Archive for April, 2010

My Kids, You Got To Love Them!

April 24, 2010

So first my daughter gets me all excited about going to space Camp with my granddaughters and then she and her cousin gang up on me about being fat and having to lose weight. The ultimatum drop 40 pounds or I cant go.

I have to admit that it turned into a fun project. First step was working with a qualified nutritionist to make sure my eating habits were OK. Next was the planning and execution of portion controlled meals which I report on at and after I lost twenty pounds, I joined a gym and worked out 2-4 times a week. I was in such good shape that I was actually able to jog with my daughter, niece, and granddaughter and not embarrass myself.

Like Icarus, my pride got the best of me, I flew too close to the sun and disaster struck. My back gave out and I suffered temporary paralysis. Seems I have an inherited degenerative spine disease and it was going to strike sooner or later so its better it happened at 210 rather than 260 pounds..Since the incident, I have been moping around doing pretty much no vigorous exercise (except sex) for fear of permanently damaging myself. The diet has held because I realize I should probably drop another 30 pounds.

Last Thursday when I was bored and almost feeling sorry for myself and avoiding my young friend who really is more than a little nuts, my son sent me an article about hacking Sous-vide cooking without buying a $700 Sous-vide Cooker. Sous-vide literally means cooking with vacuum.

Naturally, I went out and purchased a vacuum pump, plastic bags and some red meat which I don’t normally have in the house and gave Sous-vide a try in my coffee pot. That took the rest of the day and when I hooked up with a few of my Chef friends, they had never heard of the method.

It is a French method which uses low heat to cook food and is probably illegal to commercially do in many US States including Virginia and the US Virgin Islands. If I were a caterer, I definitely would get more familiar with the method as I believe it could do a better job of preparing properly cooked beef and fish without overcooking.

For home cooking, I believe that beef and chicken are cooked just as well or better with other methods I will be posting on the cooking experiments at

But this blog is about adventures of the body and mind. I definitely would not have dreamed of trying to cook Sous-vide in a coffeepot without the challenge of my son and going to space camp without my daughter sending me the information. Even the timing of my back problem is not an issue. I will see the specialist and have three weeks to get in shape prior to space camp. If there are limits I will know about them prior to my going and therefor have a safer trip even though I am sure I will challenge any limits.

You just got to love my kids the keep me young and bold in body and mind.


Rainy Day Adventure – Meatloaf

April 4, 2010

Rainy days are particularly miserable in winter because there is pretty much nothing to do to really burn a lot of energy so the girls just fuss. Of course I always plan ahead and make sure that there is something that I want to do that will distract them and the easiest is cooking. I had tried meatloaf twice before in the coffeepot and was just dying to get it right. The first two times I tried it (without them), I used a tin can as a mold and the whole mess tasted like nasty plastic.

So on our trip to get my fantastic running outfit, Carson and I looked for the right sized drink mixer and found a stainless steel martini shaker that was the right size. I discarded the top and .punched a whole in the bottom. Anyone interested in the recipe and method can check out for the details.

This blog is about adventures great and small and trust me cooking with kids is always an adventure. It started with neither girl being excited about cooking meatloaf in the coffeepot by using a martini shaker because it was too weird. However, there are certain things that they will do separately or together to help and even learn a little. Ms Ana just loves to use a knife and will happily dice onions much finer than my patience allows.  Turns out Cayla had never broken an egg and was more than willing to try.

Since Ms Ana is always the instigator when it comes to mixing meatloaf or dumplings and she was definitely not interested in making meatloaf in a coffeepot, I got stuck but she did hang around to take my picture and it is a pretty good picture.

Both got involved in opening a can of baked beans and I had to help because they were spending more time fighting over who was going to do the task than actually doing it.

When the meal was done Ana declared that she was not going to eat it and my response was OK go hungry because there was no one else in the house to make her food. Well, Cayla was hungry and started eating and pragmatically asked for her sisters portion which brought Ana back to the table.

They both ate everything and only left me enough to determine that it was actually pretty good.

The Difference Between Girls and Women

April 3, 2010

All my life I have heard that the only difference between men and boys is the price of the toys.  Now not as poetic as Dorthy Parker, I have discovered that the only difference between women and girls is who pays for the toys.

This discover occurred while 7-year-old Ms Ana was working on her laptop which is a better model than mine at the kitchen table.  When I went to 11-year- old Cayla’s room to check on her cleaning progress, I noticed that she has a Mac and a PC laptop on her desk.  Of course Mom has her own computers.

Then when Ms Ana wanted to read a book she went to her library and I noticed that both Cayla and her Mom also have their own libraries.  Of course I captured a picture.

While looking around, I noticed she has stuffed animals on her bed as does her sister.  Then I remembered that their Mom (my daughter) also had stuffed animals on her bed before her daughters took them.

The only difference was that Mommy and Daddy purchased the stuff for the girls whereas in many cases my daughters surviving stuffed animals carried memories of the giver and it wasn’t me.  In the case of books and computers, she buys her own.

So the biggest difference between women and girls is not the toys but who bought them.

Pictures With a Story

April 2, 2010

The Happy Photogrpher

Every picture I take and keep has a story behind it. Over the course of a trip, I take hundreds of pictures and when cooking a new meal that I intend to describe at, I take dozens. Usually each adventures is condensed down to a single picture that I have framed. Wall space and the cost of framing are the limitations.

Ana is the engineer in the Evans clan and takes apart everything including her sisters toys and parents electronic devices so when one of my camera’s grew prematurely old and was later resuscitated, I gave it to Ana who has been constantly using it; especially when I am using my camera trying to capture pictures of the family.

The reason she got the camera is typical of our all our adventures. The two girls were in sailing camp and a daughter of a friend of mine was their instructor. So Captain Allen invited Dolores and I and the girls out for a sail. His daughter and a friend were his crew and there was supposed to be a squall but they said the heck with it let’s go. I understood why when I saw the two girls manning the boat, Seems his daughter is Captain of the school sailing team and a very Type A personality and manned the sails as if we were about to have a military encounter.

The trip out was uneventful and we had a wonderful day being tourists at Buck Island. We started to return about the same time that the squall hit and winds picket up to 25-35 knot gusts. Since the crew didn’t want to get wet, they returned to the Yacht club under full sail tacking frequently in a narrow channel and bouncing everybody and everything around the boat. On one such tack, my camera disappeared into the bilge.

Rather than ruin a beautiful day by pouting, I just told Allen that if he ever got around to cleaning the bilge I wasn’t worried about the camera but would love the memory chip for the pictures of the summer with the girls. About six months later Allen delivered the camera to me and it was damp.

I replaced the batteries and checked the memory card which still worked. The camera had a hazy gray screen and showed no desire to function as a camera. I placed it on top of a hot old computer until I decided to clean the office a few months later and checked it prior to discarding. I found it fully functional and passed it on to my Granddaughter.

Its obvious that she has fun with the camera (above) and that she carefully checks her own results.

Checking her work

More than that, when she decides to take a silly picture there is no stopping Silly Ana.

In this case the silly picture was of my belly.

My Big BellyIf you think this looks bad now, imagine it 30 pounds heavier. As Cait says, it’s still bad but at least she can get her arms around it when she gives me a hug.

Did We Really Run?

April 1, 2010

Yes, we all went and actually had fun running alone and together.

Out of pity or love, my daughter Dagny kept pace with me and Cait and Ana ran as a team.  Cait (who plays field hockey in a competitive New York City league where she has to keep running for an hour) kept pace with Ana and as a perfect coach made her work just a little harder than she might have if she ran with anyone  else.

Oh yeah, the cute young lady running above and goofing in the tutu in the previous post was  a National collegiate All-American in field hockey.  Both Cait and Ana ran faster and longer than I did.

Yes I actually ran and the above picture with reasonable form and a smile was taken just before I quit.  The smile is always there when I’m with my children and grandchildren and I suppose the reasonable form indicates, I probably could have worked a little harder although I am not sure why I would want to.

All in all, it was a pleasant diversion and I actually alternated running 1/4 mile with walking 1/4 mile so I covered the one mile course in about 15 minutes.  Not good enough to be in the Olympics, nor even good enough to win a senior marathon, but definitely good enough to have fun with my family.