Palm Trees in southern Florida

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I like to eat, so I learned to cook.

Blogging is such a wide open thing, sometimes there are too many choices.... what do I write now? 

Food?  Why not?  I like to eat.

I really like spaghetti & like pizza so I'll ramble on about those for a few minutes.

I used to make a heck of a spaghetti sauce, fresh ingredients, simmer all day kind of sauce. But that was then.  My current sauce comes from a can, well several cans.

Tomato paste, diced tomatoes and canned sauce

It's a meat sauce generally, most any type of meat will do, this time I used Italian sausages... they were on sale.  These were links, I split the casing & fried them up as ground meat.
If I think it needs it I can add garlic & onion.

Italian sausages uncased for frying 

I've used leftover meat, canned chicken, canned ham chunks (the last two when I was vandwelling with limited refrigeration). Rotisserie chicken works great!

Brown the meat & drain it, mix in the canned sauce, the canned diced tomatoes & the tomato paste and heat it up.

Boil your favorite noodles & have at it.  I've been putting the left over sauce in a mason jar to store it in the fridge until I use it again.. the jar came with sauce in it..

Now for my other favorite, pizza! Left over spaghetti sauce will make great pizza sauce. There are any number of ways to make the pizza skin, I'm going to show my latest way.

12" pizza pan, dough, sauce, cheese and toppings

I used to do it all by hand including the kneading but I'm not against using a machine to help  My machine today (now that I have room to store one) is a used bread machine. I picked up a used bread machine at a second hand store on a day they were going 50% off small appliances, I spent $6 on it.

The $6 bread machine I use for mixing the dough

I follow the recipe for pizza dough, that takes this machine about 30 minutes, then another hour to rise. I spread it out on a slightly greased 12" pizza pan (Dollar store).
Top with left over spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese & your favorite toppings. 400 degree (f) oven for about 12 min.

The bread machine &left over pizza

It's hard to beat leftover pizza the next day... it really is.   For those of you who'd like something really different I've made pizza in my 14" dutch oven while camping.

Cheap, easy & (IMO) fun.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


The other day I read a blog that had a 15 minute video on our future with robots,
"Humans need not apply"  . The video was enlightening & a bit frightening.

Today I went to a Walmart Superstore for a few things.  Darn few check out counters were open, but there was room in the DIY counters.
I went there.

Self check out robot at work

The self check out robot up close

I enjoy going to a human when I'm checking out, maybe that's from the year+ or so vandwelling, when standing in a check out line was a chance to interact with other live humans... even if they really didn't want to talk.
The guy in front of you comments on the gossip magazine cover - do you just ignore him?

I went to the self check out section because it was open. As I was ringing up my stuff I realized that I was interacting with a robot. This robot took the place of someone who would have had to be paid by the hour, a warm body that the store would have to pay social security taxes on, and unemployment taxes & various insurances for.
As a plus, the bot may break down but it won't call in sick the day after the SuperBowl.

I'd never thought of it as a robot before.

Like the video said, the robot doesn't have to be better than the human, just make fewer mistakes.

Another robot I'm very familiar with but never think about
I wonder how many jobs these two robot types have taken?

This will probably affect my children & grandchildren more than me... probably.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The good feeling of building something

Building with wood.

I'd done a little building with wood over the last four years, doing & re-doing the inside of my vans. That was good.

I started out with the floor in the Ford van
A borrowed tablesaw at a borrowed work space

This is doing the 4th rebuild (Ford) as I search for a better way
2nd build in the mini-van

Then last week I built some stairs & a landing for the new home, I really enjoyed to whole thing!
I had forgotten how good it felt to build something like that.

The stairs

That left me with a real different feeling about building things!  The difference was as much in my head as anything else.

The lumber
Doing or re-doing a van in someone's yard and/or the parking lot of a big box home store is 'different'. It's a task, a job and it's different from working on and at your own home.  It's a good feeling, a better feeling.

It was a feeling that had been forgotten, it was nice when I realized I was smiling at what I'd done.

The hand rail

I have to admit that buying a miter saw & having a place to keep it was a BIG part of the feeling! When I down sized from the house to an RV I sold my tools & it seems I really missed them.

Getting the RV/home displaced the planned travels to Arizona but now that the basic things are done here it's time to go traveling!
It's still winter, time to go to Florida!