, , , , , , , , , ,

Well dang, what a roller coaster few days it’s been!  Starting off with a major blue screen crash of my beloved 7-year-old (!) Dell Inspiron, tricked out with Windows XP, 1 GB RAM and Office 2003.  2006 anyone?  Hey, back in the day she was a pretty decent machine.

So I shouldn’t be surprised that I was running on borrowed time.  I knew Microsoft was going to pull the plug on Windows XP support in 2014, and I knew that that old laptop couldn’t hold much more than what she already had on board.  Outdated IE, outdated Office, painfully low RAM…it was a flashback every time I came home!  But she was fabulous…and I’m hoping I’ll be able to recover data and move forward (the nice people at Dell are sending me an XP CD with hopes we’ll be able to do an OS reinstall).  Serves me right that I danced on the tightrope, so to speak, with no safety net such as an external hard drive.  Nope, I rode hard and fast.  Someone even told me, “Fivenineteen, if you got seven years out of your laptop, that’s like driving 500,000 miles on your car and never needing it repaired.”  Wow, that puts it in perspective alright!

Now I am the proud and happy owner of a Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook, sporting 8 GB of RAM and a solid state drive for starters.  With Office 2013 and Windows 8.  Wow, I need a seatbelt she boots up so fast!  One gotcha I discovered right away is that this Ultrabook does not have any Ethernet ports.  So until my docking station arrives, I purchased a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and it’s working great.  Another gotcha:  this machine is completely wireless.  So if you were like me with no wireless router in the house (the old Inspiron was too clunky to be portable) it was off to Best Buy to purchase one and fiddle around getting it configured.  Which I’ve now done – hurray!  I had to completely power cycle my cable modem – unscrewing the cable connection and reconnecting it after a few minutes, not just powering it on and off by unplugging the power supply.

First World Problems, I know.  I have much to be grateful for…I wasn’t in the middle of crucial job hunting, what data I’ve lost is just “stuff” and I’m not in financial hardship making this new purchase.

Now…how about a switch to food, anyone?  At my new job my whole team has to work overnight one weekend a month. See last month’s post on how my debut weekend went!  We were mentally preparing to work overnight last Saturday into Sunday, but we got an emergency notification Saturday evening that our work was postponed; things were too unstable already to justify any additional changes being introduced into the environment.  WOW!  Given what I heard, I think it was a completely appropriate decision.  But now, what to do?  I’d basically written off my Saturday evening and Sunday socially and now I was free!

J to the rescue! How wonderful he was around and wanting to meet up spontaneously!  I was painfully low on groceries (food is provided when I go to work late at night so I had not stocked up on anything), but he showed up ready for a wonderful, late dinner and breakfast too!  How fabulous is this?

Honestly, I’ve not made meatballs in what seems like forever, but we dove in, got our hands dirty and winged it something fabulous with this recipe!  I’ll loosely call it a recipe…the ratios of what we threw into the mix were not measured, but I was able to recall what we used – take a look!

Meatballs (gluten-free).  All spices are dried (from a jar).  Preheat an oven to around 325 or 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a broiler pan with tin foil.

And…go for it with random amounts of the following!

  • Equal parts of ground beef, ground pork and ground sausage
  • Red wine
  • 1 egg
  • Jack Daniels (whiskey)
  • Olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce (I use a wheat-free, vegan version)
  • Tomato Paste
  • Minced fresh onion – yellow or white
  • Minced garlic (from a jar is great, or mince fresh garlic)
  • Turmeric
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Paprika
  • Basil
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Allspice

Plop everything into a large bowl…wash your hands…and DIG IN!  Mix with your hands like crazy.  Form small meatballs (around golf ball size) with your hands and place onto the foil-lined broiler pan.  Bake until done (could be 20-30 minutes…honestly I didn’t keep track).  ENJOY!

I hear that gluten-free meatballs can be challenging without stuff like breadcrumbs, but these held together wonderfully.  I’d probably skip the Allspice next time, as it’s more suited toward recipes for coffee cake or other sweets.

Breakfast was Cowboy Style…broiled steaks with spices, scrambled eggs and hash browns.

Buon Appetito!