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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Do You Know What

Do You Know What

Do you know what it's like to want to die
Life's burdens so heavy you don't want to try
Your aches and pains hurt so much
No one there no one to touch
You see no future no shining light
You just want to give up the fight
When no one you know seems to care
To love to hope to dream to share
Do you now what it's like to want to die
I do

Do you know what it's like to want to live
When all around you is so much to give
Your hopes and dreams shine on through
And everything good is coming to you
You have strength to go on another day
The sun shines bright to light your way
Your heart is filled with love and hope
There is so much love you heart just grows
And the smile on your face always shows
Do you know what it's like to want to live
I do

Which one will I feel today
Who is there to show me the way
To live or die which do I see
Is it to be or not to be
Each day a struggle within my mind
Battles fought to hold the line
Which part of me will win the fighjt
And take me to tomorrow night
Do you know what it's like to want to live
Do you know what it's like to want to die
I do

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cooking 4 Guys - Sweet and Sour Whatever

Does anyone remember when sweet and sour included onion, peppers, even pickles and pineapple? When it wasn't just tempura coated meat with a red goopy sauce? I do, and I used to make it in my wok, years ago. Here is the easiest way to make this for yourself at home.

Sweet and Sour Sauce, a third cup of white or rice vinegar (I use a mixture of vinegar and the juice from the pickles, see below) a quarter cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of ketchup, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons of corn starch mixed with 4 teaspoons of water for thickening.
Veggies, white onion, bell peppers, carrots, and sweet pickles (I like to use gherkins) and of course pineapple chunks.
Your choice of meat, chicken, pork, shrimp, or a combination of all of the above.
A couple of tablespoons of corn starch.
All in one pancake mix (or a funnel cake mix)
A can of beer
Oil for deep frying and for stir frying
Garlic to taste if you want

Mix the pancake mix with the required amount of liquid being beer instead of milk or water. Let that sit for a while. You should have part of a can of beer, at least a couple of swallows left to enjoy.
The sauce, you can do it the easy way and buy a bottle or you can make it at home. It is not far off from a barbque sauce which I am sure many have done before. Mix the vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce and heat. Let it get to just before it boils. Mix the corn starch with the water and when the sauce starts to bubble, take it off the heat and add the corn starch mix, and stir to let it mix, and thicken. If it's too thick you can add the juice from the pineapple chunks for added flavor.
Cut your veggies into bite sized squares, the carrots, slice about a quarter inch thick, and the pickles either as slices or chunks if using gherkins. the pineapple is already out of the can.
Take the meat and if using chicken or pork cut it into bite sized pieces. Place the meat into a sandwich bag with corn starch in it. Close the bag and shake it to coat the pieces of meat.
Heat the fryer oil either in a fryer of some sort, or a deep pan heavy enough to fry in.
Take the meat, I like to use a toothpick, dip the meat into the pancake mix to coat, and place it into the fry oil in batches to cook.
Let the meat cook until the coating is golden brown, especially with the pork and chicken, take out a piece and cut it open to make sure it is cooked all the way through.
In a wok or fry pan, add a coating of oil, let it heat until you can feel it coming off the pan. Add the garlic if you are using it, swirl it around for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the onions, and carrots, cook them for a minute, then the add peppers, and the pickles and pineapple chunks. Let the veggies get as they say, tender crisp. You want them heated through but still crisp. Add the meat to the veggies in the pan and let them cook for a minute or two to heat everything up. The next step is your choice, either place the meat and veggies on a plate and serve the sauce on the side, or pour the sauce in the pan onto the meat and veggies. If you cook it together, let the sauce heat in the pan for only a minute so it doesn't start to soak into the coating on the meat too much.
Serve with whatever rice you like with your chinese.


