Golden Blog

Spicy Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Spicy Cranberry-Orange SauceSpicy cranberry-orange sauce

I got this recipe from my sister and it’s pretty good. I have modified the original recipe slightly to suit my taste and my energy level. 🙂

1-12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
3/4 c organic brown sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp ground ginger
The peel from one orange (keep them large, like 1/4 of total)
2-3 cinnamon sticks

Combine cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, water, ground ginger, orange peel, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes until cranberries pop. Remove from heat. Cool for about 20 minutes. Remove orange peel and cinnamon sticks. Chop crystallized ginger and add to the cooled mixture. Chill for several hours or overnight before serving.

I leave the cinnamon sticks and orange peel in so those flavors can continue to do their thing.

I make mine the night before and we have an evening meal the next day so it gets almost 24 hours to chill.

Cincinnati Chili Tour 2016

 

Cincinnati Chili Tour 2016!

[Cincinnati Chili Tour Video – 2016]

We did our second Cincinnati Chili Cincinnati Chili Tour 2016Tour on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Our first tour was on February 9, 2013, so we thought it was time to do an update. Last time we visited five locations. This time we dropped two parlors and added three, bringing our total up from 5 to 7. And by the way, our 2016 video is at the bottom of this page.

Here are the stops on our Cincinnati Chili Tour 2016.

Cincinnati-Chili-Tour-Route-2016#1 Price Hill Chili 10AM
4920 Glenway Ave #2
Cincinnati, OH 45238
(513) 471-9507

#2 US Chili 11AM
2965 Colerain Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45225
(513) 541-4665

#3 Camp Washington Chili NOON
3005 Colerain Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45225
(513) 541-0061

#4 Park Chili Parlor 1PM
4160 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223
(513) 541-9902

#5 Blue Jay Restaurant 2PM
4154 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223
(513) 541-0847

#6 Pleasant Ridge 3PM
6032 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45213
(513) 531-2365

#7 Blue Ash Chili 4PM
9565 Kenwood Rd
Blue Ash, OH 45242
(513) 984-6107

The Group

Our group consisted of Fred, Brian, Chuck, Tim, Bob, Robbie, and Bill. The first four are locals and the last three are transplants, so to speak. Fred, Brian, Bob, and Bill also went on the inaugural 2013 tour.

Chili Defined ??? The Big Question

My chili usually consisted of chili, spaghetti, onions, and beans. I skipped the cheese. The question of the day was what is this officially called. A person at Skyline in Westerville called it a “5 way, no cheese.” The titles during our tour included, “4 way” – “2 way with onion and beans” – “chili spaghetti with onion and beans” – “4 way bean” – and “4 way, no cheese.” We all kind of settled on “4 way, no cheese,” but I still like “5 way, no cheese.” 🙂

The Apron

Kudos to Tim for coming up with some cool aprons, complete with logo!

Cincinnati-Chili-Tour-2016-apron-logoOfficial Cincinnati chili tour 2016 apron

The Disclaimer and Evaluation Parameters

First, I must state that we are not professional food evaluators and we don’t play one on TV and we didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

We evaluated each chili parlor on 4 categories: food, cleanliness, service, ambiance. We tossed the high and low scores in each category.

Our evaluation is based on a 1 to 10 chilies scoring system, where 1 chili is not so good and 10 chilies is excellent. As with our 2013 tour, we videoed segments of our event and you can see that at the bottom of this post.

1st stop, Price Hill Chili

This is the place that has grown along Glenway avenue over the years to encompass multiple buildings. The main entrance is now in the back, but we always go through one of the front doors and wind our way through all the buildings to the back…er…um…front.

There’s plenty of character and ambiance in this old place – right down to the brick that juts out over the door frame where you walk into the patio. Story goes that a brick hit the original owner in the head at this spot so he stuck it on the wall (not in the wall…on the wall).

We ordered some goetta (unique to the Cincinnati area) at Price Hill as well. Last time, we only ordered it at Camp Washington. The goetta was pretty good. In the video you’ll find a brief description of what goes into it and get to see what it looks like.

Chili was good, service was good, and the place was pretty clean. We were served by the owner’s daughter and the owner came out to chat with us a couple of times as well.

Someone at Price Hill texted another chili location to let them know we were coming.

On a sad note, and something we did not know, is that one of the owner-brothers, Chris Beltsos, son of restaurant founder Sam Beltsos, died Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at the age of 47 after a long battle with cancer. May he rest in peace as the Price Hill Chili tradition continues.

2nd stop, Camp Washington Chili

Bill and Chuck with Camp Washington's patriarch, 80 y/o Johnny Johnson. (4/23/16)
Bill and Chuck with Camp Washington’s patriarch, 80 y/o Johnny Johnson. (4/23/16)

Camp Washington is probably the most famous of all the Cincinnati chili parlors. They have been on numerous TV shows and their building really stands out from all the rest.

Johnny Johnson is THE name that is synonymous with Camp Washington Chili. He was sent by his parents to the U.S. from Greece in 1951 for a better life. Johnny’s dad said he and his sister should change their names so people would accept them, so they did. Johnny changed his from Ioannis D. Iannnou and that was a really good idea. His first job in the U.S. was at Camp Washington Chili, started by his uncle Steve and another business partner eleven years earlier in 1940. The rest, as they say, is history –

Johnny Johnson Way
Johnny Johnson Way

it’s the only job Johnny has ever had.

Camp Washingiton-Original Chili Parlor
Camp Washingiton – Original Chili Parlor

At their 75th Anniversary celebration the street outside Camp Washington was renamed, Johnny Johnson Way. See the video story, below, for more about it.

Camp Washington Chili was originally on the same corner where they are today, but the original building was closer to the street, (like US Chili bank building) and was torn down to widen the street.

Camp Washington Chili
Camp Washington Chili

Here’s a view of the “newer” 1950’s diner-style building they have today.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the news story about Camp Washington’s 75th Anniversary.

The chili was good, reasonably spicy, but we had a bit of an issue with the chili temperature. It was slightly cooler than we would expect it to be. One of us even used the word “cold” in reference to their chili and that is not a good thing at a chili parlor. 🙁

Anither thing…blues/rock guitarist Lonnie Mack even wrote a song, titled Camp Washington Chili. Here it is:

Cincinnati Chili Tour 2016-group at Camp WashingtonIn the category of ummmm “overall friendliness” however, Camp Washington did really well and they even got a snapshot of our group. They also stuck us on their Facebook page within moments of the picture being taken. That being said, we don’t really have a category for overall friendliness, so it is not reflected in our scoring. Sorry, CW.

You can still find Johnny working behind the counter nearly every day while his daughter runs the day-to-day operations.

3rd stop, U.S. Chili

US Chili-Mosler safe doorU.S. Chili is directly across the street from Camp Washington. Rumor has it that the guy at U.S. Chili may be in some sort of a feud with the guys across the street, but I digress…

This place is inside an old bank building. The main vault still exists and the inside of the vault seems to be the men’s restroom. That is pretty much the ambiance of the place.

TheUS Chili-inside bathroom-Mosler-safe-door chili here was actually pretty good – quite meaty and with a smooth texture. Some of us felt this was the best chili. Cleanliness, however, was not their strong suit. Opinions ranged from barely tolerable to downright disgusting. We talked with one of the locals who was eating there. He said you come here for the chili…nothing else. 🙂

4th stop, Park Chili

We walked up to the building which had brown paper on the windows and sporting a SOLD sign. Did a little research and discovered that they had just closed on March 22, marking their 100th anniversary, so we missed them by only a few weeks. Park Chili had been in business in the same location since 1937 and owner Norm Bazoff’s father opened his first chili parlor in Oakley in 1921. (Don’t ask me how they did their 100 year anniversary math.) The Park Chili building and 2 adjacent buildings were sold to the new owners for $165K and they plan on reopening as a neighborhood restaurant, called The Park, and still serving Cincinnati the Park Chili chili recipe. Maybe the owner just got tired.

