Saturday Night Dinner

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One of the major side effects of this Pandemic – Boredom. My work-around – experiment with new recipes. Here are two that I made and served for dinner tonight when friends came over for dinner.


Delicious Chicken Cordon Bleu is converted into an easy weeknight keto casserole dish with layers of chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese.


• 4 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
• 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
• 8-10 slices deli ham, cut into squares
• 1 cup sour cream
• 3-4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
• 11 slices Swiss cheese


1 Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13×9 casserole dish with olive oil to prevent sticking.

2 Add shredded chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese to the 13×9 dish. Making sure to cover the dish completely.

3 In a large bowl, mix together sour cream, mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt & pepper.

4 Spread sour cream mixture over the shredded chicken. Add sliced deli ham on top of spread. Top with sliced Swiss cheese covering the ham.

5 Top the layers with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. If you like a crunch, you can add crushed pork rinds as well. Place in oven to bake for about 25 minutes.


Keto Bread – simple


• 1 Cup Almond Flour
• 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
• 4 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
• 6 Eggs


• Mix the eggs and butter in one bowl.
• Mix the almond flour, baking powder, and seasoning in another.
• Combine all ingredients and pour into a well greased loaf pan!
• Bake 375 for 25 min

I added Italian Seasoning to mix to go along with the Chicken Casserole.

Edit: 10pm Saturday night. Turned out really good. Especially the bread. Thanks to Keto Dad.

Cream Of Mushroom Soup – Simple

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With thanks to Emma Laperruque

In this Big Little Recipe, fresh creminis (also sold as baby bellas), dried shiitakes, and heavy cream yield umami-rich flavor and a silky, lush texture. Just try to avoid fresh shiitakes, which would make the soup more one-note in flavor.

Adjust the salt to taste. Because this ingredient list is so sparse, the salt is key in making the mushrooms taste mushroom-y and the cream taste creamy.


• 9 dried shiitakes
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 pounds fresh creminis, sliced (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick)
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste


Combine 3 cups water and the dried shiitakes in a small pot and set on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes, then cut the heat.

Add the butter to a wide, high-sided saucepan and set on the stove over medium heat. As soon as that’s melted, add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are sticking to the bottom and deeply browning. (At first, they’ll release a lot of liquid, but don’t worry, it’ll evaporate.)

Season the browned mushrooms with salt and pepper, and stir. Remove a heaping ½ cup mushrooms and set aside on a plate (these will become a garnish for the soup). Now add the cream to the saucepan and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom. Simmer for a few minutes until the cream turns the color of chocolate milk.

Add the cream and mushrooms to a blender, along with the soaked dried shiitakes, and mushroom broth. (Heads up: There might be some grit at the bottom of the pot with the mushroom broth. I find the easiest way to avoid this in the soup is to pour the liquid very slowly into the blender through a fine mesh sieve—the grit should hang back with the last splash of liquid, so just don’t pour that in.)

With the keyhole of the blender lid left open and a kitchen towel held firmly on top, blend on high speed until very, very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you’d like it thinner, just add a small splash of water, cream, or both.

Serve the soup hot with the browned mushrooms sprinkled on top, plus a drizzle of cream if you like.

Get’n Back At It!


Four – count ’em – 4 Pandemic months with barely enough exercise to keep my body moving.

The world shut down mid-March. The next several months have  been mayhem. Sold my home. Moved into an Apartment. The move took up an extraordinary amount of time and effort. I fully understand why so many do not want to go through what I went through – and to an extent – am still going through. But – you gotta do – what you gotta do.

My new digs has a fitness center in the building. When I moved in on June 24th, it was only open from 9am-6pm. I had to bail out of work early in order to get in a workout. While I was on a recumbent bike, one of the managers came in and announced that it will now be open from 5am to 6pm. Maximum occupancy 6 (but no gate keepers). Everyone there just ignored her. I shouted Hurrah. Much louder – of course. Really – one happy guy.

