Eating at Restaurants VS Eating at Home

Why I prefer to cook and eat food at home. One because I enjoy it and I like to recreate the food from the past. But also because it is safer. As I have posted before, I used to be in the restaurant industry for twelve to fifteen years, I forget which these days. But, I always paid attention to the health code violations because I did not like the BOSS ripping me a new one; back when I was still green. Later on I got to know the inspectors, asked them questions while gaining their respect.

I had some time today and decided to look at the scores of some of the places I have ate at. I was disappointed to see some of the scores in the high eighties or worse! Let me give some examples. I will not mention the name of the restaurant but I will provide the link. Now this one place is a recent eatery with in the last year, I read the report and wanted to vomit.

Inspection Date: 5/11/2015
Total Score:83
Critical Violations
Kitchen employee was observed touching body parts and continuing to work without washing hands. (blew nose in kitchen then back to work without washing hands)
Cheese and rice noted found on hot holding unit in front service area at 130 degrees fahrenheit must be maintained at 140 degrees fahrenheit or above.
The hand washing lavoratory noted with no hot water provided. Disconinue storing equipment in front of sink musrt be easily accessible for dish washers. Disposable towels needed in dispenser. Handsink must be utilzed in dishwashing room must wash hands between handling dirty and clean.

Another place got docked five point for cross contamination of food. “Raw meat noted being stored above food not to be further cooked”  Inspection Date: 6/3/2015  Total Score:88. Here is the kicker, this is one of the upskill pricey establishments located in the heart of what we call downtown.

I find it hard to understand, it is not that hard to wash your hands, it is not hard to separate food items with labels housing the date on it.

Now here is one for a Sushi establishment.

nspection Date: 6/25/2015
Total Score:61
Critical Violations
Prep cook was observed switching between working with beef seafood and other raw products and working with ready-to-eat foods without washing hands. The HACCP plan submitted by Sushi Masa is not being followed as written. Review your approved plan and follow it.
Raw fish and seafood noted being stored above food not to be further cooked. Store avocados and cucumbers above potentially hazardous food items in basement cooler.
Eggs noted not being held at 41 degrees fahrenheit or below.
Coolers in the facility being used for cold holding temp of 41 degrees F was not functioning adequately.
An inadequate amount of chlorine sanitizer was noted in the final rinse of the dish machine.
Insects noted infesting the food service basement storage and processing areas.

That one is a “Here’s your sign” award.

Another bone I have, is when people use the facilities and don’t bother to wash their hands. Like the employee above that blew their nose and proceeded to handle food without washing his/her hands. Now image a prep cook, waiter or waitress not washing their hands after using the facilities and brings you your food while you notice their thumb is touching one of the items on the plate.

Here is the link:

More food Yum! Yummm!

We get to a certain age in life, and we reflect on the rising cost of food products among other things. Who would have thought that what was once inexpensive to make is no longer the case. Eggs, for the most part have risen due to Avian flu. Less chickens = less eggs. MinnionsI think the image to the left makes a fair statement as to how some of us feel with the rising cost of food products as well as the fuel jumping up which also contributes to the rise in food products. The consumer is taking a licking.

Ok, I am done with my rant.

I thought I would share a recent meal that I cooked the other night. Most everyone, has their own spin on recreating a dish whether it be a recipe handed down or one that we found via the Internet. The most common meal of the day for this particular recipe would be breakfast. But who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner. Today I will show you my spin on the Potato and egg burrito.

Let’s get started!


Potatoes, I used four of them cut into bite size

Eggs, I used three large grade A


Black Pepper

Garlic Salt

Onion Salt, my better half does not like onions


Red Bell pepper (Use an amount you want to use)

Green Bell Pepper (Use an amount you want to use)

First, I start by putting Vegetable oil in a large frying pan, about two caps full maybe three. To be honest with you, I never measure, I judge it by eye. Let the pan heat up on medium heat if using an electric stove. Once the pan is heated, add the potatoes and be careful not to get splashed by the oil. Then add a pinch or two of salt and the same amount of black pepper. Next, add about two to three shakes evenly of the garlic salt, now the onion salt-about two shakes. Place a lid over the pan and let it cook for about three to five minutes. Remove lid and use a spatula to turn the potatoes over. When you remove the lid you should get the aroma of the spices hitting your nose. What a delight!

Once the potatoes are turned over, add the bell peppers. Ok, now we want the bells to caramelize but not burnt. Place the lid back on for about two to three minutes and then remove the lid. Turn the potatoes over. Once you see that the potatoes are browning and the bells starting to caramelize is when I added the cilantro. I then placed the lid for about two to three minutes. Remove the lid. At this time I added the eggs. Now, about the eggs. I know some will grab a bowl and scramble the eggs then proceed to add that to the potatoes. I don’t and never have or will when it comes to this recipe. You may do so if you wish, but you’d be robbing yourself of the flavor that you get by doing it this way.

Now for the photos:


Red bell pepers, green bell peppers

Fry potatoes


Almost done

large grade eggs

Egg done

Add chesse

The cheese is optional. Fold in a tortilla and enjoy!

If any one found this interesting or just plain liked it, then please give me a like or leave me a comment.

Levity -Humor at my expense. A True Story!

So, a few nights ago, while I was sleeping a weird thing happened. Now, have you ever had one of those nights where you feel you’re asleep but not really…?

I hear a young girl saying ready Dad and a man’s voice saying OK. Then all of a sudden I hear this loud scream, I hear the man saying Oh my god! Clair, are you ok! I hear the girl crying and whispering.

I jump out of bed like Flash Gordon would; start to put my pants on. I notice Deb is looking at me very strange-like what the hell are you doing? That kind of look you get from your significant other letting you know you are doing something that they think is dumb.

While I pull the zipper up, I told her what I heard. I was surprised she did not hear it because it was FREAKING loud. As I am about to button my pants, she tells me it was the TV. There is nothing outside. I start to look at Deb like a damn Deer does when caught in headlights. “What?” I move closer to the bedroom window and I am hearing silence. WTF! In my daze of sleep but not asleep I feel confused.

After I fall asleep, Deb, if still awake will put in one of her DVD’s. And that is exactly what she did. I will admit this has never happened to me before. Once Deb realized I was out cold, she played her DVD so that she could fall asleep. At some point during the wee hours of the morning, I think it was 2 AM is when the weird event happened. The DVD that was playing, Heroes.

Story to be filed for my son.

Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 2

Tuesday July 14, 2015 around 3 PM

I left off with meeting my first cousin Karin and Aunt Patricia. If you wish to review that post then please read: Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 1.

Around 3pm  or a bit after, my cousin Bob picked up his grand nephew and me. While Nicholas ( grand nephew) was swimming, I got to enjoy a one on one conversation with Bob.  We caught up with our current lives and reminisced of old days-it was a blast. Here is one kicker, for the past twenty-three years he has been employed as a Computer System Administrator, and me having a fondness for computers obtained an A.A.S  Degree in Network Systems Administration.

Five O’clock and on.

Williams CaliforniaThe most part of the time I spent in California was setting around, small light conversing and meeting new cousins I have never met. I am the one with the camera around my neck.

I will say the heat in California since I have been away for some time, was HOT! Eight in the morning and sweat would be pouring off you. Hell my balls were yelling no more! The nights while sleeping even with a wall ac running reminded me of -the nights of past of waking up with the pillow soaked from your sweat.  My body temperature I do believe has acclimated to South Dakota.

Wednesday July 15, 2015 the day of the service.

Me lighting the candle of life and remembrance.

This was the rough day. When my mother past in 2002, I had thought all tears were gone from that point on…. I was wrong. First was the lighting of the candles by family members then friends. I was strong, I was doing good I had thought-no tears and throat not choking.  But, when I placed the candle on the table next to the other lit ones, that is when it hit me. She is gone! My throat was closing up as I fought back Niagra Falls.


Basic Home Cooking–Bringing Back Memories

Before I continue with the second part of “Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 1“, I thought I would show another family favorite recipe. I will admit I can be a picky bastard when it comes to food, the flavor, texture, aroma that soothes the soul -taking one back to their childhood providing brief moments of happiness when our Grandmothers or Mothers cooked our favorite meal.


The recipe for today is what my Mother called Mole-not the animal, not the unit of measure. This comes from the Mole Sauce. For generations past, the short cut was to use Grandma’s Chili Powder. This one product was the De facto standard in our house as well as our other family’s household growing up and became one of my tricks in the bag later on as well.  However, the manufacturer stopped producing it around 2009. 😦

It has taken me quite some time with experiments to find an alternative that is easy with ingredients that one can find at their local grocery store rather than having to order online and wait, wait, still waiting for the product to show up.  My solution was to use two different types of chilli powder. One provided the deep rich color while the other provided the flavor I was looking for.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients Needed:

Gold Medal Flour

Tones Mild chilli Powder – for the flavor while lighter in color

McCormick’s Mild chili powder / can use Clover Valley brand if in the midwest region.

Nestle Toll House Cocoa –This is a must no exceptions  Key ingredient!


Garlic Salt


Potatoes Russet or Idaho brand

Top Round Steak Note: If feeding a family of four to five then use the whole slab of round steak that comes prepackaged. What I will do at times is to buy a Top Round Roast and cut it into portions, that way I have some for Mole and fast steak sandwiches.

Russet potatoesGrab two to four potatoes and cut the potato long ways then slice a bit thicker than you would for potato chips or cut the potato in half however you prefer.  Once all potatoes are sliced, rinse then place in a bowl of water and place in fridge until needed. This is to prevent the potatoes from oxidation.

Round steakNext step. Grab the round steak and cut it into bite size pieces.

