Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

492 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis against Indulgences to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. This was the small spark that God caused to flair up into the purifying fire that was and is the Protestant Reformation.

Sola Fide!

Sola Gratia!

Sola Scriptura!

Sola Christus!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Grilled Chicken Sandwich

If there is a quintessential American Food, it has to be the sandwich. I can say for sure, I’ve never done any research on it, but I would think that Americans probably eat more sandwiches and anybody else. The sandwich just seems to fit our “on the go” lifestyle better than just about any other cuisine.

Sandwiches, while being quick, easy, and convenient, don’t have to be plain or boring. Today we’re cooking a grilled chicken breast sandwich that is flavorful and far from ordinary.

Our ingredients are (per sandwich):
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 small French baguette
1 thick slice of onion
¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Butter or margarine (I like Smart Balance)
Olive oil
Spices (I used McCormick’s Herb Chicken Seasoning, but, it seems that they don’t make that anymore. Therefore, I would recomend Basik’s Italian Table or Hunter Blends)

Cut a ¼ inch thick slice of onion and brush both sides with olive oil. Dry your chicken breast with a paper towel and brush with olive oil and liberally season with spices. Make sure to coat both sides.

Grill the chicken and the onion together on your George Foreman Grill for 9 minutes.

Slice your baguette lengthwise, spread with butter, and toast lightly.

Preheat your broiler. (I used the broiler in my toaster oven.) Put the bottom of your bun on a broiler pan. Put the grilled chicken breast on the bread and arrange the grilled onion on top of the chicken breast.

Top with ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese, and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.

Put the top on your sandwich and enjoy! Each sandwich serves one.

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 10/28/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

Have you ever thought that the police might be looking for you? Have you ever had occasion to wonder if that police officer was looking at you just a little too long? 44-year-old Selma Elmore was wondering that, so she stopped police officer Dan Lyons to find out. Yes, in fact, there was a warrant out for Selma Elmore’s arrest. When informed that she was, indeed, wanted for failure to pay fines owed for an earlier drug-related conviction, Ms. Elmore took off running. She didn’t get far. You can’t make this stuff up!

Attention all cars! Attention all cars! Be on the lookout for Fred’s Franks hotdog stand, last seen in the parking lot of Orangeburg General Auto Repairs on Route 303. The hotdog stand is a 10-foot-long and 7-foot-wide stainless steel trailer…” Fred Martucci, owner of Fred’s Franks, showed up to work on October first to find that his hotdog stand was just gone. Security camera footage showed that, during the night, 3 men in a grey pick-up had pulled up, cut the anchor chain, and driven away with Fred’s stand. The stolen hotdog stand has yet to be located, and insurance delays have kept Fred from replacing it, yet. But donations have allowed Fred to reopen with a push cart… which he takes home every night…

I don’t know about you, but I always get a little bit uncomfortable when I see someone sitting at my desk. And even more so when I see that the person who is sitting at my desk is using my computer. This recently occurred to a man in Oklahoma City, who returned from work to find an unknown man sitting at his desk and using his computer. To make things worse, the man who was sitting at his desk and using his computer had no clothes on. Yup, he came back from lunch to find a naked man sitting at his desk and surfing the internet on his computer… If it was me, I would be requisitioning a new chair, a new mouse, and a new keyboard very quickly…

From naked office work to naked work outs… Early on the morning of Monday, October 11, West Melbourne, Florida police received reports of a man running in the nude. Now, I know Florida gets hot and humid, even at 7am on an October morning, but jogging up a residential street au natural still isn’t a very good idea… nor is it legal. Failing to “pull over” when asked to by police, Mr. Naked Runner met Mr. Taser. Really, whatever made him think naked jogging was an acceptable activity?

The Little Old Lady from Rhododendron? In 1964, Jan and Dean released the classic hit song “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” about an elderly woman who was an expert street racer and drove a Super Stock Dodge. In 1964, Marcia Brandon would have been 36. Maybe Marcia Brandon, of Rhododendron, OR, was a fan of that song. Who knows? But what we do know is that Marcia Brandon drives a screamin’ 2005 Pontiac Bonneville! Marcia, now 82, was clocked at, and ticketed for, 110 mph in a 55 mph zone on Highway 26. It was only a matter of time, after all… Well, she's gonna get a ticket now sooner or later - 'Cause she can't keep her foot off the accelerator - Go granny, go granny, go granny go

From a hot-rod granny to a potted granny... Wait… You sold Grandma?!? Yard sales can be dangerous, and this is one sale that Piper Gaffrey’s husband will have a hard time living down. You see, that potted violet he sold wasn’t supposed to be for sale. In fact, mixed with the soil that the violet was planted in were the ashes of Piper’s grandmother, Marge. All is well that ends well, as Piper’s Facebook lament that Granny had been sold resulted in the return of the memorial violet.

