Here is where I’ll be adding posts of interest to those of us in the Medicare generation. Or at least old enough to receive all kinds of cool senior discounts. ;)
First, a little CYA… :) About the Candy Crush Saga styled graphics I’ve made and posted to various areas of this blog: The original game elements of Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga that I use were designed by King.com, the developers of these and other games. The fonts used, “Banana Split” or “Candice,” can be found on most font sites on the web.
“Sugarcrush Graphics” is a little project of mine, strictly for fun and love of the Candy Crush games, and because the game elements are so cool. It’s not a business. I do not sell my graphic pieces, nor is money made from this project in any way. I occasionally take screen captures of my actual gameplay to use as examples in game posts, or to use parts of in graphic art. Most of the art I make is for birthdays, holidays, special occasions, and for friends or other Candy Crushers who request a graphic for their blogs, websites other specific purpose. The fonts are beautiful and the game elements are versatile enough to use outside the gaming environment too…they’re colorful and make great art for children or for any event where you want to create a positive and cheerful atmosphere.
People have asked if they can use my graphics in other areas like in Facebook or Twitter posts. Of course you can! Feel free to use them for e-mail greetings or in social media posts. All I ask is that if you share any of these pieces, that you share it “as is” and don’t alter it in any way or claim it as your own creation. Bloggers: you may use them in your posts, but I’d appreciate a link back to here from your site. Thank you.
Listed here are some Candy Crush games-related links I’ve found to be most helpful for game guides, general information, and purchasing items. These are long-established working links. If you can recommend any more not in this list, feel free to comment below. Please *DO NOT* post links to game hack or cheat sites, they will be deleted! If you host a Candy Crush blog site which doesn’t support cheats or hacks, please comment and let us know! :)
Candy Crush Saga All Help is a comprehensive website for all aspects of the original CCS game. You can find walkthrough videos for all levels, tips, and descriptions of the game’s features. Also, if you’re having trouble with the games on a PC or your mobile device, there are many problem solutions here as well.
Candy Crush Dreamworld All Help is a part of the regular All Help site shown above, but is focused on the Dreamworld aspect of the game.
Candy Crush Soda Saga All Help is a comprehensive website for all aspects of this game. You can find guides for all levels, tips, and descriptions of the game’s features.
Candy Crush Saga Wiki is a comprehensive news and info website about the reality and Dreamworld sides of CCS, which anyone can edit.
Candy Crush Soda Saga Wiki is comprehensive news and info website about this game, which anyone can edit.
Pete Peppers’ guide to Candy Crush Soda Saga.
Candy Crush games and other King games you can try out online. You may need to set up an account at King’s site or already have a Facebook account to play them online.
This is King’s forum for troubleshooting their games, reporting glitches or getting help with a game’s behavior on mobile devices or the Facebook platform. You can choose a game from the dropdown list and read other’s posts, but you need to establish an account there to actively participate.
King’s official store where you can buy Candy Crush items such as candies, clothing, accessories and other gifts.
You can also search Amazon, eBay, and Etsy for CCS-related goods as well.
These and other King games can be downloaded to your mobile device from Google Play Store and iTunes.
As I prepare to move into a senior independent living facility in mid-September, I’ve given a lot of thought about how my life will change. Will it be drastic? Yes, but hopefully in a good way. And very different from living in and maintaining one’s own home. And at my age and with growing health issues, it’s time. It’s something most people put off thinking about for years but eventually have to deal with for a loved one or themselves, so we might as well be realistic and hit the ground running. If you or a loved one must consider such a change, read on…
I looked into several places and after weighing the logistic and financial pros and cons of each, chose a facility that offers transitioning into further stages of specialized care when the time comes to need them. It’s located in an area I’ve been familiar with for years, close to my doctors and to people I know, and to places I frequently shop. And it has an excellent reputation for continuum care. This will be my “forever home” once I move in. It also has activities for residents on-premises, as well as outings to area stores, museums, theatre and opera, restaurants and other places of interest. Yep, I’m gonna be one of those you’ll probably see getting on and off a bus full of old people…lol!
Some ways I know my daily life will change…first of all, I’ll rarely be cooking. Most of my meals are part of the package, so cooking a lot of the dishes I’ve blogged about in the “Food” section will be out of the picture. That I will miss, because I love to cook. But I can still make wonderful salads for lunch, and specialty omelettes for the two mornings per week that breakfast isn’t included. The kitchen is sooooo TINY with very little counter/prep space and not very many cabinets, so that severely limits how I can cook, as compared to my house which has lots of counter space and cabinets for all kinds of specialty cooking pots and pans.
Because I’m moving from a 1270 square foot house to a 700 square foot apartment unit, I’ve done some serious downsizing. Most of my kitchen items are gone except for what will fit in the cabinets (at least I hope they will), as is a good portion of my furniture. You never really know how much stuff you own until you have to move it or are forced to downsize, then you realize just how important a lot of your stuff WASN’T. Keep what you know you really need to live with. Sell and/or donate the rest of it. If you haven’t used it or even looked at it in the last two years, or forgot you even had it, you don’t need it. Those home-organizing or house-hunting shows on HGTV or programs like “Tiny House Nation” can give you a lot of great tips and ideas if you’re moving from a larger home into a much smaller space.
The facility has a small but decent fitness room with a treadmill and other machines I’d use, as well as on-premise walking trails outdoors, so I can dump my gym membership. Hopefully I’ll lose a few pounds. But I don’t know…the food at the place is kosher, and it’s good, and there’s a lot of it…so the jury’s still out on that one. ;)
There are also religious services, discussion groups and sing-alongs held weekly on-premises by local rabbis, which beats having to go out in the middle of winter. So whether you’re very religious or only mildly, there’s something available in-house.
I’ll have buttons over my bed. One to push in case of emergency (there’s one in the bathroom too), and another I have to push every morning when I wake up to let them know I’m alive. That will take some getting used to, but it’s nice to know help is there if you need it and someone is watching out for you…that’s more than I have now living alone in my house. And the bathroom has a walk-in shower and grab bars. Safety features are nice to have whether you need them or not.
Another benefit of my living in a facility like this is that my family doesn’t have to worry about me being alone. My family members are getting fewer and farther between, and those living near me won’t have to rush anytime I need something or they can move out of the area (like retire to a warmer climate) knowing that I’m safe and being monitored daily, and help is close by. Peace of mind for both them and me.
Although I’ll be making new friends among the residents (a few I already know and I met some new ones and had lunch with them when I went there to take measurements at the apartment) and engaging in on-premise activities with them, there are still things that I like and want to continue doing…
…like this blog.
…like I want to see the upcoming new Star Wars movie and hope to live to see any subsequent ones George Lucas plans on making. Let’s hope he lives that long too. And BTW, it would be cool if this aging Star Wars fan had one of these:
…and studies have shown that video games, and puzzles like crosswords and sudoku help maintain cognitive brain function in older people, so I’m gonna keep on playing Candy Crush Saga until King.com decides to retire the game! :D :D
Some words of encouragement:
Only the good die young. As for me, I plan to outlive everyone I’ve ever driven nuts. That is, if I’m not murdered at the age of 105 by some hot 90-year-old’s jealous wife. ;)
But there are some things we should always keep with us as we age:
— The music. Never forget the music you know and love. Always take your music with you. CNN did a news segment recently on Alzheimers patients, which showed that subjecting them to familiar music helped them recall more of their memories.
