Saturday, April 30, 2016

City Sunrise

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the upstairs porch early one morning and caught this shot of dawn breaking over our fair city:

Friday, April 29, 2016


I brought out the telephoto lens recently when I was taking a break during yard work and captured a few shots of the birds in action:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meal No. 1537: Deviled Chicken Thighs

Last night's scrumptious dinner was a return to deviled chicken thighs, which is so simple and so good. I did try yet another version of mac and cheese, though. This version was thick and cheesy and incorporated sautéed shallots and smoked gouda...and best of all, it's skillet-based. I failed to add a vegetable as a second side, and I still couldn't finish all of my dinner.

"Deviled Chicken Drumsticks," by Ian Knauer. In Gourmet, August 2008.

Skillet Mac & Cheese based on "BLT Mac & Cheese," in Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 117, May/June 2016, p. 60-61.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Peach Nehi Ice Cream

I mentioned in yesterday's blog post that the beef tacos on Navajo frybread were more than the crew could handle. What I didn't mention, though, is that we did manage to save a little room for the extra treat of Peach Nehi ice cream, which I made while out cutting the yard..

"Peach Nehi Ice Cream," as detailed in the Southern Living Community Blogs online. Another version that incorporates pureed canned peaches and a little more sugar can be found here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meal No. 1536: Beef Tacos on Navajo Frybread

It's been not quite a month since I last made these, but it was a birthday dinner request, which I feel obliged to honor. For some reason, the tacos were just too huge for the whole crew of us, and no plates ended up clean.

"Indian Frybread and Indian Tacos" and "Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From

Monday, April 25, 2016

Meal No. 1535: Beef Tenderloin Steak Sandwich

It's about time I tried something creative with the delicious leftover beef tenderloin, and tonight I invented a sandwich that sounded good in my head...and that tasted good on my tongue. This was a slab of roasted beef tenderloin on an onion roll with Swiss cheese, caramelized Vidalia onions, roasted red pepper strips, and a Creole mustard garlic aioli. It was darned good.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Meal No. 1534: Slumber Party Breakfast

With nine folks sleeping over last night, I figured I'd better make two pots of coffee and also something we could all grub on. The French yogurt cake was a no-brainer:

But I'd also been wanting to try another one of Buzzfeed's Tasty Video recipes:

This was cinnamon roll french toast bake, and it was only sort of okay. I've tried it now, but it won't likely reappear here.  I make better french toast than that, and I definitely make better cinnamon rolls than that.

"French Yogurt Cake," by Andrew Knowlton. In Bon Appétit, May 2012, p. 30.

"Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake," from the snappy little recipe video folks at Buzzfeed's Tasty.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Meal No. 1533: The Grand Holiday Feast for a Tenth Anniversary

Clockwise, from left: sweet potato casserole,
green bean casserole, apple and bacon stuffing,
turkey with gravy, roasted beef tenderloin
with horseradish sauce

With ten folks around the table, and two others who had to come later in the evening, it was a great night of feasting celebration at the Roediger House. There was a 10th anniversary for a very special couple and I wanted to go all out for the dinner party. So I pulled up the standard holiday meal menu and went to town with it, leaving us all perhaps uncomfortably full by evening's end.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Apple and Bacon Stuffing

Green Bean Casserole

Mookie, in the lead

The sweet conclusion to the evening repast was an apple cake with caramel glaze, a testament to Garrett's baking prowess.

The evening became another grand slumber party, with pool and music and laughter and dancing, with only a limited few insisting that it was necessary to act one's age.

"Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast," Betty Crocker: Holiday Entrées, Sides, Brunches, & More, November 2001, p. 22-23.

"Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce" (p. 296) and "Spicy Horseradish Sauce" (p. 295), from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Compiled and Edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Oxmoor Press (2006).

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," from my sister Allison in Rossville, Indiana.

"Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping," from Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook,  (Oxmoor House, 2006), p. 234-235.

"Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Bacon," from David Venable. From "In The Kitchen with David," on

Friday, April 22, 2016

Meal No. 1532: Not So Cajun Chicken

With a good full week of work all wrapped up, including three days of teaching and two days of observations with administrators, mixed in with several days of afternoon and evening yard work, I found myself ready for a break on this fine cool and rainy Friday night. The meals have been simple lately (or eaten out!), but the choice tonight was a long-time sentimental favorite: not so cajun chicken.

"Not So Cajun Chicken," a dish I regularly enjoyed at Crowley's Old Time Favorites restaurant and bar on Medlin Drive in Raleigh, NC. Credit to Jimmy Randolph for helping track it down. (Another version of the recipe can be found here.)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Meal No. 1531: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

Last night's dinner was a recipe shared by Donna Whitley-Smith and it was delicious as always with the chicken cooked spot-on: braised chicken over Brussels sprouts and shallots, with some of the remaining smashed sweet potatoes from a few days ago.

"Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts," in Everyday Food, Issue 97, November 2012, p. 22.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Meal No. 1530: Eggs on Toast

It's landscaping season, and with my work schedule still full, I'm having to get out into the yard during the precious few hours after I get home and before dark sets in. So I'm not being all that active in the kitchen, which led to last night's quickly thrown-together dinner of scrambled eggs on toast with a couple of tall glasses of cold milk.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tiller Stealer

Back in the spring of 2012, I bought a tiller since I was finally ready to start giving the landscaping around the Roediger House some serious attention:

I definitely put it to good use for those first few years of active yard management. Then, in August of 2015, in between my travels, I came across a strange pile of clay and dirt on the front steps coming up from the street:

Soon thereafter, I happened to give this area in my side yard a double-take:

It is noteworthy for what is absent: that's where the tiller had been sitting for months, under a cover. Guess whoever took it just went down the front steps with it! The day after discovering this, I went around to the two downtown pawn shops but had no luck in finding it again. I reckon it could have gone anywhere. And since it happened when I was on the road and therefore I didn't discover it immediately, my outdoor security cameras had already begun taping over the footage on the DVR that would have clued me in to what happened.

That tiller has joined a wheelbarrow, an extension ladder, and a basketball goal that folks have helped themselves to from my yard!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cookies for a Project CRISS Training

I am starting out my week with a very fine group of coaches and mentors here in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. We are engaged in a Project CRISS training together, and they are responding really well to it.

For our second day of the training, I figured I'd take them a batch of goodies, and the choice for that was white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, which I made this evening. My sample from the first ones to come out of the oven led me to believe I might have overcooked them...they were a little dry. But the rest were more on target, thanks to a reduced cooking time adjustment.

"Premier White Chocolate and Macadamia Pieces Cookies," from Hershey's Mauna Loa. Found online at

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Meal No. 1529: New Year's Day Meatballs

For the Sunday night meal this evening, I went with the Jones family favorites of New Year's Day meatballs and company mashed potatoes, along with seasoned green beans. I was pretty exhausted and, frankly, a bit hungover (since Jay Brown and I stayed up till 5:30 am and played nearly 30 games of pool last night!), so the dinner needed to be doable. It was delicious as well!

"New Year's Day Meatballs," from Carol Fultz and shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (2001).

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Meal No. 1528: Lamb and Mushroom Meat Loaf

On this fine Saturday night, it is a pleasure for the Roediger House to welcome back Jay Brown for an overnight visit. Jay is my oldest friend in the world; we grew up across the street from one another in Buies Creek, and we were roommates in a cool old downtown apartment in Raleigh back in my teaching days. He and his wife Tracy are headed to the mountains to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary, and he came as far as Winston a day ahead so we could have some time to hang out.

On the dinner menu: the Tupelo Honey Cafe recipe for lamb and mushroom meat loaf, along with smashed sweet potatoes and green beans. It was a fine meal for us and really hit the spot before we headed upstairs for beer and pool.

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf" (p. 150) and "Smashed Sweet Potatoes" (p. 128), in Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, by Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2011.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Meal No. 1526: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

Taxes did not prove to be taxing this year, and while I'd cleared three days this week to get 'em done, I ended up being finished by mid-morning today. What a relief! So I was in a relaxed and casual mood late this afternoon when I looked up through the dirty window with the bird feeder at it, and I spied a goldfinch couple enjoying its meager remains. That's the first sighting of the season, and it always makes me a bit giddy.

For dinner, with three at the table, the bowls were filled high with delicious chicken with coronation sauce over basmati rice. We all had our fill, and there was even a portion to send home.

"Coronation Sauce for Chicken," from 400 Sauces, by Catherine Atkinson, Christine France, and Maggie Mayhew. Hermes House (2006, 2008), p. 155.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chapel Hill Night Lights

Back before Christmas, with the incentive of some folks who were new to the Roediger House coming over for a dinner party, I got motivated to hang up three prints from my Chapel Hill days in the pool table area in the recently-renovated attic.

Two of those framed prints are "Chapel Hill Night Lights" posters, made by my friend and fraternity brother Walt Boyle. They feature (mostly) matchbooks from a whole host of restaurants, bars, and other Chapel Hill attractions. He very kindly invited me to work with him on the second edition of it (the one on the right), which was a very cool experience. Walt is incredibly talented and he has a particular eye for design and detail. These are awesome keepsakes and I'm glad they now adorn either side of the main gable window looking out the rear of the attic space.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meal No. 1525: Grilled Porterhouse Steaks

Tonight the porterhouse steaks were grilled almost exactly right and the french fries were crispy compliments to the meal. I had saved a bit of cookie dough so there were even fresh-baked Doubletree-style cookies to finish it all off.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sweets and Goodies of Early April

Some delightful new friends have moved in down the street from the Roediger House, and on Sunday night Deborah and Alaina fixed up a fine meal and were gracious and fun hosts. I figured I'd better make a contribution to the evening and took down a loaf of French yogurt cake.

Then, today and tomorrow, as I conduct a training in instructional leadership for assistant principals here in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, I got a hankering to make this fine crew a batch of Doubletree-style chocolate chip cookies. Once again, I'm enjoying teaching within sight of the house, in the Neill Board Room of the Winston-Salem Foundation.

Of course, I had to sample at least one the night that I made the first batch:

"French Yogurt Cake," by Andrew Knowlton. In Bon Appétit, May 2012, p. 30.

"Doubletree Hotel's Chocolate Chip Cookies," by Ayşegül Sanford and her blog, Foolproof Living. Published December 29, 2013.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Meal No. 1524: Brazilian Chicken with Coconut Milk

Last night's supper at the Roediger House was a one-bowl meal over rice: Brazilian chicken in a savory coconut milk sauce, with lots of tomato and onion. I'd say it was just okay...reasonably filling with perhaps a lot of potential, but nothing particularly compelling.

On another note, even though spring had supposedly arrived here in Winston, with lots of sunny days and warm temps, yesterday and last night told a different story.

It got down to around 30°F (and not as cold as the 26 that was forecast) and yesterday was pretty blustery as a cold front moved through. I snuck out this morning in the bright sunshine and snapped a few shots of the blooming azaleas and iris, which did not seem much worse for that chilly wear.

Line of azaleas along driveway

Great to see so many blooms-in-waiting!

Dianthus in front of the porch

Nicely blooming iris beside the back door

"Brazilian Chicken with Coconut Milk," from MLYIN. Published in AllRecipes Magazine, April/May 2016, p. 27.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Meal No. 1523: Hamburger Supreme

There was enough time on a gorgeous April Monday afternoon to fix myself a good late lunch prior to departing for the rest of the week to work in Virginia. The choice: our family favorite of hamburger supreme, along with the always-necessary buttered corn and my (if I may say so) amazing applesauce.

"Hamburger Supreme," from the late Mrs. John T. (Glynn) Johnson of Buies Creek, North Carolina, via Janice Jones Bodenhamer.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Kevin Blake Johnson: Perpetrator of Poop

This man is Kevin Blake Johnson. Around 1 o'clock on Saturday, January 30, 2016, after wandering around the alley and lot adjoining my property, he finally settled on an area beside my north retaining wall in order to have himself a big poop.

Yes: in broad daylight, and just before a group of young girls came walking down Spring Street.

The words I used when yelling at him from my porch are not worth repeating here, and fortunately he was in enough of an altered or unsteady state that it was a simple matter to keep him in my line of sight while waiting for the Winston-Salem Police Department's bike patrol team to apprehend him over on Green Street. He was arrested and charged with public defecation. This is not his first charge for criminal behavior, as you might expect.

I can tell you that it took quite a while to get over the sickening feeling it gave me when I had to scoop his poop. Publicizing his brazen and disgusting behavior is a selfish consolation to me.

Screen Grab from security video.
I'm not kidding. It's on camera and everything.

I've chosen not to post my other pictures of him here, so as not to catch the regular and casual readers of the blog unawares. More pictures, and video from my home security system, are available by following this link.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meal No. 1522: Chicken Cordon Bleu

Oh, my, my, my. This past Sunday night, with the standard set of four of us at the table, and I think I managed to serve up quite a bounty: chicken cordon bleu, roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted asparagus, southern creamed corn, and an even better version of Gruyère sauce than the last time I tried out this main dish. I suppose I've roasted asparagus and Brussels sprouts before but this was definitely the first time I'd tried southern creamed corn, and it was amazing. That'll have to make repeat appearances on future Roediger House meal menus.

By the way, I left Monday for a few days of work in Virginia, and after the great weather I've enjoyed at home of late, I was not happy to see what was promised in Winchester the next two days:

Sure enough, when I awoke Tuesday morning and went out to the car to go to work, I had to brush the snow off of it!

"Chicken Cordon Bleu," by Tyler Florence from the Food Network.

Gruyère Sauce based on "Le Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan Dijon Sauce," by Ben Rayl from

"Southern Creamed Corn," by Patrick and Gina Neely of the Food Network.

"Roasted Brussels Sprouts," by Ina Garten of the Food Network.

Ideas and Guidance on Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Asparagus from: