Ham n’ Bean n’ Tater Stew


This is one of my favorites.  My grandma made it a lot when I was growing up.  I have my own variation.

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup on a Spoon

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup

 

Mine includes beer. Grandma made it every once in a while with cabbage. I suppose you could add carrots and/or onions. Maybe garbanzi beans too?  Becky the awesome cook at camp makes it with noodle-style dumplings (I did try it that way once too), and some people make it wholly and horribly incorrectly with a creamy soup base.  I have no idea why you would do that to this meal.

I don’t know what to call this.  We always just called it “ham, beans, and potatoes” which is somewhat cumbersome… and could be about 4,000,000,000 other soups.  In fact, I don’t even know if this is a soup or a stew.  Both?  Neither?  What is the difference, anyway?

A lot of the time this would be made with leftover ham from Christmas, Easter, or whenever.  When the hankering strikes now, I go to ham steaks with the little bone in.  I don’t have a strict recipe, it’s more of a method.

This time, I put some Ham broth base (which can be a pain in the rear to find in the store sometimes) made slightly weaker than the directions, one cube each of chicken & beef bullion, a bottle of Yuengling Traditional Lager (I have used Straub American Amber for this too), and water in the pot and started it to boil on high.  (Perhaps obviously if I had a leftover ham, I would start by boiling the bone and make the broth from that, add bullion if/as needed.)  I also popped in some minched garlic, onion powder, and season-all, salt, and black pepper.

Then I cubed up 2 ham steaks, added them to the mix,.

Then I washed n’ cut up a not quite a 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes, and added that to the mix.  (I have used Yukon Gold before and they’re delicious, but they seem to break down to starch easier.)

Then, I cheated and popped open 2 bags of microwave/steam ready fresh green beans, rinsed, then snapped/chopped, and added them to the mix.  When i came to a boil, I popped it down to 8 on the burner dial, and let it boil for 20 minutes.

Then, I let it simmer on 2 for another 20 minutes, then I put it on low until dinner time.

Ham n' Bean n; Tater Stew

Ham n’ Bean n; Tater Stew

We served it with fresh baked buttered bread form the local grocery store.  The kids seemed to actually eat dinner this evening too, and they’re rather picky lately.  Sometimes I make it the night before, this is the kind of stuff that’s always better the next day.  I’m not sure if it’s Irish, German, American, or all of the above.

Do you make something like this?  Post your variation(s) in the comments below.

 

 

How do you make your meatloaf?


I posted the text below in two different Aldi fan boards on Facebook. I thought I’d also share here.  Text slightly altered, spelling mistakes corrected.  I feel like I make meatloaf different every time. How do you do yours?

 

🛒🍴🥩

 

Full disclosure, most of this was not from Aldi, but it all could have been. It all was cooked in the oven at 400°.

Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots

The meatloaf went in first, for an hour and a half. The potatoes went right on the rack at the one hour and 15 minute mark, and the brussels sprouts and carrots went in at the hour mark. Maybe 55 min.? I did crank it to 425° at that point but in hindshight didn’t need to. I flipped the potatoes when the veggies went in, and at the 15 min. mark I put sauce on top of the meatloaves and stirred the sprouts n’ carrots.

The potatoes were just washed, poked, rubbed in EVOO & spices.

The sprouts & carrots where just cut up, drizzled with EVOO, salt, pepper, & bacon crumbles.

The meatloaf was 3 lbs. of 85/15, an egg, french fried onions, club crackers, spices, ketchup, A-1 (the Aldi stuff works too, I have used it in the past), a squeeze of spicy brown mustard, minced garlic, spices (I just grab stuff off the rack & go), shredded cheese, and bacon crumbles.

I broke it into two loaves, cooked in a glass dish on top of two slices of bread each. It absorbs the grease & prevents burning on the bottom.

The sauce/glaze was mostly ketchup, some A-1, a dash of mustard, plus some cheese and bacon crumbles.

