Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Very quick blog post here, on the subject of spam.

I looked at my dashboard and it said that my page from the 2nd of November got 54 views. Then it broke down where the majority of those views came from. Vampirestat.com was the largest. Luckily, I googled the name before I just punched up the URL to find out more; I avoided noxious adspam and possibly trojan horses or other malware. Suffice it to say, avoid vampirestat or any other site ending in -stat. They are robot spam sites. For this and other helpful information, take a look at this fellow blogger's site: spam spoiler

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Today has been a truly mixed bag. I started off the day making a waffle recipe by Alton Brown, to use up some buttermilk we had in the fridge. Mmmm, waffles. Would make those ones again

Next, I headed off on the bus to Richmond. I've been communicating with a friend on Ravelry for more than two years, and she was in town for a convention so we finally got to meet! It was awesome  -- got to spend a couple hours together before she had to leave for her plane. We had lunch at Ceili's Irish Pub, which was excellent, and the service was also really good. Both on the way down and back I knit more on my Quidditch Surprise Gift. Now at 10 inches. Hope to get it to 50% by the end of tonight. We shall see how successful I am ;)

Upon returning home, however, I got to pay for my gallivanting with chores. Specifically, repair jobs. The porch deck has been leaking for the last year. And there are only so many 121 litre garbage cans you can station in the garage to catch the drips before the whole thing looks like the bunker of a survivalist. Not to mention becomes a major walking hazard in the cold winter.  So, gallon can of deck repair gunk in hand and a point trowel, off I go into the cold fall air to repair holes and hopefully stop the ingress of water into the garage.

The stuff I have to work with is a black, gel tar-like substance. Which reeks to high heaven. Seriously. The can suggests that one wear a respirator, and I can see why if you are doing this as a regular job. You won't get high if you go without wearing one, but you may wish to vacate your digestive tract. It is best not to breathe, really. All the cold air outside makes for great motivation in completing the task very quickly (no coat because I really don't want this crap all over my one good coat; I'm wearing my long shirt and jeans I use for painting and other grungy tasks.) Gloveless, because the vinyl gloves I have are likely to tear while doing this, I end up with a fair amount of it on my arms despite my best efforts. Which leads to the final discovery of the night: goop remover.

The label on the can, of course, recommends the one thing we don't have in the house or garage -- mineral spirits--to clean up with. Not sure if they intend it for human skin or not. Anyhow, before heading back to Walmart, we decide to avail ourselves of all the available options. (1) Sunlight bar soap -- useless. This stuff is staying on, and does not budge, despite using a scrub brush as well. (2) Vinegar -- equally useless.  (3)Acetone -- does lift a teensy bit of it off, but has the lovely added effect of making my skin bright pink. Fun.
Things are looking a little dire at this point, when my sister has the bright idea of having me use Dawn dish detergent. Surprisingly, it doesn't remove all of it, but it does help break it up a bit. At this point I make a joke to my mom about trying the cleanser she found on Pinterest. We figure there's nothing to lose, so I have her mix me up some. It's two ingredients, folks: olive oil and baking soda. And it works like a hot dang. Boom. Gone.
So, the next time you're covered in oil-based paint or stain or tar, remember this formula: 1 part baking soda, 1 part olive oil (or other vegetable oil; no need to get pricy). Mix to form a paste and apply. Also works a treat at stripping oil-based stain from wood cupboards.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


What sounds like a brand name for those blow pens that were so popular a few years ago with the younger set, is actually the impetus to get off my hiney and write something. Anything. On a daily basis. So here goes.

Today's entry:

Lidless Chicken Pot Pie Stew

4 chicken breasts
1 medium onion
1 cup baby carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 cup green peas
5 button mushrooms
1/4 - 1/2 cup butter, for sauteing
1 tsp each thyme, sage & rosemary
1 can Campbell's cream of celery soup
1 can's worth of 2% milk (10 oz)
Montreal steak spice
1 cup McCain's hashbrowns (the tiny cubed kind, not the stringy kind)

Thaw 4 chicken breasts in microwave for 3 minutes, till half-thawed. Cut breasts into 1/2-1" cubes. Sprinkle liberally with Montreal steak spice.Set aside.

On separate cutting board, cut baby carrots into small slices, about 1/4" thick. Slice onion into small diced pieces. Peel and mince two garlic cloves. Set aside.

In electric fry pan, heat about 2 Tbsp butter at  300 degrees till melted. Add in chicken, and spread the chicken around so there is plenty of space between pieces to encourage browning. Put lid on frypan, and let cook for about 5 minutes.

In a large regular fry pan, heat 2 Tbsp of butter on medium. When melted, add in the chopped vegetables and saute till onions are translucent and carrots have begun to soften. While this cooks, wash and chop the mushrooms. Add the thyme, sage and rosemary. Stir well

At this point, flip your chicken. It should be all cooked from the steaming. Now, with lid off, brown the chicken. Should take another 5-10 minutes

While that is happening, add the frozen peas to the vegetables, and stir to combine. After 3-5 minutes, add the mushrooms. after another 4 minutes or so, add the hashbrowns. Add another 2 Tbsp of butter to the mix, and then let cook on its own for a few minutes.

Once the chicken has browned, open the can of soup and add it to the electric fry pan. Add in the 10 oz of milk, stir to combine. When hashbrowns have been browned, add the vegetable mixture to the chicken. Let cook for another 5 minutes or so, to let the flavours marry together. Check the level of spices are to your taste. Serve. makes enough for 5-6 people.

Can be served on toast, if you want to stretch the stew.