Category Archives: Mrs. Samurai’s Dojo

Homeschooling: It’s not just for scary religious people anymore!

In this first of a (probably) four-part series of podcasts, Samurai Appliance Repair Man and Mrs. Samurai discuss why homeschooling is superior to public schools (or “government indoctrination camps,” as the Samurai refers to them) providing kids with a true education– which the government schools fail to provide– and a better socialization experience. They also discuss their 12+ years experience in homeschooling their three kids.

Click the play button in the player below to listen:

Graham Cracker Toffee

All right, time for another of my highly requested recipes. This is great to make for a crowd, because if you have it sitting around for very long in your house you’ll eat so much that you’ll have to run a marathon to burn off the extra calories. Like the Corn Casserole, it’s very easy to make, and if anyone tries to discuss the nutritional makeup of it, plug yours ears and hum.

Graham Cracker Toffee

2 packs of plain graham crackers (approx.)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1 cup. chopped pecans (roasted for a few minutes in the oven, if there is time, to bring out the flavor)

optional – mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet (mine is about 17 in. x 12 in.) with foil, tucking into the corners and allowing some to wrap around the sides. This takes the wide roll of foil – if you have only a regular roll of foil, use 2 smaller pans. You do not want this stuff to get on the pan itself – it’s like superglue. Grease foil with unsalted butter or cooking spray.

Arrange the graham crackers in the pan in a single layer, breaking them as needed to cover as much of the pan as possible.

Melt the butter, sugars, and salt in a saucepan, then bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently. As soon as it comes to a boil, carefully pour the mixture over the graham crackers, using a spatula to smooth it evenly. Make sure all of the crackers are covered. Bake for about 10 minutes – the syrup should be enthusiastically bubbling.

Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips all over the crackers, then put back in the oven for a minute or two. Remove pan, then smooth the chocolate out using the spatula. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate (and, for a “Rocky Road” variety – some mini marshmallows), then let it cool for 30 minutes. Stick the pan in the freezer for about half an hour to harden the chocolate, then lift the foil off the pan and break or cut the toffee into pieces. Enjoy!

Corn Casserole: the embarrassingly easy dish that everyone will love

This is probably my most requested recipe, which is a little embarrassing because it is so simple and relies heavily on canned/boxed ingredients. I normally like to cook with whole, unprocessed foods, but sometimes you need something quick and easy. This certainly fits the bill!

Mrs. Samurai’s Corn Casserole

Makes enough to feed a small crowd.

1 stick butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
16 oz. sour cream
3 cans cream-style corn
3 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 pkg. Jiffy brand corn muffin mix

In a large bowl, mix together butter, eggs, and sour cream. Add corn and muffin mix and stir to combine. Pour into a large casserole dish or pan and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about an hour to an hour and a half, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and it is starting to brown a little around the edges.

You can halve this recipe, using one or two cans of each type of corn – depending on how “corny” you like it. Bake this smaller size in a 2 quart dish or pan for about 45 min. to an hour.

A Coffee Maker Worthy of the Samurai

Hi Folks! Mrs. Samurai here. While it’s true that beer is the very lifeblood of this site, when the Samurai shuffles out in the morning after a late night of helping his Grasshoppers fight the good fight, it takes a piping hot cup o’ Joe to get those synapses firing again.

Over the years we’ve tried just about every coffee-making method there is, from the Keurig K-cups to hand-poured to a French press. But with 3 coffee drinkers in the house, we decided last year that nothing beats the ease and consistency of the drip coffeemaker. Problem was, we didn’t have one, so we went to our favorite small-appliance store,, to look for a brewer with a 12-cup capacity and a thermal carafe.

The first one we tried was a Zojirushi, a manufacturer of quality bread machines, rice cookers, and hot-water dispensers. But their coffee maker was obviously not designed for the average groggy consumer who, in a non-caffeinated state, can’t always remember to remove the little black cap that blocks the flow of coffee into the carafe and diverts it to your counter and floor instead. The Zo’ met an untimely end.

Fortunately, the next coffee maker we tried has been a winner so far even after hundreds of uses. The Cuisinart DTC-975 has no annoying little cap or other complicated parts. You just screw on the carafe lid with as much care as you would any lid you want to seat snugly, add water to the appropriate line, grind your beans (in a Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder) and place the grounds into your Swissgold Cone-Shape Coffee Filter, push a button and you’re just minutes away from good coffee that will stay hot for hours. Not that coffee lasts that long around here with the Samurai and his teenage reproductive units needing their caffeine fixes.