rapid Rewards Members who fly 32 or more qualifying one-way flights within a 12-month period will receive reserved boarding privileges for an entire year. When you purchase your travel at least 36 hours prior to your flight time, we’ll reserve you the best boarding pass number available—most likely an “A.” And since it’s already reserved, it’s one less thing to think about. You can just print your boarding pass and go! Log in to your MySouthwest® account to see how close you are to becoming an A-List Member—because flying more always gets you more.
When you qualify for our A-List membership, you will automatically be added to Rapid Rewards' A-List, and we will notify you by e-mail (if an Account E-mail Address is designated on your account) or by postcard.
A-List qualification is based on actual revenue flights flown, not Rapid Rewards credits earned.
Once you qualify for Rapid Rewards’ A-List, you are entitled to reserved boarding privileges for 12 months, which means that Southwest Airlines will automatically reserve a boarding pass for you 36 hours prior to each of your confirmed Southwest Airlines flights to ensure you will receive the best available boarding pass prior to the start of regular checkin.
For a Member with Rapid Rewards’ A-List membership to receive reserved boarding privileges, the Member must include his/her Rapid Rewards account number in his/her reservation at least 36 hours prior to checkin. Reserved boarding privileges will be provided for A-List Members for both revenue and Rapid Rewards Award travel on Southwest Airlines-operated flights as long as the above requirement is met. Reserved boarding privileges are not available on ATA Airlines flights.
Southwest Airlines will “reserve” boarding passes for A-List Members, but Members will still be responsible for “printing” their boarding pass. Passengers who do not obtain a boarding pass and are not present and available for boarding in the departure gate area at least ten minutes prior to scheduled departure time may have their reserved space cancelled and will not be eligible for denied boarding compensation.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

UGA (Uh-gah) Rules Athens Georgia

UGA is this little mascot which I find quite ugly... (Sorry Georgia Fans). He definitely has found a home in Athens GA. Not sure how many of them there have been but you can check it out and tell me if you have time to waste.
This one carved from wood is in the Lobby of the Athens Hampton Inn.

He is on Car magnets, drug reps lapel pins, nurses scrubs, pens, key chains, signs, statues, larger than life fiberglass figurines, bronze statues, street signs, mailboxes, windshield sun shades, stickers, pictures, autographed pictures, blankets, afghans, throw rugs, coke cans, hats, shirts, underwear, t-shirts, Light switch covers, Georgia Fan parking only signs, barstools, neckties, ear rings, flags, posters, board games, dress shirts, golf shirts, golf bags, golf socks, sunglasses, tattoos, temporary tattoos, sweaters, hair bands, wallets, belts, and I'm sure hundreds of crazy things I have yet to run across in Athens but I'm sure I will "run into him" 20 more times before I leave tomorrow for the mad dash to ATL to catch my flight to Tampa.

I'm sure many college football crazed towns across America are just as bad.. There is just something about how an SEC town kicks it up... not just a notch.... but a far as you can go without tossing your cookies.

Now Knoxville is just as bad.. right Amy? :-) I just forget how wild and crazy and obsessed people can get over their mascot of choice. It just seems the longer it goes on the more crazy fans get. These Large Fiberglass statues are all over Athens.

More UGA Pics

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Leaves are falling and the Crabby Daddy is running

Today I had a nice late wake up at 7:30 and was greeted with temps in the low 30's in North Georgia. Not quite freezing but there is a freeze warning for tonight in Athens. I was forced to fall asleep at 11:00pm last night due to the Hampton Inn in Cornelia having lousy Internet connections again..... and of course the writer strike which made TV lousy.

I had a great drive to Gainesville Ga through the winding mountains with lots of fall colors and was able to chat with Amy for all of 15 minutes this morning wow what nice commute....! :-)

I met with the Arthritis group in Gainesville and got them started on scanning patient charts into the EMR. The practice has a brand new office and it was nice to work with this group for a few hours.