My father would have been 81 years old today. He was born June 19, 1933. His name was Robert Emswiler, Bob, but he was known as Augie. The story I heard was that when he was growing up there was a jockey named Augie, who my dad looked like, being as my dad was small for his age, the name stuck with him.<p>
Augie was a very friendly guy, and growing up it seemed everyone knew him. He played in 3 sports at school, the big 3, football, basketball, and baseball. He used to say he was the 4th string quarterback on a team with 3 squads. He spent some time in Germany as part of the US Army occupation forces. My uncle Ed went to Korea to fight, but due to the fact that in WWII an entire family of boys died in battle, my father was not allowed into battle, so that there was always a son to carry on the family name. He came home, after learning how to operate heavy machinery and became a crane operator.
He also started a family with my mother SaraJane. Between 1957 and 1967, 3 boys, Robert Jr, David (that's me), and Rodger, and 2 girls, Judy, and Linda. We grew up in a sports minded family, playing little league baseball, and midget football. My dad coached, my mom worked in the refreshment stands, and coached the cheerleaders (not sure if coached is the right word here.) We played sports, we played games, in spite of the ups and downs it was a good time growing up.
Where ever my father went he probably left a friend. Between his coaching baseball, and football, and running a high-school-and-
up basketball program at our church, he was active in the community. He was a member of the Friendship Fire Company in Royersford, driving the ambulance for a time.
I had a contentious relationship with my father, he was a very strict man, and I tended to not listen as well as others. I did my own thing, and occasionally got in trouble for it. Sometimes it wasn't so much in trouble as 2 hard heads butting together. I remember in May of 1989, something happened, I forget what it was, I just know I was mad at him, and didn't want to see him or visit. Of course when his birthday came up in June, I was probably going to cook again on Father's day, the Sunday either before or after his birthday, or occasionally the day itself. He was the one who got me started cooking, and he bought me the wok, which I used to make sweet and sour pork, fried rice, and pepper steak. My brother Rodger's wife Cindi, had just given birth to a little girl, Tabitha, so that was the first time some of us would meet my new niece. Things were good.
Just over 25 years ago, on a Monday morning, my father was heading to a job, and a man in another van, I seem to remember the man was carrying mushrooms, but I may be mis-remembering, hit a dip in the road, and drove through the middle of the road and head on into my father's van. Due to the severity of his injuries, he was flown to the Chester Crozier Trauma Center in Chester, Pa. For 2 weeks, he lay there, obviously in pain. He died on the morning of his 56th birthday. June 19, 1989. 25 years ago today.
As I said, my father had left friends where ever he went, and his funeral was standing room only, filling 2 rooms and probably going out into a 3rd with all the people who came to the service. If we lived in a country or a time where wakes were more prevalent, I am sure his would have lasted for days.
When he died, the family was small, us 5 children, and Stephanie, Judy's first, and Tabitha, plus Kenny, Kelly, and Jason, Cindi's children. He missed as the family grew with Judy having 2 more, Jessica and Kaity, Linda's whole crew of John Cory, Cassie, and Logan, and my twins, Ben and Erin. He would have loved having them visit and enjoying the pool, and I'm sure they would have loved visiting him.
25 years has softened some memories, and hardened others, but I still think of Dad, and remember.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cooking 4 Guys - Buffalo Balls

I found a recipe for Buffalo Balls, and I don't mean a version of Rocky Mountain Oysters. Finally a use for ground Turkey and Chicken instead of just making fake meatloaf or burgers. It's easy to make, and can be adjusted for your taste with no problem.

The ingredients For the meatballs are
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
3 Tbl chopped celery
3 Tbl crumbled blue cheese
1/2 tsp pepper

The ingredients for the sauce are
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
1/2 stick (4 oz) butter

How to make them
Mix the meatball ingredients together, don't add any salt to it, there's enough salt there already with the blue cheese, and the Frank's Red Hot also has salt in it. Turn on your oven to 350 to start getting it hot while you shape the balls. When the ingredients are mixed well, start to take a tablespoon full of the mixture (not an official measurement, just a rough guess to get a good size. These are appetizer meatballs, not for pasta or sandwiches), roll it into a ball, or if you are doing this for the 'Big Game' make it football shaped. Place them on a flat baking or cookie sheet. When you are done with all the mixture and they are evenly spread over the cookie sheet, put them in the oven, check the time or use a timer to cook them for 10 minutes.
Now to make the sauce. Put the butter into a microwave safe bowl, if your not sure look on the bottom and it usually tells you if it's microwave or dishwasher safe, some bowls are even safe to put in the oven, but don't do it unless it says so on the bottom of the bowl. Add the Frank's Red Hot and put it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir it to mix it well.
Back to the Meatballs. Take them out of the oven, don't try eating them yet as they aren't done. You want to dip the balls into the Franks's Red Hot sauce you just made, and let them get a coating, be careful as the balls are gonna be soft, you don't want them falling apart. When you have all of your balls coated with Frank's Read Hot, put them back in the oven for another 12 minutes. If you have left over sauce, you can pour it over the balls when they have about 3 or 4 minutes left to cook.
When they are done put them on a plate or in a bowl to serve. The recipe says you will get about 16 balls from this recipe, if you want more then double all the ingredients and go for it. The Buffalo Balls already have a bit of blue cheese in them, but for people like me a bit of blue cheese dressing for dipping is nice too. Other items to serve with it are ranch dressing for those who are not big blue cheese dressing fans, and of course celery. Also a nice glass, mug, bottle, or can of your favorite malt beverage to wash it all down with.
Enjoy the 'Big Game'.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and the web site 'I Breathe, I'm Hungry'

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Problem with Facebook: "It's Keeping Things From You"

The Problem with Facebook: “It’s Keeping Things From You” is a post from: Open Culture. Watch it here or go to the YouTube site to watch it. I have a solution that I use that I will describe below the video, so if you go to the YouTube site, remember to come back here to check out my way to get around Facebooks's throttling of my choice to view posts, and how I took control of my Facebook.

OK, I hope you enjoyed that video, and learned something by it.
I am a regular YouTube watcher so I see his point, and since the videos I watch I either click on in a post, or watch embedded in an article or blog as it is here in my blog, or as a choice I searched for or it's related videos while at the YouTube site.
I am a regular Facebook visitor, mostly to keep in touch with my friends and family, especially since I moved from Pa to SC.

I may not get to see every post in YouTube, but I can subscribe to a channel and be able to see the posts they have added to the site. I am subscribed to about 30 or 40 different video producers and sharers, and I get regular emails when one of the people and groups I subscribe to makes a post. When I go to my own YouTube Home Page, I have a list of everyone that I've followed this way, with the number of videos they have posted since I last was on YouTube to visit their page. A couple of them are interests or groups, so I may get a compilation of multiple sources in one list.

I have found you can do a similar action in Facebook. You already have a couple of friend groups, as in close friends, family, and you can add others, like I added my school, and my home town, I have one for South Carolina members I am friends with. When I add a friend I makes sure I connect to one of these groups, so I can click this group and get the posts made by all those who are part of the group.
I then go to your Home Page, at the top of the page on the right you see the 3 notification icons, then it says Home then your name then the security and settings icons. If you click on Home, you are taken to your main Facebook timeline. On the left side is a column with areas like favorites, groups, friends, apps, and interests. By hovering over each of these headings of each section you see the word more. If you click it a page with the list of every group, including ones you,ve created and ones you've joined. By each of them is a pencil icon, if you click that pencil you get a small menu of choices with one being add to favorites, this anchors it to the top section of the links on the left of the page. Using the more button at the bottom of this list you can re-arrange them as you like.

Now on to pages you have Liked. When you click on the Like button of a page, there is a drop down menu, you can choose whether you want their posts in your timeline, whether you went them listed in your notifications, and if you want the listed in other interest lists. The interests works just like the groups with your friends, and once you set up an interest you can actually add a page without liking it if you want to follow it.
I have an interest of sports with the Philadelphia teams, plus sports radio and tv pages, and sports web sites. I have an interest with movies I've watched and want to watch. I have an interest of the tv shows I enjoy. I have an interest of Spartanburg Restaurants, so I can keep track of any specials and coupons they have (most are the national site but since they have a restaurant near me that I visit I put them here). Some interests have a couple of pages listed in them some have 20 or 30 pages.
I can check them out or ignore them as I want to, and every time I go there, I get the recent posts each page has made. In this way I can decide if I want to see the post with out having it be stuck on my timeline, and being subjected to the information overload.

