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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

So here we are, it’s time for camping again.

Awesome.

I love the time spent with friends and family about a campfire, relaxing and swapping stories.

Then again, this past weekend was in the mid 40’s, windy, and drizzling with a cold soaking rain the whole time we were there. You know, that kind of weather where even your bones are starting to ache?

Well, that was this weekend.

Here, let me show you around the place.

Here is my house, at least for half the weekend. It finally gave up the ghost in the Friday night windstorms. A replacement was then purchased at the nearest wally world, which I failed at taking pictures of.

 

Here is my kitchen for the weekend (well, that a fire pit, and a grill). Note: the 25 foot trailer with the deck is not part of my campsite, though I envied them with their furnace.

 

Last but not least the trucks that took us there. My pair of old Jeeps. (one to haul gear and the other to haul firewood for four families)

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Now, I didn’t come here today to show off my awesome collection of mismatched coolers, or to post the past rites of my 10 year old tent (may it rest in peace, or more likely in a landfill).

I came here to talk about one of the most important aspects of camping.

You can have all your friends with you, have a week in the campground with no lost or broken items (or people), you could even have that iPhone app that pours unlimited beer, but if you don’t have good tasting easy to cook food your trip will be a bust.

Guess what we were all talking about Saturday night?

Not about the cold, or the recurring drizzle, or even about the laundry list of things we thought about bringing with only after we were there.

We talked about lasagna.

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Here I think I am going to give a day in the life, though I don’t have all the pictures I thought I took. You see, Apparently I had consumed several adult beverages by then, and took many pictures of my thumb.

You are stuck with whats left.

Don’t like it? Well then come camping with me next time and take your own pictures. =)

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For starters we have breakfast. (go figure right?)

Saturdays choice was eggs in a bag. Tastes good, easy to make, virtually no clean up.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 eggs per person.
  • half a handful of shredded cheese per person
  • 1 sandwich or quart sized zip top freezer bag per person
  • any other fixins you would normally put into an omolette, diced or minced as needed

In my case I was having a simple ham and cheese omelette.

First things first, get yourself a big 'ol pot and boil yourself some water.

 

My fixin's. Eggs, shredded cheddar, diced ham, and a bag.

 

I put it all in the bag (it is eggs in a bag, after all)

 
 

Then I proceeded to squish it all about till it looked like the uncooked omelette that is really was, just make sure you get most of the air out of the bag while your at it. The kids love this part.

 

A ten minute or so visit to the big pot of boiling water is next on the agenda.

 

Once the time is up, pull the bag out of the pot and enjoy. You can toss them on a plate if you choose, or do like I do and simply eat it straight from the bag.

 
Will, that takes care of breakfast. What should we do for lunch?
 
Remember that big ‘ol pot you boiled I boiled my eggs in? Well, it’s next in line to get what my wife likes to call “crazy soup”. It an old camping favorite since just about forever.
 
Do I have pics? Well, kind of.
 

This might be a picture of me boiling the eggs, or cooking the soup, or perhaps boiling the lasagna noodles. Either way we will pretend that there is soup in the pot for now.

 
 
 
Crazy soup is pretty easy. You take one can of any kind of non-cream based condensed soup for every 1-2 persons, add in a can of water per can as well, and boil it. In our case we had chicken and rice, minestrone, beef vegetable, and two cans of garden vegetable.
 
It was awesome, and especially welcome in the chilly weather.
 
last but not least was the dutch oven lasagna. It came out pretty good, and was actually really easy to make.
 
Dutch Oven Lasagna:
 
Ingredients:
  • 3  Cans of tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce) 16 oz each
  • 2 lbs of ground turkey (or beef I suppose)
  • 2 lbs of Italian sausage (I used turkey for this as well)
  • 2 lbs shredded mozzarella cheese (finely shredded works best)
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese (others use cottage cheese, I prefer ricotta, your mileage may vary)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lb lasagna noodles

 

Equipment:

  • 14″ dutch oven
  • skillet (to brown the meat, or do that at home)
  • large pot (to boil noodles)

Instructions:

Brown the meat, set aside.

Mix the cheese and eggs, set aside.

