Cooking With Gas

Can be dangerous to your health!

When we moved to this home in Chandler Arizona, I was so excited that it came complete with a brand new gas stove. I’ve always had electric stoves because all my other homes were total electric and gas was not available in any of the areas we lived. I love my new gas stove, but I must say, I’ve found that cooking times and temperatures are a little different when I cook with gas.

My husband, Bill, apparently used gas stoves in his past lives…and he was concerned that sometimes carbon monoxide could be in the room so he went out and bought a carbon monoxide/explosive gas detector/alarm that sounds a VERY loud alarm when carbon monoxide/explosive gas is detected in the room. He put this carbon monoxide/explosive gas detector on the wall in the kitchen/family room area. At the time, I thought it was a “bit much” and that it was not necessary… Well, blow me over, was I ever wrong!!! Hey, what the h#ll do I know? I’m just the cook around here:)

Lucky for me, I didn’t make a big deal out of having this odd-looking carbon monoxide/explosive gas detector/alarm on the wall where everyone can see it or I would be one unlucky and dead woman today…then what would all my readers do for their reading entertainment?

Here’s what happened:

Yesterday, I cleaned my house like I do almost every Tuesday…it took me about five hours, like it does every week…(hey, I guess this, old, gray, mare ain’t what she use to be, and she is not as fast either..) so when I finished with all the cleaning I was tired. I decided I would cook some turkey bacon to put on the hot deli roast beef and cheese hoggies I was going to make for dinner. I wanted to have something hot, but quick and easy for dinner, because, like I said, I was tired…..

I cooked a pound of turkey bacon (might as well make it all if I’m going to stand at the stove then I can have some for breakfast too throughout the week…always thinking and planning ahead). When I finished cooking all the turkey bacon, I was really tired, and now I also had a headache… so I let the skillet cool down on the stove for a while before I washed it…

While the skillet was getting cool…I went about my business of putting the finishing touches on my clean house…so I went into the bathroom to put the rugs back down after I steam cleaned the tile floors because now they were dry… Now,  I’m on my hands and knees putting the little no-slip thingie down so I could put the rug on top of that…when all of the sudden I thought the world was coming to an end as the loudest alarm I had ever heard started going off in my newly clean house…I jumped up thinking WT# was that? And I immediately start sniffing the air to see if I smell smoke thinking perhaps there was a fire…but no, I didn’t smell any smoke so what else could it possibly be??? Yep, it sure enough was the carbon monoxide/explosive gas alarm sounding off BIG TIME. It was flashing GAS, GAS, GAS…then showed the numbers 218 over and over again in big red letters and numbers. I mean it was REALLY loud and scared me to death (well almost, but little did I know I almost killed myself all by myself just by cooking turkey bacon..:)

I didn’t know what to do so I tried to unplug that terrible screeching sound…but it kept going on and on…then, I remembered it was both electric and battery operated…so started trying to push the buttons on it to make it stop but it wouldn’t so I opened the windows and the front door and called Bill to ask him what I should do..? I mean I don’t want to call out the fire department if this thing is just going off as a false alarm…

Bill tells me to go outside and stay out until the alarm stops. I did that… but when I went back in the house again the alarm started going off again but was flashing 216 this time instead of 218…I thought “oh good, it’s coming down”…I don’t know what the numbers should be so when Bill called me back to see if I was alright…I asked him and he told me the number should be ZERO!!!  No wonder I had a headache…too much carbon monoxide/explosive gas in my system.. Back outside again, this time until the alarm didn’t come on again for at least twenty minutes…Then I went back inside the house that already had all the windows open and the front door open and I turned on all the exhaust fans, and ceiling fans, and prayed that the house didn’t blow up with me in it…Thank God Shantel was still at school so I didn’t have to worry about getting her to a safe place too…and our princess cat, Carmen, aka the beast, was hiding under the bed because she was so scared of the loud alarm. I had to leave her there since I couldn’t reach her and she wouldn’t come to me…

Well, if your reading this, you know it all turned out well…I’m still here and didn’t get blown up…We think perhaps the non-stick on the non-stick pan got too hot and put toxic gas into the air…needles to say that skillet is in the trash and I’m buying a new on this weekend! What a day for the memory books…after all that I really needed my Happy Hour!!!

Happy Halloween…I’m greatful I’m still alive to celebrate it!

Stay tuned!

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It’s An EXACT Science

Baking that is.  And, it’s no secret I don’t like baking!

I don’t like having to be EXACT in my own kitchen. When I try a new recipe for the first time, I usually follow directions…, But the next time I cook the dish, unless it was the most wonderful thing I ever ate…I look at the recipe and think how could I make that better? And, I start thinking of new ingredients to add and or substitute to make it more to my liking…that’s how I came up with my FAMOUS jambalaya recipe that some folks have told me could sell for $500.00 a bowl in Sweden…just saying:)

However, as is the custom at the Kirnberger household here in Chandler Arizona on Sunday mornings when the weather turns cold…I put on my Sous Chef hat and assume the position of “I have no rights in my own kitchen” as my daughter, Shantel, gives directions on what we will bake and how…

It’s all such a process that begins with sanitizing our already spotless countertops, and laying out all utensils in the EXACT order they will be used…

Of course, we must have the dish drainer at the ready with the ” clean dish towel” sitting inside the just sterilized dish drainer so nothing can contaminate the “clean dish towel” OMG forbid that towel should touch the newly sanitized countertops…

Then, of course we have to have a recipe that we follow EXACTLY, like the one below:

Unless, of course, Chef Shantel, wants to add something to her liking like oatmeal to the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe making it “oatmeal chocolate chip cookies”…nothing wrong with that EXACT recipe right…but hey, I’m just here to follow directions:)

Then, we  I, do whatever I’m told…in this case, chop semi-sweet choc to add to the choc chips and other sugars…that go into this EXACT recipe… Hey,  I’m just happy to have a job…:)

Once everything is “perfectly chopped and mixed”, we start putting the cookies on the parchment paper lined baking sheets like the photos shows below…. **Cooks note** (do not even try to reuse parchment paper, EVER) You will see what happens soon…:)

Once you are sure you have all the cookies on the parchment paper EXACTLY as they should be with space in between so they don’t “grow” together…, you carefully place them in the oven and tell your Sous Chef to “watch them carefully

For the MOST part all goes well with the first few batches…and this is what you get:

I wouldn’t know, because I don’t get to eat any of the fresh, warm, cookies, I had to help make and smell baking in the oven…but I’m told they were wonderful:

Bill/Bro even took time out of his Sunday “man cave” activities to sample some. I think the look on his face says it all:)

But, while Chef Shantel, and my husband, Bill (aka, BRO), were enjoying the fruits of “our labor”…OOPS!!! and oh S##t…I was supposed to be watching the last batch to come out of the oven….but got distracted….and by golly, it really is an EXACT science when it comes to cooking times…but more importantly, you must remember to NEVER, EVER reuse parchment paper, ,,EVER!!! This could have been soooooo much worse than it looks as I was scolded  gently reminded of… Who knew?

I guess I’m just one LUCKY girl that I didn’t get fired for this little mishap today.. But, really, I didn’t mean to reuse that parchment paper…I was just trying to see if I could save a little money…NOW, I know EXACTLY why you should NEVER, EVER do that:)

Stay tuned

Celebrate You!

Thanksgiving will be celebrated by the “precious few” at our house this year.

I love, love, love the holidays. I love decorating the house, cooking the food, and gathering family and friends to celebrate together.

This year, Thanksgiving at our house, will be celebrated with my husband, Bill, our daughter, Shantel, my mother, and I.

Since my daughter, Katie, is estranged from us right now, and will be unless and until she decides to make the necessary changes in her life, and attitude, that will allow her to be in a healthy family relationship with Bill, Shantel and I, she and our grandson, will not join us for Thanksgiving this year. I do so hope Katie will seek the professional help she needs and that one day she will rejoin our family.

Bill’s son, Marty, is also estranged from us at this time. He also has work to do before he can enjoy a healthy family relationship with us. We hope Marty will seek the help he needs to rejoin our family as well.

Bill’s son, Patrick and his family, and Bill’s daughter, Katie, and her family, live in Colorado and will be joining us for Christmas, but will not be able to make the trip to join us for Thanksgiving this year. It’s hard when families live so far apart, but we make the best of it.

My brother, Danny and his wife, Bea, were supposed to come and bring my mother to our house for Thanksgiving this year, but Danny forgot he and I made that plan several months ago and already accepted another invitation to Thanksgiving at Bea’s daughter’s house. I completely understand forgetting things as I’m guilty of that myself from time to time. And, they will all still come to my house for Christmas Eve, so it’s all good:)

Some people would be upset, disappointed or depressed about not having a large crowd of family and friends to celebrate the holidays with and might even decide it’s not worth the trouble to celebrate at all. But that’s not me. No, while nothing warms my heart more than to have my house filled with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, or to just celebrate getting together anytime, my happiness is not dependent on other people being able to attend. I would still celebrate the holiday’s, or any occasion, even if it were just me.

Over the years, I’ve learned happiness isn’t a product of having a crowd around you, for me, happiness comes from within and IF others are able to come around then my happiness is shared with them, but if other’s cannot come, then it’s a celebration for one, ME… What’s better than ME as a reason to celebrate?

If you find yourself alone for the holiday’s, or any day… Don’t be blue, Celebrate YOU!

Stay tuned!

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I don’t usually talk about things I do to help others but I’m going to make an exception this one time because the most amazing thing happened today that supports a moment in time lesson I shared with my daughter, Shantel, a few weeks ago.

Shantel likes to go to Starbucks to get her favorite drinks in the morning prior to going to school. A few weeks ago I noticed a woman, who appeared to be homeless, just two people ahead of Shantel and I in the Starbucks line. The woman had on an old, dirty coat, dirty bandana tied around her head, she smelled of horrible body odor and was scratching her head constantly. She wasn’t asking anyone for anything but she asked the Starbucks worker if she could have a small “sample” cup of coffee for free, and a small glass of water. The worker acted like she had seen the homeless woman before and agreed to give her a very small sample cup of plain coffee. The homeless woman was very grateful. She took the small sample cup of coffee to the counter and poured at least eight packs of sugar into the cup then filled the cup up with the milk or cream that is on the counter for “paying” customers. I watched this woman while waiting in line for Shantel’s drink to be completed and my heart went out to her. The “paying” customers in Starbucks were staring at the homeless woman and moving away from her and even making comments about how bad she smelled and saying “they” shouldn’t be allowed in here… that broke my heart.

I started looking through my wallet for some money to give the homeless woman when Shantel asked me what I was “digging for”? I told her about the woman and said I was going to give her some money to get something to eat. Shantel said “you’re not supposed to give them money mom, because if they are on drugs they will just use the money you give them for drugs or alcohol…” I said “I don’t care, I can’t just turn my back on this woman because I believe sometimes you need to make a split moment decision to help people who are put in your path”. All I had in my wallet that day was this:

And I decided the homeless woman needed it much more than I did. So I went over to the homeless woman, made eye contact with her and smiled and asked her if I could buy her lunch and handed her the money. Her beautiful brown eyes filled with tears as she took the money and squeezed my hand. I whispered to her that if she went to McDonald’s she would be able to eat twenty times from their dollar menu. She nodded her head, put the money in her coat pocket and left.

A few day’s later Shantel wanted to go to McDonald’s and there was the homeless woman, wearing the same dirty clothes, sitting in a booth all by herself eating one item from the dollar menu…I didn’t say anything to her and I don’t think she saw me but it warmed my heart to see had something to eat. That was a few weeks ago…

Today, Shantel wanted to go back to Starbucks, where I first saw the homeless woman, and get her morning drink. We were the last in line this morning and by the time Shantel got her drink, there were no customers in Starbucks, unusual for the early morning, and the parking lot was empty. As I walked Shantel out of Starbucks and to the car, I noticed something on the ground and this is what I found:

If I had seen someone drop this money I would have run after them but no one was anywhere in sight. As I bent down to pick the money up, Shantel asked what I was doing, and I told her I just found forty-one dollars on the ground. She said “really” and I took the opportunity to remind her about the homeless woman and giving her twenty dollars to get something to eat…I said “Shantel, I believe when you do the right thing, expecting nothing in return, good Karma, blessings etc. always come back to you, and then some… Shantel thought about that and said “well, I guess they do”.

Stay Tuned

Like A Ban-shee!!!

Just when I thought I was safe, and I was beginning to feel relaxed, and even a bit cocky about my ability to handle myself with poise and confidence like the strong, independent, woman I’ve always been…of the three giant steps I took forward in dealing with my fear of scorpions, this morning, I just took a ten foot jump backwards…I didn’t even know I could jump that high!!

It all started when I was waiting for my daughter, Shantel, to gather her cane, purse, homework, and whatever else she carries around with her in her two giant bags, and get out in the car so we could leave to take her to school…Our cat, Carmen, was sitting on the back of the sofa in the family room, when all the sudden she jumped off the sofa and ran into the kitchen and stood staring at the space between the refrigerator and the pantry which just happens to be where I have a glue board to capture scorpions. I check this trap, and all the others I have scattered around the house, everyday and I know nothing was in there yesterday. In fact, I haven’t seen any scorpions in the house for months. The last scorpion I saw was outside, laying on the cool deck dying, but not yet completely dead, after it crawled through all the scorpion killing power and granules we have in our yard, and I smashed the hell out of it with my flip-flop while screaming “bad bug, bad bug, bad, bad, bug” just like my therapist told me to do so the image wouldn’t get in my head…

Back to this morning…I ran over to the refrigerator to see what Carmen was looking at and OMG…right there on the glue board, was a BIG, FAT, SCORPION!!! Just at that moment, Shantel started yelling for me to come on and take her to school so I didn’t have time to investigate the scorpion other than I could see it was stuck to the glue board so I decided it was safe to leave it there until I got back home. While I was driving Shantel to school, I kept thinking in my mind, I won’t panic, when I get home, I’ll simply deal with getting rid of the scorpion..In fact, I decided I would even take a picture of it before I got rid of it and write a blog post about how well I managed my composure in dealing with the scorpion…My therphast will be sooooo proud of me…

When I got home, I got the flashlight and went through the house and checked all the glue boards to see if I could find any other scorpions. I know in my heart, there is NEVER just one…but I didn’t find any others so I decided I would get the glue board with the trapped scorpion on it and take it outside to get a good picture of it for my blog then I would dispose of it. I got our long bar-b-que tongs and picked up the glue board, with the scorpion still stuck to it, and carried it out onto the back patio. I kept telling myself I can handle this and I will not panic…I wasn’t sure if the scorpion was alive or dead because it wasn’t moving so I got real brave and got a long bar-b-que knife, and poked at the scorpion while holding the glue board in my hand…BAD IDEA!!! That scorpion somehow got it’s body lose from the glue board, and because I had the glue board tilted up towards the ceiling so I could get a good look at that nasty thing, as in “face your fears’…another BAD IDEA I’ll NEVER try again…anyway, that nasty scorpion raised its whole body up toward my face and had its nasty, ugly legs waving all around at me…only it’s tail was really keeping it stuck to the glue board…Well, let me tell you…I SCREAMED “LIKE A BAN-SHEE” at the TOP of my lungs, threw that glue board with the scorpion still stuck to it across the patio while I was jumping at least ten feet up in the air, and backwards, to get back in my house all the while thinking to myself, my husband, Bill, can kill it when he gets home from work… he say’s he isn’t afraid of scorpions!!!