By doing this I have more control over what I see everyday, and it's a conscious choice rather then according to some sort of algorithm that Facebook has created.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cooking 4 Guys - Hamburger helper

As far as a fast and easy meal, Hamburger Helper is great. But there are so many ways you can add to and enhance the flavors to make it better.

Now there are many flavors of Hamburger Helper, but there are many ways to enhance basic cheeseburger Hamburger Helper. I like to make my own chili mac version.

My version starts with half pound of hamburger and a half pound of sausage, usually use breakfast sausage but at times I like to add sweet or hot italien sausage. Brown the meat and drain half of the fat from the pan, I feel when you drain all the fat out you also drain out all the flavor. You don't pour out the broth from a stew, you use it to enhance the flavor. Next step is to add a half cup of salsa, what ever type of salsa you prefer, let that cook for a bit to flavor the meat.

I then add the flavor from the Hamburger Helper pack, letting it cook into the meats and salsa. Letting it all get a nice coating with cheese and spices, add half of the called for water from the package, when it forms a nice sauce, add the noodles and the rest of the water.

Now it's just let is cook according to the package. Stirring to keep the noodles from sticking, and when the water is all absorbed, you can add a little bit of hot sauce or other spice, and you have your own personalized chili mac Hamburger Helper.

This would be good with your choice, some totilla or corn chips, or some nice crusty bread. With a salad you have a full meal.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cooking 4 Guys - The Big Game

Since the NFL has decided to copyright the official name of the "Big Game", you have to give it this name so they don't have their lawyers come at you with officious cease and desist orders for using the official name. But, we all know what you are talking about, and isn't that super.

On the first or second Sunday of February, after 17 weeks of NFL football, and 3 rounds of play-offs, we have the 2 "best" teams in each conference of the leagues facing off in the Big Game. Whether it's Peyton Manning, with his genius at the helm, or Geno Smith doing his best Joe Namath imitation and guaranteeing an upset of whoever they might be playing, or Big Ben and the Steelers right the ship and Ben goes for another ring, getting him closer to that other great Pittsburgh QB, Terry Bradshaw, the game now takes a back seat to the spectacle that occurs, both at the stadium, and in homes around the world, the biggest one day holiday/party of the year. Mardi Gras, New Years Eave, and the 4th of July rolled up into one big event. It may be at the stadium or in the parking lot, or at an organized club or bar, or just friends watching the game on your new Christmas Present, the 102" big screen tv (OK so mine is only 21", I can see as long as someone doesn't get up and stand in the way), people who don't know the difference between offense and defense, who never heard of Vince Lombardi, to those who know Joe Namath as a playboy and stocking salesman (OK that was years ago), are watching the Game (some only for the new commercials, some just for the party). The Big Game get together is not your ordinary Fall/Weekend Sunday guys come over football game. It takes time, and for the best atmosphere, you have to start getting ready ahead of time.

First on the list is beverages. Is it a sophisticated gathering with wine. What wine goes well with the sounds of bodies crashing together, or the thrill of victory, and agony of defeat? Is it going to be hard drinkers doing shot of Jack or Jim or tequila shooters? Or just a bunch of guys drinking their favorite malt beverage?

I'm not much of a wine drinker so I say if that's your choice, the only advice is to make it a drinking wine, not a sipping, appreciate the aroma and taste wine. Nothing too expensive, except for that one bottle for the end of the game, to toast when your team has just become the NFL Champions.

As far as harder drinks, I say make it a game within the game. Take a shot when a team scores a touchdown, a sip or half shot for field goals, and a double shot for safeties. Hopefully it's not a game where the teams light up the score board, tossing touchdown after touchdown, or some people won't make it to the end, and you'll have the morning after look of a typical Saturday morning at a frat house.

