Sunday, November 10, 2013

Leaving the Garage Door Open

Have you ever left the garage door open when you needed to close it? Maybe you work in the yard or you use your garage for a tool shop. Breaking your routine, you go inside at the end of the day and leave it open. Since you always lower it, you don’t need to lock the door leading into the hallway.

Two a. m. you awaken and realize you’ve been sleeping in an unlocked house. Something in the night goes bump. . . . It’s an uneasy feeling.

Evidently this problem is common. The newest garage doors have built-in automatic door closers, but most house garages don’t have this great feature.

I’ve had some experiences with leaving the garage door up. I don’t like to think about them because they’re scary. A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to a product that solves the problem. It’s a little box that mounts on the wall near the garage door switch: Magic Closer

Magic Closer takes only about five minutes to install with a screw driver. It has three timer settings--5, 15 minute and 6 hour delay. Or if you wish, you can turn it off. No additional programming or syncing is necessary with your existing garage door opener. Before it closes, it gives audible and visible warnings.

After using it for weeks, I depend on it. I cannot imagine doing without it. This inexpensive devise is an integral part of the tight security system of my home. Because I like it so much, I’m sharing the information about it with you. Go to or click on the Amazon picture below:

Oh, here’s a surprise! The Magic Closer people include an 8 in One screw driver. Actually it’s much more. It’s a sturdy multi-screwdriver torch with a bright flashlight inside.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What I Like about McAlister's

McAlister’s food is about the same wherever we go. Whether we’re eating at Laurel, Mississippi; West Monroe, Louisiana; Lubbock, Texas; or Amarillo, the quality is still good, the food is tasty, and most of it is low fat .

Usually I order a veggie spud. I discovered the Texas restaurants serve a little bowl of red salsa with it but the Southeastern restaurants don’t always know about the salsa. Every McAlister’s where we’ve been has the same formula for making iced tea. It always tastes like Mississippi tea, which is not as strong as Texas and Louisiana tea.

Most McAlister’s Delis have similar d├ęcor. Dr. Don Newcomb, a retired dentist, opened the first of these fast casual restaurants in 1989 in Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi. Now there are currently over 300 locations in 23 states, ranging from Virginia in the East to Florida in the South to New Mexico in West to Indiana in the Midwest.

“The original restaurant was started in a renovated gas station, and many of the elements of that original look are present in many McAlister's Delis built today, such as a garage door, and nostalgic black-and-white tile.” (Source: Wikipedia.)

In addition to baked potatoes, the menu includes deli sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. At McAlister’s it’s possible to obtain a quality meal quickly and not load up on sodium. The waiters are courteous, the portions are generous, and there’s always a crowd.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dean's Smokehouse, Stringer, Mississippi

The barbecued meat at Dean's Smokehouse is outstanding. My sister Ruth and nephew Eddy, who live at Shady Grove just north of Laurel, said, “Mary, you’ve just got to try this place. You’re going to love it.” I did and loved it. The next time I'm in the Laurel area, I'll go back.

Dean's Smokehouse is located in the Stringer community on 746 Jasper Hwy 15 North of Laurel about 4 miles north of Jones County, 2 miles south of Stringer ,just north of County Road 153. It’s on the east side of the road. You can’t miss it.

The phone number is 601-428-1022. Dean’s Smokehouse is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 9:00pm. You can use your credit card. Since the food is pricey and tempting, it is possible to need a credit card. People have been eating here since 2007. The day we went they were busy. Folks in Jasper and Jones County have been supporting this restaurant a few years. It’s good, even though it cost more than I expected.

They claim to serve Laurel's finest foods. While their food is tasty, I don’t think it’s Laurel’s finest because it isn’t in Laurel, and I’ve eaten somewhere in Laurel (not a barbecue place) that I preferred. Let’s just say Dean’s serves Stringer’s finest foods. At any rate, lunch was well seasoned and delicious.

The finest barbecue around – that’s another claim. I agree. It’s the best I’ve eaten in that part of Mississippi. All the trimmings – yes. The say they make their own barbecue sauce, baked beans, and coleslaw from scratch. It all tasted unique and yummy.

They advertise “unique ambiance.” What that means is the walls are covered with country antiques. It’s fun to look around at all the old stuff.

Dean’s Smokehouse has high quality meat and outstanding side dishes. The menu lists homemade dessert. The meal was so filling and tasty that we didn’t have room for it. By the way, Dean’s caters.

After 4:00 pm this barbecue place serves a ribeye steak dinner of USDA choice angus beef. Servings are 12 ounces or 16 ounces. The steak dinner includes a house salad, grilled toast, and a choice of loaded baked potato, home-style fries, or sweet potato wedges.

Here are the choices we had for lunch. Ribs ruled.
• 1/4 Chicken
• Pulled Pork
• Sausage
• Beef Brisket
• Sandwich Plate
• 1/2 Chicken
• 3 Ribs
• 1/2 Slab Rib
• Whole Slab
• Combo Plate (2 Meats)

Lunch plates are served with two of these sides:
• Corn Bread
• Onion Rings
• Baked Beans
• Coleslaw
• Potato Salad
• Turnip Greens
• Home Style Fries(skin on)
• Sweet Potato Wedges
• Side Salad
Another favorite is the chicken strip meal, three fried chicken strips with a choice of two sides.
Dean's Smokehouse

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Munch Box, Saline, LA

The Munch Box
1401 Fourth Street
Saline, LA 71070
(318) 576-3767

The natives of Saline say:
“Try the bacon cheeseburger.”
“Always get the chicken fried steak.”
“The fish plate is good.”

A few thoughts and observations:
It’s the only place to eat in the village of Saline.
The Munch Box is a unique experience with delightful local color.
Service was prompt.
The employee was congenial.
The local people were friendly.

My lunch:
A well-prepared salad began the meal.
The Texas toast was tasty, but hush puppies would have been more in keeping with the other food on the plate.
My fries were cold.
The meal included generous servings of tartar sauce and cocktail sauce.
The oysters were cooked thoroughly without an excess of batter.

Local attractions:
Carolyn Dorman Botanical Gardens (The log cabin is in the Botanical Gardens.)
Saline Watermelon Festival in July