Sunday, August 8, 2021


Goulash is a quick meal made with love and a wanting to build flavors, texture and second helpings. 

This dish has been on my mind for awhile now. A casserole. Her is not a casserole fan by any stretch of the imagination. She puts up with my off the reservation cookings, but I am under no illusion that some day she will step up to the stove, grab a spoon and jump in for a taste test. Body language is always consistent. On this cook, she gave a little look and a "hmmmmmm."

I grew up on meals like this. Stretching a chunk of meat with pasta and sauce. Mom was a super hero at this kind of cooking. I never ever once thought we were poor. Never at the kitchen table for sure. She could add flavor and sauce to sawdust and shoe leather, I swear. And if mom was a super hero, grandma wrote the book.

So it is in keeping that I go back to some of those ranch/home days of kitchen sink cooking. This is comfort food. Good memories food. Easy. Fun to make. Using spices and cupboard offerings. 

There are lots of recipes. Generally all the same basics. Hamburger, onion, peppers, tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, chicken/beef/or water for some flavor and thinning. I am better now at seasonings. What goes with what and how to enhance flavor with a little of this and a bit of that. Too much of any spice or ingredient never works. I have learned the hard way.

Best made in a dutch oven. Mixed, stirred, folded over and over with a big spoon. Simmer a half hour. Test. Add a little water. And in a perfect world, let rest for an hour or so before serving. Guaranteed to taste better the next day.

I prefer to cook the noodles outside the dish. Drain and do not rinse. Then fold into the mix. I know the noodles are supposed to cook in the sauce and are suppose to pick up flavorings as they cook. I think it best cooked on the side then added. No pasta cooking residue in the meat mixture adding cooked noodles. 

Also just the sauce mixture can be added over rice, on top of bread or put in a bowl for dipping. Warm up the next day takes minutes. Wide open serving options. 

The upside of this kind of cooking was stretching the food budget. Mom only had to feed dad and me. This may have made her job easier as we would eat that sawdust and leather and never bat an eye and compliment her always at meals end.

This is also an end of the world meal. It works as well today as it did seventy years ago and for the same reasons. Stretching a dollar and still having good eats. 

Will the kids of today, look back seventy years from now and cook up what their parents are putting on their dinner tables tonight?  Have fond memories?



Lasagne is plural of Lasagna. Did not know that.

Neighbor's dinner invite this past week. Home made. Toasted garlic bread and chocolate desert on a butter/pecan baked crust. Flavor heaven. Over dosed. 

Great company and catching up on life and living. 

The lasagna was Virginia's Easy Lasagne recipe

This was their home made secret. Not a secret at all. The only change they made was adding white wine in place of water. Letting it rest 10 minutes a must also. 

This is exactly what I expect when a helping of any lasagna is put on my plate. Possibly the best her and I have ever eaten. Try it.



The weather station was put up months ago. Held only in place by two wood clamps. I wanted to make sure the station worked before committing to a permanent install. Then it became too easy to ignore the clamps and put off the final screw attachment to the metal posts. Ladder safety being the big issue.

The ground was uneven and it would take more time to dig a level pad and then top it with 2x material to achieve a flat and safe surface for the ladder. On a previous try, I ignored all the warning signs that a quick ladder placement close to the post would work. It did not.

On the way down the ladder, I grabbed the top of the ladder and it started its backward motion (just like in the movies). The uneven ground to step down to, was still too far away. 

On the way backwards, I tucked somewhat, hit the ground and rolled over on my back, landing on my ass. So far so good. Next was the ladder falling on me which I barely had time to put one arm up over my head. Charlie Chaplin had nothing on me that day. 

I had made every mistake on the ladder placement/usage that could be made. I also thought myself invincible. After all I was only going up to the second step. Classic DS (Dumb........).

This past week I slowed down and did the job correctly. Pad built further away from the bottom post. Flat and sturdy. Top of the ladder tied to the metal post. Tools set on the top of rung of the ladder rather than trying to climb with them in hand. 

I also did this with morning legs. Strength and balance legs are always gone by noon and any ladder work is out of the question.

I teach and preach wonderfully about things like this. Take the time to look at jobs like this and ask yourself, "how can all of this go wrong?" 


I am amazed that one small beef steak tomato plant consumes every inch of soil in a 5 gallon bucket. 


These will turn bright red soon. Still not sure what I am going to do with these but I do love to grown em. All from one tiny seed placed in good soil, plenty of sun, warmth and daily watering. 



This past week has given us a few days of relief from the heat and humidity.

Morning routine is a daybreak walk down the driveway to the gate. A short walk, but long enough to give me time to appreciate the simplicity and gift of the landscape. The Texas state flag hangs in a line of blue, red and white. Somewhat hidden by the flag pole yet ready to come alive in the slightest of wind against the background of green.

Our once mud yard is much greener from our plantings, yet still needs attention in a few bare areas. Areas where the rain water runs heavy during passing thunderstorms offers no time for grass to root.

The green pine trees across the road obscures the green pastures. But a closer look finds narrow spaces where the fields offer the morning mist highlighted by the morning sun rise. All of this is a large mural wanting the passerby to stop and look at all the detail of Mother Nature's brush.

I appreciate these moments. The slowing of time throughout the day is a learned experience. For so many years a blur, but yesterday and today the seconds last longer and a minute can be an eternity. To the point where I will engage my wife in conversation of the beauty I have seen walking to the morning gate.

The garden has run its race this summer. Except for a few producing green pepper plants, it is all coming down. September offers some winter planting options and I am going to prep for planting two or three. Winter planting will also be a test for us. 


Much of the news these days revolves around having to take the "clot shot" or lose your job. My bet is that someone you know is soon to be affected by this mandate.

Each morning now when my wife walks to the coffee pot for the next cup, she mentions, in passing, other companies now announcing that mandate for their employees. Many healthcare facilities falling to this decree and now Tyson ChickenFolks getting two to three months to make the decision. More

"How did your day go honey?" opens a can of worms walking in the front door after a day on the job. There are serious conversations; life changing conversations in households all over this world.

How all of this is going to play out in the days and weeks ahead is worth paying attention to. Just this morning, more major companies listing this requirement for their employees. But not the CDC!!

Workers enforcing these rules are "just doing their job." Friends and colleges a few days ago. History repeats. 

Heads up and keep planning to take care of you and yours. Long term!

I end here this week with..........

Take care of yourself, work hard and learn learn learn. 

Appreciate the visit this week.  

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