Meet And Greet - We live for this stuff. Blog at - 318608

We live for this stuff.

Meet and Greet 
Dec. 29, 2013 11:24 am 
Updated: Jan. 1, 2014 7:08 am
I've always liked to cook, but never had much extra time for it until the last few years.   More on that later.   I recently found a printed recipe from dating back to 2006.   I had no idea that I had found this site way back then, but my first active involvement at AR, and more importantly, the community of chefs called the Buzz dates to December 21, 2012, when I asked the newbie question of how to sort recipes in your recipe box.   ConkyJoe was quick to supply my answer and I was off.   Now I have 689 recipes in that box, with most of them sorted, but a lot of them not.   

It's been a huge year of achievements and firsts in the world of cooking.   I can't even begin to remember them all, but I have a few that I must mention, mostly because they are so basic.   

EGGS!  Who knew something so simple could be so difficult?   I always had a hard time cracking an egg without getting shells in the mix.   I tried all kinds of sharp-edged bowls and counter top edges and still, no success.   Then I tried a flat surface as suggested on the buzz.   What?   This makes NO sense but it works!  No more shells!   And I learned how to make nice looking hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel.   Omelets!  I could always make them taste great, but never purdy.   Sometimes I still fail, but my success rate has increased dramatically in the last year.

TATERS!   Mashed, fluffy non-gooey potatoes.   Yep, have it down now, thanks to the pros at the Buzz.  So simple, yet so difficult if you don't know the tricks.

KNIVES!   A year ago I couldn't go two days without cutting myself, and sometimes quite badly.    I decided to buy a better (not great) knife and to learn how to use it.   I went online and found a video for $5 and watched it, then practiced, then watched it again.   I'm PROUD to say that I can't remember the last time that I cut myself and I do more cutting now than ever.   A new, great, chef's knife is on my wish list, but for now, I'm happy with my decent knife.

BREAD!  This is probably one of my most significant breakthroughs this year.   I've finally perfected a pizza crust that works for me and have many very breads and rolls successfully.    Yesterday I even made a batch of homemade pasta for the first time.   A linguine that turned out fantastic.   I hand rolled and cut this.   Today I made another batch of wider pasta for a veggie beef soup for when my girls get home from Texas.   I can see pasta roller attachments in my future!

INGREDIENTS!   Wow, what a year this has been in expanding our tastes and ingredients!   I now have spices and herbs in my cupboards that a year ago I had never heard of and I've been buying and using fresh ingredients when possible.   Garlic, lemons, limes, nutmeg, to name just a few.  I also set up a grow light and started growing many of my own herbs.   Christmas dinner featured their debut in my gravy with fresh sage and thyme.   My plants aren't big enough yet for me to go fresh on the stuffing, but the gravy was fantastic.    Heck, I'm even using wine from time to time now!  

TOOLS!   Little things mean so much!   Like my steamer and my garlic press.   Not to mention my fine grater, my new thermometers and my wife's favorite:   My scrap bucket.   This really helped keep my floor much cleaner.   My least favorite tool of the year 2013 but most necessary?   My reading glasses.   Most days I don't need them, but some days they are a must.

RECIPES!   In the year since I've been on the Buzz, I've had two recipes published!   My first, Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas, which is a favorite with my daughters and their friends, and my second, Slow Cooker Philly Steak Sandwich Meat, which was a recipe by accident.   The Philly is one that I threw together and tasted as I went and I liked it, so wrote it down as best as I could remember, then submitted it for publication.   I had only made it that once and had forgotten all about it until I got the letter that it had been published.   Now it's another of our regulars around here.

These simple accomplishments I give a huge amount of the credit to the chefs of the Buzz on AR.   In the past year, they have answered a lot of my silly questions.   Looking back at this last year, I realize that when I filled out my profile, my cooking level should had been beginning, and just now, maybe, it should be intermediate.   There are so many chefs on the Buzz that have a ingredient and procedure knowledge that dwarfs mine.   MANY times I have to google search an ingredient or a procedure to see exactly what it is.   I can't even imagine how someone could accumulate such a vast repertoire of cooking knowledge.   I bow to those of you with this knowledge and I also tip my hat to the chefs that pass on their experience.   You've told me the way you've done it for years, and how your mothers and grandmothers did it, not because of being stuck in a rut, but because it works!   I thank you for that.   Because of you, my family is eating tastier and healthier food than ever before.   

So because I don't think it's possible for me to properly thank you, and because you've treated me like a friend, I want to introduce you to me and my family.   

My name is Jay.   I live in a small town, population 3, in north eastern North Dakota.   I own and run a small agriculture related business based out of my house.   I'm THE employee.   In the summer of 1990, 23 1/2 years ago, I married the lady of my dreams, Stacy.   I'm telling you this, because I'm tired of referring to her on the buzz as "the missus".   I just seems dirty and disrespectful to me, and DW doesn't seem to fit either.   So 23 1/2 years ago, we married and a few days later, Saddam invaded Kuwait.   Six weeks later I was in Saudi Arabia for a year.   I returned home to the best home-coming a man could ever have.   I feel my greatest accomplishment coming home was being a part of the country FINALLY thanking our Vietnam vets for their outstanding duty.   I salute you.

We made our home in the home where I was raised.   In 1993, we had twin daughters, Alison and Alexis.

Alexis is on the left, and Alison on the right.   Now these two are like most siblings, they've had their shares of ups and downs and fights.   Gosh they can fight, but one thing remains true through the years, when they needed each other, they were there for one another.

Stacy and I always had one goal with raising our kids:   Raise nice people.   It looks like we succeeded.   There are a lot of things that I attribute our success to.   One:  Stacy was a stay-at-home Mom until the girls were about 14.   Even then, she only took a part-time job so that she was home in the summers, when they were, and she was home when they got off the bus and on the weekends.   Once the girls started college, Stacy started working full-time.   She's a GREAT Mom.   Two:   We parented with a united front.   We made lots of mistakes, but we stood together.   And Three:   The oak table.   Our family dinners have always kept the girls coming home.   Even now, after three years in college, they are home most weekends to be with us.   They bring their friends and their boyfriends to us, rather than being somewhere else.   We love that.   In the summer, on the weekends when we go to the lake, the girls are there, and the boyfriends, and the friends, etc.   It doesn't get any better than that.

With the changing farm economy, cell-phones and changing demographics, Stacy was able to go to work full-time and I could handle things here pretty well.   There are times of the year when I have zero time for cooking, etc., but a big part of the year, Stacy works much harder than me.   As mentioned, her return to full-time work coincided with the girls leaving for college, but also my increase in cooking.   I figured that if I'm at home, and have time, she should come home to good meals, just like she did for me when the roles were reversed.   Stacy had cooked a lot for many years, but never loved it.   I guess in this we differ.

Alison and Alexis are now 20.   They will be 21 in April.   When they left for college three years ago, they didn't like each other very much.   They were too close for too long, but after a few weeks at separate colleges, they became best friends again.   


 Alison is on the left in  those pictures and Alexis is on the right.   The young man in the middle is Adam.   He and Alexis have been dating for quite a while and we really like him.  He's a nice guy and a hard worker.  Alison also has a nice young man in her life named Jordan.   He's a nice guy and a hard worker too.

Alexis is going into elementary education, a job she was meant for, and Alison is going into agronomy.   Two years ago she would have never have considered this, but she discovered this through a summer job and has now found her calling.   It looks like they both will be graduating on time.  We are so proud of both of them.

We didn't know what to give the girls for Christmas this year.   They are practical ladies and they didn't think they needed anything and didn't really want anything.  Smart phones weren't even on their list!   Then they asked if maybe they could go see Grandma & Grandpa at their winter home in Texas.   I was able to find affordable tickets and they are with their grandparents in south Texas right now.   Maybe it's odd for 20 year old girls to want to spend a week of their vacation with their 78 & 80 year old grandparents, but it's normal to them.   

Having said that, we aren't vacation people.   Stacy and I went to Florida for two weeks in 1992, after I returned from Saudi Arabia.   That was our last vacation until a year ago, when we took the family to Jamaica for a week.   Even though our home is nothing fancy, we like it and we like being here.   It was -21 this morning, real temperature, and we like that just fine.

Now back to Stacy and I.   I won't show you pictures of Stacy, because she hates her picture being taken, but trust me when I say that she's a beauty, inside and out.   Stacy does activities at the local nursing home and she's danged good at it.   Stacy loves her flowers, her camping and taking care of us.   She's good at that too.    I'm the stinker of the family.   I can be rough around the edges and will say what's on my mind, but I have a big heart.   I like to hunt and camp in the summer and I shoot pool and curl in the winter.   When I'm camping, shooting pool or curling, I could be found with a beer in my hand.   Oh, and I like to cook.   It's my therapy :)

I feel that there are so many other things I wanted to include, but this is probably long enough :)   I hope that when we chat on the Buzz, that this peek into my life gives you some perspective into my way of thinking.

