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Camping, Princess Style


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On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Cooper's offers ribeye steaks and baked potatoes in addition to their usual offerings. I've been wanting to try that for a while. Last night was the night. I pulled into a slot and this cutie greeted me. (I'm posting his picture with his permission.)

 

20200424_190135.jpg

 

Things were winding down, and we had time to chat while I was placing my order. I asked if they're open on Sundays, because my darling thought they weren't. "Well," he smiled, "is it Christmas?" "Nope," I said, "although when this coronavirus thing is over it's going to feel like it!" Laughs on both sides.

 

I ordered a ribeye for myself, a rib for my darling, some beans, potato salad and beer. "Want that beer while you wait?" he asked. "The steak will be about 15 minutes." Gotta love small-town Texas. 

 

The order eventually came, I paid, we thanked each other, and I headed the two blocks back to the park. When I got there, I learned that we'd also gotten things we hadn't asked for:

 

20200424_205140.jpg

 

An entire chicken! And these plates and flatware that we didn't need. They will be useful along the road sometime when we don't feel like doing dishes, but I hate the waste.

 

20200424_192716.jpg

 

It also appeared that we'd gotten the rib but no steak. I went back up to Cooper's. "Did anyone get a ribeye when they'd ordered chicken?" Nope. no ribeyes sitting around, no disappointed customers. They offered to cook me a steak, but it was already closing time and I didn't want them to hang around. We'd paid for the chicken, so that would do. "Come back tomorrow and you'll have a steak on me," said my waiter. I assured him it wasn't that big a deal. "Hang in there," I said, and headed back home.

 

When I got back to the Princessmobile and started unpackaging things, I discovered that the steak and the rib were packaged together. We had paid for it, and we'd gotten it.

 

20200424_213132.jpg

 

We'd just also gotten a chicken we hadn't ordered. Well, we like chicken too. It will go well in salads, or for sandwiches.

 

My darling is of the opinion that there is one, and only one, way to cook a ribeye steak: by doing it ourselves, on our own grill. I'm so glad I tried this one. It was juicy, and tender, and flavorful. It might have been a shade more done than I'd have done it, but at worst I'd give it an A rather than an A+. Delicious.

 

20200425_114717.jpg

 

It was also huge. We have leftovers! Hooray!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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3 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Suit yourself!  Finally was able to make my brain work and got one right lol.

 

I confess, I thought at first that one was "Hang yourself" and it seemed like an odd first clue...and unusually rude! xD

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm getting a pretty good stock of Cooper's pinto beans, which for some reason are much better than the ones I make. I'm running out of refrigerator space, though. What happens to cooked pinto beans if they're frozen? Does it destroy the texture?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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On 4/23/2020 at 11:24 AM, Smithy said:

Llano, Texas: a small and interesting town in the heart of the Hill Country. Every year when we arrive after months of living in a desert climate, I'm surprised anew at how lush, green and humid it is here. The flowers are almost entirely different than what we've been seeing.

 

20200423_123725.jpg

<snip>

Another reason we love Llano is the Texas barbecue available. One of our favorite places is closed because the owners retired and sold a year or so ago -- I heard last year they were relieved to be done with the business, and I'll bet they're ecstatic now! However, there's still our other favorite, Cooper's Old-Time Barbecue.  When we come to Llano we figure there will be little cooking and a lot of takeout, out of sheer gluttony. This year we also figure we're doing our civic duty, helping them stay afloat. That's our story, and we're sticking to it. They've worked out a way to do takeout safely.

 

20200421_183639.jpg

 

 

I may have mentioned this elsewhere but can't resist sharing it here as well.

 

A beautiful 1 hr 15 min documentary, ‘Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ is available free for all to stream online THIS WEEKEND ONLY via Hauser & Wirth Gallery: link here

 

  Quote

We are thrilled to present the first-ever digital screening of ‘Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ directed by Thomas Piper, exclusively free for all to stream online this weekend only. Revolutionary landscape designer Piet Oudolf is celebrated for his work in New York City’s popular High Line, the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the landscaping scheme for the entire site of Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset location, and for redefining conceptions of gardens as works of art in and of themselves.
‘Plants are characters I compose with and I put them on the stage,’ Piet Oudolf explains,  ‘and Tom was able to bring these characters to life in perfect harmony, from Oudolf Field in Somerset, to Manhattan’s High Line gardens and desert wildflowers in West Texas. This documentary shows my working process and holistic approach to landscape design like never before. I hope that watching Tom’s film is restorative at this time, and an opportunity to enjoy nature as we observe the turning of seasons that surrounds us all.’

