Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cucumber Chile Frozen Treat

So... the first two times I tried to make this it was a disaster. Mom and Dad kept talking about it while they were out here, so I figured I'd try a couple of recipes and see if I could figure out a way to make it myself. They were pretty bummed when they couldn't find it at the store out here. I know what you're thinking, weird flavor combinations, but honestly it works. The first two not so much. The next few, a little better but too icy, too sweet, too hot, or too bland. I think I've got it this time, but it may have been an accident. Try it out and see if it works for you. I use a little half pint ice cream maker, and I had some stuff left over when I was done, so not sure how much it actually makes.

Here's what you need:

7 Baby Seedless Cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 Egg Whites
1 small lime (1.5 TBSP juice, lime zest)
1 packet of true lemon
1 TSP Midori Melon Liquor
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Vanilla to taste
Chile Powder to taste


1 - Supersaturate water and sugar on the stove, then add vanilla to taste and reduce heat and let cool.
2 - Puree Cucumbers, True Lemon, Lime Juice, Lime Zest, and Midori.
3- Beat Egg Whites until you get them pretty frothy, then add the puree to the bowl and mix well.
4 - Add mix to the solution once cool
5 - Cover it up and throw it in the fridge overnight.
6 - When you're ready, add your stuff to the ice cream maker and let it do its thing.
7 - When its done, dust it with chili powder to taste, and add thin slices of lemon and lime for garnish. It melts pretty fast, but it'll stay frozen long enough to be good.

Why it works: I sat down and tried to figure it out for a while. To be honest I have no idea. The Midori brings out the cucumber flavor, and the alcohol in it prevents the formation of ice crystals, giving it a less abrasive texture. The egg whites make it creamier, and the extra citrus helps the flavor and accentuates the chili bite. The spice will creep up on you, and its not overbearing. Finished product is a nice green color, and its very refreshing on a hot day. Past that I've got nothin'...

Disclaimer: This may or may not have been a total fluke. I might have had a good experience by accident, so I hope it works as well for you as it did for me. Let me know how it turns out.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another long overdue update

Well, its been almost two months since I touched this thing, figured I might want to drop a line so y'all know I'm still alive.
I've started a new job with Bravo Company, 501st BSB. I'm in the same Brigade as I was before, but it is much different that what I was doing before. I was in a Forward Support Company with Delta, which meant my company provided logistics support for the Cavalry Unit in our brigade. The company I'm in now is the maintenance company of the Brigade Support Battalion. It is a much bigger company, but its focus is on maintenance for the brigade, not overall support for a single battalion. I've been in the position for a week now, and there hasn't been a short day for me yet. I think I'll enjoy it once I can get in the groove and get caught up on everything.
Jackson is doing well, he has calmed down a bit but he's still got the same bouncy personality. I try to take him for a good long walk twice a day. He's about 37 pounds or so still, my little pup is growing up! I'm watching him play with his giant tennis ball right now (about the size of a small soccer ball). He'll bat at it until he can get it to bounce, then chase it, get his nose under it and toss it in the air. The good thing about staying in 1st BDE is knowing that I won't be deploying for a good while. I've got at least another year and a half to spend with my pup.
I'm working on getting in shape right now, making myself run even though I don't like it, working out, watching what I eat. I've quit drinking soft drinks entirely, haven't had one in weeks. I might be able to treat myself to a ginger ale or a root beer every once in a while if I can got three months without one, but I'm trying to keep it to an absolute minimum. I have picked up the habit of a couple energy drinks now and then, but I've found one thats not quite as insane as others. It is made by Monster energy drinks, called "Rehab." It only has 10 calories, uses splenda as a sweetener, and tastes like a mix of lemonade and tea. It is one of the only energy drinks not packed with sugar that doesn't taste like radioactive toxic waste. I'm still trying to work the whole diet thing. It takes so much prep time! I'm going to sit down this weekend and pick some things I know I'll like that I can make on the fly or keep at work so I don't have to worry about the prep time as much. That way I can get the ball rolling and see if I can't lose a little bit of the winter weight before it gets too hot out here to have extra insulation.
I'm actually coming around to El Paso. Its not the best place in the world, but there are some good things about it. This fall I'm hoping to find some places to go hunting. There are lots of good restaurants, and if I can drive for a while I can get to some pretty interesting stuff in New Mexico. I'm looking into places to go now, trying to plan some weekend trips while I'm on this side of the country. Its certainly not home, but I'm trying to make the best of it.
Thats all for now, I'll see you when I see you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

