it’s good to warm my bones beside the fire


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GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square? Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal? Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations?
I wish I could write this well.



random craftiness

Since I have no natural talent in anything (aside from eating enough to make Vegas buffet trips a break-even-or-better prospect), I have to practice and warm up when I pick up things I haven’t done in a while. In addition to pool, this dust-off-the-rust thing also applies to crafts. When I start doing ceramics again, for example, I won’t work on a commissioned item right away — I’ll do some small project to reacquaint myself with the painting techniques. This goes for yarn crafts, too.

Here is my warm-up piece — a brain slug from the animated television show “Futurama”.

And now, I shall return to working slowly through my commissions…



thanks a lot

Some social media thing going ’round has people posting one thing they are thankful for each day in November. Okay, fine. Let’s see if I can actually finish this bit of foofaraw.

Of course I’ve fallen behind schedule…

8. Autumn
Reminds me we have no seasons in Southern California because our leaves are mostly coniferous needles, or fake.
9. Idiots at work
They provide job security.
10. Habanero peppers
Uh. Hmm. HAHAHAHAHAHA. That is all.
11. The men and women who defend our country
Without them, I would never be able to talk this much sh#t.
12. AFP
Always F#cking Post. Great lesson and great entertainment, if I do say so myself.
13. Wine
“I cook with wine. Sometimes, I even add it to the food.”
14. Living close to the ocean
It’s very nice.
15. AJR
The sponsor of this post who thereby brings joy not only to me, but also to all of you who are reading. 🙂



food yoga

Reader AJR sent me an Andrew Jackson and told me to spend it on something tasty. I responded that I would spend it all stockpiling ramen. AJR said no ramen — I was to eat well, and enjoy not having to eat ramen in the name of saving money for tournaments. No ramen? Hell of a challenge, but I was down with it.

Let’s see what happened to that twenty dollars.


My local supermarket was having a decent sale on bulk packages of fresh chicken. I usually buy chicken thighs in bulk and freeze them, but this time, I sprung for a chicken Grill Pack.
The Grill Pack contained 3 chicken legs and 2 chicken breasts.
This Grill Pack would be different from the norm, since I rarely cook chicken breast (it ends up quite dry — blech). I had a few things on hand to supplement the purchased chicken, though, so the future looked to be a tasty one.
Braised Chicken with Tomatoes
1 chicken leg ($0.90), 2 tomatoes ($0.50), 1 rather old shallot, 2 garlic cloves, 8 basil leaves ($0.10), shot of sherry, and some herbs and spices (salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, oregano)
$1.50 • $1.50 spent • $18.50 remaining
Sticky Roast Chicken Legs
2 chicken legs ($1.82), 1/2 onion ($0.50), herbs and spices (salt, black pepper, white pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ground ancho chili, thyme)
OMFG, I have found the holy grail of roasted chicken recipes. This made two meals.
$2.32 • $3.82 spent • $16.18 remaining
Curried Chicken Salad
1 chicken breast ($0.91), mayonnaise, 2 green onions ($0.20), 1-1/2 celery ribs ($0.15), canned oranges ($1.00), lemon juice, spices (salt, black pepper, curry powder)
I roasted this chicken breast the same way I roasted the above legs (to further verify the awesomeness of that recipe/technique) and it came out NOT DRY AT ALL. It was AMAZING. This also made two meals.
$2.26 • $6.08 spent • $13.92 remaining
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 chicken breast ($0.91), chicken bones, 1/2 onion ($0.50), carrot ($0.25), celery rib ($0.10), garlic clove, herbs and spices (salt, black pepper, thyme, tiny bay leaf), egg noodles
I brined the chicken breast before roasting to add flavor. The bones were from the previously roasted chicken pieces. I simmered the bones with vegetables and seasonings on super-low heat while I slept.
$1.76 • $7.84 spent • $12.16 remaining


Steaks are the laziest way to high-quality beef. There are many underappreciated cuts out there including my favorite — beef chuck. I got beef chuck strips, cut them into smaller strips, and then marinated them in some leftover jarred galbi marinade I had in the fridge.
Random Stir-Fry
beef ($3.87), 1/4 white onion ($0.25), 2 celery ribs ($0.20), 2 tomatoes ($0.50), garlic clove, cilantro ($0.10), soy sauce, shot of sherry, Sriracha chili sauce
Two meals! Three, if you add rice (I didn’t)! I totally winged this one — had no idea what I was doing but it turned out nice.
$4.92 • $12.76 spent • $7.24 remaining


The beef gave me a taste for the good life so I spent even more money and got a salmon fillet. I really enjoy poke, a Hawaiian raw fish salad, and figured this would be a nice opportunity to make it. I did not have all the ingredients necessary to make authentic poke, so my easy-to-make version is referred to as “hokey poke” (clever nomenclature courtesy of my friend’s witty husband).
Hokey Salmon Poke
salmon ($4.63), 1/2 avocado ($0.75), 2 green onions ($0.20), soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, Sriracha chili sauce, tortilla chips ($1.00)
Two meals! The tortilla chips were from a Mexican restaurant.
$6.58 • $19.34 spent • $0.66 remaining


3 mini packs of Haribo Gold-Bears ($0.60)
Coworker’s kid came in with a bag of Halloween candy. I offered to buy some. She asked how much I had. I said 66 cents. She said I could have three packs of gummi bears for 20 cents each. I said I could give her 22 cents each since I had 66 cents. She gave me a serious look and said, ” You should never spend all the money you have.”
$0.60 • $19.94 spent • $0.06 remaining


I covered land (beef), sea (fish), and air (chicken) in this food challenge. Because I can cook a little and have good stuff lying around in my pantry and fridge, I don’t always have to eat like an aspiring professional pool player. Also, my meal sizes when I’m not at a buffet are reasonable, so here’s the disclaimer:

results not typical, your mileage may vary

Hey, if you can cook like this all the time, why eat ramen at all? Ramen is still cheaper — $20 would have provided 15 meals as opposed to the 10 above and although I have my moments of inspiring innovation and astounding determination, my usual mode of existence is extreme laziness (I blame the brain slug). In any case, I was very well-fed for a little over a week and I am very thankful. 🙂 If you think I should do recipe posts for these dishes, let me know which ones in the comments section.



Thank you, AJR. I know you intended for me to enjoy a single delicious meal, but I got ten. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

never has life been this good

8 Replies to “it’s good to warm my bones beside the fire”

    1. I’m definitely doing that one… Just need to make it one more time to verify the temperature and time and I’ll post it up! It’s really, really good. All my cookery guinea pigs who tried it LOVE it.

  1. Don’t normally comment on food related posts, but all this looks soooo yummy I just had to tell you so. And all for $20!!! I hope I don’t get struck by lightning for this (or offend anyone) but it’s almost like Jesus with the loaves and fishes. A modern day food miracle.

    In other news, I’m digging the Pink Floyd quotes and frequent posts lately.

    1. I was surprised myself how far I could stretch the $20. I expected 5 meals at $4.00 each would have been good. I did have to change some planned meals to fit with what I had. Buying things on sale, and items that are commonly used (onions, celery, garlic, shallots) really help with the stretch. 🙂 I’ll probably do recipe posts for each item to show how good food can be cheap and simple.

      Glad you like the Pink Floyd! Pool winds down for me during the winter so I do more non-billiards posts, but I still have a few billiard ones up my sleeve.

    1. The marinade I used was storebought, but I will see if I can come up with something similar. 🙂

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