A little past the middle of the documentary is footage of Oudolf admiring the spring wildflowers during a visit to the Texas Hill Country.  They also pay a  visit to Cooper's for barbecue. 

His comment on the wildflowers, "Beautiful, there is only one word."

And on the barbecue: "Completely insane.  No other word." 

 

The documentary is lovely and very much worth a watch if you get a chance this weekend.  Not to mis-represent it.  It's about a renowned landscape designer and not focussed on Texas or barbecue!

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21 hours ago, Smithy said:

It was an interesting sort-of lockdown day, but I'll have to tell the stories tomorrow. 

 

20200424_095313.jpg

 

In the meantime, here's another rebus.

20200424_214417.jpg

 

Sign on the dotted line.

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18 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I may have mentioned this elsewhere but can't resist sharing it here as well.

 

A beautiful 1 hr 15 min documentary, ‘Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ is available free for all to stream online THIS WEEKEND ONLY via Hauser & Wirth Gallery: link here

 

  Quote

We are thrilled to present the first-ever digital screening of ‘Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ directed by Thomas Piper, exclusively free for all to stream online this weekend only. Revolutionary landscape designer Piet Oudolf is celebrated for his work in New York City’s popular High Line, the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the landscaping scheme for the entire site of Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset location, and for redefining conceptions of gardens as works of art in and of themselves.
‘Plants are characters I compose with and I put them on the stage,’ Piet Oudolf explains,  ‘and Tom was able to bring these characters to life in perfect harmony, from Oudolf Field in Somerset, to Manhattan’s High Line gardens and desert wildflowers in West Texas. This documentary shows my working process and holistic approach to landscape design like never before. I hope that watching Tom’s film is restorative at this time, and an opportunity to enjoy nature as we observe the turning of seasons that surrounds us all.’

A little past the middle of the documentary is footage of Oudolf admiring the spring wildflowers during a visit to the Texas Hill Country.  They also pay a  visit to Cooper's for barbecue. 

His comment on the wildflowers, "Beautiful, there is only one word."

And on the barbecue: "Completely insane.  No other word." 

 

The documentary is lovely and very much worth a watch if you get a chance this weekend.  Not to mis-represent it.  It's about a renowned landscape designer and not focussed on Texas or barbecue!

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Thanks for this recommendation, @blue_dolphin. It really is a lovely documentary. I know nothing about garden design. This was an eye-opener.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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As I eat breakfast this morning, I realize I haven't gotten an answer to an earlier question. It may have been lost in the shuffle of puzzles.

 

20200426_105339.jpg

 

What will happen to cooked pinto beans if I freeze them? Will it destroy their texture? Will they come through all right? I have a lot of this delicious stuff (the sour cream is my addition) and we're running lower on refrigerator space than on freezer space.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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5 minutes ago, Smithy said:

As I eat breakfast this morning, I realize I haven't gotten an answer to an earlier question. It may have been lost in the shuffle of puzzles

 

What will happen to cooked pinto beans if I freeze them? Will it destroy their texture? Will they come through all right? I have a lot of this delicious stuff (the sour cream is my addition) and we're running lower on refrigerator space than on freezer space.

 

I freeze cooked beans all the time and they do fine.  I cook a full pound of dried beans at a time and end up freezing at least a few servings for later meals.  I usually freeze them with some of their pot liquor to help avoid freezer burn. 

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15 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I freeze cooked beans all the time and they do fine.  I cook a full pound of dried beans at a time and end up freezing at least a few servings for later meals.  I usually freeze them with some of their pot liquor to help avoid freezer burn. 

Same here.

 

Just cooked some for the freezer last night, in fact.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I'd never thought of freezing beans, which is why I buy canned beans. I don't like cooking small amounts of beans. I'll give this a try.

 

I know that brown rice freezes beautifully. One cup of brown rice is enough for my Sweetie and me. I typically bake* up either 14.5 oz or 18 oz at a time (matches 4 or 5 cups of water), serve some and then freeze the rest. This past week I baked a batch just to freeze and my Sweetie and I snacked on the leftovers after portioning and freezing.

 

When we want rice I just nuke a package and then season it at will.

 

*Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice.  I created a spreadsheet of the recipe so that I can enter the weight of the rice and know how much of the other ingredients I need.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I have frozen just about everything which I have ever cooked...or Ed has cooked...no doubt including things which you are not supposed to freeze like mashed potatoes and cream cheese.  We live quite far from the nearest grocery shopping, which Ed agrees to go to, so this is how we survive nicely.  Plus we have enough freezer space to do it.  

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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OK, then - yay! I can get more beans at Cooper's tonight! :D

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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It's a warm, sunny day. The activity is dying down now, but there's been a steady stream of swimmers and splashers playing in the river, or families bringing picnic lunches and having their own private tailgate parties. This road of dredged materials, which is built to be reclaimed by backhoe and hauled by truck to the aggregate plant, has made an excellent swimming beach. A bunch of kids came down with their inner tubes and launched off that ephemeral beach. I'd love to have been able to join them.

 

20200426_165408.jpg

 

I spent part of the day dealing with the chicken that we hadn't ordered from Cooper's. The first step was to strip the skin from the meat and the meat from the bones.

 

20200426_162251.jpg

 

The meat became chicken salad for sandwiches, minus the few bites I snitched during the peeling and chopping.

 

20200426_162440.jpg

 

The skin I reserved to try crisping up according to this recent article in Food 52: Why Lindsay Maitlin Hunt's Roast Chicken is Genius. That article advocates roasting the chicken at a low and slow temperature, then removing the skin and crisping it at high heat. Why not? I tried it.

 

20200426_162534.jpg

 

It's quite crispy. I like it - I think someone here at eG has called it "chicken croutons" but I may be misremembering. My darling isn't so sure about liking it. It certainly depends on the seasoning and quality of the chicken skin!

 

The bones went for broth in the Instant Pot. I didn't bother with pictures, but I got almost a quart of broth with very little effort. We probably won't need it for the trip home, but I'll need some items when we arrive. Tomorrow we'll leave these wildflowers, and the river, behind.

 

20200426_164801.jpg

 

We went into town to refuel the pickup before hooking up the trailer. While we were there, we checked out their beer supply. 

 

20200426_153131.jpg

 

There must have been a heck of a party somewhere.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Are y'all headed home? If you come through my part of the world, let me know. We can't go out and eat, but I'd happily cook lunch or dinner for you. 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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25 minutes ago, kayb said:

Are y'all headed home? If you come through my part of the world, let me know. We can't go out and eat, but I'd happily cook lunch or dinner for you. 

 

I can't tell you how much that means to me! Unfortunately, we're taking the most direct way home possible now: northern Texas tonight, northern Oklahoma tomorrow night, somewhere in Iowa, then into Minnesota and home on May Day. Thank you for the offer, though. I hope, by this fall, assuming we're still doing this, we'll be able to arrange a visit.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We've done the final trailer packing-up for this trip, and will be living in half of it only until we're home. Today's road food includes a Tale of Two Sandwiches.

 

20200427_123535.jpg

 

I had enough chicken to make 2 chicken salads yesterday: Miracle Whip in his; mayonnaise in mine, with chopped pickles and the last of a jar of capers to give it an extra kick. Today's sandwiches were custom-made. I added some of the chicken-skin croutons to mine for some extra crunch. Note to self: make sure that skin is really, completely crisp! A couple of pieces, thicker than the rest, are most chewy than crunchy. Not very nice.

 

Some road sights: pecan groves near San Saba, trimmed very differently than in Picacho, Arizona; a neat downtown store in San Saba; a bridge that gave us pause.

 

20200427_123814.jpg

 

The trailer is 13'3" high. We went very carefully, and still flinched - but didn't scrape.We've been under this bridge before. It makes us flinch very time.

 

I haven't figured out last night's puzzle. Yes, I know we can look it up! But can anyone get it without looking? That thing in the lower left still has me stumped.

 

20200427_124528.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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6 minutes ago, Smithy said:

We've done the final trailer packing-up for this trip, and will be living in half of it only until we're home. Today's road food includes a Tale of Two Sandwiches.

 

20200427_123535.jpg

 

I had enough chicken to make 2 chicken salads yesterday: Miracle Whip in his; mayonnaise in mine, with chopped pickles and the last of a jar of capers to give it an extra kick. Today's sandwiches were custom-made. I added some of the chicken-skin croutons to mine for some extra crunch. Note to self: make sure that skin is really, completely crisp! A couple of pieces, thicker than the rest, are most chewy than crunchy. Not very nice.

 

Some road sights: pecan groves near San Saba, trimmed very differently than in Picacho, Arizona; a neat downtown store in San Saba; a bridge that gave us pause.

 

20200427_123814.jpg

 

The trailer is 13'3" high. We went very carefully, and still flinched - but didn't scrape.We've been under this bridge before. It makes us flinch very time.

 

I haven't figured out last night's puzzle. Yes, I know we can look it up! But can anyone get it without looking? That thing in the lower left still has me stumped.

 

20200427_124528.jpg


That’s Incredible!

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Aha! It's an ink pad! Yes, I find that credible. xD

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We're beating feet north as fast as we can reasonably go. Last night we stayed in a Walmart parking lot in Mineral Wells, Texas, and admired the steady stream of cars using the drive-through at a local fried chicken joint. That place was doing a land-office business.

 

20200428_163232.jpg

 

We had leftover brisket, cole slaw and potato salad from Cooper's (you've seen that oodles of times already) and some of the alligator toes and brisket poppers from Miller's. They were delicious. I really must learn to make them myself.

 

20200428_162656.jpg

 

This morning we were on the road early, our lunch cooler packed with hard-boiled eggs, sandwiches like yesterday's, and fresh vegetables. 

 

20200428_104225.jpg

 

We stopped occasionally to stretch our legs, and kept commenting on the picnic areas we'd forgotten about along the highway between Mineral Wells and Wichita Falls. Texas does beautiful picnic areas. Like most, this one is spacious enough that we'd be able to stay overnight. Like many, it has fire grates for outdoor cookouts.

 

20200428_162507.jpg

 

We let a strong tailwind push us northward, giving us great (relatively speaking) fuel mileage and a quiet ride. It seems as though the gods of mechanical malfunction weren't done with us yet, however: we had another flat tire at a fueling station along the Oklahoma Turnpike. (For those of you keeping score, that's 4 flat tires this trip.) We lost an hour and a half over that, but the delay may have helped us miss the really bad storms that passed through Oklahoma City. Seen along the road:

 

20200428_172551.jpg

 

See that weather in the bottom photo? That was a nasty line of storms that passed through ahead of us. More might develop yet tonight - at least, that's the forecast - so we're pressing along into the now-headwind for another 100 miles or so. It's a lot of driving and/or riding, but it will pay off tomorrow. Dinner probably won't be anything to write about, though.

 

Edited to add: just got another tire alarm. We must have really annoyed someone. 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Is there some urgency in your wanting to get home or is it just that you are ready?

 

Has someone been staying or watching your home while you’ve been away?

 

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50 minutes ago, lindag said:

Is there some urgency in your wanting to get home or is it just that you are ready?

 

Has someone been staying or watching your home while you’ve been away?

 

 

May 1 is traditionally our time to arrive home, since we're splitting our time between being home (where I prefer) and being warm (which he prefers). In addition, we have a number of medical appointments scheduled for May -- although we don't know yet which of them, if any, will still happen on schedule.

 

We have friends watching our home.

 

Edited to add: once we're down to half of our living space, we don't really like to spend much time on the road. This is our back room / garage / erstwhile dining room right now:

 

20200427_173311.jpg

 

Edited by Smithy
Added additional information and photo (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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