Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now It's Quiet on the Home Front

After six days of hard work

- for our contractors -

and much noise for us,

our roof is finally finished.

I love this new roof.

Click on the pictures to fully appreciate the

before and after shots.

I'm not sure this roof had ever seen better days.

Now for that surprise I had promised you.

And this is also a story of

"While we are doing this, let's do this as well..."

One thing that had always bothered

and annoyed the Foodie Daughter was the lack

of natural light in her upstairs bathroom.

I had heard about a product that could easily

remedy the problem for relatively little money.*

As a bonus, it might be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit.

*As opposed to putting in a window or a traditional skylight.

But first,

let's take a look at the bathroom before.

This is a Jack and Jill bathroom

with a pocket door between the areas.

The tub/shower and toilet area is lit with only

a ceiling exhaust fan light that is 100 watts.

But now a ten-inch hole to the outside world has been cut

into the ceiling.

Within a couple of hours

the bathroom is alight with natural daylight,

thanks to the Solatube™.

No more fumbling for light switches in the middle of the day.

It's the final day of work and the men are finishing

the roof.

The finished roof from the rear of the house.

The small Solatube™ bubble is visible

on the upper main roof.

Bye bye garbage dumpster.

Hello peace and quiet.

Many thanks once again

go out to Josh Koontz and his wonderful crew.

It was a job well done.

Friday, August 20, 2010

All's Not Quiet on the Home Front

As it turns out, that June 15 hail and wind storm

did much more than just provide blog fodder.

It also did quite a bit of damage to our roof.

I suppose I should have guessed that when I had to

pick up over a dozen pieces of shingles off the ground


And the two pieces of vinyl siding.

Perhaps I was in denial?

I've always thought that De Nile

was a nice place to live.

A lovely river, a pretty valley,

A comfortable house with a white picket fence...

However, when we began to notice that

several of our neighbors were suddenly getting

new roofs,

we had to ask the hard question.

Did we have storm damage?

The white spots are hail damage on the porch roof.

When the hail hits the roof,

the asphalt granules are scattered

and the fiberglass is exposed to the elements.

The sun then melts the fiberglass.

The insurance adjuster agreed that we did indeed

have both hail and wind damage.

Time for a new roof.

Luckily for us,

we know just the right company for the job.

That's right,

They put on our new deck last year

and we are life-long customers now.

Yep, this fifteen-year old roof has taken a beating this spring.

And here are the two pieces of vinyl siding that still

need to be reattached.

Bad wind storm.

This is the color we picked out.

It is Certainteed Landmark's Colonial Slate.

It's bright and early Tuesday morning.

Seven am to be exact.

I don't do mornings.

Did I mention that?

I like this picture.

It tickles my fancy.

Another nice cloud picture.

Can I go back to bed now?

No, I guess it's time for the shingles to arrive.

The roofers were already at work tearing off the roof

on the side of the garage.

Then they had to stop to help with the delivery.

Roofer's tools.

The delivery man at work.

The school bus makes its trial run the day before school starts.
Oh, I suppose the driver had something to with that as well.

I take a picture of the delivery man taking a picture.

The first bundle of shingles arrive on the roof.

And the house begins to shake.

The supplies have been delivered.

The men only were able to finish this side of the roof

the first day.

Looks good.

Day two.

They are having to adjust to the twelve-twelve pitch

of the roof.

(That means for every twelve inches of run,

the roof rises twelve inches.

And it just doesn't get much steeper than that.)

Our neighbor has often told us that he and his brothers

used to work as roofers while in school.

When approached by someone with a roof like ours,

they would respond that they just didn't have the time

in their schedule to get to them.

That was an easy way out for them as they didn't

want to work on that steep a roof.

The end of Day Three and they have just started

to shingle the main part of the roof.

The end of Day Four.

Click on the picture to see the difference

between the new and the old.

I have always hated the old roof.

I have never understood where the color of the roof

came from.

The vinyl siding is light blue/grey,

the brick is light tan/taupe

and the roof is an ugly brown/grey/black

that doesn't match anything.

Next week:

The roof will be finished and a special surprise.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday,

Foodie Son!

Hope your day

is filled with happiness and joy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Best BBQ Sauce,

Times Two

After much trial and error,

I think that I finally found the ideal recipe

for BBQ sauce.

And luckily for you,

I am willing to share the recipe with you.

The ingredients for the Original Recipe are:

1-1/2 cup water (not pictured)

1 (6 oz. can) tomato paste

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup whiskey

½ cup honey*

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

2 tablespoons dark molasses

1/3 cup onion, grated

1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, grated

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon dried chile pepper flakes

*Sadly, this spelled the end of my stash

of Sourwood honey that I had purchased

last year in Nashville, TN.

The Original Recipe sauce is in the pan in the forefront.

The Foodie Daughter has requested that I make

a milder, sweeter version.

That is in the pan in the rear.

For that version,

I only put in 1/2 teaspoon dried chile pepper flakes

and I added 2 tablespoons honey more.

