• Ring-Fit Adventure

    Clearly I pick out really great Christmas gifts for Vero and what better year than 2021 when I bought her the 21st century equivalent exercise equipment!

    Ring Fit Adventure is a video game for the Nintendo Switch that also combines the user actually doing physical exercise instead of just sitting there and clicking buttons on the controller.  There is a ring I hold in front of me and there is also a controller I strap onto my leg.

    How it works is that it mimics what I’m doing in real life and has the avatar also do it.  I have to lightly jog in place to stroll through a forest.  I need to push in on this ring I hold if I want to shoot a burst of air to hit a target.  I need to really get my knees up high if I’m running up stairs.

    It’s pretty easy when I’m strolling through the forest.  I’m not feeling that I’m getting much of a workout.

    BUT THEN I ENCOUNTER A MONSTER!  Ho boy, I’m still sore the day after!  If you encounter a monster you have the choice of different exercises to do (at Day 2 I’m limited to things like squats, overhead presses, and…ab crunches?  I can’t remember what it’s called).  Let’s say the monster has 100 hit points.  Every time I do a squat I deliver damage to the monster.  I didn’t realize that the better I actually do a squat, the more damage I give to the monster.  It’s directly related to how well I’m doing an exercise.  This was a really key point for me to learn on Day 2 because at first I was thinking “Boy, these squats aren’t too hard.” but I was only dealing 3 hit points of damage to a monster at a time.  But if you actually squat really low you could take off 20 damage in one shot!  I thought this was a genius gaming mechanic of tying in actual fitness with game results.

    I was really invested in damaging monsters.  In real life, I don’t want my exercises to take forever.  So in the gaming world, I also don’t want a monster fight to last that long.   So I was starting to really focus on doing the exercise in a way that delivered the most damage and afterwards I realized that it was forcing me to actually get some exercise in a proper way.

    Like most fitness regimens, I’m not sure if this will stick.  But I can say this…it seems to have kept my interest more than me just following a YouTube workout where the person is saying “Ok, give me ten more squats!”  I can’t quit at this because the monster is still standing and the only thing left to do is actually give ten more squats to get through the game.  That was the first time I had really powered through some exercises.

    So…if you have  Switch and are looking to have fun while getting fit, give it a try!

  • 2021 Holiday Special

    A glimpse into our family’s life leading through the month of December.

    We hope you enjoy a few songs and a few laughs.

    Joyeux Noel!

  • Recipe: instant pot Mediterranean olive

    Pressure-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken Orzo

    Based on the recipe above.

    Want some leftovers?  Double the recipe!

    Ingredients

    • 1 can of chickpeas (or you can go with the original recipe’s chicken – 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces)
    • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 cup sliced pitted green olives, drained
    • 1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives, drained
    • 1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and chopped
    • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
    • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

    Directions

    1. In a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker, combine the first 11 ingredients; stir to combine. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 8 minutes. Quick-release pressure.
    2. Add orzo. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on low for 3 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 4 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure. Let stand 8-10 minutes before serving.
  • Recipe: Skor bars (Kids wanted to call them mix bars)

    Might be the easiest Christmas treat to make?

    1. Get a large bowl.

    2. Take a box of Ritz crackers.  Crush those crackers while in their bag.  Crush until you cannot see any large bits.

    3. Put those Ritz into the large bowl.

    4. Add a bag of Skor bits (the ones we got look like a bag of chocolate chip cookies but says Skor on them).

    5. Add a can of condensed milk.

    6. Mix.

    7. Pour into a Pyrex dish to put in the oven.

    8. Set oven at 350F for 20 minutes.

    9. Let sit for 30 minutes then cut to whatever size you want.  If you cut before 30 minutes, it’s too sticky.  If you wait longer, then they get really stiff.

  • Peace and quiet

    After supper, hanging out in the living room.

    “Dad!  HELP US FIND SOMETHING, ANYTHING!  Choose something we need to find!”

    “How about some peace and quiet?”

    A few moments pass as they are quiet.

    “Dad, WE CAN’T FIND PEACE AND QUIET!”

    “We had it a few moments ago, keep looking like that!”

