Christmas Playlists and Streaming Services


I am signed up for too many free streaming accounts. I like raucous punk and metal Christmas music in addition to some of the more straightforward poppy and traditional stuff. I wish that all of these songs were available across all platforms. I have some stuff from the wild west days of mp3 downloading that I can’t seem to find on any platforms.

Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube
Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube

I do need to work on refining the lists I have. The YouTubes ones are all over the place. I hardly use Pandora enough to thumbs up or down to get it where every song is a smash. Spotify and Amazon are the ones that are easy to use… but I wish I could add more content.

I do have the free accounts for all mentioned. I don’t feel like playing for a streaming service unless it can be complete. I heard Google Music was pretty awesome, until it just became the YouTube Music thing. I need to get my personal stuff all digitized someday too. Man, I miss just running WinAmp on a giant desktop.

What do you use to listen to Christmas music? What are your favorite songs, traditional, wild, overplayed, or obscure?

Here are mine:

Spotify | Christmas 🤘🎸🎄

Amazon Music | Christmas

(WordPress doesn’t seem to want to embed the Amazon playlist.)

Pandora | Holiday Rock N’ Roll ☃

https://www.pandora.com/station/1758025359576278863

(WordPress won’t embed Pandora I guess, either.)

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | ☃ ♩♫♬♪ Christmas Songs ♩♫♬♪ ☃

Guest Post | breslesperots


That’s Brussels Sprouts. My oldest is in 2nd grade, and has a journal for what they now call ELA. We called it Writing or English back in the late Triassic when I was in school. Pretty soon I may be up to her writing level. I certainly make about the same amount of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Her journal has some great entries, but I found this amusing and asked if I could share it. Her handwriting looks a lot like mine at that age. The whole thing is just too cute, IMHO.

11-23-20 | My least favite food is breslesperots. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, how do you like it? I said its discusting! My dad said I was crasy. One of his favite foods are breslsprots. The next time we had the my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relevd we do not have them very often only really on thanks giving. broulsprots are little balls that look like cabig. The worst food ever is braroslsprats.
My second grader’s journal entry about the worst food ever.

The text, as originally written:

11-23-20

My least favite food is breslesperots. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, how do you like it? I said its discusting! My dad said I was crasy. One of his favite foods are breslsprots. The next time we had the my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relevd we do not have them very often only really on thanks giving. broulsprots are little balls that look like cabig. The worst food ever is braroslsprats.

Here’s my slight correction:

11-23-20

My least favorite food is Brussels sprouts. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, “How do you like it?” I said it’s disgusting! My dad said I was crazy. One of his favorite foods are Brussels sprouts. The next time we had them, my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relived we do not have them very often, only really on Thanksgiving. Brussels sprouts are little balls that look like cabbage. The worst food ever is Brussels sprouts.

Even though I wholeheartedly disagree, she builds a strong case. I’m anxious to see what the teacher thinks.

So, I made broccoli cheese soup for the first time. 🥦🧀🥣


I’ve made a few different soups before, but never really tackled one with a creamy base. I like my soups pretty simple. I probably used more ingredients here than I needed to. Generally at this point with soups or chili, I just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and see what happens. I read a few different recipes at the top of a Google search, and went from there. I am really bad at measuring stuff. I just throw in an eyeballed amount.

AiXeLsyD13's Broccoli Cheese Soup
AiXeLsyD13’s Broccoli Cheese Soup | This was my first attempt. It wasn’t bad!

Tools you’ll definitely need:

  • Stock pot
  • Cheese grater
  • Spoon
  • Spatula

Ingredients:

  • 1½ sticks of butter
  • ¾ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup of diced celery
  • ½ Spanish onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 32 oz. box of chicken stock
  • 32 oz. box of chicken stock
  • 32 oz. box of vegetable broth
  • 2 bundles of fresh broccoli (chopped up into spoon-sized pieces)
  • ¼ cup of bacon pieces
  • 7 oz. block of extra sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 7 oz. block of white cheddar cheese (grated)
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. block of Velveeta (cut onto small chunks)
  • 2 cup bag of shredded “mac & cheese blend” cheese
  • 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Method:

  1. Melt butter on medium heat in the bottom of your stock pot, add celery, carrots, onions, & sautée for a bit.
  2. Mix spices with the flour, add to pot to make a roux and let it get a nice color brown.
  3. Add minced garlic at the end… sometimes it burns easily.
  4. Add 3 boxes of stock, then the buttermilk while it’s still cool to prevent curdling.
  5. Add broccoli & bacon pieces, bring to a boil, simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Turn heat to low, stir in all that cheese.
  7. Add mashed potato flakes to thicken. (I think I poured in a bit more buttermilk in here too.)

Notes:

  • Obviously, you can use your preferred onions, cheeses, stock, etc. You could use heavy cream instead of buttermilk.
  • I would say next time I will make more roux & use one less box of broth for a thicker soup. Maybe a bullion cube would add flavor without the liquid? I could cook it longer to get it thicker too. I like a ridiculously thick soup.
  • I like to use beer in ham soup, I bet it would go great here. Maybe I could sub that & a bullion cube for a box of broth next time?
  • I read that the bagged pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as easily, but it seemed to incorporate just as well as the rest of the stuff.

So, that’s it. I would be very interested in your suggestions, tips, tricks, & “secrets” in the comments. Have you tried this recipe? Did you put your spin on it? Let me know in the comments.

I thought about putting this in a bread bowl, but I opted to make my take on ham & cheese oven sandwiches. Maybe I’ll get into baking next time, or just buy some bread bowls pre-made.

🥦🧀🥣

If you liked this recipe, maybe check out these ones:

Gimme a few haiku


It’s important to stay creative and have multiple creative outlets.

Drop me some absurd haiku in the comments.

Finally set up a place to rock.


I finally got a permanent place set up to rock. All my guitars, ukes, amps, pedals, and even an electric kazoo are easy to quickly access and just start rocking when inspiration hits.

AiXeLsyD13's Guitar Room
Axetopia? CBGB’s (Carroll’s Big Guitar Bunker)? The Guitarmory?

I have talked about it, or even blogged about it for years.

It still needs a name. I haven’t officially decided. I have been calling it “the music room” or “the guitar room.” Both of those seem boring. Maybe this? I find it amusing but clunky.

I may make some videos of guitar shenanigans as a creative outlet. Not sure what direction they’ll take. I’m not a particularly good or technical player, but I can demo some gear or do some fun silly stuff. I do already have a YouTube playlist started for my guitar-related videos.

The Postitive Grid Spark amp & app have really made jamming quick and fun… they have a cool in-app video feature, but it’s not much different than recording straight-up with the phone’s camera.

I have been having a blast playing along to stuff on YouTube… from stuff from my old bands, to Black Sabbath, to Snuff, to the Ramones, and my new favorite song to play along to; “Bigger than Kiss” by Teenage Bottlerocket.

More setup inspires more setup. I need a way to store my physical media (mostly CD’s) so it’s easily accessible. I have a lot. Too many probably. I need to build some shelves and the stuff I’m finding online seems painfully expensive and not quite a fit. And I’d like to dump that all on a personal media server. I have a lot of stuff not available on Amazon or Spotify.

The next itch I can already feel will need scratching is some kind of recording setup. I’d like to layer stuff I can hear in my head, without the aid of a looper. I miss the days of a Tascam 4-track with a cassette tape. Maybe I’ll delve into a nice simple digital version of that.

The kids have guitars, ukes, and a keyboard too… and now we almost need drums and a bass or too, right?

At any rate… it’s important to have a creative outlet. Live isn’t conducive to me jamming regularly with a band right now. I only seem to do mazes when the inspiration hits, and I blog pretty randomly. Music is one more option for expression, creativity, and constant learning/exploring. I hope to foster the kids’ musical expression and drive home how important it is to remain creative themselves and appreciative of art in general.

Keep watching the blog, social media, and YouTube if you’re interested in the musical stuff.

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Train your miscreants young.

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Making progress.

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Gonna need more walls.

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👽

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Green LED's! #AllMyAxes

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'MURICA. 🇺🇸🎸🤘 #SparkAmp

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So, I’ll take your suggestions in the comments!

  • What should I officially call the axe-cave?
  • Where can I get cheap media shelves for over 1500 CD’s & other assorted media?
  • What do you want to see in guitar videos?
  • What’s a good cheap recording solution?

Share your space to create in the comments too!

Easy, Quick, and Delicious – Grilled Chicken Noodle Soup 🥣


The wife & daughter are under the weather so I offered to make some home made chicken-noodle soup. Not much is more of a classic and traditional comfort than chicken-noodle soup, right? Around here, the stuff like Eat ‘n Park serves is a comfort-food staple. I love those style noodles. I make soups slightly differently every time, but this seemed to come together quickly and it was very flavorful. I’d definitely do it this way again.

I posted photos to Facebook & Instagram, & thought I’d share the recipe here too. I like to have leftover soup. Here’s what I posted on social media, maybe slightly edited;

This was the cheater method, but these frozen noodles are awesome. I made A LOT of soup. Ha ha. This could easily be halved.

I started with grilling chicken tenders on the panini grill, added a pretty good amount of “rotisserie chicken” spices. Two competing name brands happened to be in the spice rack, so that’s what I used.

I sautéed some shredded carrots, half a Spanish onion, and some celery stalks in a few pats of butter on the bottom of the stock pot.

Then I added some minced garlic (yes, the stuff from a jar soaked in olive oil because I am lazy), & some fresh parsley from the garden. I didn’t measure any of it.

I also used poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, white & black pepper, salt, & a shake of cayenne.

I de-glazed a bit with some chicken stock, then added the rest… 2 boxes of chicken stock, 1 box vegetable broth, 1 box low-sodium chicken broth (because vegetable broth usually has a much higher sodium content), 1 box bone broth. I ended up with 3 different name brands… just to get the mix of slightly different liquids.

I have used chicken bullion cubes in the past to save all kinds of money and use beer in my ham soups all the time.

I brought all that to a boil.

I added 2 bags of the frozen Reames egg noodles, the grilled chicken (that I cut up while it was boiling), and brought it back to a boil, simmered for about 20 minutes as per the directions on the noodles.

This almost overflowed my stock pot, but stirring kept it from boil over. Ha ha.

I have used regular dry noodles or Amish noodles, and even home-made noodles… but the Reaves ones really do taste fantastic and require zero work. Ha ha.

I like the taste of the grilled chicken in the soup. I left it just long enough to get grill lines. I have made it from scratch, using rotisserie chicken, made my own broth from a roasted chicken… I’d put this up against any of those methods and it’s super quick.

(Not-even-remotely-a-)Pro tip… For lunch the next day, all the noodles had soaked up all the liquid. Gonna put some chicken bullion cubes in some water in the stock pot, then add the soup to re-heat. It’s honestly good as-is re-heated in a bowl in the microwave.

If you make this, or your own version, tell me what you think in the comments! What are your favorite shortcuts for making tasty chicken noodle soup?

Someday I may try to make this (probably cut in half) in the pressure cooker, if I can get over how it wronged me on chili.

🥣🥣🥣

Stuff you need:

  • Countertop grill
  • Stock pot (and a stove, too I guess.)
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Large Spoon

Ingredients:

  • (2) small packs of chicken breast tenders
  • Extra Virgil Olive Oil (I keep some it in a spray bottle and use it to coat the grill)
  • Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning (or your favorite Season-Salt or Mrs. Dash’s or whatever) – I don’t measure, I just shake it on.
  • (3) pats of butter
  • (1) cup (ish) shredded carrots
  • (1) cup (ish) chopped celery
  • (½) Spanish onion (I think they’re sweeter than sweet onions, but you’re cooking, so use your favorite onion.)
  • (1) tsp. minced garlic (the lil’ stuff from jar, or be difficult & use fresh)
  • Fresh parsley – A small unmeasured & finely chopped bit, I pulled mine from the garden.
  • (2) 24 oz. bags of frozen egg noodles
  • (2) 32 oz. cartons chicken stock
  • (1) 32 oz. carton vegetable broth
  • (1) 32 oz. carton low-sodium chicken broth
  • (1) 32. oz. carton chicken bone broth
  • Spices, I don’t measure any of these… I just shake it in:
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    • White pepper
    • Poultry seasoning
    • Cayenne
    • Onion powder
    • Garlic Powder

Method:

  1. You just skipped down to the recipe, didn’t you?
  2. I already told you how to make it up top.
  3. Now, you have to go back up & read it.
  4. Or you can click the window closed & go away.
  5. But then, you’ll never know, will you?
  6. You’ll never know how delicious and easy this is.

Chili (AiXeLsyD13 Style) 🌶


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. round steak, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ package of bacon pieces
  • 1 10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with sweet onions
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 5 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, diced
  • 1 fresh orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 fresh sweet banana pepper, diced
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Straub Amber
  • 1 pack of chili spice mix
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, steak seasoning, seasoned-salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, white pepper

I wanted to try 2 things, the Ninja Foodi pressure-cooker function & steak in the chili. The steak was successful, the pressure-cooking was not so much.

I cut up the steak and sautéed with a tiny bit of EVOO in a pan on the stove on high then medium-high, added about half of each chopped up fresh pepper, the ground beef, and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. This is where I added all of the dry spices at the end. I don’t measure. I also used some Straub to deglaze the pan. This mix was delicious.

I added the rest of the ingredients into the Foodi after draining & rinsing both cans of beans… including the unused peppers, garlic, and beer.

It got up to pressure then insisted I “ADD WTR.” I reluctantly added a cup of water and a beef bullion cube. I like chili thick enough to eat with a fork.

It got up to pressure again and insisted “ADD WTR.”

Googling solutions seemed to lean to the fact that it could be overheating, stuff could be burning on the pan, or a few other suggestions. A real life friend confirmed the burning thing via Facebook. It eventually got to a boiling point after the second pressure-up, but again demanded “ADD WTR.” No, Foodi. I like thick chili! NO ADD WTR! NO ADD WTR! I put it on the saute setting and let it boil down for a bit.

I think the stove top would have been the same amount of time. The flavors were great. Would they had been enhanced with proper pressurized cooking? Will the Foodi learn to say “STR SHT” when that’s what it really means?

Next time I will put the liquid on the bottom maybe? Also, no water/bullion cube… and I may eliminate the small can of tomato paste & sauce. The meat & pepper mix itself before other stuff was delicious. I could add the tomatoes, & soup, & beans right there and have a fine meal to be seved with rice or mashed potatoes.

Maybe I will go back to the slow-cooker. You can’t deny how awesome that is. My recipe is always changing.

One of these days I’m gonna try cocoa powder. I have seen stuff calling for brown sugar (which I love in spaghetti sauce), but no thanks in chili. I have also had cinnamon in chili, an that’s totally not my thing, but I get it if you dig it.

I had mine with some tortilla strips, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. We had some pretzel breadsticks on the side too. They serves soft pretzels with chili at my elementary school, so they will always belong together for me. This would have also been great over mashed potatoes or on a baked potato, rice, or even pasta.

IG CHILI

How do you do chili (or chili con carne)? Beans? No beans? Over pasta? Over potatoes or rice? Any musts for the side like peanut butter, corn bread, sweet corn cake, rolls, cinnamon rolls, tortilla chips or strips, etc.?

Do you use cheese or sour cream? Do you like it hot? Do you cut the heat with anything?

Do you have a preferred cooking method?

Any tips on pressure-cooker (or Ninja Foodi) chili?

Teh Facebooks on Chili

The Family Decorating Game


For years, I have teased my wife about a habit I have noticed when we are setting out seasonal decorations. It happened at the apartment where we first cohabitated, it happens at our house now. It happened long before our children were in the picture. She cannot leave anything that I put in place stay where I put it. I put it on the left of a shelf, she moves it to the right. I put it on the wall-shelf, she puts it on the Victrola.

I had to go out for work in the afternoon today, but I set the kids on a path of chaos this morning before I left. My daughter was excited to put out fall decorations. I told her to watch because Mommy moves every decoration that I set out. Then a light bulb went off in my head.

I told her to get a white board for herself, and a white board for her brother, and mark down a point every time they set out a decoration and mommy moves it.

The winner gets to move one of the decorations that Mommy places!

Apparently shenanigans ensued while I was at work. I think it will be a new holiday/seasonal event.

Do you have someone in the house that moves decorations?

Do you have any fun decorating traditions?

Let us know in the comments.

Do a little #maze?


Print it. Solve it. Snap a photo. Post it. Tag me.

Kids, Gardening, & Jalapeños. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🌱🌶️


The kids like to garden. They helped plant once again this year, and have been great at watering, upkeep, & harvesting. They really did most of the planting work this year, and are learning about how to keep weeds out and when to pick ripe peppers. (They’re already pretty good at tomatoes.)

Molly & Ian try a jalapeño from the garden! 🌶️

This year, by accident, I picked up a jalapeño plant when shopping at Home Depot. I meant to get 2 each of yellow bell peppers, orange bell peppers, and red bell peppers. I came home with a jalapeno and only one yellow pepper. We also planted some sweet banana peppers.

When I brought it home, Ian was determined to plant it & try some. He was true to his word! Molly & Ian did both try it! I put the video up on YouTube and IGTV.

Decide for yourself if you think they liked it:

I haven’t ever grown hot peppers despite all my years growing tomato, pepper, & a slew of other stuff.

I asked on various social media platforms on how to tell if your jalapeno is ripe and I got a handful of differentiating opinions. I got…

  • When they turn red. (Was told they turn black before they are red.)
  • When they start to get little brown lines/wrinkles.
  • At around 3″ long.
  • At around 6″ to 8″ long.
  • Look at the photo on the plant tag.
  • bury match heads to make them hotter.

So, how do you tell when they’re ripe?


Share your hot pepper ripeness tips & any other tricks below on the comments.

Have an recipes to share too?  I would like to hear your thoughts on gardening, jalapeno peppers, or the video below!

This has been a fun gardening journey.  It is exciting to see them learn about composting, growing food, and then trying it & even cooking with it.  We have had plenty of beautiful snap beans, sweet banana peppers, & a few varieties of cherry tomatoes so far.

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Much #latergram. #GardeningForKids

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#Jalapeño!🌶

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#SweetBananaPeppers!

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