Recipe: Cheezy Meat, Rice and Bean Burritos

Ingredients & Preparation
  • 1.25 lb ground beef or turkey meat
  • 1 cup Red Kidney, Black, or Pinto Beans
  • 1 lg Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro leaves (fresh chopped)
  • 1 cup Uncooked White Rice of choice
  • 2 cups Water
  • 4 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 pkg Large Burrito Size Flour Tortillas (8)
  • 1 tbsp Canola Cooking Oil
  • Kosher Salt
Burrito Seasoning from Scratch
  • 2 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt (iodized table salt)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup warm tap water
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
Cooking Instructions

In a medium sauce pot, add 1 ½ cups of water, 1 cup of uncooked white rice, 1 tbsp of cooking oil, 1 tsp of salt. Bring water and rice to a boil, lower to simmer and check frequently till water is completely dissolved. Approximately 15 min.

In a cast-iron skillet or frying pan, brown meat, then strain, and return to pan. It is ready now to be seasoned and cooked.

In a small mixing bowl blend the seasonings using a fork to fold and combine the ingredients evenly. Start by adding ¼ cup of warm tap water and lime juice to seasonings mix and whisk gently. Add 1 full cup or a little less of warm tap water, just enough to dilute mix and whisk vigorously to blend. Pour over browned meat in the skillet and bring to slow boil continuously stirring and folding to blend with meat. Set aside to cool.

You will need a very large bowl or Dutch oven style pot to combine and mix the meat, rice, and cooked beans. Once all are fully prepared and mildly cool, start to combine the three ingredients to make one mixture consisting of seasoned meat, beans, and rice.

Using a ladle or large cooking spoon, scoop two generous scoops of mix on to a flour tortilla laid on a flat surface. Add one spoon size scoop of refried beans in to the middle of the meat pile and spread it a little. Then cover by sprinkling shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the burrito mixture.

Fold and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until burritos start to brown around the edges.

*Serve with fresh made Guacamole, Salsa, and/or Sour Cream

Recipe: Split Pea Soup

Ingredients & Preparation
  • 1 spiral ham bone
  • 16 oz. pkg of split peas (rinsed)
  • 16 oz. pkg baby carrots (split in half)
  • 2 cups of ham (diced or chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 3 qts. water
  • 2 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 Goya ham seasoning packet
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven style pot add 1 tbsp of cooking oil and place on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion and 1 tsp of minced garlic, then cook till onions become translucent but do not let them brown.
  2. Once onions are translucent add 2 tbsp of butter and stir to blend.
  3. Next add 3 quarts of water and a teaspoon of salt (optional) to the pot, bring to a boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling add the spiral ham bone, lower heat to medium, and allow to bone to boil for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Remove bone from water and set aside.
  6. Add 1 qt of chicken broth, ham seasoning packet and stir. Then add peas, carrots, diced ham and return to boil.
  7. Once boiling lower to simmer, slightly crack the pot top to vent, and continue to simmer for a minimum 60 minutes.

Appreciating Music As An Art Form

Author Georgia Cates in her book Beauty from Pain said that “Music is what feelings sound like out loud…” (Cates, 2013), that is profound on so many levels. American poet and writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) said that “music is the universal language of mankind” and while the list of insightful descriptions of music is likely endless, so too can one’s taste in musical styles.

While music as an art form must remain infinite in its diversity to be able to appeal to a broader audience, equally with music genres from Alternative to Zydeco and all types of variety in between, one might argue that there is something in music for everyone.

With respect to taste in music genre and so many parameters to consider, no specific genre could ever solely satisfy my musical palate exclusively. Music has had significance in my life from the very first time I picked up a guitar around twelve years old to how I listen to music now as an adult.

Expressing my appreciation for music in words is very difficult since on any given night if inspired to immerse myself in music I might listen to one or more genres of music but then later physically play music from a distinctively different genre in the same evening.

When it comes to music an art form and the appreciation thereof, it is more about preference rather than good or bad as a valuation. Music is about aesthetics and presentation, thus while a person may have a particular preference in musical style or genre, it seems unreasonable to think that subjectivity can ever be a compliment to appreciating music on the whole as an art form.

Please note the views and opinions expressed in the written works contained within this site are solely those of the individual authors themselves. They are not intended to, nor meant to imply any type of endorsement, professional relationship, or affiliation to any of the individual people, organizations, or associations mentioned in the site’s publication. All written work is the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019.