The sauces were brought to a boil

and then the heat was turned down and

the sauces simmered for 1-1/4 hours,

or until they had reduced in volume by half.

The sauces were then poured into labeled containers.

After cooling, place in the refrigerator.

Be warned that these will not last long.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Shrimp

I asked the Foodie Daughter to pick up a package

of raw, shell-on jumbo shrimp the other day.


what she brought home was raw, peeled shrimp.

Raw, peeled shrimp with an extra ingredient:

Fellow blogger, Rosie Hawthorne

of Kitchens are Monkey Business,

has done an excellent job in the past of

explaining why one should try to avoid

purchasing shellfish that has

sodium tripolyphosphate as an added ingredient.*

* You will need to scroll about half-way down the page

to get to Rosie's explanation.

But you might just want to stay and

read the recipe while you are there.

Since my husband and I were hungry for shrimp,

I sauteed the shrimp

(which never seared, thanks to the STP),

made linguine and tossed that with

butter, garlic, peas, fresh Italian parsley

and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

What can I say?

The finished dish can only be as good as

the ingredients that went into it.

The shrimp were bloated,

and tasted mildly of soap.

The shrimp on bottom is the shrimp treated with

sodium tripolyphosphate.

The shrimp on the top only had sodium bisulfate

as an added ingredient.

It has been peeled and deveined for this photo.

This was the bag of the offending shrimp.

You should always read the ingredient list on frozen seafood.

You definitely don't want sodium tripolyphosphate

in your seafood.

This was the bag that I later picked up,

after reading the ingredient list.

Note the lack of STP in this product.

Now, once again look at the two shrimp.

The preferred shrimp is on the top.

It looks like a shrimp should look,

cooks and sears like a shrimp should cook and sear

and tastes like a shrimp should taste.

The shrimp on the bottom is bloated*

due to the retained water

(this also helps to inflate the price of the product),

doesn't sear like shrimp should sear

and doesn't taste like shrimp should taste.
*Please note that the "natural" shrimp is
rated 36-40 per pound,
while the TSP-added shrimp are
13-15 per 10 ounce bag.
Really, who measures shrimp by 10 ounces?

But in the end, the choice is yours.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sausage Kabobs

One of our purchases at Jungle Jim's

We actually purchased several packages

of the smoked sausage links.

When we first moved to B-town

twelve years ago

we used to travel back to Cincinnati quite frequently

as we had many ties to the area.

One of my husband's coworkers

requested that we bring back several

packages of Queen City Sausage for him

each time we went to Cincy.
Heh, we were runners.

It's just too bad we can't get these sausages here.

So, now that I have several packages,

I need to find a way to use them.

Not to worry.

I have a plan.

But first,

here is the finished plating,

complete with salad.

I opted to cut each sausage into four pieces.

Four times six works out for four servings.

Get it?

I also cut up a yellow and red bell pepper

and a Vidalia onion into large pieces.

I then threaded these onto skewers.

Sneaky me,

getting veggies into my family.

I wanted to go with a fruity barbecue sauce,

so I mixed some seedless raspberry jam in with

my homemade best barbecue sauce.

I decided that a rice pilaf would be a nice addition to the meal.

Here I have

1 cup Kasmati rice*

1/4 cup diced celery

1/3 cup diced carrot

1/4 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, grated

2 tablespoons butter

kosher salt, to taste

1/4 cup frozen peas

*Your favorite rice may be substituted.

Add all ingredients except for peas to water

and prepare rice according to package directions.

Remove from heat and stir in frozen peas.

Heat kabobs over grill,

brushing with barbecue sauce

as you turn the kabobs.

Remove from skewers and serve with remaining sauce.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Turkey Noodle Soup, Deconstructed

Every once in a while I try to clear

some of the older items out of the freezer.

I found a couple of small packages of turkey cutlets

lurking in there,

but even together,

they would not be enough to feed four people.

What to do?

Why not take a page from our Asian neighbors

and use the meat as an accent, rather than the star?

But I would have to stick to American flavors as

the husband does not care for Asian foods.

After a bit more thought,

I came up with the idea for a deconstructed

turkey noodle soup.

Fast forward to the finished meal.

Tell me this doesn't look good.

I roasted some frozen carrots, green beans

(hey, I had a coupon for two bags of frozen veggies)

and corn* along with

some diced onion and chopped fully-cooked bacon.

These roasted about 30 minutes at 400 degrees

in the toaster oven.

*Remember, I was cleaning out my freezer.

I cut the turkey cutlet into chunks

and after seasoning with salt and black pepper,

I lightly coated each piece in flour.

These sat in the refrigerator for an hour or so before cooking

so that the coating would properly adhere to the meat.


a package of noodles cooked in some turkey stock and water

seasoned with kosher salt.

Cook according to package directions.

After 30 minutes the veggies are ready for plating.

I have to say that this worked out nicely.

We didn't even miss having more meat on the plate.

Next time I would add some butter to the noodles,

rather than just rely on the stock.

Not bad for a first attempt.