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Sledgstone

Recipe Juicy Lucy Burgers

Instructions to make:

Juicy Lucy burgers

Ingredients:

- Hamburger meat

- Seasonings

- 2 slices of american cheese per burger

Instructions:

1) Mix up your hamburger meat with some seasonings like season all, maybe some chopped onions. (look at my other burger recipes in this blog)

2) Make some small hamburger balls to form into patties, one slightly bigger than the other. You have to make them smaller than normal because you will need two hamburger patties per burger.

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3) Use the larger ball of meat and make hamburger patty, then break up two slices of american cheese per burger and put it in the middle.

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4) Now make another patty and place it over the cheese and work the edges so the two burgers will cook together as one.

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5) Cook those burgers over a medium to high heat to make sure the inner part of the burger cooks all the way through.

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6) The burgers will shrink when cooking and the cheese will get very hot in the middle helping to cook the inside of the burger. One of my burgers busted at the seams. Instead of using 80% I should have gone with a 90% to reduce meat shrinking.

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7) Let the burgers cool a little so you don't burn yourself on the hot inner cheese.

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I spread the cheese around so you can see the cavity in the burger that is created when cooking them like this. If you can eat these burgers at the perfect cheese temperature, the cheese will flow with every bite and taste great. ^_^

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Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

St. Louis style ribs

Ingredients:

- Package of St. Louis style ribs - 2 to 3 lbs

- 1/2 to 1 bottle of KC Masterpiece Original BBQ Sauce

- 1/2 shot of Maker's Mark whiskey

- Tablespoon of honey

Instructions:

1) Boil your ribs in water, they'll boil faster if you keep it covered. Once the water starts boiling, boil the ribs about 15 minutes to a 1/2 hour until they are mostly cooked. Or all the way cooked if you want. For these ribs, I boiled them about a 1/2 hour until their internal temperature was 175 degrees. Pork is fully cooked at 170 degrees, so these ribs were already fully cooked before I put them on the grill. (I use my little meat thermometer all the time now. :P)

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2) While the ribs are boiling, turn your grill on to start heating up and also, get your sauce ready. Usually I use just plain KC Masterpiece because when that sauce is cooked on the grill, alot of the moisture cooks out of the sauce and it thickens up perfectly for ribs. For this recipe, I used half a bottle of the sauce, squeezed in about a tablespoon of honey, and added half a shot glass of whiskey for a little kick. The alcohol will cook right out of the sauce, so it just adds flavor, like I said, a little kick.

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3) Once the ribs are finished boiling, remove them from the pot and let them cool off a little. You can refrigerate them for 15 minutes if you want, but I just let them sit out at room temperature about 5 minutes.

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4) Now that the grill is nice and hot, turn off the burner you'll be putting your ribs over (left burner is off in this pic) and keep the other burner on high. This will let the ribs cook with indirect heat. Put your ribs on the top rack of your grill, coat one side, flip it and then coat the other side. Close the lid and let the grill heat up those ribs for a good 10 minutes.

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5) Flip the ribs over and this time, heavily coat the top with sauce, let it pool up on it so it'll be really thick. Close it up and let it cook another 10 minutes. Flip the ribs again and repeat another thick layer, this time turn on the left burner on low to add more heat. Keep repeating this process one or two more times if you have enough sauce.

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6) Take the ribs off the grill, the sauce should be really thick now. Let the ribs cool down a couple minutes before you cut them.

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7) Look at those ribs. Enjoy! :drool:

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After eating these, the sauce does need a bit more sweetness to it. Add another tablespoon of honey or dissolve about a 1/4 cup of sugar into the sauce before putting them on the ribs.

Sledgstone

My cordless drill's batteries have shit the bucket and instead of spending $30 on a single replacement battery, I put that money towards a new lithium powered cordless drill. It came with two batteries, a charger and a decent cloth case that has sturdy sides and decent bottom.

Heres some pics of my old drill and my new one. In every pic, the old drill and it's accessories are on the left.

Old case and new case:

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Inside the cases: (the old drill came with a dustbuster that worked like pure crap.)

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The old charger never indicated when the charge was full, the new one has status indicators and charges the battery in 40 minutes. ^_^

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The new battery is at least 1/2 the weight and size of the old one and maintains a charge 3 to 4x longer.

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The size and weight of the new one is 30% less than the old one.

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I picked up the drill at homedepot:

Ryobi 12V Lithium Ion Drill Kit

Model HJP001K

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100596701

I haven't used it yet, but I'll update when I do. ^_^

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

Sledge's Dry Rib Rub and how to cook some pork ribs with a dry rub, smoke and no sauce!

Serving size: 1 (or more if you cook more ribs)

Ingredients for dry rib rub (enough for probably 2 or 3 medium sized racks of ribs) :

- 1/2 cup of paprika

- 1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper

- 1/4 cup salt (or fresh ground salt)

- 2 tablespoons of onion powder

- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

- 2/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar

And of course to smoke cook your ribs on your grill you'll need:

- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds of pork spare ribs

- A couple handfuls of flavored wood chips

- A cast iron smoke box for your wood chips

- A piece of aluminum foil

Instructions:

1) Gather your ingredients for the rub and add them put them all into a bowl.

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2) Mix all the rub ingredients together. Its best to mix it with your hands, a fork, spoon or whisk just wont work as good.

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3) Rinse off your ribs and then pat them dry with a bunch of paper towels.

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4) Use one hand to grab rub and drop it liberally onto both sides of your ribs, and then use your other hand to rub it in. This way if you have extra rub left over you can save it in a baggie and refrigerate it without any contamination from touching the pork. If you don't plan on saving leftover rub, just dump it all over your ribs and put it on thick! You'll want to let it really permeate the ribs now. Cover it with plastic and refrigerate it, or if your ribs are still cold from the refrigerator, let them sit on the counter for a half hour or so while you warm up the grill and soak your wood chips.