I have been going M-th at 5:30am. 90% of the times – I am the only one there. There have been two Cardio Ladies – each once, and one RT guy twice – but he gets there before me and leaves early.

I have lost soooo much strength. It is disheartening. Yes- I know – at my age – muscle loss is the name of the game – but seriously – that much?

I’ve been going M-Th at 5:30 each morning. First – my floor exercises and stretching. Bought and bring my own exercise pad. Then I alternate between an RT workout or a CT workout. The CT is easy – 20 minutes on a recumbent bike. The RT – I am experimenting with the equipment – slowly finding substitutes for machines that are not there. Will make it happen.

Friday is tough. I have a 7am Zoom business networking group – BNI – Business Network International. Unless I wake up at 4:30 – I can’t get in a workout prior to the meeting. I must leave work early and get in a 5pm workout. One way or another – I am gonna make it happen.

Starting to recover some of my strength. Slow – damnably slow – but it is happening.

I read a Physical Therapist comment that when you gear back up after this long a break – you should be doing 30 minutes 3 times a week. Then build from there. Light weights is your starting point. This is actually a good point to make sure your form is on track.

The Fall 52 Day Challenge starts this Wednesday, August 5th. I’m in. I need this – big time.

The Sign-up Post is here.

The FAQs are here.

The History of the 52DC is here.

Don’t you think it is time you got back at it?

A New Chapter Starts


I’m settling into my new home. Pretty much all of the boxes have been unpacked and disposed of. Unpacking is almost as difficult as packing. I’m still having a problem finding the things I’ve put away. How many times can you open cabinet doors looking for something. Eventually it will become automatic. I can’t wait.

The last thing left to do – hang all the pictures and artwork. Not sure I have enough wall space. Gonna be fun.

The apartment building is new. I’m the 2nd occupant of this unit. The appointments are modern and everything is in some way or another electronic and digitally interconnected. The Refrigerator is small and does not allow me to do as much preparation of food and store it in the Freezer for a quick dinner. This is going to require me to do more frequent food shopping. Not happiness – just going to require more planning.

There is no specially designed “dinette” area, just a counter to pull up 4 bar stools – yet to be bought. I have repurposed my son-in-laws small drop leaf table as my dinning table. It was in his bachelor NYC efficiency apartment some 16+ years ago. It opens into a 42 inch diameter round table which can seat 4. It is a place holder until I can find a more modern version that does the same job.

This is the first place I’ve lived since college, where I could walk out my front door and be on the main drag of the small village. I’m a block and half from two fine restaurants. My area of the state allows restaurants to have outdoor seating properly spaced and indoor eating at 1/3 capacity with appropriate spacing and plethora of other rules and regulations. One has converted their parking lot into outdoor seating. We went there for dinner. No sooner had we ordered then in poured. We ran under the tented area and they eventually set up a table for us. The rain was over by the end of dinner and I walked home. Nice.

The nicest part – there is an exercise facility on the premises. Gyms have not yet reopened in NY. I’m close enough to NJ to use a gym there, but bluntly – I am afraid of exercising in a gym. It just scares me.

The exercise facility in the building is open on a limited schedule: M-F 5 am to 6 pm. It would be nice if it was open on the weekend. Eventually it will be 24/7. The nicest part, it is a quick walk to the elevator – down one floor and open the door. There is a limit of 6 people in the gym at any one time. But there is no gate keeper. So far – no one is there at 5:30 am when I’m there. I’ve got the place to myself and do not need to worry.

I have an early morning BNI meeting on Fridays which may prevent my Friday morning workout. Previously, Friday was my Rest Day. The fix – leave work a bit earlier and get in a workout from 5-6 pm on Fridays.

It has been 4 months without real exercise. I have lost a ton of strength. There are pieces of equipment I wish they had – I’ll make do.

Here are a couple of pictures of it. Better than most home gyms. BTW I am not using their floor mats. Bought my own. Not a big deal to carry it with me. Have to bring my own water since the fountain – as you can see in the picture is off limits. They do have wipes and I bring my own as back up.

Now I’ve got to develop a workout routine to fit the available equipment and my time limitations. That will happen, first pick up a little strength and flexibility before I get serious. Don’t want to injure myself by going heavy too quickly.

By the way the Fall 52DC starts on August 5th.

Stay Safe.

Closing of a Chapter


In December 1971, my bride and I built a home in a new development that was just being built. We were probably the 3rd family to move in. Our son was just 14 months old and our daughter arrived that July. We built a life for our family.

Over the years we modified the grounds and our home. In 2003 we did a substantial rehab, making the house into the one we wanted. Those were the glory days.

In May 2012, my wife had a stroke. Three months in residential rehab and then outpatient rehab. That rehab was less than helpful. My years of exercising, finally paid off. I became her Physical Therapist and Personal Trainer. She recovered a substantial amount of her physical abilities, but the stroke took a toll on her mental functioning, preventing her from continuing to work. Still we had a life.

Then dementia set in. Slowly it deprived her of her independence and she became more and more dependent upon me. I became her Care Giver. Finally in February of 2019, she entered a Nursing Home. Over the next 6 months I watched as she continued to deteriorate. Nothing anyone could do. I spent every dinner with her. Then the Pandemic hit. I was blocked from seeing her on March 11, 2020.

At the same time, I set about downsizing my life and preparing our home for sale. This had been our plan. At almost the same time that I was locked out of the Nursing Home, a Buyer was found. The overwhelming task of divesting myself of a lifetime of accumulations that no one wanted took up the time that I could not spend with her.

On April 20th, she became a statistic: one of the 43% of all Covid-19 deaths that occurred in the Nursing Homes across the county.

On June 25th, I moved into a new apartment building. On July 13th, the house was sold to a nice young family with two children ages 2 and 5. It is their turn to make a life for themselves in the home we built and rebuilt with love. I wish them only happiness.

This Chapter of my life has ended.

Summer 52 Day Challenge starts Tomorrow – May 27th

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The Summer 2020 – 52 Day Challenge starts tomorrow – Wednesday May 27th.

Have you signed up? Have you gained the Covid – 15 pounds from sheltering in place?

Do you need to get back in action – with or without a Gym?

Then Sign up here.

Check out the site. Check out the FAQs.

The Challengers are a great group of people. They come from all over the world. You never know who you are going to meet.

Set your own goals:

There are 104 possible Clean Eats. The day is broken up into halves: Breakfast and Lunch. Then the remainder of the day including Dinner. You set your own dietary standard. Just not all ice cream please.

Resistance Training: Workouts – be it body weight – weights – bands – whatever. Just needs to stress those muscles and get your body in shape.

Cardio Training: Just what it sounds like. Make your body and heart know what they were made for.

You set your own goals. The FAQs will help guide you.

This is your time to make it happen.

Cream of Fresh Asparagus Soup

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I had purchased a large bunch of fresh asparagus about a week ago and forgot about it. Still looked good but I could not eat all of it at one sitting. Needed to use it, so I went looking and ended up modifying this recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup. Delish. Had two bowls full.


• 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces. I cut off an discarded the woody ends.
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth or vegetable broth. Actually used more.
• 2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Left this out.
• 1 teaspoon salt. This is to taste. The soup I had purchased was Low Salt so I added several shakes of Kosher Salt.
• 1 pinch ground black pepper
• 1 cup milk- I used cream
• 1/2 cup sour cream – full fat
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Use pre-prepared juice.


In a large saucepan, combine asparagus, chopped onion, and 1/2 cup chicken broth. I used the entire amount. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until asparagus is tender, about 12 minutes.

Process the mixture in a blender to puree the vegetables. Set aside. I scooped out the asparagus and added about ½ the soup.

In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining chicken broth, and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture boils. Stir in the asparagus puree and the milk cream. Much less stirring without the flour.

Put the sour cream in a small bowl, and stir in a ladle full of the hot soup. Add the sour cream mixture and the lemon juice to the soup. Stir while heating the soup to serving temperature, but don’t allow it to boil. Serve immediately.

This turned out really good. I could have grilled up some of the asparagus tips and added it as garnish. Next time.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2020 Allrecipes.com, Recipe By: MARBALET

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters


I am in the middle of down sizing. Going from a house of 48 years to an apartment.

For the past year – if not two, I have been getting rid of everything that I don’t use or will not need. Some of that was my exercise equipment. No – I did not have a gym in my basement. Every time I bought a large piece of equipment, I regretted the purchase. Treadmills were nothing more than a place to hang clothing or stub my toe. I did have a pretty good array of Therabands and other smaller stuff. Gave it all to my brother-in-law and nephew. It is all probably sitting in the same box I dropped off at their homes.

After all – I am a Gym Rat.

And then the COVID-19 Pandemic hit and the Gyms closed down.

I dug up a handful of Therabands that were at the bottom of a closet and made due. As I sheltered at home and time went on, I started looking for alternatives on-line. Amazon – of course. I ordered resistance bands that looked like they would do the job. Not expensive – but – should be better than what I had. There was a 30 day delay until delivery. OK – there is a Pandemic. Relax. They never showed – even on a further extended delivery date. Cancelled the order. Amazon refunded my purchase price – Thank you.

I ordered another set of Exercise Bands,  and an exercise floor mat. They arrived yesterday.

Workout equipment

This morning, I started playing with them. It takes a bit of time to get a handle on how to use them. The learning curve should not be too long.

The place I am moving to has an exercise facility in the building. It looks OK. It has a limited amount of equipment, especially the Cardio machines. My plan was to use what is there and continue my membership at Retro Fitness. There is one about 10-12 minutes from my new digs.

But times they are a changing.

When will the gyms re-open? When will the exercise facility in my new building re-open? When will I feel comfortable enough to use any of these facilities?

For now – I will learn how to maximize my new Toy. Hopefully, it will only be a bridge over troubled waters.

The Great Pause and the Farming Industry

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I was chatting on-line with a friend who is a Consultant to the farming industry. As with everyone, we were bemoaning the impact of the world wide shut down in a vain attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. I commented that “I am afraid of food shortages.” What follows is a piece he wrote to that industry.

This is a very sad situation with animals being destroyed. I keep trying to think about ways around it.

We have several things going on. Processing plants shutting down, hopefully only temporarily, because too many are sick, working conditions are difficult to prevent spread of the virus in the plant, and because of changes to supply and demand.

A huge amount of food is produced for restaurants, caterers, and other businesses that are presently running at lower volume or not at all. If you are depending on that outlet and used to that outlet for the product you sell, then what do you do with that product if your primary consumer/buyer suddenly stopped buying? What do you do with a product when suddenly your processor is no longer operating? This creates a boatload of problems.

First of all what to do with all this product. Second, how long will a major dumping of products impact supply and demand? I foresee a huge shortage of some products in a few months. Prices on some products could escalate significantly at that point, especially if supply and demand is not able to be met. I think this will be an issue with several agricultural products. Some things just can’t be produced quick enough. If you destroy half or more of your laying hens and then suddenly the demand doubles, you are a minimum of six or seven months from similar production again and that is if not too many of the breeding stock were also not destroyed.

I understand the need to help with the emergency mortality management. In some cases, there are no options, but what a huge sickening waste. Are there other options, even for some of the livestock? An opportunity for new or beginning small producers? Low cost feeding options to buy time? Grants to buy products for food banks? We have restricted buying in stores of some of the same products being destroyed. I call the time frame and situation we are in right now, “The Great Pause.” What happens when the run button is hit again?

Check out this Article: U.S. Reels Toward Meat Shortages and The World May Be Next

COVID-19 & Nursing Homes – A Personal Story


The continuing devastation of the elderly and disabled in Nursing Homes is constantly in the news. In some states, upwards of 40% of the Covid-19 deaths have been from the NH population. Statistics – just a jumbo of numbers. Meaningless unless it directly impacts you. What follows is a tale of one person – my wife.

In the winter of 2018-19, my wife’s dementia overwhelmed her. On February 12, 2019,  she was hospitalized. On February 22nd, she was transferred to the rehabilitation floor of a NH. Rehab didn’t help and she continued to deteriorate. Finally in April 2019, she was transferred to the NH floor. Her deterioration continued until she was severely impaired such that she could not even feed herself. 

During her time in the NH, I left work each day at 3:30pm and arrived there at 4:00pm. From 4:00-5:00pm, I did for her what the aides did not have time to do. At 5:00pm we went to the dining room and I fed her dinner. At 6:00pm, I kissed her good night and watched as she was wheeled onto the elevator to return to the NH floor.

That continued everyday for over a year. On March 11, 2020, I was advised that the NH was no longer allowing family or friends to visit. No outsiders including the hairdresser, food deliveries and entertainment would be allowed into the facility. They were on lock down.

At 6:00pm on March 11th, I kissed her goodbye. It was our last hug, our last kiss.

On April 5th, the NH sent out a letter which said in part:

The nursing homes have been mandated to accept all residents to open beds. As of now, we do not have residents that are positive for Covid-19.

On approximately, April 10th, I received a call from her NH physician telling me that she had a fever of 100.1 and they were going to do the virus test. Her blood oxygen was at 95 and she was otherwise not in distress. We spoke at length about the possibility of this being the virus and what should be done if she reached the point of needing to go to a hospital and be put on a ventilator. He felt that she would never survive that. I felt that she should not be tortured. 

The next day, a nurse called to let me know that she did not have a fever, that she was out of bed and in her chair. They were still waiting for the test results.

On April 11th my daughter face timed with her, as best she could. A one way event. All was well. The staff let her know that they were keeping the Covid-19 patients on the 2nd floor while she was on the 3rd floor. They were doing the best they could to entertain and keep the NH patients involved.

On April 16th, the results  of the test came back NEGATIVE. We breathed a sigh of relief and life – as it was – went on.

Beyond severe dementia and limitations from a stroke 8 years ago, she had no real health problems. Her lungs, kidneys, liver, blood pressure and blood work of all sorts were all good. She previously had the flu vaccine along with the pneumonia shot. When many in the NH had the flu last season, she did not. I don’t believe she even had a “cold” during the whole time there.

Four days later, on April 20th at 9:30am, I received a call from supervising nurse telling me that she was in severe respiratory distress and on oxygen. I did not understand what I was being told until she asked me for the name of the funeral home. I gave her the name of the place where I had made pre-need funeral arrangements. 

I immediately called my children and then alerted the funeral director. 

My two children and I were each able to face time with her and say good bye. 

At 3:45pm, a mere 6 hours later, I received a call telling me she had passed.

Her funeral was delayed until yesterday April 20th due to the number of deceased ahead of us. The funeral homes and cemeteries are overwhelmed.

There were significant limitations on her funeral. Much of the normal religious traditions were stripped away. No gathering at the funeral home. No religious service before the actual funeral. It needed to be a graveside funeral. A maximum of 10 family members were allowed. I refused to allow my children or other family members to endanger themselves. Only two dear friends and our religious leader attended in person. We were not allowed out of our cars until the workers had lowered the casket into the grave and left the area.

Some cemeteries don’t even allow that. A friend’s mother went directly from the NH to the funeral parlor and then into the grave. No service, no family, nothing. 

Our graveside funeral may have seemed limited, but over 125 people across the US, Canada and France attended by ZOOM. Each of my children were able to speak from the heart.

Friends and family cannot come to my home to pay their respects and give a hug. The calls have come in endlessly. I set up a Zoom event for family to gather shortly after the funeral. Although, devoid of physical contact, we were still able to be together, share stories, cry and laugh. Later, a religious service was also by Zoom.

A new world – a sad world.


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