— Your sense of humor. If you’ve got that, you can face any situation and deal with it less stressfully. And speaking of which, here’s some I found about getting older. :)
..Death is the number 1 killer in the world.
..Life is sexually transmitted.
..Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
..Men have two emotions: hungry and horny, and they can’t tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.
..Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
..Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.
..All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
..In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.
.. Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.
..Don’t worry about old age; it doesn’t last that long.
Age well and happy, my friends!
Now that all the farmers’ markets locally are offering more vegetables and fewer flowers, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping for wonderful locally-grown produce. Over the weekend I saw one of our town farm stands offering a strange-looking green stalky vegetable called garlic scapes. At first, I thought they were scallions. The vendor told me it was a variety of garlic in a young stage, but you can use them in the same way you’d use garlic or scallions. He suggested that I cut the buds off and throw them out, and only use the stalks. Here is what they look like:
So I bought a bunch and took them home. ^^^ I cut off the light-colored bulbous buds with the “tail” attached and discarded them. I cut off a tiny piece of the stalk and tasted it. It tasted somewhere between a sweet garlic and a VERY strong scallion. Then I looked at them and thought “OK, now what?” Well, I fired up my trusty Google and found an article online by Bon Appetit which suggested 10 ways to use garlic scapes. (Thank you, Bon Appetit!) If you want to read the article, here’s the link:
Some great ideas there, but there’s one more way that wasn’t mentioned…MY WAY! :) Which was washing the stalks, cutting them into approximately 2″ pieces, and spreading them in a roasting pan along with meat and other vegetables. Because garlic scapes were new to me, I only used a few just to see whether or not I’d like them. In this case, the dish was a Cornish game hen cut in half, yellow squash and Zucchini squash cut lengthwise. I roasted the dish as I normally would roast chicken. I also plan to try them with other meats, like pot roast, pork roast, or other poultry.
The garlic scapes softened during the roasting process and besides taking on the flavor of the food they cooked with, they lost most of the harshness they had when raw, and tasted a lot sweeter. They were wonderful! I’m definitely buying these again, but apparently the season is limited because they’re harvested while they’re young, before they mature into full-blown hard-neck garlic.
If you like onions and garlic in your food, especially if they pack a punch, you’ll probably love any recipe where garlic scapes are used raw. They’d probably be great in an Asian stir-fry too. But if you love the sweetness of roasted garlic or onions, definitely try garlic scapes instead…you’ll get the best tastes of both. Delicious! :)
A great article, worth a reblog! Thanks go out to Julie at “The Flexi Foodie” blog.
Originally posted on The Flexi Foodie:
Food is one of the most enduring and consistent parts of our lives – and the old adage “You are what you eat” has never been truer, especially for seniors looking to improve their diets and their bodies.
As we get older, there’s a certain tendency to wonder if healthy eating still matters – after all, we may not have long to experience any effects, right? That’s true, but our daily nutrition still has a major impact on how well our body functions. Today, we’re going to look at a collection of fantastic superfoods for seniors that could help reduce the chances of certain medical issues.
How To Make A Super Meal
Before that, though, we need to know how to make a great meal. Blueberries are fantastic for getting dietary fiber and antioxidants, but a meal consisting of nothing but these tiny blue marvels wouldn’t be a good idea…
View original 561 more words
With last Wednesday’s release of Candy Crush Saga’s latest episode “Caramel Keep,” a milestone is achieved: level 1000. A special Millennium playing screen for this level was created to celebrate the occasion.
The goal is to remove (i.e., collect) 1000 green, 1000 blue and 1000 orange candies from the board in 30 moves. As soon as you open the board, all those green candies start matching and exploding, as do the cascade of candies that follow so that it’s relatively easy to start collecting such a large candy order. There are plenty of opportunities to make the special striped and wrapped candies and color bombs, and most of the time the cascading candies will make them for you, so there’s a cavalcade of explosions going on all over the board. Level 1000 is fun to watch as well as fun to play!
Hope you don’t mind if I blow my own horn here, but I completed level 1000. GO ME! :) I blocked out mine and other players’ identities in this screenshot, but anyone who plays CCS on Facebook knows that the blue-numbered score on the list is always yourself. I have since gone on and completed the episode, which ends at level 1010.
I don’t know how long King plans to keep CCS in their active repertoire of “Saga” games, but if they don’t retire the game (i.e., due to lack of profitability), I hope to be around to complete level 2000. Till then I’ll keep crushin’ on and on and on….! ;)
Candy Crush Games, Candy Crush merchants, Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, CCS, clothing designs, coasters, coffee mug, games, gaming, gifts, mousepads, pillow case, plushie, socks, t-shirts, toys
Since I blogged a CCS gift idea post last September, I’ve accumulated more game-related merchandise. Most of it consists of useful items, the rest of it is just plain fun. My home was once decorated in a Classic Star Wars motif, now it’s the new style Modern Candy Crush. :) So here goes Round 2…
These 3-1/2″ square coasters and 8×9″ mousepads were found on Amazon through the merchant The Image Shark. The owner’s name is Bobi, she does high quality work and can even make a custom item. I’ll definitely be contacting her again. She originally offered the coasters, and after I got them and e-mailed her about mousepads, she said she could make them and offered them on Amazon the very next day. What I like about the coasters is, like the mousepads, they are made of neoprene with some traction on the bottom, so they won’t slide around on your table, nor will they rip like paper coasters or break like ceramic or glass ones. They’ll probably last longer than I will, lol! I gave two of the coasters and a mousepad to my sister and a friend of hers, and they love and use them!
Here are some more items I got through Amazon via the seller Toynk.com. These same items can also be purchased through King’s official Candy Crush store online. First off, these socks. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and just plain COOL.
These stuffed bears and plushie really brighten up my living room. Squeeze the plushie and you get a sound byte. There are several different plushies in various shapes and colors, but of course I had to get the one that says “Sugar Crush!” ;)
This queen-size zipper pillow case was on Amazon from the seller “somrds.” It’s very well made, feels like a heavyweight satin material, and it washed and dried beautifully with no wrinkling. The same image is on both sides. The design is bright and bold, and will bring cheer to any bedroom or sofa pillow for your living room.
King featured this 11-ounce coffee mug and chocolate egg item a couple months before Easter. It’s no longer available on their CCS store online or Amazon.com, but they still make many other styles of coffee mugs you can buy. And the hollow chocolate eggs were TASTY! SWEET! DELICIOUS! And lastly, DIVINE! :D
Last but not least, a t-shirt for Candy Crush Soda Saga players. I bought it on Amazon via the seller Haishen Co., Ltd. This shirt comes in different colors with the CC Soda logo. It’s an excellent quality shirt in a cotton-poly blend, and it washed and dried nicely without shrinkage. They also make t-shirts and tank tops with the regular CCS logo in different styles for men and women.