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5) Put a handful or two into a bowl of water and let them soak for about a half hour. You can also turn on your grill and let it start heating up.

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6) Now that the grill has heated up, put your smoker box on the far right side. Grab a handful of wet wood chips, let the wood chips drain for a minute in your hand and then put the wood chips in the smoker. Not too many tho! Those wood chips need air to burn once you put the lid on. Also, turn off the left burner. You do not want to cook your ribs over direct flame. And turn the right burner down to about a medium flame.

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7) Before you put your ribs on the grill, lightly tap the ribs on its sides to get any excess rub off. Excess rub will look like dry patches of rub if as long as you let it soak into the ribs like I said. Now put the lid on your smoke box and put your ribs on the grill.

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8) Look at those ribs one more time because you won't be looking at them again for a while Close that grill and walk away for an hour. Within a half hour you'll probably see a light smoke coming out of the grill, you shouldn't have any flare ups because the ribs are not over direct heat. And by leaving the grill down for a full hour the grill will be cooking more like an oven and the smoke from the smoke box will circulate inside the grill filling the ribs with more flavor.

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9) An hour later, I flipped the ribs and added another small handful of fresh chips to the now fully burnt looking chips inside the smoke box. And now close that grill and let it cook for 1 more hour.

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10) After two hours of total cooking time, your ribs should be fully done. You can check with a meat thermometer, pork is well done at 170 degrees. When you take the ribs off the grill, immediately wrap them in aluminum foil and let them sit on a plate for a good 15 minutes. This lets the ribs reabsorb their moisture and allows more flavor to fully saturate the meat. If you don't wrap it in foil, the moisture will evaporate and collect on the plate. So wrap it!

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11) After 15 minutes, look at those ribs! :drool:

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12) Cut them into portions and look at the juicy results!

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13) Feel free to use a sauce on the side, but these ribs have all the flavor and tender flavor you need!

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14) Eat! :drool:

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This rub is a good sweet and spicy mix, but next time I cook ribs like this, I think I'll use a full cup of brown sugar to sweeten the rub a bit more. These ribs turned out quite good, but I think I still prefer my other rib recipe over this one... probably because its less time consuming and easier. :P

Heres a link to my other rib recipe:

St. Louis style ribs

Sledgstone

I finally bit the bullet and upgraded my graphics card. I bought a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP! Edition. So far it's running pretty good. It is a huge upgrade over the 1 GB non gtx geforce stock card that came with my Dell XPS desktop.

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It only needs a single 6 pin power connector and the small profile fits perfectly without forcing me to buy new sata cables to fit around it. This card does run a little hot since the fans are dialed way back from the manufacturer. At idle the temp is 39 degrees Celsius and the fans do not run which works great for me because I work on this pc all day and there is no noise. When under load it'll spike up to 76 degrees Celsius but the fans have never gone over 50% power. Which means I have a little extra heat in my pc but it's still quiet. If I wanted to knock the temps down more I could use an over clocking tool and turn the fans up to full under load, but then I'd have a bunch of noise. Last thing I want is to sit next to a box fan while playing a game. Overall I'm pleased. I'll test it more over the next couple weeks. 

Sledgstone

Recipe Sushi

Instructions to make:

2-3 rolls of sushi

Ingredients:

- Sushi Rice - 2 cups

- Nori (Seaweed sheets) - 2-3 sheets

- Rice Vinegar -

- Sliced carrots - 1 package

- Avocado - 1x

- Cucumber - 1x

- Shrimp or imitation crab meat - 1 small package

Instructions:

1) Put two cups of rice in your rice cooker and fill the rice cooker to the "2" line with water, put lid on and set the rice to cook. Remember to leave the lid on the rice cooker through the duration of the cooking and and additional 15 minutes after the rice cooker switches over to 'warm' to ensure the rice fully cooks.

2) While the rice is cooking, prepare your cooking area, get your sushi mat ready, take your nori out of the package so it can air out a bit. Peel your cucumber and slice it into thin length wise pieces (preferably discarding the seed portion or the cucumber but that is not necessary). Peel your avocado and also slice into length wise pieces but keep the avocado thicker for it's texture. Also rinse off and peel your shrimp/crab meat.

sushi1_rice.jpg

3) After the rice is done, you have to add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar per 1 cup of rice. Since 2 cups of uncooked rice = 6 cups of cooked rice, add 6 tablespoons of rice vinegar to the rice in the rice cooker and fold the rice to mix evenly. Don't crush the rice while folding the vinegar in! Once mixed together, spread the rice out onto a pizza pan or something else covered in aluminum foil. I cover a pizza pan with aluminum foil because it gives you a flat surface for the rice to cool on and it makes cleanup a lot easier.

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4) Let the rice cool down for a while and finish any other prep work you have to do. Also, place a piece of clear saran plastic wrap on your sushi mat (makes rolling the sushi easier and less messer, also easier clean up). Place your nori, shiny side down on your sushi mat and spread sushi rice in a thin layer on most of the mat. Leave about a half inch at the top of the nori rice free so the roll can stay together.

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5) Place your ingredients length wise at the bottom of your sushi roll. Use a couple large pieces of avocado, a bunch of cucumber, carrots, shrimp/crabmeat, whatever you want to use. Its ok if things overlap too, but you don't want to use much more than what is in this pic or your roll might start falling apart while you cut it or when you pick up the individual pieces.

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6) Next, roll the sushi carefully from the bottom up. Apply some light pressure while you roll and tuck the ingredients in with your fingers if it starts falling apart or not staying in place while you roll it.

7) Roll it back and forth a little bit and squeeze the roll slightly while wrapped up in the mat to get everything kind of solidified together. Not to hard tho, you do not want to crush the rice and ruin the texture.

8) The top of the roll had that little empty 1/2 flap of nori, wet your finger and apply a moisture to that flap and push it against the roll. This will make that little flap grip the roll and keep everything together.

9) Place your roll of sushi on a cutting board and use a sharp wet knife to cut your individual pieces. Sushi rice is extremely sticky, you will need to run your knife under water and gently wipe off any stickyness or rice off your knife before cutting each piece. Cut the pieces to the thickness you want, if the sushi starts falling apart on you while you cut, cut slightly larger pieces or clean your knife/wet it more. Let the knife be pretty much dripping wet even while you cut for easier cutting. The end pieces look ugly but are still edible. I usually give them to my kid or eat them myself before presentation. :P

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10) Next roll. Repeat steps above. Notice I used more shrimp? mmmmm. :drool:

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11) This is the amount of leftover rice I had. I'm pretty certain I made three rolls with 2 cups of uncooked rice, but I probably ate it while making the other two rolls I took pictures off. (I can't remember.)

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12) Finished sushi with leftover ingredients. As you can see, you shouldn't waste your time cutting all of that 1 cucumber and 1 avocado like I did unless you have a guinea pig that likes leftover cucumber like me. :P Probably half a cucumber and half an avocado is plenty for 2-3 sushi rolls.

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13) Finished sushi pics! Eat and enjoy!

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Don't forget you can use a little wasabi sauce or soy sauce or mix them together a bit for dipping your sushi. I sometimes use duck sauce because soy sauce usually tastes too salty for me just like wasabi is way to friggin hot. I'd rather taste the sushi and the different textures in it than have the dipping sauce overtake my pallet.

Pickled ginger is usually served with sushi, but its mainly used to 'reset' your taste buds when you have a variety of sushi on your plate. Its best to eat a little piece of ginger inbetween different pieces of sushi or sashimi to fully enjoy the taste and texture of each different piece. If all your eating is just the one sushi roll like I have made here, I'd pass on the ginger and just enjoy the flavor of the sushi. :drool:

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

Onion Steak Burgers

Ingredients:

- Package of ground beef round tip roast (you could substitute 90/10 or 80/20 hamburger if you want) - 2 to 3 lbs

- 1 packet of onion soup mix

- A splash of worcester sauce

- Cheese (I prefer extra sharp cheddar or maybe colby jack)

Instructions:

1) Gather your ingredients.

hamburgers1.jpg

2) Hand mash the meat with the onion soup mix until thoroughly mixed.

hamburgers2.jpg

3) Splash some worchester sauce onto the mix and mash that in as well. You don't need worchester sauce, but the meat I'm using is less fatty than the usual 80/20, so I want some more liquid in the mix to offset the dry onion soup mix. If you are using 90/10 or 80/20 go ahead and skip this if you want, but I'd leave it in for flavor. Just make your burgers slightly thicker in the end so the meat doesn't fall apart when you go to cook it.

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4) Use a small plat to make to make your hamburger patties with. Using a small plate instead of just your hands makes a more even patty and you can round the edges easier.

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5) Plate of finished patties. These are pretty thick burgers. When hamburgers cook, they loose alot of fat and thus the finished hamburgers are much thinner than the initial patties. But I'm using steak meat so these bad boys won't loose much size. hmmm.. :drool:

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6) If cooking on the grill, get your grill nice and hot first, then put your burgers on for a good initial searing to get those grill marks. Turn the grill down to low and close it up. Let them cook about 6-7 minutes on each side. If you are pan frying, Cook 1 or 2 of these at a time, because you'll probably only fit 1 or 2 of these on a pan. Cook about the same amount of time. You could also use a george forman grill, but burgers taste best when they are cooked on the grill.

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7) After 6 minutes my burgers look like this, and that means its time to flip:

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8) Look at those grill marks. mmmm.

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9) Cut some cheese for you burgers, I'm using colby jack today.

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10) Give your troublesome cat some cheese so he'll leave you alone.

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11) You'll know when your burgers are done and safe to eat when you stick a thermometer in one and its at 170-180 degrees.

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12) Put the cheese on your burgers, close that lid and turn the grill up to full heat for about 1 minute to melt your cheese.

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13) Finished burgers! Enjoy!

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Sledgstone

Recipe Pizza and Wings

Instructions to make:

2 Pizzas

4-8 Servings of wings (depending on how many wings you eat)

Ingredients:

- Pizza crust mix or premade dough - 2x

- Pizza sauce - 1 jar

- Mushrooms - 2 small cans

- Pepperoni - 1 package

- Sweet italian sausage - 1 small package

- Mozzarella cheese - 1 package

- Chicken Wings - 4 or 4 1/2 pounds

- McCormick buffalo wings mix - 2 packages

- Large ziplock freezer bag - 1x or 2x if two different flavors of buffalo wings

Instructions:

1) Break apart sausage and form into small/medium size chunks and brown it.

pizza1_sausage.jpg

2) Prepare pizza ingredients and toppings. Cut mozzarella cheese into small chunks or shred it.

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3) Once sausage is browned, drain and let sit on paper towels to absorb more grease.

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4) Prepare pizza crust mix as per instructions or prepare premade pizza dough. (pizza crust mix is much better. This pic is the premade flattened dough.)

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5) Drink a shot of hypnotic/coconut rum to enhance cooking experience. (This step can be skipped.) :P

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6) Rinse off chicken and cut each wing into three pieces at the joints, throw away the wing tips and keep to two meaty pieces for the actual wings.

