Stuffin’ Muffins

Along with falling leaves and temperatures, early sunsets and early Christmas displays, one of the annual signs of the advent of Thanksgiving for us is the avalanche of email and snail mail we get requesting the recipe for Stuffin’ Muffins.

This recipe was made famous to our listeners by our bro-in-law, “Chef John,” who joined us on the air during Thanksgiving week for many years long before Rachel Ray added them to her menu.

Once again this year, the avalanche has started, so without further ado …

Use any stuffing recipe you like, that could be Stove Top stuffing, apple, sausage or you name it.

Or, if you’re cooking gluten-free, as is the case in our house, one option I use is Aleia’s Gluten Free savory stuffing mix.

Butter well or spray Pam in muffin tin cups. Scoop the stuffing into the cups til each is almost full. An ice cream scoop makes this easy. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20- 25 minutes. The time variation is determined by the stuffing ingredients. Apple or sausage for example will take longer than bread or cornbread stuffing with celery and onions. 

The muffins are extra tasty if you baste the tops with turkey juices at least once while they are baking. I use a turkey baster and fill it with the juice and squirt it onto the tops of the muffins. 

Let muffins cool a bit in the pan then pop out and enjoy. The inside should be soft and the top should have a chewier texture. 

Don’t be surprised if, as they’re leaving, some guests ask if they can take a few for “the ride home.” That request has become a part of our Thanksgiving traditions.

Oh, also, if you’d like a little variety, add a dollop of cranberry sauce on top. Trust me, it’s ALL good!

That’s it!

Now, go make muffins and memories.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Stay safe,

Johnnie

Posted in Gluten-Free Diet, Holidays, Partly Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy Halloween 2022

Since this October found us spending time in both places, we thought you might like to see just some of the Halloween spirits who rose to greet us in both Chicago and Panama City Beach.

Before we left Chicago, as usual, the Wonderful Tree Lady worked her magic throughout our house.

And, of course, some scary little friends joined in the festivities.

And, you knew there had to be bats … and cats.

Music was provided by The O Family, who performed next to their newly acquired hearse. Madame O is backed by Diego, Fernando and Leonardo, who makes the act even scarier with his, dare we say it, … accordion.

When we arrived in Panama City Beach, ghosts, spiders and other spirits quickly took over the porch of our little yellow house.

Our spirited troubadour, Henry Howl, brought his guitar to help set the mood.

We heard, saw and spoke of many strange things.

There were moments, when the wind was still, that her and him didn’t quite feel ourselves. It was almost as if we’d been … transformed.

But, at the end of the day, we were back to feeling as close to normal as we ever get, so we end this post with a toast to you from the good witch who channeled Halloween from the North to the South.

Happy Halloween!

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Halloween, Holidays, Johnnie's Trees, Partly Personal | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

S&J’s Halloween Poem

This photo popped up in our memories and reminded us to remind you that, once again, our Halloween Poem is available for you to have some fun with your little people.

For the uninitiated, this is a poem which, in one form or another, we’ve been presenting on radio and the Internet for several decades. Honestly, we don’t know the origin of the poem. A listener sent it to Steve many years ago in a galaxy far, far away in the days before him n her became HimNHer. The positive response to the poem and the fun it can provide, particularly for kids, at a Halloween party resulted in it becoming one of our annual traditions.

You’ll find all the instructions along with downloadable audio just by clicking this link.

Happy Halloween!

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Halloween, Holidays, Partly Personal, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thurs. & Fri. 10/20 & 10/21 WGN Podcasts & Pictures

Sorry it took a few days to post this but, in the interim, we hopped on a big bird and are writing this blog from the friendly confines of our little yellow house, in Panama City Beach, Fl.

BTW, on the flight down here, as we connected through Nashville, we were greeted with an absolutely breathtaking sunset view that we thought we’d share with the class.

Nashville greeted us with a Grand Ole Sunset

Meanwhile, before we left Chicago, our drive on “The Drive” to WGN Radio each day allowed us to see Fall welcoming the crowds of cars with swatches of color.

If you gotta be stopped in traffic, at least you’ve got a colorful view.

And, not surprisingly, once we got to the station, the view from our studio wasn’t too shabby, either.

Johnnie’s studio view.