When I was safely back in my house, I could hardly breathe I was so scared…so much for conquering my fear of really live scorpions….right? But, once I got myself settled down a little, something kept nagging at me, telling me I have to deal with that scorpion by myslef…So, I got my scorpion killer spray, the long bar-b-que tongs and knife, and a hammer, and out I went with my bad self to face that scorpion down, AGAIN…

This is what’s left of that BIG, FAT, NASTY, scorpion!!!

These are the tools that I carried to battle and kill that nasty scorpion!

All I can say is I did what I had to do to kill the scorpion, but I still don’t think there is enough therapy out there to make me say I’m not still terrified of them…I still HATE scorpions!!!

Stay Tuned!

Dumpster Diving

For the past five years, my daughter, Shantel, has been playing the McDonald’s Monopoly game, like the one shown below in the hopes of winning “BIG” money to help pay for her college education.

To play the game, you have to purchase food items at McDonald’s that contain the tiny little game pieces like these that are shown on a sticky note to give you an idea of how tiny they really are:

The bigger the purchase, the more tiny little game pieces you get. For example, a twenty piece chicken mc’nugget and large fries can get you twenty game pieces etc. Shantel usually orders breakfast items like oatmeal or hash browns and receives two game pieces for her purchase. She now has Indiana Ave and Kentucky Ave but still needs Illinois. She also has Marvin Gardens but still needs Altanic Ave and Ventnor Ave. She has States Ave but needs St. Charles Place and Virginia Ave. etc.

Yesterday, Shantel was very excited when she peeled off her tiny game piece and asked me to read what it said and I told her it wasn’t a game piece but a prize she actually won…! Her excitement turned to hysteria when I read the tiny little game piece to her and it said she won a 5×7 fish picture!!! She almost fell down laughing as she said “oh wow, after five years of playing and not winning anything, I finally win something and it’s a picture, just what every blind person dreams of winning!!

But, she will not be discouraged. No, she said we still have until Monday to “win the BIG prize” so she asked if I could start looking around the parking lot for discarded game pieces as we are walking in to make her purchases in the mornings…I was amazed that she, who sanitized most of Manhattan with her Lysol disinfecting wipes when we were in NYC…, wanted me to pick up game pieces off the ground,,,but it got even better when she asked “hey mom, didn’t you go dumpster diving with our friend, Robin, the first time you went to NYC”? I admitted I did engage in that activity…Why is it that kids never hear and remember what you want them to but can recall in a heartbeat things you wish they would forget? Then Shantel said “well, would you mind looking through some of the trash cans in McDonald’s for discarded game pieces for me”? I told her I’d have to think on that for a while. You know dumpster diving in NYC, late at night, after a couple of glasses of wine with my Frissy, and digging through the trash at 7:00 A.M. in the morning in front of a packed McDonald’s, with only coffee to provide encouragement, is a totally different situation, right?

Stay Tuned!

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

Our cat, Carmen, is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. As soon as I turn it on she runs like the wind to find a place to hide, usually under a bed, until she thinks it’s safe to venture out again.

Lucky for me, she found a new hiding place this week when I was running the vacuum because when I finished my cleaning chores, I noticed I had an email from a friend who had some tips for me to try to make my pictures look better on my blog. One of the tips she shared was to not stand over my subject, but to get down on the floor if necessary (easier said than done believe me) to capture all the details of the subject of the picture…The suggestion also stated that I should try this tip out on our cat if she would tolerate it.

So, I went on a hunting trip throughout our house to find Carmen, who thought she had found safety between the wall and dresser in my daughter, Shantel’s, room. I had to act quickly and get down on my belly (again, easier said than done) and pretend like I wasn’t looking at Carmen until I was ready to take the picture or she would have run away if she thought I was going to flash a camera in her face again.

I captured the shot and sent it to my friend who shared the tip with me and she requested I show it on my blog so, here is the result of my lesson:

I think it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Don’t you?

The hardest part of trying this photo tip was getting back up off the floor after I captured the great shot:)

Stay tuned!

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