A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT SPENDING MONEY ON CANDY CRUSH ITEMS: A lot of people buy CCS items like boosters, lives, gold bars, etc. through in-game popups or the Yeti Shop feature on the main map. It helps them pass tough levels they’re stuck on and/or progress through the game more quickly….but after all is said and done, what have they got to show for it, other than game progress? As for me, I’ve gotten through all 980 CCS levels (currently released as of this post) without spending one red cent in-game…the game itself is free and so are the boosters (through the Daily Wheel feature), tickets and lives if you’re willing to not be in so much of a hurry, and not too desperate to just keep trying until you pass the levels. Any $$$ I’ve spent on CCS has been on something tangible to show for it that won’t be long gone after the credit card bill is paid: household items I really use, clothes I really wear, or gifts for other candy crushers to enjoy. So for me, the game itself will always stay free and I’ll keep crushin’ on and on and on. :) But all that cool merchandise…well, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. ;)
The game developer King, which released Candy Crush Saga and others in their Saga series, has recently come out with a new game which is educational as well as fun…it’s called Alpha Betty Saga. If you like scrabble and word search puzzles, you’ll love this one.
The nice thing about it is that if your kids favor playing video games over running around outside to play, this is the one you’d hope they get into. It’s not only cute with adorable characters and pleasant sounds, but unlike other match-3 games with candies to crush, vegetables to pick or animals to rescue, Alpha Betty Saga will give your kids something to show for it. They’ll be looking for words, learning new ones and building a vocabulary. And for adults, it’s wonderful brain candy with some very challenging aspects.
Here are the basics. The game takes place in the 1930’s, with mouse characters Professor Alpha, his granddaughter Betty and his assistant Barney. They are on a worldwide quest to collect words to compile into an Encyclopedia of Everything.
There are different types of playing levels, each with their own objective to be completed in a specified number of moves. Each level is a board of tiles which have letters and small numbers on them, similar to scrabble. Some ask to find a certain number of 3-letter, 4-letter, or 5-letter words….those are fairly easy. Others have additional tasks. On this screen for level 16, you must bring 6 pieces of cheese down to the bottom of the board by making words with the tiles underneath them.
You choose words in the game by clicking the first letter of the word, holding the button down and dragging your mouse over the letters, and release the mouse after you’ve chosen the last letter of the word. On a touch screen, swipe your finger over the letters. Words can go across a horizontal row either forwards or backwards, up or down a vertical column, diagonally, around in a circle, or a combination of any of the directions, as long as the tiles touch along the way and a tile is not used twice in the same word. Here are a few I found – “sun,” “tea” and “shot,” which I’ve circled in purple. And I can still see more. Can you? :)
Notice the blank tile at the bottom of the board. It’s a wild card to use however you want in a word. You could use the vertical “S,A,blank tile” to make a word because there are legitimate words like “sat” and “say.” As you clear tiles on a board by making words, those still on the board will move down and more new tiles will cascade down from the top of the board for you to use.
Tiles colored differently from the tan ones will give you extra points or do something else special in your favor if you use them, like remove a whole column of tiles to bring a piece of cheese to the bottom. And the longer the word you make, you’ll get an exclamation with a sound byte of how well you’ve done (similar to “divine” or “sweet” in Candy Crush) and earn more points. Here’s what I got for a 6-letter word:
And for an 8-letter word, I got this:
There’s also a “Brainiac” exclamation, but you probably need to find a very long word for that one.
When you complete a level, you get this (similar to “Sugar Crush!” screen in CCS), before you get the final confirmation screen showing points and bonuses earned by passing that level:
In another type of level, you have to use all the letters with bubbles over them within a specified number of moves. Here is a screen for level 17, where your objective is to clear 49 bubbles in 21 moves:
Already I see the 7-letter word “empires” along with the more obvious smaller ones. Can you find more?
Will I stay on top of this game as I do Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga? Probably not, but as I have with others in King’s saga games, I’ve played a few levels of each to get the feel of the games. Each has its unique appeal, but Alpha Betty Saga is impressive and a definite winner. Some of my hard core Crusher friends have really gotten into this game big time!
This game can be played online from a computer or on a mobile device, and is available in many languages.
“The beginning of a cheese-tastic adventure awaits. So gouda luck!” ;)
While searching the net to find good recipes for roasting turkey drumsticks, I found they all called for adding four basic ingredients: salt, pepper, butter and water. I’d never used butter before in turkey roasting so I figured OK, I’ll give it a shot. (Kosher alternative to butter: use your favorite plain or herb-infused olive oil.)
I took two very meaty turkey drumsticks, total weight 2.21 pounds, put them in a roasting pan and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.
Now to prep while the oven preheats. The next step is to coat the outside of the legs and inside the skin as far as you can go with butter (or olive oil). But instead of regular butter, I used Land O’Lakes Spreadable Honey Butter….it’s soft and easy to work with, just dig your hand into it and start coating. Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly (safety first!) before you dig into the butter tub a second time, especially if you use that butter for other things like spreading on toast. I also put a few small pieces of the butter on the bottom of the pan to lend the juice some flavor. Then I seasoned the meat on all sides with sea salt and pepper, and added 8 ounces of water to the pan. You can substitute chicken broth for the water, but since I had no more leftover homemade chicken stock, I used water and it worked just fine.
When the oven reached 350 degrees, I covered the pan with foil and roasted the meat for 40 minutes. After that, I removed the pan from the oven, turned the drumsticks over with tongs, then added some broccoli, cauliflower and baby carrots. I seasoned those with a little sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder. (This would be the time to add more water or broth if needed.)
Then I re-covered the pan with foil, and back into the oven it went. After another 40 minutes, I removed the pan, took the foil cover off, basted the meat and veggies with the juices, then roasted everything uncovered for about 18 minutes.
Total time in the oven: 98 minutes (40/40/18). Turkey legs made this way should be roasted for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours, maybe 2 hours if they’re much larger or you’re making more than two in the pan. 50/50/20 would probably work OK for that. Alternatively, if you want to roast it covered the whole time, just take the pan out halfway through, turn the meat over and baste the veggies and meat with juice (adding more liquid as needed), then cover and return to the oven.
After the uncovered roasting time, I removed the pan, tented it with the foil cover I’d removed before, and let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes so the juices within the meat would redistribute and the veggies wouldn’t dry out. Then, dinner was ready to plate!
The result was phenomenal. The meat was moist and delicious, and the veggies were tender without being mushy and took on a nice flavor. Using honey butter instead of regular butter didn’t make the dish taste sweet. It was still savory, but with just a subtle hint of the honey to give the dish something unique, but pleasant. And it’s a healthy, satisfying dish for those who are cutting out carbs.
I would definitely make this dish again, but try using olive oil. There are some wonderful infused olive oils on the market as well as my old standby extra-virgin olive oil. Also, I use sesame oil quite frequently in cooking as it gives a dish an Asian flavor…that’s also on my must-try list for this dish. If you decide to try this recipe, please let me know how it worked for you!