I finished in Gainesville and realized I had no clue how to get to Athens from Gainesville... Since I have cancelled navigator on my CELL phone due to SPRINT wanting to have my first born in return I was left only a low tech option of looking at a map... The horror!! So I went over to Walgreens across the street found the Map rack and glanced at it for a few seconds and saw route 129 goes straight from Gainesville to Athens. SWEET! I drove through some great leaf country to Athens Ga via Route 129. Beautiful leaves and a nice fall day with El Rushbo on the AM 640 radio. NICE.... this is turning out to be a great day....
I even had the wonderful surprise of hearing comments that the President of France had to say about how great the US is as a country. This man has it right for a change. I'm so glad the People of France came to their senses and voted in a great leader. See his comments here to the congress. And how he has worked to normalize relations after they wised up and dumped Jacques Chirac's style of opposition to anything US govt for some common sense. Way to go President Sakozy!! He is known in France as Sarko the American... He actually brought tears to my eyes as I drove listening to his kind remarks and I realized how wonderful it will be to have an Ally that gets it.
I Got to Athens and went right to the Hampton Inn Athens and proceeded to try and check in. The front desk did not allow me since it was only 2:00pm they wanted me to wait 30 mins.

I grabbed my laptop and tried to access the Internet in the lobby. BUMMER no Internet. This was not looking good. I spoke with the front desk and they were CLUELESS... They gave me the phone number for the Internet support line. Not again.... I explained that I had just gone through 3 nights of crappy, slow and nonexistent Internet and got ZERO sympathy. I let the nice lady know that unless I could get Internet I was leaving for a nearby hotel that had it.

So since they were clueless and did not even know where the access points or Internet server were much less how to reboot then or reset them I decided to call the support line. Grab a sharpie and mark this in my Calendar. A time when some country folk in a small town in North Ga actually were more computer savvy than college aged kids in a college town where you would think High speed Internet is available on the street corner....

Working with the support person I finally got the access points reset and I got Internet access after a 15 minute call. Where do I send the support bill? I decided checked in and got room 509.. High floor non-smoking away from the elevator... WOW I never get all 3..

I got some work done in the room and it was about 6:00 at this time. I figured this was a great time to go to the gym downstairs and do my couch to 5k running. Hit the gym clothes secured the IPOD and my room key to access the gym and BANG there is a woman JUST stepping on the treadmill. GREAT!! This wait is 30 mins at least,,, and she looked like she was in great shape to... So it may be longer. I was tempted to suggest she run out on the parking lot to give the guys riding by outside a treat... But I decided a workout on the Universal gym was in order. I hit the whole circuit and she was still WALKING not even jogging... I went back to my room and came back in 15 mins. She let me know she had 5 mins left so I hopped on a bike and rode to get wormed up. At this point another guy came in and it was obvious he wanted to use the one and only treadmill.

The nice lady finished and said to me.. "It's all yours handsome"... (OK so I added the handsome part) So I hopped on and started my week 2 couch to 5K. This one was a little bit of a challenge as I had had a week off of jogging and hot chicks in Hotel gyms were calling me handsome so did i even need to jog?? I of course came to my senses and started the podcast for my run.
I completed it and had worked up a huge sweat... which felt GREAT. I headed to the room and decided to change and get dinner from Applebee's which was in the parking lot.
I entered Applebees and of course had to manuver around the huge carved from wood, University of Georgia Bulldogs Mascot known as UGA.. (Uhgah), who is everwhere here in this town. Sorry but Bulldogs are UUUUUUgly... I try to get a few pics of some and post them this week.
I sat at the bar and noticed the Weight Watchers section on the menu. Hmmmm should I be good or order Ribs... I swung towards good for a change and ordered Water, onion soup and Steak and Portobello mushrooms... Total was 10 points. Sweet!! The food was great although portions were small and Applebee's just went up a few notches on my preferred restaurant list.
I got to talk to Amy early tonight... WOW twice in one day... she let me know she went jogging this morning AND after work. Man she is kicking my tail! She is already on week 3 so I have some work to do to catch up and get on the same week. Guess I'll go again tomorrow and Saturday and try to get to week 3 by Sunday.... that way I'm still only one week behind Amy.

Well nothing else exciting tonight other than work, blogging and preparing to head over to the family practice in Athens to do my final training visit with them. They went live back in the first part of September... Nice practice and I'm looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Training and Scanning

Today was a full day of training again. I taught the OB groups staff how to scan the old charts into the system and how to enter pertinent past medical history to get ready for our December Go-Live on the new software. Everyone took to the system very well and they had well over 20 charts completed by the time I left.