And now, about those podcasts …

It’s been too long since we caught up with the legendary artist for Marvel and DC Comics, Alex Ross, so we thought it was time to remedy that and get an update on his career and his new graphic novel, Fantastic Four: Full Circle. To hear our fantastic adventure with Alex, just point your browser up, up and away to this link. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Our former Website Wednesday Night Cybersquad chief, Patrick Crispen, joined us to discuss the technology around key fobs, whether you should be concerned about them when you purchase a new vehicle and a lot more tech stuff. If you’d like to unlock that conversation, just click on this link.

We talked with Heidi Przybyla, veteran Washington correspondent with Politico, about the story of a Michigan county hiring a ‘Stop the Steal’ ringleader to recruit poll workers. You’ll find all those questions and answers right here.

Anytime we’re treated to an in-studio performance from our longtime friend, the internationally known genius who weaves blues and classical forms together, Corky Siegel, we know something special is about to happen.

Corky & Holly Siegel with Johnnie & Steve

Well, it did and Corky’s podcast is right here.

Joan Hallagan joined us with an update on how and when the Skokie-based café Will’s Place will be providing employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities and how you can help. Here’s our conversation with Joan.

Those are just some of the bits and bytes from our Thursday and Friday WGN Radio “drive-by” shows in Lisa Dent‘s space.

If you’d like to hear all of Thursday’s show, here it is.

And

If you’d like to hear all of Friday’s show, it’s right here.

Before we wrap this up we have to say a HUGE thank you to our producers, Curtis Koch and Brian Althimer for making sure we didn’t break the radio station. They’re the best!

Curtis & Brian

Keep watching this space for any updates on our next invasion of your radio’s speakers as we know them. And, if you’d like to subscribe to this blog, we’d really appreciate it. We don’t spam you. You’ll just get an email to let you know whenever we have a new blog post.

As always, thanks for hanging out with us online and on the air.

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Appearances, Music, Political, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thurs. & Fri., 10/20 & 10/21 WGN “Drive-By” Shows!

While Lisa Dent takes a couple of day’s off, today (Thursday, 10/20) is the first of two “radio drive-by” shows that will find us slaving over hot microphones from 2-6PM (Central) on WGN Radio.

Johnnie, Lisa Dent & Steve

We’ve got a lot planned and we’d love it if you tuned in to 720 AM to see/hear how it all plays out. So, we hope you will.

But, remember, if you’re not in the Chicago area, you can still listen just by clicking this link to WGN Radio’s live stream.

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Appearances, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Friday 10/7 WGN Podcasts & Pictures

Wow, did that go by fast! It was one of those shows that seemed like we just sat down and it was over. Yes, that means we had a good time and we hope you did, too.

Driving in to the station we were greeted by some really nice beginning fall color change vistas.

And when we got there, the view out our studio window was even better!

However, a little later when sun went down and the studio lights were on, the view looking through the window did become a little surreal.

Along with the views, we were treated to some great conversations with some really interesting people. Fortunately, those conversations are now available in podcast form so, without further ado, let’s get to some links.

Jessica Radloff was delightful and we can’t wait to read her new book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series. If you’d like to hear our conversation with her, just click here.

Loving cars as we do, we really enjoyed getting to know John Kraman, TV commentator for Mecum Auctions on MotorTrendTV, who gave us a preview of next week’s Mecum Chicago 2022 event. You’ll find that podcast right here.

Our long time friend, former WGN Radio newsman, Roger Badesch, who once worked for Chicago’s first black Mayor, joined us to talk to about Punch 9, the new movie about Mayor Harold Washington. Our podcast with Roger is right over here.

Any time we get to spend with our very talented friends Josh and Erika from The Empty Pockets is time well spent. This time, along with talking about the success of their new album, “Outside Spectrum,” and their upcoming tour across the big pond, we found out about a new project providing employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities, Will’s Place. Will is Josh’s brother, so this project is very close to their hearts. To hear our conversation with Josh and Erika, just click here.

We revisited the days of John Landecker, Bob Sirott and Steve’s rock & roll disc jockey past along with Johnnie’s first radio jobs as well as the last major market AM radio Top 40 battle between Chicago’s WLS and WCFL when we talked with Ted Gordon Smucker, one of the founders behind Rewound Radio. You’ll find that podcast spinning here.

Of course, there was even more, including our producer, Ben Anderson, and WGN newsman, David Jennings, participating in Johnnie’s “Tailgate Candy Corn Taste Test.”

Children of the corn, Ben Anderson and David Jennings

If you’d like to hear that and all of Friday’s show, here’s that link.