Turkey. It’s not just for Thanksgiving any more. ;)
With the advent of the seventh Star Wars movie coming out in December 2015, it got me thinking…I’ve been blogging off and on since October 2013 and have yet to post anything about Star Wars! After all, it is in the URL for this place, right? ;)
I love science fiction movies and novels, and I’d have to say that Star Wars is my all-time favorite in this genre. Everyone who has been following this epic has many wonderful memories and stories to tell. So here are a few of mine…
When I first heard of this movie in 1977, being hyped then as a space opera, I must have taken the term literally and thought it was going to be hokey. I’d never been an opera fan and found out soon enough it wasn’t a real opera as I might have expected. What I’d read about the movie wasn’t all that impressive at first. But in early summer 1977 I went out of town to stay with some friends for the weekend. One night about 10 of us were out and someone mentioned seeing Star Wars, most had seen it before and I never had nor did I want to. They practically dragged me kicking and screaming into the theatre. I figured OK, I’m outnumbered and I wasn’t about to sit in the car by myself for two hours that late at night, and I certainly didn’t want to be a party-pooper. So I bit the bullet and sat through the movie. WOW. The story, the realistic special effects and The Force. I loved it! And I wanted to go right back in and watch it again. This time, they had to drag me kicking and screaming OUT of the theatre.
I was never the same afterwards. That summer, I saw it 28 times in my local movie house, with friends of mine who also loved it or with someone who *I* had to drag kicking and screaming to see it. I was captivated by Darth Vader. That imposing presence and oh, that VOICE. Posters and other Star Wars goodies adorned my apartment, and John Williams’ soundtrack could probably be heard through the halls of my building at any given time. I even had a bar of Darth Vader soap that came in a green box. And who didn’t have this iconic Darth Vader poster from 1977:
(This photo was courtesy of the internet, as my original of this poster eventually got ripped and folded and mangled many years ago.)
Being a longtime comic book fan and one-time collector, I still have the original 1977 collectible oversized 10″x13″ 2-comic Marvel set based on the movie. In the normal sized comics, the movie constituted the first 6 issues of Marvel’s “Star Wars” comic series. I keep the 2-comic set in plastic and it’s still in good shape (and no, they’re NOT for sale so don’t ask):
Since then, I’ve also gotten into the Star Wars expanded universe through the comics and the novels. I have most of those in digital comic or e-book format now.
Another collectible I’ve kept is the first edition paperback novel by George Lucas from 1976. This is the original pre-movie novel, not the silver one with movie still inserts that came out after the movie was released. That’s protected in plastic too (also not for sale. Sorry.).
Another collectible must-have for the avid Star Wars fan is the coffee-table-sized compendium “Star Wars Chronicles.” This book is massive, and the current prices for this on Amazon and eBay are outrageous. Mine is the original 1997 edition, which retailed for around $100-$120 at the time but I found it on clearance for $75. This book was published again in 2005.
And let’s not forget the humor. TV programs and talk shows parodied the movie. There was even a short film, made as a trailer for a movie called “Hardware Wars,” which became immensely popular. The movie was also spoofed in newspaper comics and magazine covers. Then there was that godawful holiday special TV show from 1978. Now here’s a fun artwork piece I have that a friend of mine gave me for my birthday in 1980, called “May this farce be with you”:
Also, I have a few cool Star Wars goodies around the house…like a cube with movable sections and a 6-foot stormtrooper standup:
I’ve loved all the Star Wars movies over the years, and have seen them many times both in theatres and at home on VHS tape or now on DVD. Of the original trilogy I thought the middle one “The Empire Strikes Back” was the strongest and most entertaining of the three as a movie. “Return of the Jedi” had its good points but I found it the weakest of the three in both storyline and acting.
Of the prequels, I found “The Phantom Menace” entertaining although cute…who didn’t love little Anakin Skywalker, even though you knew what he’d grow up to be? The middle one, “Attack of the Clones,” one word: AWFUL. But this trilogy totally redeemed itself with “Revenge of the Sith,” clearly the best movie of the three and which perfectly set the backstory for how and why Anakin became Darth Vader.
So now I’m looking forward to the December 18 release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which takes place about 30 years after the end of the story in “Return of the Jedi.” It’ll be interesting to see how much of the expanded universe George Lucas accepts as canon for this movie. And if he does go ahead and make movies 8 and 9, like it’s been rumored for years of his planning a “sequel” trilogy, I hope to live to see them all.
Until then, may the Force be with you. :)
For everyone planning to go out on the town and celebrate on Amateur Night…oops, I mean New Year’s Eve…just wanted to wish you all a happy and safe one. If you plan to drink, please don’t drive. Get a designated driver or if you don’t and you’ve indulged in too much holiday cheer, call a taxicab or one of those services that will take you home (check out what’s available in your community or through your auto club beforehand, some may be free of charge). Or if you’re at someone’s home, ask if you can crash there until you’re safe to drive in the morning. And to those staying in, whether you’re hosting guests or planting yourself in front of the TV to watch the ball drop, have fun and enjoy the evening.
As we enter into 2015, let’s resolve to make the world a better place for everyone, be it on a large scale or locally in your community or for your loved ones. One small kindness can make a big difference to someone out there. And speaking of resolutions, it always seems that diets and weight loss after piling on that holiday poundage are at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolution list. Sometimes they work and often they don’t, at least in my case they never seem to. But in any case, out of all the diet suggestions available out there, how can you NOT love this one…. (heh-heh)
And for all the Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga game players out there, I did meet my goal of completing level 800 in CCS by the end of 2014. :) So my New Year’s wish to you is may you never fail to clear all the jelly and bring all the ingredients down to the bottom in 2015. And my New Year’s resolution is to keep on crushin’ and bloggin’! As for all that leftover candy from the holidays, especially if you have resolved to lose some weight, just grab the nearest hammer and crush it for real. ;)
So to all, a very happy and safe New Year’s holiday and a prosperous 2015!
I’d like to wish my fellow bloggers, followers and Candy Crush Saga players a joyous holiday to you and your loved ones. Peace on Earth and good will towards people everywhere, not just on Christmas but every day of the year. Lord knows, this world needs more kindness.
Enjoy your favorite foods of the season, whether you make your own recipes or enjoy others’ creativity. And ooh, those Christmas cookies…always yummy!
But whether you’ve been naughty or nice, I hope you’ll receive lots of goodies from Santa….especially CANDY! :D
And if you’re a Candy Crusher, I hope you’ll hit the Jackpot on the daily wheel for Christmas. Now there’s a great present… ;)
To all who are celebrating…Chag Sameach Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights!
Thought I’d share with you the dinner I made for the first night of the holidays. It’s not traditional brisket, but a nice chuck roast with carrots and onions. Normally my pot roasts include whole potatoes but since it’s Hanukkah, potato latkes are a must. There are tons of recipes for latkes on the web, my advice is to find one of your own if you don’t have your mother’s or your bubbe’s special recipe. Or you can use ready-made commercial products, some of those aren’t half bad. As for frying the latkes, you can use any cooking oil you want, although I find that frying them in peanut oil gives them a wonderful flavor.
As with many Jewish holidays, humorists say it all boils down to “They tried to kill us….we survived….let’s eat!” ;)
So have a Happy Hanukkah…or is that Chappy Chanukah? However you spell it, enjoy the holidays with friends, family and loved ones…that’s what’s important! :)
Taking your little boys and ghouls out trick-or-treating, making the party rounds, having people over or staying home by yourself watching monster flicks this Halloween?
Whatever you do, stay alert and look out for others as well as yourself. Little and big kids will be walking around out there in costumes or masks which may limit their peripheral vision, so drive slowly and safely Halloween night. And if you’re drinking, don’t drive. Make sure you have a designated driver to take you home or if you don’t and you’re at a friend’s, ask to crash on the couch until the next morning when you’re sober enough to drive. Otherwise, call a taxicab.
Go nightcrawling with a group. You never know who or what’s out there. No, I don’t mean vampires and werewolves, witches and goblins. They’re relatively harmless. :D I’m talking about those crazies who may really be out looking to cause harm to a child or anyone else walking alone…Halloween would be the perfect time for them, since they can wear a costume and blend in with everyone else in disguise.
Check yours and your kids’ trick-or-treat bag to make sure all those goodies are safe. Look for pinholes in candy wrappers, anything stuck into an apple or whatever else may look suspicious. Most people handing stuff out are good, but there could be a few sickos out there. If you happen to find anything harmful, you or your child try to remember who gave them what, hold onto the treat and call the police.
If you’re staying home alone curling up with some hot chocolate and horror flicks, don’t answer the door after you run out of candy or after 9pm. Turn your porch lights off. If you’re not giving out treats, don’t turn the outside lights on in the first place. And if you have a garage, make sure your car and your garbage cans are inside it. That’s usually when the mischief makers are out and about.
Whatever your level of alertness is on Halloween compared to other nights of the year, it should be appropriate for the neighborhood. Trick-or-treaters in my small-town neighborhood are out early while there’s still some daylight, and most are small children accompanied by an adult. And we don’t get a whole lot of them around town because the elementary schools host Halloween parties and haunted houses in safe environments where kids and parents can have more fun and probably score more candy and swag than they could beating shoe leather door-to-door.
Last but not least….if you’re a Candy Crush Saga player, don’t crush that REAL candy with a hammer to take out your frustrations because you’ve been stuck on the same level for a month. Eat and enjoy it. Yes, even the CHOCOLATE. ;)
Fall is a wonderful season for apples for eating or making pie, and drinking a glass of apple cider, and there’s no better time than now for using either or both of those in cooking as well. Pork pairs well with most apple products in any dish. Who doesn’t love pork chops with applesauce on the side? Or the current trend of putting bacon in everything (did someone say BACON?), including apple pie? Granny Smith apples are great for cooking when you want to give your dish a tart flavor. Romes are sweet and are good eating apples, but they’re also hard and dense enough to hold up when roasted with meat for 2 hours. Since I love to pair meat with fruit in roasting, I made a pork shoulder roast with Rome apples.
So here goes nuthin’… ;)
Pork shoulder roast weighing 3.94 lb., mostly boneless
4 Rome apples, each approximately 3-1/2″ in diameter
Buck’s Seasoning (25% reduced sodium) to taste
Black pepper to taste
Ground sage to taste
8 oz. liquid minimum (water and/or apple cider)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large roasting pan with foil (it helps to use the non-stick foil from Reynolds). Season the roast all over with sage, black pepper and the Buck’s Seasoning (or make your own mix; sea salt works nicely if you don’t use a seasoning mix), and place the roast in the middle of the pan. Cut the apples in half and core them. If you like apples and cinnamon, rub some cinnamon over the fleshy part of the apples, then place them flesh side down in the pan all around the meat.
Cover the pan with foil, and place roast in the preheated oven for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, remove pan from the oven and the foil cover from the pan. Here is what it will look like:
Baste the meat with juices from the bottom of the pan. There should be enough juice to baste the meat but if you want to add more, now would be a good time to add (more) apple cider, or water if you don’t have cider. Return the pan to the oven, and cook uncovered for another 35-45 minutes. (This was a thick roast. My rule of thumb for total in-oven cooking time for a pork shoulder roast like this is a minimum of 30 minutes per pound.)
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for at least another 15 minutes. It’s up to you if you want to tent the roast with foil while it cools. After the cooling period, the roast is ready to slice and serve. The meat will be tender, moist and flavorful. The apples will be soft, about the consistency of applesauce, and will take on some of the pork flavor.
OPTIONS: (1) If your roast is thinner or smaller than the one I used and will cook in less time, you can cut the cored apples into wedges instead of in half. (2) If you want the apples to come out less soft, don’t put them in the pan until after the 90-minute covered cook time, then cook the whole shebang uncovered for those last 35-45 minutes. (3) If you don’t eat pork, roast the apples with chicken or duck instead…poultry and fruit pair nicely too.
Eat and enjoy! :)
Monday October 20 saw King.com’s worldwide Facebook release of its latest match-3 game Candy Crush Soda Saga, the younger-sister sequel to its popular ongoing game Candy Crush Saga. It had already been on limited mobile release for several months in Europe; however the application package for android devices could be found on the web via a simple Google search. It can soon be installed on mobile devices through Google Play Store and iTunes. The current version of Candy Crush Soda Saga is v1.29.26 and has 135 levels.
I downloaded the android app package of Candy Crush Soda Saga about a month or so ago, and checked out the files stored within it. This game contains many of the original features, concepts and elements as original CCS, but is different enough from CCS as to hold your interest. The new sound effects are cool. And there are new voice exclamations, such as “Juicy” and “Sodalicious,” for example. As nice as the music is in CCS, the Soda Saga music is refreshing, soothing and less annoying when repeated than a couple of pieces in CCS that played over and over again.
The structuring of both games is also similar. You have levels within named episodes, and episodes within worlds. Candy Town is the name of the first episode in both games, but after that the names differ. You also get 5 lives at a time, and the in-game features for getting to the next episode and/or help from Facebook friends is similar.
The main characters are different in this game, although a few of the characters appear in both games. In CCS, the little girl was Tiffi and her dad Mr. Toffee introduced the tutorials and goals in each level. In Soda Saga, Tiffi is gone (although she’s mentioned by other characters in the cutscenes) and so is Mr. Toffee, and dark-haired Kimmi takes Tiffi’s place. Mr. Yeti is more prominent in this game than he was in CCS, as he now introduces the tutorials. Elephants and other cute characters show you the goal at the beginning of each level. What was the Yeti Shop in CCS is now the Soda Pop Shop for purchasing boosters and other items.