Boil the noodles, set aside.

Build the lasagna by placing first a can of sauce, then alternating layers of meat, cheese, and noodles, with another can of sauce at the halfway point. The last layer will ideally be the last can of sauc topped by cheese. (usually I reserve some of the mozzarella to make sure.)

Put the lid on and cook with coals top and bottom for about 45  to 55 minutes.

I suppose you could use a regular pan in the oven too, but this is about camp cooking after all.

It goes well with toasted garlic bread, but I’m sure you could figure that part out without help.

So who wants to go camping?

I’ll cook, you take the pictures.

 

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Real thinking, beyond things like “what am I going to cook for dinner”.

I have more and more found myself thinking about what if.

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It all started innocently enough. I was working on ideas for my NaNoWriMo project, when the thought just occurred to me.

What if, one day, in one fell swoop, every oil well on the planet simply dried up.

No warning, no decades of preparation, just dry.

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In my story I was going to have science develop a bacteria that eats oil. You know, something to pour into the water the next time an oil rig blows up. Something that sounds like a good idea, right up until it turns out to be a bad idea.

In the case of my story, the bacteria had spread and multiplied beyond what it was designed to do and essentially ate the world’s oil supply.

The reasons that my mind was taking a walk down Apocalypse Lane are really not important though, at least not now.

More important by far is what I saw when I took that walk.

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I started with that first what if, and started thinking about what the effects would be. I opened up my mind’s eye and I could see things clicking together like the pieces of a puzzle. Actually it would be more accurate to call it a house of cards.

That was the day I realized just how much we depend on the energy we derive from fossil fuels.

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The first and most obvious thing that would happen is that within a week or two my cars would all become nothing but lawn ornaments, slowly rusting away as there would no longer be a way to get fuel for them. I would bet just about anything that within a week all remaining petroleum supplies would be federalized to keep the military and emergency services functioning as a more long term solution was found.

I suppose if I were driving a diesel I could try to use Bio-diesel, vegetable oils, or other alternative fuels, but likely those would be federalized pretty quickly as well to keep vital systems online.

Then I asked myself, what happens when the trucks and trains stop running?

What happens when no more supplies are reaching cities?

Thats where I think whatever bio-diesel we are able to produce would go. It would go to bringing food and other vital supplies to where it needed to be. There simply would not be enough left over for recreational use.

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As I continued with the world building for my tale I started thinking about what other ways the loss of oil would affect things. After all, I am a maintenance guy. I fix things both for a living and for fun.  Some people just see separate things, I see systems, interactions, everything is part of a puzzle, even you and I.

One of the primary things I do is look at interactions, cause and effect. I see the effects, and use that to tell me the cause. It’s what I have done my whole life, and I consider myself pretty damn good at it. 

This time I am looking at a cause and trying to predict the effects.

Let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.

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If the oil goes away what goes with it?

Gasoline.

Diesel fuel.

Natural gas.

Heating and lubricating oils.

Many plastics, and a lot of artificial rubber.

Add synthetic fibers like Nylon and Rayon into the mix.

Asphalt (though it won’t be needed near as much, since most cars will be obsolete)

It’s used in the pharmaceutical industry for some drugs, and in the crafting of damn near everything.

Whether it’s an actual part of the product or not, oil is used to make just about everything we touch. It’s so prevalent that attempting to live in such a way that you used none would be very difficult.

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Nearly impossible.

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What happens to the house of cards when someone comes along and pokes the base real hard with a big stick?

It all comes crashing down.

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Look at it from a local level, instead of globally. Focus on the small scale, you and your immediate family and friends.

How would you heat your house this winter?

Where would your food come from?

How would you get to work?

Would you even still have a job?

What would your community look like a year later? 

How about after five years?  

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The more I think about it the more I realise, 150 years ago the only oil we burned was to light lamps against the darkness. People survived, indeed they thrived, without oil.

People would go back to it, they would adapt and survive. As a race, we would go on.

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The world though, it would be a very very different place.

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What would you do if suddenly all the technology you use everyday without thinking about it suddenly just went away?

Yes, the world would be a different place. How would you fit into it?

Would you be able to adapt, or would you be one of the many that perished in the attempt?

