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Hot BOILED Peanuts

boiled-peanutsHot Boiled Peanuts

Hot Boiled Peanuts are a TREAT here in the South.  Whether YOU like ’em or not, every true Southerner knows the smell of salty filled water boiling over on the stove in late Summer.  The anticipation of what’s to come with these salty little boiled devils is enough to kill you.

The trick is 3 fold.

  1. Buy the right peanuts.
  2. Use the right amount of salt.
  3. Let them soak after cooking to “salt up”.

The earlier in the Summer you buy your peanuts the smaller they will be.  You want to make sure you are buying Green Peanuts too.  Nothing funnier than a Yankee trying to re-invent their experience in the Deep South by buying roasted nuts and trying to boil them (I’ve actually heard of this happening. TOO funny).

I look for peanuts that mostly have 3 – 4 nuts in them for the best results.  The nuts aren’t too big which makes them turn out gritty.

After washing your Peanuts, adding them to a large pot, and covering them with water, you’ll need to salt them.  I wish there was an exact science to this, but there isn’t.  ALOT of salt is needed to penetrate the peanut hulls so be very liberal with the salt.

Tip: If you get too much salt in your peanuts (which you won’t be able to tell until after they are done) you can do 2 things that have helped me.

  1. Drain and rinse your peanuts and put them back in the pot with “clean” or unsalted water to soak (osmosis will help you pull the salt out). You may need to repeat this if the saltiness is still too much to bare.
  2. Add a large white potato to the pot and it will soak out some of the salt.

To tell if your peanuts are done, recruit some anticipating peanut lovers and taste them throughout the boiling process (usually an hour to an hour and a half or so).  Go for the biggest ones to taste that will let you know that the smaller ones are just as tender as the big boy you just tried.

You are not looking to taste whether they are Salty enough or not yet.  If they are not salty enough yet even though they are tender enough, DON’T worry.

The next thing you’ll do is to soak these bad boys in the same salty brine you cooked them in.  The will soak up the salt pretty fast (30 minutes or so) as they cool so taste them often.


You’ll Never Guess What Gabby Wants to Name Her Little Brother

hoho_kai-lan_smYou’ll never guess what Gabby wants to name her little brother.

The other night, we were having dinner. April was over because Kenn was out of town on business. Amber and I had just returned home from our doctors visit where we found out the sex of the baby.

We all gathered around the table, eating and catching up on each others day. Mostly talking about the experience of finding out we are having a little baby boy soon… very soon.

The conversation bounced around from topic to topic. Trucks and footballs instead of teddy bears and Barbies. That kinda thing.

Then we got on the topic of names. And before you come up with your own name, you have to hear what Gabrielle wants to name her little brother.

We asked her, “Gabby, what would you like to name your little brother when he gets here?”

Very quickly she spat out, “Patrick”.

We all looked at each other in what can only be described as amazement. This child is truly brilliant.

I mean, not only did she choose an Irish name to complement the last name McKinney, but she also pulled a name from out of her…well…hat.  It’s not a name that’s been in our family or anything and barring St. Patrick’s Day I’m not so sure she’s ever heard it before.

Then I asked her, “That’s a good name. Are there any other names you like?” Thinking I didn’t want to be glued to Patrick without an alternative or two.

“Sure. Sponge Bob.” She said.
That’s when it hit me. For those of you that have had to bare an episode or two of Sponge Bob Square Pants, you know that Sponge Bob’s best friend is Patrick.

Too Funny. She didn’t stop there either. She ended up with Kai Lan’s sidekick HO-HO. Kai Lan’s a cartoon teaching Chinese on the same premise as Dora The Explorer does for Spanish. Ho-Ho is a little white-faced monkey.

It has already begun to stick. There are little monkeys showing up everywhere. The proposed décor, little outfits, and now in the name… well nickname anyway.

Before any of you get your feathers ruffled, we are NOT naming the boy Ho-Ho. We have narrowed it down to a couple.

We’ll publish that in a week or so after everyone has had time to make a suggestion or two.  AND NO, it will NOT be Ho-Ho (although it is catchy).

We figured we better name this baby soon before Gabby sees an episode of Ren & Stimpy.


We want to know what you think.  Leave a Comment with YOUR suggested BABY NAMES on this post.
Also, do you have a funny story of how you told your first child they were going to have a brother or sister?
Share it with us here.

Daylight-Savings Blues?


Can we just keep daylight-savings time?

* Think about it… An extra hour of daylight without losing an hour of sleep each year? What a concept.

* Sleep is important and we’re throwing an hour away each year. Why not save the hour by not coverting back in the fall.

* How to cope with your sleep loss and how to acclimate yourself in just one day. Melatonin. Studies show one dose of this hormone + 15 minutes of direct sunlight will allow you to reset your circadium rythm (sleep pattern cycle) in just one day.

* What’s actually so good about regular time anyway? Nothing. You get up… It’s dark. You get off work…it’s dark. What good comes out of an extremely short winter day?

* When the clocks turn back in the fall can we just not participate? Jim Jones got mass people to kill themselves with poison Kool-Aid for no good reason at all. Can’t we just band together and keep daylight-savings time. When you show up an hour early for work next year don’t just accept your attaboy for being a go-getter. Let your boss know that you will be leaving an hour early too because you are saving daylight savings time. Along with thousands of other people of course. When enough crusaders for the cause get on board, your boss will be forced to comply.

* just think what it’ll do for millions of out-of-shape and over-weight Americans who will benefit from the extra hour of daylight of which they can burn calories by procrastinating away!

* GO OUTSIDE! That hour of daylight you received today cost you an hour of sleep. Don’t waste it!

The Kindness of Strangers


I had the opportunity to ring the bell for the Salvation Army this year.  In the past I have done as many of you have.  Pretended that “you gave at the office” or faked a call on your cell phone to avoid the deep, soul searching stare that is followed haunting “Merry Christmas”.  I’ve thought for years, there must be a better way to get money for needy people.

All of that changed this year when I picked up that bell.  I just knew I’d be looking at my watch the whole time and feeling mortified thinking that people would look at me strangely.  Actually, they did.  In just a small window of time, I met a woman that worked for 23 years as a nurse in the hospitals of New York’s Hells Kitchen.  She opened her wallet and her conversation with gratitude.  She explained that for those 23 years she always worked on Christmas Eve, because she couldn’t stand for those sick people to be there all alone.  Each year the Salvation Army brought gifts to those lonely people and she added that they never forgot to bring one for her too.  I couldn’t believe that this little red bucket and gold bell meant so much to someone.

Another man came and folded his bills up, careful not to show how much he was putting in.  He told me that the Salvation Army got him off the “sauce” years ago and he never misses an opportunity to give back.  He told me that he saves change for months leading up to Christmas just to make sure he always has some to share with the The Salvation Army.  Again, I was blown away.

An elderly lady came up to the bucket and said thank you to me.  I was floored.  I had given no money. I had only rung a small bell and stood in one spot.  I told her she was mistaken.  The hard work was putting the money in the bucket  not ringing a bell.  Her words were, “You don’t know how much power that little bell has, young man”.  I guess I didn’t, but it was just a bell right.  She then reminded me I hadn’t had a Christmas that  I could remember not hearing the bell of the Salvation Army and what it would mean if there wasn’t one.
As for thinking this was not a great way to raise money, I kept a tally as best I could just to see.  In one hour I had collected right around a hundred bucks.  Sure, there were people that didn’t give, but now I was thinking that maybe they gave at the last place the saw someone ringing the bell.  There were a lot more people that did give.

The last person I had the pleasure of meeting came up to the red kettle and dropped in his contribution.  I offered a “Thank You”.  He took it and exchanged it for one of my most favorite sayings. “Young man,” he said, “The only thing evil needs to flourish is for good men to do nothing, keep up the good work.”  I wanted to cry.  I felt terrible for all of those years of ignoring the bell ringing.  There I was, my mouth wanting to come unhinged and fall open.  All I could say was, Merry Christmas.  He looked me right in the eyes and said, “attaboy!”

All in all, it was a great experience.  Ringing that bell did more for me than anyone else, I think.  I know I will do it again.

It was strange to see the kindness in people’s eyes as the dropped that money in the red kettle.  Knowing that this year of all years, that Christmas would be a little tighter.  If you ever miss seeing the Spirit of Christmas, call your Salvation Army and Volunteer for an hour or two.  You will see more love and random acts of kindness than you will be able to stand.



They're Red Daddy
They're Red Daddy

Gabby discovered that the trees change clothes before winter today.  I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart to see the world in her eyes.  No recession.  No goals.  No reason to not have a popcycle.  You name it and child-like optimism wins.

She gets so excited about everything.  I want to help her discover everything and stay out of the way at the same time.  My best bet is to just observe and catch her before she falls.

Funny… That seems to be what God does with me.  He really does model the lives we live after the relationship he has with us.  I know he exists because I see him in her eyes.  This picture has the look of surprise, certainty, calamity, happiness, determination, the art of being silly, and wonder all in one look.  Oh yea.  Spite!  That is there too.

As the leaves change and the seasons wash over the times of our lives, I see myself changing too.  Although subtle, the changes are there.  One of the things I fear is walking through this world and trying to change it too much and not letting it change me enough.

Certainly she has changed me.  I can never lose sight of the fact that she sees in me all of the things I see in her and more.  The priviledge of being her father will never cease to amaze me.

Long Time, No See

I know it’s been a while.  A long while since I have posted on Meet The McKinneys.  There really has been a lot going on and I probably have several good excuses, but I won’t use any of them.  I’m sorry.