Most of the candies are the same, except with a few differences. A new diamond-shaped cyan candy is introduced. Besides the familiar dark chocolate in CCS, there is now a 2-layered white chocolate that looks scrumptious enough to eat, but with a catch: when the chocolate grows back, it can replicate the 2nd layer as well. There is a fish candy similar to the one in CCS, except it’s not a jellyfish…it will eliminate one obstacle of any type on the board to help you reach your goal; for example, it may remove one licorice cage covering a piece of candy, or it might remove one piece of chocolate. You can make a fish candy by matching 4 candies of the same color in a square. There are layered obstacles like cupcakes, bubblegum and honey squares, among others. The special candies from CCS like color bombs, striped and wrapped candies are present and do the same thing in both games. Now there is a new one called a coloring candy…match 7 of them in a t-form and it makes a candy which, when matched with any one around it, will turn a whole bunch of candies on the board into that color. Here is a progressive screenshot sequence of how to make a coloring candy and what happens when it is switched with a yellow candy on the board:
And the fish…make as many of these as you can. So far, I’ve found the fish candy can be your best friend in this game, especially when paired with a color bomb or a striped candy.
The levels are challenging as in CCS, but in a different way. A voice comes on to tell you what type of level you’ll be playing. There are 5 types of levels so far….
SODA LEVEL: Collect or “pop” one or more soda bottles They can be anywhere on the board. In this screen from level 114, there are 3 orange ones in licorice cages and a cyan one at the bottom right of the board. Since 11 are required to be collected in 30 moves, more bottles will drop down as you clear candies from the board.
FROSTING LEVEL: This is similar to a Jelly level in CCS, except that you’re breaking blocks of ice to release one or more green gummi bears trapped underneath. The bears may be partially or completely hidden, and may be of different sizes. In this screenshot from level 6, you can see parts of the 3 bears you need to release in 20 moves. Blocks of ice may be one or two layers.
BUBBLE LEVEL: In this type of level, you must save a pink bear trapped in a soda bubble at the bottom of the board. You must match candies and soda bottles above the bear, eventually floating the bear above the string of candies near the top to “save” the bears within the specified number of moves. In this screenshot from level 9, you must save 3 bears within 20 moves. This is similar to CCS’s Ingredients level, except in reverse…you’re moving from bottom to top in Soda Saga, and the second bear doesn’t appear until you’ve saved the first one. So far, I’ve found the Bubble level to be the most challenging type. In some of these levels, you may have more than one board as the bears float upward. It’s not as easy as it looks.
CHOCOLATE LEVEL: In these levels, you need to clear or “eat” all the chocolate on the board within a specified number of moves. The chocolate may be dark or white. Here are two screenshots of chocolate levels. The dark chocolate in level 31 can be cleared easily. The white chocolate in level 128 with the “C” are two-layered, remove the first “C” layer and it looks like the other flatter ones. All the white chocolate in this level are blocked by single- and double-layered honey squares.
HONEY LEVEL: In these levels, you have to break through layers of honey to save the bears. In this screenshot from level 105, you must save 7 bears in 45 moves.
:) :) And now for some GOOD NEWS! :) :) Unlike CCS, there are no timed levels, at least so far. Also, you don’t need to score a minimum number of points to complete a level. Your goal is only to fulfill the order (eat chocolate, free bears, etc.), and the number of points you get during level play is only to determine the number of stars you earn on completion of that level. This is a big improvement over CCS where you could fail a level, even though you fulfilled the required order (especially in Ingredients levels), because you didn’t get the minimum number of points needed to earn 1 star.
After you complete the goal of any level in Soda Saga, you get an exclamation over a bubbling screen of grape soda:
There are a few style and layout differences between the mobile and Facebook versions of Candy Crush Soda Saga. For example, when you complete a goal, the congratulations screens are different styles. The font used in the mobile version is a typewriter font on a pink background, and the Facebook version uses the candy-style font on a tan background. These differences are minor and don’t affect actual gameplay.
NOTE FOR MOBILE “STANDALONE” PLAYERS: Like with CCS, I started playing this as a standalone on my android phone, not connected to Facebook. When the game is installed, you get 50 free gold bars to use however you want in the game. After I completed level 45, which was the end of an episode, and clicked a graphic to progress further, a screen popped up with options to either use gold bars or connect to Facebook and ask friends to help me to unlock the next episode (compare to tickets in CCS). There was no option given for me to play mystery quests or an equivalent thereof in this game like there is in CCS, so if you want to continue playing past level 45 on your mobile device, you’re forced to connect to Facebook. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to set up a Facebook account specifically for playing CCS and Soda Saga. King has been slowly doing that lately with their games, steering players away from standalone play once they get to a certain point in the game.
I think even seasoned CCS players will like Soda Saga. It has a positive, fresh approach in its challenges, graphics and sound. As much as I love CCS and always will, this game looks to be way cooler in many aspects. :)
Dracula, Frankenstein, Ghostbusters, ghosts, ghouls, Halloween, movie marathons, mummies, October, scary books, TCM, Turner Classic Movies, Twilight Zone, vampires, werewolves, witches, Wolf Man, zombies
October. Halloween. Gotta love it. :) Again, we’re at the time of year when tons of TV stations air horror flicks, monster movies, Twilight Zone marathons and other ghastly thrillfests for your viewing pleasure. From frightful fare to creepy comedies, you’re bound to catch some of your favorites, old and new.
As for me, I’ve always been partial to the older classics from the 1930’s and 40’s like “Frankenstein,” “Dracula” “The Mummy” and “The Wolf Man”….and of course my favorite zombie apocalypse movie of all time, “Night of the Living Dead” from 1968. Turner Classic Movies is great every October with it’s variety of horror movies, and this year definitely won’t disappoint. Last year, TCM’s focus on Friday nights were movies about witches. This year’s specialty is ghost stories on Thursday nights. Here is their prime time lineup on Thursdays for the rest of October.
On October 16th….
Then on the 23rd…
Yet again on the 30th….
All leading up to the big day….Halloween. TCM will be showing horror movies all day long. It’s on a Friday this year, so if you don’t have party or other evening plans outside the home, this can be a perfect movie night for you, your family or with fellow horror fans. So order the pizza, make some popcorn, dip into your kids’ trick-or-treat bags and have plenty of coffee or hot chocolate on hand, and get ready to pull an all-nighter…
^^^ by day…
^^^…and by night.
Not doing the marathon on TCM? How about some corny but creepy movies from the 80’s? The series of “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” mainstream horror flicks are always fun. Or if you can catch them on TV or online, check out more obscure cult classics like “Eating Raoul” and “Basket Case,” both from 1982…corny but humorous. And then there’s always “Motel Hell” from 1980…now that’s scary.
Or sift through your DVD collection and find your favorite horror movies to curl up with. And you can always have lots of fun with these…
Or if you’re not big on TV, you can cozy up in your favorite comfy chair and read a good scary novel or collection of vampire stories. For that, I’d like to recommend “The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories” published in 1983…it contains some great late-19th/early-20th century stories, including the classic gothic novella “Carmilla.” How about old “Tales from the Crypt” comics or vintage Fangoria magazines? If you don’t have the original print copies, you can find digital versions online. Just don’t forget the hot chocolate. Or that glass of wine. ;)
Everyone have a fun and safe Halloween! :D
This little experiment of mine made it through its first year. :D
I’ve periodically posted product reviews on other sites and social media over the past several years, and one friend who also blogs and writes reviews suggested I start a blog of my own too. Also, with some encouragement from fellow Candy Crush Saga players on a gaming site and several other forums where I participate, this blog was born. It started out primarily for fellow CCS enthusiasts but soon took off on its own in several directions. Like for instance, another passion of mine…FOOD and cooking and recipes, for starters. I love food blogs and recipe websites from all over the world, and appreciate the time and effort that goes into them.
Many bloggers post regularly every day, but I post when I feel inspired. Which could be once every several weeks, or twice in one day. Whenever and wherever my muses take me, that’s what I share here with you.
So to all who are reading this, thank you for taking the time to drop by here. I appreciate your likes, comments on posts and feedback I’ve received this past year…and please keep ’em coming. And to fellow bloggers and those listed in “Blogs I Follow” or in “Links,” thank you for sharing creative ideas, recipes and the experiences that inspire you. Keep up the good work. I’ve learned much from you, and I hope you’ve learned something from me too! :)
If you’ve been playing Candy Crush Saga as a standalone game on your mobile device, meaning never connected to Facebook, you’re in for a big surprise if you haven’t already noticed by now. When you attempt to spin the Daily Booster Wheel, update the game or use other features, you get a pop-up that says you can’t “connect to Facebook” or “access the kingdom” or something to that effect. Or you may get something like this:
Since the late-August update of CCS, people have noticed they can’t do certain things, like earn boosters from the wheel or even access new levels unless they connect to Facebook. I’ve played this game as a standalone, either on an android emulator for PC or on my mobile device for well over a year until I reached level 680 (the end of an episode). I’ve always had Google Play Store set to automatically update the game as soon as King released a new version to them. But after completing 680 I couldn’t update any further, and soon found out I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t update their mobile versions of CCS.
It appears King is forcing standalone players who want to update the game to connect to Facebook in order to do it. Even those standalone players who do pay for items (see my blog post of September 12 in this section about playing for free) are being forced to connect if they still want to continue to spin the daily wheel or play beyond the levels already included in the version of the game on their devices. This is unfair to those players who don’t have or want a Facebook account, or to those who are connected to Facebook but don’t play online because they don’t want an app to spam their friends’ News Feeds or bug their friends for tickets and lives.
I originally got a Facebook account to connect with family and friends, especially those living far away, and fellow alumni for school reunions and events…not to play games. Being spammed with other users’ game posts in my News Feed bugged the hell out of me and still does. Finally, within about the last week or so, being the hard-core candy crusher that I am :) , I broke down and started playing on Facebook, but not the way that most people do. About 3 years ago, I had opened a test account on Facebook under another name, which I’d only use to occasionally check the security and accessibility of my regular account every time Facebook made changes to its security options or other features, since my regular account is set to “Friends Only”…I wanted to see what a public stranger on Facebook would see when searching me, in case the “View As” feature on my own account didn’t pick up on all my security settings. So I thought….why not use that test account for playing CCS, since I don’t use it for anything else?
I had no problem synchronizing the CCS progress already on my mobile device to the test Facebook account as a “new” player. Not only did it pick up that I had completed through level 680 at the time, but it gave me a ton of boosters and 50 gold bars to start me off, and I could now spin the daily booster wheel. I also made new CCS friends from all over the world who I figured were doing the same thing I was, using an account other than their regular one just for playing CCS (their profiles seem to prove that)…and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were originally standalone players like I was. Others you can tell are using their regular accounts for playing. The new friends are requesting lives, tickets or extra moves from me. The only thing I’ve requested so far are tickets as the game updates new episodes, and people send me them quickly. I don’t ask for lives because I don’t mind the wait…I’m not THAT addicted, lol! ;)
Actually, playing on Facebook isn’t that bad. I found out a few cool things I didn’t know by being strictly a standalone player. One is that if someone asks you for lives or tickets whether you have any or not, you can still give them one without losing anything. The game doesn’t penalize you for helping out others. The first time I noticed that is when I had 4 lives and I got a message requesting a life….I thought what the heck, I’ll send it. After I sent the life, I still had my 4 lives. The same held true with tickets. And the CCS friends aren’t intrusive into any other part of my life or profile except for a game request or a post that the CCS app itself makes. You help them, they help you, and otherwise remain anonymous.
Now for the REAL rant a lot of people are having. You can sync your mobile version of CCS to your Facebook account for the first time as a “new” user, but the problem lies as you progress through the game on Facebook: you can’t sync the other way around even when connected to Facebook on your phone or other device (or both, which is what tutorials suggest you do to properly sync). Those who were able to sync before find they can’t do it now, which was an advantage especially for people who travel. Why doesn’t it work, you ask? Because King, at least via Google Play Store or the Facebook option to sync your progress to your device, isn’t updating mobile version of this game. At least not the episodes/levels feature. On Facebook, I’m now at level 706 but on my phone, the episode portion still won’t update past level 680. Funny though, it’ll send current game requests and other messages to the phone. Players are up-in-arms about this, and if you contact King (I read their forum), they say they’re “working on solving the problem.” Yeah, right. They just want more of the mobile phone market.
As far as I know, this seems to be a problem only on mobile phones. I don’t know about tablets or iPads…Google Play Store or iTunes might be updating the game OK on those for standalone players and/or syncing Facebook with those fine.
The advantage to crushing candy on Facebook on PC or laptop rather than just over a mobile phone is that Facebook always keeps your progress, no matter what happens. On a mobile phone or PC, you could lose your progress for various reasons, like your hard drive dies, your mobile device emulator crashes or a corruption in updating via Google Play Store to your phone sets your level progress back to 1. (I had that happen, and it’s not fun.) Or something goes wrong with your phone.
After all is said and done…..Bottom line: the game is still free. So if King never fixes the update problem on phones, I’ll just delete both the Facebook and Candy Crush Saga apps on the phone. And since I have to be physically sitting at the PC in order to play and progress (at least until the sync-to-phone problem is fixed), I spend less time playing. Which I suppose is a good thing. And I really don’t mind that!
Every day or month of the year seems to be given some sort of significance, whether it’s a national holiday or something more obscure or even silly. Heck, we have Talk Like a Pirate Day. But October has been known as National Pork Month for a long time now. Who knows how or when it got started, but apparently it’s the month of the year when pigs were traditionally marketed. You can find many articles about it on the web. Each year, pork farmers reinforce their commitment to produce safe, high-quality meat all year round. And it’s a time we can thank pork producers for providing us and others around the world with nutritious and economical meals.
Pork, “the other white meat,” is inexpensive compared to other meats on the market that come from the usual 4-footed creatures. A little goes a long way. And most importantly, PORK FAT RULES! Especially BACON. :D Check out my bacon post on this blog from September 13.
So whether you’re making barbecued spare ribs….
A pork shoulder roast….
Flavoring a stew or a southern dish like collard greens with these….