Are you so addicted to technology that you would literally die of withdrawals if it you couldn’t get your fix?

Just something to think about.

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Happy Earth Day.

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Ok, let me start off by saying this is not a 30 minute meal.

30 minutes is the time you will actually spend in the kitchen, but if it’s already 5:30 and you need dinner on the table by 6 it ain’t happening with this recipe.

Also keep in mind, this recipe was designed with feeding a household of 6 in mind, possibly with guests and still have leftovers. I bring it to pot luck type things, and cook it for my Boy Scout troop when we are camping.

One batch is a lot of food, just so you have been warned.

On the plus side, it goes really well into freezer bags. Just thaw before reheating or it turns into glop.

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Alrighty, here’s what we are going to do.

First fire up your imaginations, because all the pics I took were on my phone when I plugged it into my computer to charge, wherein it promptly erased everything and put a new version of the iPhone software on in its place.

Don’t blame me, blame Apple.

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Anyhow, we are going to be doing several things at once here. I’ll divide it up into groups.

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Group one.

Grab yourself  3lbs of ground turkey that you already thawed out. I suppose you could use some other kind of meat, or possibly even a meat substitute. I honestly don’t know how it would come out though. Never tried it with anything but turkey.

Take the turkey and brown it with a bit of cooking spray, drain and put it in the big pot.

That was the easiest one, but the others are not much harder.

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Group two.

Take one medium white onion and dice it up as fine as you can. Then take one medium-sized jalapeno pepper seed it and dice it. (Rubber gloves are you friend for this step, especially if you wear contacts like me)

Put the onion and pepper in a skillet with a bit of oil and saute over medium heat until the onions begin to get translucent. I also shake on some garlic salt during this, probably about a half teaspoon or so, I never actually measured it. Also, I use olive oil when I cook. Your mileage may vary.

Once they are ready, toss them in the big pot as well.

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Group three.

Boil some water, once it’s rolling good add 2 cups of elbow noodles (measured dry of course). Cook for 7 minutes and then drain.

I’m pretty sure you can handle this part without detailed instructions.

Once drained, add to the big pot.

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Group four (also known as the big pot)

Take a good large pot, I use the same stock pot I boil whole ears of corn in, and set it on the counter.

Bust out your can opener and put  three 14-16 oz cans of chili beans, three 14.5 oz cans of peeled diced tomatoes, two cans of water (use the ones from the chili beans, you’ll rescue extra sauce as well) and one package of store-bought chili seasoning dust (I use McCormick medium heat, grab what you prefer) into the stock pot.

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Finally

Once all four groups are dumped into the pot, stir it all up, cover it up, and simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes, but all day works too.

Serve with buttered bread, crackers, and/or corn bread for an awesome meal that really sticks to your ribs.

Hope you like it.

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Wednesday Weigh In

I know it’s been a really long time since I posted things about what this blog was started for, tracking my journey of weight loss.

It was easy to come on and say the right things when I was doing the right things. When my willpower flagged, my focus drifted, and I didn’t make any progress it was easier just to stay away.

Like my mom always told me, If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.

As good as that advice usually holds it won’t work here.

This is about accountability, not about sparing someones feelings.

Not even my own.

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Lets be frank. (actually i’ll be Brad and you be whomever you are, but you get the point)

I fell off the wagon… hard.

Like  flaming asteroid wiping out the dinosaurs hard.

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Well, I have gotten back on the wagon, so to speak.

At least I am holding onto the side trying to pull myself back in, we shall see.

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I have been going back to the Gym.

I have been eating at least a slight bit healthier.

I am getting back into the swing of things.

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Today I am 253 pounds even.

Thats going to change.

It has to, or I won’t be around to spoil my hypothetical future grandkids.

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 ps. I know it’s Thursday, but I didn’t want to put this off till next week. I need to get back into the swing of things now.

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Hiysa folks!

*blows dust off blog*

Some time ago I started this blog, mostly to track my adventures in weight loss.

Well, as you can probably tell, the adventure does not always go well.

I gave up.

I am starting over.

I will be posting again, at least once a week, with a new series I shall call the Wednesday Weigh-In.