Dec. 29, 2013 11:48 am
It is so nice to meet you Jay! You have a beautiful family and I would love to be your neighbor! (Well, maybe not in ND, too cold for me.). You have been a great addition to the crew on the Buzz and I hope you become a long term participant. Thanks for letting us have a glimpse of your life.
Dec. 29, 2013 12:01 pm
That was a a fun read, Jay! You certainly have a beautiful family and you can be very proud of their on-time graduation…Nice to have met you and learn some of your back story. Thank you for your service. Hometown population: 3??? LOL
Dec. 29, 2013 1:01 pm
Thank you so much sharing your beautiful story and your beautiful family. I've enjoyed getting to know you on the buzz and look forward to sharing more recipes and stories in the coming year.
Dec. 29, 2013 1:47 pm
What a great story! Well lets introduce each other. Hi Jay, I'm Bonnie. You have two very beautiful daughters and Stacy sounds like a wonderful person. So glad I got to read a little about my "Grill Pal"! Oh and another thing... thank you for your service to us and our country. Looking forward to many years of friendship!
Dec. 29, 2013 1:50 pm
So nice to have you share so much about you! We could be relatives! Jay is a very big name in my family; brother, father, grandfather. I also have 21 year old girl twins and loved the comment you made about them not liking each other when they left for college but soon after they missed each other. That was the same in our family! Loved reading this and I think we should have a" person of the week" and learn this much about anyone of us as it is so interesting! We are all fun people! Happy New Year and all the best to you and your family in 2014!
Dec. 29, 2013 2:10 pm
Hello Jay, nice to meet you, you have a beautiful family. I live in Canada, but I would like to say thank you for your service. My dad was in the Italian army in WW11. Looking forward to seeing you on the buzz. Thanks for sharing your life.
Dec. 29, 2013 2:42 pm
Hi Jay, It was nice to read your introduction and get to know a little bit more about you and your family that coincides with you. In my family i have one sister that I meet with at christmas time to get together and share good times with each other. My cat Christopher is right with me here as I type and was sitting on my mouse as I wanted to move the cursor and ended up loosing my last dialogue so I will try again and wish you a Happy New Year in 2014.
Dec. 29, 2013 3:07 pm
What a great read. I knew there where real people here. Sounds as though you have a great family and you Sir, are truly blessed. Thanks Jay for sharing your life.
Dec. 29, 2013 3:56 pm
Nice to "meet" you, Jay! Great blog! Your family sounds wonderful, what a blessing. You made me laugh when you said how many times you cut yourself in the kitchen! I'm still a nick here and there but you are right, a good knife is paramount! My MIL used to preach that you will never get cut by a sharp knife. It took me a while to understand that but be sure to sharpen that puppy regularly! :)
Dec. 29, 2013 4:21 pm nice to read this blog and get a peak into your life, thank you for sharing. You've captured something in your writing that illustrates why this site is so much more than's about life. Cheers to you, Stacy and your family.
Dec. 29, 2013 4:25 pm
Hello duboo, I mean Jay, nice blog. I love the photo of the girls at the sink! That is so cute. Your girls are so beautiful. Asking questions on the buzz and getting to know so many people has been an eye opener for me. The people on the buzz know so much more that I do. Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year.
Dec. 29, 2013 4:47 pm
hi jay, you got some gorgeous gals! I bet they take after their mom! we appreciate your door to ft. benning here. I still say..sell blood, rob from in-laws, heck anything, but move south. our lakes don't freeze!
Dec. 29, 2013 6:15 pm
You sure are blessed and it's nice to see that you recognize what a "charmed" life you are leading. (or did you steal this story from a book???) I liked you before this blog - and not just because I love the Philly meat recipe! I like your sense of humor and your honesty that comes through your comments. I can tell you're a fungi - lol - and your blog has lifted my spirits tonight. I like your family! Stacy & those girls are VERY lucky women! Keep us posted on life in your "big city" now that we're all a part of life there. MINUS 21*?? And you LIKE it? You got a little crazy mixed in with your herbs, I think! Have a HaPpY New Year, Jay & Girls! From Sandi in El Paso, Tx. Pop. too many!
Dec. 29, 2013 6:47 pm
You know I had individual responses written out to each and every one of you until I refreshed and saw scootersandi's response, so I'm going to go with just one response instead. First, thank you all for appreciating our service men. There just isn't enough we can do for them, regardless of how we feel about the politics involved. Sandi, those women drive me NUTS, but I love them. I really am the lucky one, but please don't tell them that. That would pretty much cancel any Ace I have in my hand :) Happy New Year Sandi and all :) Sandi, I haven't been to El Paso for about 40 years when I visited my cousin Jodi :)
