Short notes about Mason City

There is a surprising amount of public art in at least the downtown area.  Some is from this or that fund and some are in remembrance of teachers, parents or grandparents.  I find this a much nicer way to remember someone rather then a marker in a field of other markers. Something to think about. 

The MacNider Art Museum has a very eclectic collection.  Though nudity often exists in art, I was unaware of a nudity in any Grant Wood piece, which they had.  

I am glad the Vision Iowa program was able to provide a big investment into the Historic Park Inn. Such a beautiful building both inside and out. 

The area that we stayed in was generally pretty walkable and after the sun started to show up, it was nice to walk around in. 

2016 - Week 37 Cooking Results

Roasted Spaghetti Squash (Cleverly Farms), Kale (yard), Cherry Tomatoes (Grade A Gardens) and Sausage

Super success!  And low enough in carbs to have a nice serving and I had leftovers the next day!

I roasted this with olive oil, salt and pepper, to get a nice flavor out of the spaghetti squash.

What's next?  

Shannon has asked for a bechamel sauce and who am I to deny her.  When asking around nobody seemed to be aware of someone else doing this, so who knows how it will turn out, but at the very least, we'll have give it a shot.

Sweet and Savory Burger

I really like this.  The fig jam along with the herbs and spices?  Good stuff.  I may have to make this again.

Spicy Carrot Sandwiches

Hmmm...going to have to rethink this a bit.  With the carrots, hummus and bread, this becomes a bit carb heavy.  But without all of that, it kind of looses the point and flavor of the sandwich.


Simple dinner after mowing the lawn.

Sloppy Sammy's (small batch, using other 1/2 pound of beef)

Supplemented with a number of vegetables, some chickpeas then continued as normal.  Good stuffs.

2016 - Week 36 Cooking Results

Taco Salad (requested)

I had a nice mix of peppers, from mild to hot (Thanks Sean!), though I didn't add the ghost pepper in there (I like things hot, but uh, I'm not stupid).  So this is where things become challenging.  So I like some beans on my tacos or taco salad, but having beans + having tortillas (chips or no) really presses the carb limit boundaries.  So I having lesser, or whatever doesn't work.  Another vast difference, is that I use actually really good greens that you don't want to overwhelm with other things, because they're not like tasteless ice berg.  So there's always a nice balance of things.  I'm happy that I have these wonderful ingredients available to me.

Genoa Salami Pizza (requested)

When you even mention making a crust, most people back away, but what they don't realize is that the recipe that I use is super easy.  Only mildly modified from the Cook's Illustrated method, but it's food processor / time + 3 day rise.  Easy sauce, most of it is just time.  This turned out great.  I added a bit more tomato paste, which helped thicken up the sauce (the amount of water in the tomatoes can vary quite a bit), which prevented it from leaking over into the side (which it does from time to time), which lead to the golden brown crust on the bottom.

Butternut Squash Noodles with Italian Sausage, Kale (yard) and Chevre

So these ended up being pre-packaged zucchini noodles, which was fine.  it clearly doesn't have the same texture as pasta, but enough to remind you of it, and to keep the carb levels low enough to actually eat (and reduce the calories as well).  So I'm thinking of getting a spiralizer, cause frankly at the cost that the packages come in, it'll pay for itself quickly.

I guess this indicates that I'm starting to flex that food related part of my brain again to work around problems (like I'm willing to do with other people's dietary restrictions, but not really my own).  So that's probably good.  I've had problems adjusting to the healthy recipies cause my inner fat kid wants more fat and more carbs.

I cut some leaves off the top of the overgrown kale plant in the side yard (took the place of the basil and dill that decided not to re-grow).  I think I'll be using more off of there.  

Goat Cheese & Chive (yard) stuffed Chicken Breast

I'm really please with how this turned out (well on one of them, the other one I cut the chicken pocket a bit thin).  Fresh cut chives

Buttermilk Pancakes

I had a limited quantity (1 double sized pancake), but sometimes you do things cause you love your wife, you know?

Late Summer 2016 Road Trip - Day 3 - Chapel in the Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota

I was really looking forward to coming here.  I'd be on my own, I'd be able to take photos, I'd see the sunrise as it came up.  A place like this, clearly has a connection to the heritage history that I was was raised in.  Even though the Nordic heritage doesn't make up a majority of my heritage, it is what I remember.

This morning was interrupted by a doe and a couple of fawns, crossing my path while the sun rose.  It was a beautiful day and morning.  So glad I made the stop.

Big thanks to Brian, who gave me a little extra access that morning.

2016 - Week 36 Cooking

With the rising need of caffeine to keep me conscious, it has become clear that I can't just use the pitcher of the Hario Cold Brew, because I do a more then 24 hour brewing, I picked up a simple pitcher from Kitchen Collage (part of my shop local day of Mars > Kitchen Collage > Allspice > Cheese Shop).  This way I can transfer, clean, and get my next brew started in a timely fashion.

On the coffee front, because of the 100 grams of coffee that I use for the cold brew, I'm going through coffee quite a bit faster then I've adjusted to, leaving me often with not enough beans to move forward.  I'll probably adjust, but there have been caffeine free days...ugh.

  • Taco Salad (requested)
  • Genoa Salami Pizza (requested)
  • Butternut Squash Noodles with Italian Sausage, Kale (yard) and Chevre
  • Goat Cheese & Chive (yard) stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Buttermilk Pancakes

2016 - Week 35 Cooking Results

hunk o meat (depends on what I can find in the freezer) and Garlic & Parmesan Tossed Mixed String Beans

I had less meat in my freezer then I expected (though I do need to make stuff with hocks, I have a surprising number of hocks).  So I went out and picked up something.  So a hunk of beef later, using the method, sear, sear, finish in oven, then tossed the string beans with butter, garlic and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  It was a nice meal, simple, good, well below my carbohydrate limit per meal.

Brats (x2)

So early in the week we had Sloss Scottish Ale from Alluvial Brewing Company, then last night we had Smoked Rye Pale (from Wing Nutt, I believe).  Both are quite good, and do add a bit to the flavor profile.

Salami and Pickle Grilled Cheese

Shannon skipped the pickles, but I really like this, gooey, that nice pickle flavor and really good bread.  Good stuffs.

California Veggie Sandwich (Modified)

So I didn't pickle my own vegetables, I used California medley of vegetables (already pickled).  I really liked the dressing and have used it on several things after the fact.

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken (like this)

Simple and good.  Served with a nice mix of greens.