The Domestic Me – The Institute For Teach Cook: Episode Two – Culinary Art – Installment One: An Actual Recipe

Hello again, gentle reader. It’s time for, yet, another lesson on how to lead a successful life in the kitchen. This time, I’m actually going to give a real recipe! How about them apples?

Actually, there are no apples involved with this concoction, but there is a half a banana, so I figure the colloquialism kinda fits. They are, after all, both fruits.

Several months ago, I fell prey to a recipe shared on Facebook for a home-made milkshake using vanilla, unsweetened coco, bananas, ice, almond milk and a blender. It was awful. Really awful.

But the general idea intrigued me, and since that time I have been experimenting   on my own with my own idea of ingredients.

I believe that I have come up with a winner.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend (Heather) about my concoction, and she asked me to send the recipe to her and our mutual friend (Roberta)…

So here’s the recipe…

What you need:

  1. Blender, one each
  2. Banana, one half each
  3. Ice Cubes, twelve each
  4. Packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast, one each
  5. Metamucil (optional, but I highly recommend it), sort of a small spoonful each
  6. Chunky Peanut Butter, one small glob each
  7. Almond Milk, 8 ounces each
  8. Tall Drinking Cup (I use a 20 oz. shaker-mixer-cup-thingy – see photo below), one each
  9. Really Long Straw (I use this clear plastic tubular object that I thought was a really long straw, but which my wife later identified as a ‘Stirring Rod’. I’m including a photo below so that you may be able to identify it if you ever see one in real life), one each

What you do with all of this stuff:

  1. Carefully, even gently, dump it all into the blender
  2. Turn the blender on ‘High’
    1. My ‘High’ setting is labeled ‘Ice Crush’
    2. Yours may be something other than that – perhaps something like ‘Hyper-thermonuclear-atomic-nutrient-conglomerator-button’
    3. Or it may be something like the afore mentioned ‘High’
    4. Whatever your particular setting is, press that button
  3. After a very short time, turn the blender off
  4. Look for the lid (to the blender)
  5. Put the lid on the blender
  6. Refer to step 2

While the drink is mixing, you should:

  1. Clean up the mess that was created when you forgot to put the lid on the blender prior to starting it the first time
  2. Place the unused half of the banana inside some sort of zip-lock baggie contraption and put it into the refrigerator for future milkshake endeavors
  3. Put the rest of the stuff you are finished with where it belongs (pantry, trash, dog’s food dish, etc.)

When the mix looks like it’s completed, hit the ‘Off’ button again> open the blender lid> pour what’s inside into the 20 oz. drinking cup> stick one end of the straw into the cup> stick the other end of the straw into your mouth> suck.

Then say, “Wow! That’s really GOOD!”

I had set up a the kitchen with all of the stuff required to show you how to make this stuff, and enlisted my beloved wife to video me explaining the process. The whole thing went off without a hitch – it was perfect!

Except that Judy shot the whole demonstration using the ‘Time Lapsed” setting instead of the “video” setting on my iPhone.

BUT – it came out even more appropriately (for this blog, anyway) than if we had shot in video mode. You just have to read my lips and follow along.   Very quickly. But it WILL save you time…

Stirring Rod (Really big drinking straw)

stirring rod

Tall Drinking Cup


By the time I had thought of including a photo, I had already finished drinking my shake. It was good.


Bill Goes To The Symphony

Apparently, Judy has decided that she wants to prove to somebody that she can take me somewhere, so we met in Fresno last night to attend a concert of all of Beethoven’s piano concertos. (Actually, it was just a few of them as it was the first of three evenings in a row during which time the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, along with guest concert piano player Antonio Pompa-Baldi, will plow through the whole collection.)

All in all, it was an evening filled with beautiful, dramatic music, highlighted by amazing performances by Pompa-Baldi.

Honestly, the guy is amazing. I am convinced that his fingers are at least 12 inches long. I have never seen fingers like that on any other human being. I’m pretty sure he can cover the distance of three octaves on the keyboard between the pinky and thumb on one hand.

Additionally, I was seriously trying to count them (his fingers) during times when he was at rest, waiting for the the orchestra to get to the point where he would come back into the mix. I really thought he had 6 fingers on each hand. In fact, I wanted to stay after the concert to meet him just to count his fingers, but that was not to be.

And there were parts where he played entire parts with his right hand while is left was resting on his thigh! Like I said – amazing.

If you have never experienced a concert like this, I highly recommend  it to anyone who needs a little culture added to his or her life. 

However, if you do decide to expose yourself to this, I would caution you to pay attention to some of the finer points of proper audience etiquette, as well as give you some important knowledge of symphonic nomenclature. 

The top things I learned at the symphony concert last night:

10. No matter how many fiddles are in the orchestra, they will never, at any point during the performance, play Turkey In The Straw. No matter how hard you beg.

9. They are not ‘fiddles’. They are ‘violins’. 

8. Some of them are not ‘violins’, they are violas’.

7. Violin players show their appreciation by waiving their wands in the air in unison.

6. They are not ‘wands’, they are ‘bows’. 

5. Just because the music stops, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to aplod  aplawed  aplaude  clap.

4. If the musicians get up and leave the stage, it may not really be time to go home. 

3. Nobody will notice that you have fallen asleep if you nod off in time with the music.

2.  Contortions, spasms and other deformations exhibited on the featured piano player’s face and/or body do not necessarily indicate an epileptic seizure.

1.  There is no such thing as a ‘concert piano player’.


My New Favorite Voice Mail Greeting

Almost everybody in America has a phone of some sort. Many people have a voice mail box attached to their phone number. Some have them on their cell phones. Some people have them on their home phones. Some people have them on their work phones. 

Many of the millions of people who have voice mail of one kind or another are not satisfied with whatever default greeting is attached to their mail box (usually something like “The person you are trying to reach is not available. Please leave a message at the tone and whoever that person is will probably eventually hear your message and may decide to call you back.”), and are compelled to create one of their own.

People decide to create their own greeting for many reasons. “It’s more personal,” or “I want to cheer people up when they call,” or “I hate to get phone calls and I want everybody to know it,” to name a few.

Today I ran across one that I immediately fell in love with. It is attached to the voice mail box of a friend whom I hold in high regard (even more so, now). It was warm, friendly and cheerful, yet not sickeningly so; and while it was quite welcoming , it succeeded in  conveying it’s message in a professional and courteous manner. It really was refreshing. 

And it was, to quote the person who’s greeting it was, “unpretentious” and “honest.” And this is what made me ‘fall in love’ with the greeting.

What did it for me was then final statement in the greeting. It goes like this:

“Have the best day you can.” 

Now that is coming from a person who sincerely wants you to be happy and, yet, understands that you may be laboring under a nearly unbearable burdon. It’s not just honest, it’s brutally honest. 

It’ almost like, “Look, I know you are having a really awful day, but try to be positive and look on the bright side. You’re not dead. So, even though your day sucks, get over it and have as good a day as your lousy circumstances will allow. Even if it only brings it up to the level “crappy”. 

Is that not the just the best line you have ever heard of in a voice mail greeting?