Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Chicken Cashew

I need to start eating better. It would help if I knew how to cook. To that end, I purchased a couple of cookbooks. 

My wife and I purchased this many years ago on our honeymoon in Disney World. That was a long time ago and to be honest, we never used it. It sat on our shelf for years, forgotten. It wasn't until the fire in our home that I remember it. 

I purchased a new one off of Amazon and made a pact with my wife to use it once a week. Despite the cover, it is not a kid's book. I swear. This is a great cookbook. It was probably published in 1989 or so. They have listings for "Walt Disney World Shopping Village" restaurants, but no listings for MGM Studios. 

This week I made two different recipes. I'll start with the one that got 5 stars - Chicken Cashew. 

This cookbook is broken down by typical food types but also breaks them down by restaurant and theme park. Chicken Cashew was offered at the Polynesian Village Resort. It's delicate ginger and cashew-flavored chicken breast. 

This is the prettiest picture of 
raw chicken I have ever taken.

The ingredients are simple: Chicken breasts, white wine, butter, ginger, chicken broth, bouillon cubes, cashews, cornstarch, and water. With a dash of pepper and salt.  

The chicken is pan-fried in butter until golden brown. In a different pan, brown the cashews. When nice and golden brown, put both aside. 

Take the bouillon, broth (or chicken stock), wine, and ginger and simmer for 15 minutes. Slowly add water and cornstarch to thicken. 

When everything is done, plate it up.

Now, the cookbook offers no details as to what this chicken is served with, so I had to improvise with veggies and starches. Snow peas would have been amazing as would fresh green beans. I didn't have those so I made broccoli. For a starch, I made Carolina rice. 

I could see this working with noodles of some kind, but not potatoes. 

Anyway, here is what it looks like: 

You'll notice that my plate has an extra ingredient, cauliflower. This is because I am diabetic. I can't handle a lot of rice. The little cup holds about 1.5 to 2 oz. of rice. 

Now, I have teenage children, three of them. I paired this with about 4 cooked cups of rice and a pound of broccoli. Since the recipe states "serves 6", I have enough for a full lunch and enough rice and veggies for a second lunch or a few snacks. 

The family's response to this one was 5 of 5 stars, "definitely make this again". That was a real confidence builder. 

I might as well mention the wine I used. I picked a nice California wine, Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc. It's not the best wine, but it serves for cooking and is easily obtainable. It is dry with some fruity notes. I've always wanted to say that about a wine. Anyway, it would be fine before dinner or with a rice or pasta dish. Being a dry white, it has a surprisingly refreshing ending. 

Circling back to the cookbook itself, this 33-year-old book is still fairly available at a good price. Apparently, there are a couple of editions, ranging from 1986 to 1990. All of them are basically the same. Click this link for Cooking with Mickey Around Our World at 

Alternatively, you can check with to see if they have a copy. 

Just so you are aware, this cookbook dates back to a time when Disney Cast Members would give visitors recipes on request. Typically, they were handwritten on the spot. A few were popular enough to typewritten (on a typewriter) and photocopied. As a result, there are some typos and editing errors in this cookbook. I find it more charming than confusing. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Tis the Season of Audible

Amazon's Audible is the ultimate gift for the person who has everything. Each month, subscribers can select a title from Audible vast library audiobooks plus select items from Audible's library of free originals and podcasts. Credits roll over if you are waiting for an upcoming release, so it's easy to manage your account. 

I've downloaded so many books like The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington and, a collection of books by by Alastair Reynolds. Each one is read to you by outstanding orators like John Lee or Charlton Griffin. 

Now if you don't like what you hear, Audible makes it easy to return one title for another. It's so easy. 

Not only do I have an Audible account, but I also got my kids each an account. At just $15 a month, it's an educational steal. Gift plans are available for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and all year. With this program, the more you purchase, the better the discount. A one-time purchase of 12 months of Audible is only $150, a savings of about 16%.  

If ordering for yourself, check out their deals. Try Audible Premium Plus and Get Up to Two Free Audiobooks

Give it a try today. 

Amazon's Holiday Gift List

Amazon customers can now easily create, manage, and share one list of gift ideas that everyone in their household might like to receive for the holidays. No more juggling multiple wishlists!

To create a gift list, simply click the following link: Gift List to get started. Hit the create list button and you are off. Enter some basic information: your name, the name and date of the event, your state and select the desired shipping address. Then shop to add items to your list. Amazon saves the list and you can share it with friends and family. Alternatively, you can keep the list private and use it as a checklist for your shopping needs. 

Friends and family who purchase items off your list have two options: ship to your home or ship to their home. The Gift List updates itself when items are purchased. After the gift arrives, Amazon will let you know who sent it, making sending those thank you cards easy. 

Why not give it a try today: 

New Bounty Program: Holiday Gift List

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Review - Lenovo 300e Chromebook

We've got a lot of Chromebooks going on here. This one is my daughter's Lenovo 300e which is ostensibly to be used for school work aSometimes, anyway. Notice the power cord. It typically isn't charged when it needs to be. 


Here are the stats: 

  • Screen Size: 11.6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Processor Model: Intel Celeron 
  • Processor Model Number: N4000
  • Processor Speed (Base): 1.6 GHz
  • Solid State Drive Capacity: 32 gigabytes
  • System Memory (RAM):  4 gigabytes
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon R4
  • Operating System: Chrome
  • Battery Life: (up to) 10 hours
This Chromebooks greatest weakness is its strongest feature: the storage space. Being designed for Education, children should not be saving stuff to the hard drive. The machine is meant for the cloud. And as a cloud-based machine, it does very well. The wi-fi is solid, as is the Bluetooth. 

As a sub $300, sometimes sub $200 machine, it has some lacks which make it a true cloud machine. There is no HDMI or Ethernet port. 

The speakers are mildly ok, which is actually desirable in the classroom. It does have a headphone jack which is the preferred method of listening for students. The stereo headphone jack also has microphone capabilities. The screen has the same performance factors as my HP-14dk1000 laptop in a smaller format, locked in at 1366x768. For schoolwork, this is just fine due to the assumed connectivity issue. Students won't plug into their phones and such for images of high enough resolution to make a difference. 

It has 2 USB A and 2 USB C ports, where one of the USB C ports is used for charging. Battery life is great if your child charges it. It also includes a standard camera and microphone, built-in. They are fine for Zoom or Google Classrooms. The lappy is rounded out with a micro-SD card slot. 

Normally I don't mention the frame or case, but the frame is solid with no flex and the case has a variety of textures for easy gripping. 

Performance is nice for basic Google Drive Work. It will run good-sized videos at a decent rate. At least for 1366x786 resolution.

As an educational laptop, it doesn't have guest mode or other features. It is a managed device. If you purchase one of these "refreshed" or used, it should be unassociated with the school district. If it isn't, I would suggest returning it. School districts have a protocol in place to release products for "refreshed" or "renewed" sales, it's worth money to them. If you find your "renewed" Chromebook has an administrator account, it is probably one of the zillion computers lost or misplaced by a child. It probably won't be worth the effort of "fixing" it even if you find such things to be trivial. 

Try a reputable reseller if at all possible. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Review - Acer CB311-10H Chromebook

I have several Chromebooks to support my websites and my kid's educational needs. I will be looking at the Acer CB311 series of machines, but today I am reviewing the Acer CB311-10H. 

The black CB311 on the left, as compared to another 311 model on the right.

Display size: 11.6 Inches
Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768 Pixels
Hard Drive: 64 GB SSD
Graphics Coprocessor: Intel UHD Graphics 600
Wireless: ‎802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth

This is a sub-$300 machine, very often coming in at a little over $225 on sale. It's a lightweight machine for basic computing. At 2.42 lbs (1.79 Roman Catholic) the 7.83 x 11.65 x 0.71 inch machine feels solid. It even passes my one-hand carry test, where the machine still responds to the keyboard and trackpad while walking around. It doesn't flex at all. It's a rubberized, bombproof basic. 

The wi-fi is good and it has built-in Bluetooth capabilities. It features two USB ports, a pair of USB C ports, one of which is for charging, a micro-sd card reader, and a headphone jack. There is no large card reader or Ethernet port, which really shouldn't surprise you at this price point. 

The 11.6-inch diagonal screen feels well proportioned to this laptop but is on the small side. The resolution is capped at 1366x786 which isn't horrible on 11.6 inches. It plays video well enough but you can forget about 4k even though the dual processors and graphics card could maybe do it. It is also not a touchscreen, so there is that.  

The standard laptop camera and mic pair are fully functional and work rather well. However, you won't be mixing A/V on this machine without Linux. 

The one kick in the pants right out of the box is the speakers. It has two but they seem very poor on the first boot. Oddly, if you run the update they actually improve. I am not sure why this is, but it was a nice save by Acer. Granted, these are laptop speakers. Don't expect too much. Running Youtube or YouTube Music natively is nice and the machine does an adequate job of audio rendition. It's not like you work in a dance club. 

The other downsides are the lack of a mic jack, HDMI, and the previously mentioned Ethernet port. Well, it was cheap. USB do-dads are an option but I only use an external mic even though the internal mic and camera are nice. 

The CB-311-10H is not a touchscreen unlike other 311 models. 

Additionally, the lappy runs Android Apps and of course has all of the Google Drive features that are standard on modern Chromebooks. I also have Ubuntu 16.04 running in Crouton, so while the 4 GB of memory seems light, it is functional for basic work. 

All and all, this basic sub $300 laptop earns a solid 3 stars. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Prime Video Deal in time for The Tomorrow War

I love me some cheesy time travel movies. And I hear The Tomorrow War delivers. 

Amazon is offering a free trial for Amazon Prime which includes Amazon Videos. The trial should grant enough time to watch not only The Tomorrow War, but many other offerings. Go ahead and give it a try. 

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Audible Deal

Amazon is offering a couple of deals on Audible right now. Audible Plus, because why wouldn't some add "Plus" to the name of a product?, is $7.95. Click this link to Try Audible Plus 

Plus Premium is $14.95 a month.Try Audible Premium Plus and Get Up to Two Free Audiobooks during your first month. Don't worry, unused credits roll over each month.

Both pair nicely with a Fire. I have a seven-inch, but the 8" is a steal, too.