Where do we begin? 2022 was a wild year, full of food, tech, travel, and fun. The site stats continue to improve, with an average traffic rate of just over 5000 page views per month. Thanks for returning to read my weekly ramblings! With that, let’s go back and revisit some of the highlights from 2022.
While I can’t predict what 2023 has in store, I’m already planning several trips to new places around the US and maybe even an international trip, or two, later in the year. We’ll continue the weekly post schedule, as that seems to be doable on all but the craziest weeks. I have a lot of post ideas saved up, and I look forward to sharing what I’ve found and continuing with my thoughts and observations. Happy New Year, and we’ll see you again next week!
We all have a lot to be thankful for this year. I started a new job in June that I absolutely love, and I hope to be there for many years to come. I left the rat race that is consulting in favor of an operations position with a not-for-profit I’ve worked with for the past ten years. It was the easiest job transition I’ve ever made. One of the perks of this new job is they close the office between Christmas and New Year. So essentially, I have two weeks for R&R before getting back into the swing of things in 2023.
Delish has an article called “The Most Iconic Holiday Cookies In Every State,” I don’t know if I agree with the cookie they picked for Indiana. Still, I’ll give them credit for at least tying it back to an Indiana product essential to the ingredient list. On the other hand, they did nail Ohio with the ever-famous Buckeye (although I’d be hesitant to call it a “cookie).
The latest version of Google Chrome has a handy new feature that helps you search your Bookmarks, Open Tabs, or History simply by putting an @ in the search bar. I’m not one who usually has many tabs open, but those of you who do are sure to like this new feature!
And finally… I love a good episode of Hot Ones, where celebrities eat progressively hotter chicken wings while being interviewed by the host, Sean Evans. The End of Year episode is a good one, with none other than the Elf himself, Will Ferrell. Enjoy!
I’ll have to admit, this was a new one to me, and I wasn’t prepared to love it as much as I do. First of all, I’m not a fan of corn tortillas. I think their texture is odd, and the flavor can be overpowering. Secondly, there are not a lot of ingredients that go into this, so I was expecting something on the bland side. I was wrong…
King Ranch Chicken comes from Texas, known for BBQ and Tex-Mex. Some Texians believe this Casserole is the state’s “official casserole” if such a thing exists. All I know is it was much better than I expected, and we ate every bit of the 9×13″ dish over the course of a couple of days.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups diced cooked chicken *
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced tomato and green chiles (Rotel works great)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 corn tortillas torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese **
Sour Cream on the side when you serve (optional)
* I poached 2-3 chicken breasts in chicken broth and heavily seasoned it with Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning. Bring to a low boil and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, or until an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Let cool for another 30 minutes in the cooking liquid (off heat), then dice into bite-sized chunks.
** You can use more cheese; I certainly did.
Preheat oven to 350 F and adjust one of your racks to the middle of the oven.
Over medium-high heat, sauté bell pepper and onion in a large skillet for 5-7 minutes. Make sure your skillet can contain all the ingredients listed above (bigger is better here).
Add diced chicken, Cream of Chicken and Mushroom soups, Rotel, and all the seasonings. Mix well and heat through on medium-low heat.
Lightly grease a 9×13″ casserole dish and add 1/3 of the torn corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Add 1/3 of the chicken mixture and spread evenly. Top with 1/3 of the cheese.
Repeat 2 more times until you have used all the ingredients. This is where you can add more cheese or even a different cheese, like parmesan, if you prefer.
Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes.
Serve with a small side of Sour Cream if you’re feeling adventurous.
This casserole reheats well in the microwave, and it should freeze well if you don’t eat it all in a couple of days. The corn tortillas really added to this dish; without them, the flavor wouldn’t be nearly as good. Some alternate ingredients are jalapeno peppers, fresh garlic, and more bell pepper.
What’s your favorite casserole? Share a link in the comments.