Dinner was a local Mexican restaurant. It was surprising when I looked at the menu for El Campesino in Cornelia Ga and noticed the EXACT same menu items with the exact same numbers from my local Mexican Restaurant in Tampa. Los Vallartas has a combo 20 that is a Taco, Chile Relleno and Burrito and El Campesino had the exact same number 20 menu item. Fabian the manager of the restaurant in Tampa used to live in Georgia prior to coming to Tampa. I'm going to ask him next time I see him if he knows the guys in Cornelia.

This is just too much of a coincidence. The Internet at the Hampton Inn was down all this week and it was excruciatingly hard to get my work and blogging done. Looking forward to getting to Athens, Ga tonight and hoping they have a better Internet connection. I was up till 2:30AM Sunday and Monday night. When the Internet went out last night I just shut down the laptop and went to bed at 11:00.

Today I'm headed to Gainesville GA to work with an Arthritis practice to get them started on the EMR install.

I think my next trip here I will stay at the Holiday Inn express. It's currently 33 degrees outside. Brrr get me back to Tampa. I'm waiting until Athens this afternoon to do my couch to 5k running.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Gorge and I'm Stuffed

The Crabby Daddy hits the Dillard house again. I'm in North Georgia and what better time to hit the Dillard House than tonight.
I'm working with an OB/GYN group here to get them up and running on their EMR software to keep their medical records on Computer rather then paper charts. This project will run till February. So I have at least 2 more visits to this area, one later this year and one early next year.
The Dillard House was great as always. Although I was finding the green beans a little lacking compared to Miss Ruth's recipe.

Here are a few pictures of the Menu, the spread they laid out on the table and a few sightseeing pics to boot... No pun intended on the boot comments. As usual most of the food ended up going home in a few to go containers.

On the way in Tallulah Falls I stopped to take a look at the gorge. There is a little Tourist store that has a nice view of the gourge from their observation deck. They had some unique potter/ashtrays made out of concrete. Cowboy boots and cider thought it was a neat picture.
I also got pics of the Menu from Dillard house for Moday night as well as the Sign from Athens Y camp where my kids go to summer camp.

Assorted Pics from North Ga.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Travel to the middle of nowhere

Sunday was fantastic as we started off with an extra hour to sleep in. Of Course the 9 yr old got up at 8:00am on the dot and did not understand the need for sleeping in. My list for today was

1. Do my expense report
2. Check in for my flight
3. Pack
4. Pay some bills
5. Watch Tampa Bay Bucs beat the Cardinals
6. Mail my expense report and bills form the Airport post office
7. Kiss the wife goodbye.
8. Enjoy the beautiful weather and the sunshine today.
9. Take out the trash
10. Load the dish washer
11. Do 4 loads of laundry.
12. Fly to Atlanta
13. Drive to Demorest, Ga.
14. Update my blog.
15. Jog to couch to 5k podcast.

I got them all done... with the exception of jogging to my couch to 5K podcast. Oh well I'll do that Monday in GA . I thought of about 20 more T-shirt designs for the website.

I'm working with an OB/GYN group for 2 days, then going to Gainesville to work with an Arthritis clinic for a day then Athens Ga to complete the Windridge Family Medicine install and fly home Friday late afternoon.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Catching and Mopping

Ah Saturday. The day to relax and spend time with the kids. The Day started with a nice sleep in. I had only one game to watch today as my daughter had a bye week. Michael's game was at 2:00 so I headed down the interstate and got there just in time to see the first inning. He caught the first and third inning and played short stop the second inning. He was set to pitch the 4th inning but they did not make it to 4 innings before time was called.