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In other news, I wrote here over time about the loss of both of my dogs. One to complications from Diabetes and the other from Cancer, both in less than a year.

Soon, within the next few weeks, our family will be adopting a wonderful little puppy.

A gift to my family from the same family that gave us one of the others in years past.

I both dread it and look forward to it. We shall see how it goes.

In leiu of anything else today I will show you a puppy picture. The lighter tan one is coming to live with us, her sister in the same picture will be living with friends a few blocks away.

Hope you all had a great holiday season, and I look forward to spending more time here in the new year.

~Brad

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It seems like just yesterday that I posted last on here, but it really has been a while hasn’t it.

I suppose a little catching up is in order for those that stuck around thinking I might actually post again some day.

My weight loss struggles, the whole reason I started up this site in the first place, continue. Sometimes I gain, sometimes I lose. The battle continues, more on that in another post.

My family life is going quite well. Like everything else it has its bumps and bruises, but way more good than bad. I can’t complain.

The biggest news  recently I suppose is me trying to pretend I am still a kid and tearing a tendon in my knee (the MCL for the curious). I have been out of work for almost a week now, but I go back Monday. Honestly I can’t wait.

Plenty of testing, some physical therapy (which will continue) and this stylish knee brace and I will be good as new in only about 12 weeks.

They say black is slimming, maybe i'll lose weight.

Looks comfy doesn’t it?

Well, I’ll get back to knocking the dust off this thing. More posts should be incoming soonish.

~Brad

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Before I go there, I am going to warn you. I am breaking one of my cardinal rules.  

I am talking, actually ranting, about current events on a highly politicized topic.  

Feel free to simply mark as read and carry on, there will not be a quiz on this information.  

Here is a picture of our new kitten to check out as a way of saying thanks for stopping by.  

Yes i'm cute, and I still need a name.

Ok, here goes, lats chance to bail….  

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Still here?  

Alrighty, you must be morbidly curious as to what pissed me off.  

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In short, I am pissed at the short-sightedness of people.  

I just read a series of news articles about complete idiots that have gotten it into their heads to boycott BP gas stations as a way of “punishing” BP for its destroying the Gulf of Mexico. Some businesses are reporting anywhere from a 20 to 40 percent drop in sales as part of this.  

There are people picketing the stations with signs of oil fouled wildlife, and slogans bashing BP for the disaster.   

Exactly what the hell are these people smoking?  

Have they never heard the word franchise?  

WAKE THE HELL UP YOU MORONS, BP DOES NOT OWN THOSE GAS STATIONS. SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS THAT LIVE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD DO.  

Neighbors who are likely even more pissed off at BP than you are.  

Neighbors that have contracts that prevent them from simply calling up another company and turning their station into a Shell or something. 

Even if people in America could somehow successfully boycott all of BP’s product here in the states (and it’s impossible) that would still leave over 60% of their profits intact through overseas sales. Thats not even including the fact that they could simply sell their oil to different customers in the states.  

After all, they are into bulk sales and distribution. Even if every BP station in America was driven out of business they would just sell their gas wholesale to other branded stations.  

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The me phrase this in a way that they might understand….  

YOU CANNOT DESTROY A WORLDWIDE WHOLESALER BY BOYCOTTING THE STORES THEY SELL TO IN A CERTAIN REIGON.  

Boycotting BP gas in American gas stations will hurt BP corporate just about as much Fruit of the Loom would be hurt if people at all the Wal-Marts in Nebraska boycotted their underwear .   

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Want to do something that will make a freaking difference?  

Take all that pent-up energy and all the extra money folks are spending whipping people up into a frenzy over this and invest it into something that really will destroy them.  

Technology that will replace oil, not just in cars, but as a means of energy production.  

Now that will hurt them.  

Unless, while folks are tilting at windmills and screaming into the vacuum the energy companies are the ones that come up with their own replacement.  

If that’s the case then they will own the world’s economy for another hundred years.  

Maybe a thousand who the hell knows.  

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What I do know is that after work I need to stop and get gas.  

I plan to hit up the BP that’s right down the street.  

The protestors can just get the hell out of my way.  

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