  • Recipe: Beef Barley Soup (Instant Pot)

    It took me a few tries to perfect this but I think I’ve nailed it.

    Recipe Ingredients

    Instant Pot Beef & Barley Stew

    Instant Pot Beef & Barley Stew

    1 yellow or white onion chopped
    2 celery stalks, sliced (if I have them on hand that is)
    3 plump garlic cloves, chopped
    1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
    1 tablespoon oil

    Add the oil, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the Instant Pot on saute mode. Saute for 5 minutes.

    Turn off saute mode.

    1/2 teaspoon each- onion powder & garlic powder
    1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 teaspoon beef base.  I bought “Better than bouillon” beef base.
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Add the onion powder, garlic powder, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and beef base, stir to combine with the veggies.

    1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks (can be anywhere from 1-1 1/2 lbs).  I have used a package of stew meat that I get from the grocery story.  I’m assuming it’s around 1 1/2 lbs.
    1 cup pearl barley
    32 oz beef broth or stock
    2 cups water if using the beef stew meat.  I used one cup as the recipe states and it wasn’t enough for me.  ALSO, when I left out the beef stew meat and added a can of chickpeas instead, there was DEFINITELY NOT ENOUGH WATER.  I think it’s because water comes from the beef as well?  I think 3 cups of water is needed if adding chickpeas instead of beef stew meat.  As I type this I haven’t tried that variation yet.

    Add the stew meat, pearl barley, beef stock, and water.

    Close the Instant Pot and set to meat/stew mode (or manual/pressure mode), high pressure, for 25 minutes.

    Do a quick release.

  • Set list : Gen’s birthday party

    No particular order.  Too bad I didn’t record it!  I would have but we weren’t planning to play with full gear until last minute so I forgot to bring along the recording unit.

    It was a pretty fantastic set considering we had only played together for the first time two days before.  It’s fabulous to play with great musicians.

    Electric set with JF and Mike

    Say It Ain’t So

    Otherside

    Heart of Gold

    The Way

    Last Dance with Mary Jane

    Karma Police

    Misirlou

    You Never Can Tell

    When I Come Around

    New Orleans Is Sinking

    Boots or Hearts

    Squeeze Box

    Blank Space/Stand By Me

    My Hero

    The Kids Aren’t Alright

    Sex on Fire

    Californication

    I Will Wait

    Mr. Brightside

    On A Plain

    Acoustic set:

    Just Breathe

    Something in the Way

    Nothing Else Matters

    All Apologies

    Shallow

  • Send him to the zoo

    This morning Ezra kept trying to wipe Sierra’s face with a facecloth while she was eating breakfast.

    Sierra: “No Ezra, no!  Go away!”

    Ezra proceeds to keep doing it.

    Me: “Ezra, you will go to your room if you keep bothering Sierra.”

    Ezra then throws something on the table which spills Sierra’s cup of water.

    After Ezra is sent to his bedroom I say

    Me: “Sierra, should we send your brother to the zoo?”

    Sierra (with a smile): “Dad, no, we can’t do that!  He doesn’t know how to take care of animals!”

  • Recipe: sausage and lentil soup

    Pressure-Cooker Lentil and Sausage Soup

    Based on this recipe for the instant pot.

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Small pack of sausages (5 or 6 in a pack I think?  I removed the meat from the casings)
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 medium carrot, chopped
    • 1 carton (32 ounces) chicken broth
    • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 can  lentils, rinsed
    • 1 cup dry red wine or additional broth
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

    Directions

    1. Select saute or browning setting on a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. Adjust for medium heat; add oil. When oil is hot, add sausage, onion, and carrot. Cook until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, 6-8 minutes, breaking meat into crumbles; drain. Press cancel. Return all to pressure cooker.
    2. Add broth, tomatoes, lentils, garlic, salt and pepper. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 15 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes; quick-release any remaining pressure.

    Original recipe asked for celery, beef broth and spinach.  I did not have any on hand.  Perhaps try next time?  Recipe also called for a cup of red wine.  I’m not convinced that the alcohol would burn off so I put an additional cup of broth in.  I’m not sure if that was needed either.  There was a already a lot of liquid.

    Everyone loved it so that’s why it’s here!