I had Concession stand duty at 6:30 so I went to Beef O'Brady's and watch a few college games with the little buddy until my shift. I always try to get the late shift on Saturday's as my one volunteer shift. Reason being they usually close by 7:30 pm due to not many late games on Saturday. The plan worked like a charm again this week as all we had to do was clean up! Yeah Baby! I cleaned the griddle and mopped the floor and Michael showed up to help. He was so funny and wanted to mop for me so I spent 15 minutes teaching him how to mop an institutional kitchen with a full size mop and mop bucket. He was into squeezing the mop dry with the mop press. I also took the time to let him know if he was interested in being a chef he needs to understand that keeping a clean kitchen is part of being a great chef. You want to make sure all equipment functions well and is clean and germ free. He got a kick out of cleaning down the stainless steel wall guards over by the fryers and the griddle as they were COATED with grease. We took some greased lightning and nailed the grease in short order. That Griddle was so clean you could see your face in it. I make sure it gets nice and clean at least once a season. :-)

The Concession manager made me feel good when he asked Michael if he was 13 yet... Michael replied no I'm 10 and the manager relied dang ... I need a good worker like you. I told him Chris was my oldest and he let me know he was so thankful for Chris working the concession stand he saved him when he was in a tough jam and Chris is such a good worker. Better than many of the parents and most of the teens. Definitely made my day and I thanked him for his kind words Even though I knew it was true before he spoke these words. I have always made sure the kids know how to clean the dishes and load the dish washer and do Laundry and cook etc. My mom trained us when we were young and now I feel the need to pass that on to my kids so they will make great adults.

After the concession stand duty. We all went to Tokyo for a nice Japanese hibachi dinner. There were 8 of us. Me and Amy, The 4 kids my Ex, Dana and a Friend of my daughters. We were celebrating good grades by the kids. I'm so lucky to have smart kids. I hope they keep it up through Med School!

It's so weird to go to dinner with my wife and my ex... I would never have imagined it just a few years ago. We have been divorced for 7 years now and it seems that we have been able to toned down the drama and animosity... I'm sure the kids fell better about it too.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Pot Full of Veggies

I found myself longing for that tasty treat myMother used to make in the Fall when we were young hellions in Virginia. Vegetable soup or Vegetable Beef Soup. Mom used to make a big pot of this on Sundays and it would simmer for hours on the stove or all day in the crock pot. There were 8 kids so she used a huge oval Blue speckled roasting pan to cook this in. We would go to church and then rush home to devour a bowl full of this wonderful tasty treat. I don't remember mom's recipe but I will ask her and post it later this month. With the fall and cooler weather finally hitting my area I'm ready for some tasty soups. This is the first of a few I feel the need to share with you guys.


To prep you will need some counter space, a cutting board, chef knife, paring knife, veggie peeler, measuring cups and spoons. Large pot with lid for soup, I use a wooden spoon to stir.
I use measuring cups but I was trained years ago in my chef apprenticeship program to use my hands to add spices and seasonings and eyball it. So I will convert when possible to tsp and tblsp. I have a few stock pots that I use but my main ones are an 8 Quart a 4 Quart and I sometimes use a 3 Quart for smaller quantities. The 4 Quart provided at least 10-14 servings in LARGE bowls. So you could get 10 servings easily from a 4 quart stock pot. I used this recipe in the 4 Quart and it was full to the rim. I used fresh veggies when available and only used 3 canned veggies. Corn, Black eyed peas and Stewed Tomatoes. You can substitute Kidney beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans or any other canned bean. you can use stew beef or pork. I used pork in my latest. You can get a small roast and cube it to save money.

Clean and wash your hands and place the pot on the stove and start it off with a nice saute of some of the veggies and beef. You will need 3/4 gallon water or beef stock 2 large onions, chopped, 2-3 lbs of beef chunks cut into 1 1/2" cubes2-3 tablespoons flour (for dredging)2 tablespoons olive oil 3 stalks of celery, sliced, strings removed 3 tablespoons beef soup base or bouillon most cubes are 1 cube per cup I used 5 cubes to 8 cups. (Optional you can add 2 tablespoons wine (sherry, port or marsala)), 6-8 red bliss potatoes, leave the peeling on and , cut into 2 inch cubes 4 large carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/2" coins, 2 bay leaves, 1 bag of fresh green beans, (About 4 hand fulls). 1 regular can Stewed tomatoes 14-16 ozs, 1 can of Black Eyed Peas or other Canned cooked Beans, one can of corn niblets (not creamed corn). 1 clove of Garlic peeled and chopped or 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic from the jar, curry powder, basil, salt and pepper, to taste. I clean the fresh green beans by weashing them and then holding about 10 to 15 beans in my hand and then pinch of the ends of each side of the beans with my fingernail. then snap or cut the beans in half . Continue until you have snapped all of the beans. The Celery and carrots should be washed and peel the carrots. Then slice these two veggies on the Slant to make thin slices the carrots should look like oblong coins...