And …

Don’t forget, on Thursday and Friday, Oct 20 & 21, from 2PM-6PM (Central), Lisa Dent is going to enjoy a long weekend and, while she is, we’ll be jumping back inside your radio speakers to hang out with you in her space for a couple of days.

As always, thanks for listening and stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Appearances, Music, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Friday 10/7 We’re Back Inside Your Speakers!

This Friday, Oct. 7, from 6PM-10PM (Central), we’ll be filling in the blanks in Dave Plier‘s space inside your speakers on WGN Radio and we thought you might like a sneak peek at some of our game plan.

We’ve been known to be fans of stylish things with wheels that make your speedometer and your heart go a little faster, so we’re more than a little excited that John Kraman, TV commentator for Mecum Auctions on MotorTrendTV will be joining us with a preview of next week’s Mecum Chicago 2022 event.

This month marks the15th anniversary of the debut of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Like many of you, we were and still are big “Big Bang” fans and when we heard that the definitive book about the show was coming out, we were intrigued. Jessica Radloff is the Senior West Coast Editor at Glamour magazine, covering all things entertainment, beauty, and more in Los Angeles. She is also the author of the upcoming oral history, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series. The book will be released on Oct. 11, but we’ll get a pre-release preview.

Shermann ‘Dilla’ Thomas is becoming a household name, sharing his enthusiasm for and knowledge of Chicago history, both serious and silly. He says “Everything dope about America comes from Chicago, the greatest city on earth.” We wanted to meet him and thought you might, too.

Since our long time friend, former WGN Radio newsman, Roger Badesch, worked for Chicago’s first black Mayor, he’ll join us to talk to about Punch 9, the new movie about Mayor Harold Washington.

We’ll also catch up with our very talented friends Josh and Erika from The Empty Pockets to talk about a new project providing employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities, Will’s Place. Will is Josh’s brother, so this project is very close to their hearts.

Of course there’s more including some old and new friends who will be sliding into your speakers with us.

But, you’ll just have to tune in to 720AM to find out who else is on our guest list.

As always, remember, if you’re not in the Chicago area, you can still listen by clicking this link to WGN Radio’s live stream.

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Appearances, Automotive, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Autumn + Apples = Johnnie’s Apple Butter

It’s looking a lot like a great weekend to go apple picking. If you’re like us, when you get home, you’re hit with the reality of “what to do with all these apples“! Yes, you can make pies, you can make cakes. But, have you ever made apple butter?

For the uninitiated, apple butter has nothing to do with butter, it’s just spreadable and yummy on toast.

And, how do you make this yummy, spreadable, goodness?

Well, first you pull out the crockpot and get ready for 12 hours of heavenly, apple aroma wafting through the house.

BTW, once you realize just how easy this recipe is, do me a favor, when you’re sharing jars with friends and family, don’t tell them.

OK, let’s go!

I use a combo of Granny Smith and a softer, sweeter apple. You can use Fuji, Gala, Macintosh, Jonagold and toss in a few Granny Smith.

Peel and core 6 pounds of apples. That’s 10-12 medium apples–20 small. Slice or chunk apples and put in the crockpot/slow cooker.

In a bowl mix: 1 cup of white sugar 1 cup brown sugar (I use 1/2 dark & 1/2 light brown sugar) Add 1 TB of cinnamon 1/2 tsp of nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/4 tsp salt

Later you’ll need: 1 TB vanilla

Mix sugar and spices and add to apples. Toss apples to coat.

Put the lid on the crockpot and set the crockpot on low. Next, set your timer for 10 hours.

Yes, 10 hours!

In 10 hours take the lid off and add 1 TB vanilla extract. Stir and leave uncovered simmering on low for 2 more hours.

10 hours into the apple butter mission. I’ve added vanilla and it remains on low uncovered for 2 more hours. All that juice is from the lovely apples🍎

When time’s up use an immersion hand blender or potato masher and carefully (because its dangerously hot!) smash any pieces that are left intact.

You’ll have a deep brown smooth apple spread. When it cools, pour into jars and keep refrigerated. No canning process is necessary.

Now, go pick those apples … and remember, mums the word on how easy this is.

Enjoy!

Stay safe,

Johnnie

Posted in Gluten-Free Diet, Partly Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Thursday & Friday, 9/22 & 9/23 Podcasts & Pictures

We’ve heard from a lot of you asking if there would be any podcasts from our two day fill in for John Williams on WGN Radio.

The answer is, yes, and, now that they’re available, we thought we’d share them, along with a few pictures, with the class.