Now, that we have this done, grab two frying pans and coat with vegetable oil. Allow the pans to heat. Grab the potatoes from the fridge and strain the water. Place the potatoes in one of the frying pans on medium heat with lid. Place the round steak in the other frying pan. For the meat we will use less vegetable oil than we would use for the potatoes, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. While these are cooking on medium heat, grab a saucepan and place a little bit of flour. The measurement will depend on how much sauce you want. Start off with quarter cup of flour and slowly stir in water until smooth. Not too thick nor to loose. Allow to heat up a bit, now Shake some Tones chilli powder in a little at a time until the flour water mixture starts to turn red. Now shake the second brand of chilli powder in. Again a little at a time. Now you should see the sauce getting slightly on the darker side. While on the sauce, do not to forget to turn the potatoes over and to stir the meat around to cook even. Now, add about a tablespoon of the Cocoa into the sauce and stir. You may find that might need to add more Cocoa, add a teaspoon at a time and remember to taste the sauce as you go along to get that flavor and texture that you desire. Use a dash or two of regular salt maybe three depending on your taste buds, add the same amount of the garlic salt. At this time remove the lid from the potatoes and allow to brown a bit. Once the sauce is done pour into the frying pan with the round steak. Stir a few time and shut off burners.

All that is left to do is serve with the optional items like peppers and flour tortillas.

Reconnecting with Family – Under A Sad Event Part 1

Those who read my blog, will know that I recently left Sioux Falls, SD to attend a funeral in California. As I mentioned before, Sheila was my paternal first cousin and my Dad’s favorite niece. Those of us who were raised or around her were blessed in everyway for knowing her.  I created a virtual memorial at Find A Grave so that she will never be forgotten and so that other relatives who were not able to attend may find the virtual memorial. For those who do not know what Find A Grave is – here is the definition: [Find A Grave is a commercial website that allows the public to access and add to an online database of cemetery records.]

Colusa. Ca, Williams, Ca

Sheila, whom I addressed as Aunt, was a strong willed individual. At birth, I remember my Dad telling me she was born premature and very tiny. I was reminded while in California that her nickname was Inky for she was in an incubator for a month or two before coming home. They used a dresser drawer to place Sheila in and that became her bed for awhile. She survived and became a person whom we cherished. Later on in the early 90’s Sheila suffered a major heart attack and she was not expected to live long after that, yet she did. Hit with another ailment, she was not expected to survive more than three months, yet she did. Sheila was a fighter to the end. May we grow our own strength of survival from her.

Tuesday July 14, 2015 1:30PM

Karin, Aunt Patricia and me.
Karin, Aunt Patricia and me.

During my stay in California with my cousins, the day before the services I was fortunate to have finally met my first cousin Karin and her Mother my Aunt Patricia whom I have never met before. This side of the family comes from my Mother. Patricia is my Mother’s sister. The visit lasted for about an hour and it was a very good visit despite the nerves of visiting with a part of your family that you thought would never happen. We caught up on the regular stuff that most would and talked about what my Mother told me about growing up in the Bradford house and compared notes per say.

I must admit I was taken by surprise when I saw them face to face, for cousin Karin has the same hair color as my Mother. When I heard Aunt Patricia speak, the tone and the manner was the same as my Mothers.   Stay tuned for part 2 of this posting

Angels in Disguise – A Very Big Thank You!


Last night, I received a call from one of my cousins. I was taken by surprise and left speechless. It was one of those calls very similar to taking in a Lotto Ticket and the cashier informs you just hit the jackpot! Today, I am still in shock.

The call:

My cousin Toni told me to call her ASAP! I did thinking something else has gone wrong. She gave me a brief consult and handed the phone to Deanna whom I have never met and is my first cousin twice removed, so 1st cousin. Deanna tells me she got the ok from her friend to buy me a round trip ticket from Sioux Falls, SD to the Sacramento airport. My jaw dropped, loss of speech.

I asked if they were sure because the flight is not cheap by any means. Deanna said yes, and that is what family does for each other. As I have said in earlier posts, family and those special friends we consider as family is all we have in our small world.  I am nervous and very anxious at the same time while I prep the carry on bags. meaning I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I am very grateful and have renewed faith. It will be good to be family and say goodbye to very special person that was in our lives. I thank you from the bottom of my heart Dear Angels in Disguise.

My first cousin 2x removed

Update using Gofundme

I am very grateful that I received my first donation using Gofundme, still along way to go.

Although it is hope against hope, I am staying positive that this will happen so that I might pay my respects, share stories and reminisce the loss.

If you haven’t heard, Delta has a contest for free airfare, I entered that as well for they will announce the winner by the 12th of this month.

Here is the link going to their facebook page:

While, I am on the topic of airfare, Southwest Airlines is offering airfare as low as $73.00. This will not help me but maybe one of you can use the deal.

Here’s the link for Southwest Airlines:

The below photo is a generation photo of Moms. Left to right. Aunt Sheila, her Mother Mary (Aunt Mary),  Her Grandmother as well as mine, Grandma Loreto taken in Colusa, Ca.

Family Photo
Generation Photo

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