4 Day Weekend!

OK, so I'm really excited about this weekend. I got home from work today to find a new set of floor mats, window vent visors, and a set of side step bars for my truck on my front door step. Naturally, I had the floor mats and window vent visors installed within about 10 minutes of getting home. They look great! I'm waiting on a new set of mud flaps before I tackle the side step bars though, hopefully they'll come in tomorrow. I also picked up some new speakers, an amplifier, and a subwoofer today. It'll be a while before I can actually install them, but I'm really excited about it. My plan is to get a new bezel from Dodge made for a double DIN receiver, and then get one of the cool new receivers with integrated bluetooth and a USB input to go along with it. I'm thinking maybe next month or April? That means I've got until then to figure out how I want to install everything, how I want the box for the subwoofer to go in, and get ready for the install. Oh, and I finally broke down and made an appointment to get my windows tinted on Monday. I want to do it before it starts getting hot out here, I'm sure it will help a lot. It feels good to finally get started on the plans I made in Iraq for my truck!
This weekend is actually full of fun things to do. Tomorrow, I think I'm going to take Jackson out to the Canyon for a little jog, and I'm planning on doing a couple of projects I've been putting off for a while. Saturday I'm headed out to the range to blow off some steam, as well as put some holes in targets. It'll actually be the first time I've fired my 308 since I got back from Iraq, and it'll be good to put a few more rounds through the 9mm. I'm almost to the point where its broken in and I'm comfortable with it. Sunday I'm pretty much planning on doing nothing. I know it'll probably never happen, but one can hope. I may go out to the motorpool and play some catch with Jackson, that'd be fun.
Anyway, short post to let everybody know I'm still breathing. Looks like its gonna be fried chicken and baked beans tonight for dinner, then sitting back and watching the brainsucker for a little while. Turning in early, well deserved ;)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've found it a bit hard to write lately, I know it has been months. Its not that I haven't had time or anything, there's no excuse so I won't try and make one. I've just not done it. Hopefully this will break down the wall a little bit, and my next post will follow much sooner. Everything is changing. Everything that was once familiar is now complicated or nonexistent. Losing my grandfather on my mother's side so closely to my grandmother on my father's side has been something that hasn't been easy by any means. For the entire year I was gone a looked forward to the Holidays back at home, spending time with family and thinking back to Holidays past. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's celebrations this year have not only been the first ones since my return from combat, but also the first holidays without them. You can feel the tension and heaviness on both sides of the family, and its hard to watch from 1600 miles away as we try to pick up the pieces, dust off old pictures, think about the way it used to be, put what we can save on a shelf, and move on. So many moments, memories, traditions taken for granted. It makes it even harder that I wasn't able to be with them for their last ones. Its hard enough to see my family go through this, but because they've never been where I have and never done what I did, because they were there when I couldn't be, they can't know what its like for me. Knowing I'll deploy again makes it even harder, there is a lot that can happen in a year. What won't be there when I get back this time? What will I miss out on while I'm gone? What will I wish I had done before I left? Questions without answers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm back...

So I realize I haven't touched this thing in a couple months now. Sorry about the lack of correspondence. I'm back in El Paso now, back to work at Fort Bliss. The schedule is pretty easy right now, there's not much to do as most of the unit is still on leave. I'm sure it will get more complicated soon. I got back in the states at the end of July, had to rush home on emergency leave. It wasn't quite the welcome home I had wanted. The passing of my grandfather was tough, and being stuck on the other side of the world, unable to do anything about it was very difficult for me. Thankfully I was able to make it back for the funeral, but only due to a stroke of luck. Most cases take days to process and get home. It was good to be home but I wish it had been under better circumstances. I took five days of emergency leave and flew back to El Paso for "reintegration training." Pretty much it consisted of redeployment physicals and medical assessments, followed by the classic "don't shoot your wife, blow all your money, drink yourself into a bottle, get in a fight, or make stupid decisions briefings." I stayed in the Geo-bachelor's quarters while waiting for my household goods to arrive (which took two weeks). Overall that whole experience sucked. I ended up in a musty old building in a dirty cheap-motel type room with no sheets, a poorly serviced evaporative cooler, and a shared bathroom. I got to the point where I decided to move into my house, furniture or not. I bought an air mattress and slept in my sleeping bag. To be honest it was more comfortable anyway. After reintegration, we were released to go on leave. I headed home, and I'm glad I did. It was great to go home, see my family, and just relax. I came home with no plans at all, and just kinda let things fall into place. I got to spend time with mom and dad, went to the Wyndham golf tournament, went to a nascar race with a good friend for his bachelor party, ate a lot of good food and just spent some time recharging my batteries. The drive back to El Paso was a bear. I drove out to Dahlonega first to visit some friends from college and spend a little time in the mountains. The next day I drove out to Valdosta to see my sister. I wish I could have stayed and visited longer, but I had a long way to go, especially with my puppy in the car. I spent the next two days driving as far as I could (or at least as far as Jackson would let me go.) I spent a night in Sulphur, just outside of Lake Charles. The next day I drove the rest of the way into El Paso, after almost running out of gas and driving until 11 at night. I didn't want to spend another night in the hotel if I was going to be less than a hundred miles away from the house. Believe it or not Jackson did very well on the trip. I had gotten a sedative for him, but ended up not having to use it at all. He slept most of the way. It was better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have. Jackson is growing like a weed, and mom and dad took great care of him while I couldn't be there. Jackson is a great puppy, he gets on my nerves sometimes but I still love him. Its like having a toddler, except I can't take him with me everywhere with me. So far he's learned to open drawers, open cabinets with safety locks, unzip my couch cushions and strew the innards all over the house, and "sit". We're still working on "stay", as well as other fun commands such as "don't chew on rocks," "don't chew on cords," "don't chew on chairs," "don't chew on the couch," "don't chew on furniture," "don't chew on the remote," "don't bite," and bringing the toy back after I throw it. He'll chase it all day, but once he bites it, he's not bringing it back. We had a little scare the other day, I bought him a new bone at petsmart. It was one of the nylabone "healthy edibles." Thinking it would take him a few days to consume, I gave it to him and left him alone to work on some things in the house. The whole thing disappeared in seven minutes. It was unbelievable. When I caught him, he had the last bite in his mouth. I freaked out, contemplating a trip to the vet. Everything is ok though, he was sick for a couple days, and made a mess of the house but a steam cleaner and time has made everything better. He's learning though, and thats a good thing. Getting big fast though, he's up to 17 pounds now. I have a feeling he's gonna be big for his breed, even though he was one of the smaller puppies. I'm willing to bet he'll be closer to 50 than 40. I'm finally getting somewhere as far as moving into the new house now. I've got my kitchen stocked up, the furniture is in, I'm starting to hang pictures, and everything is starting to piece itself together. The yard is still in need of some major work, but Ill get to it eventually. It just needs a little TLC. Its great having a garage, lots of storage space and a safe place to park my truck at night. I like my new house, its big enough to be comfortable and still affordable. Lots more to do though, and I'm running out of days where I'll have the free time to do it. Feels good to get back in the kitchen and cook again, Last night was steak tips with a cocoa chile sauce and grilled peppers, plus mashed sweet potatoes. Tonight its smokehouse maple pork tenderloin and pierogies, plus a salad with homemade vinaigrette, chopped pecans and fresh crumbled blue cheese. Its good to be back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another day, another 75 cents

Winding down here in Iraq, a little more than a month to go. I'm just glad its over. Finally got finished ripping with the new guys for the STT, now its back to the motorpool for something that remotely resembles logistics. Also, I've been appointed as the investigating officer for a property loss, so that should keep me busy for at least a week. I find myself spending my evenings thinking about redeployment back to the states. The foods, the smells, the comforts of home... I can't wait. Looks like I'm going to be able to take a few days when I get home for a little time with the family! Somewhere in mid-August I'll fly in to NC, stay for a while, and then drive back to Texas. Should be fun and exciting... got a long list of things to do! I'm horrible at posting on this thing as often as I should. Maybe I'll get better eventually? All for now, early day tomorrow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

eat, sleep, work, repeat

Well, a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Sorry I haven't updated but I've been very busy. I try to call home on skype as often as possible but with my current schedule I seem to only get about ten minutes at a time. The job I'm doing is very taxing, and I find myself more and more tired. The paperwork is more tiring than the physical aspect. My workout schedule is shreds, I haven't had the time to get in a rhythm, so I guess it will have to wait until I get back to El Paso. Until then I'll do what I can. The days melt together like gummy bears in the microwave. Not sure how to separate them. I know one day a week is maintenance, and after that we should have the rest of the day off. My guys get a little rest, but the rest of the day for me is spent in meetings and briefings. Part of the job I guess. There's been some long days and nights here lately. In other news, I put down a deposit for a rental house in El Paso yesterday, its very nice and close to where I work. I think I'll enjoy staying there. It will be great to have somewhere to go when I return, rather than a hotel or my buddy's garage. Also got myself put on a waiting list for a German Pinscher puppy. I'm looking forward to having a puppy around the house, it'll be fun. I'm about ready for a vacation. I need to get some real food, have some real fun, and get some real rest. I can't wait to get out of here. I've got a lot of plans for when I get home, a lot of big changes.I'm really looking forward to getting home. If I could hurry it along, believe me I would.