Monday, January 05, 2009

a new year...

Okay, so I've been away for a bit... three months?!? dang.

The fall was a busy one. I finally finished the last kitchen cabinet... and "no, I'm not done with the kitchen yet, but maybe this year"... I worked on web contracts... and of course, we launched "". All in all, a good past few months.

But as I look at the new, and very empty calendar in front of me, I wonder what will happen in the coming months. Hopefully it'll be a mix of past good things, and a whole bunch of new things.

I do have a few things that I REALLY need to take care of this year, and the bulk involves finishing what I've already started. Here area few things:
  1. Finish the kitchen this year. I'm so close.
  2. Finish the upstairs bathroom (sorry Jim, looks like I won't be going for the record on this one.)
  3. Finish a web job that has taken FAR too long to complete. I'm shooting for a Jan. 31 deadline.)
  4. Excavate my home office. It's that bad right now.
  5. Complete my "when I get the time" project list.
I'm also looking to improve my health this year. I've been static for a while, and I'm feeling it. I need to get moving, and get more fit. Boomper turns four next month, and it's not going to get easier chasing him around. Time to do something now.

There are some other things on the do-to list for this year, but I'm going to hold on to those for a bit... I think I'd better finish up some things first.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

dinner's ready!

Sorry for the tease in the last post, but it was worth the wait... introducing, a new food blog launching today.

This is a joint venture between Matt the Web Guy (that's me) and The Queen Bee (that's my Sweetie), and got it's start from all of the food-related posts on both of our blogs. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy sharing it with you.

I told you I smelled something cooking.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

i smell something cookin'...

... yup, that's a tease, clear and simple. Stick around and you'll see what I'm talking about. Any guesses out there?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

more food?

My most recent post got me to thinking... why not add more cooking and food posts to my blog? Sure, the blog is called MattTheWebguy, and sure, I haven't posted much web-stuff, but I really enjoyed blogging about Sunday night's dinner.

Here's what I've blogged about in the past...
golden brown & delicious
boomper's birthday
let the grilling season BEGIN! (include a link to my Propane Estimator Thingy)
(gee, I thought I had a few more in here... wait... yup, they're still in my head. sorry)

So, what do you think? Anyone interested in reading more about my culinary exploits and adventures? I'm willing to share, if you're willing to listen. Let me know what you think...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

trains, planes, automobiles... and sausage?!?

There comes a time (almost) every afternoon that I ask my Sweetie these same four words... "Any ideas for dinner?" This roughly translates to "What would you like me to make tonight?", since I do about 90-95% of the cooking in the house.

I cook for the love and challenge of it. I've always had this goal to make someone say, "This is better than my Grandma's!", and hope that Grandma had mad skills in the kitchen. I have no desire to change careers and head off to culinary school and then sweat it out in the kitchen of some tyrannical chef with an ego the size of a Buick. I DO joke around with my Sweetie about moving to a semi-quirky town in the Adirondacks, opening a diner, hiring a middle-aged waitress that calls everyone "Hon" and never lets your coffee cup go dry, and just cook like no tomorrow. Maybe someday...

Sorry, got a bit off-track... back to tonight's creation...

Like most nights that aren't planned (we actually do plan a fair amount of dinners 'round here), I like the challenge of the Pantry Raid. I enjoy rifling through our pantry shelves, fridge and freezer, and seeing what I can create without too many special ingredients. I believe I do a fairly good job at working with what's on hand.

Off track again? sorry.

Tonight's dinner kinda started with a special ingredient, (but it was gifted to us, so it doesn't count): three beautiful homegrown yellow tomatoes from my Mother's garden. The tomatoes, along with the request for a pasta toss type dish got me thinking.... and then the raid began.

Here's what I pulled together...

3 yellow tomatoes, coarse diced (Thanks, Mom!)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (is there any other?)
1 Tbsp pure olive oil (save the extra virgin stuff for salad dressings)
1/2 bag of frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3 precooked Italian sausage links, grilled (I broiled them) and sliced on the bias (ours were a local brand that can be ordered from here - they ship!)
dried oregano
dried parsley
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

And then "the pasta". We usually use Barilla Pasta Plus because it actually has flavor. Oh, and it's better for you than straight semolina pastas. But for tonight, we found some motorized vehicle shaped pasta we got for Christmas last year from my Sweetie's folks (CORRECTION: the pasta was a gift from my Sweetie's sister... thanks Sue!) It was the perfect pasta for all of us to enjoy, even Boomper (aka Munchkin). He's not big on the dishes I come up with, but give him some pasta with butter and parmesan ("Shakey") cheese, and he's one happy little boy.

So, here's how I put it all together... (FINALLY!)

1. Cook the pasta (al dente) in a large pot of salted water.
2. Sweat the onion in the butter, olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt and a crank or two of fresh ground black pepper. As the onion just becomes translucent, add the garlic to brown slightly.
3. Add the sausage, and brown slightly. The grilling (broiling) adds some great flavor to the dish.
4. Add the spinach and combine.
5. Season to taste with the oregano, parsley, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
6. Once it's all together and warmed through, cut the heat and toss in the tomatoes (so you don't bruise the fresh flavor). Give a quick toss and get ready to plate it up.

Plate up the drained pasta, spoon the sausage-tomato-spinach combination over the top, and finish it off with fresh grated parmesan.

As I placed her pasta bowl in front of her, my Sweetie said "wow" and immediately snapped these two photos. Here's the aerial shot...

A chiffonade of fresh basil would have been killer, but our basil went to seed and is rather bitter now. And "yes", the parsley is for style points.

Almost forgot.... I took a two-day old baguette, sliced it on the bias in 1/2" slices, spread them out on a baking sheet, brushed on some olive oil, sprinkled on fresh coarse ground black pepper and parmesan (some slice also received a slice of fresh tomato and more cheese and pepper, and then under the broiler it went for about two minutes. Nice addition to the meal.

So... any ideas for dinner?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

summer vacation '08

Rumor has it that I'll be on vacation all of next week... time for my annual workation.

Yup, it's time for Summer Vacation '08, and trust me, I won't be those feet in the photo (heck, I don't even own a hammock). Nope, I'll be dividing my time between building a new side door step, finishing the trim around the French Doors, and installing a new sump crock and pump in the basement.

The new sump is the big challenge that is causing me concern. See, right where I want to position the new sump is where the original sump was. It's right where there SHOULD be a sump, but for some unknown reason, the sump was sealed over, and new one was installed at the front wall of the basement.

What's the main concern? I'm hoping that whomever sealed up the old sump didn't fill the old sump to the brim with concrete. It's a good possibility.... or would that be a "bad" possibility. Or course, I won't know until I start going at the floor with a jackhammer. I'm going to pick up a long masonry bit and do some exploratory surgery prior before I introduce the jackhammer, in hopes that my prayers to St. Tommy Silva have been answered.

Of course, since it IS a vacation, I do hope to spent at least a little time recreating. I haven't planned anything just yet, but maybe it'll involve a certain 17' crafted piece of aircraft aluminum and a coupla wooden thingies. maybe.

I'll have my post-vacation report at the end of the week... keep your fingers crossed on the whole basement-sump-concrete thing.

Monday, July 07, 2008 the water...soon...

Happy Fourth of July to everyone out there. Our annual Fourth of July picnic (and surprise 7oth Birthday Party for Dad) was a success, and the pulled pork and homemade sauces went over well. More about the pork and sauces in another post.

Remember the canoe we were given back, oh two years ago? Well, just throwing out a quick update on getting our canoeing activities rolling.

"She" has been resting comfortably in our garage since we took ownership, patiently awaiting the day that she'll feel the water lapping against her sides. We are getting closer to that day, as today, I purchased three PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) for me, The Wife, and Boompstar.

Two of the three had to be ordered online from, but I ran over to pick up mine from the local EMS because the website didn't have my size in stock (???). I've been researching PFDs for two years, and finally decided on EMS's Allagash for The Wife and I, and Stohlquist's Nemo for Boompstar.

The next step is to head up to Oak Orchard Canoes, on beautiful Irondequoit Bay here in Rochester, and select suitable paddles. Even though Canoeing was my very first merit badge as a first-year Scout at Massawepie Scout Camps, I'll need to review proper paddle fitting technique for The Wife and I. Boompstar gets a short one... for now... but not for long.

So, as it looks now... I think we'll be on the water soon. I can already hear the lapping.