Probably not a meal for the health-conscious.😁

I think I do meatloaf slightly different every time. I have used marinara and Parmesan, put hard boiled eggs whole in the middle, wrapped in a bacon weave, added mushrooms & onions, used ranch or french onion soup packets, chunks of bread, added milk, & more.

I know it’s one both kids will eat unless I get too crazy.

How do you do your meatloaf?

 

Wanna do a #maze or two?


I have been posting them to Instagram, just not here much.  I have a few I have drawn but haven’t shared.  I may share them here.  Is anyone interested in them?  Should I save them for a publisher or Etsy shop? I need to get with CI3 and make some mugs!

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So, who's gonna solve my #GuitarCase #Maze?

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Yeah, that one is on my guitar case. It would be killer if someone could complete that one… just not on the actual case. Ha ha.

Thanksgiving is my favorite. Maybe after Halloween.

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Give it a go. #maze #mazes #solvethismaze

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I am so proud of my little artist!

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Cleaned up my #maze from earlier.

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Another #maze if you dig.

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You know you wanna print one and try it, or use an app on your phone/tablet to draw right on it. Then you wanna tag me in social media with the solution or leave it here in the comments.

🔥 Gimme Your Mountain Pie Recipes! 🔥 🌳🌲🏕️🌳


So, do you like mountain pies? I sure do.

Typical mountain pie preparation, assembly, & cooking at church camp.

Typical mountain pie preparation, assembly, & cooking at church camp.

This is a horrible blurry photo of a mountain pie, but look at those crimped edges!We used to make them every time we went camping when I was a kid, and we camped quite often. Nothing beats cooking a mountain pie over the hot coals of an aging campfire. We generally make pizza ones, and we have made Reuben ones, and you have your standard pie-filling from a can/powdered sugar on top ones… but other than that I haven’t gotten too crazy. One time I did make a baked bean one. I mean, why not? Also, once we put leftover nine-can vegetable soup in an electric sandwich maker that we got on clearance from Kmart for $5. So, that is sort of similar to making a mountain pie. I mean, it would have made a good one.

It's a bit crispy, but I assure you it was delicious.

Look at those crimped edges!

You gotta use a cast iron pie iron though, not those goofy aluminum ones. I have melted many an aluminum pie iron. I make those coals blacksmith hot. Also, you need one that seals the edges. The ones that don’t make a seal are just sandwich-heater-uppers and that’s bogus. I know they also make round ones where you can cook an egg and make an Egg McMuffin-ish type of sandwich.

My wife & I counsel for church camp every summer, and my camp always makes mountain pies… a tradition my family brought to our camp group when I was younger. Usually my friend Laurel & I end up being the cooks, over a fire in a pavilion fireplace that rivals the fury of Mount Doom of Mordor.

Some of the campers have made cool ones with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I need to try that. (Side note: have you ever had a campfire banana? Do it!) An old preacher friend of ours enjoys one filled with butter & powdered sugar. I bet it’s like a donut.

#MountainPieMadness

Moutain Pielander? THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! #MountainPieMadness

So, what are your go-to mountain pie recipes?  I hear some people also call them hobo pies, pudgy pies, campfire pies, jaffle pies, and other crazy stuff.  They have to rank up there right behind hot dogs and s’mores as the #1 campfire food.  I have thought a cheesesteak one would be delicious, maybe an Italian Sub on, maybe a burger melt/’Frisco burger kind of thing, maybe one with baked beans and a sliced hot dog would be the ultimate campfire mashup?  You could go with a classic grilled cheese.

Share your tried-and-true recipes and your zany ideas in the comments!

The Metallica Playlist – Part II


So, did you read my last post about making a playlist of Metallica songs so Bethany will be familiar with some of the music at the show?  l grabbed a few tracks from each album, popped them into a list, & mixed ’em up a bit.  It still seems a tad unwieldy.  It’s 47 songs, and I don’t even want to know what the run time would be.  (I still need to dig out all of my CD’s & rip some of these older songs.  I live in the stone age and listen to mp3’s saved to a thumb drive plugged into the car.)

Metallicollage

How would you pare it down?  Could you get it to 30 songs?  10 songs?  60 minutes?  What is the most essential stuff you’d need to grasp their overall sound and/or appreciate a live show?

I had Alexa playing some random Metallica this morning, and it wasn’t a bad mix.  This actually really has me appreciating Death Magnetic & Hardwired… To Self-Destruct more & more.

 

Metallica 101 Playlist…

  1. “Ecstasy of Gold” (We All Love Ennio Morricone) [Ennio Morricone]
  2. “Enter Sandman” (Metallica)
  3. “One” (…And Justice for All)
  4. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (Ride the Lightning)
  5. “Whiskey in the Jar” (Garage, Inc.) [Thin Lizzy]
  6. “(Anesthesia)—Pulling Teeth” (Kill ‘Em All)
  7. “Whiplash” (Kill ‘Em All)
  8. “Last Caress” (Live Shit: Binge & Purge) [Misfits]
  9. “Master of Puppets” (Master of Puppets)
  10. “Cyanide” (Death Magnetic)
  11. “The Call of Ktulu” (S&M)
  12. “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica)
  13. “Seek And Destroy”  (Live Shit: Binge & Purge)
  14. “Some Kind of Monster” (St. Anger)
  15. “Fade To Black” (Ride the Lightning)
  16. “Overkill” (Garage, Inc.) [Motörhead]
  17. “Hardwired”  (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct)
  18. “The Memory Remains” (Through The Never)
  19. “Four Horsemen” (Kill ‘Em All)
  20. “Creeping Death”  (Live Shit: Binge & Purge)
  21. “Until It Sleeps” (S&M)
  22. “Altas, Rise!” (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct)
  23. “Battery” (Master of Puppets)
  24. “Die, Die My Darling” (Garage, Inc.) [Misfits]
  25. “Frantic” (St. Anger)
  26. “Fuel” (Re-Load)
  27. “Orion” (Through the Never)
  28. “Unforgiven” (Metallica)
  29. “Unforgiven II” (Re-Load)
  30. “Unforgiven III” (Death Magnetic)
  31. “Sad But True” (Live Shit: Binge & Purge)
  32. “I Disappear” (Mission: Impossible 2 Soundtrack)
  33. “All Nightmare Long” (Death Magnetic)
  34. “Mama Said” (Load)
  35. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” (Master of Puppets)
  36. “Commando” (St. Anger Single) [Ramones]
  37. “Now That We’re Dead” (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct)
  38. “Stone Cold Crazy” (Garage, Inc.) [Queen]
  39. “Wherever I May Roam” (S&M)
  40. “The Day That Never Comes” (Death Magnetic)
  41. “Tuesday’s Gone” (Garage, Inc.) [Lynyrd Skynyrd]
  42. “Disposable Heroes” (Master of Puppets)
  43. “Blackened” (…And Justice for All)
  44. “St. Anger” (St. Anger)
  45. “Low Man’s Lyric” (Re-Load)
  46. “Harvester of Sorrow” (…And Justice for All)
  47. “One” (S&M)

Would you skip songs & go to videos, live sets or clips, or documentaries?

 

 

