Our “dusting” of snow this past Friday turned into a few inches and seemed to catch a lot of people off guard. There were several accidents around town including a few interstate shutdowns. I’m happy that it was a short commute to the office and back so I missed all the excitement.
I’ve been seeing a lot more Automated License Plate Readers (ALRPs) pop up around central Indiana. The company responsible is called Flock Safety and they have entered into contracts with a bunch of police agencies in the area. They work by scanning License Plates as well as noting the make/model/color of vehicles that pass by their watching eye. This data can be referenced by local officials to determine who was in an area in the past or look for vehicles in real-time in the event of an active emergency. Some neighborhood Associations have been installing them as well to keep track of individuals entering and leaving the area.
Earlier this year I upgraded the tried true Bose Quiet Comfort 15 (wired) headphones I’ve had for years to the new QC45 (wireless) headphones. The initial impression was nothing short of *WOW*. I had been using the QC15 headphones mostly for travel and times when I needed to really isolate myself from the outside world. Most other times I relied on my AirPod Pros for day-to-day use.
One of my favorite features of the AirPods is the Transparency Mode. This lets the outside world in while you listen to your media. The Bose QC45s have a similar feature called Aware Mode. The build quality of the QC45 is top notch and I’m looking forward to many years of service. If you’re in the market for a pair of wireless over-the-ear headphones they are worth considering.
And finally, if you’re a fan of Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, Americas Test Kitchen shows you an easy way to make it at home in a cast-iron skillet (you have one of those, right?). This recipe looks like a great thing to make on a Sunday night to enjoy leftovers the next day!
It’s the NFL Wild Card weekend, and there have been some great games played these past two days. But, unfortunately, the Colts blew their chance to go to the playoffs last weekend with an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The only thing I like about the cold winter weather is the food we fix during that time. Comfort foods like casseroles, stews, and pot roasts seem to taste better when we’re stuck inside on a winter day. I just updated my Pot Roast recipe that’s been on the site for years to now include dried mushrooms (vs. fresh) and tomato paste. This adjustment resulted in a much more flavorful broth and some nice textures from the rehydrated fungi. If you end up trying the recipe, let me know what you think!
And finally, Marques Brownlee and his team took a Tesla, a Mustang Mach-E, and a gas car on a 1000 trip to see which car could make the trip the fastest. The results were interesting & show just much more infrastructure is needed to make (non-Tesla) electric cars viable.
It’s the final Sunday of 2021 & it’s time for another Year in Review! I wanted to bring the blog back to life this year and post at least once a week. I missed a few weeks throughout the year, but overall I’m pleased with how I was able to keep things active. Along the way, I kept a list of ideas to discuss, so I should always have some content as I attempt to keep this up in 2022.
The weekly format seems to work well as it allows me to summarize the previous 7-days and add some additional content that appears relevant (or fun). As I did last year, this post will be a summary of the past year. It’s been another wild year with Covid and all the VAX/Boost discussions but we’re in the home stretch. Next Sunday will be the first post of 2022!
I shared our family favorite Scalloped Potato Gratin
Started visiting A2Z Cafe again for lunch (Closed on Monday)
The Bon Appetite Test Kitchen falls apart
Clancy’s opens in the garage Food Hall
We visited Indy Tacos
Discovered a Vegan Cheeseball that fooled everyone I served it to (AmazeBall)
Dropped Lass Pass for BitWarden (and never looked back)
Hoagies and Hops opens a new location in Fletcher Place (now closing on 12/31)
Life in Indy launches
I start playing Disk Golf (Like Ball Golf only better)
We discover J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (although I mentioned him on the Blog in 2010)
My First COVID Vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saraga plans to open a store in Castleton (still not open)
Baseball returns and I actually watch it (Go Reds!)