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7) Put half of your wings (2 pounds out of that 4 pound package) into a freezer bag and dump 1 package of buffalo wing mix into bag. Shake the chicken in the bag to coat all the chicken somewhat evenly.

8) Use glass baking pan, line with aluminum foil, place chicken on foil and bake in pre-heated oven according to buffalo wing mix instructions.

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9) While chicken is baking, prepare pizza with sauce, and toppings as desired.

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10) Bake prepared pizza on the middle rack in your oven. 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes or longer depending on the amount of toppings you used. Cheese should start browning on edges. Remove pizza with oven mitts for pan style or use a large pizza spatula if baked directly on rack.

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11) When the wings are done, cut into a couple of them and make sure the meat is nice and white with no hints of pink to ensure they are cooked thoroughly. Remove the wings from the baking pan so they can cool on a plate. Prepare the baking pan with aluminum foil and bake the next batch of chicken wings while getting the next pizza ready.

12) Finished wings

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13) Finished pan pizza

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14) Eat your pizza and wings!

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The pizza crust mix makes a much better tasting pizza dough. And I highly recommend the McCormick Original Buffalo Wings mix or the McCormick Garlic and Herb Buffalo Wings mix. Both are amazing. :drool:

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

3 different flavors of Grilled Chicken with Grilled Corn on the cob and a baked potato.

Serving size: 3 people.

Ingredients:

- Package of boneless chicken breast, with two breasts

- 3 ears of corn

- 3 large potatoes

- Italian seasoning

- Basil seasoning

- BBQ seasoning

- Italian dressing

Instructions:

1) Rinse off your chicken breast and cut the two breasts so you have four separate pieces.

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2) Rub italian and basil seasoning on both sides of two of the pieces of chicken. (I had a request for two italian/basil ones.)

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3) Put a piece of chicken in a bowl and pour a bunch of italian dressing on it to marinate it. Make sure you move the chicken around in it a little to ensure its coated good. You can then put this in the fridge for a 1/2 hour or more, but it really only needs to sit about 5 to 10 minutes in it.

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4) Rub BBQ seasoning on both sides of your last piece of chicken. This seasoning from KC Masterpiece is actually pretty good on chicken as well as hamburgers.

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5) Set your grill on a low flame on both burners and place your chicken on the top rack. And feel free to pour the italian dressing thats still in the bowl over that italian dressing chicken breast.

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6) Let them cook for about 20 minutes and then flip them.

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7) About 10-20 minutes later the chicken should be around 170 degrees inside. Use your thermametor to make sure the temperature is right. If you get it much higher than 175 or 180 the chicken will start drying out.

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8) Take your corn and cut off both ends of the ear and peel away a couple layers of the husk. Then soak the corn in water for 10 minutes, making sure to move them around in the water every once in a while.

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9) Have your grill on a low heat and place your corn on the bottom rack. Flip them every five minutes and let them cook for about 15-20 minutes. Because the husks were soaked, the moisture prevents the husks from catching on fire and burning, and it also provides the humidity to cook the corn.

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10) Now that the corn is done, you can take it off the grill and then peel away the husk and rub butter all over it and maybe give it a dash of salt. Very tasty. You could also, remove the husk and place the corn back on the grill for another 2-5 minutes to add a little smoky flavor.

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11) I forgot to start cooking baked potatoes on the grill at the beginning of all this, so I cooked 3 potatoes in the microwave. (ah, baked potato button, how I love thee, even tho each potato needs to be cooked twice.)

Don't forget, you can cook the corn on the cob on the grill after your first 20 minutes of cooking the chicken so they'll be done at the same time. You could also rinse off your potatoes, wrap them in aluminum foil with some butter and cook them on the top rack of your grill alongside your chicken. Or just cook them in the microwave like I had too.

And unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the completed meal. I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture. ^_^; The italian dressing chicken was the most moist, because it was a liquid marinade. The other chicken was a little more dry because the dry rubs absorbed some of the moisture out. Because of that, they could a little faster and they got up to about 182 degrees. Oh well, a little Chicken & Ribs sauce for dipping took care of any noticeable dryness. mmmmmm... :drool:

Sledgstone

I got a mini burger grill kit for my birthday and I figured I'd celebrate the new years with some white castle style burgers. Except they turned out nothing like white castle burgers. X'D

I didn't do anything special with the meat so there is no fancy recipe, its just basic burgers made small.

1) Heres the mini burger press.

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2) I put a couple small meatballs size balls of meat and made some mini patties:

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3) Heres what the mini burgers look like compared to regular size:

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4) To try and get some white castle flavor, I sprinkled some season salt on the burgers and loaded them with chopped onion:

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5) I put the top on the mini burgers and put them on the grill over a medium heat:

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6) I had to put it on the grill so the handle sticks out the side. Turns out that the front of my grill has a bit of an over bite to it and pushed the mini burgers up in the air when it closed. With the handle sticking out the side tho, it wasn't nearly as bad.

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7) After about 7 minutes the burgers were almost done, so I flipped them over and covered them again for another 5 minutes.

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8) Here they are done, you can see how much they shrunk. Next time I'll use 90% instead of 80% meat. They shrunk way too much.

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9) While the burgers were still hot, I put some thinly sliced pieces of cheese on them and the cheese melted a bit which turned out great.

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10) Heres where they don't taste like white castle anymore. I decided to use potato dinner rolls instead of regular rolls or buns. If I knew they'd turn out this small I would have bought the party size mini rolls. Oh well, I doubled up the burgers and put half a stackers pickle and some ketchup and mustard on it.

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11) Instead of french fries, I decided a good side dish would be some ribs and a baked potato. :drool: So I tried some dinosaur bbq sauce for the first time on ribs. It turned out really good.

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12) And heres my new years eve dinner:

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:drool:

Sledgstone

A couple weeks ago the Blazer's service engine soon light came on. I went to Advance Auto Parts and used one of their scanners to find out I had a 'Coolant below thermostat threshold' error code. Basically, my coolant needed to be replaced and also my thermostat, then possibly the coolant temperature sensor. A couple days later I went to Valvoline instant oil change and had them do a coolant flush and also replace the serpentine belt. The serp belt I could have done myself, but the guy told me it was a lifetime warranty and they'll replace it free of charge whenever it starts showing alot of wear, so I figured it would be a good deal because I'll probably need at least one more belt in the next 3-4 years and it saved me the hassle of doing it myself in 30 degree temperatures.

The service engine soon light did not go off. I figured it wouldn't, because I would need to replace the thermostat too. Then I got snowed in at my house after a 2 foot snow storm. The car didn't drive anywhere for a couple days. Then on last Sunday, when I was about to go to the local grocery store, I noticed a gas smell. I went to the store and when I came back I noticed the smell still. Turns out the fuel line near the tank started leaking a steady drip of gas. wtf. I didn't have much daylight left so I got under the car, eventually found the pinhole leak, and I proceeded to patch it by placing a piece of cut hose over the hole and then use hose clamps to tighten it down. I must have over tightened it and it started leaking again which pissed me the hell off because at that point I was soaking wet from melting snow/ice (2 feet of melting snow) and pooling gas. After my hands went numb from the cold gas and my arm was killing me because I was awkwardly positioned under the rear differential, I decided to do a really cheap ass move and cut the finger off a nitrile throwaway glove, wrapped it around the pin hole leak, and clamped it down with four zip ties. Its held for a week now with no additional leaking. O_O I was going to take it off and hose clamp it correctly with my piece of hose, but another issue came up.

About 3 days ago, the car started making a weird ticking sound after I initially turned the car on. It only lasted for a couple seconds, but I thought it was a bad sign. Turns out it would only do it when the car was sitting for more than a couple hours and the length of time the ticking would last for depended on how cold it was outside. I went back to Advance Auto parts and had them test the alternator and battery because alternators, batteries and starters are all connected to a ticking sound during ignition. The battery and alternator were fine. He couldn't test the started because it would have to be off the engine, and on top of that he said that test would only check to see if the starter can start a car, which is not the problem because the noise only happens after the car is turned on. The guy was pretty knowledgeable and he suggested I do an oil change and use a oil filter with a drain back valve. I guess he meant anti-drain back valve because he told me I probably had oil sludge starting to build up and after the car was sitting for a while, the oil would accumulate in the oil pan and that ticking sound was the thick oil slowly making its way back up to the top of the engine. And that a good oil filter would prevent the oil from draining down completely to the oil pan, which is what an anti-drain back oil filter does. While I was there, I went ahead and bought the thermostat.

So, today, I did the oil change on the blazer. I spent the extra money and bought a penzoil full synthetic oil with cleaning additives ($28 for 5 quarts, costly), and I bought a Fram Tough Guard oil filter ($8, $5 more than other filters) which has a 'anti-drain back valve built into it'. I just finished the oil change, my coat is soaked because the tarp I put down over the melting snow/ice was a piece of crap and soaked straight through. Anyway, I started the car up after the oil change and no ticking sound. I'll find out tomorrow morning if the ticking sound is completely gone. I still need to do the thermostat, but my coat is soaked, I need a new tarp and I think I'm going to wait until next weekend when its 40+ degrees again. From what I read, a bad thermostat only causes a little worse fuel efficiency, so I figure if its not damaging the car, it can wait another week.

Sledgstone

Well, I did the oil change for the Blazer for the first time last Sunday (09-20-2009). I had to buy an oil filter wrench because my grip wrench would not budge that f*cking oil filter no matter how hard I tried. What a pain in my ass that was. Everything went well, but then on monday I noticed a weird humming noise and a stiffness to the steering wheel. Afraid I f*cked something up, I checked all my fluids. But no, it wasn't the oil. My power steering fluid was out. WTF. So I hit the gas station down the road from work, put some power steering fluid in and got home with no problem. I had to to do this a couple of times. I ended up getting some power steering stop leak at NAPA. It seemed to have stopped the leak thursday night. But! I started driving to work friday and the steering gave out completely. I tried putting my fluid in, but the car vomited it all over the road.

As of today, I removed the air filter cabin and the front left headlight. It seems that the power steering fluid is leaking from a metal joint that connects to the ps cooler. I'm trying to put a hose over top of the broken section of pipe and clamp it down to fix the leak. I should be finished with it tomorrow, rain permitting. If it doesn't work, I might have to cut that section of pipe off and replace it with a high pressure hose... I'm just hoping that that is the only place it is leaking from. And I have to say this... what a horrible f*cking design flaw. With the way the headlight is positioned, the excess rain water or salty water during the winter that hits in that crack between the headlight and the hood would drip down the back of the headlight and rust the shit out of this metal joint. Why in the hell would someone design something to be rusted out like that? Its like it was made to break.

Sledgstone

Damn exhaust pipe

As I was driving home from work last monday I noticed my saturn kept getting louder and louder. And then, right on the last couple streets to get to my house, my car started screaming at me. The car drove fine, felt fine, but the f*cking thing sounded like a drag racer. I got home and checked my exhaust and sure as hell, the joint where the exhaust pipe connects at broke. A car with no exhaust connected to it is so friggin loud you almost need earplugs.

The joint was pretty rusted, but the reason it broke is because another support piece further down the exhaust pipe broke and that caused the pipe to have enough back/forth and up/down movement to finish off the joint. I don't have any pictures of it or my repair job. But it should be all fine now since I quicksteeled the support and main joint back together again. Thank goodness for quicksteel. Aside from duct tape, this epoxy steel is versitile as all hell. *rubs my sore fingers from all the kneeding* x_x

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

Sirloin Steak with Bourbon Marinade

Serving size: 2 people.

Ingredients:

- 1 Sirloin Steak (probably 2 pounds)

- DX's Marinade

Instructions:

1) Make the marinade as per DeathscytheX's marinade recipe.

steakwithmarinade1.jpg

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2) Rinse off your steak, stab it with a fork about 10 or so times on both sides and place it in the marinade, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 6 hours or more.

steakwithmarinade3.jpg

I pan seared this steak on the stove. Normally I would have grilled it, but it was too damn cold outside (its winter atm) and I thought the steak might burst into flame because of the alcohol content. X'D

3) To pan sear it, pour some of the marinade in the pan and get the temperature up really high.

steakwithmarinade4.jpg

4) Place your steak in the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

steakwithmarinade5.jpg

5) Flip your steak and cook it for another 5 minutes.

steakwithmarinade6.jpg

6) Flip it again and its already done at this point, but I wanted to make sure it was well done (which it probably was at this point already), so I turned the stove off and covered it for another 2 minutes.

steakwithmarinade7.jpg

steakwithmarinade8.jpg

7) Take the top off and the bottom side will be more done looking than the top. Here is what it looks like on both sides.

steakwithmarinade9.jpg

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8) While the steak was cooking, I threw a potato in the microwave on the baked potato setting a couple times for a side dish. Here is the completed steak with baked potato:

steakwithmarinade11.jpg

I think I'd recommend only 1/4 a cup of bourbon for the recipe, even tho DX's recipe calls for 1/2 a cup. I swear there was enough alcohol left in the marinade after cooking that I got buzz after eating this. X'D It has a good strong flavor and no real need for a bbq sauce. :drool: But I'll grill this next time as the house smelled like a bar for a couple days after i cooked this inside. X'D

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

Lasagna

Serving size: 12+

Ingredients:

- 1 package of Lasagna noodles

- 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger meat (browned)

- 2 cans of pasta sauce

- 1 can of diced tomatoes

- 1 jar of parmesan cheese

- 2 eggs

- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

1) Gather your ingredients.

lasagna01.jpg

2) Brown your hamburger meat and strain it. I like to break the meat up pretty fine while it is browning. I don't like meat chunks too big in a lasagna.

lasagna02.jpg

3) Start boiling your lasanga noodles as per the instructions on the package.

4) Use a mixing bowl and combine the browned meat, 2 eggs, 1/4 to 1/2 of your parmesan cheese, and diced tomatoes (strain the liquid from the tomatoes first).

lasagna03.jpg

4) This sauce is thick and good for a single pan of lasagna, but I like it a but saucier so add another can of pasta sauce.

lasagna04.jpg

5) Don't overcook your lasagna noodles! If they are still slightly firm, good. Strain them and then place the noodles in layers on a plate in a criss cross pattern so they can maintain their shape while you are making your lasagna.

lasagna05.jpg

6) Lightly spray some pam or another non-stick spray on your bakeware so your lasagna does not stick to your pan. Also, start pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.

lasagna06.jpg

7) Start off your lasagna with a layer of meat sauce

lasagna07.jpg

8) Then a layer of noodles. Then repeat with another layer of meat sauce and noodles.

lasagna08.jpg

9) Usually around the first or second layer of noodles I add a layer of mozzarella cheese. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but like all pre-shredded cheeses, the little pieces of cheese are covered in a layer of wax, and that creates a greasy lasagna. So get a brick and shred it yourself or cut pieces that will melt in the oven. Also, layer some parmesan in there too if you want the extra cheese.

lasagna09.jpg

10) Keep repeating your layers until you get close to the top of your pan. If you have extra ingredients, make a second lasagna in a smaller pan like in these pictures.

lasagna10.jpg

11) When you get to your top layer, finish off your lasagna with a light layer of sauce, generous amounts of parmesan and a generous amount of mozzarella.

lasagna11.jpg

12) Now cover your lasagna with aluminum foil (this prevents your top layer of cheese from burning during the cooking process), wait for your oven to finish pre-heating and put it in the oven on the center rack for about 35 minutes.

lasagna12.jpg

13) Take your lasagna out, take off the aluminum foil and it'll look something like this. Now put the lasagna back into your oven for another 10-15 minutes with the foil off to melt down the top layer.

lasagna13.jpg

14) And the lasagna is done! If you have a good brand of mozzarella, cutting pieces usually works fine, but the store brand that I was using didn't melt perfectly, but you get the idea... its still incredibly tasty. :drool:

lasagna14.jpg

15) Let the lasagna sit for about 5-10 minutes to cool and solidify, then cut into pieces and eat!

lasagna15.jpg

lasagna16.jpg

lasagna17.jpg

lasagna18.jpg

lasagna19.jpg

lasagna20.jpg

lasagna21.jpg

When I have leftovers, which I usually do because this is alot of lasanga... I put individual servings into ziplock sandwich bags and freeze them. To eat them from the freezer, put it on a plate, set it to auto-defrost for 1 pound, break it up with a fork and heat it again for another minute and it should be perfect. :drool:

Sledgstone

So lady's laptop has had a power jack issue for almost a year now, but almost a week ago it got even worse and would hardly stay plugged in or charge unless the plug at the back of the laptop was pushed and held into place just right. I've seen this issue before with a PS2 and I was able to fix that by re-soldering the DC power jack connection to the motherboard. Well, turns out that getting access to the DC power jack on a laptop is a hell of a lot more complicated than a slim PS2. I have to give credit were it is due, and this website had a complete walk through for her exact laptop with pictures:

http://www.insidemylaptop.com/

I was able to finally get to the motherboard and the DC power jack after 18 steps of disassembly. x_x I re-soldered the connection and her laptop powers up perfectly again. I also cleaned out a major blockage of dust and lint out of the cooling fan area. Its practically running like new again and doesn't kick on the fan after 20 minutes of use anymore. Yay. ^_^

Here is a pic of the inside of her laptop with a circle around the DC power jack. A pain in the ass to get to, and the part I had to solder was only about 1-2 cm big, but we saved over $100 because thats the cheapest price I found to get it fixed at a shop.

laptopfix01.jpg

For my own records, I fixed this on 10/06/2010. Hopefully it will be a permanent fix, because if not I'll have to replace the power jack itself next time instead of just fixing one solder point.

MAKES

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

A marinade that can tenderize beef chuck steaks and other cuts.

Amount: Enough for 2+ steaks.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup corn oil (or vegetable oil)

- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

- 3 tablespoon worcester sauce

- 1 teaspoon pepper

- 1/4 videlia onion sliced

- 1 tablespoon garlic powder

- 2 teaspoon salt

- 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions:

1) Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

2) Rinse off two beef chuck steaks (or other cuts) and pat lighty with paper towels to take off some of the excess water.

3) Put your steaks in a bowl or in large ziplock bags and pour the marinade over the steaks. Flip the steaks a bit to make sure they are fully covered. Then either seal your ziplock bags or cover your bowl and refrigerate your steaks for at least 5 hours.

steakmarinade1.jpg

steakmarinade2.jpg

4) Cook your steak. I cooked mine at a high temperature on the grill for about 8 minutes or so. If you grill yours, be careful if you pour the leftover marinade on them, the marinade has a tendency to flare up some strong flames.

(The woman's plate, she likes hers well, well done.)

steakmarinade3.jpg

steakmarinade4.jpg

The steaks turned out quite tender for a beef chuck. There was still a little bit of chew to it, but not nearly as tough without marinade. If anything, let those steaks marinade over night or for 12 hours.

Sledgstone

Ok, This took me most of my afternoons all last week and two weekends, including this past saturday and sunday. I took some pics, but I'm not posting them in this blog entry. I just wanted to get the work done and messing with a camera took too long so I didn't get many pics at all.

Parking brake/emergency brake/e-brake update!

After grinding the brake shoes down a bit so they'll fit inside the rotors smoother, I realized the adjustment pins were rusted to all hell and wouldn't function correctly anymore. Whenever I pushed on the e-brake inside the car, the shoes would only move a centimeter. $20 at advanced auto for the parking brake hardware kit and I got everything swapped out except for the metal pivot piece. The replacement piece for that was rediculously small and would no way in hell work in my opinion. So I got the old ones cleaned up, greased everything with a lithium grease instead of caliper grease so there would be lease junk in there to mess it up, and after a long while I got it all working good again by holding everything in place while smacking the shoe into place. And after that, I put in the new retaining clip and those shoes were held in place tight and when applied, they moved a half inch. Yay. All done with that.

After fixing the e-brake, the car still pulsated when braking. Everyone says its rotors. Seeing as the back rotors looked like shit since the back plates tore one up and the caliper pins caused the pads and rotors to wear uneven, I replaced the rotors and pads. I bought the parts from Napa this time. I had to file down my brake pad holding brackets to get some rust off. I also had to lightly file down the ends (not the nubs) of the brake pads so they'd have movement once they were in the bracket. And get this, the NAPA brand rotors and pads were a higher quality than what I got at advanced auto parts or autozone and where a little over $100 cheaper! I'll only buy parts from NAPA from now on. :nod: BTW, the NAPA back rotors were different on the inside than the wagner ones I originally got from autozone. Inside the NAPA rotors, it was a smooth tapered gradient inside the hat, compared to the hard edged line of the crap rotors that kept smacking my e-brakes. -_- I may not have had to grinded my e-brakes at all if I would have had these rotors from the beginning! Fuck you autozone! Also, after doing the backs, I bled the entire brake system.

After the back rotors and pads were done, the e-brakes fully done, brakes bled... The car still pulsated while braking, but! All the noise in the back end is now completely gone and the braking was a slightly different pulsating now.

Now that all the rotors and pads are all brand new, I noticed scuff marks on my new front rotors from the pulsating bullshit. So I figured it must be the calipers. The front wheels were a bitch to move compared to the rears with the brakes off. So I picked up the front calipers with bracket for $54 a piece at NAPA, $90 a piece if I remember right at advanced auto and autozone. Fuck both of them.

I replaced the front calipers, just like I replaced the ones in my Saturn blog. Turns out the front calipers were not fully releasing. After getting the new calipers on, the tires moved much much easier when the brake was off.

Guess what tho! The brakes still pulsated.. But once again, it was a slightly different pulsation again and this time with all the noise from all the bad braking parts gone, I was able to hear a distinctive electric motor noise kicking in with the pulsation. Turns out I have an ABS problem on top of everything. I pulled the two ABS fuses, (the ABS light comes on on the dash now). With the ABS disabled, the damn thing brakes perfectly fine now. YATTA!

I've let the blazer sit the past couple days so I can check the brake fluid level to make sure theres absolutely no leaking going on at all. Other than that, I'll give it another test run this weekend to some local stores to see if all my vibration problems were fixed too. If not, then theres something else going on with that, but I'll get to that some other time if its a persistent problem.

As far as I can tell, the ABS problem is probably one, if not both of the front ABS sensors. Each costing about $70 piece. As far as I'm concerned it can wait until we're closer to winter because I don't want to fuck with this truck anymore.