WOW, what a game. I just finished watching the World Cup finale between Argentina and France, and it was one of the best games of the event. I had a $1 bet on Team USA to go all the way, and that would have paid $175 (kind of like playing the lottery). All in all, it was a good World cup with the typical upsets. Unfortunately, we lost an American reported under suspicious circumstances.
I was planning on recommending an inexpensive last-minute gift or stocking stuffer, as I highly recommend the Leatherman Micra, which usually costs $20-30. I’ve carried one for the past 15+ years and use it regularly. I say planning to recommend it because when I went to post a link to it on Amazon, it’s now retailing for $66! This is crazy, and I can only imagine it’s due to the holiday demand.
Leatherman has it listed on their site for a more respectable $35, but it may not make it to you by Christmas. If you’re out and about, I’ve seen the Micra in Big Box and local hardware stores closer to the $25 retail price.
I love maps. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they do way more than tell you where you are. In fact, there are maps that explain all kinds of facts like this… “How many countries other than the United States do not use the metric system?” Two!
100 Amazing Maps of the World is an interesting site with a lot of great maps. I particularly like the map showing all of the rivers that flow into the Mississippi river.
And finally… What do you get when you take an 862HP Subaru Wagon, strap Travis Pastrana in the driver’s seat, and turn him loose on the streets of Florida? You get Gymkhana 2022. Pay special attention for a guest appearance by Cleetus McFarland.
About the only thing good about Winter is it gives me more time to read. I happened to catch a Joe Rogan clip on YouTube about Operation Paperclip (OP) with author Annie Jacobsen who wrote a book under the same name. As a history buff, I’m really enjoying the book and the details of OP are quite incredible.
Operation Paperclip was a secret United States intelligence program in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians were taken from the former Nazi Germany to the U.S. for government employment after the end of World War II in Europe, between 1945 and 1959.
Here we go again… Real ID Deadline for Domestic Fliers is Extended. Again. In 2005, in response to the September 11 attacks, the US Government decided travelers needed to have more identification than an easily forged driver’s license. May, 2023 was the latest deadline but it’s been pushed out 2 more years because we’re still not ready to implement it. This is embarrassing, to say the least. It’s been 17 years!
And finally… What does your pet do when you leave the house? This pet owner strapped a GoPro to his Lab and left him alone for the first time.
It’s December & the year is coming to a close. I’m fortunate to work for a company that closes over the Christmas holiday, and I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of time off before I hit the ground running in 2023. I’m already counting the days until we get back to warmer weather so I can get back out and do more camping. I noticed today when looking at the calendar & there are 53 weeks in 2022 (because Jan 1, 2022, was on a Saturday), so we’ll have to do our year-end recap that week.
If you’ve left the house in the past 3 years you’ve no doubt seen and used a QR Code, most likely in a restaurant, to access a digital menu. QR Codes have been around for years, but it took a pandemic to make them mainstream (like video calls). But How do QR Codes Work? Review Geek has the details. Pro Tip, if you want to generate a QR Code to make it easier for guests to join your wireless network, check this site out.
And finally… Is real Parmigiano Reggiano actually worth the high price? Ethan Chlebowski breaks it down so you can make up your mind (TLDR, It IS!).
The holidays have officially started, with Thanksgiving being last Thursday. As is the annual tradition at IndyScan.com, we like to share the Ode to Thanksgiving from a 2004 post by Mr. John C. Dvorak, who claims Thanksgiving is an artificial holiday created by none other than President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. I was visiting family over the holiday, and one of the first-year college students had heard the same thing & helped me tell the tale. So what do you think? Do you believe what you were taught in school, or does the Lincoln story make more sense? Leave your comments below.
I ended up coming down with ANOTHER head cold over the weekend. First time I remember being sick twice in such a short period of time. After picking up some additional medicine, I noticed something concerning…
I always buy Mucinex Sinus-Max for head colds. It works well for me. I went to take the Yellow pill I had been taking for the past few days and realized what I bought was the “NightShift” version, where the Yellow pill is for NIGHTTIME. The pill looks the same, with the three chevron marks and everything. What a poor design decision by Reckitt (the makers of Mucinex).
And finally… You have to tip your hat to the FBI, who conducted a sting operation called Special Operation Ironside that featured an “Anom” burner phone, targeted to criminals who snatched them up and fell right into the trap.
It looks like I missed another post last week. Work has been crazy, and my schedule has been off since last weekend due to a cold (or whatever it is going around). This should get us caught up before the Thanksgiving Holiday.
After seeing a review on YouTube, I had the itch to buy some new computer hardware. So, I was pleasantly surprised when the Ultra-Wide screen monitor was on sale at Amazon (I picked this up for $999, and it’s worth every penny). This 49-inch 5120×1440 5k monitor is a thing of beauty.
It’s like having two 27-inch 4k monitors side by side with no seam in the middle. So far, it’s playing nicely with my personal MacBook Pro M1 and my work HP Z-Book. This thing is a game changer when it comes to productivity. I really wish I had this when we were all working from home for months. The only thing that’s been a challenge is video calls. I have to use an external camera & my AirPod Pros (vs. everything that’s built into the MacBook Pro). Small price to pay for this much screen real estate.
I’ve been watching the Welcome to Wrexham series on FX, and It’s been an interesting lesson on how European Football operates (so many levels). The show stars Ryan Renolds (from Deadpool Fame) and Rob McElhenney (from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). It’s more of a reality-type show than Ted Lasso was, and it’s pretty entertaining. Wrexham plays Farnborough at 10:00 am on November 26
Ever wanted to learn more about Indianapolis? Well, the Indianapolis Encyclopedia is a great place to start! This website was mentioned in a meeting at work a few weeks ago, and it has some great articles and seems to grow as more people contribute. This piece on Geist Reservoir is an excellent place to start.
70-degrees in November? I’ll take it! We had some BIG wind gusts that came through Indiana yesterday, and about half the houses in my neighborhood ended up without power for a little over 5-hours. Luckily I work off laptops and iPads, so I had enough power to get through most of the day using my iPhone as a hotspot. As the sun started to go down, I even broke out the Jackery 500 Portable Station to run a few of my USB Camping lights.
In September, the Washing Post ran an article titled “Customs officials have copied Americans’ phone data at massive scale.” In it, they detail the breadth of the program and how it’s raised some concerns on Capital Hill. As someone who plans on taking a couple of International trips in the next 12 months, this is a little scary, to say the least.
Contacts, call logs, messages and photos from up to 10,000 travelers’ phones are saved to a government database every year
Although I’m not part of the demographic they are looking at, “individuals who are of a significant law enforcement, counterterrorist, or national security concern,” the fact remains this database exists and appears to have little oversight in its use.
And finally… Ken Block is at it again, this time with a fully electric rally car on the streets of Las Vegas. The electric motor sound is not as pleasing as the turbo-charged gas engine, but the impressive abilities of his latest vehicle almost make up for it.
The fall foliage has been amazing this year, and we’ve enjoyed the burst of color in the trees around the house. I took some time off to go camping in my new favorite place, Hardin Ridge (in the Hoosier National Forest). All the loops are closed except for one, and there are minimal amenities, but for only $10 a night, it’s a great deal in a beautiful part of Indiana.
As you can see there was no one around and my campsite was quite large. It dipped down to 40-degrees overnight but I brought the right equipment to keep warm and enjoy the outdoors. I hope to get another stretch of warm weatrher before December so I can make one more trip before putting all the gear away for the winter!
If you were outside on the Northside of Indy last weekend you might have seen and heard a Ford as 5-AT-B Trimotor from 1928 flying around. I didnt get a chance to snap a picture before it left town, but our friends at Shutter and Brushes saw it in Elkhart last Saturday and not only grabbed a few pictures on the tarmac they went inside to take a pic as well! This is a beautifully restored airplane that’s almost 100 years old apears to be traveling around the Midwest selling rides to anyone interested.
And finally… Owl Kitty is back with a new video. This time she joins Tom Cruise in Top Gun!
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