And the Nuttiness goes on and on...

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy! Busy! Busy!

As you've no doubt noticed, I've not done much blogging this week... or last week, either, for that matter. Anyway, I've been busy. It happens. There's no Nut Cache again this week. In fact, I don't have a recipe ready for tomorrow's blog, so there will be no The Squirrel Can Cook this week. (I'm cooking a great hashbrown casserole for my hosts in Oregon... I'll blog that recipe sometime soon!)(Especially if they like it...)

Today, I'm driving to Newberg, OR, to meet up with some friends, hang out all day Friday, and then go watch James White debate Robert Sungenis on the topic of purgatory at the Believer's Reason Conference 2010. Then it's into the car right as the debate ends, drive all night to get to home, nap a few hours, and then drive to Missoula to watch my Montana Grizzlies play Northern Arizona University on Saturday.

I hope to return to a more normal bloggy schedule next week.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Yeah, Well, That's Just The Way It Is!

I didn't get the Nut Cache typed up today like I'd planned to, for a Saturday Nut Special... C'est la vie.

But, while my blog has devolved into a Foodie & Weird News Extravaganza, others are still doing serious work. I'm very impressed by my young friend, Fisher, whom God has gifted with a great ability to retain and process information that I can only envy (i.e. he's a really smart guy...). As an example, he just posted this tonight, and it is a thoughtful read: The Christology of Mark. It is well worth reading.

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The Squirrel Can Cook – Steak & Bean Burritos

You hear it said again and again and again, “Good food doesn’t have to be difficult!” That really is such a true statement.

Today’s recipe, Steak & Bean Burritos, is about as easy as it gets, but is excellent for either lunch or dinner. I think the total time from raw ingredients to finish meal on this one is about 20 minutes.

Our ingredients are:
1 steak (I used an 8-oz. Sirloin)
1 12-oz can of refried beans
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup of raw onions, chopped
6 large flour tortillas
Salsa or hot sauce of your choice

Cook the steak to your desired doneness. As you can see, I don’t like my steak over cooked. If a good veterinarian doesn’t think he could save it, if he got it to the animal hospital right away, I think it’s over cooked. (The steak pictured here is almost over cooked…)Slice the steak into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut the strips into 1/4 inch pieces.

Now heat up the refried beans and the tortillas. Prepare the beans according to the package directions. But how to heat the tortillas? Here's how I like to do it: lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil -- long enough to fold over and completely enclose your tortillas (about enough to make two good, mind-control-ray-stopping hats). Fold over you tortillas and seal the edges really well. Heat in a 350° oven for 5 minutes.

Assembly time! Lay out one tortilla and put a strip of refried beans down the middle, leaving a few inches clear on one end. Then arrange the steak, onions, and cheese on top of the beens. A spoonful or two of salsa, and it's ready to roll! (How to do a burrito wrap) Be careful not to overfill your burritos, because then you get a mess instead of a meal! Better to heat up more tortillas instead of overstuffing!

Like a taco bar, this can be a "Everybody gather 'round and make your own" fun meal for an informal dinner party or a family meal. Try setting out a variety of different meats, salsas, sauces, and cheeses. Have fun!

Plan on 2 to 3 burritos per guest. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Chris Rosebrough and James White Dismantle Rick Warren's Disaster At Desiring God 2010

So, as I’m sure you’re aware, last week Rick Warren spoke at John Piper’s Desiring God Conference. A lot of people have asked questions about why, and the answers have been less than convincing. Like many others, I was rather surprised when it was announced that Warren would be speaking at Desiring God. I just could not understand why piper would subject the good people who attend this conference with Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Platitudes. I still don’t. I think John Piper has exhibited a deplorable lack of discernment in his support of Rick Warren.

And now Desiring God 2010 has come and gone. I’ve listened to Rick Warren’s “talk” a few times now, and I think that the number of verses taken out of context and "interpreted" without any regard for proper hermeneutics is exceeded only by the number of clichés uttered with a straight face. Each time I’ve listened I am more and more aware of the errors that he is propagating.

