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Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog Swap with Dave Cunix

As a part of today’s Ohio Blogging Association’s Cleveland November Blog Swap, I’m happy to introduce you to Dave Cunix from Again? Really?

Bloggers from around the Northeast Ohio area are guest posting on one another’s blogs today as a way to introduce our readers to other members of the blogging community.

For a full listing of blog swap participants, you can visit Poise in Parma .


- Kristian

The Joy of Eating

Thanks Kristian. I’ll be gentle.

This blog, Adventures of a Trapped 300 Pound Man began in August 2008. As I was reading the introduction, I was struck by Kristian’s decision to dedicate this blog to his “love-hate relationship with food and the adventures it helps create”. He then promised to share recipe experiments, food/location quests and other food related thoughts.

I have never had a love-hate relationship with food. Love? YES! Hate? Unless we are discussing the canned asparagus that my mother cooked till the little spears begged for mercy, no, I have never hated food. But I have had to restructure my diet and better utilize food as a source of fuel. This only led to a greater appreciation.

As I disclosed in my Pumpkin Pie post last year, I really did weigh 255 pounds in June of 2003. This is not obese for a man of my height (6’3”), but I certainly wasn’t svelte. I was enduring my annual physical when my doctor diagnosed that I had borderline high blood pressure. I could no longer carry the weight that I had put on since ending my weekly basketball game six years earlier. He gave me three months to lose 15 pounds or I was going to have to take medication.

I was motivated. I created a low-carb diet and followed it religiously. By my next visit I had lost twenty pounds and had reduced my blood pressure to an acceptable level. The doctor was pleased and we both wondered if I could lose a little more.

In one year I lost 80 pounds. I was too thin. A doctor friend asked if I had had bariatric surgery. I modified the diet and regained 15 pounds by September 2004. I have hovered between 190 and 195 since then. There was no exercise involved. The combination of a low carbohydrate diet and a lot of discipline has allowed me to stay at this healthy weight. I don’t find it difficult, in part, because of all of the tasty foods I have to eat.

I have adapted a lot of recipes to be both lower carb and Kosher, since I keep a Kosher home. This just adds to the challenge. I have posted recipes for main courses and desserts on my blog interspersed with posts dealing with politics, religion, and anything else that could be fun to discuss. For Kristian I decided to post a quick recipe that I just created last weekend. The goal is always the same: good food that doesn’t weigh you down with sugar and flour. This is not gourmet. It is dinner. But it is dinner that is worth eating and sharing.

Miracle Chicken

You have probably made some variation of this. It is incredibly easy.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Two Chicken breasts, each a little less than ½ pound
Miracle Whip
Roasted Red Pepper (Make your own or buy from the store)
Almond Meal
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

  1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Place in a Pyrex baking dish.
  2. Smear Miracle Whip on to the breasts. Be careful not to contaminate the jar of Miracle Whip.
  3. Put small pieces of the roasted red pepper on top of the chicken.
  4. Sprinkle some almond meal over the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and give the chicken 10 more minutes in the oven to crisp the coating.
Serve with a tossed salad, a good place to use the rest of that roasted red pepper, and some steamed broccoli. You have never had chicken this moist.

It has been fun sharing with you. I hope that you will come and visit Again? Really? some time.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Sometimes Festival Hopping Doesn't Go As Planned.

With as many festivals as there are in Ohio, I sometimes get rather ambitious. That's especially the case now as the core of the season is coming to a close and festivals explode all over the state one more time for a last hurrah.

Of course, now that fall is upon us, the days are getting shorter and the festivals sometimes only last a day, usually ending by 5. Throw in some rainy weather and it can make scheduling a festival trip rather frustrating.

This last weekend, I decided to check out 5 festivals, traveling all day Saturday to see them. I knew it was ambitious, but it seemed doable.

The festivals were in the following cities:
1.) Huntsburg
2.) Mesopotamia
3.) Hartville
4.) Mineral City
5.) Shreve

And, on a map, it looked like this...

Ambitious, but doable.

I made for an early start and drove into Amish Country, arriving first in Huntsburg by 10:30 while some vendors were still setting up.

It was rainy, windy and chilly, but there was still a decent amount of people at this small town festival.

I took my photos, talked with some people and everything seemed to be going well.

With some pumpkin goodies in hand, I headed off to festival #2...

...driving 15 minutes further to Mesopotamia.

Here, I loved the town's touristy charm...

...with that old-fashioned facade...

...Amish buggy sign...

...a world's record (largest) horse and buggy...

...and a general store...

..with more cute stuff inside...

...quirky entertainment...

...and tons of (soda) pop.

But after my tour around the store, I directed my attention back to why I was here. There had been no obvious sign of a festival huge banners or vendors or rides for the kids. All the cars I saw in the town parking lot were owned by shoppers, not festival-goers.

So where was the festival?

I asked a girl at the ice cream counter where Mesopotamia Heritage Day was taking place...

...and she directed me to Town Hall...

...where a craft fair took place.

Even with the fry pies and the musical entertainer (who sold CD's) in the lobby... still wasn't a festival... I hung my head and continued on to Hartville where a festival was taking place in the parking lot of...

...the Hartville Market Place (a huge flea market type mall).

But I didn't see a festival taking place here either.

I walked inside for information and eventually checked the website on my phone...

...only to read this.

My spirits were suddenly draining and I was getting hungry.

Now passed two o'clock, I had originally planned on eating lunch in Mesopotamia when I realized there was no festival, only to continue on to eat in Hartville. By the time I was looking at the menu in the Market Place, I was telling myself that there was a huge Amish restaurant outside that I could check out instead.

But, of course, when I went to that restaurant, the line was absolutely long and overwhelming...

...especially for someone on a schedule to check out two more festivals and drive a few hours back home!

So I got back on the road, searching for some quick fast food before going on to Mineral City...

...and I drove to the Portage Road exit in North Canton for some Wendy's.

This was a mighty mistake!

Not only was it rainy, but it was traffic-filled, thanks to a huge shopping area.

Now really hungry as I first headed toward Wendy's, I suddenly changed my mind and headed toward Giant Eagle (grocery) for the possibility that they might be grocery store sushi in this North Canton location.

But I switched lanes too late and had to turn around before waiting in traffic again until I found the correct entrance. I wasted valuable time in the process...

...but was lucky enough to find some decent grocery store sushi.

While eating quickly in the car, I now faced a dilemma: it was 3 o'clock, my enthusiasm was gone, I knew I wouldn't make the Shreve festival in time (they ended at 5), and the Mineral City festival was an hour further away still (and with a $5 admission).

I sat there in the car, thought for a few minutes and initially drove toward Mineral City...

...only to change directions and wander aimlessly down country roads.

I passed through Navarre and Wooster along 250, enjoying the winding roads, green hills and occasional family of ducks and ducklings that waddled along the side of the road.

I stopped at Grandpa's Cheese Barn in Ashland, getting some cheese and learning that they stopped making their delicious pies.

I then decided to cut up 511, until I was eventually stopped in Nova... a passing train.

As this moving obstacle ran before my car, I thought about my day and how nothing seemed to go right.

Rain, cancellations, traffic and indecision turned my 5-festival day into a 1-festival day and, although I felt that I had accomplished nothing, I knew that my disappointment was created only by myself.

Only I had put such an obligation upon one else had.

I had to remember that I had already done more than enough with my festival documentation. I didn't have to prove myself to anyone.

Instead, I just needed to remember why I was doing this in the first place: to visit these Ohio communities, meet new interesting people and enjoy my adventures (sharing them was secondary).

Sometimes I forget this.

Of course, life has a way of reminding you of what's important, as it did me...

That next morning, when I got in my car, the tire pressure warning light came on and I found one of my tires almost completely flat.

Later on, as my father and I changed the tire...

...we found that the thread had separated.

Thinking of my long drive the day before and the various horrible endings that could have resulted from that tire, I thought less of the festivals that I missed and more on how fortunate I really was.

Suddenly, the day seemed like a really fortunate one...

...and I felt truly blessed.

I still do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ohio State Fair - 2011

Even though I don't use my festival blog ( to write postings on county and state fairs, it's thanks to all my festival adventures that I even went this year.

You see, through Facebook correspondence, I was given some Ohio State Fair tickets (and parking pass) from the nice people at Ohio Magazine and Great Lakes Publishing after I shared my list of 2010 festival adventures with them.

So I'd like to dedicate this post to them as well as to all of my readers who try to make life an endless adventure...

The Ohio State Fair 2011

Whereas I love festivals for their very specific themes, I do occasionally love the fair for its broad spectrum of entertainment.

I can walk down the Ohio State Fair midway...

...alongside the usual rides and food vendors...

...and find myself in a Civil War celebration...

...with a full camp...

...and sleeping Union soldiers.

I can see hip country-esque art...

...old-fashioned carnie art...

...butter art...

...chocolate art...

...and even deep fried kool-aid art.

I absolutely love the fair for its experimental food...especially experimental fried food. And as I searched the fair for the above-mentioned dish... was thanks to seeing my friend Mike and company that I stopped only a few feet from the booth...

...and I drank the melted ice cream and sauce from the container when I finished eating it... was that good!

Thanks to Mike, I was led to my other sought-out food adventure...

...the donut burger - two Krispy Kreme donuts sandwiching a bacon cheeseburger with tomato, lettuce and onion.

It made me smile.

Honestly though, even though I didn't hold back a second while chowing down the deep fried kool-aid, I felt a little overwhelmed by all that donut glaze. I was happy to taste the cheese, pickle and tomato after a few bites.

And I ended up finishing only the middle in the end...

...even though I probably easily consumed more than 2,000 with this alone.

A little guilty by what I had consumed, I tried burning off these excess calories by walking around and checking out...

...the rams...



...more poultry...

...kissing Clydesdales...

... and even some sharks.

But those dormant sharks only left one last thought on my overthinking brain...

...I wanted another deep fried kool-aid.

Thanks again Ohio Magazine and Great Lakes Publishing!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Will and the Wish Flower - Part 2

Due to people asking for signed copies, I'm now offering signed versions which I'll mail personally - even out of the US/Canada. You can order copies through my "Will and the Wish Flower" blogspot site....

Books are also available in...



...and Dutch.

There are more coming so stay tuned!

In the meantime, order some books!

Love Kristian

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Will and the Wish Flower - a Picture Book

After countless hours/days/weeks/months of writing/revising and painting enough paintings... fill my guest bedroom...

...I've finally created a truly special children's picture book.

Will and the Wish Flower is about a boy who lives in a sad town and wishes he can makes everyone happy like they were long ago. When a wish-granting flower pops up to help him, he gets the chance to make that wish come true.

And did I mention that there are fish galloping on boots?

For a little more about Will and the Wish Flower, click HERE to be taken to the book page.

Otherwise, you can purchase the paperback ($15 + shipping) by clicking HERE or download ($3) by clicking HERE

Both links take you to the page, which also has a book preview.

Let me know how you like it!