I order a TidByt (it was delivered the day before Christmas, review coming soon)
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery (free cookie Monday)
More Disk Golf (I’m hooked)
I visit the Gus Grissom Monument In Mitchel, Indiana
Hiking at Hemlock Cliffs
More Disk Golf at a Monastery in Southern Indiana
I finally try Chris’s Ice Cream And fall in love with their Chorizo Burrito
First camping trip of the year at Indian-Celina Lake Campground
Bought a WOOL T-Shirt (and LOVE it)
Who could forget the 17-Year Cicada Brood
Built a Pi Weather Station (use this daily)
More Disk Golf
Travel to Cincy and visit the War Birds Museum, and Jungle Jims, for fathers Day
Road Trip to the Allegheny National Forest (So much rain)
Found a proper Beef on Weck at the Bar-Bill Tavern (I have dreams about this sando)
Visited Niagara Falls (nicer than I remember)
Visited the Zippo/Case Museum
FINALLY saw Rock City (only to find out it’s not the one I saw signs for growing up)
Walked the Kinzua Bridge State Park in Kane, PA
Reviewed Upland Brewing (Jalapeno Blue Cheese Sauce)
Bought an iPad Pro (FINALLY)
Reviewed the 99% Invisible Podcast
MORE Disk Golf
Looked at the WP Recipe Maker plugin (too much work)
20 years since 9/11
677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID so far
Visited San Diego
Bought a new Apple Watch
Updated my Kindle Paperwhite
Watched the Donut King Documentary
Visited Findlay Market
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (READ this)
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (then READ THIS)
So that’s it for 2021. We covered a lot of ground this year and started some new things. The Keto “diet” has turned into more of a “watch those carbs” lifestyle and I’m happy to report I’ve had some moderate success. Disk Golf was something new this year and I really enjoyed playing various courses around the area. San Diego was a nice escape, even though I was there for work, and the Allegheny National Forest was one of the nicest camping trips I’ve had in a while, despite all the rain.
Here’s to another year, and thanks for reading!
I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend. I took an extra day off work to make it more like a vacation. The weather was amazing, and it was nice to get out and be active without melting in the 90+ degree heat. I just realized this post should be for Week-36, so I must have missed a post somewhere along the way… I also updated the theme to something a little fresher than what we’ve been using for several years.
I visited a new-to-me Disc Golf course north of Tipton, Indiana, over the weekend. The Heartland Disc Golf Course is located on the grounds of the Heartland Church in Sharpsville, Indiana, and was built in May 2020. Although they only have 9 baskets, they have long and short tee pads that allow you to play a round of 18-holes. There was just one other group there when I visited, and after they left, I had the place to myself for the better part of an hour.
I’m hoping to expand the recipe section of the website and have been looking at WordPress plugins to make things more professional looking, like other sites with recipes.. I’ve started using the “WP Recipe Maker” plugin and edited our recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip to reflect the new format. It’s going to take a little time to get all of our existing recipes into the new format but going forward, it should be easier to add new ones that we find along the way.
I was hoping to get to the Farmer and the Flea outdoor market this weekend, but the rain on Saturday kept us inside. However, I’m planning on visiting next weekend and will share any unique finds I discover.
And finally, if you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you might be interested in the First teaser trailer for Rick and Morty live-action starring Christopher Lloyd, Jaeden Martel.
I’ve made this dish around the holidays for years and brought it out last weekend to go with a baked ham we were eating for dinner. It’s a pretty straight forward potato dish but the flavors and textures are really incredible. You can use as much, or as little, thyme and garlic as you like. I think it’s better on the more side.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more to finish
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices*
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a saucepan, heat up the heavy cream with the thyme, garlic, and nutmeg
While the cream is heating up, butter a 9×13″ casserole dish. Place a layer of potatoes in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the cream from the heat and ladle a little over the potatoes and top with some of the Parmesian. Make 2-3 more layers, bake uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese browns.
*A mandolin slicer (or a food processor with a slicing disk) is the best way to get uniform slices that will cook evenly.
We’re 3-weeks in & it’s been an interesting start to the year. The political mess and COVID-19 continues to top the news. It’s been cold and cloudy in Indianapolis this past 2 weeks and we finally got some measurable snow! It’s either going to be another “mild” winter or we’re in for something big. Only time will tell. I just put some 3-Peak rated tires on the Subaru so I could go for a big snowstorm right about now.
Some really great football games on last weekend and the CFB national championship goes to Alabama! It was looking like it was going to be a good game at first but Ohio State just couldn’t keep up. Just a few more weekends and the NFL will be over too… BUT NASCAR starts on February 14th! (and we always have soccer).