1968: One of the Most Historical Years in History

The world was changing in 1968 and it was quite possibly one of the most unforgettable years in American history because so many significant things took place that year. At the forefront of this commencing decade both the Vietnam War and The Civil Rights Movement were at full mast. 1968 was the year of the Tet Offensive in North Vietnam which saw an escalation of the American involvement in this tragic war while back home in the United States the public opinion of the war was changing from support for the war to anti-war protest.

It was on April 4, 1968 that following years of civil rights activism James Earl Ray murdered the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee. Then following Dr. King’s death a few months later in August of that same year, that two black athletes staged a silent demonstration at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City by raising their fists during the national anthem in support of the Black Power Movement that was taking place at the time in America.

1968 was also the year that American television viewers saw its first interracial kiss between a white man and a black woman when Star Trek’s Captain Kirk (William Shatner) smooched the USS Enterprise’s African-American Sergeant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and it was televised in living rooms across America in Technicolor as television technology was continuing to advance the transition from black-and-white to full color. In addition, the American media continued to expand itself as 1968 was also the year that the legendary informational news show 60 Minutes took to the air for the first time on CBS.

In June of 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles California, and later that same year in August of 1968, the Republican National Convention (RNC) nominated Richard M. Nixon to run as the republican candidate in the upcoming November election against democratic incumbent then President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the end Nixon would win the presidency with Spiro Agnew on the ticket as his Vice President, but later resigned in 1974 to avoid an impeachment following The Watergate Scandal.

Many other interesting things took place in 1968; NASA orbited the moon with the Apollo 8 Mission that made astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman the first human beings to set foot on the moon. Boeing introduced the first 747 passenger plane, toy maker Mattel introduced Hot Wheels Collectible Cars, and The Beatles introduced Apple Records. Later that year The Beatles released the White Album in America, while overseas in England the renowned Yardbirds appeared for the first time as what later became better known as the legendary band Led Zeppelin and Andy Warhol died.

In 1968 a gallon of gasoline was around thirty-four cents, a gallon of milk was just over one dollar, and a postage stamp was six cents. A new house cost just over $26,000.00 and the cost of a new car was right around $2,400.00. The Zodiac Killer was still on the loose somewhere in California and never found. It was the same year that the Broadway Show Hair opened for the first time and a little bit further down on Broadway the newly relocated Madison Square Garden also opened its doors to the public for the first time.

In sports, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders at the Orange Bowl in Miami Florida to win Super Bowl II in 1968, the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven game set to win the World Series of 68, the Montreal Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in four games to win the Stanley Cup in hockey, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win their tenth championship in twelve years in basketball. Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Speedway, and Cale Yarborough won the Daytona 500. Billie Jean King won the women’s singles tennis championship and John Newcombe won in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon, while in golf Arnold Palmer lost the PGA championship by one stroke to Julius Boros in San Antonio Texas that year.

Significantly my birth year is a shared one with such famous entertainment personalities as Will Smith, LL Cool J, Owen Wilson, Celine Dion, Rachel Ray, Lucy Liu, and Lisa Marie Presley. In addition, with other such iconic public personalities as sportscaster Kenny Albert, Baseball hall of famer Mike Piazza and also former MLB player Gary Sheffield, movie personality Daniel Craig who is currently Agent 007 from the James Bond Movie Series which ironically is one of my all-time favorite film series’ and Ziggy Marley who is the son of the late great music personality Bob Marley. Although the above may appear to be completely random and miscellaneous, for me it is all truly remarkable.

Please note the views and opinions expressed in the written works contained within this site are solely those of the individual authors themselves. They are not intended to, nor meant to imply any type of endorsement, professional relationship, or affiliation to any of the individual people, organizations, or associations mentioned in the site’s publication. All written work is the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019.

Poem: Soulmates Journey

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

Soulmates are born as one but journey through life as two, they think alike and breathe alike at distances farther than the sun.
Soulmates share a spirit and soul, a certain type of presence, and a never ending flow. They share an extra special relationship that allows each of them to grow.

Soulmates can cast a single shadow that may reflect as one, but they also possess a unique connection that can never be undone.

Written By Michael Kruzynski

All written works are the sole property of the author(s) of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019. Photo taken by Tyler J. Hicks, September 2013.

Poem: This Place Inside

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

There’s a place inside a mind that
if one could see one would find,
this place in a heart that

sometimes brands a yearning to depart
There’s a voice in a head that

if one could hear the things it has said,
about this place inside a soul

that yearns to achieve its goal
It’s a place inside where demons hide,

and when one nears the end
they infallibly collide.