You will see in the video that, as a result of Park Chili being closed, many of us marked them off our apron with a black Sharpie provided by a waitress at our next stop, just two doors down, Blue Jay Chili.

5th stop, Blue Jay Chili Parlor

Blue Jay is a nice, community restaurant and hangout place. Definitely an old place with a bit of character. Their chili was pretty meaty with good flavor. One of the orders got messed up, but it’s easy to recover when you’re serving food that is already made. One nice thing is that they served their chili with nice large plates under the bowls so if you spilled something, you could scoop it right up. I always have to ask for the plate at our local Skyline. Not a whole lot else to say, except we’re pretty sure there was a drug deal going down across the street. The waitress seemed to accept that as “normal.” 🙂

6th stop, Pleasant Ridge Chili

In addition to their chili, they are known for their “Fries, Cheese, and Gravy Combo.” No one in our group tried this, but our waitress said it was really good. The chili was fine, but many in the group felt the portions were skimpy. When it came time to pay up, we discovered that this is a cash only restaurant. Ooops. I had to bum some money off of someone.

7th stop, Blue Ash Chili

This was our final stop for the day. It may be that we were just suffering from chili and general eating burnout by this point, but nothing jumped out as significant. That in itself is significant because in 2013, we really liked Blue Ash. Fred and I had slaw Coney’s and those were really good. However, Bobs no-cheese Coney had the remnants of cheese on it, which Bob had to carefully pick off. We give that our “bad form” award.

The Chili Scores

Here are our scores for the chili parlors visited during this year’s tour. Again, we are not professional food evaluators and we don’t play one on TV and we didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

We evaluated each chili parlor on 4 categories: food, cleanliness, service, ambiance. We tossed the high and low scores in each category.

Our evaluation is based on a 1 to 10 chilies scoring system, where 1 chili is not so good and 10 chilies is excellent. As with our 2013 tour, we videoed segments of our event and you can see that at the bottom of this post.

Our winner this year was Price Hill Chili with 8.70 chilies, followed by Blue Jay Chili with 7.50 chilies. Price Hill really separated themselves from the pack this time around. Another way of looking at it is that some of the others did things to hurt their scores.

Not surprisingly, U.S. Chili was at the bottom of the pack with a score of 4.05 chilies. Their chili was probably the best flavored, but everything else brought them down.

Most surprisingly, Camp Washington came in with 6.45 chilies and leaving them in 5th place. It’s a surprise because they’re pretty famous and popular and did so much better when we visited in 2013. The food temperature issue and a couple of other things did them in. This is still a good place to visit.

Pleasant Ridge and Blue Ash were kind of clumped in with Camp Washington in the mid-6 chili score range and that is probably typical for the average chili parlor.

Cincinnati Chili Tour Scores - 2016

Additional Scoring

Here are some additional chili scores in the following unofficial categories:

Planning – 10 chilies

Driving – 10 chilies

Execution – 10 chilies

Company – 10 chilies

Behavior – 9 chilies (because there is always room for improvement)

Aprons – 10 chilies (thanks, Tim!)

For the Next Tour

Here are some things we will probably change for the 2017 tour.

  • We are limiting the number of chili parlors to five. Any more than that makes us downsize our orders.
  • We push for each person to order the same thing at each parlor so we can get a better evaluation.
  • We’re going to add Dixie chili back into the tour for 2017.
  • We’re dropping U.S. Chili for 2017.
  • We’d like to add one new place to review in 2017.
  • Actually, here’s the list we are considering for 2017 (in no particular order): Dixie, The Park (formerly Park Chili), a new one, Camp Washington, and Price Hill.
  • We’re thinking we should make Camp Washington and Price Hill the last two next year, after we have been eating chili all day. 🙂

If you would like to go next year…

We have already had requests to participate in our Cincinnati Chili Tour 2017, so if you are interested, please let me know sooner rather than later.

 


Official 2016 Cincinnati Chili Tour Video

Resume Good Words – Good Phrases

Resume Bad Words - Bad Phrases

Looking for a job? It’s a pretty competitive market out there and you want your resume to grab attention within the first 30 seconds a hiring manager reviews it.

Career Builder did a survey within the past few years, seeking input from hiring managers regarding the best resume words and phrases to use. These words (mostly verbs) are the most attractive to hiring manager’s and are as follows:

Achieved: 52 percent
Improved: 48 percent
Trained/mentored: 47 percent
Managed: 44 percent
Created: 43 percent
Resolved: 40 percent
Volunteered: 35 percent
Influenced: 29 percent
Increased/decreased: 28 percent
Ideas: 27 percent
Negotiated: 25 percent
Launched: 24 percent
Revenue/profits: 23 percent
Under budget: 16 percent
Won: 13 percent

If you strongly believe one or more of these attributes fits you, use them as part of a sentence or paragraph that describes your accomplishments, and include an example. This will help you hold the attention of whoever reviews your resume and increase your chances of making the initial cut.

Best wishes for your next awesome resume!

Link to Career Builders article

Resume Bad Words – Bad Phrases

Resume Bad Words - Bad Phrases

Looking for a job? It’s a pretty competitive market out there and you want your resume to grab attention within the first 30 seconds a hiring manager reviews it.

Career Builder did a survey within the past few years, seeking input from hiring managers regarding the worst resume words and phrases to use. They may sound great great to you and me, but they are way too cliche’ for hiring manager’s tastes. Here they are:

Best of breed: 38 percent
Go-getter: 27 percent
Think outside of the box: 26 percent
Synergy: 22 percent
Go-to person: 22 percent
Thought leadership: 16 percent
Value add: 16 percent
Results-driven: 16 percent
Team player: 15 percent
Bottom-line: 14 percent
Hard worker: 13 percent
Strategic thinker: 12 percent
Dynamic: 12 percent
Self-motivated: 12 percent
Detail-oriented: 11 percent
Proactively: 11 percent
Track record: 10 percent

If you strongly believe one or more of these attributes fits you, find other ways to say the same thing, even by including an example. The longer you hold the attention of whoever reviews your resume, the better chance you have of making the initial cut.

Best wishes for your next awesome resume!

Link to Career Builders article

Fruitcake is Golden!

fruitcake-roundVery few people like fruitcake…

…I am one of the few who does. I used to order quality varieties from bakeries throughout the U.S. whose specialty is fruitcakes. That approach is somewhat expensive and you don’t actually get to see what you’re getting until you receive it in the mail.

After just finding a bakery in Dublin, OH who specializes in these delicacies, I happened to be at our local Schneider’s Bakery​ here in Westerville. I discovered that baker boss, Jeff, makes fruitcake using his own special recipe. An elderly lady in front of me was discussing fruitcake with the sales clerk, concerned that she couldn’t ever eat the entire loaf. Upon hearing that Schneider’s baked their own, I decided to buy one on the spot. The Schneider’s Bakery variety is more fruity than cakey, but still very good. It is nice to find a local bakery who makes quality fruitcake!fruitcake-rectangle There is some variety of fruitcake baked in nearly every European/English country. Fruitcake has quite an interesting history, dating back to ancient Egyptian times. At some point in European history, these were considered too decadent to eat and were outlawed. In other cultures, they were reserved only for royalty, considered to be too good for the common people. The story goes that Johnny Carson ruined the fruitcake’s reputation by joking about it on his TV show, The Tonight Show, by saying, “The worst Christmas gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”

More: http://mentalfloss.com/article/60595/15-fun-facts-about-fruitcake

[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/fCxobhmIsV0″ title=”How%20to%20make%20fruitcake”]

 

1,000 Ohio Highway Deaths in 2015

1,000 Ohio Highway Deaths in 2015

This image represents the roughly 1,000 people killed in Ohio highway traffic accidents in 2015.
This image represents the roughly 1,000 people killed in Ohio highway traffic accidents in 2015.

 

Approaching the end of 2015 here in Central Ohio, we’re just over 1,000 highway accident deaths for the year (up 8% from last year). Of this total, 29% of the deaths are alcohol-related.

I found myself trying to visualize 1,000 people. That’s a lot of people who, like so many of us, set out on their way at some point in the year and never made it to their destination. We’ve become desensitized to the risk we take each and every day on our highways.

In my personal driving, I have begun taking city streets versus highways when possible and practical. I have strengthened my focus on defensive driving and have lowered my driving speed just a little. I would rather take a little longer getting someplace to increase my chances of arriving safely.

Here are some other quirky things I do to make my drive safer.

1. For known highway congestion areas, if I’m not exiting there, I move an extra lane away from the congestion to minimize getting caught up in someone else’s last second lane change.

2. If I find myself traveling at about the same speed as the driver in an adjacent lane, I either speed up or slow down to avoid being in the other driver’s blind spot. I was once cut off by a driver on slushy I-270 on the east side of Columbus, resulting in my car spinning out from the far left lane across 5 lanes onto the right berm. I ended up facing the correct direction and did not hit a single car.

3. I’m always on the lookout for drivers who don’t seem to be doing a great job of staying in their lane and if I need to pass them, I do so with a wide swing around them and I do so quickly.

Next time as you head out on the freeway, think about how easy it is to make one simple mistake…a life-changing or even life-ending simple mistake…and resolve to be a more careful, defensive driver.

Gluten-Free, Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

GLuten-Free, Healthy Chocolate Chip CookiesGluten-Free, Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m working on totally eliminating wheat from my diet (quite a difficult task for me), but don’t want to give up my favorite cookie. This is my first post regarding my search for a good gluten-free, reasonably healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe. All I have at this point is these links:

 

Food Network (Alton Brown) recipe

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-gluten-free-recipe.html

 

Land O Lakes recipe

http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/1470/chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies-gluten-free-recipe

 

Betty Crocker recipe

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies/513ffc09-ccbf-4856-9097-c6434194fa2e

 

Ambitious Kitchen recipe

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2014/03/the-best-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies-made-with-quinoa-flour-coconut-oil/\

 

America’s Test Kitchen recipe – this recipe has great promise and they explain how they got rid of the wheat.

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/8373-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies

 

Have any of you tried any of these gluten-free chocolate chip recipes or do you have one of your own?

My quest continues! I will post updates as this unfolds.

 

 

Bill’s Guacamole Recipe

This is the finished product - Bill's Guacamole - AWESOME!Bill’s Guacamole Recipe

This is my third try at this and I have my guacamole tasting pretty good. DISCLAIMER: I may have missed a step, and will know for sure when I make this again.

Ingredients:

3 medium avocados, squishy ripe (organic if you can get it)
1 cup chopped sweet onion – Either larger chunks or finely chopped; actually, I just use half an onion.
1 lime, freshly squeezed juice (organic if you can get it)
1 cup chopped, fresh cilantro (organic if you can get it)
1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt
4 to 6 pressed garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (actually, I use a grinder for 10 or so turns)
3 or 4 shakes crushed red pepper flakes (the kind people put on pizza)

Tools:

Large glass mixing bowl
Potato hand masher
Measuring utensils
Citrus juice extractor
Food prep knife
Cutting board
Soup spoon

Tasks:

  1. The avocados need to be squishy ripe, not firm. If they are firm, DO NOT use them. To ripen, place in a brown paper bag with an apple, then check daily.
  2. Make one slice all the way around the avocados, then split them open, removing the pit (aka seed). Toss the pit at an enemy.
  3. Use soup spoon to scoop out avocado into glass mixing bowl. Scoop that skin out clean, people. Avocados are expensive.
  4. Squeeze the juice out of the lime into a glass, including whatever pulp you can salvage. Pour over freshly scooped avocados.
  5. Add sea or Himalayan salt to bowl, sprinkling it all around.
  6. Add fresh, ground black pepper, sprinkling it all around.
  7. Add 3 or 4 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes.
  8. Chop up the onion to your taste and place into bowl.
  9. Using a garlic press. or other means, get your pressed garlic into the bowl.
  10. Chop up, finely if you have the patience,  a big handful of fresh cilantro and place into bowl.
  11. Using potato masher, mash all this up, stir it up, get it well mixed up.
  12. Let sit out at room temperature for an hour, if you have the patience, and serve.
  13. Store covered and refrigerated.

Notes:

Snyder’s makes some really nice lime tortilla chips that work great with this guacamole. Actually, it’s the only thing they go great with. We have also tried Snyder’s whole wheat tortilla chips. Those are good as well. This does not last very long at our house.

What Not to do With a Staple Gun

staple-gun-Arrow-PowerShotOne of our dogs (Jade) kept putting her paws up on our screen and eventually busted the screen out. The screen is stapled in and I had been ignoring it for awhile. I couldn’t find my staple gun so, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, I decided to buy a new one. I came across this new-fangled looking staple gun by Arrow. It supposedly has less recoil and doesn’t fatigue the user as much. The last thing I need is to be fatigued.

For you regular staple gun users, you may notice that this is oriented just the opposite of what a typical staple gun looks like. I suppose that’s why they have that black arrow pointing to where the staples come out.

So, here’s the perfect storm, so to speak. It’s dark outside and I’m in a dimly lit area. It’s cold and windy…and of course, I don’t want to be outside any longer than I have to be. I was preparing to place my first staple in the screen frame and was holding it like I would hold a typical staple gun. Sadly, in this case I was holding it backwards and had my fingers wrapped around the back end (er…um…front end) in an effort to stabilize it.

I pushed the handle down and most perfectly stapled…my finger. This wasn’t one of those superficial, half’-way stapling jobs – that’s not my style at all. The staple was deep and my finger was actually indented by the staple which must have gone into the bone of my finger.

20141210_071437There was no bleeding and the staple was in pretty tightly. I came into the house to get my electrician pliers (they’re really good at grabbing things). I had to press down into my impaled finger to get a hold of the staple and be careful to pull it straight out (and also be ready to apply pressure to the wound once the staple was out). It took a bit of a tug, but out it came. Then I did the ice cube thing for a bit and after that wrapped my finger pretty snugly to encourage the punctures to seal off. Believe it or not there was practically no bleeding and only minimal pain to this point.

Later on in the evening, the area around the puncture swelled and the inner depths of the entire length of my finger started to complain a bit. Two days later, the swelling is going down and the joint pain is subsiding.

To backtrack, after I wrapped my finger, I completed the stapling job with that same stapler (holding it properly this time). About 5 staples from being done, the stapler jammed and then broke. I returned the evil contraption to the store the very next day. I had to use a regular paper stapler to finish the job. 🙂

So that’s my story. If I don’t find my old staple gun over the winter I’ll buy another new one in the spring. However, this time it will be a Stanley staple gun and it will be of the more traditional design. Never too old to learn.

 

Homemade Applesauce – My First Attempt

Apples before cookingHomemade Applesauce – My First Attempt

This is my first attempt at making applesauce. Here is the story.

Ingredients:

1 bag of organic gala apples (maybe 10 or so small apples)
1 organic lemon, juiced
1 cup organic apple juice
1 tablespoon organic cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses

Tools:

Deep pot for cooking apples
Apple corer
Lemon juicer
Food processor

Process:Applesauce in the jar

1. Core apples and place into pot.
2. Add remainder of ingredients and stir.
3. Simmer ingredients on stove for about an hour.
4. Be careful to check for consistency and stir regularly.
5. Remove mixture when consistency is slightly more “liquidy” than what you want to end up with.
6. Scoop mixture into a jar or other container.
7. Place in refrigerator to cool.

I don’t know how long it keeps….maybe a week or two? I let mine cook down a bit too much and I ended up with more of an apple butter consistency. Pumpkin Butter was the result, because of the pumpkin pie spices and the consistency of the mixture. All in all, tasted pretty good. I have been having it either straight up or on a slice of whole wheat bread with sunflower nut butter (my peanut butter alternative). It probably would be good on toast as well.

For next time, I will not cook it down quite as much and I may cut my spices back a bit or maybe try a batch without any pumpkin pic spice at all.

That’s my story. I will be making more applesauce! 🙂