Help me make a playlist: Metallica 101


So, Bethany is awesome and got us tickets to go see Metallica when they come to Pittsburgh in October.  We don’t have a whole lot of overlap in musical taste.  We have been to a bunch of concerts together, ranging from Flogging Molly, Rancid, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, & the Dropkick Murphys, to Willie Nelson, The Devil Makes Three, Poison & even (Lord help me) Kenny Chesney.  This doesn’t even count the dozens (hundreds?) of club shows we have attended for the local and national levels back when I was actively gigging… which was mostly punk or metal stuff on a more local-ish level like Omegalord and Peelander-Z.  I think I have successfully sold Bethany on the awesomeness of punk rock.  We haven’t really delved into metal past what I have played in the car.  Even myself, I have gravitated more in the punk direction than metal listening over the years.  Perhaps due to a shrinking attention span?  Metallica stands as one of those influential bands for me as far as it being one of the earlier things I “got.”  A kid in 6th grade lent me his cassette of …And Justice for All, and it was all-in from there.  It led me to stuff like the Misfits, DanzigMegadeth, Motörhead, & Black Sabbath.  I wore out multiple copies of the Master of Puppets cassette.  The black album is a hugely definitive and divisive album, but it hit right when I was headed into high school, metal ruled the airwaves and guitar magazines, and grunge hadn’t yet stomped all over the oft-mocked hair metal’s reign supreme.  A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica and Live Shit: Binge & Purge made me want to be a rock star.  My aunt & uncle took a me and a friend to the Guns N’ Roses & Metallica concert at Three Rivers Stadium.  That was the first and only time I ever saw them live.  It was my two favorite bands at the time.  It was awesome.  I’m anxious to go again.

That brings me to this;  How do I bring the wife up to speed on multiple decades of Metallica fandom, some of which even pre-dated my time as a fan?  Dave Mustaine getting bootedCliff BurtonJason NewstedHaircutsThe Napster thingJames catching on fireGoofy psychologistsLulu?  Lars’ drumming ability vs. his business acumen?  Kirk Hammett’s appearance of total passive and obedient participation?  “Four Horsemen” vs. “Mechanix”?

If you were going to make a mix tape playlist as an introduction to Metallica, what would you include?  Jokes about St. Anger or Load/Re-Load aside, what is the important stuff?  Audio?  Video?  Live performances?  Documentaries?  Metallica covering their influences?  Other bands covering Metallica?  Related bands?  Originals that Metallica has covered?  What videos would you say are essential?  MTV IconBehind the MusicWhen Metallica Ruled the World?  I know “One” is up there in my all-time favorite songs.  Do I start there, or go in chronological order?  Which instrumentals?

So, I set up a living room rig. 🎸


This morning I felt like playing the guitar. I didn’t feel like jamming in the basement by my work bench where all my stuff is set up. I didn’t bring up the Laney 2×12 or the Orange Micro Terror. I brought out the Fender Blues Jr. & a Yamaha MSR100 powered speaker so I could run my new DigiTech Trio into two different outputs.

The Trio was a birthday present from my wife. It was on backorder from Sweetwater for a while & we have been really busy so this was my first chance to try it out.  I set it up like this…

Living Room Rig Setup

It started out as a pile of stuff in the corner.  Then I remembered that I had an old RCA-Victor TV cabinet in the garage purchased from our house’s previous owner that I thought about turning into an amp someday.  The Blues Jr. fit where the TV went, and the Yamaha PA fit underneath where the speaker grille is.

Then I had a cabinet and I pile of pedals.  So, I cut up a milk crate and made a goofy pedal board with a Donner power supply & some zip ties.  The “board” fits inside the cabinet with the blues Jr. too.  It was a morning long project but it felt good to get it done & know I can jam a lot more easily.  It may be tricky if I just want to use the Trio & some headphones.

I do have a Dirt & Ernie pedal & an A/B/Y that I use to run the Jr. & Micro Terror at the same time.  Maybe a board extension will eventually be in order?  How cool would it be if the doors came off & were the pedalboard?

Oh well.  Enough monkeying.  Time to jam.

I will eventually have to give a serious(?) evaluation of the Trio.  I do already know I want a looper now.  Ha ha.  It was pretty intuitive & loads of right out of the box.  My 4 year old told me to turn it down right away, so it had to be cool.  Right?

 

Monkeying with the DigiTech Trio:

I apologize for the “living room while the wife and kids are home” volume, and the Crocs.

 

My little dude seemed to like the idea.  He has all the moves down.  Maybe some day he will want to play too!

Do you have a living room, bedroom, or other small setup rig?  Share some in the comments!  Any thoughts on any of this equipment?  Any tips for the Trio?  You can comment below here at the blog with WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or a Gravatar login.