Beyond the battle between Coke and Pepsi, and their variants (whatever happened to 7-up?) and Sweet Tea here in the South, the final choice is Beer. With beer comes a few questions. Do you get a Keg? A couple of cases? or is the party small enough that you just have everyone bring their own? With the first 2 choices you have to make sure that it's a beer that a majority of the people like, with the last choice you have a smorgasbord or flavors and choices (as long as it's put into a communal cache for anyone to pick and choose). Like I said with the wine, you need a drinker's beer, most Americans will want one of the product from the big 3 of American beer, Anheiser-Busch, Miller, or Coors, but there are plenty of craft and small brewery choices that are good for times like this. I'm sure you have your own opinions as to which you prefer. Just make sure it's one that you can drink without the beer being the center of attention, and just something that tastes good while you are munching and cheering your team of the day to victory.

Now on to food.

You are definitely going to want your choice of a plethora of chips and dip. Whether it's potato chips and french onion dip, or tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole, or pita chips and humus (where did that come from???). You can either buy or make your dip, from the French Onion soup mix and sour cream, to queso dip from Rotel tomatoes and Velveeta, to guacamole made from fresh avocado. With potato chips, you usually want a couple of flavors of dip. With tortilla chips, salsa, and quacamole, and queso dip. No idea where to go with pita chips, but that wasn't what I grew up with. Talking about dip, if this is going to be more then just the guys, with wives and girl friends, and even the girl who is a friend who you grew up with who enjoys football almost as much as a guy, a good choice is a veggie platter with a dip. Unless you've done these before, it's best to just get one in the produce section of the grocery store. I used to have to cut veggies for an appetizer item at a restaurant I worked at, and it's a time consuming job, that I let it to the professionals now. With the veggie platter, you want a good cream cheese or sour cream based dip. A good spinach dip, or french onion, or any other dip you will find in the dairy section between the cheese, and sour cream and yogurt will do.

Next is the finger food for during the game. You want something you can grab and put on a paper plate to eat in front of the tv while watching the game. Stuff like meatballs and little sausages, cheese and crackers, wings, wings and more wings, and of course pizza, or a favorite in the Philadelphia area, tomato pie. This is all things you can place in a slow cooker, or on a platter for people to pick and choose. Like the beer, this is something you don't want to have to think about during the game, just something to munch on while the game is being played.

Now comes half time. You want something that can be ready and eaten in 15 to 20 minutes, even with the extended half time show, you don't want to linger and miss the 2nd half kick-of. Sandwiches are great, cold cuts and sliced cheeses, pulled pork or hot beef usually served on hardy buns rather then bread, subs and hoagies. The sandwiches can be make it yourself, with hot items in a slow cooker or other heated serving pan, the cold items, on trays (with lids you can remove at half time and replace to keep them as fresh as you can) which can be kept out during the 2nd half. Meatballs, Hot Dogs, Brats, Kielbasi, or any other meats you can shove in a bun. Home made fried chicken, or a bucket of the colonel's finest from KFC. Any of the salads you might have at a picnic like cole slaw, or potato salad. Pickles and olives, and spicier items like peperoncini or banana peppers, or hotter peppers if you like them, these are something you would probably have out early with the finger foods pre-game as well as now. Stuffed peppers with prosciutto and cheese.
And of course chili, I've heard of some Big Game parties that turn into chili cook-offs with people bringing their home made chili, and whether judged officially, or by how much is left at the end, you can make and try a large variety of Texas' state food.

Finally you have dessert, ok, not really a full dessert, but just some cakes or pies, or fudge or brownies. Something sweet is always a good thing. Fruit is another good choice, especially small fresh fruit you just set out, grapes are great, and of course orange wedges, a reminder of glory days of midget football.

Like any culinary event, or just guys getting together, the choices are yours to make. Go with a tradition you've had since the first NFL-AFL championship. Go with the meat based menu you used when da Bears did their Shuffle. Or go with sandwiches on sourdough bread from the days of Joe Montana and San Francisco reigned supreme. The Big Game is a party, an unofficial holiday, celebrate it like you would New Year's Eve, or the 4th of July. Have fun, enjoy the game, and try not too get too stuffed or drunk, remember tomorrow is Monday, and you have to work. Though you have a memory, and possibly stories to tell to last you until next February and another Big Game.