Archive for December, 2015

Thanksgiving has come and gone and my family and I truly have reason to be thankful.  For 2015 Thanksgiving J and I decided to have Thanksgiving at our river place in Arizona.  I really didn’t want it to be a big deal, just a nice relaxing place to celebrate and afterwards do some shooting, off-roading, golfing, biking and kayaking.


Thankfully my work closed down on Wednesday at noon which allowed J and me to get ready for the river sooner.  We got to our river place four hours later and were shortly joined by my parents.  The plan was to wake early on Thanksgiving Day and go shopping for the items we’d need for the feast.  Here was our “planned” menu…

Prime Rib
Sautéed Mushroom and Butternut Squash
Bacon Smashed Potatoes

So in the morning we sent J off to the store to get what we needed.  When he returned and I started sifting through the various goods, I noticed that the Prime Rib didn’t look like normal prime rib.  It had three strings tied around it.  Prime Rib normally doesn’t have any strings.  I look at the label of the meat: “Top Round Roast”.  TOP ROUND ROAST?!  WTF is TOP ROUND ROAST???  Apparently after googling, Top Round Roast is considered the poor man’s prime rib!  HAHA.  J said that there was no more prime rib at the store and that the clerk said the top round was the closest thing to prime rib.  I personally think J saw the price tag of Prime Rib and saw the price of Top Round and said “YUP! Top Round It Is!” HAHA


Since I had never cooked Top Round before, I quickly googled how to cook this cut of meat.   It’s funny when cooking quality cuts of meat, if you think you’ve salted it too much, you haven’t used enough salt.  And it’s true, I had that meat covered in a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and chili pepper, to the point that I thought it was overboard.  But the end result was amazing!


So after the meat was prepped and resting on the counter to get to room temperature, the real fun began.  It started with just a quick flicker of the lights.  My mom and I were in the kitchen and noticed the lights and we both looked up and though “OK that’s weird”.  Then the lights got extremely bright.  I’m talking WOW bright.  One of the overhead kitchen light burned out as a result.  Then the lights went back to normal.  Hmmm weird.  So we tell J who thinks it may be the park itself having issues.  So we continue to cook.  We were warming up some water in the microwave when the lights flickered again, then went bright then everything just turned completely off!  It was then that we started smelling something burning.  Not like firewood burning but like electrical burning.  We yell for J who starts trying to diagnose the problem.  There’s smoke come out from our breaker box in the back bedroom.  YIKES!  Even with the power out we’re still smelling electrical fire.  Instantly the outside pedestal main breaker is turned off and we try to see what’s going on.  J checks with our neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same problem. Nope – they’re all good.  Since it was getting dark and J wasn’t finding the source of the problem, we all decided to keep the power off and deal with it in the morning.


So it’s now 5:00 and my mom and I are cooking on the stove in the dark with portable battery powered closet lights.  Thankfully the way I cooked the “Prime Rib” was to preheat the oven to 500, put in the roast and drop the temp to 475 for 28 minutes.  After 28 minutes you completely shut off the oven but let the roast cook in the ambient heat of the oven for three hours.  Thankfully after the power went out it didn’t affect the cooking process of the meat.  Our gas stove wasn’t affected by the power outage so we continued to cook the butternut squash and potatoes on the stove.


Around six our meal was finally ready and although it was too dark to eat inside, we set up a nice folding table outside and since it was only our trailer power that was out, we used our awning’s lights to see.  I was actually nervous that the meat would be cooked to medium with it being in an oven without any heat for three hours.  But after I had let the meat rest for 5 minutes and started slicing, it turned out the temperature of the meat was absolutely perfect!  Just the perfect amount of pink!  Awesome.  As we tasted it, sure enough Top Round Roast does taste exactly like Prime Rib!  Note – If you don’t want to spend a fortune on Prime Rib but want that prime rib taste and tenderness, buy a Top Round!  The meal really was fantastic!


Image stolen from internet but mine looked just like this!

Everything was delicious for being made in the dark.  That night was frigid!  Even though our river place is in the desert of Arizona the nights are freezing!  With no heat to take the chill out of the air we used every blanket we had.  I even had to wrap Bogie up in a blanket on his bed to keep him warm.  The next morning we called an electrician who would come out in the afternoon.  When the electrician came out he started at the outside pedestal and worked his way in.  Eventually he found that the pedestal had sent a surge which fried our connector.  It literally fried our connector.  There are char marks on the connector and on the underside of the trailer.  Pretty damn scary!  The smoke we saw and smelled was the arcing and resulting fire of the connector plug.  We were so lucky our place didn’t burn down!  So the electrician installed a new connector plug and checked our other electronic items inside the trailer.  The surge killed our microwave, CO2 Monitor and may have killed the electric thermostat of the oven.  When the killed items were uninstalled and removed the electrician attempted to flip the main pedestal breaker.  Power should have been restored to the trailer once the main breaker was flipped but after the flip nothing.  That meant that the main breaker on the pedestal itself had failed.  That main breaker should have tripped once the surge happened which would have prevented all the damage to our place.


The main breaker on the pedestal was replaced and power was finally restored.  We all breathed a giant sigh of relief after an hour went by and not seeing or smelling any smoke.   We really were lucky as we had removed the fire alarm earlier from the kitchen because it always goes off when cooking bacon.  Had the electrical fire happen while we were asleep I’m not sure the end result would have been as good.

2015 Thanksgiving was truly a very thankful and grateful event.  Thankful that nobody was injured or killed. Thankful that we were actually there to prevent the fire from destroying our home and/or other people’s property.  I’m truly grateful for the eye opening experience it really was.  Sometimes you need those serious reminders that life is precious and to be thankful for what you have and for the family and friends in your life.


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