You can’t go wrong with pork, unless your dietary or religious restrictions forbid it. I’ve found that unlike other meats you get at the supermarket, the most expensive cuts of pork aren’t always the tastiest. They may be leaner, but to me they’re often chewy and lacking in flavor. Which is why I like shoulder roasts or pork “butt” steaks…which aren’t from the pig’s butt, but actually from the shoulder. The shoulder cut has more fat throughout the meat, and the meat itself is more tender and flavorful. It’s a versatile cut of pork that will work for just about any dish. Yes, it’s definitely a pork fat thing.
The best pork chops for coating and frying, or grilling, are those cheap “assorted” chops you can get in packages of 10 or more…they cook quickly and have tons of flavor, and are definitely at the top of my pork fat list.
But before I close, let me recommend some ways NOT to use bacon… ;)
Had to pass this along from one of my favorite food blogs, The Vulgar Chef (see “Blogs I Follow”). These are just a few of his unique and tasty creations in a downloadable cookbook. But be warned….there be many cusswords here. ;)
Emeril Lagasse is right: pork fat rules. And of all the various cuts and roasts of pig meat and its delectable porcine preparations, bacon reigns supreme. Bacon is hog heaven. But if you think you know everything there is to know about bacon but were afraid to ask, you probably don’t unless you’re a butcher, chef or spend an inordinate amount of time around pork fat. So prepare to be taken to bacon school. You won’t have to travel too far or spend your life savings on tuition…all you need is this:
It’s a very cool calendar for you or your fellow bacon buffs, and makes a nice gift. You’re bound to learn new stuff, and anyway, it’s a fun read. You’ll learn to bestow upon bacon its proper reverence…
…and how to make some yummy recipes (read: artery-clogger specials. The health-conscious and those on a diet need not apply.)
Each month shows the days in various shades of pig….
…and you’ll read some interesting and important facts about this tasty meat.
OK class, RECESS! Time for a bit of the real thing. :)
Bacon bits, that is. Real ones! Imitation bacon bits are also available for those whose religious or dietary restrictions prohibit eating pork or bacon, and they are quite tasty too. The bits are great sprinkled into a vegetable salad, or an omelette or pancake mixture before pouring it into the pan.
Bacon comes in all types of cuts and flavors. You can get thin, normal, and thick cut strips of bacon. And the types of wood used in the process of makin’ bacon each lend a unique flavor to the finished product. Bacon ends and pieces can be used the same way you’d use salt pork…for southern dishes like collard greens, bacon and beans, or in a stew. One of my local supermarkets occasionally offers fresh bacon in strips, labeled as “pork belly,” which is unsmoked, uncured and unsalted. It tastes like regular fresh pork and, fried as you would regular bacon, it’s an interesting side to your breakfast omelette and a great alternative for those on salt-restricted diets.
Besides frying bacon or heating it in the oven, you can microwave it. Packages of pre-cooked strips of bacon can be found in your supermarket, and the strips heat up in mere seconds in the microwave. Or you can eat them right out of the box. You can microwave regular uncooked strips on several sheets of paper towels. This inexpensive microwave bacon cooker with a top does an excellent job, and you can flip the bottom to the flat side to reheat slices of pizza and other prepared foods.
Be careful when buying bacon in a supermarket. There are inexpensive store brands and some off-brands, but many of them are mostly fat and not very much meat. And not all packages are the same size. Most standard packages are 1 pound, but some are 12 or 14 ounces and cost more, even within the same brand. Compare like-to-like, and find ones with the least amount of fat for the price. If you really love your bacon…and who doesn’t?!…you’ll fork up the extra dough and buy the good stuff. Turkey, duck and beef bacon alternatives are also available for those who cannot eat pork. There are many good brands of bacon out there, but here are 3 I found that I like. They are all thick cut (sometimes called “butcher’s cut”), which I like better than the thin cut because they don’t curl as much…so far, the Smithfield brand is my favorite.
And some duck bacon…
Now before you sit down to pig out on your favorite bacon, here’s your homework assignment:
Who said bacon wasn’t educational? ;) Eat hearty, and remember when things start getting you down and the wolves are at your door…
Some Candy Crush Saga players ask how they can advance through this game without forking over their hard-earned cash. Well, you definitely CAN play CCS and still keep all your dough, using a couple of simple tricks! I play this game as a standalone, not connected to Facebook, and completed over 500 levels without spending one thin dime. Moving through each level of the game itself is a combination of skill and opportunity (read: luck. The candies cascading down into the right positions have to present themselves, as well as your knowledge of strategies for moving them to your best advantage.) Patience is also a virtue when advancing through levels, as you may get stuck on one for quite a while until you’re ready to pull your hair out. So far, level 425 proved to be the proverbial bee in my bonnet. I found I really didn’t need any more boosters than the ones earned when certain levels are completed, or those gotten by spinning the daily wheel, so I haven’t paid for additional boosters…nor will I when all the boosters have been used.
However, tickets and lives pose a dilemma. Since I play the game not connected, I can’t ask others to send me tickets or lives when I run out. And to avoid paying for them, the only way to get lives between levels is to wait a certain amount of time until the next life. For standalone-game players, the only way to progress from one episode to the next without paying for tickets is by playing 3 mystery quests. The quests are levels that you’ve played before and in some cases, the target score you need to achieve is higher than when you played it as a regular level. (I don’t believe the Facebook version has the mystery quest feature…someone please correct me if I’m wrong. FB players can ask friends for tickets if they don’t want to pay for them.) If you play the quests as the game instructs, you must wait 24 hours between each quest. But there is a legal “cheat”…actually a workaround for that, and you can play all three quests in a lot less time by following these instructions carefully (thanks to the Candy Crush Central website for these tips):
Do this after you complete your FIRST quest:
1. Go to the date and time settings on your iOS or Android device.
2. Manually change the date to the next day.
3. Open the game to confirm that the second quest has been unlocked. You will see a screen telling you what level you need to play. DO NOT START PLAYING. Back out of the game at this time.
4. Go back into the date and time settings return the advanced date to the present date.
5. Go back into the game and complete your next quest.
6. Repeat the above 5 steps to unlock and play the third and final quest.
After you complete the third quest, you have earned your ticket and are ready to advance across the tracks to the next CCS episode.
This workaround also applies if you’ve run out of lives. Advance the time on your device, open CCS to confirm your new set of 5 lives, then DON’T START PLAYING. Back out of the game, change the time back to the present time before getting back into the game to play! The mistake people make is playing with the 5 new lives while the time is still advanced instead of first changing it back to present time before playing…then when they return to present time afterwards, they have a several-thousand-minute wait for more lives. Very frustrating, but it can be corrected. Once you’ve earned lives or tickets and that info is saved in your CCS stats, they can’t be taken away from you, whether or not you tweak the time or date on your device. If you did these tweaks, just make sure you set your device back to the present time BEFORE you use them.
These little “cheats” are great timesavers by helping you advance through levels and episodes of CCS quickly. As for luck and skill playing each level, you’re on your own. Happy crushing! ;)