Saturday, November 30, 2013

Peeled What??

Knuckles. Peeled knuckles.

Wait, my knees just got weak. Need a minute here.

Yup, peeled knuckles. And what's worse is, they look pretty darned tasty:

Evidently, they can be cut into strips and stir-fried to near perfection. But I've shopped for groceries extensively on the border, where these were found, and there is a dearth - indeed, a world-class drought - of fresh Asian vegetables suitable for stir-fry there.

They must star in a Mexican dish of some sort. I'll knuckle down and get us an answer.

See what I did there?

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Feast

Clockwise: homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, butternut squash, mashed taters, deep fried turkey breast.

Followed by pumpkin pie and real whipped cream, of course. No pic, sorry.

Not a bad meal for being prepared and served in a truck. The turkey and mashed taters were precooked (the taters cause it's hard to screw them up), but everything else was cooked up in the truck. All that was missing were my made from scratch, world famous mile-high dinner rolls - but maybe next year, when I have a convection oven.

This was my first year making my own cranberry sauce. I've always been a jellied sauce fan and the canned stuff was just fine for me. But Hoss talked me into giving it a shot, and it turned out fabulously. Super easy, super tasty, never going back to the can.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

3 pounds fresh cranberries
3 1/2 cups sugar or Splenda
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced *
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt

Wash the berries and pick out the ones that are soft or wrinkled. Combine all ingredients in a pot, stir well, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the berries have popped and the sauce has begun to thicken, about 15 minutes. Don't overcook. Cool covered at room temp, then refridgerate. Makes 2 quarts plus.

 * Surprisingly, the japs don't add heat at all, just a wonderful jalapeno flavor. If you want spicy sauce, add cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes after cooling.

Not everyone got to be with loved ones yesterday, and many did without turkey and gravy. But we hope that everyone has plenty in their lives to be thankful for. We sure are.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks

We've all got 'em. Some we love deeply but they seem to have everything; for others, we can't conjure up a clue. Instead of another fruitcake or subscription to TV Guide this Christmas, why not give something that will change a life?

Give Thanks:  Wounded Warrior Project 

In the early 70s, I wore a POW bracelet (Capt. Frederic R. Flom, USAF). Although my guy came home intact and alive, donating to Wounded Warriors feels much better than wearing that bracelet did.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waffle House

About two years ago, I came across the Waffle House restaurant locator app. I burst out laughing, showed it to Hoss, then spluttered "What we need is an app that will locate a corner without a Waffle House!"

And that wasn't much of an exaggeration. Every town in the south has at least one. On occasion, we run into two of them literally across the intersection from each other. And no matter the time of day, both will seemingly be half full.

Customers in suits stop by in the morning for a go cup of coffee and a take-out breakfast. In the booths and on counter chairs sit construction workers, moms and small kids, cowboys, grandmas with shopping bags, delivery drivers, and virtually anyone else in need of a fresh, hot breakfast.

The kitchen is open; the food is prepared in plain sight. When it's standing room only, as it is every weekend morning, the cooks perform a perfectly synchronized ballet. As each order is called out by a waitress, one cook removes the requested breakfast meat from the fridge and puts it to sizzle on the grill; another next to him/her cracks eggs and starts their preparation; yet another handles the hashbrowns and grilled biscuits; while another takes care of waffles and toast. It runs like a perfectly tuned machine and is entertaining as hell to watch.


The hashbrowns are famously offered scattered, smothered, covered, and at least six other ways with equally cryptic titles that correlate to hashbrowns with onions, cheese, chili, diced ham, jalapenos, tomatoes, mushrooms, and gravy. And ordering them "All the Way" results in a plate of breakfasty flavor heaven, a southern version of our fretta. 

My favorite is Cheesy Eggs, a plate of eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, 3 strips of bacon cured with an abundance of old-fashioned piggy flavor, hashbrowns scattered-smothered-covered, and a grilled biscuit. Goooooood stuff.

Another reason Waffle House is so popular, I think, is the wait staff. They often call their customers by name and know exactly what they'll want to eat. They're friendly - at least half of them will call out "Hello!" when a customer walks in the door - they're quick to refill your coffee, and they're hard-working and happy. We recently met two young ladies at a Waffle House in the Dayton area, Meghan and Jade, and they're continuing the tradition of friendly, helpful, smiling service:

Sorry it took so long to get this posted, girls - I just had too much to get done and couldn't get to it. Hope you hung in there with me!

Quite a few of the staff was wearing a T-shirt we'd never seen before. Thanks to Meghan for modeling it for us all:
Click to see a larger version
Waffle House is so deeply ingrained in Southern culture that it regularly appears in music, television, print, and movies ... and not always in a positive light - something they actually embrace (if you haven't clicked on the above pic to read the T-shirt, do so now). In Tin Cup, Waffle House was called "the low-rent roadside cafe featuring waffles". Not very flattering.

Therefore, you're probably going to be quite surprised to discover that Waffle House is considered by FEMA to be one of the top four corporations for disaster response. In anticipation of a natural disaster, Waffle House moves generators, fuel, food, and ice ahead of the event, ensuring the restaurant can remain open and continue to serve fresh, hot food and coffee. They are so successful at this, in fact, that FEMA uses their example as a measure of responsiveness they refer to as the Waffle House Index.

Although we still frequent Cracker Barrel now and then, Waffle House will always hold a special appeal for us. 

As Roy said in the movie, "I'm a Waffle House guy. Got to stay in touch with that."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tucker Combo

There's so much wrong with this little condiment stand advertisement that I had to take a pic. I think it's supposed to be a "Trucker Combo" - it was, after all, offered at a truckstop. I'm so puzzled over the capricious, haphazard use of capitals that I can't begin to ponder the odd combination of numerals and words in the weight description.

Onion pedals. Priceless.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Special Delivery

We delivered to a Kitchenaid facility last week in Ohio, where I parked behind what was obviously a very special delivery:

A single mixer, on a single pallet, in a 53 foot trailer. And it was unloaded by hand. The driver didn't even bump the dock.

So whose mixer was that? Michelle Obama's? Some celeb chef on Food Network? Or does it belong to someone who lives so far out in the boonies that it was the only mixer slated for return for a thousand miles?

I've always wanted a Kitchenaid, but could never justify the cost.

I've got to wonder how much Kitchenaid spent to ship this mixer back to them for repair under warranty?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At La Quinta ...

... sunglasses are recommended during your shower.

The good news is, this is the perfect hotel if you're trying to give up caffeine in the morning.

Monday, November 18, 2013


No, I don't know what might have happened to the packet of catnip.

Let's have snackies now. Lots of snackies. Then a nap. K?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another Pass Thru Blowing Rock

We made another delivery to the North Carolina consignee that requires a trip through Blowing Rock pass. This time, though, the mountain was draped in thick fog. With good music on XM, it makes a fun ride-along:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tomato Juice and ... Clams

At one time or another, we've all had some experience with Clamato juice. Personally, I like it as a drink mixer, but I admit it's been a lotta years since I've felt so compelled. If the truth be known, Clamato juice hasn't even entered my consciousness in all of that time.  

Until we began frequenting the Southern border.

With daytime summer temps there averaging 100 degrees or more, cold drinks are big business. Most convenience stores, including some truckstops, keep huge bins of iced beers near the checkout. Nearly every bin is crammed with this:

Latinos evidently LOVE it. Now I've heard of red beer, and I've even drunk the stuff, but beer and clammy tomato juice?

Yup. The Michelada or Chelada, for short, is hugely popular in Mexico. And so is Clamato - to the extent that it's not just added to beer, but the flavor has been added to tortilla chips:

 and salt, with which to rim your drink glasses: 

and they've even marketed an energy drink with Clamato in it, for gawdsake:  

When I think 'clams', I don't think 'Mexico'. Never made the connection. Canadiens, sure. They love Clamato juice, invented the Caesar cocktail, and drink something like 350 million of them a year. But Mexico? Who knew?

Thursday, November 14, 2013


This isn't going to become a political blog - I promise. But this pic made me laugh out loud, and I had to share. :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Outta My Whey

Just 20 minutes or so after loading in Fort Wayne, Hoss abruptly tapped the turn signal and took an off-ramp from I-69. From the passenger seat, I gave him a quizzical look.

"Meijer's," he said, and I grinned in return.

Meijer's is a regional store chain located in the Upper Midwest. Roughly half of each store footprint is grocery; the remainder is a variety store cross between Target confidence and KMart despair. While as a whole they're mostly clean, mostly fresh, and fairly well stocked, Meijer's grocery can't hold a candle to Wegman's. But they do stock something Wegman's doesn't:

Michigan brand cottage cheese.

If you're under 40, you don't remember really good cottage cheese ... the kind that stays stuck in the spoon when turned upside down; the kind that has a substantive resistance to the tooth and lends a brief and very pleasant stickiness when chewed; the kind that tastes like the beginnings of a thousand different cheeses rather than a bite of lumpy milk.

Unless you're lucky enough to know about Michigan brand, that is. This stuff is still made like all quality cottage cheeses were made in the Northeast years ago - before manufacturers began to gradually thin out their product with less expensive milk and attempted to boost the resultant weaker flavor and texture by adding sugars and natural gum thickeners. In time, modern cottage cheese, well, sucked.  

Whenever we have the time, we try to stop at Meijer's.

This time, I bought three and a half quarts. That should last us a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Town motto: "Giving kids old-fashioned nightmares for two hundred years!"

Seriously, take a look at this logo:

That's a mother willingly - and even gleefully - tossing her daughter into the air above a very long, scary dropoff.

The real Blowng Rock is even more frightening to contemplate:

The delight of Blowing Rock , you see, is that the altitude and shape of the outcropping drives the wind up, often with enough force to blow lightweight objects back upwards to the person standing there. Much fun, I'm sure, with comic books, local cave brochures, empty McDonald's sacks, and any number of spare inanimate objects underfoot in the ol' minivan.

But the child in that logo is dang near the same size as her mother! Did they really toss their kids in the air over that cliff years ago? Do they still? What happens when the kid isn't as buoyant as Mom thinks and s/he plummets 3,000 feet down the mountainside? If I were the logo bearer, I don't think I'd give anyone ideas about what might or might not survive the "whee!". 

Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

Thank God we didn't visit here when I was a child.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adiós, Houston!

Houston has always been good to us. It seems that we rarely sit here for any length of time, even weekends, due to the numerous chemical companies here and our hazmat credentials. We arrived here Friday morning and weren't offered a suitable load until this morning. Four days in Houston? Never woulda thunk it. But we're off now, heading back East to a Consignee we visit periodically in the Appalachians. After lots of rest and relaxation, it should be an easy run.

This job always keeps us guessing!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Map Test

Gah, these maps are going to drive me insane!

This is a test - please leave a comment and let me know if it worked for you:

October Map - click here

The extent of my travels

Downtown Buffalo is beautiful even when it's raining! This is the view from my gym, the Buffalo Athletic Club (built in 1924 by the John W. Cowper Company!) On the left you can see city hall, and in the center is the Robert H Jackson courthouse.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Family and Friends

Hey there everyone!! We will be posting to this blog with some interesting ( to us - hopefully you also ) adventures and day to day items. We are working on a map that will be kept up monthly with all the cities and routes with miles that we travel. Paulette will be doing most of the posts as she is our creative director, I on the other hand am director of praise and encouragement!!  You can also sign up with your email and it will give you a notification when a new post has been done.. that way you will not have to be checking back ( unless you want to ) to catch the next riveting story, but you can burst with excitement when you see the new post alert show up in your email.. Hope it is something that will bring you along so you can get a small taste of what we get to experience while out here on the road, missing our family and friends..

Friday, November 1, 2013