Sledgstone

Battle Angel

The city of Zolem, floating thousands of feet above the land throws a shadow upon Scrap Iron City. Scrap Iron City is made from the refuse and waste cast down by Zolem and the city's populace consists of cyborgs, robots, thieves and man. Scrap Iron City is where this story takes place as Ido, an exile of Zolem and a cyborg engineer, begins another of his often ventures into the scrap to search for pieces of machinery to salvage. On this fateful day he comes across the remains of a cyborg and quickly realizes that it is still alive. He decides to repair her and when the cyborg awakes, she has no memory of her past. Ido decides to give her a name and that name is Gally.

Gally is kind hearted and gentle, until the night she notices Ido leave unannounced. Gally follows him and discovers that Ido is a Hunter Warrior (bounty hunter) and he is in trouble. Ido has come across a foe more powerful than he expected and is nearly killed; Gally seems to react with instinct and slays the cyborg about to kill her dear friend. Afterwards she tells Ido that she never felt more alive than when she fights and insists becoming a Hunter Warrior as well.

Gally claims many heads and many bounties as a Hunter Warrior and she also falls in love with a young man named Yugo. Yugo has a dream to one day live on Zolem, and Gally does all that she can to help him accumulate the money he needs. But everything falls short with deceit and lies and finally tragedy ensues.

Battle Angel is an excellent story filled with action, love and adoration. This anime is divided into two parts, one titled Rusty Angel and the other Tears Sign. Based off the epic manga titled Gunnm, Battle Angel is a short OVA that pays tribute to the wonderful Gally.

Quote
  • Animation: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Voice Actors: 10
  • Characters: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Overall: 10
  • Platform: OVA
  • Genre: Fantasy / Action
  • Publisher: ADV Films / AD Vision Inc
  • Released: 1993
Sledgstone

I didn't take pics of this fix.. but thanks to this website:

http://anythingbutipod.com/2008/03/creative-zen-disassembly/

I was able to figure out how to take it apart. Those are some really really small screws.. and thankfully her mp3 player only had a loose battery. Whenever the mp3 player was lightly shaken the power would cut off and only come back on after it was connected to a computer usb. After taking it apart, the solder connections were fine, but the battery wires seemed to be loose on the battery itself. Probably because the battery was floating around dis-lodged from its seat.

After I fixed the connection on the battery and re-glued it into place (with double sided heavy duty glue foam), it works fine now. I wish I had an actual plastic tool for removing plastic shells because now the seem looks a little marred, but at least its working fine now.

Sledgstone

Looking to sell this POS

We come to the conclusion that we will sell the Blazer. We'll end up taking a loss on the loan, but the vehicle's constant maintenance is not worth it. At the current rate of random repairs, we'll actually loose more money keeping the truck than taking the initial loss from a trade in. We're going to look into getting a full or mid size 4 door 4 cylinder sedan. 4x4 is a damn nice feature, but the maintenance and cost is pure hell.

Sledgstone

Fushigi Yugi

Fushigi Yugi, the mysterious play, is the story of a young girl named Miaka and her adventure into a magical book known as "The Universe of the Four Gods". Upon opening this book, Miaka is ripped from her world and placed inside the story. Miaka quickly discovers that she has a destiny to fulfill, for in this story her role is that of the Priestess of Suzaku. As the Priestess, she must seek out the seven warriors of Suzaku so that she may summon the beast god Suzaku and have her wishes granted.

But when Miaka's best friend Yui also becomes trapped in the book, a bitter rivalry ensues as Yui takes her place as the Priestess of Seriyu. While all of this happens, Miaka's brother Keisuke and his best friend Tetsuya, read the book and follow Miaka's progress throughout the story.

Fushigi Yugi has proved itself to be one of the most powerful animes I have ever had the priviledge of watching. The depth of the characters made me truely feel for them in their times of pain and happiness.

The dialoge that passes between each of the characters can be quite funny at times, but serious issues can sometimes lead to drastic events. The drama that unfolds leads way to intense battles and situations that drew me deeper into the story. With each episode, more of the story is read and The Universe of the Four Gods comes ever closer to an end. How will the story finish? Watch it yourself to find out.

The epic drama that is Fushigi Yugi is an anime that I will always admire and recommend to everyone.

Quote
  • Animation: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Voice Actors: 10
  • Characters: 10
  • Plot: 10
  • Overall: 10
  • Platform: Series
  • Genre: Fantasy / Drama
  • Publisher: PIONEER
  • Released: 1995


  • Recent Status Updates

    • DeathscytheX

      Tried the Monster Hunter Wold beta after the guys I played Destiny with kept hyping it up... eh. Its not for me. The controls are funky, and the explanation of what I was suppose to be doing wasn't very good. I just beat down a monster until it died? I thought I was suppose to be capturing it? I was expecting a finishing move prompt, or a QTE, for a death blow, but it just seemed anti-climatic. Then it sent me to the "Coming Jan 2018, would you like to Pre-Order?" in which I said no and got sent back to the main menu. At this point I knew I wasn't going to try the more difficult quests if I have to go through all that each time, rather staying in the game world and picking another quest that way. I never played a Monster Hunter game before, I always thought they looked neat, but playing it myself left me uninspired.
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      BoTW took Game of the Year award and its well deserved, but I'm also glad NieR: Automata got best musical score, because its very well deserved.
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      Bestbuy and Amazon had some good deals on movies yesterday. Got 9 recent releases on blu ray for about $50. And I got a 4tb western digital external hard drive from bestbuy for $79.
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      My PC had an update and restart only option last night. I had no idea there was another 'creators update' for windows 10. It was the 'fall creators update'. Damn thing took over an hour to install and reset numerous times. And apparently I have a 'windows feature update' that I still have to do. I guess I should check my nvidia drivers and update them today too. I've been having some windows 10 crashes lately so hopefully this update will fix that.
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