Mack's Corner

This Week

The Tree Stand 

I've got the greatest Christmas tree stand, it will hold any size trunk, it's got 8 screws clamps to hold the tree and you can make all kinds of small adjustments to stand it up straight just by turning these 8 screws. It holds about a gallon of water, it even has a place to put the water in without pushing the tree over, and it's green. Of course it costs about $60 but that's better than me standing there holding it. Before I was married I lived in midtown with 2 guys. We didn't have any money so we had to go cheap on trees and stands. We usually waited until the boy scouts gave up on tree sales, usually Christmas Eve day, and would go take one of the 3 trees left. They all looked like Charlie Brown's tree. One year one of the guys knew somebody who was selling trees and he got a pretty good one. It even had one of those 2x4 stands nailed to the bottom, the kind they put on the trees that they stand out in the front of the lot (just 2 pieces of wood nailed together). So we had a tree and a stand. The guys were trying to stand it up but it kept falling over. They put folded paper under 2 of the legs, put bricks on the other 2, stuffed boxes under it, nothing worked. I watched them for a while, this could have gone on for days, but it was obvious to me, it was simple. I got a hammer and 4 big nails and as my 2 friends stood there in shock, I nailed the stand to the floor, right through the 2x4's, right in to the hardwood floor, best tree stand I ever had …. What was hard about that? ….

Icicle theory: When I was growing up the biggest controversy at Christmas was Icicle theory. My brother and I believed in the "Random Clump Theory" and my mother believed in the "Precise Placement Theory".  The Random Clump theory says that you can sit on the couch watching the football game and randomly throw clumps of icicles, as much as half a package, at the tree. If they all happen to end up on one side, well that's the way they were supposed to be, we were just providing the initial energy they needed to get to their final destination. The Precise Placement theory stated that each icicle would individually be placed (and sometimes moved later) in the exact place it needed to be, to uniformly cover the tree and create a perfect balance with nature, usually 5 - 6 packages of 1000 each. Precise placement always won. The best thing about icicles is that you don't have to take them off when you get rid of the tree, if you had to do that, I might have been able to sell the Clump theory a little better …..

Here's the genius of our little crummy tree:  So! After we nailed the tree to the floor we did the "Package clump theory" ... open the package, grab all the icicles and throw them at the tree someplace ... Then!!!!  We had a Christmas ornament party. Everybody who comes to the party has to bring an ornament for the tree and stuff to eat ...  All the crazy "Precise Placement Theory" people who can't stand the clumps of icicles will re-arrange them for you!!!! The tree gets decorated, you get free food. And the house is a mess, same as it was before the party ..
God's like that: Sometimes solutions to problems are very straight forward, God may have to rearrange things a little so you can see it, but you'll figure it out. The trick is to wait for the Clumps to go away. It's always good to wait and see what God will do, especially if you ask him for help.
I wonder if I make an icicle that repels itself from other icicles. Then you could just drop the package on the top of the tree and they would scatter perfectly..


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

Here's another one from  "How to cook everything" by Mark Bittman. This is the best beginner-cook cookbook ever.
Roast Pork with Sage and Potatoes
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced fresh sage or 2 tsp dried
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 3-4 lb pork loin roast, bone-in or 1-2 lb boneless roast
Preheat the oven to 425
Mix the garlic, sage, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Put the potatoes in roasting pan or skillet (oven proof) that's big enough to hold the roast too. Toss the potatoes with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of the garlic/sage mixture … Place the roasting pan in the oven while you prepare the pork ..
Cut 4 or 5 slits in the pork and spread them with your fingers and insert the remaining garlic/sage mixture. Spread the rest over the top of the pork. Put the pork on top of the potatoes and pour a little olive oil over the top, just a little … Put it all back into the oven.
Roast for 30 min undisturbed ..
Remove it from the oven and stir the potatoes, scraping any stuck to the bottom of the pan .. baste the pork with the pan juices ..
Turn the oven down to 325 and continue to cook, stirring the potatoes every 15 -20 min.
If you have a meat thermometer that you can put in the meat and leave, now is the time to put it in… we're going for 145 degrees
It should cook for another hour or so … if you only have an instant read meat thermometer, start checking after the first hour … When you get to 145 -150 remove the meat from the oven to a plate or cutting board and let it rest 10 -15 min..
While the meat rests, turn the oven back up to 450 to crisp up the potatoes. Remember to scrape the bottom of the pan….
A salad on the side and you're done… less than 15 min of work…
Feed your family or serve it as a nice dinner for 2 with leftovers = potatoes for breakfast. Pork sandwiches for lunch … or just make it for yourself .. this is great, easy, and cheap.



Posted by Mack Oates at 9:58 AM