All posts by Tony

Hello! I'm Tony. I'm a Husband, Father, Friend, Blogger, Country Radio DJ, and proud Dance Dad. Faith, Family, and Technology...this is what matters to me and it's what I write about here.

The Right Tool For The Job

I’ve heard it more times than I can count from a whole host of different people: my Dad, Father-in-law, Uncles… they all have imparted the wisdom that it’s easier when you use the right tool for the job.

I reminded myself of that tonight.  For the first time in my adult life I had a snow blower to use to clean the driveway.

Snow Blower

A fresh blanket of snow greeted me when I got home.  Actually, it was more than a blanket.  It was a couple of blankets and a quilt.  Six to eight inches in total of fluffy snow.

Experience tells me that it would have taken 75-90 minutes to do it all with a shovel.   When completed I would have had a sore back leading to several doses of ibuprofen.

Tonight was a different story.  I fired up the “new to me” snow blower and went to town.  It only took 30 minutes!

It could have been shorter too.  It took me a few minutes figuring out how to position the shoot so I wouldn’t get a face full of blowing snow.  I probably also spent a few extra minutes just because I was having fun.  The novelty hadn’t worn off yet.

It probably will by the end of Winter but at least I know that I can get it done in a third of the time as before… without a sore back!

Had I realized this earlier we would have gotten a snow blower years ago.  I would have made it a priority to save up the money.  The only reason I have this one is because some friends moved to Texas. You can read about that part of that story here.

What’s something you did for years and then got the right tools only to realize how much easier it was?

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We Need A Break From Winter Break

I hope you had a fantastic holiday season!  I know our family has. We’ve been blessed.  Many different Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve, and different family visits have kept us busy.

It was all exciting and fun but it had us out of our regular routines.

Bed times shifted (often in different beds) and meal times were different than what we’re used to.  It’s left us with a lot of great memories but kind of exhausted… which is funny since it was Winter break, after all.

It’s almost over, though.  One more day.  Which is good because I think everyone in our family is ready to get back into a regular routine.  We do better with a little more structure in our lives.

We need a break from our Winter break!

How about your family?  Do you need a break from Winter break or would you like another week of it?

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Easy Mashed Potatoes

A picture I shared in a recent post on cooking a whole turkey breast side down led to some questions about how I make mashed potatoes.

Turkey Dinner

A friend asked, “What’s the brown things in your mashed potatoes.”

I explained that it was the potato peel and that I liked to make them without skinning the potatoes.  This lead to more questions.  I figured if one person was interested that you might be as well.

So here it is.  My…

Easy Mashed Potatoes

You’ll need:

* A 5 pound bag of potatoes

* Salt

* A brick of cream cheese (non-fat or reduced fat works well)

* Milk

* Lawry’s Season Salt

Mashed Potato Ingredients

You start by washing the potatoes.  Cut them into quarters, removing any bad spots, and place them in a pot.

At this point I like to rinse the potatoes.  Then I fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes.  Then I stir in some salt.  I never measure but I’d guess that I use about a tablespoon or so.

Potatoes in a pot

Cover and cook on high heat until it starts to boil.  You’re going to want to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.  Otherwise you’ll have a mess.  I know this from personal experience.

Once it’s boiling good remove the cover and reduce the heat to medium-high and set a timer for 15 minutes.  When it goes off stick a fork or knife into one of the chunks.  If it pierces without any effort the potatoes are done.  If not, give it a few minutes and check again.

When the potatoes are fully cooked, drain them in a colander, and return to the burner… but keep the heat off.

Cooked potatoes ready to mash

Here’s where you’ll use a potato masher to mash them up.  Once you’ve got a good mash going, mash in the brick of cream cheese, and a little milk.

How much milk you use is a personal preference.  If you like stiff potatoes use less milk.  The key is to add the milk a little at a time. Remember, you can always add more.

With everything mashed together, I then switch to a wooden spoon to stir in the seasoning salt.  Again, how much you use is up to you.  I tend to under season figuring people can add more at the table if they choose.

A batch this size gives our family enough for a meal with leftovers to freeze!

By leaving the skins on you cut the prep time down significantly and, I’m told, increase the nutritional value.  Our family doesn’t mind the skins in the mashed potatoes.  In fact, we actually prefer it this way!

That’s how I make mashed potatoes.  Does it differ than how you do it?  Have you ever tried making them with the peels on?

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