Wow What A Thanksgiving Weekend we had this year

It all started on Wednesday night at my Aunt Bea’s house with my Aunt Bea and Clora, my parents and Avery while we waited for Fran and Family to arrive from Michigan.  The food of the night was going to be Blue Fish that I got from my co worker Tim Szwedo caught on one of his fishing trips.  My dad had marinated the fish for a bit and then grilled them on the grill.  Fran and family arrived right at 6:30 in time to sit down and eat.  We sat around for a bit and talked and laughed.  Avery and I headed out around 8:30 to hit Acme and then to crash out a bit for a bit.

Thanksgiving started for me at around 8:30 in the morning while I got the smoker ready for the big bird cook.  I actually used The Minion Method for the Charcoal burn.  Using this method kept the temp at a constant of 250 degrees for the whole 5 hour cook.  The turkey had been marinating in a red wine marinade sine Monday.  It came out of the marinade a nice dark purple color.  After the smoker had leveled out to a steady temp the Turkey was put on the grate at 9:00am.  I then moved back inside to start work on the Rye Bread Stuffing.  This turned out to be a great stuffing.  After getting that in the oven, it was time to start on another new recipe for Smoked Sausage Jambalaya another recipe that was a hit for dinner.  While working on all of these new recipes I had a pot of Cranberry BBQ Sauce cooking up, which was talked about a lot last year and was requested to be made again.  Other then making gravy and un canning the canned jelled cranberry sauce onto a plate I was really done cooking by 1:30.  My cousin Tim and family showed up around 1:45 and then it was a constant flow of family arriving till about 2:15.  I took the turkey off the smoker at about 2:15 and let it rest till about 2:45 and handed it over to my dad to carve while I got the rest of the food on to the table.   We finally sat down by 3:00 and the food was passed till about 4:30 as well as the great conversation.  The turkey was perfect and moist and had a great smoke ring around it.  The last person left around 8:00 and I was finally able to sit down and relax and to start thinking about Christmas dinner.

Friday was a day of working at some side jobs and going into work for a bit……but dinner was a treat, we did another pizza off at my Aunt Bea’s house, but with a twist…we did white pies only.  We got pies from Top Road Tavern & Pizza, Fedelos Family Pizzeria, Abruzzi Pizza & Cafe, Kings Pizzarama, Palermo’s III(Ewing), Limoncello’s Pizza.  The winner for the second year in a row for the Bilancio Pizza Off was Palermo’s, it now holds the title in both the Tomato Pie division and now the White Pie Division.  It was a fun night just hanging out talking to everyone. Dean brought some beer he had just bottled that day.  It had a great taste but it will be better after it sits for a few weeks in the bottles.  It was an early night because I ate so much pizza that it just made me tired.

Saturday morning started with me heading to my Aunt Bea’s to hang out with my Uncle Fran for a bit, so since I go there early enough I got a home cooked breakfast which was nice.  We all headed our separate ways for a bit to meet back at the house for dinner.  Which consisted of leftovers brought over from my house from Thanksgiving as well ham from Bath Packing.  Dinner was great and of course the conversation was good to.

It was great seeing my uncle Fran and family since it’s rare that we see them much since they are up in Michigan..tried to talk them into coming back for Christmas but since the snow will be flying by then I doubt we will see them till the La Vigna Picnic in July.

Well time to go and see about Christmas dinner now….

To see all the photos from the weekend head over to here.

It’s a Major Award. I won it!

So the WhiteTrashBBQ blog was running a contest called the MUG® Root Beer Father’s Day Brew-B-Q kit give away. All you had to do was write a story about Dad and his grill and why you or your dad deserve the kit. So I sent in a two part story of the times my dad destroyed the meat and vegetables he was grilling. So I won 🙂 I got the fathers day Brew-B-Q kit, the kit included a Mug® themed cooler, apron and all the ingredients to make the MUG® Root Beer Southern Specialty Brew-B-Q Sauce as well as the recipe it self. So here is the story I sent in. Sorry dad had to throw you under the bus for this one. 🙂

The making of my Dad’s Montauk burger

One summer my parents and I went with 6 other couples to spend a week in Montauk. Well on the night that watching the kids fell to my parents my dad had decided to make burgers for all of us. So he went out and bought an hibachi grill and the makings for the burgers. He also stopped and got a bottle of jug wine some Carlo Rossi paisano to be exact . After getting back to the house he got the fire started and a glass of wine in his hand. Then he started getting the burgers made and had another glass or 2 of wine. When the fire was ready he headed out with the burgers and put them on the grill and proceeded to have a few more glasses of wine. So when he finally came with the burgers and served them up one side was as hard as a Charcoal Briquet and the other side was raw…thus we now make sure when dad is going to make burgers for us he isn’t going to make Montauk burgers.

Last year he was working the grill at his nephews wedding and wandered away to talk to family….while he was away the vegetables he was grilling ignited in to a nice blaze of glory. Luckily I was near by and put out the fire….I ended up doing the rest of the grill cooking that night.

Now don’t get me wrong when my dad is focused on the grilling at hand he does a great job it’s when he has had a few to many glasses of wine or there is a distraction such as his brother or other family members that he doesn’t see all the time that things go wrong.

I am now the father of a 16 year old daughter

Well this month I have hit a new milestone in my life. My daughter turns 16 this month. So does this mean boys will suddenly start appearing at the front door, she is going to start driving soon, she is going to get a job and then she will be going to college in a few years. I am sure my dad looks at me now and chuckles to himself as he remembers his son turning 16. I wasn’t that bad as a teenager but I did have my bad points. It makes me feel a little bit older, but it also

So now my daughter is turning 16 and I can see the change in her already, she is becoming more independent and is living her own life without her parents always being there. She is off to the mall more and hanging out with her friends. She passed her drivers ed class with an A+ and aced her written test and is looking at Carolyn’s car with a whole different look….I know in her mind the word “MINE” flashes up when she looks at it. So now we have to get here signed up to take the 6 hour mandatory behind the wheel class then it will be a year of “Can I drive? Can I drive?” all the time. This will be more of a problem for my wife since she has the car with the automatic transmission and my truck is manual. 🙂 See I was thinking when I made that purchase.

I know it sounds like I am complaining but I think it’s great that she is now 16 and is growing up and is starting to make a bigger mark on the world. So Happy Birthday Avery and may you have many more. Hey she can start working now…hmm rent is starting to sound good. 🙂

Catch up with William

This morning I realized I am starting to really turn into my father. Yesterday I caught my self loading the dishwasher and this morning while Karma ate his breakfast I unloaded the clean dishes and loaded in the dirty ones in the sink…now I know I have caught myself doing other fatherisms…I have caught myself listening to public radio on the drive to work, going to bed early and getting up at the crack of dawn (I think this is a Bilancio Family seems all the Bilancio men do this one).

So 2009 has started and we have seen the washing machine die. The repair guy came over and took about 30 seconds to look at it and tell me it wasn’t worth fixing and then charged me $94.00. All he did for his money was turn on his flash light look under the machine ( I had already taken the bottom front panel off) turn on the machine and then turn it off. It didn’t take us long to get a new one. In the 2 hours I took off from work I spent a total of $400 for the repair guy and a new machine.

The TV is the next thing that is probably going to die in the next few months weeks. For the last 2 years our TV has had a green tint to the picture. Lately the yellow gun has been dieing and intermittently been tuning the TV off. So we have been saving our pennies to buy a new TV soon. I guess it wouldn’t be to bad if the TV died, but being a TV addict it would make go mad.

Christmas was a good one this year. I worked with my mom to make a 4.5 course Christmas dinner. We spent all of Christmas day cooking.

First Course

Crab Louie on a bed of Lettuce with a slice of Avocado

Second Course

Beef Tenderloin slatherd in a Mustard Sauce
Roasted Potatoes
Stuffed Tomato
Artichoke Hart

Vegetarian Second Course
Instead of the Beef Tenderloin

Portabello Mushrooms drizzled with Olive Oil and then Broiled. Topped with caramelized onions and sauteed spinach.

Plated with the same vegetable as the beef.

Salad Course

Salad with dried cranberries and pecans drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing

Dessert Course

Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake
Eggnog Pound Cake

Avery has passed her drivers ed class at school and passed the test to take her 6 hours of mandatory driving with a certified driving instructor before she can get her permit. So after March when you see me my hair will have probably gone gray and my left leg might occasionally start pressing the imaginary break as I have flash backs of her driving. 🙂
Avery has also just finished her Midterms and it looks like she will be making the honor roll. (Hey a Fatherism my father was never able to say. 🙂 )

So that’s about all that’s been happening since Thanksgiving. I will be making a better attempt to get more info up on the site. I am working on a big side web project that I have been wanting to get done, but life has been getting in the way. More on that I hope in a few weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving

Here in the United States, it’s Thanksgiving today so no work for William….but I am working in the kitchen cooking t-day dinner for my whole family except for my uncle who is in Michigan with his family…stupid snow.

So the day started at 5am with a quick download of a Gov’t Mule show to listen to while I got the smoker fire up and the turkey on. I got the bird in the smoker by 6:44 and it’s a cooking. 🙂

I have gotten the turkey giblets in the pot with some onions and celery and carrots and bay leafs so the stock simmering an making the house smell great. I have started the Cranberry BBQ Sauce I am using as a dipping sauces. I will be doing starting the stuffing in a few hours as well as the gravy when the turkey is done.

I want to say that I am thankful for my family and friends, even if I don’t get to see my friends all that much.

So have a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends….

UPDATE: Turkey came off at 9:44am it took 3 hours to cook on the UDS

What has happened to the family dinner of my youth

What happened to the big family dinners that I remember from my childhood? Maybe I have watched the Godfather movies too many times or too many Sopranos episodes where the families would get together for dinner on Saturday or Sunday and I am projecting that onto our family, but I seem to remember getting together a lot at 90 Eggerts Crossing for meals when I was a kid.

I don’t mean holiday meals those we still do, just at different locations in Mercer County. I’m talking about the Sunday morning breakfasts and the meals in the yard during the summer with Rose and Louis, Fran and Angelica, Clora and Dean, Henry and Tim, Bea and Ray, John and Bea and Terry and Willie and me and sometimes other family members and friends. Those are the meals I am talking about, and the birthday celebrations with a huge carrot cake and funny hats.

It seems when Rose and Lou died, things began to change. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing when we did get together. It’s understandable that things change. A few of us moved away and we all have families and lives of our own. Sure, today we visit once in a while or meet at wakes or weddings and on holidays. It just seems we are always in a hurry to get through dinner and get back to our lives.

In the old days the adults used to sit around the table and talk back and forth while the kids would go outside or into the other room to play. Now when we get together we are in a hurry to eat and get going. We meet at diners and restaurants too much these days where we are always having to go, so we can’t sit and talk and the food is not as good as if we cooked it ourselves. With the amount of money we spend for our meals we could have better and more food if we were to cook it ourselves.
I get a glimmer of these family dinners I am discussing at La Vigna meetings, when Fran and Corine’s families and Aunt Bea and Aunt Lorriane descend on the beaches of the Jersey Coast or on the days leading up to and after the picnic in the yard at 90 Eggerts Crossing. These glimmers always just make the loss of these dinners felt much more in my mind.

It was these family dinners that gave me the sense of what the family is and taught me to respect and cherish the family as a whole as a child. I feel that my child and my cousins’ children have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of heritage and learning of family.

Saw the Puppies and other things going on…..

Yesterday Avery and I went to York Pa to meet the breeder and see
the puppies. They are so cute. I of course forgot to grab the camera on
my way out the door. But here is one the breeder took last week.

As I said they are so cute and fluffy. We like the blue one with
the black spot on it’s back that is standing in the first picture. When
we got there Monica and David had 3 of there adult dogs out: Ruckus, Cinnamon and Tonka.
All very well behaved dogs. While the puppies were out they brought out
there newest boy Scoot that they got from Australia. A beautiful
spekled dog but big. They also brought out Babe and the puppies mom Bunny. We left there very happy and can’t wait to get one home in 3 weeks.
So now I have to start getting things ready to bring one of the little
guys home. I have to dismantle the Mame Cabnent and move it to the
basement and set up the dogs area out in the front room, as well as
order his crate and other stuff I have to get.

In the computer world of the bilancio life. I got the new
mail/web/FTP server built and burned in and am going to spend the next
few days getting the services up and running and try to get it cut over
on the 4th of July while everyone is out for the day. Then I will be
able to start rolling out Thunderbird to the desktops and get all the
mail stored on the server.

We are getting ready for the 4th of July weekend party which will be
held on Sunday the 2nd. We are wither going to have another Clam bake
with lobsters, but that depends on if my sister in law will be coming
down. If she doesn’t we will have steamed crabs either way it’s a win
win for everyone.

My daughter got her report card this weekend and got all A’s and B’s
so we are very happy with her. So she is moving to the 8th grade. 5
more years and I will be paying for collage.. 🙂

So that’s what’s going on in the Bilancio world……

Happy Cinco de Mayo

is here and the weather is getting great and my wife passed her driving
test so she is now a licensed driver with a provisional Drivers
It’s been a long time coming but she is mobile now. I am very proud of
her…it was a little touch and go over the weekend as we were
practicing parallel parking, but she pulled it out on Monday at her
test and passed on the first try…so she has continued the Bilancio
streak of passing on the first shot…now if my daughter can pass on
the first shot….no pressure there kid. I think one of the better
things we did was paying for driving lessons…we used Princeton Driving School
and were very happy with them. I would recommend them. The only thing I
wasn’t happy with was the amount of time they worked on parallel
parking..not enough….

So now that Carolyn is driving I get to get my truck. I am looking at a Toyota Tacoma.
I have always wanted to get a truck and now that I own a house I need a
truck. You can’t get sheets of dry wall into a Chevy Cavaler, I am
hoping to get it in the next few weeks…then maybe I will get my fence
posts and get them in and then get the fence panels from my buddy Greg
and get the fence fixed 🙂

Work is going well. I am waiting to get the parts for the new mail server. I am going to add Hylafax
to the mix and start having all incoming faxes go threw it and cut down
on all killing of trees and use of toner…I will also make it so that
users can fax from there desks…

So that’s about all that’s going on in the world of William and
family…we are getting ready for the first party of the “Party At The
End Of World 2006 Tour” being sponsored this year by The Restaurant at
the End of the Universe.

Student of the Month and other news

Today was the student of the month breakfast at my daughter’s school. We got a letter about 2 weeks ago letting us know that she was the student of the month. So this morning I got to have a cup of coffee in the school library. They also had some danish and some fruit. Now when I think of breakfast I think of my old Catalink Direct/Elcom days when the sales team would have there monthly meetings. They would bring in the whole spread…eggs, bacon, sausage and other breakfast stuff and of course the omelet station with cook. I was sort of hoping for that this morning..but it was the PTO who brought the breakfast so no omelet station 🙁 ….

In other news easter is just around the corner and that means spring is here. I have to get out to the back yard and replace 3 fence posts and 2 1/2 fence panels before the summer party season starts. We are going to be having the usual 3 parties on Memorial day, 4th of July and Labor day weekends. This summer is looking like it’s going to be a busy one. My mom is throwing her self a 70th birthday party in June..for gifts she wants you to make a donation to something (I don’t remember what right now). Going up there for it will probably be my only trip to Bath this summer. My 20th High School reunion is this summer but it’s scheduled for the same weekend of the La Vigna Picnic in July so I won’t be making that. 🙁

In the work world I am going to finish off the move from the old NT4 network to the 2003 Active Directory network this weekend by going to the Harrisburg office to migrate all the desktop machines over and move all the data from the old server to the new server that is already in

So that’s all for now…

Listening to: Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie – The Best Of Blondie

Merry Christmas

It seems like just the other day I was wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Yesterday was spent doing some last minute shopping and then ended up at work for a few hours. Then headed out for dinner with Avery, Carolyn and my sister-in-law at the Chines Buffet. Yes, I ended up at work on Christmas eve…I decided to get the server room network cabling redone. I used 3 different colors red for Public network(Internet) nics, Orange for the DMZ nics and Green for the LAN NICs/servers. I had to get this done, I was stepping on network cables that were lying on the floor. I also got the KVM wires cleaned up and put an IP KVM on my 2007 wishlist the KVM wires I have now are too bulky and too hard to get routed the way I wanted them.

Well, I have to go and start cooking Christmas breakfast and then start dinner after opening the gifts with the family…… 🙂