Email to Senator Kirk, Illinois

Text of email sent to the less than honorable Senator Kirk of the People’s Republic of Illinoisitan:


I am appalled, disgusted and revolted at the fact that you voted for passage of legislation (TPA) that not a single one of your constituents was able to either review or discuss with you before you voted for it. Having a lawless president conspire with Congress to ram through secretive and unknown legislation is not how our representative republic works.

There is no acceptable excuse or reason for you to have voted for this legislation.

If you continue your public service by seeking re-election, I can guarantee that I will never vote for you again. I can’t trust you to do the right thing anymore.

Matthew W.

Illinois resident


Just one vote, but it’s mine

Easy Oyster Stew

Oyster stew is one of my favorite dishes. Way back when, 25-30 years ago, one of my guilty pleasures (of the food variety of pleasures) was buying Campbell’s Oyster Stew  at the grocery store.  At that time, most of the soup was probably 75 to 85 cents a can and the oyster stew was about $1.25 so there was quite a difference in price for it.  I wouldn’t buy it every week or even every month so I can’t be sure when I stopped being able to buy it.  I can’t remember the last time I saw it on a shelf in a grocery store.  The funny thing is, searching on the Internet, I get conflicting stories as to the current status of the product:

This store/website says that they can sell the product:


But when I go to the official Campbell’s Soup website and use their search feature:

Soup_001I don’t know how Campbell’s can say the soup is discontinued and there be a website that sells it???

All I know is that I can’t buy it, so I will have to “improvise, adapt and overcome.”

Lady Luck was good to me one day while browsing the meat counter at the grocery store as I saw the below containers of shucked oysters that were on sale for $3.99 and they were usually $8.99.

I looked at the oysters for a few moments and even I had to think about the downside of marked down seafood !!! The lady fish monger that I usually talk to there saw me looking at the  oysters and came over. She said that they had ordered one case of the product and they shipped twelve so they had to go straight to markdown.  She also said that they would freeze just fine.

Oyster_001 So I bought a couple of containers and put them in the freezer.Oyster_002 About a month later I decided to make some oyster stew.  Most of the recipes I found had very similar directions and ingredients.Oyster_003 In the sauce pan wet the stick (yes a whole stick) of butter with the onions and the celery.   The previous photo shows shallots, but I found some white onion in the fridge that I thought I would use.Oyster_004 All of the recipes called for putting the oyster liquid  in the stew and I wanted to rinse the oysters to make sure all of the grit was removed.  What I found out was that tit was less of a liquid as it was a gel.  I was NOT able to strain the oysters to rinse them.Oyster_005 Oysters and the oyster juices go into the butter after the celery and onions softened.

Oyster_006 It doesn’t take long to cook the oysters.

When they pucker up and curl, they are done enough to simmer .

Oyster_007 Stir a bit as it simmers after adding the whipping cream.

Oyster_008 Big hit of black pepper

Oyster_009And Yummos !!!

Boy was this good.  Boy was it rich too.

I will definitely make this again but next time I will only use a 1/4 stick of butter and probably just use the skim milk that we keep at home.

Backyard Fire Pit


This is from 06/2014

Just for fun I thought I would add a little “fire feature” to the backyard.

At the thrift store I found this metal pot for $2.00 and thought it would make a good fire pit.  What I really wanted to find was the bottom half of an old Weber kettle grill but could not find one.  Sometimes they get left on the curb on garbage day but they get scooped up rather quickly by the people that go around and collect recycling metal.

A small hole was dug and the pot placed in it.


Dressing it up a bit with some stones.


I have plenty of small branches and project wood bits to use in the pit.


Quite the ingenious roasting stick if I may say so my self.

A couple stainless steel skewers and a couple of hose clamps.


Best part is it’s plenty long.


Two wieners at a time.


Picnic in the backyard.


This is on anther day that I think we had the in-laws over and needed to make many dogs at a time.


Letting my daughter have a turn at rotating the dogs.


I live in a city and legally we can’t have a “bonfire” so any fire needs to be contained.  There’s an almost unlimited way to make a fire pit they way that I did.  I’ve already had a couple of ideas to improve it but am limited by the size of my backyard and garden.