Thursday’s drive, on Chicago’s DuSable Lake Shore Drive, into the station was very picturesque and helped set the mood for hopping back into your speakers.

Thursday’s view from DuSable Lake Shore Drive into Diversey Harbor, located in the heart of Lincoln Park

Once we landed in the Speed Joke Operations Center, the view from WGN Radio’s 18th floor studio was equally conducive to a good mood and, hopefully, a good show.

The view of the Chicago river and several iconic buildings looking North West from the Speed Joke Operation Center

Now, about those podcasts …

If you’d like to hear our conversation with Apalachicola, Florida, pilot Captain John Bone, who just returned home from a two-and-a-half month stint flying supplies from Germany to the Ukrainian border, just click this link.

Captain John Bone

Our VERY talented friend, who just happens to be a 2-time Grammy award-winning pianist, diatonic harmonica player and composer, Howard Levy, joined us to share some incredible harmonica chops along with information about his new book and upcoming appearances. You’ll find that podcast right here.

Food and nutrition expert, Dawn Jackson Blatner poured everything you should know about the Keto Diet and more on our plates. If you’d like a sample, dig in here.

Dawn Jackson Blatner

We also segued from what could be found on our plates to a different kind of spam when we tackled the world of technology with our former Website Wednesday Night Cybersquad chief, Patrick Crispen. If you’d like the bits and bytes of that exchange, just point your browser here.

Patrick Crispen is the Director of Educational Technology, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

We covered car-related questions including the latest news on electric vehicles, the rise in Kia and Hyundai thefts, and the high price of new cars with Consumer Guide Automotive‘s Publisher, Tom Appel. The express lane to our ride with Tom opens up right here.

Those are just some of the highlights.

BUT …

… if you’d like to hear all of Thursday’s show, here’s the link.

AND …

… if you’d like to hear all of Friday’s show, here’s that link.

A couple of final notes:

A highlight of Friday’s show, for us, was watching and listening to Bob Kessler playing harmonica during the Bright Side of Life segment.

Bob Kessler’s Bright Side of Life boogie.

We have to give a HUGE thank you to, our producer, Pete Zimmerman, for keeping us on track, and our engineers, Bob Fukda, Bob Ferguson and Krista Flores for setting up the studio for us and making sure we didn’t knock the station off the air.

And finally, as Columbo used to say …

If you’d like to mark your calendars, we’ll be sliding back into your radio speakers on Friday, Oct. 7, from 6PM-10PM (Central), because Dave Plier decided to start this weekend with a Friday night off and asked if we could provide some of his soundtrack, so we will.

and

On Thursday and Friday, Oct 20 & 21, from 2PM-6PM (Central), Lisa Dent is going to enjoy a long weekend and, while she is, we’re going to enjoy hanging out with you in her space for a couple of days.

So, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

As always, thank you so much for hanging out with us on-air and in cyberspace. We never take your friendship for granted.

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Appearances, Music, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday, 9/23 = Us on WGN

Friday is the season finale of our two consecutive days filling in for John Williams (10AM-2PM, Central) on WGN Radio.

Some of the ingredients for our TGIF “radio drive-by” include a preview of this Saturdays’s Farm Aid 2022 festival.

We’ll also revisit the very first Farm Aid with Max Armstrong who joined us live on the air the night it happened.

We’ll check out the latest cybernews and answer your computer questions with our former Website Wednesday Night Cybersquad chief, Patrick Crispen.

Patrick Crispen

Patrick is an Assistant Professor (Adjunct) at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Rossier School of Education and is also the Senior Manager for Learning Design and Technology at USC’s Center for Scholarly Technology.

Looking for a new or used car? Whoo boy, has that playing field changed! Do you really have to mortgage your firstborn to make a deal in today’s automotive marketplace? We’ll talk about the best ways to avoid some of the many purchasing potholes with Consumer Guide Automotive‘s Publisher, Tom Appel.

Tom Appel

And, since we are broadcasting from the main deck of the legendary Speed Joke Operations Center, you just might hear a Speed Joke or two … or three … or …

And, did we mention that IT’S FRIDAY and that means you get to share your bright sides of life with us!!

Of course we’ve got some more surprises planned but, if we told you … well, you know the drill.

720AM is the place to hear it all unveiled.

And remember, if you’re not in the Chicago area, you can still listen by clicking this link to WGN Radio’s live stream.

Stay safe,

Steve & Johnnie

Posted in Appearances, Music, Radio, WGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment