Post #861 After a Decade, It’s Time

June 2, 2022 at 8:16 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

It’s been 10 years writing this blog. Honestly, I never thought I would last beyond two. In the past ten years, I feel like it’s been a journey. I’ve made friends on-line, and I’ve made some discoveries. You’ve watched/read with me as we moved around the country for various reasons. You’ve been through my father’s final days with me. You’ve been through the beginning of my relationship with Partner/Spouse and all the way through our marriage. You’ve been through the acquisition of dogs, and the rainbow-bridge moments with those dogs. You’ve seen us flounder and thrive and attain our goal of living in New England.

A decade is a long time. At the beginning, I intended for the blog to be one thing, but it had a mind of its own, and it became something else. I started with the idea of posts that were supposed to be 500-600 words long. Anyone who has read this blog from the beginning knows I can’t say anything in less than a 1000 words, and usually more. The average length of words for posts is around 1400. I intended to have separate recipe pages, but I didn’t like that in practice. The same with the stories. So they all became part and parcel of the blog posts.

I intended to inject humor into every posts, but as in life, sometimes things just aren’t funny. Some posts were very personal and difficult to write. Those turned out to be some of my most popular posts. The post I wrote when Robin Williams took his life where I told about my own battles with depression got several hundred hits and was picked up by a couple of national/global blogs.

I started the blog as a way to share my cooking journey from the days when I was learning what flour would do until now when I get people asking me what to do to get a good rise from their souffle. I remember a young lady I used to work with who commented on FB that she finally sat down with her knife set to figure out what each one did. Her comment “Did you know there’s knife just to cut bread? Who knew that?” made me reply to her, “I did.” She became a blog fan from the start. My imaginary friend “Karen” was inspired by a close friend from high school who’s common lament “I wish I liked to cook!” became her rallying cry and force me to write posts about basic cooking that was easy. She still hates to cook, but she does it easier now.

When the blog started, I wrote three times a week and the biggest challenge was to find things to write about. I’m not kidding, when I did the prep work before starting the blog, I had already listed a year’s worth of posts at three times a week. I didn’t follow that list religiously, but it did help when I was floundering. Over time, life got in the way and eventually I had to start cutting back.

I suppose the question most people have is why I made the decision to stop writing the blog? As I said a few months ago, somewhere along the way, I lost the joy of writing the blog. It became a chore; something I “had” to do. People have often asked me why I haven’t worked in a restaurant or started my own. My answer has always been because when I have to do something, it’s no longer fun. Each post, instead of flying out of my fingers in a rush-and-tumble to get on the page, became a struggle to get the next sentence done. Some of them were easy, but most of them were difficult. Each word was wrenched from me until I had a coherent post ready to publish. I think it showed in the quality of my posts.

All that being said, the blog isn’t going away. I’m not going to delete it or any post. It will still be up and running, ready as a reference (I use it as a reference, too, constantly searching for a recipe I forgot to write down in my kitchen notebook.) I will still be able to see comments readers leave, and I will always reply back to each one. I might even post once in a while when I feel the urge. So feel free to keep checking it out.

I had a couple of goals when I started and the only one I didn’t reach was 1000 posts. But 861 isn’t bad. That’s nearly a million words. Just imagine if I’d turned that towards my novel writing career. And that’s my next journey. I’ve got two finished but unpublished novels. I’m trying to figure out if I want to go independent or traditional publisher. Either way, I’m happy with the course I’ve mapped out in my head.

For my “final” recipe (for now, who knows?), I’ll leave you with one of my favorites that’s in our weekly diet. Spaghetti sauce in a crockpot. This recipe once woke someone from a sound sleep to come out to the kitchen to try it on toast.

Make sure you have a crockpot large enough for about a gallon of sauce. This recipe is designed to cook overnight, but you could cook it during the day while you’re at work.

  1. 1 pound hamburger, very lean, frozen or thawed
  2. 2 regular sized cans of tomato puree
  3. 1 6oz can of tomato paste
  4. 2 regular sized cans of diced tomatoes
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 2 tablespoons of Italian herbs mix
  7. 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
  8. 4 cloves of garlic minced
  9. 1/2 medium onion chopped
  10. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional but try it once to see if you like it

Let’s talk about the ingredients first. The hamburger if frozen, will cook while the sauce cooks and add its juices to the sauce flavor. Once every this done, it can be broken into chunks to make a meatball sort of effect. If the hamburger is thawed, it will blend with the sauces until it looks like it disappears, but the flavor will be intense. Try to use fresh onion and garlic but powdered will do. Use more than you think is necessary, but to your own taste. The red pepper flakes will add fire to the sauce so use it sparingly. But try it at least once because it’s really good.

Okay, add all the cans of tomatoes plus one cup of water to the slow cooker, and mix thoroughly. Add all the seasonings and stir. Place the hamburger in the center of the sauce. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion and garlic start to release their aroma. Pour that into the sauce. Cover the slow cooker and set to high. Stir every hour or so if possible. After three hours, turn to low and cook for four hours. Alternatively, cook on low for several hours. This will get incredibly hot, so once it’s done, turn off and remove the lid. You’ll find the sauce tends to be thinner than a stove top version but will thicken as it cools. Stir to distribute the meat and flavorings. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. When ready, boil up your favorite pasta, drain it, put it on a plate, and spoon heated sauce over the top. Garnish with parmesan cheese if you like.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Leftover sauce can be frozen and used as a base for more sauce. This also works very well for lasagna and pizza sauce.

So, here we are. The final paragraph of the final (?) post. I’ve had fun doing this. I hope you had fun and laughs reading it.

As always,

6 Comments »

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  1. Oh great !! Now I am CRAVING spaghetti ..really..a lot ! And I really did not want to cook ! Lol !
    Always enjoy reading these Joe ! With love, from your old classmate (and Kofa Band member)
    …Darlene..

    • LOL! I’ve made so much spaghetti over the last 40 years, I’ve developed quite an array of shortcuts. For instance, I brown hamburger or sausage or a combo, drain it, and dump a jar of Classico brand sauce of whatever flavor I want. Then I add a tablespoon of jarred minced garlic that I mash slightly to release flavor, and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning mix and let it all simmer together for an hour. Spaghetti sauce extraordinaire! Take care and keep your eyes peeled. Enjoy!

  2. I will miss reading about your cooking knowledge and life in general.

    • I’ll still be around, just not as often. I honestly can’t see myself stopping altogether. If you follow the blog, you’ll be notified every time I post so you won’t miss out. Take care, enjoy, and thank you!

  3. I’ve lurked over the past few years. Thank you for writing.

    Best wishes for your new endeavors. Peace, contentment, good health, and grand adventures to you and your family.

    • thanks for your good wishes. I lurk on a few blogs, too. Take care and enjoy!


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