Do you eat in your car often? I saw this device being used by a mobile food reviewer and had to have it (especially since it’s only $12!). – Laptop Steering Wheel Desk It works surprisingly well and helps the crumbs & sauces off your lap.
Total Wine & More opened a new store in Nora mid-November (first one in the Indianapolis region) and if you haven’t checked it out you should! It’s one of the largest liquor stores I’ve ever been in and it’s designed very well. Crowds have been heavy but there’s plenty of room to move about and keep your distance from others. If you’re a wine or Bourbon fan you’re sure to find something you like there.
Tried a new recipe this week (Mushroom Bourguignon) and it was a huge hit. There is a lot of prep but the cooking goes pretty fast. Probably something to fix on a weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Looks like the recipe I used from NYT Cooking is behind a paywall but this one is pretty similar.
Remix of a 2020 YouTube hit. That cat cracks me up!
Just an observation… I’ve been blogging for a while and I’ve covered a lot of content. I find it interesting that the most viewed post on IndyScan (12,867 views since it was published in 2010) is my recipe for Marsala Sauce! It doesn’t even show up on the top-5 pages in Google but people still seem to find it with regularity.
This is one of the first weekends this summer I’ve spent the majority of my time inside. Between the cycling, kayaking and fishing it’s been a wonderfully busy summer and it passed by quickly. So here we are during the first weekend of FALL and the temps are in the 90’s. I thought I’d share some updates about what’s been going on.
I found a box of Pearl Sugar in the pantry the other day & decided to break out the waffle iron for another round of Liege Waffles. I wrote about these back in 2011 and they are worth the effort. My only caution is they will gum up your waffle iron with caramelized sugar. Cleanup is best done after things have cooled down so the hardened sugar can be chipped off.
After spending a lot of time riding the Monon trail these past few months I decided to mount my little GoPro Session to the handle bars and start recording some of the ridiculous stuff seem to encounter every ride. I’ll post some video after my next ride.
On the Podcast front I’ve discovered several new ones this summer. The ones I found to be the most entertaining are:
Twenty Thousand Hertz – Dallas Taylor does an amazing job bringing you “the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds”. My favorite episode so far is the story behind the NBC chimes.
Countdown – Detailed stories about 10 of the most incredible space missions during the race to the moon 50-years ago. Lots of NASA audio recordings and interviews make it a very well produced podcast from Time Magazine.
After driving near this place for years I finally stopped in the little town of Brookville Indiana and checked out the amazing Brookville Reservoir. We spent several weekends this summer kayaking and fishing this place and absolutely love it.
Brookville has a great tail water below the dam that’s stocked with rainbow and brown trout. When the conditions are right it’s an awesome place to fly fish. The reservoir itself has a lot of bass and other native Indiana species. We’ve had success fishing from the bank and from the kayaks. Since it’s only a 90-minute drive from home it’s an easy place to go for a day trip.
I’m looking forward to more beautiful weather this fall. I need a few more weekends on the water and bike before packing everything up for the winter!
…To be continued
Stuck inside today with a sick kid so we’re watching Football, Soccer, and NASCAR. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday!
Found a new (to me) food site on the Internet called Delish & one of the first recipes I came across was Pimento Cheese Sliders! This website is going to be dangerous…
Even though we’ve had an incredibly mild winter I still can’t help but want some of the comfort foods that go along with this time of year. This is a classic rendition of that childhood favorite (at least mine anyway). It’s simple to prepare and any leftovers will freeze and reheat well.
1 Pound dried split peas
1 Smoked ham hock
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 Cup finely chopped celery
1/2 Cup finely chopped carrots
2 Teaspoons minced garlic
1 Pound Smithfield ham, chopped
1 Teaspoon salt
3/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 Cups water
1 Bay leaf
2 Teaspoons fresh thyme
- Place the peas in a large pot or bowl, cover with water by 2 inches and soak 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the peas and set aside.
- Score the ham hock. Place in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until just soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add the ham hock and ham and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown.
- Add the drained peas, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Add 8 cups of water, the bay leaf and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.)
- Remove the bay leaf and discard. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve immediately.
Optional – Top with homemade croutons and/or crumbled bacon!