Double Date

This is the 2nd time I am writing this, so it is much shorter then it originally was.

Katie came down this weekend. She did the surprise drop in thing. We had talked about her coming down this last weekend earlier, but she didn’t have a car. She bought an old van, but isn’t comfortable driving it that far yet (if ever, I guess it is really tired). She ended up deciding that she wasn’t coming down at the begining of the week. Well midweek, her brother (thanks Todd) lent her his truck and she kept it a secret.

She shows up at 5:15 or so at my place and I am not home. Her cell is broke, so she goes to the CVS and calls from the pay phone. I don’t answer unknown numbers (so send me your number if you want me to pick up your call – the new phone has 31 numbers in it thus far), but when it rang for the 4th time I answered it. I was at a bar. Ooohps. I go home and pick Katie up, and go back to the bar. She met some of the peeps from work. We had a workshop that day and a bunch of the office went to this new bar down the street.

I gave Keara a call, and re-scheduled the double date I cancelled earlier in the week. We went to Taverna Opa’s for dinner. There was a toga party that night. Odd…

Keara and her new boyfriend Dan. She is as taken by him as I am by Katie. Funny how Keara and I both found such wonderful people at the same time! The race is on…
Katie really doesn’t like this photo. I don’t know why, I think she is cute! We where waiting for breakfast at the Egg & You Diner by where I live in Fort Lauderdale. She had the Steak and Eggs and Pancakes and I had Biscuits and Gravy. Posted by Picasa

Another Cool Gadget

All right, you should know me by now. I love cool stuff. I stumbled across an item at Walmart (I should really quit going there, it’s getting expensive) that I just had to have. In fact, I left it there, told my mom about it on the phone after I got home, and decided that I needed to go get it, and drove back to Walmart to get it that same night.

What is this miraculous new invention? It is a Brinkmann Portable Oven. Yes, a small, propane oven. It is soooo cute!
Brinkmann Portable Propane Oven
Here are some of the reasons I got the oven:

  1. I wanted it – the best reason of all
  2. It was only about $55
  3. It will be a lot of fun camping
  4. It will be a lot of fun during hurricane season
    1. While everyone else is complaining about eating saltines again, I can tell them about the fresh bread and muffins that I was enjoying fresh out of the oven just that morning!
  5. It is just darn cool!

The Little Oven That Could

The box says that it can bake at 400 degrees for 4 hours on a single small propane cylinder. It even came with a free cookie sheet, which is a good thing, because this oven is really small. The pan that came with it basically fills the oven with it’s imposing 9 inch square bulk.

I had asked my mom what kind of pans did she think would work better, glass or metal. I was thinking glass because you can’t scratch the Teflon off of it. My mom said metal so I didn’t have to worry about breaking it while I was camping. I did one better. I got those new silicone pans. Here are the reasons I got the silicone pans:

  1. They won’t break when I drop them
  2. They won’t scratch
  3. They fold and flex and make it easier to pack
  4. They will fit in the oven even if they don’t fit – just push hard, they will fit!
  5. They are just cool in their own right

The set came with the following pieces:

  • Round Cake Pan
  • Muffin Pan
  • Bread Pan
  • Spoon/Spatula – it works well enough to pop cookies off of a cookie sheet
  • A pot holder/gripper – pretty handy, and it has a little magnet in it so it will stick to metal stuff

I bought the oven Sunday night, and it was too late to be able to play with it more then to unpack it and put the pieces together. Last night I was out getting my haircut, so I couldn’t play with it last night. Tonight… Tonight was the night. I went to Publix and got a bunch of assorted bread, muffin, and biscuit mixes that say ‘just add water’ on the box. I stopped at target, and got the silicone pan set I had scoped out on my way to Publix. I also bought the biggest tube of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough Target had.

Lessons Learned

I got the oven going right around dusk. It took a few minutes to get up to temperature on the high setting. Maybe 20 minutes or so? I had enough time to wash the pans and get stuff unpacked and so forth.

I put 4 cookies into the metal pan that came with the oven and stuck them in for the 10 minutes that the directions called for on the low setting, the thermometer reading a perfect 350 degrees. 15 minutes later, they came off and when I tried them they still weren’t quite done.

Cookies in a muffin pan?

I put the muffin tin I had prepped with cookies onto the top rack. I made smaller cookies for the 2nd pan of cookies. The oven was reading about 400 degrees at this point. The 2nd pan of cookies turned out much better. The muffin tin on the top rack wasn’t even close to done. So I turned it back on high, and set the 3rd pan of cookies into the oven. 10 minutes later I started to smell something funny. The photo below says it all.

Burnt Cookies

The oven had worked itself up to around 450 degrees. I am thinking that given time and a calm day, this little oven might hit 500 if you let it.

Future Plans

Some of the thoughts I had for this oven include:

  • Fresh bread when your camping
  • Fresh cookies at a tailgate party
  • Maybe fill a tuna can with wood chips and make a small smoker out of it if baking a chicken or something in it
  • If kids are with, those personal sized pizzas would fit perfect in the oven, and the fussiest of eaters would be happy
  • Fresh muffins to go with your morning coffee in the morning. You could probably put the coffee pot on top to keep warm while baking the muffins.
  • If camping with a larger group, if you warm it up, and then shut it off, you could use it to keep some food warm while the rest of the food is cooking.

*This blog post is a little different for a couple of reasons. All the photos where taken with my new cellphone camera. I wrote and published this post from the new Google Docs (formally Docs couldn’t post to blogger for some reason, so I copied and pasted it into Picassa. This document is publicly viewable at:
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Katie’s Family on Vacation

I went up to Clearwater Florida this last weekend. Katie and her family had their annual vacation. They rent a condo on the beach for a week.

I was sick most of the weekend. What a bummer! Katie went out and got a thermometor at Walgreens and I had a temp of 100.7 at one point. Katie thinks it was higher then that before she got it. How miserable! Drive all the way up there, and I couldn’t even enjoy myself. I wasn’t well enough to drive home Sunday night. I missed work on Monday. I managed to drag myself home Monday afternoon.

What all did we do. In no particular order… I spent half the time sleeping. We did a little shopping. You should try wandering around Walmart when you can hardly stand up. It’s is a lot of fun all those people bumping and jostling. We ended up sitting outside for about 20 minutes before I could make it to the car. Katie drove us home. We got caught in road construction and sat in the heat for a full half an hour! I was watching the clock. Sunday I was feeling better in the morning so we went swimming. I tried dunking her brother Andy. I didn’t do very well at that, but he had a hard time dunking me too, so I feel a little better about myself. I got sunburnt. I think I over exerted myself, because after lunch I started to get ill again. Uhm, we went to the mall. We went to John’s Pass, Katie bought me a really cool wolf scene hand made candle. Uhm, Katie and I went for a walk on the beach.

That is about all I can remember at twenty to tomarrow.

Katie and 2 of her neices Amber and Kayla.<= Katie and 2 of her neices Amber and Kayla. Katie and her Mom.Katie and her Mom. =>

Brother Todd, Sister Angela, Neices Kayla and Brianna futzing with a photo booth after lunch at the mall.<= Brother Todd, Sister Angela, Neices Kayla and Brianna futzing with a photo booth after lunch at the mall. Some of her family playing in the pool.Some of her family playing in the pool. =>