Written by Michael Kruzynski

All written works are the sole property of the author(s) of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019. Photo taken by Mike Kruzynski May 2012. Editing and overlay design by Tyler J. Hicks.

Poem: Lust

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

When a heart starts to darken and may be in two
like a wretch veiled in shame in regressive review,
when a spirit becomes broken and afflicted by pain
it may shed all its fear with unbecoming disdain,
and when a conscience ignores the illuminated brain
it may be the mind casting aside an endearing restrain,
when a toiling member seeks beckoning trust
then lust leaves the soul in reviling disgust

Written by Michael Kruzynski

All written works are the sole property of the author(s) of this website and may be subject to copyright law 2019. Photo by Mike Kruzynski November 2019.

Poem: As Long As I Am With You

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

It wouldn’t matter to me if it was just a silly ride on a bike or an adventurous mountainside hike
A fancy night out on the town and a movie or a show, a concert in the park, or just a quiet walk after dark
When I think of all the ways in how our friendship grew, I think of the future and I promise you to always be true
When I think of our life together as still an open book, I know I will be content forever as long as I am with you

Written by Michael Kruzynski

All written works are the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019. Photo taken by Mike Kruzynski September 2019.

Recipe: French Onion Soup

Ingredients & Preparation

  • 6 cans -Beef Consomme (10 oz.)
  • 3 cups -Water or Beef broth (approximately 24 oz)
  • 3 large -Onions (sliced)
  • 1 stick -Butter
  • 2 tsp -Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 lb. -Swiss Cheese Slices
  • 1 cup -Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 cups -Seasoned Croutons
  • 1 bunch -Triple Curl Parsley
    *thin sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  1. On cutting board slice three large onions into thin rings, cut the rings in half.
  2. In a large dutch oven style pot melt butter on low heat, when butter is completely melted add onions to pot and cover. Stir frequently till onions become translucent. Roughly 10 minutes, but do not let them burn or brown.
  3. Once the onions are translucent add 6 cans of beef consomme, water, and Worcestershire sauce then bring to a boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, lower heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes. If using mushrooms add now.
  4. Preheat oven to broil, place crock pot bowls out, set covers aside, and fill each bowl with some croutons.
  5. Pour soup over croutons to fill bowl, allow to absorb a bit, then add more soup till the bowl is just below full.
  6. Cover with two slices of Swiss cheese, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, and place in the oven on a flat baking sheet, on the top rack.
  7. Broil till cheese becomes bubbly, melted, and lightly browned if desired.
  8. Garnish top with parsley before serving

REMINDER: the crock pot bowls will be extremely hot, I cannot stress that enough. Use oven mitts to remove bowls from oven and set aside.

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice or Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 2 medium Onions
  • 1 bunch Scallions
  • 2 Broccoli Crowns
  • 1 (16 oz) bag Carrots (shredded or chips)
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (de-seeded and sliced)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Baby Corn Nuggets
  • 1 (16 oz) pkg Sliced Mushrooms (rinsed)
  • 1 cup Uncooked White Rice, Jasmine Rice, or Lo-Mein Noodles
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
*Asian Stir-Fry Sauce Mix from scratch*
  • 1/4 cup Soy  sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Ginger (fresh ground)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Wasabi Paste
Baby corn nuggets, sliced carrot chips, chopped onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, scallions or green onions
Preparation
  1. Marinate 4 lbs. of boneless chicken breasts in Asian stir-fry sauce from scratch mix, overnight but set aside and refrigerate extra sauce mixture for vegetables.
  2. Brush grill grates with Canola cooking oil and heat grill to 400 degrees and grill chicken breasts.
  3. Once chicken is removed from the grill, chop or cube grilled chicken and set aside to add to mix later.
Cooking Instructions (skillet or wok)
  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil on med heat. Add on onions, carrots, peppers, broccoli, and baby corn nuggets, continuously folding while allowing time for vegetables to soften.
  2. Drizzle stir-fry sauce mix to taste while folding.
  3. Once everything has softened, add chicken and scallions, pour remaining stir-fry sauce mix over top, and stir.
    Makes 4-6 Servings
The finished product

Five Guitar Gods That Left A Lasting Impression On Me


My personal love for BB King and his music comes from the early days of learning how to play guitar as a young teen. At a time in life when learning how to play a blues scale was one of the most important parts of equally learning how to jam. While BB King and Lucille his nickname for his famous black Gibson ES-345 guitar often made it look easy, trying to learn his style required just as much listening time as it did playing time. His music taught me how to be a better listener as well as a better guitar player. BB King’s guitar playing style epitomizes what it means to play an instrument with feeling.


Eric Clapton fondly nicknamed “Slow Hand” or simply EC by his followers, and he is by far the most difficult one of the five for me to define. Eric Clapton’s incorporation of feel and technique is at times paralyzing to watch and his articulate phrasing ability leaves intermediate players like me awestruck. Eric Clapton’s chord progressions are conquerable for even the beginner, but from experience it is fair to say that it takes years of mechanical practice to join the chord patterns with his solo parts. Like fine wine Eric Clapton’s playing got even better with time, especially if one considers his early days with Cream. If the intent is to learn EC’s style then three words come to mind: scales, scales, and scales.


David Gilmour’s picking style makes learning and covering his music one of the single most challenging for me personally. Learning to play his chord progressions and subtle fill lines is at times as baffling as it is tedious. David Gilmour has an elusive open chord playing technique and his extensive use of sound effects in the studio makes learning some his note patterns confusing at times, but it equally compliments the smooth sound he is so well-known for. For the beginner to intermediate player, covering Gilmour’s work takes both time and practice to perfect. One suggestion for learning David Gilmour’s playing would be to learn how to bend notes while staying in tune.


JIMMY PAGE
When Jimmy Page comes to mind so do phrases like “innovator of the trade” or “lord of the riff” because as a rock and roll guitarist, Page’s mind-bending riffs are as widely known and as recognizable as the national anthem. Simply put -he is an iconic Rock and Roll guitarist. Jimmy Page and his innovative ability goes far beyond just his use of the violin bow on song’s like Led Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused for which he renowned for. When one considers the evolution of Rock and Roll into Hard Rock and eventually into what is now known as Heavy Metal, Jimmy Page’s guitar riffs are the embodiment of all. To know Jimmy Page is to know how to drive a power chord home and transition from open chords to barred chords.


Reflecting on Stevie Ray Vaughan is like none other because no matter how one describes his playing it will never change the simple fact that he was gone from us too soon. Vaughan died as the result of a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990 and it was a great loss to the guitar world and those who never had the chance to see him perform live. Once coined the “Pride of Austin Texas” Stevie Ray Vaughan was all about skill and pace. He was blindingly quick and watching him turn a bluesy jam into a ten-minute freestyle like solo was the norm for concertgoers and his Double Trouble bandmates alike. Vaughan’s quick paced rhythms and jaw dropping solos often left onlookers frozen in amazement. Stevie Ray Vaughan was astounding to watch, and he was a highly skilled performer who shared the same two things in common as all the above mentioned do, a love for BB King and a love for the blues.

Please note the views and opinions expressed in the written works contained within this site are solely those of the individual authors themselves. They are not intended to, nor meant to imply any type of endorsement, professional relationship, or affiliation to any of the individual people, organizations, or associations mentioned in the site’s publication. All written works are the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019.

Recipe: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients and Preparation
1- Whole Chicken 3-5 lbs.
3- Leeks (separated and rinsed thoroughly)
1- large Onion (outer skin removed)
1- bag Parsnip (rinsed and cut into discs)
1- 16 oz. bag Carrots (whole baby carrots or sliced)
4- stalks Celery (chopped)
1- bunch Dill (rinsed)
1- bunch Parsley (rinsed)
1- 24 oz. bag of Egg Noodles (any variety of choice)
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Cooking Instructions
1. Boil 4 quarts Water and add 2 tsp of kosher salt to the water, then add chicken + parts and boil 75-90 minutes.
2. Prepare vegetables while the chicken is boiling, skimming the fat from the water is optional.
3. Remove chicken and set aside to cool.
4. Lower to simmer, add carrots, parsnip, celery, onion, and leek. Stir and allow 15 min or more to soften vegetables, then add the whole bunches of dill and parsley, and fold them in.
5. Continue simmering while adding in noodles.
6. De-bone and chop chicken into chunks to return to pot.
7. Once all ingredients are in the pot, continue simmering for approximately 30-45 minutes.

Please note the views and opinions expressed in the written works contained within this site are solely those of the individual authors themselves. They are not intended to, nor meant to imply any type of endorsement, professional relationship, or affiliation to any of the individual people, organizations, or associations mentioned in the site’s publication. All written works are the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws.