Tuesday, July 14, 2015

ColRebCooks: Eat Your Black-eyed Peas Casserole recipe

Eat Your Black-eyed Peas Casserole

Serves 8 easily, or freeze half and have two large meals for family of four

Here’s a recipe that I made up after looking at several similar ideas online. It worked pretty well. I failed to take a photo, but it looks decent.

If possible you should buy the hamburger meat off the old meat rack for less than $2.50 per pound; buy the rice in 25-pound bags and the rice cost is about 20 cents; stock up on the black-eyed peas the week after New Year’s and you can get them for as low as 25 cents a bag, or 12.5 cents for the half-bag this recipe uses; buy the Cream of Chicken soup in the weeks before Thanksgiving or Christmas for 60- to 75-cents per can; stock up on store-brand cheese when it costs $3 a pound or less; buy the diced tomatoes on sale for 50 cents. My total meal cost was about $7 for eight very large servings.

1 lb. Hamburger meat
1 onion and half green pepper, or use one-half to one bag of frozen seasoning mix
Plenty of garlic and other seasonings to taste, added to the meat and onions while browning
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
2 cups cooked rice
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup
12 to 16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup water from the black-eyed pea pot, or tap water

I’m on a semi-bland diet these days, but this dish would likely be improved by substituting a can (or maybe two!) of Rotel for the tomatoes. Alternatively you can add jalapenos and other Mexican seasonings.

Also, I think this casserole might be improved with the addition of 3 cups of cooked squash, which I will do next time.


1. Brown the hamburger meat and then add the green pepper and onion. Cook until onions are soft, then scoop meat into a 9x13 casserole dish, draining the fat.

2. Blend in the cream of chicken soup while the meat is hot, then add the black-eyed peas and rice (and squash if you decide to use it). Add all but 4 oz. of the cheese and mix well. Add just a little water from the pea pot or tap to make sure the mixture is barely soupy so the rice doesn’t get dried out.

3. Sprinkle the remaining four ounces of cheese over the top.

4. Cook at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cheese starts to brown on top.

The black-eyed pea taste does get lost a little bit in this casserole, but it might be a great way to get kids to eat vegetables. Also, even though it only had one pound of hamburger meat, it tasted very meaty. Legumes and rice for a perfect protein, so this is a reasonably healthy dish even though it does have a good bit of fat from the cheese.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Confederate letter home has not an ounce of hate, only a large measure of love

Maj. Fred. C. C. Karr
I haven't blogged much lately, but I found a copy of this letter home written by my great-great-grandfather, Maj. Frederick Christopher Columbus Karr, and I thought I would share it. The letter has lots of sentence fragments and uses few paragraphs, so I have broken it up for readability. I have included some of the original misspellings, while correcting others. In some cases I simply could not make out the letters that he used, so he may or may not have spelled the word correctly.

This letter has some very interesting historical information, but I will reserve comment for a later time. I only note that you will not find an ounce of hate. Only a large measure of love.

Hd Qr 32nd Miss Regt
Tullahoma Tenn March 18th 1863

Dear Lucy,

I siese on this oportunity of sending you a few lines knowing you will be glad to hear from me at any time I am very well at this time and do hope that these few lines will find you and my dear little children in good health and doing well. I Recvd your letter last night that you sent by Wm Karr I was glad to hear that you all were well and doing as well as what you were it is a great satisfaction to hear from those we love.

I wrote you a letter the other day. My horse has got here he looks bad. I have no news to importance to communicate to you. I got a letter from D Cannon they were all well your Pa’s family was all well they are still in Holly Springs the Enimy did not damage them very much date of the letter Feb.

Some Prospect of a fight here soon. I think if it does come off it will be the hardest contested of the war. Some thinks we will whip them at this place. I can no say not knowing. Our army is in good fighting condition at this time the health of the troop is good at this time all seem to Be hopefull and confident of Success, the war is not at an End yet, the conscrip law has past the federal congress they will put 1 ½ million more men in the field by that law. So you see that we will have fighting fighting yet if they continue to prey upon us as you say if the Lord is with us all will be well if not to the Reverse. My Prediction is that the war will continue during Lincoln administration at least. But I am no prophet. I hope it will cease soon. I am tired of war. I hope we may all get home soon. With our dear ones at home I prefer the quietence of a Peaceful home to that of the Buz of war. Lucy I have no news to interest you the news is scarce in the army at this time.

I want you to Buye any thing you can that you need, if you get short of money let me know and I will send what your need at any time that I have a chance if you could feed a horse you might Buye one But you must Be your own judge about those things. I have no advice to give you. You will do the Best you can under the circumstances bad at best but might be worse I think the worst is come yet so we must prepare to meet it.

My love to all the friends and Relations My Best Regards to Mr. Frensley tell him he shall loose nothing By his kindness toward my Family. Kiss the children for their Pa tell them to be good children. I want you to teach them at home to Read and write as you will have no school to send them to also learn them to work.

No more at this time. Remember me in your Devotions your ever True and Devoted Husband F.C. Karr

PS Lucy I send you Fifty Dollars United States money I thought you might get some one to Buye flour coffee & salt. I gave $62 ½ for it use it for such articles as you need. Buy your salt.

Yours as Ever   F.C.Karr

ADDENDUM: I suspect, but do not know, that the large battle that Karr says is imminent is Chickamauga, which took place six months after this letter was written. Maj. Karr was wounded on the Chickamauga Battlefield and died Sept. 27, 1863, and is buried in a mass grave at the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia.

ADDENDUM 2: Lucy must have been, by necessity, a strong woman. The name continues to be quite popular in our family.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New washers save $19 a year and result in hundreds of dollars in extra work, ruined clothes

    Jinny and I went shopping for a washer and dryer the other day and discovered that the Obama administration had very quietly banned washing machines.
    Oh, there are still machines that you can put soap and water in that will wiggle your clothes around a little. But these machines are not washing machines in that they don't really wash clothes.
    Household appliances have been getting worse every few years for about 30 years, and the government issues new regulations constantly demanding that appliances use less and less energy. Yet if you study it, the energy savings are quite small, and the expense to the consumer is great.
    Toilets don't flush anymore. Dishwashers don't get the dishes clean. A three-minute shower now takes 15 minutes, saving no water but using up a lot of valuable time.
    And now liberals are going after our washing machines.
    The new washers are designed to use substantially less water. The consumer is no longer allowed to set the water level. The government mandates that cold water be mixed in with the hot, so clothes can no longer be washed in hot water. And of course phosphates, which do minimal harm if any to the environment, were removed from washing detergents years ago.
    The result is a highly complex washer that is subject to break. And even when it's working, it isn't working very well. In most models the agitator has been removed. The consumer no longer has the ability to set water levels, since they are set by weighing the laundry load. So a super-dirty set of laundry is just going to stay dirty and smelly.
    Front-load washers simply do not work; I've owned them. They become moldy and smelly, and the unclean clothes end up smelling really bad when they come out of the wash. The new high-efficiency top-loaders don't work either; the clothes remain dirty. And to provide these unimpressive results many of the new washers have a cycle time of almost two hours.
    Faced with the prospect of not being able to buy a decent washer Jinny and I started to do some research, and soon stumbled onto reviews of Speed Queen top-load washers, particularly the old mechanical model. Since these are commercial-grade washers they aren't subject to quite as many regulations as home models.
    The hot water is not diluted with cold. It uses plenty of water, and although it won't fill up more than 75 percent of the drum with water, there is a manual override that will allow you to have as much water as you wish. The lid doesn't lock during the wash cycle, so you can add items that might have dropped on the floor. Satisfied customers report that their clothes are much cleaner with a shorter cycle time of only 30 minutes. That's right, it does twice the job in much less than half the time.
    We could have ordered our Speed Queen from Amazon, but they are for sale at Rebel Appliance in Oxford. I try to make a point of shopping at businesses with "Rebel" in the name, so that's where we went. Our new washer and dryer arrive on Friday, and they are going to install and set them up for us.
    We ordered the mechanical model that hasn't changed much in the past 30 years. They do offer an electronic model, but that's just something else to break, and the electronic models apparently takes away some of the freedoms that we have with the old mechanical model.
    You might find it odd that I'm singing the praises of a product that hasn't arrived at my house yet. Well, I'm confident based on the experiences of many others that this washing machine will serve our needs. Just read the reviews on Amazon for yourself!
    It's not always easy, but we can fight back against liberal control freaks, and the Speed Queen mechanical washer is one way of doing so. Although it's a good washer, you should still add a big scoop of laundry phosphate with every load. Add a half-scoop of phosphate to every dishwasher load as well.
    While the leftists prattle on about how they saved $19 in operating costs with their "modern" washing machine, we can point out that we are happy to spend $19 in order to save dozens of hours of time and to prevent countless clothes from being ruined.
    If you are in the market for a washer, or think you may be in the future, now is the time to buy. Liberals can't stand for people to be happy, and soon the Eye of Sauron will latch onto the Speed Queen and find a way to make it as crappy as all of the other washers on the market right now.

Monday, January 26, 2015

After 40 years, the Rocky Horror Show is still a lot of fun; it runs until Feb. 15

    Jinny and I joined some friends in attending a showing of The Rocky Horror Show at the Playhouse on the Square in Memphis Sunday afternoon. It was a great show in a great venue. As you can see from the rehearsal video above (featuring the current cast), this show is a little different.
    Almost everyone of a certain age has seen the cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show a few times (and a few have seen it hundreds of times!). It was popular in the late 1970s through the 1980s as a midnight cult classic, and in fact never has stopped being shown each week at various theaters. It’s the longest running movie release in history.
    The film, which was adapted from a West End play, was initially a flop before it became a cult classic with midnight showings. Fans would dress up as their favorite characters and attend -- again, and again, and again.
    I wasn’t one of those to attend on a regular basis, and I certainly never dressed up, but once one gets over the shock of seeing a bunch of men running around on stage in the underwear the movie was a lot of fun. The Hoka in Oxford had a number of midnight showings back in the day.
    The Playhouse on the Square version is a lot of fun, too. The actors use a minimum of props, with actors playing the role of a bench or even windshield wipers. It may sound weird, but it worked, and worked well.
    I’m not going to try to say who did the best job. Frankenfurter was good; Columbia was good; Magenta was good; Brad and Janet were both good; Riff Raff was good; the narrator was good. Overall, the quality of the singing and acting was simply outstanding, with only a couple of minor rough spots. The live show isn't one for lots of audience participation, and patrons are instructed to leave their rice, newspapers, squirt guns, toast, playing cards, etc., at the door.
    I think we are all conditioned to think that an expensive theatrical performance is going to be better than a low-budget show. Personally, I thought the quality of the acting in The Rocky Horror Show was better than much of what I’ve seen at the Orpheum or on Broadway, although admittedly I'm no professional critic. I’ve tended to have trouble hearing at the Orpheum, were the acoustics aren’t the best. At the Playhouse, I could hear and understand everything the actors were saying or singing! I didn't have to keep poking Jinny and asking, "Whudhesay?"
    I’ve never been to the Playhouse on the Square before, but it is one of the most comfortable and enjoyable theatres I’ve visited. It only seats about 340 people, so it is an intimate setting; the balcony seats may be better than some of the floor seats. Tickets were only $29.95, although the Friday and Saturday shows cost more. Even if the Rocky Horror Show isn’t your thing, put this place down as a place to see a play or show. You won’t be disappointed.
    Oh, and 30 years ago we didn't have the Internet, and I never could figure out who Janet was referring to when she belted out "God Bless Lili St. Cyr!" It turns out she was a famous burlesque performer. So now you know.

    ■ The Rocky Horror Show runs at the Memphis Playhouse on the Square until Feb. 15, with evening showings Thursday through Friday and a matinee on Sundays. Tickets may be purchased online. Almost every seat is a good one, but the extreme outside edges have slight visibility problems in seats close to the stage.
Amanda Witt
    ■Amanda Wansa Morgan, an assistant professor in the Ole Miss theatre department, is the Rocky Horror Show's musical director. Three current Ole Miss students and two alumni are supporting cast members as Transylvanians. Current students are Cory Clark, Kate Louis Prender, and Bobby Kelly; and Ole Miss alums Kelley Michele and Cameron Yates.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

As I predicted, Ebola was in Mali, but health care officials just didn't know about it

    On Oct. 29 I wrote that the Ebola virus was certain to spread to Mali due to the fact that people were being allowed to travel freely into that country from infected areas with only a temperature check.
    The Ebola virus usually has an incubation period of from 4-21 days, so a temperature check is as useless as teats on a boar hog in preventing infected people from entering an uninfected area. A temperature check only catches those who are actually sick, not everyone who is infected.
    Well, no sooner than Mali had been declared "Ebola free" following the death some weeks ago of a young girl who traveled into the country and died from Ebola, we've learned that there is a more serious outbreak caused by a religious figure -- a grand iman -- from Guinea who traveled to Mali for better medical care. Neither he nor the clinic which treated him understood that he was suffering from an Ebola infection. The iman died and his body was washed at the local mosque before being returned to Guinea. A number of the iman's relatives in Guinea have died, as has one nurse in Mali who treated him. The total number of people infected in unknown, but it is potentially a substantial number.
    All of this happened almost a month ago, and authorities are just now figuring out that the string of deaths that have followed in the iman's wake meant that he was suffering from Ebola. I suspect there are a number of other outbreaks throughout Mali that haven't grown to the point that they've been identified as Ebola.
    On Oct. 29 I wrote the following:
    My guess is that Mali may already have an Ebola outbreak, authorities just don't know it yet. The nature of Ebola is that there is one death from an unexplained cause, often thought to be malaria or some other malady; three weeks later two or three additional people die; in three more weeks that total might jump to six. It can take two or three months for authorities to even become aware of an outbreak.
    Even when villages might suspect Ebola they might be afraid to alert authorities for fear of being quarantined with no food or having their loved ones carted away. So an initial, isolated outbreak often goes undetected by authorities until a village is completely decimated, perhaps even abandoned.
    Most people have all been indoctrinated with the notion that people should have the right to go wherever they want whenever they want. But no one should be allowed to leave an area with an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak without a mandatory quarantine. Nobody has a right to infect the world.
    The world needs to create a cordon sanitaire around those areas with uncontrolled Ebola outbreaks; nobody leaves without a quarantine. If it requires massive numbers of troops standing shoulder-to-shoulder to enforce, then troops we should send. If the only way to stop people from leaving is to shoot them, then shoot.
    The real risk of Ebola isn't that we might get a few cases or even a few hundred cases here in the United States. The risk is that it will continue to slowly creep into poverty-stricken areas with poor communication, poor education, and poor medical facilities, where it will successfully take root before anyone even knows it's there.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I hope the voters send the race-baiters of 2014 a message from the ballot box

    This has been the season of the race-baiting advertisement, with candidates or their supporters running some pretty reprehensible ads equating conservatism with racism. Some candidates are so extreme that they even aligned some themselves with attempted-cop-killer Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo.
    Among the worst race-baiters of 2014 (or those who declined to denounce race-baiting on their behalf) are Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Michelle Nunn of Georgia, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Thad Cochran of Mississippi. These types of racialist campaigns harm our democratic system, and I hope voters will send these candidates a message today.

Democrats who had Obama amnesia ended up looking silly, hurting their campaigns

    Now that the election is almost over, here's a note to really stupid Democrats: Don't deny voting for your party's president, particularly when he was at one time the blank slate upon which almost every American projected their hopes and dreams.
    As a Democrat, you darn well better have voted for the man unless you can articulate a good reason not to have. Most Democrats voted for Barack Obama. Most independents did, too. That's why he won.
    When a Democratic candidate was asked whether or not he (or she) voted for Obama the answer should have been "Yes!" This should be followed by whatever statement the candidate wished to make explaining reservations and disappointment about the president. In other words, "Yes, I voted for him, but like many of you, I've been disappointed."
    Instead we've had these debates where Democratic candidates have looked like absolute fools as they've tried not to answer questions about whether or not they voted for Obama. Of course they voted for him. And I have far more respect for the candidate who would say, "Of course I did."
    I disagree with much of what Barack Obama has done, as do most Americans, both Republicans and Democrats. But the fact is that he has advanced what is supposed to be the Democratic agenda. That doesn't mean he should be immune from criticism, because he deserves a lot.
    I'm not suggesting that Democrats should have embraced Obama this election. But those who refused to even admit they voted for him looked like idiots. If they can't be honest about whether or not they voted for a man who was awarded a Nobel Prize just for being elected, can they be honest about anything?