Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another recipe - Crockpot Posole

Jalapenos, an most excellent Spanish-Mexican restaurant in Annapolis, serves the most amazing posole soup. A combination of broth, hominy and mole makes it the ultimate treat. Since I do not have that recipe, I had to find something that would suffice. This recipe does not include any mole, but it is something that Tiff likes, so I call the recipe a success. (Recently, I have gone to a spanish market to purchase mole in a jar and prepare as directed. It is not the same, but certainly adds a different, and wonderful, taste). Here is the soup recipe:

2 cans (14-1/2 oz. ea.) golden hominy, rinsed and drained
1 can 4 oz.) chopped green chili peppers, undrained
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or or thighs, cut into 1" pieces
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (14-1/2 oz. ea.) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 TB fresh cilantro, chopped

1) Place hominy, chili peppers, onion, garlic, chicken, tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano and cumin in a 3-1/2 to 5 quart crock pot.
2) Cover and cook on LOW heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
3) Stir in cilantro.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

We have found that the amount of broth is usually not enough for our liking, so we have doubled the cans of broth, as well as the amount of garlic, oregano and cumin. No change in cooking times are needed if you double. We definitely have leftovers with proportionate amounts of broth to "other goodies".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mission Accomplished

As may of you know, I have collected baseball cards. In 1980 and 1981, my dad would bring home packs of baseball cards and, after dinner, we would sit around and open them up. I would trade with the other kids in the neighborhood in order to complete the set. Around 1984 or 1985, I attended my first baseball card show at the Pikesville Hilton. Since I had started babysitting, I had accumulated a little bit of splash cash. I purchased my first 1951 Topps Red Back that very day. 1951 was the first year Topps had produced a baseball card. In addition, the card I purchased (not shown) was #44, Sid Hudson of the Washington Senators. The card, I think, cost me $10. But, it was history. It was from the first Topps series ever. And, the card was nearly as old as my dad. Plus, it was of a Washington Senator, a team that no longer existed.

My collecting of cards continued through the years. Instead of packs of cards, I purchased boxes of cards. Instead of trading, I would attend card stores and purchase what I needed. And then the internet provided me with many more resources to purchase cards (and get rid of those I did not want). I was always dedicated to the Topps brand getting whatever cards needed to complete the set. Always a hand-collated set. None of this cheating of buying complete sets. And while this was happening, always keeping an eye out for other 1951 Topps Red Backs.

My wife would get in the game helping me find the best conditioned cards. No longer was I looking for Mint cards. A card from 1951 merely had to not have creases across the face of the player shown on the card for it to qualify for my set. Players like Yogi Berra, Al Kiner, Duke Snyder, Bob Feller and Warren Spahn were part of this 52 card set.

Only 52 cards to collect and, finally, on December 23, 2008, I completed the set. My dad asked me, what is a completed set? I told him it was 1 of every player in the set. The reason I said it this way is that this set has two variations. Two different players (Gus Zernial and Tommy Holmes) had cards that were produced with different information on them. I have one of the variations of each player. I will continue to search for the other variations of each player and when I get them it will be "extra credit".
I have seen the set valued for around $750 on the internet. As far as I am concerned, it is priceless. Here is a link with a brief description and checklist of the players in the set: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/baseball_cards/baseball_cards_oneset.php?s=1951top01

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today was a good day

What do you do with two kids home on winter vacation? I know, go on a road trip. But, to where? I got it. Let's take them to someplace they could really care less about, like Salisbury, MD, the home of our beloved Salisbury University. And, so, two hours and 6 different bridges later, we pulled into what used to be a much larger parking lot outside the dorms at St Martin's and Chesapeake (corener of Camden and Rt 13). Now instead of parking lot is a new building for teacher's and technology. While all of the dormitories are the same, many academic buildings have been leveled and replaced with much larger buildings of knowledge.

After our tour of Salisbury and some souvenirs for the kids at the University Book Store, we drove where ever alumnus of Salisbury goes at least once during college (instead of classes), Ocean City. Exactly 29 miles away, this spring/summer oasis was a barren land when we got there. When we walked onto the boardwalk, the population on the entire boardwalk increased from 1 to 4. All I was hoping for was a bit of Thrasher's fries and some arcade time at Marty's Playland. Thrasher's was closed, but the arcade did not let me down. A lot of skee balls were thrown and the kids walked away with 4 or 5 pieces of boardwalk plastic momentos each.

So after Ocean City, we head back to Columbia and a surprise visit to the Tuesday night bowling league to see Tiff/mom. She was pleasantly surprised and we managed not to mess her up too bad as she bowled over her average and the team one. So, as to not press our luck, we quickly left to grab some dinner.

If this all sounds like a lot of fun, you are right. It was.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the 1st "night" of Hannukah my true love gave to thee.....

We decided to give the kids their first Hannukah present a little early so they could have time to enjoy it. It was also hidden so we made it into a little game where we gave them clues and they had to figure out what it was and where it was. All of this after they got 1000's of presents from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends of the family, etc... Plus they still have 7 more nights and Christmas at Tiff's parents. We are going to have to add a wing onto the house.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I never really kicked this blog off right. And now that I have my own full bown domain name pointing to it (www.kavalsky.com), I am in business. I used to have www.kavalsky.com on a noisy server sitting in my basement. When we moved 3 years ago, there was no good place to have the server running with easy access for me (I am generally lazy), so I never turned it back on and eventually returned the server to my place of employment.

Then, through very good friends (www.tolen.net), I stumbled across Blogger and the wheels started to turn in my head. I posted the first blog less than a month ago (while "busy" at work) and through their help got it set up with proper domain name redirection. A big shout out to the Tolens!!!!

So, what is going to be here? Well, pictures and stories about the family for one. I will also have some funny anecdotes and pictures (those will usually have a family tie-in as well). And, also, some opinions on things. I mean, that is what a blog is about. I am trying to convince Tiff to actually become a blogger on this site as well so you can get her point of view on things.

With that, much love......

Mitch (AKA Mitchy The Kid)

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Ravens

OK, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. So, I am not going to talk about the questionable call on the pass that was originally ruled not a touchdown, but then there was indisputable evidence to make it a touchdown (I mean that's why nobody is questioning the call today. It was indisputable, right?) And I am not going to talk about the first down run by Russell where it was obvious that he got enough yardage and then after review there was not indisputable evidence to overturn it. So, I get it. We can argue about the first down play, but not about the touchdown. The touchdown was indisputable. The first down play was not. I got it.

But, let me digress. I say go away with instant replay. I would rather have the referees get it wrong or right on their own, then go to instant replay and have them still get it wrong or right. There is something to be said for human error. And I don't care how "important" the game or individual play is. Leave it up to the referees to screw up. But to add technology into the mix and still get it wrong is inexcusable.

OK, I am stepping off the soapbox now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Killer" Chili recipe

In order to thoroughly enjoy the Ravens-Redskins game, I prepared a chili fit for the ages. I have made this several times before. It is a small labor of love (and usually involves my sous chef, Tiff, being very patient with me). I cannot take full responsibility for the recipe as it was originally received through a work cookbook. The real credit goes to Shannon K. who submitted the recipe, but as I cook, I tweak the amount of the ingredients to the whim of the day. I also have "halved" the recipe. In those cases, just pick your favorite types of beans and your favorite meats.

Here is the recipe (it is a doozy):

30 oz peeled tomatoes
60 oz dark red kidney beans
30 oz chili beans
30 oz pinto beans
15 oz great northern beans
1 lb hot patty sausage
2 lbs hot Italian sausage
1 lb kielbasa
1 lb chopped pork
1 lb chopped stew beef
1 lb ground beef
2 tbl chili powder
1 tbl rosemary
1 tbl thyme
1 tbl cayenne
1 tbl cumin
1 tbl oregano
1 tbl pepper
1/2 tbl dill
1/2 tbl sage
1/2 tbl celery salt
3 bay leaves
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn (drained)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Tabasco
1/3 cup Worchester sauce
1/3 cup molasses
20 oz hot salsa
6 oz cheap beer
relleno peppers to taste (I usually add 1)
jalapeno peppers to taste (I usually use 5 or 6)
olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
3 bell peppers (different colors for looks)
a little bit of love :-)

1) place large cooking pot on a low flame. pour the large can of peeled tomatoes and canned beans - including the liquid - into the pot.
2) brown meats in a warmed skillet.
3) while meat is browning, add dry seasonings to the large cooking pot, including bay leaves.
4) stir in all remaining ingredients (including beer), except for onion, relleno, and bell peppers.
5) DO NOT drain skillet before removing the meat. Instead, transfer meat via slotted spoon into the large cooking pot. clean skillet.
6) sauté chopped onion, relleno, and bell peppers in olive oil and crushed garlic in clean skillet. Add to chili.
7) test chili before adding jalapenos, then add them. DON'T FORGET TO ADD THE LOVE!!!
8) simmer chili to desired thickness
9) remove bay leaves before serving.
10) serve with large amounts of cold beer or iced tea and cornbread or French bread.

By the way, the Ravens handled the Redskins rather easily and I was able to win my weekly football pool. :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tiff's New Boyfriend

She likes them shiny and hard. She loves it's movements and the way it spins around and around. With her new toy at the house, I guess I have become somewhat obsolete. To all of the other husband's out there, how do you cope when your special place in your wife's heart has been taken up by this....this....this mixer?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Does this surprise anybody?

Does this picture of my dad sleeping surprise anybody in the least? This was taken during a trip to the Outer Banks (North Carolina) in a place called Howard's Pub in Ocracoke Island. The funny thing was that there were 20 other guys hanging around and once he fell asleep, we all vanished. The other patrons in the restaurant had a good laugh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What do you think?

One of my buddies sent me this a few months back. He thinks this is my baby picture. What do you think?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Coming soon!!

Give me a bit of time, but this will soon be THE place to go to find out about Hanna, Jake, Tiff and myself. Hopefully, I can figure out how to direct www.kavalsky.com to here instead of using kavalsky.blogspot.com. We'll see. Baby steps.