Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What to do with those boneless pork chops...

My wife is increasingly enamoured with crock pot meals: we can throw everything in one container in the morning, go to work, and come home to a house smelling more like a restaurant and less like Otis's litter box.

Otis the Quat lounging

She made an early morning Kroger run to-day and came home with center cut boneless pork chops and five pounds of potatoes and asked what I could do with that. 'Well, dear', I retorted, 'Lemme come up with something...'.
So I did; and here it is.

4 medium Russet potatoes rough chopped
1 medium red onion
3 ribs celery chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 green pepper chopped

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbs dijon mustard
1 cup catsup
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs dark brown sugar
1tsp ground black pepper
fresh basil and sage from the garden
a pinch of garlic powder

Start with the sauce on the stovetop - combine catsup, mustard, garlic, vinegar, Worcestershire, sugar and pepper in a small pot and bring to a gentle boil. Set aside.

Into the crock pot put the potatoes and season them. Lay the pork over the potatoes and then pour in the sauce. Add the herbs, the other chopped vegetables, then the tomatoes.
Cover, cook on LOW for 8 hours, then enjoy.

White Bean and Chicken Chili

We made three batches of this (with slight variations, of course) this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed ours both the first day and the second day. We did it in the crock pot on high for about six hours and also on the stove top letting it simmer for about an hour with everything in it.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion diced
4-5 cloves of garlic diced
1 green pepper diced
2-3 celery ribs diced
1 big jar of Great Northern Beans, divided, drained, and rinsed
1 can of white corn, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup of sour cream
Chili seasoning: ground black pepper, ground cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, dried parsley, dried basil

Oil up your favorite pan and soften the garlic, onion, green pepper, and celery 4-5 minutes. Dice up the chicken and add to pan, stirring frequently, until cooked through.

Add beans, corn, broth, sour cream, and seasoning and bring to a boil. Then simmer for an hour or so.
Add all items to crock pot and cook on high for 5-6 hours.

To thicken the sauce, puree half of the beans and add back to pot.

Thanks to Dashing Dish for the idea and original recipe

Monday, October 28, 2013

Morning Prayer

Our Father,

To You we commit this day; guide us that we may always, always love. 
We lay at the cross and deliver to You any self-ishness and insecurities we may be holding on to.
We go in Your Grace, Your Name, and Your Love; to serve as Christ served.
Grant this, LORD, unto us all.


Friday, October 25, 2013

A Prayer for To-day

O Lord my God,
I believe in you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...
Insofar as I can,
Insofar as you have given me the power,
I have sought you.
I became weary and I labored.
O Lord my God,
My sole hope,
Help me to believe
And never to cease seeking you.
Grant that I may always and ardently
Seek out your countenance.
Give me the strength to seek you,
For you help me to find you
And you have more and more given me
The hope of finding you.
Here I am before you
With my firmness and my infirmity.
Preserve the first and heal the second.
Here I am before you
With my strength and my ignorance.
Where you have opened the door to me,
Open to my cry;
Enable me to remember you,
To understand you
And to love you.

Prayer by St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-450

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Thursday the 24th of October

Heavy frost on the vehicles these last two nights, but still we enjoy the full range of autumn color in the trees.
Boston smoked St. Louis last night in the first game of the World Series 8-1. Lester went 7 and two thirds giving up five hits and a walk, and struck out eight Cardinal hitters. Brilliant.
My beloved is packing flower bulbs in a garage in Ann Arbor to be sent with love to people all over the world.
I think I would like pizza tonight.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Recipe #37

Crock Pot Shepherd's Pie

We ate this for three days and each day a different aspect of flavor jumped out at me. I like my mashed potatoes chunky, and the chunks really add texture to this comfort dish.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground meat (turkey, beef, lamb, chicken, ….)
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 12 oz bag of frozen vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, …)
2 ribs celery chopped
4 medium Russet potatoes
4 cloves garlic halved
Salt and pepper
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon paprika

Boil potatoes with chunked garlic and salt til soft with fork. Mash and add milk, butter and pepper to taste. I also use sour cream, or cream cheese if I’m in the mood. Let these rest.

In your favourite fry pan, start with a turn of olive oil and soften the onion and garlic. Add the ground meat and cook til almost done. Stir in catsup, Worcestershire, thyme, and a pinch of black pepper.
Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with 1 cup water. Add to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

In crock pot of slow cooker, layer meat mixture from pan, then vegetables, then potatoes; top with a pinch of paprika.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Thanks to at

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This is DC Talk; good lyrics, love the harmonies

I'm setting the stage for the things I love
And I'm now the man I once couldn't be
Nothing on earth could now ever move me
I now have the will and the strength a man needs

It's my will, and I'm not moving
Cause if it's Your will, then nothing can shake me
It's my will, to bow and praise You
I now have the will to praise my God

Complexity haunts me for I am two men
Entrenched in a battle that I'll never win
My discipline fails me, my knowledge it fools me
But You are my shelter, all the strength that I need

(repeat chorus)

I'm learning to give up the rights to myself
The bits and the pieces I've gathered as wealth
Could never compare to the joy that You bring me
The peace that You show me is the strength that I need

(repeat chorus)

We've got to be children of peace
Don't you know we've got to be children of peace


I was reminded by a brother to-day that it might be time to show honor to my parents... with a note or phone call or something. I put this in the mail to-day:
17 October 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

I just wanted to thank you for a few things that I probably have taken for granted over the years; things that are a part of me, because I am a part of you two.

So here’s my list – thank you for introducing me to


Handel’s Messiah

The Lutheran Liturgy



Meat and potato dinners


Lake Michigan

Tiger Stadium

Hasbro Rose Bowl Computerized Football


Via de Cristo

May the LORD bless you and keep you, may His face continue to shine on you and be gracious to you, may His countenance ever be upon you, and give you peace.

Ex animo,


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


My brother sent me an email birthday card this morning.
This, in and of itself, was very nice.
His thoughtfulness, the loving message, being remembered.
But, in the message of the card, it referred to this birthday as 'golden'.
 = "old"; as in Golden Anniversary, for people who have been married 50 years (my parents last year), making them probably 70 years old or older...

[Not like the alien from Lost in Space referred to by the Robinsons as (appropriately enough) The Golden Man]
Deceitful LiS alien who won favour with the Robinsons due to his golden appearance

The big Five-oh

I don't really 'feel' old; my body does, as I have abused it for most of my adult life with cigarettes, alcohol, and food in excess. But my mind really doesn't; I try to keep a positive, almost naive, outlook on things: there IS a Santa Claus, there IS an Easter Bunny, there IS a Queen of England.

Working with kids since 1987 has helped me 'stay young' I believe. On the other hand, working with adults has contributed to my allowing myself to fall into skepticism and cynicism.

Anyways: This is the day the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!

Thank You, Father, for this new day - for the sunshine and cool temps.
Thank You for family and friends, for work and play, for food and water and jobs.
Thank You for allowing me these fifty years on Your earth, for seeing fit to create me in Your image, and for calling me into Your kingdom.
You are Great; Praise Your Name!!
Hallelujah, hallelujah!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ALCS Game 3

Game 206 this year, including spring training, will begin in about an hour and a half. Justin Verlander pitching for Detroit, goes against Boston's John Lackey in Game 3 of the ALCS knotted up at 1-1.

Jackson CF
Hunter RF
Cabrera 3B
Fielder 1B
Martinez DH
Peralta SS
Avila C
Infante 2B
Dirks LF


Monday, October 14, 2013

God Loves You and So Do I

Once again, God has provided a small group of men a beautiful grace-filled weekend. And those of us who 'helped' provide were, as ever, blessed beyond belief. What a joy it was to see each of the eleven Cursillistas at the podium praising God yestreday at the closing! What a spiritual boost I receive every time I participate, whether as a table professor giving a talk, a muchacho serving coffee, or singing De Colores with brothers and sisters from all over at the sendoff.
Much prayer, preparation, and planning go into these weekends. So usually on the Monday following one, I am quite tired. And staying up to watch the Tigers lose last night in the bottom of the 9th only added to the emotional drain of the weekend 8~P

This particular weekend was put on by the fine folks of the Good News! Via de Cristo ( and we spent the weekend at Bethel Lutheran Church in St. Clair Shores, MI. This is the first time I've participated in a Good News! weekend; my own weekend was about 20 years ago  through the Lutheran Via de Cristo of Central Michigan ( in Midland, MI.

A beautiful prayer, handed down to us over the centuries from early in Church history, is recited in unison before every talk and during every worship.

Please pray with me:

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of Your faithful And kindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth Your Spirit, and we shall be created,
and You shall renew the face of the earth.

Oh God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, 
grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise,
and ever rejoice in His consolations.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall!!!! Autumn!!!!

The autumn sun is low across the sky most of the day

The morning grass is wet and cool 
There is mist and fog in the valleys
We shut our windows now, even crank up the furnace in the morning

Homecoming parades, friday night games
Pots of stew, chili, roasts, baked bread
Anniversaries and birthdays
The shadows cast are long
And the color, oh the color!

Warm days, but with that cooler breeze
Cool days, and even cooler nights
Sweaters, long pants, jackets, hats
The hummingbirds no longer come to feed
The geese flying in an inverted V head home across the lake

Post-season baseball, pre-season basketball
Early season hockey and mid-season football
Stores filled with candy and costumes
Oh-oh! Need socks this morning
Apples and more apples


Monday, October 7, 2013

How it affects folks...

I'm sure there are many folks who are in the process of applying for a USDA mortgage, and now they are in limbo like Saito in Inception while waiting for the Government to get past this shut-down...

What we see currently at the web