Now that it is out of the way I feel better.  Don’t you?


Bringing you up to speed with what has happened in the last 6 months would be very difficult to press into one blog post and the better part of 4 hours.  So, I’ll give you the brief of it… bullet points.  I love bullet points.

  • Mom moved up here to Augusta
  • The Banking Industry went into the toilet
  • We started a business called “Charging Rhino” to see if we could do it
  • We went on vacation to St. Thomas
  • We saw Carlos Mencia at the Fox Theater in Atlanta for Amber and April’s Birthday
  • We hosted mom’s Birthday dinner at her favorite restaurant… Olive Garden
  • The entire Family was in town for Gabby’s Birthday
  • I saw friends that I haven’t seen in five years
  • I’ve taken up mountain biking
  • I became semi-fluent in Spanish (I can order more than beer and find more places than el bano
  • I learned enough French to understand why America hates French people and vice versa
  • We hosted Gabby’s Grampa Michael for a couple of weeks
  • We visited Savannah and blended in well with the tourists
  • I learned that you don’t have to always be doing something
  • I became exposed to what it means to have a 4 Hour Work Week and found a new favorite author
  • We’ve gone pumpkin hunting
  • Gabby has been to 6 or 7 Gymnastics classes and has participate in at least one
  • I broke down and got a Crackberry… and I love it!
  • Mom found a job and seems to really like some of the people
  • Gabriel has headed for he beach (and probably won’t ever come home…we miss you Gabe!)
  • I learned what “wordpress” is and how to use it
  • I have consulted on several websites
  • I have run a podcast and successfully drove traffic on the web
  • Found my self educating and inspiring others to be better people
  • and many other things that I may come back and update.

Thanks for your patience.  I have the bug again.  I’m back.

Ryan McKinney

Judge Not, Least Ye Be Judged

This morning began like many other Saturdays. No coffee, no milk, and nothing to eat in the house. After a the hustling and bustling of a busy, character building week, the last thing you want is to wake up without coffee. For some reason I find delight in not preparing for my favorite time of the week, Saturday mornings. That explains why I found myself zipping over to the nearest grocery store that carries good coffee.
The Food Lion grocery store has forever been higher priced than the other national grocery stores, but modest in price next to the specialty stores. They have never been accused of building their clientele based on their customer service skills. They seem to harvest their customers out of convenience and necessity, not good will to fellow man.
None the less, I hop out of my Cherokee, put my shades up on the top of my head and forged ahead on my seemingly endless journey for caffeine. The “Battle Star Galactiga” doors open and close in my wake. I seem to have developed a sixth sense to locate the coffee isle not only with super-human smell, but also with some sort of “Juan Valdez” radar. The prices are about 30% higher than my favorite market, but a quick calculation of the price of fuel and time and then the sad thought that the manager of Food Lion had already done that calculation made it evident that I was being taken advantage of. The price you pay for convenience in the time of necessity is a powerful thing. I grabbed the coffee, some milk, and the house favorite, “Honey Bunches of Oats”. They really are the best cereal ever made. I headed for the understaffed cash register with determination. The cashier rings me up with a smile and I’m sure she must be a new hire because she’s actually pleasant. Something happens though. My Visa Check card won’t go through.
Now, I digress. Years ago I would have been terrified that the person making $5.15 / hour on the other side of the counter would be judging my spending habits and damning me to NSF hell with her eyes. But after several years in banking I know the benefit of having the VISA logo on your card means that you will never be turned away. You might pay an NSF fee at your bank but you will not be turned down. I didn’t think it was prudent given my current state of mind to explain banking to the clerk. I simply asked her to just punch in the numbers on the card for the approval. That being a seemingly foreign concept to her, probably because she was born years after the magnetic strip concept was introduced. She calls the manager over which by now I know the process. I feel like a D.U.I. repeat offender that knows its better to be polite and let them finish than to fight and explain why I know more than they do.
That’s when it happened. The lady, close to forty, which I could tell because she dipped her nose to look through the tops of her glasses that had no bifocal lens in them and were too young in style for her. I thought she was trying to see me better, but I realized my former nightmares of being judged about my financial situation were coming true. She gave me a once over. Damn it.
She looked at the logos on my clothing and the Gold on my card and decided it was worth typing it in. Obviously she doesn’t know what the VISA on my card means. Forget the race card that I could easily pull and be gratified by. I won’t mention details. She then approached the situation, not with a this just happens sometimes” or a “it must be the strip or maybe our machine”. No. She met me with a “it’s waiting on you.” and all of the attitude that she could muster.
Then I realized. She has already condemned herself to the existence that makes her the unhappy heap that she is. Finally, It brings me to realize two things. First, not being like her is priority and I smile and thank her for her help. Second, I can actually think about things and function without my first cup of Joe. Either that or I’m a little more sensitive without it!