Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yankee Candle sale

If you like Yankee Candles, you might like this Buy 2 Get 1 Free coupon. It's only good through Sunday, but is good at the store or their online sales.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not Smarter Than A 5th Grader

As you know, I lost my job in November. I'm still looking for a replacement position. When job hunting this week, I saw the following listing:
FL - Job located in Fresno, California

I realize my geography knowledge is weak. Very weak. Embarrassingly weak. But even I know that California is not nearby Florida. If that is considered close enough for a commute, how far away does the job have to be to be considered notably distant?

Perhaps CareerBuilder should invest in Google Maps or MapQuest services?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recipe: Coq au Vin

It's otherwise known as "chicken cooked in red wine". This recipe started as a compilation of my mom's research into various recipes, and I've then made a few adjustments myself. It's been very popular with others when I've made it, so I'll pass it along.

If you aren't serving a large number of people, package it up into smaller portions and freeze for when you need something quickly.


  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • ¼ lb. bacon or salt pork
  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped or julienned
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
  • 1 pint mushrooms, washed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes OR dice 3-4 medium fresh tomatoes
  • 750 ml red wine
  • Bay leaf
  • Herbs for seasoning
Step One

Brown chicken pieces in olive oil. Sprinkle with flour, then remove from pan.
Cook the bacon in the chicken grease. Remove from the pan.

Saute the celery, onion, shallots, carrots, and garlic in the chicken and bacon grease. Cook until the onions are translucent. Pour ¼ bottle of red wine into the pan to loosen any of “the bits” in the pan. If you’ve used a non-stick pan, you’re basically just rinsing the pan.

Step Two
I put it in the oven, mom has successfully put a smaller portion in the crockpot, so finish cooking with whatever method works for your schedule and size of cooking vessel.

Put browned chicken in lasagna pan, Dutch Oven, or crock pot. Crumble the bacon over the chicken. Add your sautéed vegetables. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, bay leaf, and herbs. Use fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme if you have it. Otherwise, dried herbs are just fine. I tend to just use a few tablespoons of Herbes de Provence.

Pour ½ bottle of red wine over the whole dish. That leaves enough for 2 glasses of wine to go with the meal. If you don’t want to drink the wine, pour it into the pan.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 ½-2 hours until chicken pulls easily from the bone. (3-4 hours if using a modern crockpot)

Step Three
Remove bay leaf and fresh herbs. Serve with mashed potatoes, salad, and baguette.

It doesn’t seem to matter what quality of wine you use. I’ve found it as cheaply as $3/bottle on a sale.

I enjoy deboning the chicken and shredding it into the vegetables rather than serving it with the bones. This is generally easier to do when putting away leftovers, however, as it is not so hot.

The finished product might have a lot of liquid. Either thicken it up with a little cornstarch, or just enjoy the juice. It also makes a nice stew if you’ve removed the bones.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lofty Aspirations

One starts to contemplate the meaning of life when one realizes that one's burning desire is to simply outsmart one's dog.

I've had this dog for 9 years. She's a very intelligent animal, which normally pleases me. She has this horrible habit of digging herself out of the backyard, however, and nothing I can do seems to be able to stop it. She'll go for a few weeks, and I'll think I've won, and then poof! She's out again. She can squeeze herself out of the tiniest spaces, too. I'd gotten to the point where I never let them outside unless I was standing there watching them. You can imagine how tedious that can be, but we did it for a few years.

A few months ago, we installed a doggie door. She's getting older (she was at least 2 when I got her from the pound in 2000) and she was having a hard time holding it all day while we were at work/school. I figured she could go out to relieve herself, and stop peeing in the house. Yeah... she promptly started testing her Houdini skills again, so the doggie door got closed up. That rather defeated the purpose of installing it.

Now that I've been home more in the daytime and able to see her favored area of mischief, I've been trying my hand at foiling her escapes again. I thought I had it figured out; we went almost 2 weeks with her having free access to come and go and she never got out. Success! But no. One day I was gone for the day again, and came home to find her sitting on the front porch, waiting for us.

This time, it's been a week. She's tried several times to get out, including two straight days of nobody being home, but it appears to be working. I really hope so... please send thoughts of "containment" our way!