If you prefer all veggies and no beef then substitute vegetable broth for beef and add hearty tubers like parsnips and turnips.

Dredge beef in flour and sauté in olive oil until browned, add the chopped onins, celery and carrots and stir in 1 to 2 table spoons of Curry powder and sprinkle in a table spoon or 2 of basil. After the onions have appeared transparent or (sweated) add the garlic during last few minutes of browning. Add wine if used to remove browned bits from bottom of pot.

Add water or stock, bay leaves to the stock pot. If you have beef broth it can be used now if not then add the bouillon with either the loose bouillon from the jar like Knorr Swiss or the cubed bouillon; and bring to a boil. while you are bringing to a boil add the green beans. Cover and cook for one hour at a slow boil or simmer. (Small bubbles that lightly break the surface, a 2 on most electric stoves.) . Other seasonings may also be added at this time (a pinch of oregano or italian seasoning, a dash of garlic or onion powder, salt and pepper, etc - season to taste).

Once you have simmered for an hour, stir in cubed potatoes, simmer for another 30 minutes, and add the canned corn , Beans and Stewed Tomatoes. Continue cooking for 40 more minutes.

If using a slow cooker, set to low, add remaining ingredients at the start and leave to simmer for several hours or more, until ready to serve.
During final 1/2 hour of cooking, soup may be thickened, if desired, by sprinkling on and stirring in 1 tablespoon of flour; or stir 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch into 1 cup cold water or broth, then add.
Remove bay leaves before serving.
Served either with thickener or without, as your family likes it. Refrigerated leftovers as this is even better the next day!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pumpkin seeds

I wanted to share how I Roast Pumpkin Seeds.
It’s pumpkin carving time and we all know what we get when we carve pumpkins with the kids? No, not a big mess. Pumpkin Seeds! Don’t throw them out. Here’s how to make a delicious and nutritious snack with those slippery little seeds.

Freshly plucked pumpkin seeds Butter – about 2 ounces of butter per cup of seeds Salt, to taste
Start by preheating the oven to 375º F
Separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh. I use a colander under running water to make the job a little easier. It takes a little effort but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. Be sure to remove all the flesh and the strings so they don’t burn in the oven.
Dry the seeds on layers of paper towels or dishtowels.
Some people soak the seeds in salted water for a day and that may make them taste better, but if you don’t have time for that. Boil the seeds in a pot of salt water for 10 minutes and this imparts a nice salty taste....
Once you are ready clean the seeds and dry them and they are ready for cooking.
I saute the Pumpkins seeds in butter and then add my seasonings, and pour them on a cookie sheet or baking pan and place in the oven.

Roast for 15 to 30 minutes until the pumpkin seeds are golden brown. Be sure to open the oven and shake the pan every once in a while so the seeds don’t burn. I use a large spatula to scoop and move them around and then flatten them out to a thin layer and place them back in the oven half way through roasting.
When done (about 20-25 min) remove the pan from the oven and let the seeds cool. You can also pick out ones that are done sooner so they don't burn.
Here are a few I have tried. The classic is to boil in salt water for 10 minutes and then saute in butter and sprinkle with salt and bake. Here are a few my kids love.
Add curry powder, turmeric, and saute and bake
Cajun Hot:
Add cajun spice and hot sauce and bake:
Ultimate Cajun:
Take the vinegar juice from a jar of penrose sausages and soak the seeds in the jar with hot sauce and cajun spice for 1 hour. Shake often. Saute in pan with butter until liquid is reduced. Bake in Oven.
Sprinkle with Garlic powder and bake
Old Bay:
Sprinkle with old bay and add Malt or Balsamic vinegar to the saute pan and cook till liquid is reduced then bake.
Classic taught to me by Kevin Stacks:
Sprinkle Lowry's seasoning salt and Worcestershire sauce on the seeds and saute in butter and bake.