Dec. 29, 2013 6:59 pm
I would like to add, that I mean no disrespect to those that use DH, DW, etc. I just simply mean that this just didn't seem to fit me and my family.
Dec. 29, 2013 7:14 pm
I love this blog from your heart, duboo! What beautiful girls you have, and I just know that your sweet wife is just as handsome as you are, too! I especially love that they love their grandparents (I'm always watching that!)! I love that your girls are going into education and agronomy! Between those two careers, you are taken care of (for the future of your grandchildren and your own business!). Thanks for introducing yourself to us! Loved your blog!
Dec. 29, 2013 8:20 pm
I hope to maybe write out a Rum and Raisin cake or cookie recipe using a rum substitute. I will keep you posted on how it turns out for me. I might decide to write a blog on here in the new year.
Dec. 30, 2013 7:03 am
Awe Dubes. What a nice blog. Thanks for sharing. I loved reading it and learning more about you and your fam.
Dec. 30, 2013 7:43 am
I have been here since before they were allrecipes and it's great to see people come in and have the success in the kitchen that you have had. It's a great community that is incredibly supportive & informative. It's a pleasure to meet you & your family. Now I need to go check out your recipes. Happy New Year.
Dec. 30, 2013 2:02 pm
I've enjoyed reading this blog and getting to know you better, Duboo! Like you, I've learned so much from the "regulars" here on The Buzz and am so appreciative of their willingness to share things that probably seem so simple to them.
Dec. 30, 2013 2:36 pm
What a great life and family you have. You're right, there are so many people on this site, extremely knowledgeable cooks, who can answer questions that may seem stupid to you, but they really aren't (I've asked my share of them, for sure). I can't even begin to tell you how much I've learned about cooking from this site. Always loved cooking, but just never could dedicate the time to really learning and focusing until I retired. And I've learned not only how to use a knife, but know the importance of keeping it sharp, too. Now I need to learn how to better use (respect) that cordless hedge trimmer of mine (almost severed the top of my left thumb a month ago). For me, probably the biggest step forward has been learning how to bake bread. So no more hockey puck loaves of bread, I now know how it's supposed to feel. Sounds like you have it all in life. Well, except for that weather, of course. Happy New Year to you.
Dec. 30, 2013 7:14 pm
Thanks for sharing your story!
Dec. 31, 2013 6:04 am
Good morning. Thank you all for your very nice replies. We are indeed very lucky. Not everything is always roses, but there are more flowers than weeds :) Emeralds, I consider my girls not living in my house anymore, even though they don't have their own places yet. So it's Stacy and me and our neighbor. I registered at AR in 2009, but I never came to the Buzz until a year ago :)
Dec. 31, 2013 6:22 am
Love, love, love the blog, Jay, and you have a lovely family! You have added a lot to the Buzz this year. Thanks for sharing!
Dec. 31, 2013 8:21 am
Thanks Bibi :) I've seen it said a lot that it isn't the same as it used to be. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but I like it just fine the way it is :)
Dec. 31, 2013 9:56 am
Thanks for sharing Jay! :) nice blog, i enjoyed learning more about your beautiful family.
Jan. 1, 2014 7:08 am
Thank you. We think the world of both of the young men. They seem to be on the right track in life.
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Home Town
Langdon, North Dakota, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern

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About Me
Dad of two great girls and husband to one equally great lady.
My favorite things to cook
I like Italian and Mexican. I enjoy a challenge and tend to move on once I have it mastered.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Mom taught all of us boys (and girls) to cook. It's always nice when Mom has us over and I get to carve the meat for her.
My cooking triumphs
My favorite triumphs are cooking twice for my daughters and their friends proms. Both years I served about 15 and stuck with my own Italian recipes. The kids all loved the meals. Now the girls (in college) and their friends try to make a point to come out for my cooking, which usually turns out! I love having them here and the cooking helps! Also once a year I have to make pies for a local fundraiser and last year, the old ladies thought I had bought the cheesecake with the pretty swirls and passed it off as my own. Nope. Sorry ladies!
My cooking tragedies
Yep, I've left the giblets in the bird once. I also believed the pop-up thermometer one time when I shouldn't have. Yea, and I did a rotisserie chicken in 7 minutes flat. Forgot to turn the grill down from preheating. That wasn't pretty.
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