Chris Rosebrough did, I thought, an excellent job of pointing out the vast majority of warren’s theological errors in mishandling of God’s Scriptures when he reviewed warren’s talk on his radio show, Fighting for the Faith. Chris took about 2 ½ hours in analyzing warren’s 1 hour talk, and it is well worth a listen.

James White also discusses Rick Warren’s Desiring God appearance on the No Compromise Radio program. This is a much shorter analysis, at only 25 minutes, and is also worth a listen.

In his talk, Warren said that he listened to and learned from his critics, but, it seems, his skin is a bit thinner than he would like to admit. He recently tweeted what appears to be a fake “retweet” on his twitter account, going after his critics. Specifically Chris Rosebrough, Ken Silva, and Ingrid Schlueter. (I have blurred the twitter accounts that Warren was supposedly retweeting, since there is no evidence that they tweeted anything like this.)

For a broader look at the problems with the whole “Seeker Sensitive/Purpose Driven” church model, I would point you towards Is the Gospel Seeker Friendly? & Straight Talk About the Seeker Church Movement, both from John MacArthur and Grace to You.

And here's a bit of evidence of Rick Warren's dishonesty and penchant for man-pleasing...

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The Squirrel Can Cook - Slow Cooker Pot Roast

My friend Susan Yenser, who has repeatedly claimed things like, "Yes please help me out...I can't cook! Lol!" recently bought a slow-cooker, and has, as you can see, asked for help. (I don't know if I should mention that her boyfriend has also asked for my help in teaching Sue how to cook? No, probably shouldn't go there...) Since I like to help, I am planning on posting at least one slow-cooker recipe per month for the foreseeable future, beginning with the basic pot roast.

The pot roast is really both the crown jewel of the slow cooker and the first dish that should be mastered. I doubt that there is anything that lends itself to the slow cooker better than a pot roast. We will also be making a nice onion gravy to go on top.

Our ingredients are:
1 Roast (I used a 3-pound bottom round roast)
1 large Onion
2 cups Low-sodium beef broth
Black pepper to taste
And not pictured...
2+2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour (4 tablespoons total)
2 Tablespoons minced garlic

Chop your onion and cover the bottom of the slow cooker with chopped onion.

Next, we need to brown our roast. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in your cast iron skillet. With a paper towel, pat the roast dry, then coat it with all-purpose flour and shake off the excess. Add some black pepper, and brown the roast well -- 2 to 3 minutes on each side over medium-high heat.

Place the roast on top of the onions in the slow cooker. Add the two cups of beef broth and the two tablespoons of minced garlic...

...And cook for 8 hours on low. Make sure you eat a good breakfast, because the smells in your house will be torture, otherwise!

And whatever you do, don't remove the lid during cooking! After 8 hours, you roast still needs to rest before carving. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, set it on a rack over a pan to catch the drippings, and cover with an aluminum foil "tent" and let rest for 15-20 minutes...

Which gives us time to make our gravy.

First, we need to make a light roux. In your cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of flour while stirring constantly until the flour is fully incorporated into the melted butter. Continue to cook the roux, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until it just starts to darken.

Then add all the cooking liquid (and the onions!) from the slow cooker and bring to a low boil. reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now it is time to slice your roast. You will want to use a sharp knife, and carve thick slices, since a pot roast is always pretty soft, and often just wants to fall apart on its own!

Top slices of roast with the gravy and serve with Oven-Roasted Potatoes and Onions. Serves 4. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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The Squirrel Can Cook Bonus Edition! - Oven-Roasted Potatoes & Onions

Our Pot Roast needs a side dish. Often, vegetables are cooked with the pot roast in the same cooker, but, since our roast will be in the slow cooker for 8 hours, and vegetables we cook with it will just end up being beef-flavored mush.

Here is a simple side dish of oven-roasted potatoes and onions that will go great with our pot roast.

Our Ingredients Are:
1 1/2 Red Potatoes per person
1 large onion per every 3 potatoes
olive oil
garlic powder
Black pepper

About 1 hour before the pot roast is done, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the potatoes, but leave the skins on, and cut them into large chunks (I usually cut each potato in half, and then cut each half into quarters, so that I get 8 large chunks per potato.) Remove the skins from the onions and cut the same way.

Toss the potatoes and onions with a tablespoon of garlic powder and enough olive oil to lightly coat everything in a large mixing bowl, and spread out into a large baking dish. Top with fresh-cracked black pepper.

Cook, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then give the whole thing a good stir, and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

After another 30 minutes at 400 degrees, remove from the oven.

Serve with Slow-Cooker Pot Roast, or any time you're looking for that hearty "meat and potatoes" experience! Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 10/7/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

Two of today's nuts came from my friend Tucsonmon. Thanks, T-mom!

[HT T-mom #1] Cara Watts did not quite know what to think when she heard her dog, McCoy, yelp. Then he ran inside and, she said, “I could barely recognise him at first because his hair was standing on end. I was baffled - I had no idea what had happened to him. I went outside to see if anyone else was around and then I clocked his favourite lamp post. The cover was missing and the wires were all hanging out. It didn't take long to figure out what had happened.” Ah, yes, the favourite lamp post… I’m guessing that no one had ever explained to McCoy the dog that liquid conducts electricity very well…

Now, this story from Pennsylvania has me a bit confused. The story says that two women in their early thirties were arrested for disorderly conduct because they arranged a fight between their daughters, aged 11 and 12 respectively. Now what I don’t understand is this; we’re the girls fighting about something already, and the mothers were trying to get the matter settled? Or was this some sort of preteen Fight Club? This is one of those stories where I really wish they’d given us a lot more information. I’ll keep an eye on this one for updates…

[HT T-mom #2] The Maricopa County jail is surrounded by five fences, each 15 feet high and topped with razor wire. It seems that 24-year-old inmate Clayton Thornburg really really wanted to be outside those fences. He wanted to be outside those fences so bad that he actually managed to climb over all of them. In the process, the razor wire stripped him of his jail uniform and even his underwear, so that, by the time he got outside the last fence, he was dressed in only a pair of jail-issue pink socks. The razor wire also left, I’m sure, a cut or two, since we are told that he required medical attention after he was recaptured. Sometimes we read stories about daring and clever jailbreaks, but most jailbreak stories we read stories are like this one…

When I first heard about it, sometime last spring, I told you that I was excited about the remake of Hawaii Five-O, and how I hoped it would be a good show. Having now watched a couple of episodes, from happy to report that I think they’re doing it right. The writing is been pretty good, as has the acting. But, apparently, the on-set security isn’t all that hot. It seems that producers recently had to issue a memo warning the cast and crew not to leave their valuables lying around on set. "I am sorry to report,” the memo stated, “that theft has become a serious problem on the set." Call me old fashioned, but I would think that stealing from Steve McGarrett would not be the smartest thing in the world to do…

I must say that I’m disappointed. There was a time when thugs were thugs. There was a time when, if you didn’t pay the money owed to a criminal, the best you could look forward to was a busted kneecap, and the worst was a shallow grave. But, it seems, that time is past. When this Florida drug dealer didn’t get his money, he didn’t bust a kneecap or drive by shooting out windows. No, what he did was heartlessly go after the shrubbery. Yes, that’s right, the shrubbery. Police in Bradenton, Florida recently apprehended Paul Ewing for spraying down the plants and flowers of a man who owed him $250 for drugs with Roundup weed killer. He even tossed balloons filled with weed killer into the yard. Now, wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall in the jail the first time somebody asks him, “Hey, what are you in for?” I mean, what's he gonna say? "First-degree premeditated herbicide"?

And the Nuttiness goes on and on...

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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Italian Cheese Oven-fries

It’s fall, and, for me anyway, that means football. And football, more than any other sport, has, I think, a diet all its own. These are the things you find on the menus at sports bars and Super Bowl parties. High up on that list is cheese fries.

This is a flexible recipe that allows you to easily adjust to the size of crowd you are serving. I figure one and a half potatoes per person, as a general rule.

Our ingredients are:
Red potatoes, washed
¼ cup of mozzarella cheese per potato
Garlic powder (Garlic powder not garlic salt!)
Italian seasoning blend
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425°F and liberally coat a baking sheet with olive oil. I use a Misto sprayer to evenly coat the baking sheet, but a paper towel dipped in olive oil works just as good.

Slice your potatoes into slices of about 1/8th of an inch…

And spread them evenly on the baking sheet. Spray them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning (I recommend Basik’s Italian Table blend, but I was out, and so this is your average store-bought stuff… hey, it works in a pinch…) Bake for 20 minutes at 425°F, then flip the potato slices over, sprinkle the other side with garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and bake another 15 to 20 minutes.

Arrange or potatoes on a plate, sprinkle with mozzarella, and microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds to melt the cheese. A little bit of fresh ground black pepper on top and you’re ready to serve.

These cheese fries that will go great with burgers, hot dogs, or just by themselves. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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